On Feb. 8-10, 2024, the PRO Superstar Shootout will pay one of the most lucrative purses in drag racing history.
With Bradenton (Fla.) Motorsports Park as the stage, the invitation-only race will feature standout drivers from the Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock categories.
With $1.3 million in total prize money, the inaugural Superstar Shootout will pay $250,000-to-win in Top Fuel and Funny Car, as well as $125,000 to the Pro Stock victor.
But to the drivers and team owners, as much as the shootout competition will be about the prize, it’s also about the prestige.
“We all love money, but money comes and goes. It pays bills and we spend it on parts and pieces. The bigger thing is really the prestige of being the one that wins the biggest drag race in history,” said Tony Stewart, who has been involved in NHRA drag racing as both a team owner and amateur driver.
As for the shootout format, the event setup signals a break from the standard qualifying and elimination rounds commonly seen in drag racing.
After the first qualifying session on Thursday, Feb. 8, drivers will partake in three rounds of qualifying on Friday to set the eight-car Top Fuel field, eight-car Funny Car field and 16-car Pro Stock field for eliminations.
Following qualifying on Friday night, competitors will participate in a random chip drawing to determine who they’ll face in the first round of eliminations on Saturday — something that four-time NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence has never experienced.
“This is something completely off-the-wall new,” Torrence said. “You won’t know who you’re running until Flo (Racing) is standing there, filming us and we draw the chip and I find out who I have to run. That emotion right there is going to run pretty hot.”
The February event will mark the first time the nitro-burning machines have raced at the Florida drag strip, located along the Gulf Coast.
“We’ve all said we want to get to a point where we can host a race like this and have cars that people only really see on TV. It’s really cool for our local fans. Pro Mod has always been our thing, but to see some of these names and some of these cars at a small, hometown track like this is just really cool. It’s rewarding,” said Bradenton track owner Victor Alvarez.
The historic facility has played host to independent events like the Snowbird Outlaw Nationals, the U.S. Street Nationals, FL2K and others throughout the years.
Along with Bradenton Motorsports Park, other partners in creating the event include the Professional Racers Owners Organization (PRO), Drag Illustrated and Flo Racing.
“We believe this is a dramatic new leap for professional drag racing,” said Alan Johnson, President, PRO. “The PRO Superstar Shootout will be unlike anything our teams have been a part of, and the result will be a one-of-a-kind show for our fans. This is an opportunity to try some new formats and to showcase our sport to a broad audience worldwide.”