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Pro Stock Standout Aaron Stanfield Looking for Win at NHRA New England Nationals

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Aaron Stanfield is no stranger to the winner’s circle, but the Pro Stock standout is on the hunt for his first win of the 2024 NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series season and also his second career victory at New England Dragway.

Stanfield, driver of the Johnson’s Horsepowered Garage/Melling Performance/Janac Brothers Racing Pro Stock car, has two final round appearances in his 2024 campaign, including a runner-up two weeks ago in Chicago.

With momentum on his side, he is looking to capitalize this weekend at the 11th annual NHRA New England Nationals at New England Dragway against a talent-filled Pro Stock category, which returns to Epping after a one-year absence.

“So far this season we have had some decent days at the racetrack, but we have not turned on that last win light of the day,” said Stanfield, who won in Epping in 2021. “Epping has been good to us in the past. It’s a perfect place to get our first win representing the JHG brand. I really enjoy the New England Nationals. It is full of some die-hard racing fans and I am looking forward to eating some of that famous East Coast lobster.”

Last year, Justin Ashley (Top Fuel) and Bob Tasca III (Funny Car) won the New England Nationals, though the race finished in Bristol the following week due to weather. This year’s race will be broadcast on FS1, including eliminations at 1 and 7 p.m. ET on Sunday, and also includes the return of Pro Stock to the event. It is the seventh of 20 races in 2024, and Stanfield is thrilled to return to Epping, hoping to recreate the memorable weekend he enjoyed in 2021.

With his runner-up finish in Chicago, Stanfield, who has advanced to back-to-back final rounds at the most recent two races in 2024, will also be entered into the Mission #2Fast2Tasty Challenge on Saturday. He’ll meet up with his Elite Motorsports teammate Jerry Tucker. The other side of the Challenge ladder will see Chicago winner and points leader Dallas Glenn taking on the five-time champ of Greg Anderson.

It’s an extra opportunity to win in front of the huge Epping crowd and Stanfield is eager to put on a show, while also facing off against teammate and defending world champ Erica Enders, who has two wins at New England Dragway, Las Vegas winner Jeg Coughlin Jr., Troy Coughlin Jr., Deric Kramer and Cristian Cuadra.

“This weekend we get to compete in the Mission #2Fast2Tasty Challenge,” Stanfield said. “It’s always fun to see the win light come on no matter the race, and it is a blast to have a little extra competition during qualifying to keep the blood flowing.”

Top Fuel points leader Ashley looks to continue his strong 2024 and get a repeat New England Nationals win. Standing in his way is a host of stars, including Shawn Langdon, who has two wins in 2024, reigning champ Doug Kalitta, Antron Brown, Brittany Force, Steve Torrence and Top Fuel newcomer and racing legend Tony Stewart.

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New England native and Funny Car veteran Tasca collected his first New England Nationals title last season when he defeated NHRA legend John Force in the final round, which took place in Bristol due to weather. To go back-to-back – and to win for the first time at his home track – he’ll need to get past Funny Car newcomer Austin Prock, Gainesville winner J.R. Todd, former champion Ron Capps, and reigning champ and points leader Matt Hagan, who is the winningest driver at New England Dragway.

Also slated in Epping is the special Drag and Drive exhibition event featuring HOT ROD Drag Week competitors in eight-second cars. This special feature marks the first time Drag Week competitors have attended the historic facility in Epping. The selection of cars includes boosted and naturally aspirated engine combinations of varying power levels, from 700 hp to over 2,000 hp. The weekend also includes competition in the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series and the Congruity NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by LearnEV+.

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 New England Dragway 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 Epping. 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 features two rounds at 5 and 7:30 p.m. ET on Friday, May 31 and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, June 1 at 12 and 2:30 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. ET on Sunday, June 2. Television coverage includes qualifying action on FS1 at 7:30 p.m. ET on Friday, 7 p.m. on Saturday, along with a special Mission #2Fast2Tasty Challenge episode at 8 p.m. on Saturday, and then eliminations action from 1-2 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. ET on Sunday.

To purchase tickets to the NHRA New England Nationals, fans can visit www.NHRA.com/tickets. Children 12 and under are free in general admission with the purchase of an adult ticket. For more information about NHRA, visit www.nhra.com.

This story was originally published on May 30, 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.