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NHRA Mission Foods National Event Series Hosting Hot Rod Drag Week Racers at NHRA New England Nationals

Luke Nieuwhof photo

HOT ROD Drag Week competitors will return to the big stage of the NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series May 31-June 2 as part of a special Drag and Drive exhibition during the NHRA New England Nationals at New England Dragway. This special feature marks the first time Drag Week competitors have attended the historic facility in Epping.

A special eight-car field has been assembled to showcase the unique and diverse vehicles that compete in HOT ROD Drag Week presented by Gear Vendors Overdrive. This isn’t the first time Drag Weekers have let it rip during an NHRA national event. Last year, an 8.60 Street Race exhibition took place at the NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Charlotte. There was also the Peak Drag and Drive exhibition last weekend at Route 66 Raceway in Chicago during the Gerber Collision & Glass Route 66 NHRA Nationals presented by PEAK Performance.  

Attending the event in Epping is a talented group of racers, including Glenn Hunter, Frank Romano, Rick Steinke, Jeff Oppenheim, Tony Niemczyk, Jason Rousseau, Mark Sussino, and the ringleader who helped put it all together, Jeff Sias.

“Growing up at New England Dragway, I had a front row seat to see the coolest and fastest street cars in the region. This is the ultimate version of that,” said Brian Lohnes, lead broadcaster for NHRA on Fox, and longtime Drag Week announcer. “The racers coming to throw down at the New England Nationals represent an awesome cross section of the drag-and-drive world and it makes me beam with pride that they’ll be doing it at the track which now and forever will be considered my home.”  

The selection of cars includes boosted and naturally aspirated engine combinations of varying power levels, from modest — by today’s standards —700 hp to over 2,000 hp.

“We’re proud to have this group of racers attend and showcase their cars. They show the diversity of vehicles of Drag Week and the remarkable achievements of running fast on the drag strip and being capable of driving over 1,000 miles,” said Mike Galimi, network director of HOT ROD.  

The Drag and Drive exhibition takes place all three days of competition. The first round of qualifying is on Friday evening with final qualifying and round one of eliminations on Saturday. The final two rounds of the eight-car field will be held on Sunday.  

Galimi concluded, “It is an honor for us to collaborate with NHRA and bring Drag Week to its events. The relationship between HOT ROD and the NHRA has existed since the sanctioning body’s start in 1951, and even before that when Wally Parks was named the first editor of HOT ROD in 1948. Somewhere, Mr. Parks and Mr. Robert Petersen are smiling that this friendship continues today, over 75 years later.”  

The NHRA New England Nationals is the seventh of 20 races during the 2024 NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series and takes place May 31-June 2 at New England Dragway in Epping. The HOT ROD Drag Week presented by Gear Vendors Overdrive 2024 competition takes place later this year, beginning and ending at National Trail Raceway in Hebron, Ohio from Sept. 15-20. It will also visit Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park, US 131 Motorsports Park in Martin, Mich. and Milan Dragway in Milan, Mich.

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This story was originally published on May 24, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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