Who Won History’s Richest Drag Race? Also, Bob Tasca Posts a Record

Doug Kalitta (left lane) and Clay Millican in the Top Fuel final round. Luke Nieuwhof

The PRO Superstar Shootout, held last Saturday at Bradenton Motorsports Park south of Tampa, Florida, was the richest drag race in history, with $250,000 payouts to the Top Fuel and Funny Car winners and $125,000 to the Pro Stock winner.

A beyond-capacity crowd, drawn by big names and perfect weather, saw current NHRA Top Fuel champion Doug Kalitta take down Clay Millican in the final with a healthy 3.70-second pass at 325.14 mph. Millican had problems and slowed to 4.22 seconds at 196.39 mph.

“We’ve never really seen this kind of money, and the whole deal was it was pretty cool,” Kalitta said. “I know a lot of people worked real hard to make this happen.”

The biggest surprise was the Funny Car victory by Austin Prock, driving the John Force–owned car usually piloted by Robert Hight. Hight is having health problems and stepped away from driving for the 2024 season, leaving Prock, who has been racing Top Fuel, to take over Hight’s ride. This was his first race in a Funny Car, and he not only won the $250,000, but he qualified first. In the final round, Prock made a pass of 3.845 seconds at 332.42 mph to defeat defending NHRA world champion Matt Hagan, who ran a 3.872 at 329.75.

“I don’t even know what to say, I’m stunned. We just won the biggest payout in drag racing history,” Prock said.

In Pro Stock, the $125,000 check went to six-time NHRA season champion Erica Enders, who beat Dave Connolly in the final round with her run of 6.531 seconds at 210.05 mph to Connolly’s pass of 6.577 seconds at 208.81 mph.

“Dave Connolly and I have a lot of history and in that final round, I’d be lying if I told you my heart rate wasn’t a little bit higher than normal,” said Enders.

Still another surprise was Funny Car driver Bob Tasca III, who in Friday qualifying made a pass of 341.68 mph. It was the first time in history that a wheel-driven dragster (as opposed to a jet car) has ever topped 340 mph. That also makes the little Bradenton track, which has never hosted an event of this size before, the fastest drag strip in the county.

The PRO Superstar Shootout, organized jointly by PRO, which is the Professional Racers Organization, and the staff of Drag Illustrated magazine, was by almost any measure a success. It is the first genuinely major drag racing event in decades that wasn’t sanctioned by the NHRA.

The NHRA gets its season going at the Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway in Florida. It’s set for March 7–10.




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