BRAINERD, MN – Matt Hagan powered to the top in Funny Car qualifying in the final pairing on Saturday at Brainerd International Raceway, securing the No. 1 position for Tony Stewart Racing at the 40th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals.
Top Fuel points leader Brittany Force also qualified No. 1 at the 15th of 22 races during the 2022 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season.
Paired with points leader and provisional No. 1 qualifier Robert Hight in the final qualifying session, Hagan delivered a massive pass of 3.843-seconds at 331.36 mph in his 11,000-horsepower Mopar 85th Anniversary Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, picking up his fifth No. 1 qualifier of the season and 48th in his career. Hagan had identical runs of 3.893 in the second and third qualifying sessions, but his team, led by crew chief Dickie Venables, stepped up in a major way to close out the day. That gives Hagan, the defending event winner in Brainerd, plenty of momentum heading into raceday as the team appears to have found its footing after some struggles earlier this summer.
BRAINERD, MN – It was a memorable qualifying day for John Force Racing on Friday at Brainerd International Raceway as Top Fuel’s Brittany Force and Funny Car’s Robert Hight raced to the provisional No. 1 positions at the 40th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals.
Force, the current Top Fuel points leader, powered to the top with her run of 3.685-seconds at 333.49 mph in her 11,000-horsepower Monster Energy dragster at the 15th of 22 races during the 2022 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season. If that holds, Force, a four-time winner in 2022, would pick up her sixth No. 1 qualifier this season and the 38th in her career. After struggling during the first qualifying session, Force and her team delivered an impressive run with the sun starting to set. That came after a 90-minute weather delay as Force, who won at Brainerd in 2016, enjoyed a strong run at the ideal time.
“We were very happy with that second run, especially after not making it down there in the first one,” Force said. “When the rain came, we got a little nervous about getting in a second session tonight, (but) NHRA got it cleaned up quickly, and (crew chief David) Grubnic came in and said it was a great racetrack. I love night racing. There’s nothing cooler than watching drag racing at night. Seeing the header flames, it was my favorite thing as a kid in the grandstands. We saw what was capable ahead of us and we knew we could get it done, and we ran exactly what we wanted. I love this racetrack, we always lay down good numbers and we’ve had success here before so we’re hoping to get it done again.”
NHRA COUNTDOWN TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP OPENS IN STYLE WITH PEP BOYS NHRA NATIONALS AT MAPLE GROVE RACEWAY
READING, PA – Playoff action in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series will heat up in a hurry as the NHRA Countdown to the Championship begins at one of the fastest tracks on the circuit with the 37th annual Pep Boys NHRA Nationals on Sept. 15-18 at Maple Grove Raceway.
It is the opening event in the six-race NHRA playoffs as championship drivers in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock, and Pro Stock Motorcycle will look to start their world championship bids with a win at the fan-favorite facility. Located in the heart of Amish country, the track boasts a wonderful, scenic backdrop for the massive fanbase that turns out to see one incredible run after another.
Brittany Force made the quickest run in NHRA history at the facility in 2019 with her run of 3.623-seconds, one of several memorable performances that have taken place at the facility over nearly four decades. The track was also purchased in April by veteran NHRA racer Kenny Koretsky and his family, including current Pro Stock driver Kyle Koretsky, adding even more excitement to this year’s Pep Boys NHRA Nationals.
DOUG WINTERS AIMS TO GET ON TRACK IN BRAINERD AT FUELTECH NHRA PRO MOD DRAG RACING SERIES RACE POWERED BY STINAR
BRAINERD, MN – It has not been the 2022 season Doug Winters had anticipated in the FuelTech NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by D-Wagon. But the veteran has the chance to get things turned around in a major way at Brainerd International Raceway as part of this weekend’s 40th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals.
Winters can put together a big weekend at a race powered by his sponsor, Stinar, while also competing in the D-Wagon NHRA Pro Mod Shootout, a first-time specialty race for the class. That takes place Friday and Saturday during the race, giving Winters two huge opportunities to completely erase the early-season struggles in his blown Stinar ’69 Chevelle.
“We’ve struggled a lot this year and you can see that in the points,” said Winters, who is currently 13th in Pro Mod points. “But we’ve made some changes in the car and hopefully we can turn it around this weekend. It would certainly be a great time to turn it around and definitely the optimal time to do it. We’ve made some progress, though our weekend in Topeka was not a representation of that. But with cool temperatures in Brainerd, I think we’re set to put up a good challenge.”
BRAINERD, MN – There are several reasons why Brainerd International Raceway is a special place for reigning Funny Car world champion Ron Capps, but the incredible atmosphere at the facility is certainly among them. He’s eager to experience it at this weekend’s 40th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, where a legion of fans will again be extra excited to cheer on the longtime standout.
The special “Capps Corner” portion of “The Zoo” campgrounds is filled with Capps aficionados, and they’ll be out in full force this weekend as the two-time NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series world champ looks to build momentum for the Countdown to the Championship.
He’s put together a solid season in his 11,000-horsepower NAPA Auto Parts Toyota GR Supra, winning twice, advancing to three final rounds, and picking up four No. 1 qualifiers. Capps also has no trouble getting amped up for what will be another special weekend in Brainerd, where he’s put together an impressive six victories at the track.
“We do something pretty cool for a living and sometimes you forget that while you’re competing, and you really feel like a rockstar when you go there to ‘The Zoo,’” Capps said. “The fans love it. They come out to the race for you and when you go out there to see them, it’s so cool. There’s a fine line to enjoying the Brainerd race like our fans do and also keeping your game face on and we’ve found a way to walk that line. We’ll all go out there together, but just that mojo and feeding off the fans, it’s so fun and always a fun race for us.”
BRAINERD, MN – Antron Brown’s first year as a team owner has been anything but easy but following the Top Fuel star’s first win of the season – and as a team owner on Sunday in Topeka – things are starting to click for the three-time world champ. Racing just days later at this weekend’s 40th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway, Brown is also ready to keep this momentum going in the right direction.
He performed at a high level in hot conditions in Topeka and there will be stark contrast in temperatures heading into Brainerd this weekend. That has Brown thinking big in his 11,000-horsepower Matco Tools dragster, where he hopes to continue to round into championship form with the Countdown to the Championship just around the corner.
The annual stop in Brainerd is the penultimate race of the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series regular season and Brown would love a second straight win, as well as a second career Top Fuel victory in Brainerd, where things should be extremely fast this weekend.
TOPEKA, Kan. — Sunday’s final results from the 33rd annual Menards NHRA Heartland Nationals presented by PetArmor at Heartland Motorsports Park. The race is the 14th of 22 in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series:
Top Fuel — Antron Brown, 3.902 seconds, 309.49 mph def. Steve Torrence, 4.443 seconds, 201.49 mph.
Funny Car — Bob Tasca III, Ford Mustang, 3.999, 316.82 def. John Force, Chevy Camaro, 4.131, 311.27.
Pro Stock — Troy Coughlin Jr., Chevy Camaro, 6.680, 206.54 def. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.701, 204.85.
Pro Stock Motorcycle — Joey Gladstone, Suzuki, 6.876, 195.59 def. Eddie Krawiec, Suzuki, 6.935, 195.36.
Top Alcohol Dragster — Julie Nataas, 5.343, 274.61 def. Mike Coughlin, 5.326, 268.76.
Top Alcohol Funny Car — Shane Westerfield, Chevy Camaro, 5.600, 261.47 def. Sean Bellemeur, Camaro, 5.857, 258.22.
TOPEKA, KS – Three-time Top Fuel world champion Antron Brown enjoyed a monumental day at Heartland Motorsports Park, picking up his first win as a team owner with his memorable triumph on Sunday at the 33rd annual Menards NHRA Nationals presented by PetArmor.
Bob Tasca III (Funny Car), Troy Coughlin Jr. (Pro Stock) and Joey Gladstone (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also won the 14th of 22 races during the 2022 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season.
Facing off with four-time defending world champion Steve Torrence in the final round, Brown powered to a run of 3.902-seconds at 309.49 mph in his 11,000-horsepower Matco Tools dragster to earn his 69th career victory and first since the third race of the 2021 season, snapping a 30-race winless streak in the process. It’s also his first since he became a team owner this year, as Brown put together a strong day that started with round wins against points leader Brittany Force in a first-round thriller, Josh Hart, and Justin Ashley, setting up the marquee matchup with Torrence. Brown had the starting-line advantage and enjoyed a wire-to-wire win, setting off a huge celebration for the longtime star.
TOPEKA, KS – Bob Tasca III powered to the No. 1 qualifying spot for the second straight race on Saturday at Heartland Motorsports Park, securing the top position in Funny Car at the 33rd annual Menards NHRA Nationals presented by PetArmor.
Mike Salinas (Top Fuel), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and Joey Gladstone (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also qualified No. 1 at the 14th of 22 races during the 2022 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season.
Tasca’s run of 3.930-seconds at 323.81 mph in his 11,000-horsepower BG Products Ford Mustang held up from Friday, giving the veteran his ninth career No. 1 qualifier in the process. He’ll look for his second win in three races on Sunday, as well as his first career victory in Topeka, entering eliminations with plenty of momentum. In addition to Friday’s run, Tasca made the best run of Saturday’s two sessions to close out qualifying, going a stout 3.940 at 322.96 to end the day on another huge positive.
TOPEKA, KS – Top Fuel standout Mike Salinas closed out Friday at Heartland Motorsports Park with the top run of the night, racing to the provisional No. 1 spot at the 33rd annual Menards NHRA Nationals presented by PetArmor.
Bob Tasca III (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and Joey Gladstone (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are also the provisional No. 1 qualifiers at the 14th of 22 races during the 2022 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season.
Racing next to points leader Brittany Force on the final run of the evening, it was Salinas who had the top performance of the opening round of qualifying, delivering a strong pass of 3.754-seconds at 323.19 mph in his 11,000-horsepower Pep Boys dragster. If it holds, it would give Salinas, who has four wins this season, his third No. 1 qualifier in 2022 and 11th in his career. Salinas led the points for a two-race stretch earlier this summer before Force jumped back in the lead, and the veteran is trying to close the gap again this weekend in Topeka.
“The way we’re doing this, we’re taking it one round at a time and not getting too far ahead of ourselves,” Salinas said. “There’s a lot of racing ahead of us and a lot of great teams. You can just see the cars getting closer and closer. Tomorrow is going to be awesome. Our cars love the heat and we’re getting ready for Sunday. It’s going to be a dogfight and it’s anybody’s race out there. All the Top Fuel cars are so close here.”