Ron Capps powered to the Funny Car victory Sunday at the 33rd annual Dodge NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway.
Brittany Force (Top Fuel), Bo Butner (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were also victorious in their respective categories at the second of six playoff events during the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship.
Capps secured his category-best seventh victory of the season and 57th of his career with a 3.968-second pass at 326.48 mph in his Napa Auto Parts Dodge Charger R/T to take down Courtney Force’s 3.993 at 311.70 in her Advance Auto Parts Chevy Camaro in the final round. Capps retook the points lead in the Countdown to the Championship with the victory.
“We got lucky a little bit in the first round, but we feel like our hard work makes our own luck for us and we were fortunate to win it with consistency,” Capps said. “We know this Funny Car class is as tough as it’s ever been, so we know this won’t be easy through the last four races of the year.”
Capps earned the third qualifying position and took down Jim Campbell, 2016 winner of the events Tommy Johnson Jr. and teammate Matt Hagan on the way to his tenth final round this season. C. Force qualified eighth and defeated Bob Tasca III, teammate Robert Hight and Jack Beckman as she reached her fourth final round of the season. She still without a win in 2017.
B. Force took down Steve Torrence in the final round of Top Fuel action with a 3.756 pass at 326.24 in her Monster Energy dragster to secure her second victory of the season and first since the event in Epping, N.H. in June. Force has now reached the final round at Maple Grove Raceway three times in her career, including in 2016.
“I’m so glad to have this entire Monster Energy team and this car ran pretty consistent through qualifying and on race day, so it’s because of my team that we got this win,” Force said. “I’ve been to the final round here three times and got taken down in the first two, so this one was a big one for us.”
Force entered Sunday as the No. 4 qualifier before defeating Wayne Newby, Tony Schumacher and reigning world champion Antron Brown on her way to the third final round of the year. Torrence qualified third and was victorious against Terry Haddock, Leah Pritchett and Dom Lagana as he reached his tenth final round this season. Torrence retook the points lead with the runner-up finish.
In Pro Stock, Butner drove to victory with a 6.613 at 209.95 in his Jim Butner’s Auto Chevy Camaro to defeat Greg Anderson’s 6.660 at 206.95 in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro in the final round. He locked down his fourth career victory in Pro Stock, all four of which have come this season, as he reclaimed the lead in the Countdown to the Championship standings.
“I’m really excited about where we’re at, but we know there are still four more races left so we just have to keep doing our jobs,” Butner said. “We had eight good runs this weekend so things kind of worked in our favor this time around, and it shows how strong our team is.”
Butner was the No. 1 qualifier and continued his strong weekend with victories over Val Smeland, Erica Enders and Allen Johnson before reaching his ninth final round of 2017. Anderson earned the sixth slot in qualifying and defeated Brian Self, rookie Tanner Gray and teammate Jason Line on the way to his ninth final round of the season.
Krawiec rode to the Pro Stock Motorcycle victory with a 6.852 at 196.70 on his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson to better LE Tonglet on his Nitro Fish Racing Suzuki in the finals. He earned his fifth victory of the season and third consecutive to improve his lead in the points standings.
“Things are definitely on the upswing since we switched back to last year’s chassis, it’s been huge for me and my team at the exact right time,” Krawiec said. “We didn’t start out as strong as we had hoped in qualifying, but we put it all together today and we’re pretty pleased with these results.”
Krawiec qualified fourth before taking down Kelly Clontz, teammate Andrew Hines and No. 1 qualifier Scott Pollacheck en route to the finals. Tonglet was the No. 7 qualifier and bested Angie Smith, teammate Jerry Savoie and Hector Arana Jr. as he finished as the runner-up for only the second time in his seven final rounds this year.
The 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season continues with the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park in St. Louis on Sept. 29-Oct. 1.