People Places & Racing News

Matt Hagan Wins Back-to-Back NHRA Amalie Gatornationals Funny Car Titles

Matt Hagan
Matt Hagan

Three-time NHRA Camping World Funny Car Champion Matt Hagan scored his second straight NHRA Amalie Motor Oil Gatornationals drag-racing title last Sunday by driving his Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) Direct Connection Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car to victory at the legendary Gainesville Raceway in the 2023 NHRA season-opening national event.

Hagan, who qualified fifth Saturday in the 16-car field, defeated former NHRA World Champion J.R. Todd in the Funny Car final with a 3.926 at 329.34 mph to claim his 44th career NHRA Funny Car crown, moving him to fourth all-time in NHRA Funny Car victories. In an exciting Funny Car finale, Hagan and Todd battled side-by-side through half track before Todd’s car smoked the tires and Hagan went on to take the win light.

Hagan’s TSR Direct Connection teammate Leah Pruett recorded a strong Top Fuel performance, as the Arizona driver advanced to the semi-finals Sunday before losing to eventual race winner Mike Salinas.

The Dodge and Mopar contingent recorded another NHRA Gatornationals title last Sunday with Joe Welch driving his Dodge Challenger Drag Pak to victory in the FlexJet Factory Stock Showdown over Aaron Stanfield. Welch collected $10,000 from the Direct Connection Drag Pak contingency program for his win.

The Dodge//SRT Direct Connection racers compete March 24–26 at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Chandler, Arizona, for the NHRA Arizona Nationals.

Formula 1 Secures Austrian Grand Prix Through 2027

Formula 1 officials have announced a new four-year agreement to race in Austria until 2027. The Austrian Grand Prix returned to the FIA Formula 1 World Championship in 2014, and since then, the Red Bull Ring has welcomed millions of fans, with 303,000 supporters in attendance at last year’s sold-out event. The last race under the current agreement, set to take place June 30–July 2, will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Austrian Grand Prix’s return to the Formula 1 calendar and feature an F1 Sprint for the second consecutive year. For more information, visit

Legends Nitro Funny Cars Series Announces Nine Races for 2023

Officials with the Legends Nitro Funny Cars series have announced its schedule will feature nine events in 2023. Teams campaign Funny Cars fueled by Nitromethane with body styles from the ’60s and ’70s, ranging up to ’82 and older. Legends Nitro Funny Cars points will be allocated during six NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series events and at three NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series events before a champion will be crowned at the NHRA Nevada Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, October 26–29.

2023 Legends Nitro Funny Car Schedule:

  • March 2–5: March Meet, Bakersfield, California
  • March 30–April 2: Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals, Pomona, California
  • April 28–30: Ignitor Nitro Opener, Boise, Idaho
  • June 9–11: NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals, Bristol, Tennessee
  • June 16–18: NHRA Hot Rod Reunion, Bowling Green, Kentucky
  • August 3–6: Nightfire Nationals, Boise, Idaho
  • August 15–16, Nitro Nationals, Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • August 13–15: California Hot Rod Reunion, Bakersfield, California
  • August 26–29: NHRA Nevada Nationals, Las Vegas

Toyota, TRD Launch GR Supra Jr. Roadster for NHRA Racing  

NHRAToyota and Toyota Racing Development (TRD, U.S.A.) have unveiled the first-of-its-kind GR Supra Jr. Roadster set for National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) competition. NHRA will establish a new Jr. Roadster class for the NHRA Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League, although a launch date has yet to be set.

“The motivation behind developing the GR Supra Jr. Roadster nearly two years ago was primarily around the concept of giving families an alternative to the already-popular Jr. Dragster class within NHRA,” said Paul Doleshal, group manager of Toyota Racing. “With the Jr. Roadster, it has a shorter wheelbase compared to the dragster and, therefore, can ideally fit in the bed of a Tundra and taken to the race track. We hope that our other OEM partners in NHRA will design their own bodies for the cars and we can see them all competing very soon.”

Toyota and TRD U.S.A. worked with Half Scale Dragsters Incorporated and Antron Brown, who fields Jr. Dragsters, to create the new vehicle.   

NHRA’s Jr. Dragster class started in 1992 and has proven a popular launching point for young racers looking to start their careers in drag racing. The class currently competes at more than 130 NHRA member tracks across the country on any given week. Additional details are expected to be announced at a later date. For the complete details, visit the NHRA announcement here.

West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Fame Names Five Members for 2023

NASCAR Cup Series champions Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick, winners of nearly 100 premier division races, including the Daytona 500 and other crown jewel events, head the West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Fame’s five-member Class of 2023. In addition, the following members were also chosen via two rounds of voting:

  • Matt Crafton, a three-time NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion and winner of 15 NASCAR national series races
  • Brent Kaeding, a 13-time Northern Auto Racing Club (NARC) sprint car champion and World of Outlaws winner
  • Lyn St. James, International Motor Sports (IMSA) class winner at the Rolex 24 at Daytona and 12 Hours of Sebring; Indianapolis 500 rookie of the year; and leader of Women in Racing North America.

The inductees will be enshrined on Thursday, June 8, during an induction gala, presented by World Wide Technology Raceway, at Sonoma Raceway’s Turn 11 Club VIP/Hospitality complex. The organization will also induct its sixth Heritage class, comprised of individuals whose careers (mostly) ended before 1971. Also featured will be the 3rd Annual Kickin’ Doorz Down Philanthropist of the Year Award presented by 51FIFTY. Additional details are expected next month.

For more information, visit

For more racing news, visit Performance Racing Industry’s (PRI) website.