Compiled by SEMA Editors
FORCE, WORSHAM, SKILLMAN AND HINES COLLECT BIG VICTORIES AT LUCAS OIL NHRA NATIONALS: Brittany Force raced to victory in Top Fuel last Sunday at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway. Del Worsham (Funny Car), Drew Skillman (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were also victorious in their respective categories at the 17th event of 24 on the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule. This is the penultimate event of the regular season. Force powered her Monster Energy dragster to a 4.169-second pass at 180.21 mph to outrun reigning world champion Antron Brown’s 6.566 at 103.47 in his Matco Tools dragster. Brown rattled and lost traction early while Force’s dragster backfired and released the parachutes just a little farther downtrack than Brown, and she coasted to the finish line in front. Force claimed the third win of her career and her third in four final rounds in the 2016 season. She raced to her first career victory earlier this year in Gainesville, then became the first female driver to win in Nitro at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals in Charlotte. Force outlasted Terry Haddock, three-time 2016 winner Doug Kalitta, and two-time 2016 winner Shawn Langdon in the earlier rounds before defeating Brown in the final.
“It’s awesome to be able to win here,” said Force, who is fourth in the Top Fuel points standings. “I felt good coming in this weekend because we had some success last year, and I’m pretty sure we did well the year before. We are exactly where we want to be as we go into the Countdown [to the Championship] and our biggest race of the season in Indy. It feels so good to bring home another win.”
BROWN, CAPPS WIN DELAYED SEATTLE FINALS: Don Schumacher Racing doubled up on wins August 20, during the rain-delayed final rounds of the Protect the Harvest NHRA Northwest Nationals presented by Lucas Oil at Brainerd International Raceway in Brainerd. Antron Brown (Top Fuel) and Ron Capps (Funny Car) were victorious in their respective final rounds from the Seattle event, which was postponed by persistent rain on Sunday, August 7, and decided last Saturday in the third round of qualifying at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals in Brainerd. In Top Fuel, Brown pushed his dragster to the winner’s circle with a 3.747-second pass at 320.13 mph over Steve Torrence’s 4.062 at 243.19 to claim his fourth win of the year and 58th of his career. Brown, the 2009 Seattle winner, is the defending and a two-time Top Fuel world champion. Brown raced past T.J. Zizzo, Clay Millican and Morgan Lucas en route to the final round of the Protect the Harvest NHRA Northwest Nationals presented by Lucas Oil.
PRESTIGIOUS CHEVROLET PERFORMANCE U.S. NATIONALS PRESENTS ADDED PRESSURE BEFORE NHRA MELLO YELLO COUNTDOWN TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP: The 10,000hp action of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series returns to Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, August 31–September 5, for the 62nd annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals. The best of the best from all over the world head to Indianapolis to compete in the event known as the Big Go. Nearly 1,000 drivers will compete in 12 categories with hopes of hoisting the elusive Wally on Labor Day Monday. With heightened competition and a holiday weekend crowd in attendance, a win at the Big Go often goes down on racers’ résumés as the biggest single-race achievement. As if that wasn’t enough, it’s the last race of the 18-race regular season before the six-race Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship. Drivers and teams will race to secure the final top-10 spots for the Countdown, and with an increased number of points in play via the point-and-a-half system for this event (150 points to the winner), the drama on championship Monday is expected to be more intense than ever.
He Said, She Said
“That's the perfect position to be in, but we're not looking at the championship yet. We are going to be in these battles from here on out. Without a doubt, the DSR Funny Cars are the cars to beat. It’s going to be tough. It’s a nice precursor of things to come for the fans and the racers. It’s going to be fun. Whoever wins Indy has the chance to say that they beat the best because these Funny Cars are so incredible right now.”
—Funny Car racer Ron Capps, who became the first driver to clinch a No. 1 seed in the Countdown to the Championship following the event in Brainerd. Capps powered to the victory in the postponed Seattle event and posted a semi-final finish in Brainerd. Capps has a category-leading five wins this season and he is the winningest driver in the NHRA to win a championship.
Inside the Numbers
10: Number of Top Fuel and Funny Car drivers that will rely on fan votes and random lottery drawings to claim the final spot in the NHRA Traxxas Nitro Shootout in their respective categories. The final position in each category of the all-star event will be determined in the next seven days and announced at the Fan Fest previewing the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals on Wednesday, August 31. Four drivers in Top Fuel and six drivers in Funny Car are eligible for the fan vote and lottery positions in each class. Vote for your favorite eligible driver in each category. Voting will remain open until Tuesday, August 30, at 9:00 a.m. The four eligible Top Fuel drivers are Richie Crampton, Terry McMillen, Clay Millican and J.R. Todd. The six Funny Car drivers who are eligible for the eighth position in the fan vote/lottery are Jack Beckman, John Force, John Hale, Chad Head, Cruz Pedregon and Del Worsham.
Did You Know
BIG GO BLOCK PARTY CELEBRATED START OF CHEVROLET PERFORMANCE U.S. NATIONALS: The Big Go Block Party returned to Brownsburg, Indiana, August 23, as the community celebrated the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals. The party took place at Town Hall Green in Brownsburg. Antron Brown, J.R. Todd, Richie Crampton, Shawn Langdon, Leah Pritchett and Brittany Force from the Top Fuel ranks signed autographs, along with Funny Car racers Tommy Johnson Jr., Matt Hagan, Cruz Pedregon, John Force, Courtney Force and Robert Hight. Pro Stock Motorcycle racers Andrew Hines and Eddie Krawiec also met the with fans and took part in the autograph session.