Story By: NHRA – DINWIDDIE, VA – Doug Kalitta is still hunting for his 50th career win in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series, but it’s a quest he hopes can come to an end at this weekend’s Virginia NHRA Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park.
The Top Fuel veteran remains just a victory away from an impressive career milestone and it could happen this weekend as the NHRA returns to Virginia Motorsports Park for the first time since 2019. Along with that anticipation of racing on one of the best surfaces on the NHRA circuit, Kalitta is eager to finally track down that illustrious 50th Top Fuel win in his 11,000-horsepower Mac Tools dragster.
“We have had some good luck in Richmond recently the last few years we raced there,” said Kalitta, who is currently eighth in the loaded Top Fuel class. “I am looking forward to getting back there because I know there are a lot of passionate fans in the area. This Mac Tools team has been making some good runs lately and I think we will continue to keep getting better. We are all working together and I have a lot of confidence in this Mac Tools team.”
The stop in Virginia is the seventh during the 2022 season and will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1 (FS1). Steve Torrence (Top Fuel), Ron Capps (Funny Car) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) won the last time the NHRA visited Virginia Motorsports Park, but the veteran Kalitta also has enjoyed success at the facility.
He won the race in 2007 and is the only other active driver in the class with a Virginia win. Kalitta will be looking for another as he looks to get his 2022 season on track. After adding star crew chief Alan Johnson and also Brian Husen to his team, Kalitta is looking for that breakout moment in 2022. He enjoyed a No. 1 qualifier in Phoenix, making a career-best pass, but Kalitta is still seeking his first final-round appearance this year.
Kalitta qualified fourth at the most recent race in Charlotte and appears to be gaining momentum with Johnson and Husen, but nothing will come easy in the star-studded class. Brittany Force is the current points leader and has a pair of wins this year, while Mike Salinas won in Charlotte to also join the two-win club in 2022. Other standouts include Antron Brown, Leah Pruett, Torrence, the four-time defending world champ, Tony Schumacher and Justin Ashley, but Kalitta is gearing up for a big weekend.
“This weekend will be a great opportunity to build some momentum heading into two really busy months,” Kalitta said. “We are back to traditional side-by-side racing for the rest of the year and we will just have to take it one round at a time. That night session on Friday will be real important to get off on the right foot. I know Alan and Brian have a lot of experience so I expect to be just fine.”
Funny Car legend John Force will look to keep rolling after picking up a victory in Charlotte two weekends ago. It was the first win of the 2022 season for the 16-time world champion and also a banner weekend, as he set both ends of the track record, qualified No. 1 and then put together a dominant performance on raceday. Headed to Virginia, Force would like nothing more than a repeat effort of that in his 11,000-horsepower PEAK/BlueDEF Platinum Chevrolet Camaro SS.
Force also had impressive consistency in Charlotte, something that had been missing in his season until that point. He’ll need more of that in Virginia, where Force also holds the current track record with a run of 3.899-seconds set in 2019. The longtime star will take on standouts like points leader and Virginia native Matt Hagan, who is racing for the first-year Tony Stewart Racing team, defending world champ Ron Capps, teammate Robert Hight, J.R. Todd, Alexis DeJoria, Cruz Pedregon, Bob Tasca III and Tim Wilkerson.
“I’m excited to be heading back to Richmond,” Force said. “I love the area, love the fans and love that track. I know it’s been a couple of years so it’s going to be exciting. We’ll be really trying to put on a show, maybe set some more records. I’m feeling good coming off a win. The credit really goes to Danny Hood and Tim Fabrisi, who run the PEAK BlueDEF Chevy. I know drivers always get all the credit, but it really is those guys and the whole team.”
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Steve Johnson will look to stay hot on his Suzuki in Virginia. Johnson has won back-to-back events to move into the points lead and will try to win for the first time in Virginia. In fact, no riders in the top 15 in the class have a victory at the facility. Plenty of standouts will try to change that in Virginia, including Karen Stoffer, who won in Gainesville to open the year, defending world champ Matt Smith, Angelle Sampey, Eddie Krawiec and Angie Smith.
The event also will feature thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, which features some of the sport’s top drivers, as well as the FuelTech NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by D-Wagon, Constant Aviation Factory Stock Showdown, Top Fuel Harley and Mountain Motor Pro Stock, offering fans a wealth of thrilling racing action from a variety of classes all weekend. Plus, the can’t-miss “World’s Fastest Motorcycles Shootout” between Top Fuel Motorcycle standouts Larry “Spiderman” McBride and Dave Vantine will be a definite highlight. They will square off in a best-of-three matchup on Friday and Saturday, starting with a test hit on Friday.
On Saturday, Toyota-sponsored drivers will be signing autographs at 11 a.m. at the Toyota Midway Display.
Fans at Virginia 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 NHRA Virginia Nationals event winners.
As always, fans also get an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet in Richmond. This unique opportunity gives fans a unique chance to see teams in action and service their hot rods between rounds, get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers and more. Fans can also visit NHRA’s popular Nitro Alley and Manufacturers Midway, where sponsors and race vendors create an exciting atmosphere that includes interactive displays, simulated competitions, merchandise, food and fun for the entire family. The new Pep Boys midway display will include tire change challenges, oil change challenges, a slot car track and much more, adding even more excitement to the midway.
NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature one round at 7:15 p.m. ET on Friday, May 13 and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, May 14 at 1 and 4 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 12 p.m. ET on Sunday, May 15. Television coverage includes qualifying action on FS1 at 10:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, and then eliminations action at 6:30 p.m. ET on Sunday.
New for the 2022 season is a unique VIP section which will be located in the grandstand section closest to the starting line for premium viewpoints of all the action. This new package also includes amenities like inside-the-gate platinum parking, tower rooftop access, a custom VIP card and lanyard to commemorate the day along with a NHRA Legends mini-helmet. VIP section tickets are sold individually by day or at a discounted weekend package price with price points starting at only $109.