Monday, July 22, 2024

NHRA Sonoma Nationals Sportsman Preview

Lucas Oil Sportsman preview for the NHRA Sonoma Nationals.

SONOMA – The NHRA traveling road show heads to wine country this week for the second leg of the three-race Western Swing. The NHRA Somona Nationals at Sonoma Raceway has full fields in basically every class this week (Super Stock is 1 car short of the quota).

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The event follows a successful Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series double-header at the same facility last weekend. With racers getting the chance to pick up three races in a 10-day span at the same track they came out in droves. The LODRS event had over 550 participants. And a large portion of those racers stayed for this week’s national event.

Robert Nabor 2018 Sonoma Super Comp winner
Robert Nabor

The NHRA Sonoma Nationals will showcase 315 Lucas Oil sportsman racers competing in seven different classes. The schedule includes Super Stock, Stock Eliminator, Super Comp, Super Gas, Super Street, Top Sportsman, and Top Dragster.

Racers will have two hits on Friday before moving into three rounds of eliminations on Saturday. Sunday’s schedule includes the final three rounds to crown the champions.


Top Sportsman and Top Dragster racers will have three qualifying attempts on Friday. They will see two rounds of eliminations on Saturday and finish up the final three rounds on Sunday.

Before we move into our pre-race predictions, let’s recap the winners from last year’s event.

Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series

2018 NHRA Sonoma Nationals Champions

Super Stock – Don Keen

Stock Eliminator – Leo Glasbrenner

Super Comp – Robert Nabor

Super Gas – Matt Blodgett

Top Sportsman – Ken Ratzloff

Top Dragster – John Richardson

2019 NHRA Sonoma Nationals Predictions

With each NHRA national event DragChamp’s sportsman preview includes an overview of each class. In addition, we select the DragChamp Picks to win the race. Here are this week’s picks.

Super Stock – 49 Car Field

Three racers who finished in the Top 10 nationally last year are in attendance including World Champ Justin Lamb, Jimmy DeFrank, and Mike Cotten. Division 6 champ Jody Lang and the Terminator Peter Biondo are also on the entry list.

2018 Super Stock final Sonoma
2018 Super Stock Final

Jon Irving and Ryan Mangus will look to capitalize on the momentum they have from last week’s LODRS. These two met in both the Super Stock and Stock finals on Sunday. A very rare feat for sure.

DragChamp picks to win:

Peter Biondo – I don’t get a lot of opportunities to pick this guy so I’ll take my shot while I can. Hard to bet against Peter.

Jimmy DeFrank – After a win in Race #1 last week, look for DeFrank to carry that momentum into the national.

Ryan Mangus – This guy keeps ending up in final rounds. Great driver with top-notch equipment. Should be a tough out this week.

Stock Eliminator – 54 Car Field

To one up Super Stock, four of last year’s national Top 10 finishers are on the ground at Sonoma. Jeff Taylor, Joe Sorensen, Ryan Mangus, and Jody Lang top the entry list.

2018 Stock Final Round Sonoma
2018 Stock Final Round

DragChamp picks to win:

Jody Lang – Hard to bet against this guy on the West Coast. Look for Jody to avenge last year’s final round loss.

Brad Burton – Former world champ has been stout this year.

Justin Lamb – Coming off a win last week should have this guy hungry for more.

Super Comp – 50 Car Field

2018 World Champ Steve Williams is in the house! With a runner up finish in the LODRS event on Sunday, he should have some momentum heading into the national.

2018 Super Comp final Sonoma
2018 Super Comp Final

The guy he lost too, Val Torres, moved into 2nd place in the national standings with his victory. A big weekend in Sonoma could catapult him into the lead.

DragChamp picks to win:

Marko Perivolaris – This kid has been on fire winning everything in sight. He made three finals in two days at the Western States bracket race recently.

Ken Mostowich – The doorcar racer loves beating up on the dragsters.

Kevin Wright – Starter the year on a roll. I expect him to pick up where he left off starting this week.

Super Gas – 50 Car Field

The Super Gas field is about as deep as they come. I’m not sure there’s a duck in the field at Sonoma. Even Pro Stock racer Bo Butner is entered in the class. We’ll see if Bo knows 9.90 racing!

2018 Super Gas final Sonoma
2018 Super Gas Final

DragChamp picks to win:

Casey Plaizier – Continues to perform great everywhere he goes.

Matt Blodgett – Two-time 2018 national event winner and defending event champ. Enough said!

Rick Beckstrom – Former world champ is due for a big win.

Super Street – 40 Car Field

Normally Super Street is harder for me to pick as it’s usually more regional names and I rarely know many of them. This week it’s going to be tough to pick but for a different reason. There are too many great racers entered in the 10.90 class. We’ll do our best though.

DragChamp picks to win:

Peter Biondo – Because he’s the Terminator!

Greg Ventura – The K&N Chevy duece is one of the best on the West Coast.

Ryan Giacone – Division champ is always a player in the 10.90 class.

Top Sportsman – 36 Car Field

Another class that is loaded with talented racers. Most of which have won championships and nationals previously. For the first time in what seems like forever, there will be a bump in the fast doorslammer class. It should make qualifying interesting.

Ken Ratzloff Top Sportsman winner 2018 sonoma nats
Ken Ratzloff 2018 Event Winner

DragChamp picks to win:

Richard Okerman – I gotta stick with the hot hand and Okerman has the momentum.

Bart Smith – Started the year with back-to-back wins. A win would give him a perfect score on the national side.

Top Dragster – 36 Car Field

Like Top Sportsman, the fast dragster class will actually have a bump spot this week. Both Paul Nero and Ed Olpin are coming off of big wins last week. We’ll see if they can go back-to-back this week.

2018 Top Dragster Final Sonoma
2018 Top Dragster Final

DragChamp picks to win:

Mike Coughlin – Team JEGS pulled off back-to-back wins at the Indy and Chicago LODRS events recently.

Steve Casner – Talented racer who can drive the wheels off of anything.

That’s a wrap on the Sportsman preview for the NHRA Sonoma Nationals. Follow DragChamp for complete race coverage from Sonoma. DragChamp is your source for NHRA sportsman drag racing.

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