INDIANAPOLIS — Courtney Force and Terry McMillen secured the No. 8 positions in the NHRA Traxxas Nitro Shootout following a special lottery drawing held today during a press conference in downtown Indianapolis to preview the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals and the lucrative specialty event held during the weekend.
Force, who is the defending Traxxas Nitro Shootout Funny Car winner, has yet to win a race this year but earned the most fan votes with 50 percent and will face top-seeded Ron Capps in the first-round on Sunday. She has raced in the event five times and took home the victory last year as the fifth seed.
“I want to thank the fans because I wouldn’t be able to have this opportunity if not for them,” Force said. “I’m really excited for my team and I can’t wait to get started in the Traxxas Shootout as we try to win this again.”In Top Fuel, McMillen, who also won last year’s fan vote in the NHRA Traxxas Nitro Shootout, defeated Scott Palmer in this year’s fan vote lottery. McMillen earned the most fan votes with 55 percent. He will meet top seed Antron Brown in the first round of the NHRA Traxxas Nitro Shootout for Top Fuel on Saturday.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling and I can’t thank all the fans enough who voted for us,” McMillen said. “It’s been a tremendous ride to get into the top 10 and now have the opportunity to race in the Traxxas Nitro Shootout once again.”
The selection of the drivers today was the culmination of a process that started on Aug. 20. All drivers in both categories who had competed in each race this season but were not a part of the seven qualified drivers for each Traxxas Nitro Shootout were eligible for the fan vote/lottery. Fan voting took place on NHRA’s Facebook page and lasted until Aug. 29. The fan voting determined how many lottery balls would be assigned to each driver for the drawing.
The Traxxas Nitro Shootout will be contested during the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, Aug. 30-Sept. 4, at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis. The Traxxas Nitro Shootout for Top Fuel will be held Saturday, Sept. 2, with rounds at 3:45, 5:45 and 7:40 p.m. The Traxxas Nitro Shootout for Funny Car will be contested Sunday, Sept. 3, with rounds at 12:45, 2:45 and 4:40 p.m. The Traxxas Nitro Shootout will be covered by FOX Sports 1 and FOX.
In the other first round pairings in Top Fuel, Steve Torrence, a six-time winner this season, will face Bristol winner Clay Millican; four-time winner Leah Pritchett will race Doug Kalitta; and Tony Schumacher who won in Gainesville will face Epping winner Brittany Force. Schumacher is the defending NHRA Traxxas Nitro Shootout winner in Top Fuel.
In the three other Funny Car first round pairings, two-time winner Robert Hight will go up against Denver winner J.R. Todd; three-time winner Matt Hagan will be pitted against Gainesville winner John Force; and Las Vegas winner Tommy Johnson Jr. will race two-time winner Jack Beckman.
Below are the drivers and their first-round pairings for the lucrative bonus races which will award the winning drivers $100,000 each.
TRAXXAS NITRO SHOOTOUT (TOP FUEL)
FIRST-ROUND PAIRINGS (3:45 p.m.):
1. Antron Brown vs. No. 8 Terry McMillen
2. Steve Torrence vs. No. 7 Clay Millican
3. Leah Pritchett vs. No. 6 Doug Kalitta
4. Tony Schumacher vs. No. 5 Brittany Force
SEMIFINAL (5:45 p.m.)
FINAL (7:40 p.m.)
TRAXXAS NITRO SHOOTOUT (FUNNY CAR)
FIRST-ROUND PAIRINGS (12:45 p.m.):
1. Ron Capps vs. No. 8 Courtney Force
2. Robert Hight vs. No. 7 J.R. Todd
3. Matt Hagan vs. No. 6 John Force
4. Tommy Johnson Jr. vs. No. 5 Jack Beckman
SEMIFINAL (2:45 p.m.)
FINAL (4:40 p.m.)
Tickets are available for the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals by calling (800) 884-NHRA (6472), or online at www.NHRA.com/tickets.
Headquartered in Glendora, Calif., NHRA is the primary sanctioning body for the sport of drag racing in the United States. NHRA presents 24 national events featuring the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series and NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series. NHRA provides competition opportunities for drivers of all levels in the NHRA Summit Racing Series and the NHRA Drags: Street Legal Style presented by AAA. NHRA also offers NHRA Jr. Street program for teens and the Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League for youth ages 5 to 17. In addition, NHRA owns and operates four racing facilities: Atlanta Dragway in Georgia; Gainesville Raceway in Florida; Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis; and Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in Southern California. For more information, log on to NHRA.com, or visit the official NHRA pages on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
Photos courtesy of NHRA