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NHRA Rockets to Norwalk for Spectacular Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals

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Always a major highlight on the NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series circuit, the 18th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals returns to world-class Summit Motorsports Park on June 27-30, set to deliver another incredible weekend of racing action.

Nestled in Norwalk, Ohio, Summit Motorsport Park has always lived up to its nickname of “America’s Racetrack.” This year, the track will host the 10th event of 20 events during the 2024 NHRA season and it’s a weekend loaded with nonstop excitement.

Starting with qualifying under the lights on Friday and a spectacular fireworks show, continuing with the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge on Saturday and can’t-miss eliminations on Sunday, it’s a weekend loaded with 11,000-horsepower, 330-mph and event no fan should miss.

All the stars in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle will be on hand in Norwalk, aiming to pick up a Wally at the halfway point of the season at a race that will also be featured on the FOX broadcast network.

Last year, Leah Pruett (Top Fuel), Blake Alexander (Funny Car), Matt Hartford (Pro Stock) and Hector Arana Jr. (Pro Stock Motorcycle) all took home wins at an event that will again be broadcast on FOX and FS1.

The Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge has proven to be a favorite amongst fans and drivers alike. At the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals, semifinalists from the Virginia NHRA Nationals in Richmond will rematch in Norwalk on Saturday for bonus money and bonus points, bringing competitive and must-see racing to the qualifying schedule.

In 2023, Pruett powered to her first Norwalk win when she took down Justin Ashley in the final round. This season, Pruett has stepped out of the seat of her Top Fuel dragster and handed off driving duties to her husband and motorsports legend Tony Stewart. Stewart is in his rookie season in the Top Fuel category. With two semifinal appearances to his credit, he’s been up against the tight competition in the class including points leader Ashley, two-time winner this season Shawn Langdon, reigning champion Doug Kalitta and multiple-time champs Steve Torrence and Antron Brown.

Alexander, one of only 19 drivers in NHRA history to win in both nitro categories, picked up his first Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals win last season over Matt Hagan, who went on to collect the world championship. Alexander was thrilled to win in Norwalk, home track to team owner Jim Head, is on the hunt for his first win of the season after two semifinal appearances. Hagan currently leads the Funny Car points thanks to his recent win in Chicago. Hot behind him is class newcomer Austin Prock, John Force, J.R. Todd and Bob Tasca III.

Hartford picked up his first Norwalk win last season when he defeated Dallas Glenn. The eight-time Pro Stock winner will need to get past a tough field in order to repeat his Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals title. Atop that list is five-time champion Greg Anderson, followed by points leader Glenn, who has two wins this season. Also in the mix is reigning champion Erica Enders, Jeg Coughlin Jr. and Aaron Stanfield.

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Arana was one of only four drivers to win in the Pro Stock Motorcycle class last season. Gaige Herrera, the 2023 champion, dominated for the bulk of the season, but Arana capitalized, defeating Steve Johnson in the final round to win in Norwalk for the first time. Herrera has enjoyed the same reign of terror in 2024, picking up three wins in a row. Arana, six-time champion Matt Smith, former champ LE Tonglet, Angie Smith and John Hall will be eager to try and send Herrera home in Norwalk.

The event also will feature thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, as well as Flexjet Factory Stock Showdown and the new Holley EFI Factory X category. The Summit Racing Equipment Junior Drag Racing League Shootout will take place in Norwalk as well. After nitro qualifying on Friday, fans will be treated to an impressive fireworks display that has been a highlight of the event for several years.

On Wednesday, fans are invited to the Summit Racing Equipment driver meet and greet at the Summit Racing Super Store in Tallmadge. The event takes place from 4-8 p.m. and will include a number of top NHRA stars as part of a fun-filled evening.

Summit Motorsports Park also has some of the finest camping facilities and grounds on the tour, offering fans a great way to spend their weekend at the track, enjoy a memorable atmosphere and not miss a second of the action.

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 Summit Motorsports Park 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 Norwalk. 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.

NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature two rounds at 5 and 7:30 p.m. ET on Friday, June 28 and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, June 29 at 1:30 and 4 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. ET on Sunday, June 30. Television coverage includes qualifying action on FS1 at 2 p.m. ET on Sunday, with eliminations coverage starting at 4 p.m. ET on Sunday on FS1, moving to FOX at 5 p.m..

To purchase tickets to the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals, fans can visit www.summitmotorsportspark.com or call 419-668-5555. For more information about NHRA, visit www.nhra.com.

This story was originally published on May 29, 2024. 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.