Dodge Power Brokers NHRA U.S. Nationals: Stock Classes

Dodge Power Brokers NHRA U.S. Nationals: Stock Classes

Winning the Dodge Power Brokers NHRA U.S. Nationals is the ultimate goal for every drag racer, as it puts their name among the legends of the sport. This year, fans were treated to great races, thrilling specialty events, and fierce competition. And with the U.S. Nationals being the final event before the championship playoffs begin, the stakes were higher than ever with one-and-half points paid.

From its humble beginnings racing down a World War II training airfield in 1955, “The Big Go” has grown into a Labor Day weekend tradition for drag racing fans across the country. But it's not just about racing. Downtown Indianapolis offers plenty of activities for the Labor Day weekend, and nearby Brownsburg is buzzing with racing excitement for six consecutive days.

The 69th annual Dodge Power Brokers NHRA U.S. Nationals is not just any drag racing event. It's the biggest, longest, and most historic race on the NHRA national championship tour. Every drag racer dreams of earning a U.S. Nationals Wally at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park. This year's event started with excellent racing conditions with cooler track for Friday night qualifying with things heating up all day Saturday.

Matt Hartford Wins U.S. Nationals Pro Stock Title

Every NHRA professional driver wants to win at the Dodge Power Brokers U.S. Nationals. Erica Enders typically brings her “A” game with her to The Big Go but the number one qualifier Matt Hartford knew his Total Seal Camaro was the car to beat. In the semifinal round, Hartford beat the five-time NHRA Pro Stock world champion off the line and down the stripe to advance to the final round of the Dodge Power Brokers NHRA U.S. Nationals.

Fernando Cuadra Jr. earned his way to the final pairing at The Big Go with decisive wins over Indy Super Gas winner Bo Butner III and Troy Coughlin Jr. as well as a close finish against Kyle Koretsky after both drivers spun the tires. With a 4-1 all-time advantage against Cuadra Jr. in head-to-head matchups, Fernando knew he had to get off the tree first and did. But the Corrals Boots Ford Mustang shook the tires and Hartford made a beeline to the finish with a 6.624 elapsed time.

Matt Smith Defends U.S. Nationals PSM Title

Gaige Herrera was the Number One qualifier at Indy for the eighth time in 2023. The pilot of the Vance & Hines Hayabusa clinched the top spot in the NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoffs with an early round win and set a track record 6.746 elapsed time at The Big Go. But if any rider in the pits could slow Herrera’s race for the 2023 NHRA Camping World championship in pro stock motorcycle, it would be six-time world champion Matt Smith. Smith has won three straight NHRA titles and four of the last five PSM championships.

GETTRX Buell of Hector Arana Jr. wasn’t the Number One qualifier at Indy but he looked like he had the fastest bike with multiple 200 mph runs over the Labor Day weekend. The former U.S. Nationals winner eliminated Chris Bostick, Kelly Clontz, and Angie Smith to reach his 32nd career final. Although 5-1 all-time in final rounds against Matt Smith, but while trying to nail the light, Arana Jr. left -.003-second early allowing the DENSO Suzuki rider to defend his U.S. Nationals title.

Artwork courtesy of NHRA


Pep Boys NHRA Nationals

Both nitro and both stock classes head to Maple Grove Raceway in Mohnton, PA, on Sept 14-17 for the first round of the Countdown to the Championship for the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series. Although specialty racing is done for the 2023 season, the Pep Boys NHRA Nationals has seen record-breaking drag races, including Brittany Force’s national Top Fuel elapsed time record during the 2019 event.