As the 2023 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series winds down, teams gear up for the penultimate race of the Countdown to the Championship playoffs at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the 23rd annual NHRA Nevada Nationals on Oct. 26-29.
The race marks the fifth event of the NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoffs and drivers in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle will have their eyes locked on the ultimate prize: an NHRA world championship.
The intensity will be high, the action will be nonstop and race fans won’t be able to look away for a minute as the dragstrip lights up with 11,000-horsepower, 330-mph excitement the entire weekend.
Brittany Force (Top Fuel), Matt Hagan (Funny Car), Erica Enders (Pro Stock) and Hector Arana Jr. (Pro Stock Motorcycle) won the 2022 NHRA Nevada Nationals. This season’s race will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1 (FS1), including eliminations at 5 p.m. ET on Sunday, Oct. 29 as the stars of the NHRA battle it out in Las Vegas.
Force swept both races at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway last season, picking up both the NHRA Nevada Nationals win and the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals in the spring. She then went onto win the 2022 NHRA Top Fuel world championship during her record-breaking season. To defend her title, she’ll need to get past points leader Doug Kalitta, who won the first two races in the playoffs, Tony Stewart Racing’s Leah Pruett, who is currently second in points, former four-time champ Steve Torrence, Justin Ashley and six-time Las Vegas winner Antron Brown.
Hagan, who won the Las Vegas Four-Wide event this spring, defeated Robert Hight in the finals of last year’s NHRA Nevada Nationals to stay in the title hunt. Hagan is the most recent Funny Car winner and currently sits third in the standings, only 13 points out of first. Bob Tasca III leads the field – marking the first time he’s held the points lead in the postseason – with Hight just six points back. Also hot in the mix is the reigning champion Ron Capps, who is in fourth and is after his third straight world title. Other marquee names include John Force, J.R. Todd, Alexis DeJoria and Chad Green.
Enders has been dominant in Las Vegas in recent years with nine wins from the facility, the most of any driver in NHRA history. Her victory helped capped off a dominant season, where she also clinched her fifth world championship in Las Vegas. She has two wins on the 2023 season currently leads the Pro Stock points. Right on her heels is Greg Anderson, the winningest Pro Stock driver of all time, Matt Hartford, 2023 NHRA Four-Wide Nationals Dallas Glenn and Aaron Stanfield.
Arana Jr., who has one win on the 2023 season, powered his way to victory last year by defeating Matt Smith in the final round. Smith then went on to win the 2022 NHRA championship. This season has been dominated by Gaige Herrera, who has eight wins and currently leads the points standings over Smith by 99 points. Arana, Smith, Herrera’s teammate, Eddie Krawiec, and the rest of the class are all hungry to stop Herrera’s 2023 momentum.
The NHRA Nevada Nationals also will feature thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, which includes some of the sport’s top drivers, and the Summit Racing Series ET Finals, where national champions will be crowned, including the first EV national championship in NHRA history. The weekend will also include action in the thrilling Nostalgia Funny Car class, while fans can watch a spectacular jet dragster exhibition from Team “Muy Caliente” after nitro qualifying on Friday and Saturday.
It’s also the final race of the season in Flexjet Factory Stock Showdown, the FuelTech NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by Type A Motorsports and the new Factory X presented by Holley category. Fans can also enjoy the finale of the NHRA Summit Series, with drivers competing for a national championship.
As an added attraction, a special drag-and-drive exhibition will take place during the event, with participants in Sick The Magazine’s “Death Week” will be on display for fans interested in NHRA Street Legal Drag Racing. The cars will be paraded in front of the crowd, with fans getting to see the unique cars taking part in the drag-and-drive event.
Before the race weekend, the NHRA’s biggest stars will take over the Fremont St. Experience for the annual fan fest from 5-7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 26. An autograph session takes place from 5:30-6:30, allowing fans to meet their favorite drivers as part of this great event leading into the race weekend.
On Saturday, the Las Vegas Golden Knights marching band will also perform. Race fans at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway can enjoy the special pre-race ceremonies that celebrate each of the drivers racing for the prestigious Wally on Sunday and includes the 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 Nevada Nationals event winners.
Fans are invited to the Nitro Alley Stage all weekend, which will help create a festive atmosphere leading into Nitro Alley. The Nitro Alley Stage will be the main entertainment hub in the pits when the Camping World Drag Racing Series competitors are not on the track, hosting Nitro School, meet and greets, influencer interviews and much more. As always, fans get a pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet. Fans can see their favorite teams in action and servicing their hot rods between rounds, get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers, and more. They can also visit NHRA’s Manufacturers Midway, where sponsors and race vendors create an exciting atmosphere that includes interactive displays, merchandise, food, and fun.
NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature two rounds at 12:00 and 3:00 p.m. PT on Friday, Oct. 27, and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, Oct. 28 at 12:00 and 3:00 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11:00 a.m. PT on Sunday, Oct. 29. Television coverage includes qualifying action on FS1 at 7:00 p.m. ET on Friday with eliminations on FS1 at 5:00 p.m. ET on Sunday.
To purchase tickets to the NHRA Nevada Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, call 800-644-4444 or visit www.lvms.com. Children 12 and under are admitted free in general admissions areas with a paid adult. For more information about NHRA, visit www.nhra.com.