The NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series is set for its annual stop at Brainerd International Raceway for the 41st annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals on Aug. 17-20, bringing its 11,000-horsepower, 330-mph excitement – as well as the first Pro Stock appearance since 2019 – to the fan-favorite facility.
It is the 14th of 21 races during the 2023 NHRA season, putting it once again as the penultimate race of the regular season. With the Countdown to the Championship playoffs approaching, the event comes at a pivotal point as all the stars in Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock prepare to make a push for a championship.
Brainerd International Raceway has hosted incredible racing action for more than four decades, with the famed “Zoo” offering some of the best camping on the NHRA tour and one of the most unique and thrilling experiences in motorsports. Fans can also look forward to the return of Pro Stock, which is back at the track for the first time in four years, adding another can’t-miss element to the weekend.
Starting with two rounds of qualifying on Friday, the weekend is loaded with events, including the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA challenge bonus race on Saturday and Sunday eliminations to cap off a weekend sure to be filled with incredible moments.
Steve Torrence (Top Fuel) and Bob Tasca III (Funny Car) won in 2022 and this year’s event will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1 (FS1) and the FOX broadcast network, including eliminations coverage starting at 4 p.m. ET on FOX on Sunday, Aug. 20.
Torrence, a four-time Top Fuel world champ, won for the second straight year in Brainerd in 2022, and is looking to become just the second Top Fuel driver in NHRA history to win three straight times at the historic track. But everyone is chasing points leader Justin Ashley, who has five wins this season and is seeking his first Brainerd triumph. It’s also a loaded class that features a host of star drivers like defending world champ Brittany Force, Leah Pruett, a two-time Brainerd winner, Tony Schumacher, Austin Prock, Clay Millican, Josh Hart, Mike Salinas, Doug Kalitta and Antron Brown.
Tasca finished his strong summer a year ago with his first Funny Car victory at Brainerd and he’ll look for a repeat win in 2023. But it won’t be easy in a loaded category that features back-to-back world champ Ron Capps, who has six Brainerd wins, and points leader Matt Hagan, who won the 2021 event. Other top names include John Force, who has an incredible 11 wins at the facility, Robert Hight, J.R. Todd, Alexis DeJoria, a 2017 Brainerd winner, Cruz Pedregon, Chad Green and Tim Wilkerson.
Making its long-awaited return to Brainerd International Raceway is Pro Stock and all the standouts in the category, including Duluth native and five-time world champion Greg Anderson. A three-time Brainerd winner, Anderson will look for his first win at the track since 2011 and also his first win in 2023. Standing in his way is a host of talented drivers, including KB Titan teammate and points leader Dallas Glenn, defending world champ Erica Enders, Troy Coughlin Jr., Aaron Stanfield, Camrie Caruso, Matt Hartford, Cristian Cuadra and Kyle Koretsky.
The event also will feature thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, as well as action in the FuelTech NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by Type A Motorsports. On the Pro Mod side, the event in Brainerd marks the first race in the category’s “Road to the Championship” playoffs, with Justin Bond taking the points lead into the first-year playoff format for the class.
After nitro qualifying, fans can enjoy a thrilling show from “NitroMike” and his “Walking Tall” P.T. Cruiser Wheelstander, as well as action from the snowmobile category. There will also be autograph sessions throughout the weekend, along with a cacklefests.
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.
Race fans at Brainerd 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 Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals event winners.
NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature two rounds at 2:45 and 6 p.m. CT on Friday, Aug. 18 and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, Aug. 19 at 12:45 and 3:30 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. CT on Sunday, Aug. 20. Television coverage includes qualifying action on FS1 at 8 p.m. ET on Friday, 1:00 p.m. on Sunday on FS1, and then eliminations on FOX at 4 p.m. ET Sunday.
To purchase tickets to the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway, fans can call 866-444-4455. For more information on the NHRA, please visit www.nhra.com.