Virginia Motorsports Park’s largest single-day drag racing event is just one month away, and it’s going to be bigger and better than ever. The Night of Fire, featuring the third annual Summit Racing Equipment PDRA ProStars race, will bring four Top Fuel dragsters, eight Top Alcohol Dragsters, concerts by country stars Chase Matthew and Walker Montgomery, and much more to VMP on Saturday, July 22.
“Night of Fire is hands down one of my favorite events of the season,” said Tyler Crossnoe, vice president of VMP and PDRA series director. “It is the best fan experience event we have on the schedule because everything is compiled into one day, an action-packed day from start to finish. Drag racing is a hard sport to encompass to a new fan, unlike NASCAR or Formula 1, where the entire race is completed in the span of a few hours. Events like Night of Fire put drag racing on the same timeframe, all while continuing to put forth a great on-track product for the diehard drag racing fans and new fans seeing the sport, possibly for the first time.”
For the third consecutive year, some of the PDRA’s biggest hitters will square off for prize money, bragging rights, and a trophy in the Summit Racing Equipment PDRA ProStars race. From the second half of the 2022 season through the most recent event on the 2023 tour, PDRA drivers have been collecting ProStars points. The top eight drivers in several classes earned the opportunity to compete in the ProStars event, which will pay out over $60,000 in prize money and does not charge an entry fee.
“A few years ago, the Franklins and I were trying to think of a way to increase participation at each event on the PDRA tour but also highlight our top supporters in a special way,” Crossnoe said. “The ProStars program was born, and it made perfect sense to pair it with Night of Fire at Virginia Motorsports Park, also owned by the Franklin family. This season, we look forward to the third annual all-star event that drivers and teams have been talking about all season. Hearing comments like, ‘I’ve got to make it into ProStars!’ keeps our hopes up in a way that this event will continue to grow rapidly. We know that Rome wasn’t built in a day, but with the PDRA faithful involved in this event, we are excited about the future of Night of Fire and the Summit Racing Equipment ProStars program.”
The PDRA class lineup for ProStars includes Switzer Dynamics Pro Nitrous, WS Construction Pro Boost presented by P2 Contracting & Ty-Drive, Menscer Motorsports Pro Street presented by Afco, Liberty’s Gears Extreme Pro Stock presented by AED Competition, M&M Transmission Pro 632, Afco Super Street presented by Menscer Motorsports, MagnaFuel Elite Top Sportsman presented by PAR Racing Engines, Laris Motorsports Insurance Elite Top Dragster, MagnaFuel Top Sportsman presented by Corbin’s RV, Laris Motorsports Insurance Top Dragster, Coolshirt Systems Pro Jr. Dragster presented by PRP, and Classic Graphix Top Jr. Dragster presented by PRP.
The smell of nitromethane will be in the air all day, as Top Fuel dragsters and Top Alcohol Dragsters will be a part of the show for the first time. Top Fuel stars Larry Dixon and Scott Palmer will compete alongside relative newcomers Jacob McNeal and Artie Allen in a four-car, 1,000-foot match race.
“Top Fuel has long been the ‘kings of the sport’ in the mind of common drag racing fans,” Crossnoe said. “The diehard fans have their favorite classes or power adders, while a common racing fan who enjoys 1-2 races a year knows only the mainstream classes that are widespread and easily identified. It is our hope that by having four Top Fuelers, we will see an uptick in ticket sales along with the fan experience. There is nothing like a nitro-burning, 10,000-plus horsepower Top Fueler stomping on that loud pedal and blasting down the 1000-foot race course in less than 4 seconds at over 300 MPH. It’s a sensory overload, and to be able to bring that back to the fans in Virginia is special.”
Multi-time NHRA national event winner Corey Michalek is the first of eight Top Alcohol Dragster drivers that have been confirmed, while the other seven will be announced on the Virginia Motorsports Park Facebook and Instagram pages over the next 10 days. The group includes both nitro-injected A/Fuel dragsters and blown alcohol dragsters, all covering the quarter mile in 5.20 seconds at over 270 MPH.
“Top Alcohol Dragster is a perfect addition to this event as well – it’s no secret in our partnership with React104 and Corey Michalek, who also races in TAD with his family’s program,” Crossnoe said. “When we were discussing the building blocks of this event, it made perfect sense to include quarter-mile racing in Night of Fire, and what better way to do it than with Top Alcohol Dragster. These racers will also be battling it out for a PDRA 660 Man trophy, which has never been awarded to any class outside of the normal PDRA national events. It’ll be a unique experience for the drivers who have given up their time to come and be a part of such a unique one-day event.”
On-track action will also include a best two-out-of-three Nostalgia Funny Car match race between Robin Stambaugh and Krista Massarella. The Larsen Motorsports Jet Dragsters will thrill fans, as will Rick Ream’s bullet-nose 1950 Studebaker fire truck wheelstander.
Off-track, Night of Fire attendees will get to take in concerts from two rising country music stars, Chase Matthew and Walker Montgomery. Every Night of Fire ticket will include access to the concerts, creating a two-in-one value for ticket holders.
“Last season, we tossed our hat into the ring for concert-style entertainment mixed in with this show and the atmosphere was electric,” Crossnoe said. “We’re excited to have Chase Matthew and Walker Montgomery, two young up-and-comers in country music, involved in the Night of Fire event this season. It is our goal that the concerts will also bring in a new fan that usually is not attending a motorsports event and see that our sport has a whole has a lot of entertainment involved.
“In between the two concerts, we will have a local DJ keeping some music going, along with fun and games from our staff involved in the event,” Crossnoe added. “We also have some new things coming to the event that we will be announcing soon to make this one-day experience at the races something that you will never forget.”
Tickets for VMP’s Night of Fire featuring Summit Racing Equipment PDRA ProStars are on sale now and can be purchased online at www.RaceVMP.com.