Chandler, AZ – Sellout crowds, record performances, and competitive drag racing highlighted the 2018 Drag Racing season at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park. From streetcars to 330-mph, nitromethane-burning NHRA Funny Cars, and Top Fuel Dragsters, thousands of drag racing enthusiasts navigated the dragstrip and attended events in 2018. The lightning-quick dragstrip located in the Gila River Indian Community near Chandler, AZ, hosted several events in multiple categories and racing organizations while providing racing novices a safe place to fulfill their need for speed, and children as young as five years old a head-start on their drag racing education.
The 2018 Wild Horse Pass drag racing season kicked off in early January by hosting Summit Racing Series events for Bracket racers. During the season, hundreds of racers from 18-second streetcars to low six-second, 200+ mph Top Dragsters competed in the Summit Bracket Racing Series, earning points at each event to qualify for the NHRA Division 7 Summit ET Championships hosted at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The WHPMP team sent 80 of our finest bracket racers separated in two teams to the Summit ET Finals, with both teams earning a top-10 finish among all Division 7 NHRA sanctioned tracks. Several local racers including Matt Bong, Chuck Hawk Jr., Savannah Kid, Thomas Maynard, and Mike Williams all reached the finals in their respective categories during the five-day event.
A heatwave arrived at the end of January in the form of NHRA Top Fuel Dragsters, Funny Cars, Pro Stock Cars, and Top Alcohol Funny Cars and Dragsters. WHPMP hosted the annual NHRA pre-season test session one week prior to the season-opening NHRA Winternationals contested in Pomona, Calif. The private test session gives professional drag racing teams an opportunity to ‘break-in’ new parts, train new team members, and fine-tune their set-ups. Lessons learned during the pre-season test have catapulted racers including Matt Hagan, Courtney Force, Doug Kalitta, and eventual 2018 NHRA Top Fuel World Champion Steve Torrence to early-season victories.
Wildhorse Pass also played host to the 34th annual NHRA Arizona Nationals, the second stop on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Fantastic weather, the allure of 32 of the quickest and fastest accelerating vehicles on the planet, and some of the world’s best sportsman drag racing competition drew near-capacity crowds each day – with NHRA’s first sell-out of the season occurring during on Sunday of the weekend’s festivities.
The following week in early March, WHPMP hosted the NHRA’s Pacific Division Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series first regional event of 2018, where eventual NHRA Top Dragster World Champion Paul Nero began his march to the championship by taking home the Wally.
Among the most popular events of the year were held on Friday evenings, when hundreds of local racing enthusiasts brought their cars, truck, and motorcycles to Advance Auto Parts Friday Night Drags. For only $40, anyone 18 and above with a driver’s license can bring their daily driver to the track and race down the same 1,320-foot strip as legends like John Force. Kid’s from 13 to 16 can also show up with their parents to compete in our new Jr. Street category, to safely learn how to drive a car down an NHRA sanctioned dragstrip.
2019 is poised to witness a renaissance of sorts – with new track management led by Jon Sands, Ron Conner, and Jeff Wolf; a combination of more than 125 years of motorsports experience at the helm. We have listened to our racers and patrons and strive to improve our services, facilities, and bring new and exciting events for the upcoming season.
Our primary objective at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park is to provide our local racers and motorsports enthusiasts with a safe and legal option to explore their need for speed.
As a new season approaches, we ask all of our racers, fans, and partners to follow our Facebook page as we begin to share our upcoming schedule of events. We thank you all for supporting your local dragstrip and hope to see you in 2019.