Round Eight: Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge

If you're a racing enthusiast, you know that Saturday mornings are now filled with side-by-side anticipation. During final round of qualifying, drivers in Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock Motorcycle had extra incentives to deliver their best performance on the high-grip surface at Pacific Raceway in a true test of skill, speed, and redemption.

In 2023, the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge has become a must-see event with its exciting heads-up specialty racing during Saturday’s last round of qualifying. While race teams were focused on delivering their best performance on the high-grip surface at Pacific Raceway, drivers also had the opportunity to earn valuable bonus points for the NHRA Countdown to the Championship.

The semifinalists in the Pro nitro and Pro stock classes from the NHRA Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere were provided the chance for redemption by competing in the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge. But, the fan-favorite grudge match is about more than just revenge with drivers competing for a share of the $500,000 purse at the end of the Mission Foods season.

Steve Torrence Earns First Win NHRA Challenge

In front of a packed house on Saturday at Pacific Raceway, Clay Millican, who picked up his second win of the season at Denver, faced off in the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge against long-time rival Shawn Langdon in the semifinal round of Top Fuel. The 2013 champion held a slight 15 to 14 win rate over Millican. Langdon was off the tree first and held on for the win with both drivers posting a 322.034 mph runs.

With forty-nine career victories in NHRA Top Fuel, Phoenix winner Doug Kalitta was paired in the semifinal round of the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge against four-time NHRA Top Fuel Champion Steve Torrence. Two drivers who were denied a win last-week in Denver left the starting line together but Kalitta spun the tires as Torrence picked up the win his Capco Top Fuel dragster with 3.764 ET at 327.98 mph.

Multi-time Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence entered the final round of the Mission Foods Challenge with a 21 to 15 mark in all-time wins over Shawn Langdon. Langdon got off the tree first with .068-second reaction time to Torrence’s slower .101 RT but lost traction at the 400-foot mark giving Torrence his first Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge victory. Torrence picked up his bonus points of the 2023 redemption racing series.

Ron Capps Gets Redemption in Funny Car

Three-time NHRA champion Ron Capps won his 73rd Funny Car Wally at Bristol and has already claimed two wins in the Mission Foods Challenge for 2023 was pitted in the semifinal match against Matt Hagan who has already won four times this season in his Dodge Power Brokers ride for TSR. Capps had a slight advantage off the tree and Hagan smoked the tires early on. Driving the NAPA GSR Supra, Capps got his revenge with a 3.961 ET at 322.81 mph to advance.

JR Todd was runner-up at the inaugural the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge at Phoenix and will be competing in his fourth challenge of 2023. Six-time NHRA Funny Car winner Alexis Dejoria has been fast all year with runner-up finishes at Bristol and Denver driving the Bandero Tequila Funny Car. Dejoria held an 8-6 win advantage over Todd but the DHL GSR Supra driver grabbed a three hundredths advantage off the tree and advanced to the final.

Three-time Funnyc Car champion Ron Capps clinched his third Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge with a win on Saturday at the NHRA Northwest Nationals near Seattle when he defeated his fellow Toyota Racing teammate J.R. Todd in the final round of the Mission Foods-backed race-within-a-race during Saturday’s final round of qualifying. Capps entered the final with the quicker car and wasted no time by posting a 3.951 ET at 322.56 mph for the win.

Gage Herrera Claims PSM Mission Challenge Win

Norwalk NHRA winner Hector Arana Jr. and three-time NHRA winner in Pro Stock Motorcycles Angie Smith met in the first semifinal round of the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge at Pacific Raceway. Arana Jr. entered the redemption race with a 16 to 6 win advantage over Smith. Smith nailed a .022-second reaction time with 6.787 ET at 200.29 mph (the first 200 mph-plus run in PSM at Seattle) to defeat Arana Jr’s .071 RT and 6.808 ET at 199.46 mph.

Rookie Chase Van Sant advanced to the semifinal round of the NHRA Challenge against the Denver winner at Thunder Mountain Gaige Herrera. In addition to four national wins this season, Herrera won the Mission Foods Challenge at Chicago Speedway and Bristol’s Thunder Valley. Although Van Sant got .014 reaction time, it was Herrera’s quicker 6.809 ET for the win over Van Sant’s 20 mph faster speed at 198.38 mph.

Vance & Hines Suzuki rider Gage Herrera entered the final round of the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge at Pacific Raceway with a 3 to 2 all-time win record over DENSO EBR rider Angie Smith. But, Herrera barely squeaked out a win in the semifinal when his bike refused to shift into high gear. After a .056-second tree, Herrera posted a 6.794 ET to Smith’s 6.806 elapsed time to record the win over a faster speed of 199.05 mph and claim bonus points in his third Mission Foods victory.

Artwork courtesy of NHRA


DENSO NHRA Sonoma Nationals

The next redemption race will happen at Sonoma Raceway on July 28-30 for DENSO Sonoma Nationals. Drag racing fans can check out the next round of Mission Foods #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge as well as the 2023 Pro Stock Motorcycle All-Start Callout. Both events are scheduled during Saturday’s qualifying rounds at the Seattle track.


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