Ron Capps raced to the Funny Car victory Sunday at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals and moved into the Full Throttle Series points lead for the first time this season with one race remaining before the Countdown to the Championship playoffs.
Morgan Lucas (Top Fuel), Erica Enders (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were winners at the penultimate regular season event in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series.
Capps powered away from 15-time world champ John Force in the Funny Car final round to take his third win of the season, third at Brainerd International Raceway and 36th of his career. Capps cruised to a final round performance of 4.134 seconds at 304.05 mph in his NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger, while Force’s Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang lost traction and finished in 6.633 at 116.35.
“I’m pretty excited to go to Indy with the points lead,” said Capps, who now leads Robert Hight by 53 points. “Force is cagey. He’s good here. He could be having the worst year ever and still come here and win. I was doubtful that we were going to get a win. He’s been eking it out all day and getting on a roll. He knows how to take it to the next level. I looked over at about 800 feet and didn’t see him ahead of me, and we got the win light.”
In Top Fuel, Lucas edged Antron Brown at the finish line for his third victory of the season and his third win at this event, sponsored by his family’s oil company. Lucas posted a 3.818 at 316.90 in his GEICO/Lucas Oil dragster to hold off Brown’s charging Matco Tools dragster, which trailed with a 3.831 at 313.80.
“Anytime you can win here for our family, especially for my dad who is so involved in this race, is a dream come true,” Lucas said. “Hopefully, it’s a sign of good things to come for us. You can’t help but get a lot of confidence out of an outing like this. You never know with these cars. There is a lot of hard work put in that is starting to show on the track.”
With the runner-up finish, Brown moved into the series points lead, 58 ahead of Spencer Massey.
Enders continues to make Pro Stock history as she raced to her third victory of the season and second in a row. She outran series points leader Allen Johnson in the final round with a performance of 6.649 at 208.26 in her GK Motorsports Chevy Cobalt. Johnson’s Team Mopar Dodge Avenger experienced tire shake at the start and slowed near mid-track. Enders is the first female to win at BIR since Shirley Muldowney won a Top Fuel title here in 1982.
“Beating AJ [Allen Johnson isn’t easy,” Enders said. “There are a lot of tough guys out there. To be able to run against the best out here shows that our hard work is finally paying off. We’ve been chasing them for a number of years.”
Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson rider Krawiec remained undefeated in Pro Stock Motorcycle, claiming his sixth victory of the season in as many finals and increasing his series points lead by defeating final round opponent Hector Arana Jr., who fouled at the start on his Lucas Oil Buell.
“He jumped out in front of me and at first I thought I was late but about 300 feet out, I looked up and saw that my win light was on,” Krawiec said. “I realized that he red-lighted.”
The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series continues Aug. 29-Sept. 3 with the 58th Annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Auto-Plus in Indianapolis, the world’s most prestigious drag race.
Tony Schumacher raced to the No. 1 qualifying position in Top Fuel competition Saturday at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals.
Jack Beckman (Funny Car), Erica Enders (Pro Stock) and Hector Arana Sr. (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also will lead their respective categories into Sunday’s 11 a.m. eliminations at the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event.
No one was able to improve on Schumacher's Friday performance, where he powered his U.S. Army dragster with the cockpit canopy to a performance of 3.791 seconds at a track record speed of 323.97 mph. It is his third top qualifying position of the season and 70th of his career. This is his sixth No. 1 qualifying position at Brainerd International Raceway.
“The best part is a godsend. Twice, we went out and ran the same number as my teammate (Antron Brown) who doesn’t have a canopy,” said Schumacher, who will face Terry McMillen in the opening round. “I’m already hearing people talking about how it’s all in the canopy, but the driver in the other lane doesn’t have one and run the exact same time.”
In Funny Car, Beckman earned his second No. 1 of the season and sixth of his career with a track record time of 4.018 at 314.61 in his Valvoline NextGen Dodge Charger. He will meet Dale Creasy Jr. in the first round.
"It cleared the finish line, and I could hear them yell ‘4.0-something, No. 1’ on the radio,” said Beckman. “I said, ‘I could’ve told you guys at 300 feet that that was the run.’ It didn’t do anything but accelerate. It was a beast from the time it took off and never laid down.”
Tim Wilkerson was second overall in his DYS Mustang with a 4.049 at 307.16 and Cruz Pedregon was third in his Snap-on Tools Toyota Camry, with a 4.051 at 311.85. Johnny Gray, who qualified fourth in his Service Central Charger, posted a track record speed of 316.75 mph.
Enders claimed her first No. 1 starting position of the season and the fourth of her career in Pro Stock with a time of 6.550 at 210.37 in a Chevrolet Cobalt sponsored by GK Motorsports. She will face Shane Gray in the opening round.
“Today, we just wanted to keep the top spot,” Enders said. “It really doesn’t matter as long as you’re in the top half of the field, but it was nice for us to keep it. We did get the [K&N Horsepower Challenge] points so that’s an extra bonus.”
Greg Anderson, a native of Minnesota, qualified fifth in his Summit Racing Chevy Camaro with a 6.582 at 210.54 while points leader Allen Johnson landed second in his Team Mopar Dodge Avenger with a 6.560 at 210.87.
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Arana Sr. claimed his fourth No. 1 qualifying position of the season and 21st of his career, powering his Lucas Oil Buell to a category-best effort of 6.884 at 192.63. Arana Sr. will race veteran rider Michael Phillips in the first round.
“Today, we struggled a little bit. Our clutch tune-up is off,” Arana Sr. said. “We tried some different things and we fixed one end of the problem, but found another. We are going to go back to [yesterday’s tune-up] for tomorrow. Still, I’m pleased with the outcome.”
Hector Arana Jr. qualified third on his Lucas Oil Buell while the Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley Davidson duo of Eddie Kraweic and Andrew Hines were fourth and second.