Round Five: Mission #2Fast2Tasty

Remember those grudge races between drivers that started it all? Well, now Mission Foods is taking it up a notch with Round Five: Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge – a brand new specialty event that thrilled Bristol drag racing fans. The redemption race at the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals over the weekend was the fifth of twelve scheduled events for 2023.

Mission Foods stepped up as the sponsor of the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge, adding competitive racing to Saturday's final qualifying round for the top four competitors in the Nitro and Pro Stock classes from the previous NHRA National at the first twelve two-wide events, excluding 4-wide events at The Strip in Las Vegas and Charlotte’s Z-Max Raceway.

But that’s not all – in addition to valuable bonus points for the NHRA Countdown to the Championship, drivers will also get to compete for a portion of the half million-dollar purse up for grabs spread over the 2023 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series. The Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge ends when the Countdown begins.

Justin Ashley Posts Third Win in Mission Challenge

Justin Ashley is having a great start to the 2023 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series. In fact, the driver of the 11,000 horsepower Phillips Connect Toyota dragster had already won two of the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge events. Ashley advanced to the semifinal round of the delayed New England Nationals with wins over Dan Mercier and Brittany Force on Saturday.

Eight time NHRA Top Fuel champion Tony Schumacher is someone who should never be overlooked. Schumacher defeated Shawn Langdon in the opening round of eliminations for the New England Nationals before enjoying a bye in the quarterfinals to advance to a semi matchup against Mike Salinas. After a near dead even tree, Schumacher outran Salinas to advance to the final round.

In the upper bracket, Ashley claimed a holeshot win over four-time Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence that was also quicker and faster than the former champ. Everyone in the pits knows that you need to beat Ashley off the tree... so true. Although Schumacher posted a quicker 3.835-seconds elapsed time, Ashley got the holeshot with a .041 RT to Schumacher’s .061 RT for his third Challenge win.

Bob Tasca III Claims Funny Car Bonus Points

Bob Tasca III has longed to win his home NHRA New England Nationals. At the rain-delayed elimination rounds that were moved to Bristol, the third generation driver would need to get by defending NHRA Funny Car champion Ron Capps in Round One of eliminations; and he did with a holeshot win. That moved the PPG Ford Mustang driver to a quarterfinal round against Robert Hight.

Whereas Tasca wanted to win his home national, 74-year old John Force just wants to win all the NHRA Camping World Drag Series national events. In Round One of eliminations, the 16-time funny car champion nailed a .006-seconds reaction time to eliminate Tim Wilkerson. Force would stay the course with wins over Alex Laughlin and JR Todd in the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds, respectively.

Tasca would rely on .020-seconds advantage off the start to get by Robert Hight, driver of the AAA Cornwell Tools Camaro, to advance to the final round of the Mission NHRA Challenge. Once again, the ageless Force posted a holeshot advantage off the tree but Tasca would make up for Force’s .020-second advantage with a 4.032 ET at 322.96 mph.

Aaron Stanfield Wins Bonus Event at Bristol

Aaron Stanfield entered the weekend as the defending Pro Stock Bristol winner from a year ago. In his semifinal match, Deric Kramer got left at the tree when Stanfield nailed a .021 RTX and finished with a quicker 6.631 ET in the Janoc Brothers Camaro.

Dallas Glenn came to Thunder Valley looking to continue his winning ways in the RAD Torque Systems Racing Chevrolet Camaro with a 139-point lead in Pro Stock over Deric Kramer. Glenn almost met his match as he and Jerry Tucker posted identical .027 RTs but slowly pulled away for the win.

Nonetheless, Stanfield took home the $10,000 purse money and gained three bonus points with a 6.637-seconds elapsed time at 206.80 mph to defeat Pro Stock points leader Dallas Glenn. This was Stanfield’s first victory in the Mission #2Fast2Tasty Challenge.

Gaige Herrera Wins Pro Stock Motorcycle Again

Vance & Hines Suzuki rider Gaige Herrera continued his perfect run in Pro Stock Motorcycle on Saturday at Bristol Dragway, winning the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge and securing his fourth straight Number One qualifier for Sunday’s elimination rounds of the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals. Herrera advanced to Finals when Eddie Krawiec’s bike shutdown just off the tree.

In the other semifinal match-up, Hector Arana Jr. and Chip Ellis left the starting line together in one of the best races on qualifying day. But, Arana Jr claimed the win. In the final round of the bonus event, Herrera was quicker off the starting line against Hector Arana Jr., posting a .009 reaction time and a run of 6.849-seconds at 194.83 mph on his Mission Foods/Vance & Hines Suzuki; and the win.

Artwork courtesy of NHRA


Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals

The Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge pits semi-finalists from the Thunder Valley against each other in a pair of redemption match-ups in the final qualifying session on Saturday for the June 22-25 Summit Racing Equipment Nationals at Norwalk OH.


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