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Local actor, student Noah Van Ess to sing national anthem at NHRA Midwest Nationals Sunday morning

September 28, 2022, St. Louis – Local actor and student Noah Van Ess will sing the national anthem to kick off Sunday’s eliminations at World Wide Technology Raceway’s NHRA Midwest Nationals for the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series.

Van Ess is a senior at Lindbergh High School and has been an active member in the St. Louis youth theater community for many years. He has participated in a wide variety of productions in St. Louis, including: “The Sound of Music” and “Sweeney Todd” at The MUNY, “Bright Star” at Visitation Academy, and “Titanic: The Musical” at the Gateway Center for Performing Arts.

Van Ess studies voice and piano with Dr. Philip A. Woodmore and enjoys composition and orchestration. Recently, he won second place in the 12th annual St. Louis Teen Talent Competition at The Fox.

“I am incredibly honored to make my debut performing our national anthem and would like to thank World Wide Technology Raceway and The MUNY’s Tali Allen and Kwofe Coleman,” said Van Ess.

Pre-race ceremonies will begin Sunday at 9:30 a.m.

The world’s quickest and fastest race cars have arrived at WWTR in Madison, Illinois, for this weekend’s NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series Midwest Nationals. The series’ premier classes are Top Fuel Dragster and Funny Car, powered by nitromethane-burning  12,000-horsepower engines that rocket the cars from zero to more than 330 miles per hour in less than four seconds.

Every ticket is a pit pass and fans are encouraged to meet their favorite drivers while watching the race teams work on the cars and motorcycles. Attractions include the manufacturers midway, interactive displays and a classic car show. Spectator gates will open each day at 8 a.m.

Some of the world’s biggest names in professional drag racing will compete this weekend, including:

  • Five-time WWTR winner and three-time NHRA champion Antron Brown (Top Fuel Dragster).
  • Three-time WWTR Top Fuel Dragster winner Steve Torrence, a four-time NHRA champion.
  • Legendary Funny Car pilot John Force, a 16-time champion with three WWTR wins.
  • Five-time WWTR Pro Stock winner Erica Enders (four NHRA crowns).
  • Two-time NHRA Funny Car champion Ron Capps (four WWTR final-round wins).

Tickets may be purchased at the WWTR ticket office, by phone at (618) 215-8888, or online at www.wwtraceway.com.  Kids 12 and under are free when accompanied by an adult in select sections. Although they are admitted free, each child must have a ticket. (Please call the ticket office for details.)

Friday, September 30

7:30 a.m. – Parking lots open.

8 a.m. – Spectator gates open.

8 a.m.-5:30 p.m. – Sportsman qualifying.

4 p.m. – Pro Mods.

6 p.m. – Pro Stock Motorcycle, Pro Stock Car qualifying.

7 p.m. – Top Fuel Dragster and Funny Car qualifying.

Fireworks immediately after the final pair of Top Fuel cars, followed by a concert by country music artist Tim Dugger.


Saturday, October 1

7:30 a.m. – Parking lots open.

8 a.m. – Spectator gates open.

8 a.m. – Sportsman eliminations.

12:30 p.m. – Pro Mod qualifying.

1:30 p.m. — Pro Stock Motorcycle, Pro Stock Car qualifying.

2:30 p.m. — Top Fuel Dragster and Funny Car qualifying.

3:45 p.m. – Pro Mods.

4:30 p.m. — Pro Stock Motorcycle, Pro Stock Car qualifying.

5:30 p.m. — Top Fuel Dragster and Funny Car qualifying.

Sportsman eliminations continue until approximately 8 p.m.


Sunday, October 2

7:30 a.m. – Parking lots open.

8 a.m. – Spectator gates open.

9:30 a.m. – Pre-race ceremonies.

10:30 a.m. – First round of Top Fuel Dragster and Funny Car eliminations.

12:45 p.m. – Second round of Top Fuel Dragster and Funny Car eliminations.

2:15 p.m. – Third round of Top Fuel Dragster and Funny Car eliminations.

3:30 p.m. – Final round of eliminations.

4 p.m. – Victory lane celebration.



About World Wide Technology Raceway

World Wide Technology Raceway (WWTR) is the only track in the world to host the premier series of NASCAR, INDYCAR, and NHRA . Located just five minutes from downtown St. Louis and covering more than 600 acres, WWTR is the largest outdoor entertainment facility in the area. WWTR’s facilities include a 1/4-mile drag strip, 1.25-mile superspeedway, 2.0-mile road course, the Gateway Kartplex (a state-of-the-art karting facility), and the adjacent Gateway National Golf Links. WWTR and owner Curtis Francois have been recognized with several awards, including: 2021 Comcast Community Champion of the Year; 2021 Jack Buck Award; 2020 NASCAR Drive for Diversity Track Award; 2018 Innovator Award from the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission; 2017 Outstanding Facility of the Year Award from the Race Track Business Conference; and the 2017 Spirit of St. Louis Award from the St. Louis Attractions Association.

Our mission: We are committed to making a difference in our community, while providing first-class entertainment and memories that last a lifetime.


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