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NHRA Midwest Nationals Countdown race to feature four qualifying sessions

The NHRA Midwest Nationals, the third of six races in the Countdown to the Championship playoffs, will feature four qualifying sessions during the event, which takes place Sept. 27-29 in St. Louis.
23 May 2024
Posted by NHRA.com staff
NHRA Midwest Nationals

Officials from NHRA and World Wide Technology Raceway have announced that the 13th annual NHRA Midwest Nationals, the third of six races in the Countdown to the Championship playoffs, will feature four qualifying sessions during the event, which takes place Sept. 27-29 in St. Louis.

Fans will be able to enjoy two qualifying sessions on both Friday and Saturday during the pivotal playoff race in the NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series, leading into eliminations on Sunday. 

Friday will kick off with a special staging lane autograph session from 4-5 p.m. featuring all the top stars in Top Fuel and Funny Car, leading into the two can’t-miss qualifying sessions. The qualifying runs on Friday will take place under the lights at World Wide Technology Raceway, offering fans a special primetime dose of Friday night nitro featuring 11,000-horsepower, 330-mph Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars. 

Official qualifying times for both Friday and Saturday will be announced in the coming weeks.

“We are delighted to host two rounds of NHRA Professional qualifying under the lights on Friday, Sept. 27,” said Chris Blair, World Wide Technology executive vice president and general manager. “There’s nothing more electrifying than header flames and the thrill of 330-mph action. We have a great fun-filled evening the entire family will enjoy on Friday, and we look forward to another spectacular weekend of NHRA racing.”
A staple in the Countdown to the Championship, the NHRA Midwest Nationals have long been a fan-favorite, drawing sellout crowds and a memorable atmosphere year after year. The 2024 race will be another weekend to remember in St. Louis, as all the stars in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock, and Pro Stock Motorcycle will be in action, looking to pick up a key victory in the championship hunt.

Last year, Clay Millican (Top Fuel), Matt Hagan (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock), and Gaige Herrera (Pro Stock Motorcycle) all picked up wins at World Wide Technology Raceway, with the top NHRA stars all looking forward to an extra qualifying session on Friday in 2024.

“It’s going to be great to have four qualifying sessions and to run at night,” said Hagan, the reigning Funny Car world champion for Tony Stewart Racing and current points leader. “Fans love seeing those huge header flames, and to get four qualifying sessions, it really allows us to put on the best possible show. Everyone wants to see side-by-side racing in the Countdown, and four sessions gives us a great opportunity to get these cars dialed in.

“It’s going to be fast, it’s going to be loud, and the track conditions are going to be awesome. It’s a great facility with great fans who love drag racing, and we always look forward to coming to St. Louis. These Countdown races mean a lot, and we’re excited to have a huge crowd on hand on Friday to kick off the weekend.”

In 2024, fans will get to see the biggest names under the lights on Friday and all weekend long in St. Louis, including Top Fuel’s Antron Brown, who has five wins at the facility, and points leader Justin Ashley. Fans will also get an opportunity to watch Tony Stewart in action in the Top Fuel ranks for the first time. The legendary Hall of Fame driver, three-time NASCAR world champ, and IndyCar champion made his NHRA Top Fuel debut to start the 2024 season, and Stewart will make his first St. Louis Top Fuel appearance in September, looking to add to his incredible racing résumé.

Ron Capps’ four wins lead the Funny Car category in St. Louis, while Pro Stock’s Erica Enders has an NHRA-best six victories at the track. Pro Stock Motorcycle’s Matt Smith leads in the two-wheel category with five event victories.

“Everyone at World Wide Technology Raceway has done an incredible job making this event a great one for more than a decade, and we’re excited to offer two qualifying sessions on Friday this year,” said Evan Jonat, NHRA Vice President of Live Events. “These night runs are always a huge thrill for our fans and race teams, and it’s a perfect way to kick off what will be another terrific weekend in St. Louis.”