The 10th round of the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series sees the sport’s top teams and drivers visit a facility they haven’t seen since 2009. Announced at the end of January, Virginia Motorsports Park hosts the Virginia NHRA Nationals this weekend, and will feature all four of the series’ top classes—including the return of Pro Stock Motorcycle for the first time since 1998.
With the sport in the middle of a four-week stretch of consecutive events, we’re beginning to get a handle on who this year’s championship contenders and pretenders are. As we look forward to Sunday’s eliminations after two exciting days of qualifying runs on Friday and Saturday, we’ll be monitoring these storylines from the first round to the final:
How exciting is it for the NHRA to return to Virginia Motorsports Park?
After being absent from the NHRA schedule for nearly a decade, Virginia Motorsports Park beat out a number of potential venues to secure this race weekend when Old Bridge Township Raceway Park abruptly stopped hosting drag racing. Some of the sport’s top drivers have competed here in the past, with John Force taking four Funny Car victories here in previous seasons, but with a brand new track surface, it’ll be like any other first-time event at a new venue, and anyone’s guess as to who might win.
Can Clay Millican complete the Top Fuel hat trick?
Two decades into his drag racing career, Millican has begun to find remarkable form. After taking the long-awaited first win of his Top Fuel tenure last season, Millican comes into Richmond after earning back-to-back victories at Heartland Motorsports Park and Route 66 Raceway to triple his career count in the span of just a few weeks. Now only 25 points back of championship leader Steve Torrence, Millican appears poised to make it one hell of a fight for this year’s Top Fuel title.
How many Pro Stock winners will we see in 2018?
With eight winners in nine races so far this year, the Pro Stock field might be the most evenly matched class in NHRA right now. Only Vincent Nobile has repeated as a winner so far, while incoming points leader Greg Anderson joins other top names like Drew Skillman and Jason Line as winless drivers who nonetheless hold top 10 spots in the standings. Anderson’s consistency and Skillman’s three semifinal appearances so far have them knocking on the door; Line, meanwhile, won here in 2006.