Compiled by SEMA Editors
FORCE, McMILLEN CLAIM LOTTERY STARTING SPOTS FOR NHRA TRAXXAS NITRO SHOOTOUTS IN INDY: John Force and Terry McMillen secured the No. 8 positions in the NHRA Traxxas Nitro Shootout following special lottery drawings held during a press conference in downtown Indianapolis to preview the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals and the specialty event held during the weekend. In Top Fuel, McMillen, who has never competed in the NHRA Traxxas Nitro Shootout, upset Clay Millican, who led the Top Fuel votes with 43%. McMillen earned the third most fan votes with 17%. He will meet top-seed Antron Brown in the first round of the NHRA Traxxas Nitro Shootout for Top Fuel on Saturday.
DEFENDING TOP FUEL EVENT WINNER LUCAS KNOWS IMPORTANCE OF WINNING AT CHEVROLET PERFORMANCE U.S. NATIONALS: Winning is not something that Morgan Lucas takes lightly. The Top Fuel standout won the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals a year ago for the first time, cementing a memory that will forever be at the top of his successful career. The driver of the 10,000hp Lucas Oil dragster will return to Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis for the 62nd edition of the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, with hopes of going back to back, which he knows will be no easy task.
“I've been going to the U.S. Nationals since 1996, and I know for some people that’s not that long, but I was 10, 11 years old then,” Lucas said. “Knowing the history and knowing my name is on the same list with some of the best who have ever been involved in the sport is incredible. It’s Indy. It just feels big, feels special, and so many fans show up. I equate it to winning the Indy 500, even though I know there are a lot of people who might argue with me. But in my mind, it is.”
REALITY TELEVISION STAR JUSTIN “BIG CHIEF” SHEARER THRILLED FOR NHRA DEBUT AT PRESTIGIOUS CHEVROLET PERFORMANCE U.S. NATIONALS: To say Justin “Big Chief” Shearer is excited to compete would be a massive understatement. Shearer, the star of Discovery Channel’s reality television series “Street Outlaws,” will make his NHRA debut in style at this weekend’s 62nd annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis as part of the NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series. The race, which is the seventh of 10 events in the NHRA Pro Mod class, will air on FOX Sports 1 (FS1) and FOX Sports 2 (FS2), and marks the first time Shearer and his CrowMod Pontiac Firebird will race at an NHRA event. Competing against 33 other standout NHRA Pro Mod competitors is jumping right into the fire, but it’s safe to say that Shearer is thrilled for the opportunity.
“From 1–10, we’re on like a 12,” Shearer said. “We are out-of-control excited. Honestly, we’re just having a great time. We’re running on pure excitement because we get to go race at Indy.”
He Said, She Said
“It would be huge for me. It is right up there with winning a championship. If you get a championship and a win at the U.S. Nationals you have definitely accomplished a lot. The best drivers are out here and to be able to race them and get a win would be huge for the Traxxas Chevy Camaro team. That is our goal going into this race. I think we have a great race car, and it has been performing well. I am excited to get out to the race. I grew up coming to this race, and this is one of my favorite tracks. It would mean a lot to be able to get a win at the same track where I saw my dad get some of his biggest wins.”
—Funny Car driver Courtney Force on the possibility of winning the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals for the first time in her career. She has one win this season and is currently second in the Funny Car points standings. If she picks up a victory this weekend she would join her sister, Ashley Force Hood, and her father, John, as winners of the event.
Inside the Numbers
9: Number of times Top Fuel racer Tony Schumacher has won the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals in his storied career. His most recent win came in 2012 when he defeated Spencer Massy in the final. His win total ties him with Bob Glidden for the most overall victories at the historic event.
“We don’t know what is going to happen at this year’s U.S. Nationals, but we know that success at Indy is something that can really launch you into the Countdown with momentum. Most of the time when you can get momentum going it’s something you just keep working at to build more and more of. Two years ago, we won the Traxxas Shootout and then won the first two races of the Countdown and never looked back on our way to a world championship. We want to win this weekend. Period.”
Did You Know
FINISHING TOUCHES PUT ON NEW INDY TEC BUILDING: Construction is coming to a close on the new Top Eliminator Club (TEC) at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, and tickets for the exclusive pavilion are selling at a record pace. Tickets can be purchased at www.NHRA.com/tickets for $395 per person and will allow entry into the new building. Those who purchase TEC tickets will be afforded a deluxe seating experience, which includes an unobstructed view down the racing surface.