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A look at NHRA's all-time win streaks

Tony Schumacher. Don Prudhomme. Bob Glidden. Dave Schultz. Four legendary NHRA racers who hold four legendary winning streaks, marks that are being challenged in 2024 by Pro Stock Motorcycle rider Gaige Herrera. Here's a look at how those streaks were assembled.
03 May 2024
Phil Burgess, NHRA National Dragster Editor
DRAGSTER Insider
A look at NHRA's all-time winning streaks

Gaige Herrera’s Pro Stock Motorcycle win at the NHRA 4-Wide Nationals in Charlotte was his seventh straight victory in the class, putting him in the elite company of Don Prudhomme and Tony Schumacher, who marched their respective Army-backed race cars to seven straight wins in 1975-76 and 2008, respectively.

It also puts the second-year rider in line to tie two late greats in our sport — Bob Glidden and Dave Schultz — who put together incredible eight-race winning streaks in Pro Stock (1978-79) and Pro Stock Motorcycle (1994) in their heydays.

Herrera, rider of the Vance & Hines/RevZilla Suzuki, has also racked up 27 straight win lights and is within striking distance of eclipsing Glidden’s all-time record of 35 straight victories.

Let’s take a look at what went into these streaks.

Don Prudhomme, 1975-76

Seven straight event wins, 30 straight round-wins

Prudhomme’s amazing two-season streak has been a subject of this column several times over the years. He won 13 times over the course of two eight-event seasons, grabbing six of eight in 1975 and seven of eight the following year.

It’s the back half of that two-year dominance that lands him on this list. After opening 1975 with wins in Pomona, Gainesville, and Columbus, he was upset in round one of Englishtown by longtime rival Tom McEwen, then won Le Grandnational before being topped in the U.S. Nationals final by Raymond Beadle.

“The Snake” and his Army Monza then went on a tear, winning the Fallnationals in Seattle and the World Finals in Ontario to close 1975, then won the first five events of 1976 — Pomona, Gainesville Columbus, Englishtown, and Montreal — before being stopped in the Indy final (again!), this time by Gary Burgin.

Tony Schumacher, 2008

Seven straight event wins, 31 straight round-wins

More than three decades later, it was Schumacher, at the wheel of his Army-sponsored Top Fueler, who ran amok in Top Fuel.

After having already won the four previous world championships and 41 previous event wins, Schumacher’s black and gold Army dragster was almost unbeatable in 2008. He won five of the season’s first 12 events but took it to a whole new altitude with a winning streak that began at the Mile-High Nationals outside of Denver in July and didn’t end until the final of the Dallas race in October, where he lost on a 3.921 to 3.910 holeshot to J.R. Todd after turning on 31 straight win lights.

Undaunted, Schumacher then went on another mini winning streak of three races (Memphis-Richmond-Las Vegas) and 14 more rounds before losing to Rod Fuller on another holeshot at the Finals in Pomona. His 11 straight final-round appearances are also an NHRA Top Fuel record.

Schumacher won 76 rounds that year, which is still tied as an all-time best with Pro Stock’s Greg Anderson, who matched that number during his dominating 15-win 2004 campaign (Anderson’s best streak that year was five straight event wins).

Dave Schultz, 1994

Eight straight event wins, 34 straight round-wins

Schultz’s back-and-forth battles with fellow superstar rider John Myers in the early 1990s were epic, and if not for Myers, Schultz’s numbers could have been even more stupefying. 

After winning his third championship in five years in 1991, Schultz lost the crown in 1992 to Myers, the 1990 champ, but for the next two seasons, it was pretty much all Dave Schultz, all the time.

He won the last seven events of 1993 – Denver, Brainerd, Indy, Reading, Topeka, and the Finals in Pomona – then opened 1994 by winning in Houston, but his bid for an ninth straight win ended with a semifinal red-light against Myers in Gainesville.

Schultz didn’t take long to start another winning streak, scoring at the next event, in Atlanta, and going unbeaten until the semifinals of the season finale in Pomona, where another red-light ended his eight-race, 34-round streak, this one against Jim Bernard.

Bob Glidden, 1978-79

Eight straight event wins, 35 straight round-wins

Glidden and his all-conquering Ford Fairmont — as unlikely a model as one could imagine for a “factory hot rod" — went unbeaten for a calendar year, from the 1978 Summernationals through the 1979 Springnationals, with wins in Englishtown, Montreal, Indy, Seattle, and Ontario in 1978, continuing with early 1979 wins in Pomona, Gainesville, Baton Rouge, and Columbus before red-lighting to Randy Humphrey in round two of the Mile-High Nationals.

After his final-round loss to Richie Zul and the Springnationals, Glidden scored 35 straight round-wins over 15 different drivers during that span. He was particularly tough on Larry Lombardo in Bill Jenkins’ Grumpy’s Toy Monzas and Camaro, beating him five times. He also victimized Frank Iaconio and Joe Satmary four times apiece and Lee Shepherd, Don Nicholson, Mark Yuill, and Wally Booth thrice.

Glidden also holds the NHRA record of 17 consecutive final-round appearances, which began with a win at the 1977 Montreal event and extended through that semifinal loss in Denver in 1979, and he won 14 of those 17 final rounds, falling only to Nicholson in Indy 1977, Iaconio in Gainesville ’78, and Zul in Columbus ’78.

For what it’s worth, Shepherd, whose legendary battles with Glidden rivaled the Schultz-Myers rivalry, has the second-best consecutive final-round streak at 16, starting with a win in Atlanta in 1981 and ending with a semifinal loss to Iaconio at the 1982 U.S. Nationals. Shepherd won 12 of those 16 finals but never more than four in a row.

Gaige Herrera, 2023-24

Seven straight event wins, 27 straight round-wins

Herrera won six of the first eight events in 2023 but lost in the semifinals in Indy and in round two in Reading, before reeling off five straight wins to end the season as the world champion.

Thus far in 2024, he’s won in Gainesville and at the 4-Wide Nationals in Charlotte to extend his streak. Will he tie or break the records above? The bikes run again in Chicago in two weeks, then Bristol, Richmond, Norwalk, Seattle, and Sonoma. How far can Herrera and the Vance & Hines take this streak?

Phil Burgess can be reached at pburgess@nhra.com

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