We’re big fans of Drag Illustrated around here and, more specifically, its 30 Under 30 program.

If you’re not familiar, the 30 Under 30 awards recognize up-and-coming drag racing talent—and that doesn’t just mean in the driver’s seat. From mechanics to marketing and fan experience to fabrication, Drag Illustrated makes sure to acknowledge the massive scope of roles within the drag racing world. And better still, the selection criteria goes well beyond trophy count, weighing qualities like professionalism, poise, and a host of other factors before the list of honorees is finalized.

Wes Buck, founder of Drag Illustrated, tells us that his team receives thousands of applications each year, so whittling it down to 30 here isn’t an enviable task—but it’s a wonderful reminder that the drag racing talent pipeline is going strong!

You can learn more about the history of Drag Illustrated magazine and its 30 Under 30 awards in this episode of the OnAllCylinders Podcast:

As is custom, the winners are announced just prior to the annual PRI Show in Indianapolis, Indiana and there’s a big ceremony to honor each 30 Under 30 award recipient during the event. It’s a shindig that we attend every year, because it’s such a great way to applaud and energize the next generation of racers.

More importantly, the names on this list often become pretty familiar to drag racing fans over the coming years. In fact, there are already some folks here that are making big waves, like reigning NHRA PSM world champ Gaige Herrera and PDRA Extreme Pro Stock world champ Alan Drinkwater.

The entire list is below, check it out and be on the lookout for these winners in the future, we imagine we’ll be hearing from them again soon—and a hearty congratulations to everyone involved with such an amazing program!

Drag Illustrated 2023 30 Under 30 Award Recipients

  • Donnie Hagar, Million Dollar Race winner
  • Gaige Herrera, NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle world champion
  • Alan Drinkwater, PDRA Extreme Pro Stock world champion
  • Evan Salemi, Pro Mod crew member
  • Kallee Mills, Street Outlaws: No Prep Kings driver
  • Blake Denton, PDRA Super Street world champion
  • Casey Freeman, NHRA Pro Stock crew member
  • Ronny Rhodes, drag radial racer/chassis builder
  • Taylor Vetter, NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster driver
  • Chris Vang, NHRA Mountain Motor Pro Stock driver
  • Chase Van Sant, NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle rider
  • Matt Plotkin, race official, promoter
  • Garrett Mitchell, small-tire racer, track owner, automotive influencer
  • Chloe Hudson, welder/fabricator
  • Ryan Gleghorn, racer, announcer, promoter
  • Johnny Miller, Pro Mod car chief
  • Mike Costic, manufacturer representative (Read more about Mike’s story here.)
  • Cole Pesz, engine builder
  • Kayleigh Hill-Beakley, Super Comp racer
  • Marcus Butner, PDRA Pro Nitrous driver
  • Kieffer Simpson, Ultra Street racer
  • Emilee Medeisis, drag-and-drive racer
  • Bradley Dillon, import racer
  • Madison Payne, NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster driver
  • Darrel Jackson Jr., photographer
  • Alec Bledsoe, tuner and driver
  • Jndia Erbacher, FIA Top Fuel driver
  • Mac Brosnan, import racer
  • Mike Pryka, manufacturer representative, photographer
  • Sal DiDomenico, Pro Mod tuner

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