CAPPS REBOUNDS FOR FUNNY CAR VICTORY: Ron Capps and his NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger team rebounded from the dissapointment of not qualifiying for the event in Seattle to win the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway (BIR). With the win, Capps, who narrowly defeated his teammate Matt Hagan, moves to second in the points and earned a berth in the Countdown to the Championship.
"That is the nature of our sport and for sure the Funny Car division," said Capps. "It's a fun class, but that final round just epitomizes how tight our category is right now."
Spencer Massey won his first round of racing at BIR and went on to win the event in Top Fuel, and Pro Stock's Mike Edwards recorded his fifth win of the season in pursuit for his second world championship. Full results of the weekend can be found by logging onto NHRA.com.
SIX IN TOP FUEL, SEVEN IN FUNNY CAR VIE FOR TRAXXAS NITRO SHOOTOUT FAN VOTES: Only one spot remains open in each of the NHRA Traxxas Nitro Shootout fields for Top Fuel and Funny Car. Those two positions will be determined by NHRA fan votes and a pair of lottery-style drawings during a noon press conference for the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, Wednesday, August 28, in downtown Indianapolis. In Top Fuel, six drivers are elgible for the fan-vote/lottery position and in Funny Car seven drivers have an opportunity to earn a berth in the field.
PRO STOCK FIELD FULL AFTER LUCAS OIL NHRA NATIONALS; TOP FUEL, FUNNY CAR AND PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE POSITIONS TO BE FILLED AT CHEVROLET PERFORMANCE U.S. NATIONALS: The field is set for the Countdown to the Championship in the Pro Stock category as V Gaines, Erica Enders-Stevens and Rodger Brogdon earned berths at the event in Brainerd. In Top Fuel, Doug Kalitta, Khalid alBalooshi, Antron Brown, Clay Millican and Morgan Lucas secured positions in the six-race playoffs. In Funny Car, Ron Capps, Johnny Gray, Cruz Pedregon, John and Courtney Force and Jack Beckman raced to entries in the Countdown to the Championship. Racers will continue to battle into the Countdown to the Championship or improve their seeding during the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway, August 28–September 2.
CHEVROLET PERFORMANCE U.S. NATIONALS, Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, August 28–September 2: The Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, the world's largest and most prestigious drag race, returns to historic Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, August 28–September 2. Legends, such as Don Prudhomme, Shirley Muldowney, Bob Glidden and Don Garlits, have cemented themselves in racing lore by winning at this monumental event. Defending and nine-time event Top Fuel champ Tony Schumacher (pictured) will attempt to break his tie with Glidden to become the winningest driver of the event. Mike Neff (Funny Car), Dave Connolly (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also wrote their names in the record books as 2012 winners of the event. This is the 18th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series and the last chance that racers have to qualify for the Countdown to the Championship. Also during the weekend, Top Fuel and Funny Car drivers will compete in the NHRA Traxxas Nitro Shootout, two specialty eight-car races within a race. For tickets, call 800-884-6472 or log on to www.NHRATix.com.
NHRA CAROLINA NATIONALS, zMAX Dragway, September 13–15: The NHRA Carolina Nationals marks the first race in the six-race Countdown to the Champship—the NHRA playoffs that will crown the 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series world champions. While a championship can't be won at the first race in the Countdown to the Championship, racers will be anxious to charge out the gate and build momentum for the stretch run. Shawn Langdon (Top Fuel,) Ron Capps (Funny Car), Jason Line (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are defending event winners. For tickets, call 800-455-3267 or log on to www.zmaxdragway.com.
HE SAID, SHE SAID
“Our team has been a really good team for 25 years in the sport. There is no reason to think that we can't go out there and finally have that breakthrough weekend and be able to do something really spectacular and go at least to the final round at the U.S. Nationals. I have the confidence in my team and I know my crew is going to give me an awesome motorcycle."
—Andrew Hines, three-time Pro Stock Motorcycle world champion and defending Chevrolet Pertformance U.S. Nationals winner on attempting to make the Countdown to the Championship. Hines is currently 12th in points coming into the final race of the regular season.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
499: Number of rounds Ron Capps has won in his 404 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series career in both Top Fuel and Funny Car. When he claims his 500th-round win he will become just the 13th driver in NHRA history to earn 500-round wins.
"When I started out, Funny Car had the Etchells and Hoffmans and Force was just winning everything and Skuzas," said Capps. "You had to respect your elders or you got taken out in the field and got whooped. My first-round win [Top Fuel] was against Joe Amato in Phoenix in an unsponsored car for Roger Primm. I pulled up next to my hero and I'm like 'This is Joe Amato.' We ended up beating him because he smoked the tires but that was Top Fuel back then. This is how we qualified. I raced Scott Kalitta first round almost every race we went to, which means he was either No. 1 or No. 2 and I was 15 or 16. I got to know him real well that way. My career has been blessed to be around some of the best of the best in the sport and the best people."
DID YOU KNOW…
TEAMS TESTING FOR CHEVROLET PERFORMANCE U.S. NATIONALS AT LUCAS OIL RACEWAY: Teams in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, Pro Mod Drag Racing Series and Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series are taking part in a two-day private test session for the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis. Some of the teams at the test include, John Force Racing, Al-Anabi Racing, Morgan Lucas Racing, Dote Family Racing and Don Schumacher Racing.
"We' ve made three [runs] so far and five total for today and then make three more tomorrow and see what the weather holds," said defending Funny Car world champ Jack Beckman. "We're actually testing. Some of the times when teams test they are cycling spare parts through, making laps on the car. We're trying to get our power level up as we feel that is something that might have hurt our consistency a little bit this year, so we are trying to do that in a predictable way. So I would say we are taking small steps in the right direction."