Brittany Force led Top Fuel qualifying Saturday at Brainerd Int'l Raceway. (NHRA Photo)
Brittany Force led Top Fuel qualifying Saturday at Brainerd Int'l Raceway. (NHRA photo)

NHRA Stars Look Forward To Brainerd

BRAINERD, Minn. — Known for its memorable atmosphere and thrilling racing action, Brainerd International Raceway is again set to host a key stop during the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season with the 40th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals on Aug. 18-21.

It is the 15th of 22 races during this year’s NHRA campaign, marking the penultimate race of the regular season.

That means plenty is on the line for the stars in the 11,000-horsepower, 330-mph Top Fuel and Funny Car classes as they get ready for the Countdown to the Championship playoffs.

For four decades, Brainerd International Raceway has played host to remarkable racing action on the NHRA tour and the famed “Zoo,” which provides something unique for fans and racers.

Steve Torrence (Top Fuel) and Matt Hagan (Funny Car) won the 2021 event.

Torrence became a first-time winner at Brainerd last year, which also gave him a victory at every track on the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series circuit. It clinched an impressive honor for the Texan, who finished the season with his fourth straight world championship.

He’ll look for some more momentum heading into the playoffs this year in Brainerd, but Torrence will need to be on his game against a loaded Top Fuel field. It’s led by Brittany Force, who has four wins and the points lead, and features a litany of stars like Mike Salinas, three-time Brainerd winner Tony Schumacher, Justin Ashley, Doug Kalitta, Leah Pruett, Josh Hart, Clay Millican, Antron Brown and Austin Prock

Hagan finally cashed in at Brainerd for the first time in his standout career last year, picking up the Funny Car win in a thriller against Cruz Pedregon in the final round. Hagan, a three-time world champ, has enjoyed a strong season.

He has already picked up three victories and will look to add another in Brainerd as he tries to track down points leader Robert Hight, who has racked up four wins thus far. Hight has won once in Brainerd, but nobody has been better at BIR than John Force, who has an incredible 11 Brainerd wins.

Defending world champ Ron Capps has also been a standout at the track with six wins, while others to watch include former world champ J.R. Todd, 2017 Brainerd winner Alexis DeJoria, Blake Alexander, Tim Wilkerson and Sonoma winner Bob Tasca III.

The event also will feature competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, which includes some of the sport’s top drivers, as well as the FuelTech NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by D-Wagon and the Mountain Motor Pro Stock category.

Reigning Pro Mod world champ Jose Gonzalez won the race a year ago as the category made its debut at the facility.

This year, the D-Wagon NHRA Pro Mod Shootout will award $10,000 to the winner.