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Drag Illustrated Releases 2023 30 Under 30 List Going Into PRI Show

Drag Illustrated announced today the 2023 edition of its popular 30 Under 30 List, which shines a spotlight on the most talented and promising young people in the sport of drag racing. All 30 individuals are featured in the 2023 30 Under 30 Issue, which was released in its digital form Monday night. The print edition of the issue will be available later this week at the Performance Racing Industry (PRI) Show, where Drag Illustrated will recognize the 30 Under 30 Class of 2023 during a special press conference on Friday, Dec. 8.

“This issue is one of the most important projects on our schedule,” said Nate Van Wagnen, editor-in-chief, Drag Illustrated. “The 30 Under 30 list started as a way to recognize the rising stars of the sport while reminding the world that drag racing’s future is in good hands. Now in its eighth year, the 30 Under 30 list has become a movement. Thousands of people submitted nominations this year. Parents, siblings, teammates, friends, mentors, and other supporters helped us learn more about the young men and women who are contributing to the success of the sport in innumerable ways.”

This year’s cover star is Donnie Hagar, who made bracket racing history when he became the first footbrake racer to win the Mickey Thompson Million Dollar Race at World Wide Technology Raceway in September. The Michigan-based driver also went on to win the WDRA No-Box season championship.

“We had a few standout honorees in mind for the cover, but Donnie Hagar really jumped out as an ideal representative of the 30 Under 30 list,” Van Wagnen said. “He’s a firefighter and paramedic who works 24-hour shifts so he can go racing on the weekends. He showed up to one of the highest paying races of the season in a pickup truck with over 300,000 miles on it towing an open trailer with his race car on it. He represents the thousands of weekend warrior racers who make up the backbone of the sport across the country and around the world.”

Honorees will receive custom 30 Under 30 jackets, as well as gift certificates and other prizes from several program sponsors. Lincoln Electric will also draw a winner who will receive a prize package featuring a TIG welder, welding kit, and welding class. Joining Lincoln as 30 Under 30 sponsors are Moser Engineering, Red Line Synthetic Oil, Powerbuilt Tools, Stroud Safety, VP Racing, JCM Racing, Artisan Coffee, Cornwell Tools, Race Winning Brands, Peak Performance, NGK Spark Plugs, and Elite Motorsports.

“The companies and individuals who signed on as sponsors of the 2023 30 Under 30 program share our belief that these honorees are the future of the sport,” said Wes Buck, founder and editorial director. “These brands see value in recognizing them and supporting them as they continue to take the next steps in their racing careers. We’re honored to work with all of the 30 Under 30 supporters to give these honorees the rockstar treatment they deserve.”

The 30 Under 30 honorees and their supporters are invited to take part in the 30 Under 30 press conference on Friday, Dec. 8 at 1 p.m. ET in Rooms ICC 201-203 on the second floor of the Indiana Convention Center. Group and individual photos of the 30 Under 30 class of 2023 will take place on stage after the press conference.

This year’s 30 Under 30 press conference will also include a special presentation from JCM Racing’s Joe C. Maynard, who will announce the seven Jr. Dragster drivers who will join the team’s driver development program. The JCM Racing Jr. Drag Racer Driver Development Program provides its members with resources like access to the team’s NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series drivers, PR and social media specialists, and marketing experts.

2023 Drag Illustrated 30 Under 30 List

  • Donnie Hagar, Million Dollar Race winner
  • Gaige Herrera, NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle world champion
  • Alan Drinkwater, PDRA Extreme Pro Stock world champion
  • Evan Salemi, Pro Mod crew member
  • Kallee Mills, Street Outlaws: No Prep Kings driver
  • Blake Denton, PDRA Super Street world champion
  • Casey Freeman, NHRA Pro Stock crew member
  • Ronny Rhodes, drag radial racer/chassis builder
  • Taylor Vetter, NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster driver
  • Chris Vang, NHRA Mountain Motor Pro Stock driver
  • Chase Van Sant, NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle rider
  • Matt Plotkin, race official, promoter
  • Garrett Mitchell, small-tire racer, track owner, automotive influencer
  • Chloe Hudson, welder/fabricator
  • Ryan Gleghorn, racer, announcer, promoter
  • Johnny Miller, Pro Mod car chief
  • Mike Costic, manufacturer representative
  • Cole Pesz, engine builder
  • Kayleigh Hill-Beakley, Super Comp racer
  • Marcus Butner, PDRA Pro Nitrous driver
  • Kieffer Simpson, Ultra Street racer
  • Emilee Medeisis, drag-and-drive racer
  • Bradley Dillon, import racer
  • Madison Payne, NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster driver
  • Darrel Jackson Jr., photographer
  • Alec Bledsoe, tuner and driver
  • Jndia Erbacher, FIA Top Fuel driver
  • Mac Brosnan, import racer
  • Mike Pryka, manufacturer representative, photographer
  • Sal DiDomenico, Pro Mod tuner

Read the full 30 Under 30 issue for free at

This story was originally published on December 4, 2023. Drag Illustrated

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