Organizers Stress Making Big-Money PRO Drag Racing Shootout ‘Legit’

Jackson Wheeler
5 Min Read

  • The $250,000 payday would be a huge deal to any NHRA team that comes out on top.
  • By comparison, the top single-event prize during the NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series is $80,000 for the Pep Boys All-Star Callout winners in Top Fuel and Funny Car.
  • The drag racing event will be held at Bradenton (Fla.) Motorsports Park Feb. 8-10.

Sure, the money is nice, but perception is also important says at least one organizer of the inaugural Scag Power Equipment PRO Superstar Shootout drag racing event coming to Bradenton (Fla.) Motorsports Park Feb. 8-10.

The event that is not sanctioned by the NHRA will feature a total prize purse of $1.3 million with top-prize payouts of $250,000 to winners in the Top Fuel and Funny Car divisions and $125,000 to the best that weekend in the Pro Stock division.

Organizing the event is PRO—Professional Racer Organization. The association, founded in 1991, represents a union of 33 teams and 47 drivers and serves as their liaison with the National Hot Rod Association, giving teams and drivers a voice in NHRA concerns.

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Ron Capps will be racing for the $250,000 top prize in February at Bradenton Motorsports Park.

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Make no mistake about it. The $250,000 payday would be a huge deal to any team that comes out on top. By comparison, the top single-event prize during the NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series season is $80,000 for the Pep Boys All-Star Callout winners in Top Fuel and Funny Car.

“It’s been so crazy to watch everybody jump in,” PRO member, NHRA team owner and three-time Funny Car champion Ron Capps said. “I’ve gotten to know people on the PRO board involved in this event that I really didn’t know that well beforehand. It’s been very impressive to watch everybody work so hard together when we all race each other on the racetrack.”

The format calls for one qualifying session under the lights on Thursday, Feb. 8. Three more rounds of qualifying will follow on Friday, Feb. 9. The eight qualified drivers in both Top Fuel and Funny Car and the 16 qualified drivers in Pro Stock will then draw chips to determine the pairings for Saturday eliminations.

Qualifying won’t mean anything after the first chip draw. Instead of traditional bracket racing where the elimination bracket positions are determined based on qualifying, teams won’t know who they’ll face in the next round until the chip draws after each round.

“You’re gonna have to be ready to learn on the fly who you have next,” Capps said. “A lot of the crew chiefs say they race the racetrack, but a lot of them also race the other crew chiefs. Drivers, we have to race the other driver. Everybody’s different. Whether it’s Pro Stock or the fuel cars, it’s going to be exciting for us on the grounds at Bradenton.”

Pay streaming service FloRacing will stream the three-day event.

“This event has been snowballing since the idea came up,” said Capps, who is entering his third year as a team owner. “I’m pretty pumped about it. It’s fun to hear all the ideas. But I think the format will be something that we as fans—even though we’re racers—have always thought, ‘let’s try this’ or ‘let’s try that.’ Now is going to be the chance we get to finally do that.

“We wanted to make it the largest payout in drag racing history and make it legit. I think that’s huge. Right away when it was first announced, our sponsor, NAPA Auto Parts, saw the headlines and wanted to know more about it. I think it raised a lot of eyebrows with a lot of companies.”

Headshot of Mike Pryson

Mike Pryson covered auto racing for the Jackson (Mich.) Citizen Patriot and MLive Media Group from 1991 until joining Autoweek in 2011. He won several Michigan Associated Press and national Associated Press Sports Editors awards for auto racing coverage and was named the 2000 Michigan Auto Racing Fan Club’s Michigan Motorsports Writer of the Year. A Michigan native, Mike spent three years after college working in southwest Florida before realizing that the land of Disney and endless summer was no match for the challenge of freezing rain, potholes and long, cold winters in the Motor City.

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Jackson Wheeler is a skilled editor at, specializing in automotive content. With a background in Journalism and Automotive Engineering, he combines his passion for cars with his writing expertise to deliver captivating articles. Jackson's deep knowledge of automotive technology and his racing experience make him a valuable asset to the team, providing readers with informative and engaging content.
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