Defending Funny Car world champion Ron Capps moved into the points lead and picked up his 75th career win on Sunday at Brainerd International Raceway, powering past Robert Hight in the final round of the 41st annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals.
Antron Brown (Top Fuel) and Dallas Glenn (Pro Stock) also won the 14th of 21 races during the 2023 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season.
Capps delivered a run of 3.887-seconds at 332.75 mph in his 11,000-horsepower NAPA Auto Parts Toyota GR Supra, holding off Hight’s 3.900 at 324.90, getting his second win of the 2023 season. The back-to-back world champion also got his seventh career win at Brainerd International Raceway, which is the second-most in NHRA history at the facility to John Force’s 11 victories.
To reach the final round for the sixth time this year, Capps, the No. 1 qualifier, knocked off Jim Campbell, Tim Wilkerson and Bob Tasca III. In a matchup that featured a pair of three-time world champions, Capps led wire-to-wire against Hight to pick up a special milestone victory. His points lead stands at 21 points heading to Indy.
“I’ve won with different crew chiefs here, there’s just something about this place,” Capps said. “We make a point of going out and celebrating with everybody in the Zoo, and we did that again last night. We’re taking the Wally out to the Zoo tonight. Everybody there helped us win, and they should get a picture.
“We have all kinds of Funny Cars that have won multiple races this year and here we are with the points lead. We had one win coming in here. That tells you the consistency. It grows my confidence, we grow each other’s confidence, and it’s just fun right now. We had a goal to get to Indy and win the regular season points. To have the points lead going into Indy, it’s just so cool.”
Hight reached his 99th career final round on Sunday by defeating Bobby Bode, Dave Richards and teammate John Force.
In Top Fuel, Antron Brown capped off a dominant weekend at Brainerd International Raceway, following up his Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge victory on Saturday with a Sunday triumph, going 3.715 at 326.08 in his 11,000-horsepower Matco Tools/Toyota dragster against Leah Pruett. It gives Brown an impressive double-up weekend at a key point in the season as the three-time world champion also moved to third in points.
He knocked off Shawn Langdon, Steve Torrence and Mike Salinas to reach the finals, posting another strong run in the championship round against Pruett. It’s also Brown’s 73rd career victory and his sixth at Brainerd (two in Top Fuel and four in Pro Stock Motorcycle). Brown was stellar on the starting line all weekend as he prepares for a run at a fourth world title.
“Every lap we made, we were very competitive. We got in eliminations and knew it was going to be a very different day,” Brown said. “The conditions were going to be better, but that’s where Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald [co-crew chiefs] shine. The conditions change, they make an adjustment, and they know right where to put it. We started with a good lap, we were the quickest and fastest of the first session, and that set the tone for the day.
“Then you go in race mode where, you have to race smart. They stayed in that zone, and the consistency paid off. That’s what it takes to wins races and championships. I’ve always loved racing at this track. This race is the turning point that can really get you ready for the championship.”
Pruett reached the finals for the third time in 2023 and 22nd time overall by defeating Tony Schumacher, defending world champ Brittany Force and points leader Justin Ashley. In the points standings, Ashley’s lead now stands at 101 points over Torrence.
A dominant season continued for Dallas Glenn in Pro Stock, as the points leader won for the fourth time in 2023 with a run of 6.566 at 207.56 in his RAD Torque Systems Camaro to defeat KB Titan Racing teammate Kyle Koretsky in the final round. Glenn drove to his eighth career win in the process, building a points lead that now stands at an impressive 284 points over Matt Hartford.
On Sunday, Glenn made a series of standout runs, knocking off Jerry Tucker, defending world champ Erica Enders and Aaron Stanfield to reach the final round for the seventh time this year. In a matchup that featured two drivers making their first-ever Pro Stock appearance at Brainerd, Glenn got the job done, winning in Pro Stock’s first race at the fan-favorite facility since 2019.
“I feel like the car did most of the work today. It’s running so well,” Glenn said. “I was a little worried, it seems to be that the car works really good when it’s hot and humid out. It showed on Saturday when I picked up four bonus points in qualifying. But we went out there with the first run today, and I didn’t think it was that great of a run, but we were second of the session. We just went out there and made four really solid laps. It shook a little bit in the final. I think the track was just a little too good and we needed to get after it a little more, but it made it through it.
“I know Kyle really, really wanted to win that one especially here for Lucas Oil but that’s one thing I love about KB Titan Racing, there are never any team orders. We put the absolute best tune-up in the car and we let the drivers figure it out. When I won the semis and it was an all-KBT final, that’s when the real emotion of winning comes out because no matter what, the trophy is coming home with us.”
Koretsky reached the finals for first time in 2023 and seventh time in his career, getting past Camrie Caruso, No. 1 qualifier Greg Anderson and Deric Kramer.
The NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series returns to action Aug. 30-Sept. 3 with the 69th annual Dodge Power Brokers NHRA U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park.