The threat of rain for Sunday forced NHRA officials to push the start time for Thunder Valley Nationals final eliminations up an hour. In the end, not one drop of rain fell on Bristol Dragway. What did fall was an abbreviated day chock full of excitement. 

Moments before precipitation began to fall in Bristol, NHRA crowned Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel), Austin Prock (Funny Car), Jeggie Coughlin and Gaige Herrera (Pro Stock Motorcycle).

The event ended with a Top Fuel rematch of last weekend's NHRA New England Nationals with a resurgent Tony Schumacher, this time getting the best of defending Top Fuel champion Doug Kalitta. 

Schumacher left the line well before Kalitta, who appeared to double clutch on the starting line. He never looked back en route to a 4.236, coasting to 259 miles per hour to collect his 87th career Top Fuel victory. The win also marked Schumacher's seventh victory at Thunder Valley. 

Neither Schumacher nor Kalitta were odds-on favorites to win, considering Schumacher outqualified Kalitta by two spots and started from the No. 12 position. The last time an NHRA Top Fuel driver won from the No. 12 spot was nine years ago. 

Schumacher's road to the finals included wins over Jasmine Salinas, Shawn Langdon, and No. 1 qualifier Clay Millican. On the other side of the ladder, Kalitta had to walk the gauntlet by beating Antron Brown, Steve Torrence, and Brittany Force, all past NHRA champions. 

Schumacher believes his victory is a testament to the parity of Top Fuel.

"This is the best I've ever seen in my career," Schumacher said. "If I post something like that, a whole slew of fans [on social media] remind me there [was a time] when 200 cars would show up for a race. Yeah, and basically, there was Big Daddy [Don Garlits] and Shirley [Muldowney], and a bunch of cars would show up. 

"You don't know who is going to win. There's 12 cars that can win. Today, it was the 12th and 14th cars in the finals. Each round here, the fans are winning."

With his runner-up finish, Kalitta took over the point lead from Justin Ashley, who lost in the first round to Brittany Force. Schumacher is now fifth. 

Rookie Funny Car driver Prock ran the table on the weekend, qualifying No. 1, winning the Mission Foods 2Fast2Tasty Challenge on Saturday, and posting his second win of the season, making a clean sweep of the weekend. He's also been the No. 1 qualifier at six of the first eight races thus far since stepping in for Robert Hight this season. 

Prock was in a zone all day Sunday as the conditions could prove tricky. He started with a low 3.90 before settling into the high 3.90s to score wins over John Smith, Cruz Pedregon, and defending series champion Matt Hagan.

On the other side of the ladder, No. 11 qualifier J.R. Todd lived in the high 3.90s for the first two rounds with wins over Terry Haddock and Ron Capps before laying down a 4.012 to eliminate Epping winner John Force. 

Todd was quicker on the tree in the final round by .006, but it provided little help as Prock took the win light with a 3.989, 312.42. Todd kept it close with a 4.022, with a faster 313.66.

"I've been working towards this my whole life," Prock said. "I'm so blessed to have this opportunity. John Force took a risk on me. All of these great partners [on this team] believed in me. I'm getting my shot to live this dream. This is so surreal. Winning these Wallys is the best feeling in the world. I hope we get many more. It's been a great year."

Prock continues to lead the Funny Car division, followed by Force. Todd is in third place in the regular season championship standings. 

The hype surrounding the 108th meeting between Coughlin and Greg Anderson lived up to its billing as the cars burned out and left the starting line. Not long after the launch, however, did it fizzle. 

Anderson, the winningest Pro Stock driver in NHRA history, put a .001 reaction and a .022 holeshot on Coughlin but soon pushed in the clutch when his car encountered tire shake, forcing him to lift. Coughlin drove virtually unchallenged to his 67th career NHRA victory and his second of 2024.

Coughlin earned his way to the final by running roughshod over teammates Jerry Tucker, nephew Troy Coughlin Jr., and defending series champion Erica Enders. 

"I've got an incredible team behind me," Coughlin said. "This feels good, and we've been trying to find our consistency and strength on Sundays. We've won a few races as a team and have felt that we left a few out there [we could have won]. Feels great to be on top of the mountain here at Thunder Valley again."

Dallas Glenn, a semi-finalist, leaves Bristol with the Pro Stock point lead, followed by Anderson, Enders, and Coughlin. 

Herrera rode his way into drag racing history even though he wasn't at his best in qualifying. After qualifying fourth in the field, Hererra extended his 2024 round winning streak to 15 consecutive, heading into the final round with victories over Steve Johnson, John Hall, and No. 1 qualifier Matt Smith. 

The rider who had his number more than anyone, Jianna Evaristo, was waiting for him in the final round. Headed into the final round, she held a 2-1 advantage in their head-to-head matches. 

The victory marked nine straight, eclipsing Dave Schultz's record of eight. He remains undefeated in 2024 with four race wins. Ironically, he lost a race in Bristol last season to Steve Johnson.

"To get nine wins and pass Dave Schultz... I never would have dreamed that," Herrera said. "Last year the track wasn't nice to me, and it wasn't nice to win to me [in qualifying]. At the end of the day, I had a very consistently fast motorcycle. This weekend has been tough, even racing Matt [Smith] in the semis, that was the highlight of my weekend."

The NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series returns to action with the Virginia NHRA Nationals on June 22-23 at Virginia Motorsports Park in Richmond, Va.










The Mission Foods 2Fast2Tasty Challenge has become a regular staple in the NHRA's Saturday afternoon qualifying sessions. Before a packed house at the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals, it delivered quite the show with Clay Millican scoring a victory in the Top Fuel portion in explosive fashion. 

Millican was joined in the Winner's Circle by Austin Prock (Funny Car), Erica Enders (Pro Stock), and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle). Three of the winners, Millican, Prock, and Smith, ended the day as the event's No. 1 qualifiers. 

Millican picked up his first Mission Challenge by stopping Shawn Langdon in the final round on a run where he exploded the supercharger at the finish line but had enough momentum to score the win. 

Millican was first off the line and held on for a 3.839, 302.41 win. Langdon made it close with a 3.861, 310.70. 

"It's absolutely awesome," Millican said. "But I cannot sit here and tell you all that I'm like, woo! That was a costly 2Fast2Tasty Challenge because we... How do I say this politely? We blew the rat poop out of that thing coming up on the finish line. It was a big old bang."

Millican knew when the team fired the engine for the run; it didn't sound like usual. 

"I'm like, 'We've got a little bit of a rough idle happening," Millican said. "When I get no reply, when I say something like that, that means one thing. Stomp on that loud pedal, and it ran good, obviously. 

"We are definitely chasing points. Last year, if you all remember, we made a mistake and bumped ourself out of the Top 10. So we're looking at every point we can possibly get when we can get them. And man, I'm so excited to get a win in the 2Fast2Tasty."

Prock exacted revenge on boss John Force as he left the starting line and fended off the winningest Funny Car driver in the world. The win marked his second Mission Foods #2Fast2TastyChallenge victory. 

"That's exactly how we dreamed it up," Prock said. "We wanted to race again in the final and see if I could get him back. So we achieved that today—another outstanding day for my team. My dad, Thomas, and Nate Hildahl are doing a great job. So this race car is so much fun to drive. Even that round one matchup against Daniel [Wilkerson], that was a really close race and even had to pedal it down track to get the W."

Enders picked up her third win of the season in the Mission #2Fast2Tasty Challenge by stopping Dallas Glenn in the final round. She ran a 6.644 elapsed time at 207 miles an hour. The little points add up for Enders, who now has three victories, accounting for nine bonus points. 
Yeah, definitely. 

"We want to get a handle on our hot race day set up," Enders said. "Greg [Anderson] threw some huge numbers on the board for the weather conditions, which was crazy, but we're just going to put our heads down and do our own thing. We made two pretty decent runs, .64 both times. Those points mean an awful lot at the end of the year. My first championship in 2014, had I have lost that final round, I would've lost the championship by one point and we won by 19. So, it's always down to the wire. So, those points are very important."

Matt Smith continued his domination of the Pro Stock Motorcycle division as he scored the victory in the specialty event by beating his wife, Angie Smith, in a race where the couple blew kisses to one another before they staged. 

Smith grabbed .083 off the starting line and never looked back en route to a 6.802, 199.05. Angie lost with a 6.951, 173.70. 

"This DENSO bike's is pretty mean right now," Smith said. "We've gone to work, we've got improvement in our program with 60-foots, and we've got good power, and it is showing. And just the hard work and all.
Like I said, in Chicago we've done more testing since Gainesville than the whole class combined. So we're putting the work in, we're spending the money to get better and it's showing."

In the opening round, Matt Smith did something no other rider has done this season: he beat Gaige Hererra in an all-out drag race. 

Sunday's first-round pairings for eliminations for the 23rd annual Super Grip NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway, the eighth of 20 events in the NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series. Pairings based on results in qualifying, which ended Saturday. DNQs listed below pairings.

Top Fuel -- 1. Clay Millican, 3.786 seconds, 325.06 mph vs. 16. Cameron Ferre, 5.289, 143.19; 2. Justin Ashley, 3.795, 322.42 vs. 15. Brittany Force, 4.061, 233.24; 3. Antron Brown, 3.809, 321.27 vs. 14. Doug Kalitta, 3.937, 311.77; 4. Shawn Langdon, 3.810, 323.74 vs. 13. Shawn Reed, 3.928, 304.05; 5. Jasmine Salinas, 3.814, 326.00 vs. 12. Tony Schumacher, 3.917, 310.91; 6. Steve Torrence, 3.824, 322.27 vs. 11. Cody Krohn, 3.904, 313.80; 7. Billy Torrence, 3.827, 323.43 vs. 10. Josh Hart, 3.847, 318.02; 8. Tony Stewart, 3.829, 312.64 vs. 9. Doug Foley, 3.843, 310.05. 

Funny Car -- 1. Austin Prock, Chevy Camaro, 3.958, 317.34 vs. 16. John Smith, Dodge Charger, 5.020, 222.44; 2. Alexis DeJoria, Toyota GR Supra, 3.973, 319.90 vs. 15. Dave Richards, Toyota Camry, 4.209, 282.78; 3. Ron Capps, GR Supra, 3.976, 320.74 vs. 14. Buddy Hull, Charger, 4.185, 273.39; 4. Bob Tasca III, Ford Mustang, 3.988, 315.93 vs. 13. Bobby Bode, Mustang, 4.153, 257.24; 5. Chad Green, Mustang, 3.997, 312.64 vs. 12. Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.125, 301.87; 6. Terry Haddock, Mustang, 4.008, 303.09 vs. 11. J.R. Todd, GR Supra, 4.092, 296.18; 7. John Force, Camaro, 4.033, 315.27 vs. 10. Daniel Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.064, 310.98; 8. Paul Lee, Charger, 4.033, 312.21 vs. 9. Cruz Pedregon, Charger, 4.038, 307.51. 
Did Not Qualify: 17. Jim Campbell, 5.238, 148.33. 

Pro Stock -- 1. Greg Anderson, Chevy Camaro, 6.615, 205.60 vs. 16. Larry Morgan, Camaro, 6.701, 205.72; 2. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.631, 207.62 vs. 15. Fernando Cuadra Jr., Camaro, 6.698, 205.54; 3. Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 6.639, 207.72 vs. 14. Jerry Tucker, Camaro, 6.685, 205.79; 4. Dallas Glenn, Camaro, 6.646, 206.07 vs. 13. Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.677, 205.47; 5. Aaron Stanfield, Camaro, 6.655, 207.18 vs. 12. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.676, 205.10; 6. Troy Coughlin Jr., Camaro, 6.663, 206.13 vs. 11. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.676, 205.29; 7. David Cuadra, Ford Mustang, 6.669, 206.26 vs. 10. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.676, 205.47; 8. Brandon Foster, Camaro, 6.673, 205.76 vs. 9. Cristian Cuadra, Mustang, 6.675, 205.44. 
Did Not Qualify: 17. Mason McGaha, 6.702, 205.57; 18. Eric Latino, 6.706, 205.38. 

Pro Stock Motorcycle -- 1. Matt Smith, Buell, 6.759, 200.05 vs. 14. Kelly Clontz, Suzuki, 6.973, 476.86; 2. Richard Gadson, Suzuki, 6.825, 197.74 vs. 13. Ron Tornow, Victory, 6.938, 195.25; 3. Chase Van Sant, Suzuki, 6.827, 196.62 vs. 12. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.936, 192.33; 4. Gaige Herrera, Suzuki, 6.830, 197.77 vs. 11. Ryan Oehler, EBR, 6.932, 198.96; 5. John Hall, Beull, 6.854, 198.03 vs. 10. Chris Bostick, Suzuki, 6.915, 195.25; 6. Jianna Evaristo, Buell, 6.865, 198.32 vs. 9. Marc Ingwersen, EBR, 6.896, 195.76; 7. Hector Arana Jr, EBR, 6.879, 197.57 vs. 8. Angie Smith, Buell, 6.895, 196.50. 


Austin Prock knew driving a Funny Car was going to be a challenge. Driving a Funny Car at Bristol Dragway, he knew, was going to be a whole new ballgame. The temperamental racing surface for the picturesque drag strip carved out of the hill of eastern Tennessee lived up to its reputation during the first day of the 23rd annual Super Grip NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals.

Prock drove his way to the provisional No. 1 qualifying position with a 3.958 elapsed time at 317.34 miles per hour. 

Joining Prock atop the Friday night leaderboard was Clay Millican (Top Fuel), Erica Enders (Pro Stock) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle). Bristol marks the eighth of 20 events on the Mission Foods Drag Racing Series. 

Prock's best run came in the Q2 session when Funny Car drivers finally broke into the three-second zone. If his Friday night run holds, it will be his sixth of the season. 

“This place is very tough to navigate, for sure," Prock said. "It's kind of a driver's racetrack. You have to be on your game all the way to pulling the parachutes. This is up another level, stressful for the crew chiefs, but if you're a race car driver you sure do enjoy a place like this. 

“When I heard a .95 over the radio, that was the number they were calling and it ended up being good enough. It ended up working out for us, and the entire day was great for this Cornwell Camaro. We have the Mission #2Fast2Tasty Challenge tomorrow, so we'll be focused. We want to win that medal at the end of the day for sure.”

Alexis DeJoria led early in the second session but fell to second with a 3.973, 319.90 while Bristol Dragway's winningest Funny Car driver Ron Capps is third after going 3.976 at 320.74.

Millican, the Top Fuel driver turned internet sensation was the leader in Top Fuel by running 3.786-seconds at 325.06 miles per hour, holding off points leader Justin Ashley under the lights to take the top spot. Millican, whose first career NHRA win came at Bristol Dragway in 2017, seeks his first No. 1 qualifier of 2024 and 26th in his career. 

“It's always something at this place,” Millican said. “This team has absolutely been incredible. We were struggling a little after testing, and then the next thing you know we start going rounds, go to a final at Charlotte, go to the semis last week. I'm excited to do this for a lot of reasons. When you qualify No. 1 against the monsters that we're racing against these days you've accomplished something. But this is the first time I've qualified No. 1 with Mr. Rick Ware present. We are here because this guy loves drag racing. The biggest thing he hasn't been a part of yet is a win on Sunday, so that's on my agenda, just in case you're wondering.

“I would love to be the No. 1 qualifier right here at Bristol. That would be awesome. When it comes to raceday, last year I would have told you I wanted it hot on raceday, but I think we have a car now that it doesn't matter.”

Ashley, the current points leader, also dipped into the 3.70s with a 3.795 at 322.42, putting him second, and Antron Brown’s 3.809 at 321.27 slots him third.

In Pro Stock, Enders was strong in Friday qualifying with a 6.631 at 206.92 to land in the top spot. Enders, the defending event winner in Bristol, is now on track to put up her second straight top qualifier and fourth this season.

Last season, Enders’ turnaround last year came in Bristol when she went on to win her sixth world championship. She stands on the cusp of 50 career NHRA wins.

“I feel like we're getting a better handle on our race car,” Enders said. “It was a nice run and was better on the graph. I like the four-qualifying run format better, you can track more things, purse is a little bigger on Sunday. I had a very fast race car, and that's translating to here so far as well. 

“I love what I do and the people that I do it with. These moments don't last forever, so you have to take advantage of them. I realize how blessed I am that I get to do what I love for a living and have done pretty well at it. I feel like we have a lot more left to accomplish.”

Greg Anderson is currently second with a 6.636 at 206.45, and Jeg Coughlin Jr. is right behind with his 6.639 at 206.45.

Making the quickest run of both sessions in Pro Stock Motorcycle, six-time world champion Matt Smith made a strong statement on Friday, taking the No. 1 spot with a run of 6.788 at 198.52 on his Denso Auto Parts/Matt Smith Racing Buell. Smith is attempting to pick up his second No. 1 qualifier this season, and the 54th in his career. However, Friday’s two stellar runs also give him a solid shot to possibly unseat Gaige Herrera and end his incredible streak.

Herrera has won eight straight races – tied for the most in PSM history – and 31 consecutive rounds, and a win would tie the defending world champion with Bob Glidden for the most consecutive wins (9) and round wins (35) in NHRA history. Smith, though, has other plans.

“I think we showed at Chicago that we've been testing a lot and getting our program back better,” Smith said. “It showed here again. I messed up tuning the bike on Sunday in Chicago and came here to redeem myself. My Denso bike is pretty fast, and I'm pretty happy with what we've done so far. 

“I'm focused, head down. I'm like a hound dog; I'm a hunting dog right now, on the ground trying to find that 60-foot and make it better and better. We are getting better, and we'll continue to try to work hard and make our bike as fast as possible.”

Chase Van Sant is currently second after going 6.827 at 196.36, and Herrera is third with a 6.830 at 197.77.

Qualifying continues at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday at the Super Grip NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway.

Friday's results after the first two of four rounds of qualifying for the 23rd annual Super Grip NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway, the eighth of 20 events in the NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series. Qualifying will continue on Saturday for Sunday's final eliminations.

Top Fuel -- 1. Clay Millican, 3.786 seconds, 325.06 mph; 2. Justin Ashley, 3.795, 322.42; 3. Antron Brown, 3.809, 321.27; 4. Shawn Langdon, 3.810, 323.74; 5. Jasmine Salinas, 3.814, 326.00; 6. Steve Torrence, 3.824, 322.27; 7. Billy Torrence, 3.827, 323.43; 8. Tony Stewart, 3.829, 312.64; 9. Doug Foley, 3.843, 310.05; 10. Josh Hart, 3.867, 317.05; 11. Cody Krohn, 3.915, 313.80; 12. Tony Schumacher, 3.917, 310.91; 13. Doug Kalitta, 3.937, 311.77; 14. Shawn Reed, 3.964, 285.11; 15. Brittany Force, 4.141, 220.98. 

Funny Car -- 1. Austin Prock, Chevy Camaro, 3.958, 317.34; 2. Alexis DeJoria, Toyota GR Supra, 3.973, 319.90; 3. Ron Capps, GR Supra, 3.976, 320.74; 4. Bob Tasca III, Ford Mustang, 3.988, 315.93; 5. Chad Green, Mustang, 3.997, 312.64; 6. Terry Haddock, Mustang, 4.008, 303.09; 7. Paul Lee, Dodge Charger, 4.036, 307.30; 8. Cruz Pedregon, Charger, 4.038, 307.51; 9. John Force, Camaro, 4.048, 312.86; 10. Daniel Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.064, 310.98; 11. J.R. Todd, GR Supra, 4.092, 268.92; 12. Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.125, 291.89; 13. Dave Richards, Toyota Camry, 4.209, 256.31; 14. Buddy Hull, Charger, 4.387, 222.62; 15. Bobby Bode, Mustang, 4.492, 200.08; 16. John Smith, Charger, 5.381, 137.05. 

Pro Stock -- 1. Erica Enders, Chevy Camaro, 6.631, 206.95; 2. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.636, 205.60; 3. Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 6.639, 206.45; 4. Dallas Glenn, Camaro, 6.661, 205.69; 5. Troy Coughlin Jr., Camaro, 6.664, 206.04; 6. Aaron Stanfield, Camaro, 6.665, 206.51; 7. David Cuadra, Ford Mustang, 6.669, 205.79; 8. Brandon Foster, Camaro, 6.673, 205.35; 9. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.676, 205.47; 10. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.676, 205.26; 11. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.676, 205.10; 12. Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.677, 205.47; 13. Cristian Cuadra, Mustang, 6.690, 204.98; 14. Larry Morgan, Camaro, 6.701, 205.69; 15. Mason McGaha, Camaro, 6.702, 205.57; 16. Jerry Tucker, Camaro, 6.714, 204.60. Not Qualified: 17. Fernando Cuadra Jr., 6.723, 205.54; 18. Eric Latino, 7.599, 133.04. 

Pro Stock Motorcycle -- 1. Matt Smith, Buell, 6.788, 199.64; 2. Chase Van Sant, Suzuki, 6.827, 196.36; 3. Gaige Herrera, Suzuki, 6.830, 197.77; 4. Richard Gadson, Suzuki, 6.840, 197.13; 5. John Hall, Beull, 6.889, 197.54; 6. Marc Ingwersen, EBR, 6.896, 195.76; 7. Chris Bostick, Suzuki, 6.933, 193.57; 8. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.936, 192.33; 9. Ron Tornow, Victory, 6.938, 194.74; 10. Hector Arana Jr, EBR, 6.946, 197.57; 11. Ryan Oehler, EBR, 7.027, 191.54; 12. Angie Smith, Buell, 7.051, 196.50; 13. Kelly Clontz, Suzuki, 7.055, 476.86; 14. Jianna Evaristo, Buell, 7.572, 135.59.