Wild Horse Pass Hosts the Last NHRA Arizona Nationals

The NHRA Arizona Nationals have provided Phoenix-area drag racing fans with some of the fastest passes in Nitro and Pro Stock history since the motorsports facility opened in 1983 as Firebird International Raceway. But, according to a recent news release, the 38th annual NHRA event is expected to be the last race at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park.

Located in Chandler AZ, Wild Horse Pass features four unique racetracks. In addition to the historic quarter-mile drag racing facility, the park includes multiple road racing layouts and a 2.4-mile power boat drag strip on the facility’s 120-acre oval-shaped lake. During its 40 year tenure, Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park has hosted international drag racing events, road course races, off-road races, and Monster truck events.

After the 38th annual NHRA Arizona Nationals heads west to Pomona for the 63rd annual Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals, the legendary slabs of pavement at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park will be removed. The land has been annexed for a new overpass roadway that will serve as an extension of Interstate 10 and provide better access for the growing Gila River community and the Whirlwind Golf Club at Wild Horse Pass.


Justin Ashley Wins Top Fuel at Phoenix

Dubbed by race fans as the “Duel in the Desert”, the NHRA Arizona Nationals has seen eight-time Top Fuel world champion Tony Schumacher claim five national wins as well as a historic 330 mph pass at the historic facility. But, Schumacher’s swan song would be a Round One loss to the eventual winner Justin Ashley, who posted a holeshot victory with a .051 reaction time and a 3.741 ET at 329.67 mph. Ashley relied on a 3.740 ET to eliminate Steve Torrence in the semifinal.

Shawn Langdon earned his way to the Top Fuel Final with victories over Antron Brown and number one qualifier Doug Kalitta before posting a 3.719 elapsed time in a semifinal matchup with Tony Stewart Racing’s Leah Pruett. Nonetheless, the Top Fuel final race at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park belonged to Ashley. After beating Langdon off the start, Ashley logged a 3.705 ET at 329.34 mph to claim the win moving the driver of the Phillips Connect dragster to fourth overall in points.


Robert Hight Wins Funny Car at Wild Horse Pass

Robert Hight made it clear at the end of the 2022 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series that he felt robbed by the Countdown to the Championship’s points systems, which saw Ron Capps take the title. So E3 Spark Plugs racing fans were eager to see the pair of three-time Funny Car world champions faceoff at the second round of 2023 season. For Hight, his day started with a win over his teammate and sixteen-time world champion John Force.

In Round Two of eliminations, Hight put the number one qualifier Bob Tasca III on the trailer. In the bottom bracket, Ron Capps defeated Alex Laughlin, Blake Alexander, and Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge winner Alexis Dejoria enroute to the Funny Car Final. Both Capps and Hight got off the tree together but Capps was immediately up in smoke giving Hight his 62nd Wally and a four-point lead over Matt Hagan for NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series.


Camrie Caruso Claims First Pro Stock Wally

Cristian Cuadra put his name in the NHRA Pro Stock record book on Saturday as the first Mexican driver to lead the field into Sunday’s eliminations as the Number One qualifier. Cuadra is also the first driver to top qualifying in a Ford Mustang since Don Nicholson at the 1977 U.S. Nationals. Sophomore driver Camrie Caruso caused the biggest controversy of the event in Round Two when she lit both staging bulbs causing Cuadra to time out of eliminations.

Caruso would eliminate Matt Hartford in the semifinal round before beating Bo Butner III in the Pro Stock Final with a 6.592 ET to Butner’s 6.593 elapsed time. It was Caruso first Pro Stock Wally. The reigning and five-time NHRA Pro Stock world champion Erica Enders continued to struggle at Wild Horse Pass. Enders, who has 440 round wins and is chasing her 47th career Wally, dropped out in the first round at both Gainesville and Phoenix.


UP COMING:

63rd annual Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals

Once again, Pomona Dragstrip will host the 63rd annual Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals at the historic track, which is scheduled to host the 2023 NHRA season finale in November. Round two of the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge will return for the Top Fuel, Funny Car, and Pro Stock classes at the Southern California track.

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