The last “Duel in the Desert” is set for Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, as the final NHRA Arizona Nationals will take place on March 24-26 at the facility just outside of Phoenix.
The 38th and final NHRA Arizona Nationals marks the second race of the 2023 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season, bringing plenty of excitement and anticipation to the facility. Massive crowds are expected all weekend, as race fans will look to celebrate nearly four decades of history in Phoenix with plenty of 11,000-horsepower, 330-mph action to close out racing at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park.
The final NHRA Arizona Nationals will also include the first Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge, a special program that will take place on Saturday and offer bonus money and bonus points. It will feature the rematch of the semifinalists at the season-opening Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals, with the winners meeting up in the finals. All the action will take place during qualifying on Saturday, adding another memorable incentive to the last NHRA appearance in Phoenix.
Mike Salinas (Top Fuel), Robert Hight (Funny Car), and Aaron Stanfield (Pro Stock) all won last year in Phoenix. This year’s race will again be broadcast on FOX Sports 1 (FS1), as all the top stars in Top Fuel, Funny Car, and Pro Stock will look to pick up the final win in Phoenix and grab an early-season victory.
Salinas made a strong statement early last year, grabbing the first of his career-best four victories in 2022. He held the points lead for a stretch in the regular season, but he eventually succumbed to Brittany Force’s stellar and record-breaking 2022 campaign. She won her second world title on the strength of five wins and will look for early momentum against a loaded lineup that also includes Steve Torrence, Justin Ashley, Josh Hart, veteran Doug Kalitta, Leah Pruett, Antron Brown, Austin Prock, Tony Schumacher, and Clay Millican.
Hight enjoyed a two-race winning streak to open last year, and he’s after another Phoenix triumph in Funny Car. But it won’t be easy against the likes of Ron Capps, who has won back-to-back world titles, three-time Phoenix winner Matt Hagan, 16-time world champ John Force, J.R. Todd, Bob Tasca III, Tim Wilkerson, Alexis DeJoria, class newcomer Alex Laughlin, and Cruz Pedregon.
In Pro Stock, Stanfield will try to replicate his victory from last season and close out Phoenix in style. Standing in his way will be teammate Erica Enders, who won 10 races last year and rolled to her fifth Pro Stock world title. Others to watch include five-time world champ Greg Anderson, NHRA Rookie of the Year Camrie Caruso, Kyle Koretsky, Troy Coughlin Jr., Dallas Glenn, Bo Butner, and Phoenix-area native Matt Hartford.
The NHRA Arizona Nationals also will feature thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, featuring some of the top racers in the country. A big-tire/small-tire shootout will take place during the weekend, while fans can also look forward to exciting performances from the Little Red Fire Truck driven by Mike Mantell following nitro qualifying on Friday and the Hemi Under Glass wheelstander on Saturday. The Team “Muy Caliente” and “Wicked Sinsation” Jet Cars will also make exhibition runs, along with a fuel altered exhibition on Saturday. An autograph session will take place on Saturday at the Toyota Display with Toyota-sponsored drivers, as will a special autograph session featuring participants in the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge.
Fans will also be invited all weekend long to the Nitro Alley Stage, which will help create a festive atmosphere leading into the nitro pits. The Nitro Alley Stage will be the main entertainment hub in the pits when the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series competitors are not on the track, hosting Nitro School, meet and greets, music, and much more.
Race fans at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park can enjoy the special pre-race ceremony that introduces and celebrates each of the drivers racing for the prestigious Wally on Sunday and includes the fan-favorite SealMaster NHRA Track Walk. The final can’t-miss experience of any NHRA event is the winner’s circle celebration on Sunday after racing concludes, where fans are invited to congratulate the event winners of the last appearance in Phoenix.
As always, fans also get an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet in Phoenix. This opportunity gives fans a unique chance to see teams in action and service their hot rods between rounds, get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers, and more. Fans can also visit NHRA’s popular Nitro Alley and Manufacturers Midway, where sponsors and race vendors create an exciting atmosphere that includes interactive displays, simulated competitions, merchandise, food, and fun for the entire family.
NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature one round at 5 p.m. PT on Friday, March 24, and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, March 25, at noon and 3 p.m. The finals of the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge take place at the end of final qualifying in each category. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. PT on Sunday, March 25. Television coverage includes qualifying action on FS1 at 9:30 p.m. ET. on Friday and noon on Sunday, leading into eliminations at 7 p.m. ET.
To purchase tickets to the final NHRA Arizona Nationals, fans can visit www.NHRA.com/tickets. Children 12 and under are free in general-admission areas with the purchase of an adult ticket.