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NHRA Adds Fourth Qualifier to Chicago’s Loaded Gerber Collison & Glass NHRA Route 66 Nationals

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Following a successful return to Route 66 Raceway last year, the NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series is bringing a massive show to Chicago in 2024, including four overall qualifying sessions, for the 24th annual Gerber Collision & Glass NHRA Route 66 Nationals presented by PEAK Performance on May 17-19.

The four qualifying sessions adds an extra run on Friday, as fans will get to see a pair of qualifying runs each day in all four professional categories (Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle), as well as the GETTRX Pro Stock All-Star Callout and the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge on Saturday.

It’s one of the biggest schedules ever for an NHRA race in Chicago, with Friday’s qualifying sessions taking place at 2:30 and 5 p.m. CT on Friday, May 17, and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, May 18 at 11:40 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. CT. Eliminations begin at 11 a.m. CT on Sunday, May 19.

“We’re thrilled to add a fourth qualifying session to Chicago and give fans a great opportunity to see plenty of incredible racing all weekend long at Route 66 Raceway,” NHRA Vice President of Track Management and Operations Kasey Coler said. “The race in Chicago is jam-packed with action and it truly is going to be one of the biggest events we’ve ever had at this terrific facility. We’re excited to add this fourth qualifier for the pro teams, who are all looking forward to putting on an amazing show in Chicago.”

Last year was a triumphant return to Route 66 Raceway and this season’s event, which is the sixth of 20 races during the 2024 NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series season, is shaping up to be even bigger. Along with the can’t-miss action of 11,000-horsepower, 330-mph nitro cars, eight top Pro Stock drivers will battle for bragging rights in the GETTRX Pro Stock All-Star Callout. Plus, there’s bonus money and championship points on the line in the Mission #2Fast2Tasty Challenge, adding another must-see element to the weekend.

In 2023, Clay Millican (Top Fuel), Tim Wilkerson (Funny Car), Dallas Glenn (Pro Stock), and Gaige Herrera (Pro Stock Motorcycle) won in Chicago, while Justin Ashley, Ron Capps and Gaige Herrera secured Mission #2Fast2Tasty Challenge titles. Camrie Caruso won the first-ever Callout in Pro Stock a season ago.

This year’s race is again loaded with standouts and huge nitro fields, as Millican looks to repeat his Chicago victory. He’ll be met with plenty of top-tier challengers, including points leader Ashley, Top Fuel rookie Tony Stewart, defending world champion Doug Kalitta, Shawn Langdon, Tony Schumacher, Antron Brown and Brittany Force.

In Funny Car, Austin Prock’s debut season in the category has been a success and the points leader will aim for his first Chicago victory against the likes of J.R. Todd, Las Vegas winner Bob Tasca III, Funny Car legend John Force, Cruz Pedregon, Alexis DeJoria and reigning world champ Matt Hagan.

Pro Stock legend Greg Anderson has already won twice in 2024, taking the points lead into Chicago. He’s also participating in the Callout as he attempts for a double-up weekend taking on stars like defending world champ Erica Enders, who is the top seed in the GETTRX Pro Stock All-Star Callout, defending event winner Dallas Glenn and Jeg Coughlin Jr. The full Callout fields features Enders, Anderson, Glenn, Troy Coughlin Jr., Aaron Stanfield, Matt Hartford, Cristian Cuadra and Deric Kramer.

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Herrera dominated Chicago a year ago in Pro Stock Motorcycle, setting a host of track records. He’s won twice in 2024 and has seven straight wins dating back to last season. To continue that historic streak, he’ll have to topple six-time champion Matt Smith, former champ LE Tonglet, Angie Smith, Hector Arana Jr. and Steve Johnson.

Also slated in Chicago is the special Drag and Drive exhibition event. With star drivers like Alex Taylor and Tom Bailey, the standout street cars run in the 6-second range and quicker at speeds of more than 200 mph. The weekend also includes competition in the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, the Congruity NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by LearnEV+, Flexjet Factory Stock Showdown division, the new Holley EFI Factory X category and the season debut of the Pingel Top Fuel Motorcycle class.

Fans will also be invited all weekend long to the Nitro Alley Stage, which is the main entertainment hub in the pits, hosting Nitro School, meet and greets, music and much more. Race fans at Route 66 Raceway 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 event winners.

As always, fans get an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet in Chicago. Fans get a unique chance to see teams in action and service their hot rods between rounds, get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers, and more. They can also visit NHRA’s popular Nitro Alley and Manufacturers Midway, an exciting atmosphere that includes interactive displays, merchandise, food and fun for the entire family.

The first round of the GETTRX Pro Stock All-Star Callout starts at 11:30 a.m. CT on Saturday, with the semifinals to follow at 1:45 p.m. and the finals at 2:55 p.m. Television coverage includes qualifying action at 7:00 p.m. ET on Friday and 1 p.m. ET on Sunday, leading into eliminations coverage at 4:00-5:00 p.m. ET and 10 p.m. ET on Sunday on FS1. A special Callout broadcast airs at 7 p.m. ET on Saturday on FS1.

To purchase tickets to the Gerber Collision & Glass NHRA Route 66 Nationals presented by PEAK Performance on May 17-19 at Route 66 Raceway, fans can visit All children 12 and under will be admitted free in the general admission area with a paid adult.

This story was originally published on May 8, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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