Northern California Wine Country Goes Full Drag(Racing) With NHRA Sonoma Weekend

This weekend's Denso NHRA Sonoma Nationals in Sonoma, California, will be a huge test for teams to adjust to the radically different conditions.
NHRA 6 photos
Last weekend's first race of one of motor racing's most iconic trifectas, the NHRA Western Swing, took place at a mile-high altitude. Just four days later, teams find themselves at just above sea level and facing huge differences in horsepower and speed due to the cool, dense air of Sonoma and the warm grip on the track surface.

Fresh off of wins last weekend, Top Fuel’s Leah Pruett, Funny Car’s Robert Hight, and Pro Stock’s Matt Hartford will all be looking to finish the weekend still standing in terms of sweeping the Western Swing. There will be two qualifying sessions on Saturday and Sunday’s final.

With the Western Swing aside, Top Fuel, Mile Salinas’ Scrappers Racing Pep Boys Top Fuel dragster is having the best season of his career and leads second-place driver Brittany Force by ten points in the championship fight.

Force will be looking to capitalize on her qualifying success into a race this weekend. If she succeeds, she would stop Pruett from Sweeping the Swing and allow her to pass Salinas in the points standings.

The Funny Car division has Robert Hight leading second-place driver Matt Hagan by 95 points. No strangers to one another on the strip, Hagan’s Hellcat Charger and Hight’s Camaro will be the ones to watch at Sonoma.

Pro Stock's return to Western-Swing sweeping potential after not running in Denver in 2021 means their big-block motors are going from asphyxiation to breathable, abundant air. Matt Hartford is the racer to watch with his momentum toward the 'sweep,' Points leader Erica Enders may have something to say about his ambitions.

Pro Stock Motorcycle racers are not eligible for the Western Swing, but they are worth watching. Matt Smith is a solid contender who will be challenged by Andrew Hines and Eddie Krawiec.


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