Compiled by SEMA Editors
BROWN, FORCE, ENDERS-STEVENS, HINES WIN IN OHIO: In a side-by-side final-round duel with longtime rival Ron Capps, NHRA Funny Car icon John Force picked up his 140th career win last Sunday at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals. Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Erica Enders-Stevens (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were winners in Norwalk. In the championship round, Force powered his Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang to a performance of 4.113 seconds at 317.27 mph while Capps had a run of 4.135 at 305.56 in his NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger. Force, the reigning Funny Car world champion, earned his first-ever win at Norwalk and second of the 2014 season.
"It was special to me," said Force. "I’ve come to this track for decades. I’ve won here at the Night of Fire races. Robert [Hight] and my daughter Ashley [Force Hood] have won here. I keep coming back here. The Bader family is P.T. Barnum doing this year-round, 90-some races a year. They light the fire under those fans. Look at the crowd on Friday night and that whole fireworks show. I’ve been real lucky in my career, and you want to win them all, but I really wanted this win."
NHRA TEAMS BRACE FOR START OF WESTERN SWING IN DENVER: The three-week NHRA Western Swing begins at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, at scenic Bandimere Speedway, home of the 35th annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals, July 18–20. At an elevation of more than 5,800 ft., the Bandimere Speedway altitude affects everything from engine tune-ups to aerodynamics. Crews must adapt their setups to power-making combinations and battle the lack of down force to tackle the unique racing environment. Spencer Massey (Top Fuel), Cruz Pedregon (Funny Car), Allen Johnson (Pro Stock) and Shawn Gann (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were winners of the 2013 event. The race will once again be televised on ESPN2.
He Said, She Said
"Last Monday, we decided to take our third chassis and turn it into a race bike, and after three straight 14-hour days, we got it done. It was a lot of give and take to get it to leave the starting line, but after qualifying, we had a lot of little things fall into place. We were disastrous in qualifying; that was the worst I’ve been this year, and when Eddie [Krawiec, teammate] came out and went to No. 1, I was a little jealous. Saturday we sat down and threw a tune up at it and had the quickest winning time of the first round. Then we just massaged it during the day. This bike is easier to ride than my old bike, which used to wobble down the track a bit. This one was straight on all four runs today, and that’s when we put up big speeds. We ran 6.90 in the final, which was very strong, and I needed it. Hector [Sr.] is going to be a pain. He has his bike running strong in the back half. He’s been on a losing streak, but now he’s been to back-to-back finals, and that says a lot about what he’s done with his program."
—Norwalk winner Andrew Hines following his 35th career win in Norwalk after building a new bike following the event in Chicago. With his 35th career win, Hines has also tied Top Fuel legend "Big Daddy" Don Garlits on NHRA's all-time wins list.
Inside the Numbers
5: Number of events remaining for racers in Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock to enter into the Top 10 in points in their respective categories to earn a spot in the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship playoffs. Pro Stock Motorcycle has just three races remaining in their schedule to earn points to place them in the Countdown. In Funny Car, 2012 world champion Jack Beckman returned to the Top 10 following a semifinal appearance in Norwalk. J.R. Todd is currently in the field by 80 points over Bob Vandergriff and Steve Johnson anchors the bike top 10 over Chaz Kennedy by just 31 points. In Pro Stock, four-time world champion Greg Anderson is 11th, 45 points behind Jonathan Gray. Anderson missed the first five races of the season following heart surgery, but has two runner-up finishes this year and aims his sights on returning to the Countdown field and is determined to return to the Countdown field to pursue a fifth championship.
Did You Know
BROWN'S FIVE WINS LEAD TOP FUEL CATEGORY: Antron Brown has raced to five victories in 2014 and leads all Mello Yello Series categories in that department. The most wins Brown has claimed in a single season is six, which he has done three times in his Top Fuel career, including his 2012 championship season. Tony Schumacher owns the record for most wins in a single season in Top Fuel with 15, which he accomplished in 2008. Pro Stock's Greg Anderson is the only other driver to earn 15 wins in a season (2004).
View the complete 2014 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.