Langdon, Tasca, Enders & Herrera Take No. 1 Spot at PlayNHRA Virginia Nationals

Top Pro Stock qualifier Erica Enders

Dinwiddie, Va. (June 22, 2024) – Top Fuel’s Shawn Langdon closed out qualifying with the quickest run of the day on Saturday at Virginia Motorsports Park, taking the No. 1 spot at the PlayNHRA Virginia Nationals.

Bob Tasca III (Funny Car), Erica Enders (Pro Stock) and Gaige Herrera (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also qualified No. 1 at the ninth of 20 races during the 2024 NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series season.

On a day where the NHRA pro categories all made three qualifying runs on Saturday for the first time ever, Langdon went 3.872-seconds at 319.82 mph in his 11,000-horsepower Kalitta Air dragster in the final round of qualifying, giving the former world champion his second No. 1 qualifier of the season and the 21st in his standout career. The veteran is also looking for his first career win at Virginia Motorsports Park, opening eliminations against Lex Joon.

“In the first couple of runs, we just were off a little bit. You’re dealing with 150-degree track temperature, so it's just getting everything right,” Langdon said. “This track is so good and so smooth that, unfortunately, these hot conditions don’t do this track much justice for how good it really is. So we're tiptoeing down the track. It’s crazy how much we’ve got these things backed up and it's just a matter of getting everything in sync.”

Reigning world champ and points leader Doug Kalitta is qualified second with a 3.883 at 318.69 and Tony Stewart, who is in his debut season in the Top Fuel ranks, qualified third with a 3.885 at 317.79.

In Funny Car, Bob Tasca III made the most of the final qualifying session to finish off an impressive day, as Tasca’s 4.024 at 320.74 in his 11,000-horsepower Ford Performance Mustang Dark Horse gave the veteran his 17th career No. 1 qualifier and first this season. No Funny Car made a 3-second run in the heat, but Tasca put together three solid runs to give him confidence heading into raceday. He’ll face off with Dave Richards to open eliminations and is thrilled with the progress his team made this weekend.

“To bring home a win, you got to go down the racetrack, and if you don't get on the racetrack, you're going to lose. Anyone out here is going to beat you,” Tasca said. “You have to have good decision-making, but it makes it a whole lot easier to make those decisions when you have a day like you had today because we can fall back on a baseline. We look at tire temperature and wasn't on the edge. We can we push, but you have to pick your moments depending on who you're racing, You've got to go down the racetrack and Todd (Okuhara) and Aaron (Brooks) t know how to do that.

Chad Green qualified second with a 4.024 at 320.13 and points leader Austin Prock qualified third with a 4.027 at 318.84.

Looking for her 50th career national event victory, Pro Stock’s Erica Enders blistered the track on Saturday at Virginia Motorsports Park, taking the No. 1 spot with a standout run of 6.586 at 209.56 in her Johnson’s Horsepowered Garage/Melling Performance/Scag Power Equipment car. That took place during the opening session and nobody could top that throughout Saturday’s three sessions as the defending and six-time world champion claimed her fourth No. 1 qualifier of 2024 and the 38th in her career. On Sunday, she’ll open eliminations against Kenny Delco with her 50th national event victory – and her first win at Virginia Motorsports Park – just four win lights away.

“We knew he first session was going to be the good session and put a lot of emphasis on that because it's just going to get progressively worse throughout the day, and we needed to make a good hit first round, and fortunately, my guys are good enough to be able to do that,” Enders said.

“It's tough out there. Everybody's going through the same stuff, but you have to mindful what you put in your body and then being adequately hydrated and keeping your core body temperature down when the cockpit temperatures are over 150 degrees.”

Eric Latino went a strong 6.590 at 208.97 to qualify second, while Deric Kramer’s 6.596 at 208.59 gave him the third position.

On the hunt for history this weekend, Pro Stock Motorcycle’s Gaige Herrera threw down something spectacular to open qualifying on Saturday, going 6.703 at 200.83 on his RevZilla/Mission Foods/Vance & Hines Suzuki. That set the track E.T. record and handed the defending world champion his third No. 1 qualifier this year and the 17th in his career. More importantly, it puts Herrera in a great spot to potentially make more NHRA history.

He's currently tied with legendary Pro Stock driver Bob Glidden for the most consecutive wins (9) and round wins (35) in NHRA history and can set the new mark with a memorable Saturday at a track that has served him well throughout his career.

“To be honest, on that 6.70, we were expecting a .72. We just happened to catch it before it really got hot out there today,” Herrera said. “Obviously these are the kinds of conditions we will be racing tomorrow., so we're going in there with a lot of confidence.

“If I can (break the record), it's going to be awesome. I'm happy with just tying Bob Glidden and to have my name in the same sentence as Bob. If I do it, that it'd be awesome, but going into tomorrow, no, I'm not thinking about it.”

Herrera’s teammate, Richard Gadson, took second with a 6.763 at 198.96 and defending event winner Matt Smith qualified third after going 6.788 at 200.80.

Eliminations for the PlayNHRA Virginia Nationals begin at 12 p.m. on Sunday at Virginia Motorsports Park.


Dinwiddie, Va. -- Sunday's first-round pairings for eliminations for the Fourth annual PlayNHRA Virginia Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park, the ninth of 20 events in the NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series. Pairings based on results in qualifying, which ended Saturday. DNQs listed below pairings.

Top Fuel :
1. Shawn Langdon, 3.872 seconds, 319.82 mph vs. 16. Lex Joon, broke;
2. Doug Kalitta, 3.883, 318.69 vs. 15. Cameron Ferre, 5.381, 138.44;
3. Tony Stewart, 3.885, 317.79 vs. 14. Clay Millican, 4.326, 203.43;
4. Shawn Reed, 3.890, 319.67 vs. 13. Tony Schumacher, 4.261, 206.83;
5. Antron Brown, 3.903, 318.62 vs. 12. Billy Torrence, 4.034, 247.43;
6. Jasmine Salinas, 3.912, 313.51 vs. 11. Brittany Force, 3.966, 316.97;
7. Josh Hart, 3.923, 319.90 vs. 10. Dan Mercier, 3.955, 296.50;
8. Steve Torrence, 3.938, 317.87 vs. 9. Justin Ashley, 3.950, 311.70. 

Funny Car :
1. Bob Tasca III, Ford Mustang, 4.024, 320.74 vs. 16. Dave Richards, Toyota Camry, 4.476, 268.28;
2. Chad Green, Mustang, 4.024, 320.13 vs. 15. Mike Smith, Mustang, 4.292, 285.77;
3. Austin Prock, Chevy Camaro, 4.027, 318.84 vs. 14. Cruz Pedregon, Dodge Charger, 4.192, 239.44;
4. Blake Alexander, Mustang, 4.047, 311.99 vs. 13. Buddy Hull, Charger, 4.185, 307.79;
5. John Force, Camaro, 4.048, 314.83 vs. 12. Terry Haddock, Mustang, 4.148, 269.24;
6. Alexis DeJoria, Toyota GR Supra, 4.058, 313.00 vs. 11. Ron Capps, GR Supra, 4.130, 305.08;
7. J.R. Todd, GR Supra, 4.069, 312.13 vs. 10. Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.129, 306.88;
8. Daniel Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.071, 307.30 vs. 9. Paul Lee, Charger, 4.103, 307.02. 
Did Not Qualify: 17. Jim Campbell, 8.902, 98.26. 

Pro Stock :
1. Erica Enders, Chevy Camaro, 6.586, 209.62 vs. 16. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 7.308, 152.76;
2. Eric Latino, Camaro, 6.590, 208.97 vs. 15. Brandon Miller, Dodge Dart, 6.883, 198.38;
3. Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.596, 208.59 vs. 14. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.691, 207.94;
4. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.608, 206.92 vs. 13. Troy Coughlin Jr., Camaro, 6.676, 206.83;
5. Aaron Stanfield, Camaro, 6.611, 208.52 vs. 12. Val Smeland, Camaro, 6.666, 207.02;
6. Dallas Glenn, Camaro, 6.612, 208.26 vs. 11. Mason McGaha, Camaro, 6.654, 208.07;
7. Jerry Tucker, Camaro, 6.621, 208.26 vs. 10. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.642, 208.10;
8. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.626, 208.84 vs. 9. Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 6.630, 208.17. 

Pro Stock Motorcycle :
1. Gaige Herrera, Suzuki, 6.703, 200.83 vs. 14. Chris Bostick, Suzuki, 11.380, 70.27;
2. Richard Gadson, Suzuki, 6.763, 198.96 vs. 13. Eiji Kawakami, EBR, 7.183, 186.18;
3. Matt Smith, Buell, 6.767, 200.86 vs. 12. Angie Smith, Buell, 7.044, 165.19;
4. Chase Van Sant, Suzuki, 6.794, 198.17 vs. 11. Ron Tornow, Victory, 6.959, 194.66;
5. John Hall, Beull, 6.795, 198.58 vs. 10. Kelly Clontz, Suzuki, 6.933, 195.48;
6. Hector Arana Jr, EBR, 6.796, 199.91 vs. 9. Marc Ingwersen, EBR, 6.885, 195.53;
7. Jianna Evaristo, Buell, 6.842, 200.02 vs. 8. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.859, 195.70. 

John Force Racing Sweeps Mission #2Fast2Tasty Challenge at Richmond; Anderson And M. Smith Also Get Wins

Dinwiddie, Va. (June 22, 2024) – John Force Racing swept the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge for the first time on Saturday at Virginia Motorsports Park, as Brittany Force won in Top Fuel and Austin Prock picked up the victory in Funny Car in the specialty race as part of this weekend’s PlayNHRA Virginia Nationals.

Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also won the specialty race at the ninth of 20 races during the 2024 NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series season.

Force won the Top Fuel Mission #2Fast2Tasty Challenge for the first time in her standout career, going 3.966-seconds at 316.97 mph in her 11,000-horsepower Chevrolet dragster to defeat Tony Schumacher in the finals. It was a welcome turn of events for Force, who has struggled for the bulk of the 2024 season. She is the defending event winner in Richmond, breaking track records in 2022, and again found success at the facility on Saturday.

“This is big for us, just because we've been struggling for so long, and to be able to win this Mission Foods Challenge is huge for our team,” Force said. “We need it just to keep us moving forward, keep us pumped up. We've stayed motivated for all of it through last season and coming into this season. Every week, we come out here we you know, we push as hard as we can, and we still feel like we're going to win this thing. To be able to bring home this win for this team is huge. We all definitely needed it and we're excited about race day tomorrow.”

In Funny Car, points leader Austin Prock stayed red-hot, winning the Mission #2Fast2Tasty Challenge for the third time this season and the second straight race, again defeating his boss, John Force, in the final round with a run of 4.037 at 315.93 in his 11,000-horsepower Cornwell Tools Chevrolet Camaro SS. It furthers Prock’s incredible Funny Car rookie season, as he continues to showcase just how well his car, tuned by his father, Jimmy Prock, can run in any condition. Prock also doubled-up two weeks ago in Bristol and will try to do the same on Sunday.

"We definitely struggled as an organization last year in this (Mission) deal, so this is nice to see, it kind of changes the tide to be racking up a lot of points,” Prock said. “I've been having fun racing, my boss. He's got me one or two times, and I think I've got him two times and it's always good when it's an all-JFR final round because you know you're going home with the tortilla chips.”

Greg Anderson won the Mission #2Fast2Tasty Challenge in Pro Stock for the first time in his career, knocking off longtime rival Erica Enders in the final round of the specialty event with a run of 6.626 at 206.80 in his Chevrolet Camaro. Anderson had a brilliant .004 reaction time and held off Enders’ 6.627 at the finish line to pick up the bonus points and bonus purse with the win. He knocked off Dallas Glenn to reach the finals against Enders. It was a thrilling moment for Anderson, who will now try to win a national event at Virginia Motorsports Park for the first time in his career.

“I’m not quite sure how I pulled off that reaction time but I'll take it,” Anderson said. “Obviously, it's fantastic. Racing on Saturday is so exciting to us and it's like qualifying becomes kind of a second act for us, so it's making me very competitive, and that feels great. I love racing this (Mission #2Fast2Tasty Challenge) deal and I just wish I'd done better in the past but doesn't matter now: I finally got a win.”

Pro Stock Motorcycle’s Matt Smith earned his second straight in the Mission #2Fast2Tasty Challenge, defeating Richard Gadson in the final round with a solid run of 6.767 at 200.86 on his Denso Auto Parts/Matt Smith Racing Buell. The six-time world champion disposed of both Vance & Hines bikes on Saturday, defeating points leader Gaige Herrera in the semifinals before getting past Gadson a round later. Smith, who is also the defending event winner at Virginia Motorsports Park, will look to carry that momentum into Sunday, where he’s looking to win for the first time this season and end Herrera’s NHRA record-tying streak of nine straight wins.

“We knocked off Gaige (Herrera) in the first round and then we beat the other Vance & Hines bike with Richard (Gadson), so all in all great weekend so far,” Smith said. “I just keep rolling and trying to do the best I can to keep the momentum going, but we’ve got a really good bike. This Denso bike is strong. and it's mean. We've been working on bike but it's hard to control the tire when it gets hot but we're doing a pretty good job of it so far.”

Eliminations for the PlayNHRA Virginia Nationals begin at 12 p.m. on Sunday at Virginia Motorsports Park.


#2Fast2Tasty Challenge Results:

Dinwiddie, Va.:
Saturday's final results from the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge at the Fourth annual PlayNHRA Virginia Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park. 

Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Top Fuel Challenge:
Brittany Force, 3.966 seconds, 316.97 mph def. Tony Schumacher, 4.261 seconds, 206.83 mph. 

Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Funny Car Challenge:
Austin Prock, Chevy Camaro, 4.037, 315.93 def. John Force, Camaro, 4.048, 314.83. 

Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Pro Stock Challenge:
Greg Anderson, Chevy Camaro, 6.626, 206.80 def. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.627, 208.26. 

Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle Challenge:
Matt Smith, Buell, 6.767, 200.86 def. Richard Gadson, Suzuki, 6.889, 180.45. 

Dinwiddie, Va.:
Final round-by-round results from the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge at the Fourth annual PlayNHRA Virginia Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park.

Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Top Fuel Challenge:
Round One:
Tony Schumacher, 4.405, 192.30 def. Clay Millican, 4.688, 163.18; Brittany Force, 3.984, 308.14 def. Doug Kalitta, Foul - Red Light;
B. Force, 3.966, 316.97 def. T. Schumacher, 4.261, 206.83. 

Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Funny Car Challenge:
Round One:
Austin Prock, Chevy Camaro, 4.122, 315.34 def. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 4.140, 298.01; John Force, Camaro, 4.138, 303.98 def. J.R. Todd, Toyota GR Supra, 4.597, 193.24;
A. Prock, 4.037, 315.93 def. J. Force, 4.048, 314.83. 

Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Pro Stock Challenge:
Round One:
Greg Anderson, Chevy Camaro, 6.627, 208.84 def. Dallas Glenn, Camaro, 8.540, 93.95; Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.614, 209.62 def. Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 6.666, 208.10;
G. Anderson, 6.626, 206.80 def. E. Enders, 6.627, 208.26. 

Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle Challenge:
Round One:
Richard Gadson, Suzuki, 6.846, 198.55 def. Jianna Evaristo, Buell, Foul - Red Light; Matt Smith, Buell, 6.790, 200.71 def. Gaige Herrera, Suzuki, 6.795, 199.58;
M. Smith, 6.767, 200.86 def. R. Gadson, 6.889, 180.45.


For Immediate Release

John Davison

Long-time RIS staffer, beginning in the mid-80s. Charlotte, NC area local contact.

Read More on Drag Racing press releases
Volume 2024, Issue 6, Posted 9:28 PM, 06.22.2024