Pro NHRA Teams Prepare to Test in Phoenix Ahead of Opening Day


Justin Ashley Pomona 2 2021

The traditional PRO Nitro pre-season Spring Training test session is heading to Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park’s drag strip February 10-12, just a week before the Lucas Oil Winternationals start the 2022 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season. Stars from Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock will be on-hand to see if their winter adjustments are the way forward towards a championship.

Nearly 30 drivers from more than a baker’s dozen of top teams have signaled their intent to be on-site; there are nine current and former world champions who will be testing, many with new race cars, new team affiliations and new commercial partners.

PRO president Alan Johnson said the group was glad to be able to test at the Phoenix-area Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, site of the second race of the season, the NHRA Arizona Nationals, for all three Camping World classes that intend to test at the venue. “”This is an exciting time fo the year, when teams are getting ready for a new season. There were a lot of changes to many teams this off-season, so getting drivers and cars as many passes as possible will be critical,” Johnson confirmed. “We are looking forward to a great 2022 NHRA season, and this pre-season testing session is the first chance for us to show off for our fans.”

Fans will only be allowed on-site Saturday, February 12th – and then only fans who have purchased tickets to the NHRA Arizona Nationals will be permitted inside the gates of this versatile racetrack.

Those stating an intent to head to Wild Hose Pass Motorsports Park include 2021 Funny Car champion Ron Capps, who has started his own team in the off-season and retains the crew that helped him to his second NHRA Funny Car title in 2021. The entire Kalitta Motorsports contingent of Doug Kalitta and Shawn Langdon in their dragsters, together with J.R. Todd’s brand new Toyota GR Supra Funny Car that was announced last November during the season finale, intend to make the trip west from their Michigan headquarters.

John Force Pomona 2 2021

John Force Racing will be present with its three drivers: 16-time Funny Car champ John Force, three-time Flopper titleholder Robert Hight and 2017 Top Fuel champion Brittany Force. Tony Stewart Racing makes its debut with Top Fuel’s Leah Pruett and three-time Funny Car champ Matt Hagan. Also a new team owner, three-time Top Fuel champ Antron Brown will be on-site, as will eight-time dragster titleholder Tony Schumacher, at present the sole Camping World entry for Don Schumacher Racing. Mike Salinas, who finished third in the 2021 Top Fuel standings, Doug Foley, who intends to race at least the first five contests of the year will be testing.

Greg Anderson and Erica Enders 2021

Expect to see 2020 Rookie of the Year Justin Ashley, now augmenting Mike Green’s efficient Top Fuel tuning with the talents of Tommy DeLago, who helped Hagan earn his first title. Jim Maroney will be looking to up his Top Fuel game at this test. In Funny Car, expect to see two-time champion Cruz Pedregon, perennial threats Tim Wilkerson, Bob Tasca III and Paul Lee. In Pro Stock, a diverse group includes 2021 Rookie of the Year, his teammate and reigning class titleholder Greg Anderson, along with Deric Kramer, Aaron Stanfield, Rodger Brogdon, Bo Butner, Troy Coughlin Jr., Fernando Cuadra Jr., Fernando Quadra and Cristian Cuadra, the Mexican racing family having aligned with Elite Performance this year.

For this three-day test, there will be no set schedule, but gates open at 8am and teams will be able to make their passes throughout the day, with final runs beginning at about 5pm. Most drivers have indicated they intend to make at least a single pass on Saturday, when the public is on-site, but there are never guarantees on driver participation in this event. Since the Arizona Nationals were cancelled in 2021, this is the first opportunity for teams to evaluate any natural changes to the track since they last appeared on-site in 2020.

When the Lucas Oil Winternationals presented by begin at the historic LA Fairplex February 18-20, the Camping World set will have a single qualifying effort on Friday, two more passes on Saturday, while final eliminations are scheduled, weather permitting for Sunday, February 20th.


About Anne Proffit 865 Articles
Anne Proffit traces her love of racing - in particular drag racing - to her childhood days in Philadelphia, where Atco Dragway, Englishtown and Maple Grove Raceway were destinations just made for her. As a diversion, she was the first editor of IMSA’s Arrow newsletter, and now writes about and photographs sports cars, Indy cars, Formula 1, MotoGP, NASCAR, Formula Drift, Red Bull Global Rallycross - in addition to her first love of NHRA drag racing. A specialty is a particular admiration for the people that build and tune drag racing engines.

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