The PRO Superstar Shootout, set to take place at Bradenton Motorsports Park in the city of the same name in Florida on February 8-10, 2024 already has a title rights sponsor and has sent invitations to Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock drivers to compete in this big-money contest.
Scag Power Equipment signed, August 16, to be the title rights sponsor of the inaugural race, which will henceforth be known as the Scag Power Equipment PRO Superstar Shootout. The event will pay out in excess of $1.3 million in total prize money. “We couldn’t ask for a better partner to join us as we host the inaugural PRO Superstar Shootout,” Alan Johnson, president of the Professional Racers Owners Organization (PRO) stated. “They find value in being involved in the sport, and they’re making investments that will help take the sport to new levels. It means a lot to all of us that they believe in what we’re trying to do” with this upcoming race.
PRO and Drag Illustrated announced the invited racers for its Pro Stock part of this Superstar Shootout on August 22, including the two largest teams, Elite Motorsports and KB Titan Racing. The 16 drivers will be racing to win $125,000 over the two-day meet and, with pre-season testing customarily taking place at Bradenton, few are strangers to the facility. Alan Johnson, who has tuned cars nearly his entire adult life noted, “This is going to be a showdown among the best drivers and teams in Pro Stock.”
Invitations were tendered to drivers who will compete over the quarter-mile, with four qualifying sessions scheduled. There will be a single time trial on Thursday, Feb 8 and three the following day, that will lock in positions. Random chip draws determine the pairings in eliminations, leading up to the final round. The following KB Titan Racing drivers have been invited to this race: Greg Anderson, Dallas Glenn, Camrie Caruso, Kyle Koretsky, Matt Hartford, Deric Kramer, Eric Latino and current crew chief Dave Connolly.
Many of the invitees come from Elite Motorsports: Erica Enders, Troy Coughlin Jr., Bo Butner III, Aaron Stanfield, Fernando Cuadra, Fernando Cuadra Jr. and Cristian Cuadra. Joining them on the list of invitees are Southwest Performance’s Chris and Mason McGaha, while PRO has extended an invite to Beaver Motorsports’ Larry Morgan.
Morgan and Connolly are the two wild cards on this list, Morgan because he’s not been a regular Pro Stock competitor for a few years; he is best known for his winning staging duel with Allen Johnson at Denver several years ago when the latter driver was known as King of the Mountain at Bandimere Speedway. Connolly hasn’t driven Pro Stock competitively for a few years, too, but has immense talent, both behind the wheel and as a crew chief.
A day after unveiling the names of invited Pro Stock racers, PRO delineated the nitro racers they’ve chosen to invite for this race, which will pay $250,000 to winners in Top Fuel and Funny Car, with eight drivers qualifying to race in each class, using the 1,000-foot format. As with Pro Stock, the dragsters and floppers will have four qualifying sessions to certify their positions in the eight-car fields, with random chip draws setting pairings in eliminations. “Drag racing is obviously a super-exciting sport. These are the quickest and fastest cars in motorsports, and we’ve put together a list of drivers and teams that represent the best of Top Fuel and Funny Car,” Alan Johnson remarked. “This is an exciting opportunity for them to race using a unique format.
Top Fuel’s 13 invitees are Doug Kalitta and Shawn Langdon from Kalitta Motorsports, John Force Racing’s Brittany Force and Austin Prock, Leah Pruett of Tony Stewart Racing, Tony Schumacher from JCM Racing, Justin Ashley of Maynard Ashley Racing, AB Motorsports’ Antron Brown, Josh Hart of Josh Hart Racing, Torrence Racing’s father-and-son squad of Billy and Steve Torrence, Rick Ware Racing’s Clay Millican and Mike Salinas of Scrappers Racing.
Funny Car standouts include J.R. Todd of Kalitta Motorsports, John Force and Robert Hight from John Force Racing, Tony Stewart Racing’s Matt Hagan, Tim Wilkerson of Maynard Wilkerson Racing, Bob Tasca III, Tasca Racing, DC Motorsports’ Alexis DeJoria, Paul Lee of Paul Lee Racing, Ron Capps Motorsports owner/driver Ron Capps, Head Racing’s Blake Alexander, Cruz Pedregon of Cruz Pedregon Racing, Chad Green Motorsports’ Chad Green and Dave Richards of Paul Richards Racing.
The number of race wins and championships in these three categories is astounding at best. There are 11 Pro Stock championships represented in this initial entry list, while Top Fuel’s invitees have 18 NHRA titles between them, dwarfed by Funny Car’s 28 championships between its 13 invited drivers. As needed, there could be other names added to these lists, depending on who signs up and who demurs.