With each passing race, things seem to get better and better for Funny Car’s Chad Green, who made his first career final round appearance at the most recent race in Sonoma.
Heading into this weekend’s Menards NHRA Nationals presented by PetArmor, which marks the final NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series national event at Heartland Motorsports Park, Green is third in points in the loaded category and seemingly on the cusp of his first career Funny Car victory.
It’s been an enjoyable progression for Green in his 11,000-horsepower Bond Coat Ford Mustang and he’s been one of the most consistent drivers in the category this season. Before Sonoma, Green had advanced to the semifinals in seven of the first 11 races of the season, picking up his first career runner-up to close out the Western Swing. Green can sense the momentum building and he is eager to keep it going this weekend in Topeka.
“It’s been very exciting. We started out the season well in Gainesville, had a good start, and it’s one of those things where success breeds success,” Green said. “I’ve watched the confidence in my team grow, and there’s nothing better than going rounds on Sunday. I’ve been saying all year you haven’t seen the best of us yet, and it seems like we’re turning the corner. We’re really looking forward to Topeka. It’s going to be warm, and we always seem to run well when it’s hot, so we’re excited. It’s definitely been a lot of fun this year so far.”
Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Bob Tasca III (Funny Car) and Troy Coughlin Jr. (Pro Stock) won the pivotal regular-season race in 2023, and this year’s event will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1 (FS1), including live eliminations coverage starting at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday, Aug. 13. It is the 13th of 21 events during the 2023 season and Green appears to be on a good path with the Countdown to the Championship approaching.
The groundwork for that started last year when Green raced the bulk of the season, picking up valuable Funny Car experience. That has paid dividends this year as Green continues to get more comfortable behind the wheel, and his team, led by crew chief Daniel Wilkerson, continues to impress.
The only thing missing now is a victory, and Green is more than ready for that. To get it in Topeka, he’ll have to get past points leader Matt Hagan, back-to-back world champ Ron Capps, J.R. Todd, who beat him in the final round in Sonoma, John Force, Cruz Pedregon, Tasca, Tim Wilkerson and Robert Hight.
Green is also racing in the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge in Topeka, a bonus race he won in Pomona. He’ll take on Capps on Saturday at Heartland Motorsports Park, while Todd races Hagan, and Green views it as another chance to pick up a specialty event win and add to his team’s confidence level.
“Every week, it’s a battle out there and trying to hold those positions in the points is tough,” Green said. “The way we ended the Western Swing was awesome, and hopefully, we can just keep going rounds. But we’re going into every race thinking we could go win that sucker. A race like Sonoma gives us more excitement and more hope we can do it, but every race we’ve gone to, it seems like our momentum just keeps building. This year has just been gangbusters and I expect our team to go rounds now.”
In Top Fuel, Brown will look for his third career victory at Topeka, facing off against a talented field that includes points leader Justin Ashley, who has five wins this year, defending world champ Brittany Force, Steve Torrence, Austin Prock, Tony Schumacher, Clay Millican and Leah Pruett.
Coughlin’s Pro Stock win a year ago in Topeka was a memorable one, as it marked his second career victory in the class. He’s picked up two victories in 2023, but Coughlin is chasing points leader Dallas Glenn, who won at Topeka in 2021. Other top drivers include defending world champ Erica Enders, Greg Anderson and Aaron Stanfield.
The event also will feature thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, which includes some of the sport’s top drivers. After nitro qualifying on Friday and Saturday, fans can see an exciting jet car performance.
Race fans at Heartland Motorsports Park can enjoy the special pre-race ceremonies that introduce and celebrate each of the drivers racing for the prestigious Wally on Sunday and includes the fan favorite SealMaster Track Walk. The final can’t-miss experience of any NHRA event is the winner’s circle celebration on Sunday after racing concludes, where fans are invited to congratulate the Topeka event winners.
Fans are invited to the Nitro Alley Stage all weekend, which will help create a festive atmosphere leading into Nitro Alley. The Nitro Alley Stage will be the main entertainment hub in the pits when the Camping World Drag Racing Series competitors are not on the track, hosting Nitro School, meet and greets and much more. As always, fans get a pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet. Fans can see their favorite teams in action and servicing their hot rods between rounds, get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers, and more. They can also visit NHRA’s Manufacturers Midway, where sponsors and race vendors create an exciting atmosphere that includes interactive displays, merchandise, food, and fun.
NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature one round at 7:15 p.m. CT on Friday, Aug. 11 and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, Aug. 12 at 2:15 and 4:45 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. CT on Sunday, Aug. 13. Television coverage includes qualifying action on FS1 at 7:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, and then eliminations at 3 p.m. ET Sunday.
To purchase tickets to the final NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series national event on Aug. 11-13 at Heartland Motorsports Park, fans can visit www.nhra.com/tickets. For more information on the NHRA, please visit www.nhra.com.