INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (August 31, 2019) – Brittany Force powered her way to the provisional No. 1 spot in Top Fuel on Friday during the 65th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.
Jack Beckman (Funny Car), Jason Line (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are also provisional No. 1 qualifiers in their respective categories at the final regular-season race of the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season. It is the 18th of 24 events in 2019.
Force, who is seeking her first Indy win, ran 3.670-seconds at 327.27 mph in her Advance Auto Parts dragster to take the top spot. If the run, which was just off the track record at Indy, holds, it would give Force her sixth No. 1 qualifier of 2019 and 16th in her career. Defending world champion and points leader Steve Torrence was the only other driver to reach the 3.60s, going 3.688 at 323.81 to sit second. His father, Billy, is third after a run of 3.715 at 325.61 as he tries to break into the top 10 this weekend.
“It definitely felt fast,” Force said. “We went right down the track and put an awesome number on the board. It was a pretty awesome run, but the next two days are going to be the important ones setting us up for Monday. We’re really looking for consistency because that’s where we’ve been struggling, so this is a good start to the weekend and we’re very happy with that. I want to win here. I’ve been coming here since I was a baby and it’s on my bucket list.”
Funny Car’s Beckman, who is after his first win of 2019, drove his Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat to an impressive 3.875 at 328.46. It would give Beckman, the 2015 Indy winner, his first No. 1 qualifier this year and 25th in his career if it holds.
His Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron Capps, who won the most recent race in Brainerd, is second after his blast of 3.882 at 327.66, while J.R. Todd, the defending and back-to-back Indy winner, sits third thanks to his 3.883 at a class-best 331.20. Before Friday’s run, Todd and his team also unveiled the special Mello Yello wrap they will be sporting this weekend on his Camry.
In Pro Stock, Line went 6.570 at 209.62 to take the No. 1 spot in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro. Line, who won the most recent event in Brainerd, is aiming for his second straight and third overall top qualifier of 2019, and 56th in his career. Erica Enders, the runner-up at Brainerd, is second after Friday thanks to her 6.590 at 207.24, while points leader Bo Butner is third after going 6.592 at 209.95. On Friday, the NHRA also revealed the official logo for the 50th anniversary of Pro Stock, which will be celebrated during the 2020 season.
Pro Stock Motorcycle points leader Hines raced to the top spot on his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson, going 6.864 at 194.63. It would give Hines, a seven-time winner this year, his third No. 1 qualifier of the season and 45th in his career. Defending world champion Matt Smith is currently second after his run of 6.874 at 197.02 and Jerry Savoie is a spot back thanks to his pass of 6.898 at 193.85.
In the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service, three-time world champ Rickie Smith took the top spot on Friday with a run of 5.746 at 251.95 in his Camaro.
Qualifying continues Saturday at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals with two rounds at 1:15 and 4:15 p.m. ET.BROWNSBURG, Ind. –– Friday’s results after the first one of five rounds of qualifying for the 65th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, 18th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Qualifying will continue Saturday for Monday’s final eliminations.
Top Fuel — 1. Brittany Force, 3.670 seconds, 327.27 mph; 2. Steve Torrence, 3.688, 323.81; 3.Billy Torrence, 3.715, 325.61; 4. Leah Pritchett, 3.726, 325.22; 5. Antron Brown, 3.729, 328.06; 6. Richie Crampton, 3.738, 325.53; 7. Doug Kalitta, 3.743, 327.19; 8. Jordan Vandergriff, 3.746, 323.19; 9. Scott Palmer, 3.759, 307.93; 10. Terry McMillen, 3.780, 322.65; 11. Shawn Reed, 3.797, 299.00; 12. Wayne Newby, 3.803, 322.11; 13. T.J. Zizzo, 3.832, 319.37; 14. Pat Dakin, 3.931, 278.00; 15. Mike Salinas, 4.176, 201.85; 16. Luigi Novelli, 5.341, 132.71. Not Qualified: 17. Clay Millican, 5.433, 121.23; 18. Austin Prock, 7.404, 86.21.
Funny Car — 1. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger, 3.875, 328.46; 2. Ron Capps, Charger, 3.882, 327.66; 3. J.R. Todd, Toyota Camry, 3.883, 331.20; 4. Shawn Langdon, Camry, 3.887, 330.63; 5. Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 3.896, 331.94; 6. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 3.923, 326.08; 7. John Force, Camaro, 3.942, 326.00; 8. Cruz Pedregon, Charger, 3.949, 291.13; 9. Bob Bode, Mustang, 3.987, 321.81; 10. Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.987, 287.84; 11. Justin Schriefer, Charger, 4.005, 317.94; 12. Jonnie Lindberg, Mustang, 4.009, 318.99; 13. Paul Lee, Charger, 4.110, 251.63; 14. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.164, 300.06; 15. Phil Burkart, Charger, 4.306, 224.66; 16. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.368, 200.71. Not Qualified: 17. Terry Haddock, 7.774, 83.46; 18. Bob Tasca III, 8.057, 87.58; 19. Ray Martin, broke.
Pro Stock — 1. Jason Line, Chevy Camaro, 6.570, 209.62; 2. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.590, 207.24; 3. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.592, 209.95; 4. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.593, 207.46; 5. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.602, 208.78; 6. Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 6.607, 207.66; 7. Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.608, 208.23; 8. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.611, 207.94; 9. Val Smeland, Camaro, 6.627, 208.26; 10. Fernando Cuadra Jr., Camaro, 6.632, 207.56; 11. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.633, 207.94; 12. Fernando Cuadra, Camaro, 6.637, 209.20; 13. Shane Tucker, Camaro, 6.647, 207.53; 14. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.648, 207.21; 15. Steve Graham, Camaro, 6.662, 206.76; 16. Wally Stroupe, Camaro, 6.694, 206.13.
Not Qualified: 17. Cristian Cuadra, 6.719, 204.73; 18. Alan Prusiensky, 6.721, 206.61; 19. Robert River, 7.226, 198.85; 20. Richard Freeman, 10.723, 83.37; 21. Jeremy Martorella, 13.401, 77.02.
Pro Stock Motorcycle — 1. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.864, 194.63; 2. Matt Smith, EBR, 6.874, 197.02; 3. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.898, 193.85; 4. Ryan Oehler, EBR, 6.901, 195.00; 5. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.904, 193.68; 6. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.907, 193.32; 7. Angelle Sampey, Harley-Davidson, 6.917, 188.96; 8. Angie Smith, EBR, 6.928, 195.11; 9. Scotty Pollacheck, EBR, 6.973, 193.21; 10. Hector Arana Jr, EBR, 6.978, 193.46; 11. Hector Arana, EBR, 7.008, 192.30; 12. Cory Reed, EBR, 7.052, 191.00; 13. Joey Gladstone, EBR, 7.132, 186.85; 14. Chris Bostick, Suzuki, 7.143, 187.60; 15. Jianna Salinas, Suzuki, 7.315, 183.89; 16. Michael Ray, Buell, 7.378, 185.26. Not Qualified: 17. Steve Johnson, 7.780, 124.59; 18. Kelly Clontz, 11.702, 65.74; 19. Andie Rawlings, broke.
The first of five Mello Yello Series qualifying sessions is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 31 at 1:15 p.m. and 4:15 p.m., and the final two qualifying sessions will take place on Sunday, Sept. 1 at 1:15 p.m. and 4:15 p.m. Final eliminations begin at 11 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 2.
FOX national broadcast and FS1 will televise coverage of the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, starting with qualifying on Sunday, Sept. 1 on FS1 at 2 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. EST. The broadcasts continue on FS1 with two hours of live coverage of eliminations on Monday, Sept. 2 starting at 11 a.m. EST, continuing live on FOX at 1 p.m. EST.
Tickets for the world’s most prestigious drag race can be purchased by calling the NHRA Ticket Sales Center at (800) 884-NHRA (6472), or online at www.NHRA.com/tickets. Kids 12 and under are free in general admission areas with a paid adult. To honor the Salute to First Responders, military and first responders can save 20 percent on general admission tickets at the gate. For more information about the NHRA visit www.NHRA.com.
CHEVROLET PERFORMANCE U.S. NATIONALS
WHAT: 65th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, 18th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series and the last race in the NHRA Mello Yello Series regular season. At the conclusion of this event, the top 10 drivers in four categories – Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle – will be locked in to begin the six-race Countdown to the Championship playoffs, leading to the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series world championships.
WHERE: Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, Brownsburg, Ind. From I-465, exit Crawfordsville Road (Hwy. 136). Head west for four miles past downtown Clermont. The facility’s main entrance is on the left, one-half mile past Raceway Road. From I-74 go south on Ronald Reagan Parkway, exit 68 and turn south. Turn east on U.S. 136 and entrance on the track will be on the right.
COURSE: Championship dragstrip; Track elevation is 700 feet above sea level; Track direction is south to north.
POINTS: A special world championship points system is in effect at this event, where drivers in the Mello Yello Series categories will earn points based on a point-and-a-half system (150 points to win). A single racer in each category can earn a maximum of 188 points at this event. All other NHRA Mello Yello Series events offer 100 points to win. Teams also will get 15 points instead of 10 for making a qualifying attempt. Qualifying bonus points will remain at 1-2-3 for the five sessions and the standard 1-8 points will be given for qualifying positions.
WHEN: Wednesday, Aug. 28 through Monday, Sept. 2.SCHEDULE: WEDNESDAY, Aug. 28 – LUCAS OIL SERIES qualifying
SATURDAY, Aug. 31 – LUCAS OIL SERIES qualifying and eliminations
E3 SPARK PLUGS PRO MOD DRAG RACING SERIES PRESENTED BY J&A SERVICE qualifying at 12:30 and 3:40 p.m.
MELLO YELLO SERIES qualifying at 1:15 p.m. and 4:15 p.m.
SUNDAY, Sept. 1 – LUCAS OIL SERIES qualifying and eliminations (featuring Factory Stock Showdown)
E3 SPARK PLUGS PRO MOD DRAG RACING SERIES PRESENTED BY J&A SERVICE qualifying at 12:45 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.
Mickey Thompson Top Fuel Harley Eliminations
MELLO YELLO SERIES qualifying at 1:15 p.m. and 4:15 p.m.
MONDAY, Sept. 2 – Pre-race ceremonies, 10:00 a.m.
MELLO YELLO SERIES eliminations begin at 11 a.m.TELEVISION:
Sunday, Sept. 1, FS1 will televise two hours of qualifying coverage at 2 p.m. (ET).
Sunday, Sept. 1, FS1 will televise two hours of live qualifying coverage at 4:00 p.m. (ET).
Monday, Sept. 2, FS1 will televise two hours of live finals coverage at 11 a.m. (ET).
Monday, Sept. 2, FOX will televise four hours of live finals coverage at 1 p.m. (ET).2018 EVENT WINNERS:
Terry McMillen, Top Fuel; JR Todd, Funny Car; Tanner Gray, Pro Stock; LE Tonglet, Pro Stock Motorcycle.
Tony Schumacher, TF, 10; Bob Glidden, PS, 9; Don Garlits, TF, 8; Don Prudhomme, TF/ FC, 7; Greg Anderson, PS, 6; Warren Johnson, PS, 6; Ed McCulloch, FC/TF, 6; Dave Schultz, PSM, 6; Larry Dixon, TF, 4;John Force, FC, 4.
EVENT HISTORY: The most historic and prestigious event in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals has been contested annually since 1955. Originally known as “The Nationals” and first held at an abandoned airstrip in Great Bend, Kan., the event made stops at Kansas City, Mo., Oklahoma City and Detroit before eventually moving to Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis in 1961. Past winners include “Big Daddy” Don Garlits, an eight-time winner in Top Fuel; Shirley Muldowney, 1982 Top Fuel winner; Don “The Snake” Prudhomme, a seven-time winner and one of a handful of drivers to win the event in both Top Fuel and Funny Car; and Bob Glidden, the legendary Pro Stock driver who dominated the race by advancing to the final round in 13 consecutive seasons from 1977-’89. The Indiana native won the event nine times. Tony Schumacher has the most wins at the event with 10 victories including his 2016 win. It is the only major motorsports event to be contested on Labor Day.
FAST FACTS: The Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals is the final of 18 regular season Mello Yello Series races. Following conclusion of this event the top 10 drivers in each Mello Yello Series category will qualify for the Countdown to the Championship, NHRA’s six-race playoffs that begin Sept. 12-15 at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pa. …. John Force, 16-time NHRA Mello Yello Series world champion and winner of a record 149 events, has won the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals four times, his last coming in 2002… Four women have earned Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals victories, including Shirley Muldowney once in Top Fuel, Ashley Force Hood twice in Funny Car, Alexis DeJoria once in Funny Car and Angelle Sampey twice in Pro Stock Motorcycle…Kenny Bernstein, Don Prudhomme, Jim Head and Ed McCulloch have won the race in both Top Fuel and Funny Car, while Antron Brown has also won the race in multiple MYDRS classes, Top Fuel and Pro Stock Motorcycle. The event also will feature competition in the Lucas Oil Series and the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series, featuring high-horsepower machines that accelerate to more than 250 mph.
WHAT TO WATCH: J.R Todd is seeking a third consecutive Funny Car victory at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals… Four-time Pro Stock world champion Greg Anderson is seeking his seventh Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals victory… Several high-profile drivers are looking for their first victory in the world’s most prestigious drag race, including three-time Indy runner-up Doug Kalitta in Top Fuel, Ron Capps in Funny Car… Drivers in several Mello Yello Series categories who are on the bubble to make it into the top 10 in points will be trying to take advantage of Indy’s point-and-a-half system and secure their berths into the Countdown to the Championship, NHRA’s six-race postseason playoffs.TRACK HISTORY: In 1958, led by Tom Binford, Frank Dickie, Rodger Ward and Howard Fieber, 15 Indianapolis-area businessmen and racing
professionals invested $5,000 each to fund the development of what would become Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis. The group purchased a 267-acre farm about seven miles from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and developed a multipurpose auto racing facility. The original intention in creating Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis was to design a 15-turn, 2.5-mile road course. Nearly as an afterthought, and as an insurance measure against economic problems, the investment group decided to incorporate a quarter-mile drag strip into the long straightaway of the 2.5-mile road course design. Constructed with assistance from the NHRA, the drag strip was the first of the three courses to be completed, with the facility’s first event held on the strip in the fall of 1960. During the 1960 U.S. Nationals in Detroit, a handshake agreement between Binford and NHRA founder Wally Parks promised that the event would move to Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis in 1961. The historic three-year pact was signed and sealed under a tree in Detroit Dragway’s pits, and Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis eventually became the home of NHRA’s biggest annual event. The NHRA purchased the entire facility in 1979. The first major improvement came in 1983 with the construction and dedication of Parks Tower, the four-story drag strip tower. In 1998, new grandstands, suites and a tower complex on the front straightaway were completed at the oval track at a cost of nearly $2.5 million, which included the repaving of the entire oval surface as part of a three-phase facility improvement project. In 2001, NHRA and Lucas Oil Raceway constructed a new drag strip racing surface, replacing the strip with a 660-foot concrete pad and laying new asphalt on the remainder of the track and shutdown area. Prior to the 2003 race, eight new luxury suites were added along the top of the west-side grandstands of the drag strip, giving fans a unique perspective of the action on the famed track. In 2006, new soft barrier walls were added to the oval. In 2007, the track announced its first track entitlement with O’Reilly Auto Parts. In 2011, the track announced a new track entitlement with Lucas Oil Products. The track – formerly known as Indianapolis Raceway Park – is now known as Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis. During the winter of 2008, a new main track office building was constructed near the track entrance.
Top Fuel – 3.663 sec. by Clay Millican, Sept. ’17; 330.31 mph by Tony Schumacher, Sept. ’16.
Funny Car – 3.799 sec. by Matt Hagan, Sept. ‘17; 338.77 by Hagan, Sept. ’17.
Pro Stock – 6.538 sec. by Jason Line, Sept. ’11; 211.13 mph by Mike Edwards, Sept. ’12.
Pro Stock Motorcycle – 6.812 sec. by Angelle Sampey, Sept. 16; 199.29 mph by Hector Arran Jr., Sept. ’18.
Top Fuel – 3.628 sec. by Clay Millican, Feb. ’18, Pomona, Calif.; 336.57 mph by Tony Schumacher, Feb. ‘18, Phoenix
Funny Car – 3.793 sec. by Robert Hight, Aug. ’17, Brainerd; 339.87 mph by Robert Hight, July ’17, Sonoma, Calif.
Pro Stock – 6.455 sec. by Jason Line, March ’15, Charlotte, N.C.; 215.55 mph by Erica Enders, May ’14, Englishtown N.J.
Pro Stock Motorcycle – 6.728 sec. by Andrew Hines, Oct ‘12, Reading, PA.; 201.01 mph by Hector Arana Jr., March ‘18, Gainesville, Fla.
TICKETS: For tickets call (800) 884-NHRA (6472). Tickets also are available online at www.NHRA.com/tickets.
Photos courtesy of NHRA
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 E3 Spark NHRA Plugs Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service. 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. NHRA’s Youth and Education Services (YES) Program reaches over 30,000 students annually to ignite their interest in automotive and racing related careers. 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 www,NHRA.com, or visit the official NHRA pages on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.