With a new date on the famed NHRA Western Swing and the debut appearance of Pro Stock Motorcycle, the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series is set to power into Pacific Raceways for the 34th annual Flav-R-Pac NHRA Northwest Nationals on July 21-23.
It is the 11th of 21 races during the 2023 season, moving into the middle slot of the rigorous three-race Western Swing. After opening in Denver, the stars of the NHRA move to Seattle before finishing in Sonoma, Calif. For more than three decades, Pacific Raceways has provided an incredible backdrop for the 330-mph, 11,000-horsepower nitro machines in Top Fuel and Funny Car, which have annually put on a memorable show in the Pacific Northwest.
For the first time, fans can see the 200-mph Pro Stock Motorcycle category in action, adding another memorable category to a weekend filled with excitement. Add in the new Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge, the bonus race that brings competitive racing, a bonus purse and bonus points to Saturday racing, and fans are guaranteed an incredible weekend in the shadow of majestic Mount Rainier.
Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel) and Robert Hight (Funny Car) both won the 2022 event, and this year’s race will be broadcast on both the FOX and Fox Sports 1 (FS1), including eliminations coverage starting at 1 p.m. PT on Sunday, July 23 on FOX.
Schumacher picked up his first Top Fuel win of the year last season in Seattle, knocking off Brittany Force in the finals. It gave the eight-time world champion his fifth Seattle victory at Pacific Raceways, which is tied for the most in class history. Another big weekend would bode well for Schumacher, but he’ll have to deal with the likes of points leader Justin Ashley, who has four wins this season, Norwalk winner Leah Pruett, four-time Seattle winner Antron Brown, Doug Kalitta, Steve Torrence, Shawn Langdon, Austin Prock, whose first career win came at Seattle in 2019, and Josh Hart.
Funny Car’s Hight finished off a dominant Western Swing a year ago with a Seattle win, one of eight victories he enjoyed in 2022. It was Hight’s second Seattle triumph and he’ll look for another against a loaded lineup that includes points leader Matt Hagan, back-to-back world champion Ron Capps, nine-time race winner John Force, 2022 event runner-up J.R. Todd, Bob Tasca III, Alexis DeJoria, Alex Laughlin, Chad Green and Tim Wilkerson, who has enjoyed three Seattle wins.
Fans in Seattle will get their first glimpse at the exciting two-wheeled category, as all the stars in Pro Stock Motorcycle will look to put on a show at Pacific Raceways. Points leader Gaige Herrera has enjoyed a strong start to 2023, winning three events, but there’s a host of worthy competitors who will look to become the first PSM winner at Seattle in NHRA history. Others to watch include Hector Arana Jr., who won the most recent race in Norwalk, defending world champ Matt Smith, Eddie Krawiec, Angie Smith, Bristol winner Steve Johnson, Jianna Evaristo and rookie Chase Van Sant.
The event also will feature thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, featuring some of the top drivers in the sport. The weekend includes the NHRA Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League Shootout as well, along with autograph sessions at the Toyota and Mission Foods Midway Displays.
Race fans at Pacific Raceways can enjoy the special pre-race ceremonies that introduce and celebrate each of the drivers racing for the prestigious Wally on Sunday and includes the fan favorite SealMaster Track Walk. 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 Seattle event winners.
Fans are invited to the Nitro Alley Stage all weekend, which will help create a festive atmosphere leading into Nitro Alley. The Nitro Alley Stage will be the main entertainment hub in the pits when the Camping World Drag Racing Series competitors are not on the track, hosting Nitro School, meet and greets and much more. As always, fans get a pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet. Fans can see their favorite teams in action and servicing their hot rods between rounds, get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers, and more. They can also visit NHRA’s Manufacturers Midway, where sponsors and race vendors create an exciting atmosphere that includes interactive displays, merchandise, food, and fun.
NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature one round at 4:00 p.m. PT on Friday, July 21 and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, July 22 at 1:45 and 4:15 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 10:30 a.m. PT on Sunday, July 23. Television coverage includes qualifying action on FS1 at 2 p.m. ET on Saturday, 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, and then eliminations on FOX at 4 p.m. ET on Sunday.