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CHANDLER, Ariz. (April 03, 2024) – Racing a full Mission Foods NHRA Drag Racing Series schedule for the first time this season, Dave Richards and his Versatran / Bluebird Funny Car team will make their first attempt down Firebird Motorsports Park at this weekend’s NHRA Arizona Nationals.

Richards enters this weekend sitting 17th in points standings after qualifying No. 14 out of 21 cars and having a first-round exit at the weather worn NHRA Winternationals. Their performance was an improvement from the Versatran / Bluebird team’s season debut at the NHRA Gatornationals where they narrowly missed making the 16-car field as the No. 17 qualifiers.

“We’re improving, that’s what matters. And we’re improving in ways that don’t necessarily show up on the track. This Versatran / Bluebird team, the guys, they’re working hard and really getting into the groove of working together weekend after weekend,” Richards said. “We’re just reaching race number three. We have the time and resources to make changes on the car, see what works. I know that I appreciate being able to end a weekend, take a deep breath, evaluate and then be ready to move onto the next race.”

While Richards, like his SCAG Racing teammate Daniel Wilkerson, has not made a pass as a driver down Firebird Motorsports Park, he has worked the race as a crew member.

“I’ve been to Firebird years ago. I was working on Bobby and Dom Lagana’s dragster crew. Dom was driving, it was before Nitro Ninja,” Richards said. “It was a longtime ago, time flies but I remember the track, it was a cool place. I’m excited to be headed back there, this time in the driver’s seat.”

Nitro competition at the NHRA Arizona Nationals begins with three rounds of qualifying Friday at 4:30 p.m. and Saturday at noon and 3:00 p.m. Eliminations are slated for Sunday at 11:00 a.m. Television coverage of the event will be on FOX Sports 1 (FS1) beginning with qualifying shows Friday at 9:30 p.m. and Sunday at 10:30 a.m. ET. Eliminations for the NHRA Arizona Nationals will air Sunday at 6:30 p.m. ET.

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