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Back in Thunder Valley on Father’s Day Weekend, NHRA set for Big Weekend at Bristol

12th annual NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals

Back in its traditional and popular spot on Father’s Day Weekend, the NHRA Camping World Series is set to return to one of the ultimate destinations in drag racing for the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at picturesque Bristol Dragway on June 17-19.

The race in Bristol is the ninth of 22 races during the 2022 season and marks the first time all four NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series classes have appeared together at Thunder Valley during the same weekend. Pro Stock Motorcycle debuted last year to rave reviews at the fan-favorite facility located in the Tennessee mountains, while Pro Stock is back at Bristol for the first time since 2018.

Combined with the incredible action from the 11,000-horsepower, 330-mph nitro machines in Top Fuel and Funny Car, qualifying under the lights on Friday and a special fireworks show, two qualifying sessions on Saturday, autograph sessions, Sunday eliminations and more, it promises to be a Father’s Day Weekend to remember.

All the top stars in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle will be on hand to try and pick up a win on Father’s Day as the 2022 season approaches the halfway mark. Mike Salinas (Top Fuel), Alexis DeJoria (Funny Car) and Angelle Sampey (Pro Stock Motorcycle) all picked up wins last year in Bristol, while this year’s race will be broadcast on FOX broadcast network and Fox Sports 1 (FS1).

Salinas has felt perfectly at home at Bristol in recent seasons in Top Fuel, advancing to the final round at the last three events and winning the last two. He’ll look to keep that going in 2022 in Thunder Valley and the championship contender already has a pair of wins this year. But, like everyone in the class, he’s trying to track down points leader Brittany Force, who has been incredible to open the year, winning three races and setting multiple track records. The Top Fuel class is filled with talent, though, including star drivers Steve Torrence, the four-time defending world champ, Pomona winner Justin Ashley, Austin Prock, Clay Millican, Leah Pruett, and Antron Brown.

Alexis DeJoria picked up a big-time Funny Car win a year ago, qualifying No. 1 and driving past J.R. Todd in the final round. It gave DeJoria her first win since returning to the sport since 2017 and another great Bristol memory. She’ll look to get her 2022 season on track over Father’s Day weekend, especially with points leader Matt Hagan and Robert Hight dominating the early part of the season. The duo has combined for five wins thus far, including three by Hight, while the star-studded class also features 16-time world champ John Force, Bob Tasca III, Cruz Pedregon and Ron Capps, whose five wins at Bristol leads all Funny Car drivers.

Pro Stock will make its first appearance at Thunder Valley since 2018 and the last time a current driver in the category won in Bristol came in 2015 when Erica Enders picked up the victory. Enders, a four-time world champion, has had a terrific start to the 2022 campaign, picking up three wins thus far and enjoying the points lead in the loaded class. But plenty of top competitors will try to get the win at Bristol, including defending world champion Greg Anderson, who is seeking his 100th career win, Aaron Stanfield, who has a pair of wins this season, standout rookie Camrie Caruso, 2021 NHRA Rookie of the Year Dallas Glenn, Kyle Koretsky and Mason McGaha.

Pro Stock Motorcycle made its official debut at Bristol last year and put on an impressive show, with Angelle Sampey and Karen Stoffer facing off in a thrilling final round. In the end, it was Sampey who prevailed to become the first winner in the two-wheeled category at the facility. She’s been close to a win in 2022, but she’ll try to close the job in Bristol and make a leap in the points standings as well. Everyone is chasing Steve Johnson at the moment, as the veteran already has two wins this year. Others to watch include defending world champ Matt Smith, Eddie Krawiec, Angie Smith, Joey Gladstone, and Jimmy Underdahl.

The event also will feature thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, which features some of the sport’s top drivers, as well as the Constant Aviation Factory Stock Showdown category. After nitro qualifying on Friday, fans will also be treated to a spectacular fireworks show. On Saturday, a special autograph session featuring NHRA stars will take place at 6 p.m. ET at the Guest Welcome Village, while fans can also attend Nitro School on Saturday prior to the second round of qualifying to learn more about how the cars operate and reach their thrilling speeds.

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Bristol Dragway will host the special pre-race ceremonies that introduce and celebrate each of the drivers racing for the prestigious Wally on Sunday and includes the SealMaster Track Walk at 11 a.m. The final can’t-miss experience of any NHRA event is the winner’s circle celebration on Sunday after racing concludes, where fans are invited to congratulate the event winners of the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals.

As always, fans also get an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet in Bristol. This unique opportunity gives fans a unique chance to see teams in action and service their hot rods between rounds, get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers and more. Fans can also visit NHRA’s popular Nitro Alley and Manufacturers Midway, where sponsors and race vendors create an exciting atmosphere that includes interactive displays, simulated competitions, merchandise, food and fun for the entire family. The new Pep Boys midway display will include tire change challenges, oil change challenges, a slot car track and much more, adding even more excitement to the midway.

NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature one round at 7 p.m. ET on Friday, June 17 and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, June 18 at 1:30 and 4:30 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 12 p.m. ET on Sunday, June 19. Television coverage includes live qualifying action on FS1 at 8 p.m. ET on Friday, 11 p.m. on Saturday, and then live eliminations action at 3 p.m. ET on FOX on Sunday.

To purchase tickets to the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway, call 866-415-4158 or visit Children 12 and under are admitted free with a paid adult. For more information about NHRA, visit

This story was originally published on June 13, 2022. Drag Illustrated


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Since 2005, DI has informed, inspired and educated drag racers from every walk of the racing life - weekend warrior and street/strip enthusiasts to pro-level doorslammer and Top Fuel racers. From award-winning writing and photography to binge-worthy videos to electric live events, DI meets hundreds of thousands of racers where they live, creating the moments that create conversations.