Steve Torrence on track in his Top Fuel dragster. (NHRA photo)

Eight Top Fuel Drivers Set For NHRA All-Star Callout

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The lineup for the Pep Boys NHRA Top Fuel All-Star Callout is set and the eight-driver field includes five world champions, a few record-breaking drivers and other all-stars.

The race, which started in 2022 and pits eight standouts against each other in a unique specialty shootout, takes place on Saturday, March 9, during the highly-anticipated opener to the 2024 NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series season, the 55th annual Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals.

There’s big money, including a total purse of $130,000, a special Callout trophy and belt, as well as bragging rights on the line at legendary Gainesville Raceway.

The top eight seeds, in order, are Steve Torrence, Doug Kalitta, Brittany Force, Mike Salinas, Justin Ashley, Leah Pruett, Antron Brown and Shawn Langdon.

With Austin Prock switching to the Funny Car ranks this year, Langdon moves into the vacated slot as the next highest-ranked driver in the Callout points standings. Combined, Torrence, Kalitta, the 2023 world champion, Force, Brown and Langdon have 11 world titles in the loaded category.

The action gets a special feature broadcast at 7 p.m. (ET) on FS1 on March 9 and with the distinctive callout format in place, first-round selections will be made at 12:30 p.m. on March 8 in the Top Eliminator Club.

Torrence, the top-seeded driver, gets the first pick to call out his opening-round opponent. If Kalitta isn’t called out, the veteran picks next, going down the line until all four first-round matchups are set. Then, the driver who makes the quickest winning run that round selects their semifinal opponent, locking in the other matchup as well.

It’s all part of a massive, marquee weekend that will give one Top Fuel driver the chance to win the Callout and then the famed Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals the next day, adding another surefire layer of excitement to the legendary event.

Torrence won the inaugural Pep Boys NHRA Top Fuel All-Star Callout in 2022, though that race was finished in Indy due to weather.

The four-time world champion will look to win it for the first time in Gainesville, while Kalitta looks to stay red-hot to open 2024 after ending last season with his elusive first world title. Force won the 2022 world title after setting track and world records across the country. She also holds the quickest (3.623-seconds) and fastest (338.94 mph) runs in Top Fuel history.

Salinas, the defending Gatornationals winner, became the first driver in NHRA history to go 300 mph to the one-eighth-mile last year and Ashley had a banner season in 2023, winning six races to lead all Top Fuel competitors.

Pruett is coming off a career-best season, winning two times, advancing to six final rounds and finishing third in points. Brown is a three-time world champion and coming off another strong season that featured two wins, including a second straight U.S. Nationals victory.

Langdon, a 2013 Top Fuel world champ, will look for a quick start to his season as well and has 17 career victories.

With three rounds of the specialty race set to take place on Saturday, it adds another thrilling attraction to the kickoff of the NHRA’s 73rd season and the first in the NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series era.

It follows two rounds of qualifying on Friday and leads into Sunday, where drivers will be eager to leave their mark at the storied facility that has played host to magical moments for more than five seconds.

Last year, Salinas (Top Fuel), Matt Hagan (Funny Car), Troy Coughlin Jr. (Pro Stock) and Gaige Herrera (Pro Stock Motorcycle) all won in Gainesville, adding the legacy-defining win to their resumés, with both Hagan and Herrera also winning world titles.