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PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE’S MATT SMITH REACHES HALLOWED GROUND AFTER SIXTH WORLD TITLE

INDIANAPOLIS – With three championships in four years entering the 2022 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season, Matt Smith had already put together an impressive recent run in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

But the veteran standout had even more history on his mind this year riding his Denso Auto Parts Buell, extending his dynasty-like streak to three straight championships and four in five years. This one, though, struck an even bigger chord with Smith, as his 2022 world title in the two-wheeled category gave him six overall, tying Smith with Dave Schultz and Andrew Hines for the most in Pro Stock Motorcycle history.

It was a mark he wouldn’t have thought possible at the beginning of his career, but an incredible run in recent years has made it possible. Reaching that mark was Smith’s major goal all season long, one he accomplished in standout fashion with another terrific year.

“I always looked up to Dave. He was the best out here and just to have my name associated with him and Andrew, and to tie them for the most championships in NHRA (Pro Stock Motorcycle) history, it’s amazing,” Smith said. “Hopefully I’m not done. I turn 50, but I’m not done yet. I’m going to continue this and hopefully go above and beyond and get a seventh championship.”

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DRIVE FOR FIVE: ERICA ENDERS’ DOMINANT YEAR FINISHES WITH FIFTH PRO STOCK WORLD TITLE

INDIANAPOLIS – A determined Erica Enders meant a dominant Erica Enders during the 2022 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season, as the standout turned in one of the most dominant years in recent Pro Stock history.

Enders rolled to her fifth world title masterfully in her Melling Performance/Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro, clinching the title at the penultimate race of the Countdown to the Championship playoffs in Las Vegas on the strength of 10 wins. She picked up three victories where she had never won before, set a career-best for wins in a single season and won more than half the races in a highly-competitive Pro Stock class to win what she wanted most at the beginning of the year: a fifth Pro Stock world championship.

“It’s been a dream come true,” Enders said. “We set out every year to win as many races as we can and try to ultimately win the championship and having the No. 2 on the car lit a fire under our butts. We wanted to be the champs again and that’s the mentality we’ve had. It’s been a dogfight, but I’m proud of this team. You have to be hungry and fight tooth and nail to get these wins. We’ve been pretty mean this year and I’m thankful for it.”

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RON CAPPS’ STORYBOOK FIRST SEASON AS TEAM OWNER ENDS WITH FUNNY CAR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

INDIANAPOLIS – Ron Capps’ season ended with a Funny Car world championship on the outskirts of Los Angeles in Pomona, but not even a Hollywood writer could have scripted such a magical season for the veteran and first-year team owner in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series.

Capps became the first Funny Car driver in 20 years to record back-to-back world titles, claiming his third career championship in his 11,000-horsepower NAPA Auto Parts Toyota GR Supra on the final day of the season at the NHRA Finals. It closed out a special season that included five victories and nine final-round appearances but doing it while taking the massive step to become a team owner just before the start of 2022 made it that much more special.

He relied on the expertise of his team, led by crew chiefs Dean Antonelli and the retiring John Medlen, countless phone calls to legends in the motorsports game, and a series of clutch performances down the stretch to slip past Robert Hight by a mere three points, with Sunday marking the only time all season where he led in points.

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BRITTANY FORCE’S NHRA CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON FILLED WITH HIGHLIGHTS, RECORDS IN LOADED TOP FUEL FIELD

INDIANAPOLIS – The road to a second world championship in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series included a little bit of everything for Top Fuel star Brittany Force. From a hot start to memorable victories, record-breaking runs at nearly every stop on the tour and a clutch performance in Las Vegas, Force was spectacular from start to finish during her memorable 2022 campaign.

Her championship resumé was finished off with a first-round victory at last weekend’s NHRA Finals in Pomona, a culmination of the most complete year in her career. The record-breaking standout won five races in her 11,000-horsepower Monster Energy/Flav-R-Pac dragster, enjoyed 10 No. 1 qualifiers and the fastest run in Top Fuel history, rising above a loaded Top Fuel field to taste championship glory once again.

“This season has been outstanding for us,” Force said. “Coming into the season, I said this was going to be one of the toughest seasons yet with the competition that’s out there. We did really well all season and carried that No. 1 pretty much all year, and then in the Countdown, we started to lose our footing. It was like this championship we were so close to, we were starting to lose it, but we recovered the last two races. I’m still in the excitement of it all. It’s a very surreal moment.”

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UPDATED: LUCAS OIL REINFORCES LONG-TERM COMMITMENT TO NHRA DRAG RACING WITH MULTI-YEAR EXTENSION

INDIANAPOLIS – NHRA officials announced today that Lucas Oil Products, the world leader and distributor of high-performance automotive additives and lubricants, will continue as the sponsor of the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series and “Official Oil of NHRA” as part of a long-term extension.

It furthers a premier and lasting partnership that continues to grow after more than two decades, as Lucas Oil remains a cornerstone sponsor and all-encompassing partner of NHRA.

“All of us at Lucas Oil are excited to extend this Partnership with NHRA for another 3 years,” said Brandon Bernstein, Lucas Oil Director of Partnership Marketing. “We know how important the sportsman racers are to Lucas Oil and we want to keep that alive for many years to come. We see NHRA as an amazing property that has potential for massive growth and Lucas Oil is thrilled to be partnered in this journey.”

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2022 NHRA CAMPING WORLD DRAG RACING SERIES CHAMPIONS CROWNED AT ANNUAL AWARDS CEREMONY

TEMECULA, CA – Multi-time world champions Brittany Force, Ron Capps, Erica Enders and Matt Smith were crowned Monday evening during the 2022 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series awards ceremony at the Pechanga Resort Casino in scenic Southern California Wine Country.

The four standout drivers were honored for their season-long achievements and presented with their trophies for winning 2022 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series championships during a memorable Countdown to the Championship playoffs.

Force picked up her second Top Fuel championship and earned the top prize from NHRA and Camping World following a banner season in the loaded category. She clinched the championship with her first-round victory in Pomona, as the record-breaking driver of the 11,000-horsepower Monster Energy/Flav-R-Pac dragster picked up five wins and 10 No. 1 qualifiers – along with a plethora of track records and the fastest run in Top Fuel history – during her banner 2022 campaign.

In his first year as a team owner, Capps became the first repeat Funny Car champion in 20 years, outlasting Robert Hight on the final day in Pomona to claim his third career world championship. His semifinal win, coupled with Hight’s second-round loss at the NHRA Finals, secured the championship for Capps in his 11,000-horsepower NAPA Auto Parts Toyota GR Supra. In all, Capps picked up five wins this season, earning his second straight NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series championship.

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B. FORCE, CAPPS, M. SMITH CLINCH WORLD TITLES; PROCK, PEDREGON, ANDERSON AND A. SMITH GET WINS AT ACTION-PACKED AUTO CLUB NHRA FINALS

POMONA, CA – Brittany Force captured her second career world title on Sunday, wrapping up a spectacular season with a Top Fuel world championship after a first-round victory at the 57th annual Auto Club NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.

Ron Capps (Funny Car) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) both clinched world championships at the 22nd and final event in the 2022 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season. Austin Prock (Top Fuel), Cruz Pedregon (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and Angie Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also won the sixth race in the Countdown to the Championship playoffs to cap off a spectacular 2022 season.

Force qualified No. 1 in her 11,000-horsepower Monster Energy dragster and then earned the championship with her run of 3.701-seconds at 334.90 mph in the opening round of eliminations. In a season that included five wins, 10 No. 1 qualifiers and the fastest run in Top Fuel history on Friday, Force, who advanced to the semifinals, picked up her second world title at her home track.

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PRO STOCK’S CAMRIE CARUSO NAMED 2022 NHRA ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

POMONA, CA – After a standout debut season in the Pro Stock ranks, Camrie Caruso has been named the 2022 NHRA Rookie of the Year in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series.

Caruso, Top Fuel’s Scott Farley and Funny Car’s Jason Rupert were the eligible candidates for the award, which honors the sport’s top rookie. Caruso enjoyed a standout rookie season in the highly-competitive Pro Stock ranks, qualifying at all 19 races and advancing to the Countdown to the Championship playoffs.

She earned her first No. 1 qualifier in Houston and also advanced to the final round at the event where she joined points leader Erica Enders as part of the first all-female final round in Pro Stock history. In all, Caruso has enjoyed nine round wins in her Powerbuilt Tools Chevrolet Camaro, and celebrated the NHRA Rookie of the Year award at this weekend’s 57th annual Auto Club NHRA Finals in Pomona.

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LUCAS OIL REINFORCES LONG-TERM COMMITMENT TO NHRA DRAG RACING WITH MULTI-YEAR EXTENSION

INDIANAPOLIS – NHRA officials announced today that Lucas Oil Products, the world leader and distributor of high-performance automotive additives and lubricates, will continue as the sponsor of the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series and “Official Oil of NHRA” as part of a long-term extension.

It furthers a premier and lasting partnership that continues to grow after more than two decades, as Lucas Oil remains a cornerstone sponsor and all-encompassing partner of NHRA.

“All of us at Lucas Oil are excited to extend this Partnership with NHRA for another 3 years,” said Brandon Bernstein, Lucas Oil Director of Partnership Marketing. “We know how important the sportsman racers are to Lucas Oil and we want to keep that alive for many years to come. We see NHRA as an amazing property that has potential for massive growth and Lucas Oil is thrilled to be partnered in this journey.”

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CAPPS, B. FORCE, COUGHLIN AND SAMPEY ALL QUALIFY NO. 1 AT AUTO CLUB NHRA FINALS

POMONA, CA – Defending Funny Car world champion Ron Capps stayed in the title conversation with a clutch run on Saturday at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, tying the quickest run in his career to qualify No. 1 at the 57th annual Auto Club NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.

Brittany Force (Top Fuel), Troy Coughlin Jr. (Pro Stock) and Angelle Sampey (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also qualified No. 1 at the 22nd and final event in the 2022 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season and the sixth race in the Countdown to the Championship playoffs.

Capps went 3.837-seconds at a track-record speed of 337.33 mph in his 11,000-horsepower NAPA Auto Parts Toyota GR Supra, handing the veteran his sixth No. 1 qualifier of the season and 35th in his career. He enters raceday 57 points – or less than two rounds – behind leader Robert Hight, looking to become the first Funny Car driver to win back-to-back championships in 20 years. Capps will take on Jeff Arend in the opening round, with a possible must-see matchup looming in the semifinals against Hight, who qualified fourth with a 3.849 at 334.48.

“This is what I talk about when you get into a race car like this and you wish you could make those big runs at the big moments,” Capps said. “I know we can go out and throw down with the best. It’s a great feeling, so what a way to end qualifying. I got on the radio, and I was screaming and yelling. It was like going down the road to Disneyland and getting on Space Mountain for the first time as a kid.

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