Story By: NHRA – INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The world’s biggest drag race returns to Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis on Sept. 1-5 for the 67th annual Dodge//SRT NHRA U.S. Nationals. The final race of the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series regular season is the most prestigious one as well, giving racers the chance to perform on the sport’s grandest stage and add their names to the history books.
It is the 14th of 20 events during the 2021 season and the final chance for competitors to leave their mark on the regular season as the Countdown to the Championship approaches. With fans eager to witness the incredible 11,000-horsepower action from the nitro machines at the race known as the Big Go, drivers and teams are willing to do whatever is takes to hold the prestigious Wally trophy in Indy.
With action across several thrilling categories, special events like the Dodge HEMI Challenge and the JEGS Allstars bonus event for sportsman racers and exhibition classes, along with the standouts in the Camping World Drag Racing Series, the prestigious Dodge//SRT NHRA U.S. Nationals promises to deliver something special on drag racing’s biggest stage. Shawn Langdon (Top Fuel), Jack Beckman (Funny Car), Erica Enders (Pro Stock) and Scotty Pollacheck (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were last year’s winners of an event that will be televised on Fox Sports 1 (FS1) and FOX, including final eliminations on Sunday, Sept. 5.
Langdon won his second U.S. Nationals a year ago, beating Leah Pruett in the final round. Heading into the Countdown to the Championship, Langdon could use another Indy victory in 2021. He has yet to win this season, but the former world champ is certainly capable at the Big Go. Langdon is chasing points leader and three-time defending world champ Steve Torrence, who is locked in on trying to win a fourth straight title. To win at the U.S. Nationals, he’ll have to get past a host of standouts, including former world champ Brittany Force, Clay Millican, veteran Doug Kalitta, three-time world champ Antron Brown, rookie standout Josh Hart, Justin Ashley and Mike Salinas.
In Funny Car, the competition has been intense as competitors are tightly packed approaching the playoffs. Matt Hagan is the current points leader, jumping into the top spot after winning in Brainerd. The defending world champ will try for another U.S. Nationals win as he aims for his second straight world title, but it will be difficult to knock off a loaded Funny Car class. Among the top stars are John Force, who is tied for the most wins in class history at the Big Go with five, veteran Ron Capps, two-time Indy winner J.R. Todd, Bob Tasca III, Alexis DeJoria, Robert Hight, who has three wins at the track, Cruz Pedregon, Blake Alexander and Tim Wilkerson.
Pro Stock’s Enders came through in a major way on drag racing’s biggest stage, winning the U.S. Nationals for a second time en route to her second straight world title and fourth overall. She’s trying for a fifth world championship and Enders would take plenty of momentum into the playoffs with an Indy win. But Enders will have her hands full dealing with a class loaded with veteran and young talent, including points leader and four-time world champ Greg Anderson, Aaron Stanfield, rookie Dallas Glenn, who has two wins this season, Matt Hartford, who won the runner-up last year, Troy Coughlin Jr., Kyle Koretsky and Mason McGaha.
Pollacheck would’t mind recreating the magic that helped him pick up his first career victory in Pro Stock Motorcycle at last year’s U.S. Nationals. Pollacheck has a win earlier this year, but he’s trying to regain that momentum heading into the playoffs as he tries to keep pace with teammate and points leader Matt Smith, who is also the defending champ. He’s won four races this year and has been a step ahead of everyone, but there’s a host of worthy challengers, including Andrew Hines, Angelle Sampey, Eddie Krawiec, Karen Stoffer, Ryan Oehler, Angie Smith and Steve Johnson.
Drivers in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series and the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Series presented by J&A Service will also look to become winners of the prestigious event. It is the seventh event of the 2021 Pro Mod season and two-time defending world champ Stevie “Fast” Jackson is the defending winner of the event. The fastest Super Stock cars will challenge for ultimate bragging rights and bonus purse during the popular Dodge HEMI Challenge as well.
Racing in the NHRA Top Fuel Harley Drag Racing Series will also take place in Indy, along the popular Constant Aviation NHRA Factory Stock Showdown category. The Big Go also represents a huge weekend for sportsman racers for the second straight year, as the event features the popular JEGS Allstars bonus event. This pits the best NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series racers from across the country in individual and team competition, creating one of the most anticipated and unique weekends in sportsman racing.
The action doesn’t stop there, either. After nitro qualifying on both Friday and Saturday, fans can enjoy the entertaining “Walking Tall” P.T. Cruiser Wheelstander drive by “NitroMike,” while the weekend also includes a special display and exhibition passes from the popular ScottRods AA/Gassers and Nostalgia Pro Stock Association. The cars in each class will make a number of runs during the weekend and will also be displayed on the midway.
As always, fans are granted an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet. This unique opportunity gives fans a chance to see teams in action and service their hot rods between rounds.
NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature one round at 6:30 p.m. ET on Friday, Sept. 3 and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, Sept. 4 at 1:00 and 4:45 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 10 a.m. ET on Sunday, Sept. 5.
Television coverage includes qualifying action from 7-9 p.m. ET on Friday, Sept. 3 on FS1 and from 9-11 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 5. Eliminations will be broadcast live from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. on FS1 on Sunday, Sept. 5, moving to FOX from 1-4 p.m.
PRO STOCK TO COMPETE AT 2021 CAROLINA NATIONALS
As NHRA teams gear up for the Countdown to the Championship playoffs, Camping World Drag Racing Pro Stock competitors will look to compete at the Bellagio of Drag Strips at zMAX Dragway at the 2021 DeWalt NHRA Carolina Nationals, Sept. 17-19.
zMAX Dragway, in Charlotte, N.C., has seen incredible competition from the stars of the Pro Stock category including reigning Pro Stock champion Erica Enders, three-time winner Greg Anderson, and NHRA rookie Dallas Glenn, who scooped up his first career win this year in Charlotte at the NGK NTK NHRA Four-Wide Nationals. Fans of the area will be treated to competition from these ultra-sophisticated machines and some of the stars of the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series circuit.
With the addition of the Pro Stock category to the DeWalt NHRA Carolina Nationals, the class will not compete at the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway.