Monday, December 11, 2023

2020 NHRA Arizona Nationals Sportsman Preview

2020 NHRA Arizona Nationals Lucas Oil Sportsman Preview. Find all the latest sportsman racing news for the upcoming Arizona Nationals.

PHOENIX – With the Winternationals in the books, the NHRA traveling road show moves to Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park for the Arizona Nationals. The second event on the 24-race tour rolls into the Phoenix area February 21-23.

The NHRA Arizona Nationals will showcase nearly 300 Lucas Oil sportsman racers competing in seven different classes. The schedule includes Competition Eliminator, Super Stock, Stock Eliminator, Super Comp, Super Gas, Top Sportsman, and Top Dragster.

The three-day race schedule has the sportsman classes making two hits on Friday. Saturday is race-day as all of the Lucas Oil sportsman classes hit the track Saturday morning for first round of eliminations. While most of the sportsman classes will have two rounds of eliminations on Friday, Top Sportsman and Top Dragster will only run first round on Saturday.

The Sportsman classes will kick off Sunday morning with another round of eliminations prior to the first round of the Profession classes. The remaining rounds will be completed in between the Profession classes on Sunday afternoon.

Before we we make our 2020 Arizona Nationals predictions, let’s take a look back at last season’s event champions.

Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series

2019 NHRA Arizona Nationals Champions

Competition Eliminator – Bill Kent

Super Stock – Justin Lamb

Stock Eliminator – Cody Lane

Super Comp – Craig Anderson

Super Gas – Ron MacKenzie

Top Sportsman – Bart Smith

Top Dragster – James Warden

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2020 NHRA Arizona 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.

Competition Eliminator – 16 Car Field

Bill Kent Arizona Nationals 2019 Competition Eliminator Winner
Bill Kent wins the 2019 Comp Final

Doug Lambeck rolls into Phoenix riding a hot-streak. The talented Division 7 veteran is undefeated in his last two national events. Lambeck won both the 2019 Auto Club NHRA Finals and the 2020 Winternationals! Can he make it three-in-row?

DragChamp pick to win:

Tony Mandella – While Lambeck is on a heater, Mandella has a better track record at Phoenix, at least over the last few seasons. Look for Tony to be hanging around late Sunday afternoon.

Super Stock – 51 Car Field

Defending event champion Justin Lamb comes to Phoenix hot off a win at the Winternationals. A win this week could spell trouble for the rest of the field. Dan Fletcher has been solid at his last two nationals earning a runner-up at the Auto Club Finals and a semifinal finish at the Winternationals.

DragChamp picks to win:

Brad Burton – 2X world champ tends to run well in the desert.

Jimmy DeFrank – I know I picked him last race but this guy is a win waiting to happen.

John Calvert – The suspension expert also knows a thing or two about turning on win lights.

Stock Eliminator – 55 Car Field

Cody Lane 2019 Arizona Nationals Stock Eliminator Winner
Cody Lane – 2019 Champ

The Lane family enters Phoenix with some momentum as Cody is the defending event champion while his dad, Jeff, made a deep run at Pomona. Ryan Mangus, Randi Lyn Shipp, Al Corda, Leo Glassbrenner, along with a host of Division 7 hitters will battle for the Stock Eliminator Wally.

DragChamp picks to win:

Jody Lang – Super talented racer has a tremendous record at the desert facility.

Steve Wann – Mopar specialist is always a threat!

Larry Gilley – Has been somewhat quiet on the national event circuit, look for that to change this week.

Super Comp – 55 Car Field

Craig Anderson Super Comp Winner Arizona Nationals 2019
Craig “Big Head” Anderson – 2019 Champ

The talented 8.90 field includes the Theobald brothers who dominated the class in Pomona. It would be something if they could pull that feat off at back-to-back races! To do so, they’ll have to contend with the likes of Kevin Wright, Ed Olpin, and Ken Mostowich, all of which have enjoyed great success at the Arizona Nationals.

DragChamp picks to win:

Gabriel Torres – Would love to join his dad as a 2020 national event winner.

Trevor Larson – Talented finish line driver should welcome the sunshine after a harsh Minnesota winter!

Chad Webber – Tough racer who can flat out get it done!

Super Gas – 55 Car Field

Val Torres Winternationals Champ

Val Torres will be looking to remain undefeated in 2020 after a big win in Pomona. Greg Ventura will look to continue his hot hand after a strong start at the Winternationals.

DragChamp picks to win:

Todd Barton – Driver of the beautiful double-nickel Chevy is overdue for a big weekend.

Marko Perivolaris – Talented driver is always a threat to win.

Evan Kowalski – Almost hit the jackpot in Vegas last fall, could strike gold in Phoenix this weekend.

Top Sportsman – 27 Car Field

Bart Smith 2019 Champ – photo by Bob Johnson

Don Meziere starting the season with a win at the Winternationals over Richard Okerman. Both look to continue that momentum at Wild Horse Pass. Bo Butner is back for the second consecutive race in Top Sportsman and 2019 Mile High champ Greg Lair steps out for the first time in 2020.

DragChamp picks to win:

Phil Unruh – It’s been way too long since Phil was standing in a national event winners circle. 2020 just might change that.

Paul Mitsos – The Mountain View Tire owner should be in the mix on Sunday.

Top Dragster – 35 Car Field

James Warden 2019 Arizona Nationals Top Dragster Winner

Paul Nero will look to double up after winning in Pomona. To do so, he’ll have to battle against the likes of Ed Olpin, Jeff Taylor, Zach Sackman, and more.

DragChamp picks to win:

Jeff Taylor – Cashed for $50K in Tucson in the fall, an Arizona Nationals Wally would be a great addition to that big check!

Linzi Theobald Meserve – Goes rounds everywhere, could carry the momentum from her brothers’ Winternationals success to a win this week.

DragChamp is your source for NHRA Lucas Oil sportsman drag racing news and drag race results. Follow DragChamp for daily updates throughout the weekend.

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