In mid-1994, NHRA announced that Virginia Motorsports Park (VMP) would be the newest sanctioned facility to host a national event. It was the first new national-event destination since Heartland Motorsports Park in Topeka made the schedule in 1989.
According to a series of articles in Virginia’s Daily Press in 1994 and 1995, Pro Stock driver Don Beverley and four partners began building VMP in 1993 on the site that former NASCAR team owner Warner Hodgdon had intended to shape into a superspeedway in the late 1970s. Beverley and his partners worked with NHRA to secure a date on the championship series schedule, and the inaugural Virginia Nationals took place June 2-4, 1995.
The first NHRA drivers to win trophies at VMP were Cory McClenathan (Top Fuel), John Force (Funny Car), Warren Johnson (Pro Stock), Dave Schultz (Pro Stock Motorcycle), Jay Payne (Top Alcohol Dragster), Bob Newberry (Top Alcohol Funny Car), Bo Nickens (Comp), Mike Saye (Super Stock), Dave Casey (Stock), John Visner (Super Comp), and Robert Guido (Super Gas).
The occurrence of the event was start-and-stop on the schedule after that, running consecutively from 1995 until 2000, then again in 2006, 2007, and 2009 before a pause until NHRA national event action resumed in 2018. But even then, VMP was robbed of getting a whole bunch of momentum rolling. Like many racetracks across the country, it was impacted during the last two season by the COVID-19 pandemic; the 2022 event marks the first NHRA national event here since 2019. The track staff here, from top to bottom, have their heart in making this event a success.
Some standout scorecard observances from previous NHRA national events at Virginia Motorsports Park:
Dan Fletcher has been a perfect three-for-three in final rounds at VMP: in 2008, he won the Super Stock trophy after claiming titles in Stock in 2007 and 2000.
Recent Charlotte Four-Wide winner Joe Lisa was runner-up at VMP in Stock in 2019 and runner-up in Super Stock in 2018.
Tom Goldman was runner-up in Super Gas at the event in 1996 and won the race 23 years later, at the 2019 rendition of the Virginia Nationals.
Bo Butner, who won Pro Stock in Virginia in 2019, nearly doubled that year. He was also a finalist in the Factory Stock Showdown.
Former Factory Stock champion Drew Skillman won here the last time the NHRA pro series was in town. His dad, Bill Skillman, is carrying the load for the Skillman family name this weekend, and Dad’s been effective in his charge lately. He was runner-up in Comp and won the Factory Stock title two weeks ago in Charlotte.
Catch up on the results from the Virginia NHRA Nationals at DragRaceCentral.com.
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