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New Team Owners, Historic Win Highlight Indy Nationals
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Taking home the victory in Top Fuel was Antron Brown. Photo By Mike Burghardt

The 68th annual Dodge Power Brokers NHRA US Nationals represented the final event of the regular season. This event decides which drivers in each of the four Camping World drag racing series would make the six-race Countdown to the Championship Playoffs. Also running concurrently with this was the special, winner take all, Pep Boys Callout Challenge events for Top Fuel and Funny Car. The winners in each category won $80,000. Steve Torrence (Top Fuel) and Ron Capps (Funny Car) were the winners.

In Top Fuel, Brittany Force came into the event having clinched the number one playoff seed and took the top qualifying spot with a track record 3.640 at 337.75 mph. She and her crew chief (David Grubnic) quickly showed that they had the ‘baddest’ hot rod in the Top Fuel. A special $30,000 prize has been posted for the first Top Fuel or Funny Car to reach 300 mph at the 1/8-mile point (660-feet) on the track. She has reached 299 plus in the past (as have a couple others) and she just missed it with 299.73 mph run at this event. She was also seeking her first career NHRA US Nationals event win. Unfortunately, things didn’t quite go her way. When she reached the final round, she matched up against Antron Brown, who came in with 53 Top Fuel event wins (three at NHRA US Nationals) and was a new team owner this season. His team had some struggles throughout the season, but had one win. In the final, Grubnic (Brittany Force’s crew chief) appeared to have the car set up to attack the 300-mph 1/8-mile award, as well as the event. But it was not to be, as the cloud cover cleared and the sun was able to beat down on the track long enough to affect the potential tune-up performance. So, to ensure the car did not lose traction, he adjusted the tune-up settings slightly to a more conservative level. The end result was Brown’s car out accelerating Force and marching to a 3.706 at 321.65 mph to 3.714 at 333.0 mph victory. A similar situation occurred in Funny Car at last season’s event, when Ron Capps came in with the best car and lane choice over Tim Wilkerson. Capp’s team decided to take the safer, more conservative route. He ended up losing to Wilkerson.

In Funny Car, as in Top Fuel, there was a new team owner, Ron Capps. Like last season, it was his race to win or lose. He was the number one qualifier, 3.846 at 333.58 mph. He had the most consistent car in the category, running around 3.88-seconds every round. In the final, he once again, had the quicker car and lane choice. This time, however, he and his team did not hold back any punches. Capps would collect his first NHRA US Nationals event title over a tire smoking Robert Hight, 3.913 at 327.98 mph to 7.649 at 85.79 mph.

Pro Stock featured the usual US Nationals hype and intrigue. This season, Greg Anderson had been battling to get that unprecedented 100th career win in Pro Stock. He qualified #1 and by the semi-final round, it was all coming to a head, as Anderson advanced to the final round. Erica Enders (#1 seed in the countdown) then faced Dallas Glenn (Greg Anderson’s teammate). She, uncharacteristically, left late (0.005 to 0.021 reaction time) and lost on a holeshot, 6.623 at 205.79 mph to 6.609 at 208.23 mph. This set up a final round matchup between Anderson and Glenn. Anderson was 1-0 in prior matchups. Glenn was seeking his first career NHRA US Nationals event win. Glenn left 0.002-seconds too soon (red-lighted) and Anderson drove away to his first win of the season, seventh career NHRA US Nationals win and, most importantly, his 100th career Pro Stock win, 6.587 at 208.07 mph to 205.19 mph.

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Matt Smith collected his third win of the season and third career US Nationals event win over Karen Stoffer, 6.8723 at 195.99 mph to 8.094 at 104.17 mph, as her motorcycle suffered mechanical problems during the run.

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It was a sweet win for Ron Capps in the Funny Car competition. Photo By Mike Burghardt