Story By: NHRA – BRAINERD, MN – Known for its unique and memorable atmosphere, as well as plenty of thrilling racing action, Brainerd International Raceway is again set to host a key stop during the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season with the 40th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals on Aug. 18-21.
It is the 15th of 22 races during the 2022 NHRA campaign, marking the penultimate race of the regular season. That means plenty is on the line for the stars in the 11,000-horsepower, 330-mph Top Fuel and Funny Car classes as they get ready for the Countdown to the Championship playoffs.
For four decades, Brainerd International Raceway has played host to remarkable racing action, some of the best camping on the NHRA tour and the famed “Zoo,” which provides something unique for fans and racers. This year, fans can enjoy two qualifying sessions on both Friday and Saturday, a specialty shootout in the FuelTech NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by D-Wagon, and then Sunday eliminations to cap off a weekend sure to be filled with incredible moments.
Steve Torrence (Top Fuel) and Matt Hagan (Funny Car) won the 2021 event, and this year’s race will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1 (FS1) and the FOX broadcast network, including eliminations coverage starting at 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX on Sunday, Aug. 21.
Torrence became a first-time winner at Brainerd last year in Top Fuel, which also gave him a victory at every track on the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series circuit. It clinched an impressive honor for the Texan, who finished the season with his fourth straight world championship. He’ll look for some more momentum heading into the playoffs this year in Brainerd, but Torrence will need to be on his game against a loaded Top Fuel field. It’s led by Brittany Force, who has four wins and the points lead, and also features a litany of stars like Mike Salinas, another four-time winner in 2022, three-time Brainerd winner Tony Schumacher, Justin Ashley, who has two wins this season, Doug Kalitta, Denver winner Leah Pruett, Josh Hart, Clay Millican, Antron Brown, and Austin Prock
Hagan finally cashed in at Brainerd for the first time in his standout career last year, picking up the Funny Car win in a thriller against Cruz Pedregon in the final round. Hagan, a three-time world champ, has enjoyed a strong 2022 season, picking up three victories and he’ll look to add another in Brainerd as he tries to track down points leader Robert Hight, who has racked up four wins thus far. Hight has won once in Brainerd, but nobody has been better at BIR than John Force, who has an incredible 11 Brainerd wins. Defending world champ Ron Capps has also been a standout at the track with six wins, while others to watch include former world champ J.R. Todd, 2017 Brainerd winner Alexis DeJoria, Blake Alexander, Tim Wilkerson, and Sonoma winner Bob Tasca III.
The event also will feature thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, which includes some of the sport’s top drivers, as well as the FuelTech NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by D-Wagon and the exciting Mountain Motor Pro Stock category, bringing their powerful 800-plus cubic-inch engines to Brainerd. Reigning Pro Mod world champ Jose Gonzalez won the race a year ago as the category made its debut at the facility. This year, the FuelTech NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by D-Wagon will also participate in a specialty race at Brainerd, as the D-Wagon NHRA Pro Mod Shootout will take place on Friday and Saturday, with $10,000 being awarded to the winner.
On both Friday and Saturday, fans can witness a must-see cacklefest in the Midway, as well as a wheelstander exhibition from the “Walking Tall” PT Cruiser driven by “NitroMike.” On Saturday, fans can also attend Nitro School to learn more about how the cars operate and reach their thrilling speeds.
Race fans at Brainerd International Raceway 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.
As always, fans also get an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet in Brainerd. 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 two rounds at 2:15 and 6:00 p.m. CT on Friday, Aug. 19 and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, Aug. 20 at 1:30 and 4:30 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11:00 a.m. CT on Sunday, Aug. 21. Television coverage includes qualifying action on FS1 at 8:00 p.m. ET on Friday, 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, and then eliminations on FOX at 3:30 p.m. ET Sunday.