Anderson Makes Big History at Big Go

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Wednesday, September 7 2022

U.S. Nationals winners Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycles), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) Ron Capps (Funny Car) and Antron Brown (Top Fuel) spray the stage in Indy.

Greg Anderson joined NHRA’s ultra-exclusive Triple-Digit Club with his 100th Pro Stock victory in Labor Day Monday’s final of the 68th annual Dodge Power Brokers NHRA U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park.

Anderson authored his milestone win with a quarter-mile pass in 6.587-seconds at 208.07 mph to defeat Ken Black Racing teammate Dallas Glenn in the final. Anderson is just the second driver in NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series history to reach 100 career victories, joining 16-time Funny Car world champion John Force. “Brute” Force scored his 155th career win on May 1 during the Circle K NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Concord, N.C.

“I don’t know if I can explain how meaningful this is,” said Anderson, driver of the Chevrolet Camaro SS. “It’s incredible and this (100th) win was meant to happen here. Indy means everything to me, and I’ve said that my whole career.”

Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Ron Capps (Funny Car) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also emerged victorious at the 16th of 22 races during the 2022 schedule and final event of the “regular season.” The six-race Countdown to the Championship playoffs will begin with points recalibrated at the Pep Boys NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pa., Sept. 15-18.

Anderson trailered Fernando Cuadra Sr., Troy Coughlin Jr. and Fernando Cuadra Jr. to reach the final, recording the quickest run in each elimination round. The final became instantly anti-climactic when Glenn went red at the Christmas Tree, handing Greg his seventh win at “The Big Go.”

“Nothing compares to this place and to get my 100th win here, I couldn’t possibly ask for anything more,” said Anderson, a 61-year-old resident of Charlotte, N.C. “This just means everything to me. It’s been a while since I’ve won here and it’s hard to win here, so it really makes you appreciate it. It’s probably my most special win here because of that. It’s just unbelievable.”

Anderson passed mentor and six-time world champion Warren “The Professor” Johnson for most wins in NHRA’s “Factory Hot Rod” class on Oct. 10, 2021, scoring his 98th victory against Chris McGaha in the final of the 36th annual Texas NHRA FallNationals at Texas Motorplex in Ennis. The late Bob Glidden retired with 85 victories and 10 Pro Stock world championships, including five in a row beginning in 1985. Glidden also qualified on-pole 23 times in a row _ including the entire 1987 season.

A longtime crewman at KB Racing, Glenn reached a final for the second time this year by defeating Kenny Delco, Kyle Koretsky and four-time world champion Erica Enders. She will enter the Countdown as point-leader.

Rookie team-owner/driver Ron Capps scored his first U.S. Nats victory in the Funny Car final with a 1,000-foot pass in 3.911-seconds at 327.98 mph against point-leader Robert Hight. The two-time/reigning world champ, Capps recorded his 71st career win in 27 appearances at IRP. The 57-year-old resident of Carlsbad, Calif., also won the Pep Boys NHRA Top Fuel All-Star Callout on Sunday to bank $180,000 over two days for Ron Capps Motorsports.

Capps also qualified No. 1 to set the stage for one of the biggest weekends in his career. To reach the final, Capps beat Dale Creasy Jr., 2018 world champ J.R. Todd and 16-time world champ John Force, making three consecutive runs of 3.88-seconds. Capps then drove past Hight in the final to avenge last year’s defeat.

“It’s such a surreal feeling, I can’t even put it into words,” said Capps, driver of his Toyota Supra. “There are so many emotions that come from winning such a big event that exemplifies NHRA’s heritage and history.

“This year has been so crazy being a first-year team-owner and having so much help around me. So many people wanted to be a part of what we were doing and what we’re building, and it was so nice to have that support. There are so many neat things that have happened in my life this past year. I’m living the American dream, now running my own business. We’ve been trying to win this one for a long, long time.”

Hight _ the point-leader to start the Countdown _ reached his ninth final this year and 93rd in his career after driving the JFR Chevrolet Camaro SS to wins against John Smith, fellow-three-time world champ Matt Hagan and Bob Tasca III.

“Not a bad day for this Auto Club team. Granted, not the way we wanted the afternoon to go but we’re not putting our heads down,” said Hight, of John Force Racing. “The Auto Club guys have been working hard all weekend, it’s a marathon here at the U.S. Nationals. We made some really good passes, went some rounds and we’re going into the Countdown in that No. 1 spot.

“Now the real work starts. Only ahead 20 points with the standings resetting for the Countdown, just have to take it one weekend at a time, one run at a time. I’ve said it before _ it’s going to take another two or three wins to get that championship. That’s what we’re looking for.”

A rejuvenated Antron Brown drove to his second win in the past three races, earning his first Top Fuel U.S. Nats victory since 2011 with a stout 1,000-foot pass in 3.706-seconds at 321.66 mph to defeat point-leader Brittany Force in the final. Brown posted his 70th career win and fourth at Indy, two of them in Top Fuel. Brown’s most recent victory at IRP was scored 11 years ago.

But Antron was on his game Monday, defeating Tripp Tatum, four-time/reigning world champion Steve Torrence and Justin Ashley to reach the final. Brown’s  dragster recorded a hot lap in 3.698-seconds to defeat Ashley for his first run in the 3.60s this year. Brown then led wire-to-wire against Force in the title round. The three-time world champ will open the Countdown in sixth place in his first year as owner/driver of Antron Brown Motorsports.

“You come here to Indy with 25 good teams, and it took a 3.75 just to get in the show,” said Brown, a 46-year-old resident of Pittsboro, Ind. “At the beginning of this year, we started from scratch in putting this team together. But it’s all coming together.

“That final round, it was the longest 3.7-seconds of my entire life. When that win light came on, I said look at what this team has done. It’s a testament to all the work everyone has put in. All of these guys, they never lost faith and they never gave up. Heading into the Countdown, we’re going to let the racetrack do the talking, but we’re going to be humble, fierce, and give it all we’ve got.”

Force reached her second straight final at Indy, beating Dan Mercier, Josh Hart and Doug Kalitta to reach a final for the sixth time this season. The 2016 world champion, Brit will open the Countdown as point-leader.

Force, of John Force Racing, ran 3.714-seconds at 330.00 mph against Brown. “Overall, not a bad weekend for this Monster Energy/Flav-R-Pac team,” Brit said. “We can’t complain. We qualified No. 1, ran for the Pep Boys Callout money, got beat in the final. Race day, had another final-round appearance. So, it’s positive all around.

“Our biggest objective coming in was leaving with the points lead and we did just that. Everything resets in the Countdown but we’re in the position we want to be in.”

Five-time/reigning world champ Matt Smith is peaking at the perfect time in Pro Stock Motorcycle. Smith rolled to an impressive victory via a quarter-mile pass in 6.872-seconds at 195.99 mph aboard his Denso Auto Parts EBR in the final against Karen Stoffer.

Smith’s first Indy win since 2006 was his third this season and 35th in a standout career, as he defeated Scotty Pollacheck, Hector Arana Jr. and 2016 world champ Jerry Savoie to reach the final. Smith was consistent throughout qualifying and eliminations to move into the point-lead heading into the Countdown.

“We started with the Suzuki on Friday, but I just wasn’t happy with it,” said Smith, a 49-year-old resident of King, N.C. “It ran well up to the eighth-mile, but I was just frustrated with it. I decided to go with the (EBR) and we had a good bike the rest of the weekend. All in all, I felt it was a great weekend for the bike. I’ve been to the finals a lot of times here and I’m just blessed to have two (Indy) wins. They better watch out for me. We’ve got a good bike and we’re going to defend our championship.”

Stoffer reached her 30th career final and third this season on the strength of round-wins against former point-leader Joey Gladstone, Ron Tornow and veteran Steve Johnson.

Final finishing order (1-16) at the 68th annual Dodge Power Brokers NHRA U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis. The race was the 16th of 22 events in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series and “regular season” finale:

Top Fuel _ 1. Antron Brown; 2. Brittany Force; 3. Justin Ashley; 4. Doug Kalitta; 5. Josh Hart; 6. Billy Torrence; 7. Mike Salinas; 8. Steve Torrence; 9. Clay Millican; 10. Tripp Tatum; 11. Austin Prock; 12. Shawn Langdon; 13. Tony Schumacher; 14. Leah Pruett; 15. Dan Mercier; 16. Doug Foley.

Funny Car _ 1. Ron Capps; 2. Robert Hight; 3. Bob Tasca III; 4. John Force; 5. Matt Hagan; 6. Tim Wilkerson; 7. J.R. Todd; 8. Blake Alexander; 9. Chad Green; 10. Dale Creasy Jr.; 11. John Smith; 12. Cruz Pedregon; 13. Jim Campbell; 14. Paul Lee; 15. Alexis DeJoria; 16. Bobby Bode.

Pro Stock _ 1. Greg Anderson; 2. Dallas Glenn; 3. Erica Enders; 4. Fernando Cuadra Jr.; 5. Matt Hartford; 6. Troy Coughlin Jr.; 7. Kyle Koretsky; 8. Camrie Caruso; 9. Bo Butner; 10. Aaron Stanfield; 11. Deric Kramer; 12. Cristian Cuadra; 13. Chris McGaha; 14. Kenny Delco; 15. Mason McGaha; 16. Fernando Cuadra.

Pro Stock Motorcycle _ 1. Matt Smith; 2. Karen Stoffer; 3. Steve Johnson; 4. Jerry Savoie; 5. Hector Arana Jr.; 6. Angie Smith; 7. Jianna Evaristo; 8. Ron Tornow; 9. Angelle Sampey; 10. Marc Ingwersen; 11. Joey Gladstone; 12. Eddie Krawiec; 13. Kelly Clontz; 14. Ryan Oehler; 15. Scotty Pollacheck; 16. Chip Ellis.

Pro and Sportsman class results from the Dodge Power Brokers NHRA U.S. Nationals:

Top Fuel _ Antron Brown, 3.706-seconds, 321.65 mph def. Brittany Force, 3.714-seconds, 333.00 mph.

Funny Car _ Ron Capps, Toyota Supra, 3.913, 327.98 def. Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 7.649, 85.73.

Pro Stock _ Greg Anderson, Chevy Camaro, 6.587, 208.07 def. Dallas Glenn, Camaro, Foul/Red Light.

Pro Stock Motorcycle _ Matt Smith, Suzuki, 6.872, 195.99 def. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 8.094, 104.17.

Top Alcohol Dragster _ Julie Nataas, 5.237, 277.15 def. Mike Coughlin, 5.342, 241.28.

Top Alcohol Funny Car _ Sean Bellemeur, Chevy Camaro, 5.467, 266.21 def. DJ Cox Jr., Camaro, 5.568, 262.39.

Competition Eliminator _ Doug Engels, Dragster, 7.384, 175.48 def. Frank Aragona, Roadster, 7.412, 164.63.

Super Stock _ Peter D’Agnolo, Chevy Camaro, 9.639, 128.35 def. James Caro, Dodge Challenger, 9.502, 138.73.

Stock Eliminator _ Brett Candies, Ford Mustang, 9.202, 144.07 def. Jim Marshall, Chevy Camaro, 11.328, 114.29.

Super Comp _ Austin Williams, Dragster, 8.918, 160.44 def. Jason Kenny, Dragster, 8.891, 172.61.

Super Gas _ Bo Butner, Chevy Corvette, 10.066, 156.94 def. Steve Hoyt, Chevy Caviler, 10.118, 156.50.

Super Street _ Doug Wood, Olds Cutlass, 10.901, 137.41 def. Ryan Locke, Chevy Camaro, 10.906, 141.52.

Top Dragster presented by Vortech Superchargers _ Rusty Baxter, Dragster, 6.172, 208.91 def. Dane Ward, Dragster, 6.217, 205.13.

Top Sportsman presented by Vortech Superchargers _ Vince Hoda, Chevy Camaro, 6.639, 209.07 def. Craig Liles, Chevy Camaro, Foul/Red Light.

Pro Modified _ Lyle Barnett, Chevy Camaro, 8.529, 104.78 def. Kris Thorne, Camaro, Foul/Red Light.

Factory Stock Showdown _ David Barton, Chevy Camaro, 7.786, 176.77 def. Aaron Stanfield, Camaro, 7.781, 176.47.

Top Fuel Harley _ Jay Turner, Harley, 6.255, 220.08 def. Bob Malloy, Lightning, 6.384, 194.02.

Mountain Motor Pro Stock _ Johnny Pluchino, Ford Mustang, 6.341, 220.69 def. Tony Gillig, Pontiac GXP, 6.349, 221.56.

Final round-by-round results from the Dodge Power Brokers NHRA U.S. Nationals:


ROUND ONE _ Josh Hart, 3.690, 328.70 def. Doug Foley, 10.670, 83.78; Antron Brown, 3.720, 330.15 def. Tripp Tatum, 3.737, 327.19; Doug Kalitta, 3.713, 328.06 def. Clay Millican, 3.727, 320.28; Brittany Force, 3.695, 334.98 def. Dan Mercier, 10.464, 39.99; Mike Salinas, 3.742, 331.04 def. Tony Schumacher, 5.072, 139.92; Justin Ashley, 3.690, 331.85 def. Shawn Langdon, 3.788, 308.78; Steve Torrence, 3.693, 328.62 def. Austin Prock, 3.774, 325.61; Billy Torrence, 3.740, 324.20 def. Leah Pruett, 5.129, 146.56;

QUARTERFINALS _ Kalitta, 3.802, 278.92 def. Salinas, 3.989, 236.30; Brown, 3.736, 321.04 def. S. Torrence, 6.419, 109.56; Ashley, 3.697, 332.10 def. B. Torrence, 3.751, 323.12; Force, 3.699, 335.48 def. Hart, 3.719, 327.66;

SEMIFINALS _ Force, 3.676, 335.07 def. Kalitta, 6.518, 137.60; Brown, 3.698, 329.99 def. Ashley, 3.714, 319.75;

FINAL _ Brown, 3.706, 321.65 def. Force, 3.714, 333.00.


ROUND ONE_ John Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.931, 321.58 def. Paul Lee, Dodge Charger, 8.855, 81.45; Bob Tasca III, Ford Mustang, 3.883, 329.10 def. Jim Campbell, Charger, 8.237, 76.86; Robert Hight, Camaro, 3.891, 329.18 def. John Smith, Charger, 4.388, 221.82; Ron Capps, Toyota Supra, 3.886, 331.36 def. Dale Creasy Jr., Charger, 3.982, 324.12; Blake Alexander, Mustang, 3.897, 323.43 def. Chad Green, Mustang, 3.944, 324.05; Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 3.892, 331.28 def. Bobby Bode, Mustang, Foul/Centerline; Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.881, 334.07 def. Alexis DeJoria, Supra, Foul/Red Light; J.R. Todd, Supra, 3.856, 330.88 def. Cruz Pedregon, Charger, 7.086, 101.45;

QUARTERFINALS _ Tasca III, 3.887, 328.62 def. Wilkerson, 3.908, 305.01; Capps, 3.883, 333.08 def. Todd, 4.458, 218.94; Hight, 3.861, 331.77 def. Hagan, 3.867, 334.65; Force, 3.937, 331.12 def. Alexander, 4.861, 164.85;

SEMIFINALS _ Capps, 3.887, 332.18 def. Force, 8.995, 77.75; Hight, 5.751, 250.92 def. Tasca III, 7.473, 120.68;

FINAL _ Capps, 3.913, 327.98 def. Hight, 7.649, 85.73.


ROUND ONE _Troy Coughlin Jr., Chevy Camaro, 6.623, 207.53 def. Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.634, 207.15; Kyle Koretsky, Camaro, 6.654, 206.35 def. Cristian Cuadra, Ford Mustang, 6.660, 203.83; Camrie Caruso, Camaro, 6.638, 206.48 def. Aaron Stanfield, Camaro, 6.619, 207.02; Fernando Cuadra Jr., Mustang, 6.623, 206.54 def. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.610, 207.21; Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.609, 207.56 def. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.669, 205.60; Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.609, 208.30 def. Mason McGaha, Camaro, 6.690, 204.48; Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.595, 207.02 def. Fernando Cuadra, Mustang, Foul/Red Light; Dallas Glenn, Camaro, 6.614, 206.48 def. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.689, 205.51;

QUARTERFINALS _ Glenn, 6.611, 206.29 def. Koretsky, 9.655, 90.86; Cuadra Jr., 6.615, 207.05 def. Hartford, Foul/Red Light; Enders, 6.595, 208.26 def. Caruso, Foul/Red Light; Anderson, 6.593, 207.59 def. Coughlin Jr., 6.637, 206.92;

SEMIFINALS _ Glenn, 6.623, 205.79 def. Enders, 6.609, 208.23; Anderson, 6.608, 207.27 def. Cuadra Jr., 6.688, 204.23;

FINAL _ Anderson, 6.587, 208.07 def. Glenn, Foul/Red Light.


ROUND ONE _ Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.913, 194.10 def. Joey Gladstone, Suzuki, 6.942, 193.82; Angie Smith, 6.908, 196.13 def. Ryan Oehler, 7.015, 191.19; Hector Arana Jr., Buell, 6.895, 195.76 def. Marc Ingwersen, 6.922, 194.24; Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.878, 194.52 def. Chip Ellis, 7.097, 190.70; Jianna Evaristo, Suzuki, 6.952, 193.74 def. Eddie Krawiec, Suzuki, 6.966, 194.07; Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.907, 195.05 def. Kelly Clontz, Suzuki, 6.978, 192.11; Ron Tornow, 6.981, 190.27 def. Angelle Sampey, Suzuki, 6.919, 195.31; Matt Smith, Suzuki, 6.866, 198.55 def. Scotty Pollacheck, 7.034, 194.58;

QUARTERFINALS _ Stoffer, 6.914, 194.88 def. Tornow, 7.098, 182.33; Johnson, 6.912, 193.82 def. A. Smith, 6.891, 196.36; Savoie, 6.889, 193.32 def. Evaristo, Foul/Red Light; M. Smith, 6.859, 198.47 def. Arana Jr, Foul/Red Light;

SEMIFINALS _ Stoffer, 6.920, 194.10 def. Johnson, 6.930, 192.06; M. Smith, 6.893, 197.45 def. Savoie, 6.950, 191.43;

FINAL _ M. Smith, 6.872, 195.99 def. Stoffer, 8.094, 104.17.

Point standings (top-10) following the Dodge Power Brokers NHRA U.S. Nationals:

Top Fuel _ 1. Brittany Force, 1,356; 2. Mike Salinas, 1,200; 3. Justin Ashley, 1,195; 4. Steve Torrence, 1,169; 5. Josh Hart, 882; 6. Antron Brown, 839; 7. Leah Pruett, 810; 8. Shawn Langdon, 809; 9. Doug Kalitta, 801; 10. Tony Schumacher, 703.

Funny Car _ 1. Robert Hight, 1,570; 2. Ron Capps, 1,291; 3. Matt Hagan, 1,244; 4. Bob Tasca III, 1,164; 5. John Force, 1,149; 6. J.R. Todd, 871; 7. Alexis DeJoria, 824; 8. Cruz Pedregon, 801; 9. Tim Wilkerson, 730; 10. Blake Alexander, 582.

Pro Stock _ 1. Erica Enders, 1,286; 2. Aaron Stanfield, 1,082; 3. Greg Anderson, 962; 4. Kyle Koretsky, 877; 5. Dallas Glenn, 819; 6. Troy Coughlin Jr., 775; 7. Mason McGaha, 652; 8. Camrie Caruso, 649; 9. Matt Hartford, 644; 10. Fernando Cuadra Jr., 632.

Pro Stock Motorcycle _ 1. Matt Smith, 802; 2. Joey Gladstone, 774; 3. Steve Johnson, 734; 4. Angelle Sampey, 728; 5. Eddie Krawiec, 688; 6. Karen Stoffer, 675; 7. Angie Smith, 665; 8. Jerry Savoie, 656; 9. Marc Ingwersen, 427; 10. Ryan Oehler, 346.


Sept. 15-18 _ Pep Boys NHRA Nationals, Maple Grove Raceway, Reading, Pa.

Sept. 23-25 _ Charlotte NHRA Nationals, zMAX Dragway, Concord, N.C.

Sept. 30-Oct. 2 _ NHRA Midwest Nationals, World Wide Technology Raceway, Madison, Ill.

Oct. 13-16 _ Texas NHRA FallNationals, Texas Motorplex, Ennis.

Oct. 27-30 _ NHRA Nevada Nationals, The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Nov. 10-13 _ Auto Club NHRA Finals, Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, Calif.

Editor’s Note: John Sturbin is a Texas-based journalist specializing in motorsports. During a near 30-year career with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, he won the Bloys Britt Award for top motorsports story of the year (1991) as judged by The Associated Press; received the National Hot Rod Association’s Media Award (1995) and several in-house Star-Telegram honors. He also was inaugural recipient of the Texas Motor Speedway Excellence in Journalism Award (2009). His list of freelance clients includes Texas Motor Speedway, the Dallas Morning News, New York Newsday, Rome (N.Y.) Daily Sentinel, Corpus Christi (Texas) Caller Times, NASCAR Wire Service, Ford Racing and Used Car Dealer magazine).



| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Wednesday, September 7 2022
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