BROWNSBURG, In – September 5, 2016 – (Motor Sports Newswire) – Courtney Force won the lucrative Funny Car portion of the NHRA Traxxas Nitro Shootout and Matt Hagan secured the No. 1 qualifier Sunday at the 62nd annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.
Clay Millican (Top Fuel), Bo Butner (Pro Stock) and Angelle Sampey (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were No. 1 qualifiers in their respective categories at the 18th event of 24 on the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule. The Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals is the final race of the regular season.
Force sprinted to a $100,000 payday in her Traxxas Chevy Camaro SS by posting a 4.018-second pass at 266.04 mph to defeat teammate Robert Hight’s 4.596 at 180.09 at the controls of his Auto Club of Southern California Chevy Camaro SS during the final round of the specialty event.
This is Force’s first final round appearance at the NHRA Traxxas Nitro Shootout and her fifth time in the event. She entered as the No. 2 seed with her Houston victory. She outlasted Alexis DeJoria and Matt Hagan in the earlier rounds before facing Hight.
“I went out today with the mindset of calm and relaxed,” said Force, daughter of 16-time Funny Car world champ John Force. “We got that run in last night and that was huge. It qualified us for fourth so my guys got me into today not thinking about a qualifying run which is huge for a race like this. To win an event like this in front of all these fans in Indiana is huge for our team. To be able to outrun Robert and get that win is a big one for our Traxxas team.”
Hight, who experienced a massive engine explosion that destroyed the body of his Chevy Camaro during Saturday’s second qualifying session, made his third consecutive runner-up finish at the NHRA Traxxas Nitro Shootout. He beat Tommy Johnson Jr. in the opening round and was then set to race Ron Capps in the second, but Capps’ parachutes failed to release in the shutoff area during his first round sprint. Capps’ Napa Auto Parts Dodge Charger R/T went into the sandpit and flipped upside down before being caught by the safety net. He exited the racecar unharmed but was unable to race Hight in the second round.
Hagan’s Friday night performance of 3.858 at 330.80 in his Mopar / Rocky Boots Dodge Charger R/T propelled him to the No. 1 spot in Funny Car qualifying for the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals. His time was a Lucas Oil Raceway track record. Hagan earned the 25th No. 1 qualifier of his career and fourth of the season with the effort. He will meet John Bojec in the opening round of eliminations.
“I didn’t think it was going to stick, but I’m glad it did,” said Hagan, who is chasing his first win at the Big Go. “I was surprised to see that .85-second pass was still it. That’s racing. Everybody is swinging for the fence and digging deep and sometimes you miss it. We’ll get focused for tomorrow. Woke up this morning with a sore throat and running a fever but whether you got a cold or not, you got to get in the racecar focused.”
Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger R/T pilot Jack Beckman is third with a 3.859 at a track record speed of 333.08. The 2012 Funny Car world champion will race Dave Richards in the opening round. Points leader Capps is third with a 3.861 at 325.30 in his Napa Auto Parts Dodge Charger R/T and is matched with Bob Bode. In fourth is Courtney Force, who will go heads up with Jim Campbell in the first round.
In Top Fuel, Millican was able to stay in the No. 1 spot through Sunday with his Saturday night performance of 3.692 at 316.82 in his Parts Plus / Great Clips dragster. His time is a track record. This is Millican’s fourth career No. 1 qualifier and first of the season. He is pursuing his first career victory. Millican will race Terry McMillen Monday morning.
“This is an incredible group that we have together that makes this thing go,” said Millican. “I’m the one everyone talks to but the truth is it is all those young men that work on the car. It is really a proud moment for this small team to be able to go out here and be the No. 1 qualifier at the U.S. Nationals. This is my fourth No. 1 qualifier with the NHRA but this is certainly the biggest one, no doubt about it.”
Steve Torrence is second in his Capco Contractors dragster with a 3.702 at 328.06.The two-time 2016 event winner will battle Indianapolis local Bruce Litton in the first round. Brittany Force is third in her Monster Energy dragster and will meet Pat Dakin Monday morning. Schumacher and reigning world champ Antron Brown are fourth and fifth, respectively.
McMillen and 10th place qualifier Leah Pritchett, driver of the Papa John’s dragster, are in a heated points battle for the 10th and final place in the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship. Pritchett enters Monday’s eliminations with a one-point lead over McMillen, who drives the Amalie Motor Oil dragster.
Bo Butner pushed his Jim Butner Auto Chevy Camaro to the top spot in Pro Stock with a 6.571 at 210.24, claiming the third No. 1 of his career. He has notched four runner-up finishes this year, the most recent coming in Sonoma, Calif. Butner will race Curt Steinbach in the first round of eliminations.
“Hopefully we will get some of this hometown love,” said Butner, who is from Floyds Knob, Ind. “We have a very fast car and we’ve had a very fast car all year long. This is the toughest class ever and it’s hard to win. You have to have a little luck and some breaks but I feel good about this weekend so I think we’ll maybe finish it up like we need to and win.”
Greg Anderson qualified second in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro with a 6.576 at 209.92. Anderson, a six-time Indianapolis winner, has seven wins in eleven final round appearances this season and currently sits second in points. He will go head-to-head with five-time world champ Jeg Coughlin to open eliminations.
Shane Gray, the Chicago No. 1 qualifier, is third and is matched with two-time and reigning world champion Erica Enders. Enders is the defending event winner.
Vincent Nobile, a two-time 2016 runner-up, is fourth and will race Deric Kramer, while seven-time 2016 winner Jason Line is fifth and paired with Seattle winner Aaron Strong.
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Sampey rode her Star Racing / Precision Service Equipment Buell to the 48th No. 1 qualifier of her career with a 6.812 at 196.62. She set the elapsed time track record with the pass. This is her third No. 1 qualifier of 2016 and fifth ever at Lucas Oil Raceway. Sampey won this race back-to-back in 2001 and 2002. She will go up against 2009 event winner Hector Arana in the first round.
“When they told me I ran an .81 I lost it down there like I had won the race,” said Sampey, who won earlier this year in Englishtown, N.J., to claim her first victory since 2007. “I was hootin’ and hollerin’ because I didn’t expect it. I was very proud of my team and very proud of myself because I did a very good job of driving it that run, which usually doesn’t happen every single run.”
Alligator farmer Jerry Savoie qualified second with a 6.841 at 195.19 on his White Alligator Racing Suzuki. The defending Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals champion is paired with Scott Pollacheck in the opening round.
Eddie Krawiec is third on his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson and will race Karen Stoffer Monday morning. Chip Ellis is fourth and matched with Jim Underdahl while Hector Arana Jr. is fifth and will battle Michael Ray.
Eliminations for the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals will begin Monday at 11 a.m. at Lucas Oil Raceway.
BROWNSBURG, IN — Monday’s first-round pairings for eliminations for the 62nd annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway Park at Indianapolis, the 18th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Pairings based on results in qualifying, which ended Sunday. DNQs listed below pairings.
Top Fuel — 1. Clay Millican, 3.692 seconds, 318.77 mph vs. 16. Terry McMillen, 3.895, 316.45; 2. Steve Torrence, 3.702, 328.62 vs. 15. Bruce Litton, 3.829, 319.14; 3. Brittany Force, 3.706, 326.00 vs. 14. Pat Dakin, 3.799, 311.70; 4. Tony Schumacher, 3.717, 330.31 vs. 13. Tripp Tatum, 3.796, 326.00; 5. Antron Brown, 3.725, 326.00 vs. 12. T.J. Zizzo, 3.772, 319.82; 6. Doug Kalitta, 3.726, 328.54 vs. 11. Richie Crampton, 3.772, 324.90; 7. Shawn Langdon, 3.731, 327.11 vs. 10. Leah Pritchett, 3.738, 329.75; 8. Morgan Lucas, 3.732, 326.63 vs. 9. J.R. Todd, 3.734, 319.37. Did Not Qualify: 17. Wayne Newby, 3.897, 308.85; 18. Terry Haddock, 4.009, 299.86; 19. Chris Karamesines, 4.662, 165.78; 20. Luigi Novelli, 4.820, 305.29.
Funny Car — 1. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 3.858, 330.80 vs. 16. John Bojec, Toyota Solara, 4.136, 299.86; 2. Jack Beckman, Charger, 3.859, 333.08 vs. 15. Dave Richards, Ford Mustang, 4.103, 310.84; 3. Ron Capps, Charger, 3.861, 325.30 vs. 14. Bob Bode, Solara, 4.095, 310.77; 4. Courtney Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.867, 327.66 vs. 13. Jim Campbell, Charger, 3.977, 315.56; 5. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.868, 329.99 vs. 12. John Hale, Charger, 3.969, 478.89; 6. John Force, Camaro, 3.872, 329.58 vs. 11. Chad Head, Toyota Camry, 3.953, 325.92; 7. Del Worsham, Camry, 3.874, 328.86 vs. 10. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 3.945, 325.45; 8. Robert Hight, Camaro, 3.881, 330.31 vs. 9. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 3.914, 328.46. Did Not Qualify: 17. Cruz Pedregon, 4.753, 222.99; 18. Justin Schriefer, 5.881, 276.58; 19. Tim Gibbons, broke.
Pro Stock — 1. Bo Butner, Chevy Camaro, 6.571, 210.24 vs. 16. Curt Steinbach, Camaro, 6.674, 206.13; 2. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.576, 209.92 vs. 15. Jeg Coughlin, Dodge Dart, 6.659, 207.82; 3. Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.577, 209.52 vs. 14. Erica Enders, Dart, 6.648, 208.14; 4. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.582, 210.31 vs. 13. Deric Kramer, Dart, 6.640, 208.07; 5. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.593, 209.88 vs. 12. Aaron Strong, Camaro, 6.634, 208.23; 6. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.598, 209.62 vs. 11. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.633, 208.30; 7. Allen Johnson, Dart, 6.610, 208.71 vs. 10. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.626, 209.46; 8. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.612, 208.94 vs. 9. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.624, 208.88. Did Not Qualify: 17. Alan Prusiensky, 6.703, 206.10; 18. John Gaydosh Jr, 6.714, 205.98; 19. Shane Tucker, 6.752, 207.02.
Pro Stock Motorcycle — 1. Angelle Sampey, Buell, 6.812, 197.02 vs. 16. Hector Arana, Buell, 6.918, 195.11; 2. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.841, 196.85 vs. 15. Scotty Pollacheck, Buell, 6.913, 195.34; 3. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.848, 195.00 vs. 14. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.907, 194.83; 4. Chip Ellis, Buell, 6.849, 196.53 vs. 13. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 6.897, 195.39; 5. Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.853, 196.04 vs. 12. Michael Ray, Buell, 6.887, 194.80; 6. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.860, 196.44 vs. 11. Matt Smith, Victory, 6.876, 193.52; 7. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.864, 195.31 vs. 10. Melissa Surber, Buell, 6.875, 194.38; 8. Cory Reed, Buell, 6.868, 196.07 vs. 9. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.872, 195.56. Did Not Qualify: 17. Mark Paquette, 6.962, 194.07; 18. Joey Gladstone, 7.018, 193.49; 19. Angie Smith, 7.038, 191.59; 20. Kristen Ashby, 7.275, 183.77; 21. Lance Bonham, 7.606, 180.96; 22. Joe DeSantis, 8.551, 190.40; 23. Anthony Vanetti, broke.
About National Hot Rod Association
Headquartered in Glendora, Calif., NHRA is the primary sanctioning body for the sport of drag racing in the United States. NHRA presents 23 national events featuring the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series and NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series. NHRA provides competition opportunities for drivers of all levels in the NHRA Summit Racing Series and the NHRA Drags: Street Legal Style presented by AAA. NHRA also offers NHRA Jr. Street for teens and the Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League for youth ages 5 to 17. In addition, NHRA owns and operates five racing facilities: Atlanta Dragway in Georgia; Auto-Plus Raceway at Gainesville in Florida; National Trail Raceway in Ohio; Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis; and Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in Southern California. For more information, log on to NHRA.com, or visit the official NHRA pages on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
Source: National Hot Rod Association