Ron Capps raced to the Funny Car victory Sunday at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals and moved into the Full Throttle Series points lead for the first time this season with one race remaining before the Countdown to the Championship playoffs.
Morgan Lucas (Top Fuel), Erica Enders (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were winners at the penultimate regular season event in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series.
Capps powered away from 15-time world champ John Force in the Funny Car final round to take his third win of the season, third at Brainerd International Raceway and 36th of his career. Capps cruised to a final round performance of 4.134 seconds at 304.05 mph in his NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger, while Force’s Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang lost traction and finished in 6.633 at 116.35.
"I’m pretty excited to go to Indy with the points lead," said Capps, who now leads Robert Hight by 53 points. "Force is cagey. He’s good here. He could be having the worst year ever and still come here and win. I was doubtful that we were going to get a win. He’s been eking it out all day and getting on a roll. He knows how to take it to the next level. I looked over at about 800 feet and didn’t see him ahead of me, and we got the win light."
In Top Fuel, Lucas edged Antron Brown at the finish line for his third victory of the season and his third win at this event, sponsored by his family’s oil company. Lucas posted a 3.818 at 316.90 in his GEICO/Lucas Oil dragster to hold off Brown’s charging Matco Tools dragster, which trailed with a 3.831 at 313.80.
“Anytime you can win here for our family, especially for my dad who is so involved in this race, is a dream come true," Lucas said. "Hopefully, it’s a sign of good things to come for us. You can’t help but get a lot of confidence out of an outing like this. You never know with these cars. There is a lot of hard work put in that is starting to show on the track.”
With the runner-up finish, Brown moved into the series points lead, 58 ahead of Spencer Massey.
Enders continues to make Pro Stock history as she raced to her third victory of the season and second in a row. She outran series points leader Allen Johnson in the final round with a performance of 6.649 at 208.26 in her GK Motorsports Chevy Cobalt. Johnson’s Team Mopar Dodge Avenger experienced tire shake at the start and slowed near mid-track. Enders is the first female to win at BIR since Shirley Muldowney won a Top Fuel title here in 1982.
“Beating AJ [Allen Johnson isn’t easy,” Enders said. “There are a lot of tough guys out there. To be able to run against the best out here shows that our hard work is finally paying off. We’ve been chasing them for a number of years.”
Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson rider Krawiec remained undefeated in Pro Stock Motorcycle, claiming his sixth victory of the season in as many finals and increasing his series points lead by defeating final round opponent Hector Arana Jr., who fouled at the start on his Lucas Oil Buell.
“He jumped out in front of me and at first I thought I was late but about 300 feet out, I looked up and saw that my win light was on,” Krawiec said. “I realized that he red-lighted.”
The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series continues Aug. 29-Sept. 3 with the 58th Annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Auto-Plus in Indianapolis, the world’s most prestigious drag race.
BRAINERD, Minn. -- Final finish order (1-16) at the 31st annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway. The race is the 16th of 23 events in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series:
1. Morgan Lucas; 2. Antron Brown; 3. Tony Schumacher; 4. Doug Kalitta; 5. Khalid alBalooshi; 6. David Grubnic; 7. Bruce Litton; 8. Cory McClenathan; 9. Brandon Bernstein; 10. Bob Vandergriff; 11. Steve Torrence; 12. Keith Murt; 13. Shawn Langdon; 14. Clay Millican; 15.Spencer Massey; 16. Terry McMillen.
1. Ron Capps; 2. John Force; 3. Matt Hagan; 4. Tim Wilkerson; 5. Johnny Gray; 6. Cruz Pedregon; 7. Jack Beckman; 8. Mike Neff; 9. Jeff Arend; 10. Courtney Force; 11. Robert Hight; 12. Jim Head; 13. Bob Tasca III; 14. Dale Creasy Jr.; 15. Tony Pedregon; 16. Alexis DeJoria.
1. Erica Enders; 2. Allen Johnson; 3. Ron Krisher; 4. Larry Morgan; 5. Jason Line; 6. Mike Edwards; 7. Jeg Coughlin; 8. Mark Martino; 9. V. Gaines; 10. Vincent Nobile; 11. Warren Johnson; 12. Rodger Brogdon; 13. Chris McGaha; 14. Ronnie Humphrey; 15. Shane Gray; 16. Greg Anderson.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE:
1. Eddie Krawiec; 2. Hector Arana Jr; 3. Andrew Hines; 4. John Hall; 5. Karen Stoffer; 6.Scotty Pollacheck; 7. Michael Phillips; 8. LE Tonglet; 9. Mike Berry; 10. Matt Smith; 11. Michael Ray; 12. Steve Johnson; 13. Jim Underdahl; 14. Chip Ellis; 15. Shawn Gann; 16. Hector Arana.