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2014 Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals: Who to watch

Drivers to watch this weekend at Brainerd International Raceway
Drivers to watch this weekend at Brainerd International Raceway
NHRA Media

This weekend, the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series returns to the track for the 33rd annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway in Minnesota, Thursday through Sunday, August 14th through 17th. The next-to-last event before the Countdown to the Championship begins features three of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series’ top divisions: Top Fuel, Funny Car, and Pro Stock. Last year’s event winners were Ron Capps (Funny Car), Spencer Massey (Top Fuel) and Mike Edwards (Pro Stock).

John Force leads the all-time wins list at Brainerd with 11 Funny Car victories. Other active drivers with multiple wins at Brainerd include Antron Brown (five – Top Fuel and Pro Stock Motorcycle), Capps (four – Funny Car) and Jeg Coughlin Jr. (four- Pro Stock).

Funny Car veteran Del Worsham is looking to rebound from a disappointing Western Swing, which included three straight first round exits. Since his runner-up finish at Englishtown, the former Top Fuel champ has dropped from fourth to ninth in points, with the Countdown coming quickly.

“After the results of the Western Swing, I’m very motivated to get back out there,” said Worsham. “The DHL Toyota Camry is a much better running car and our team is much better than our results have shown this summer. I believe we will show that we are much better in Brainerd. I think by having a week off we can regroup by going back and reflecting on the places where we’ve been lacking. Plus, a little rest after a long spring and summer doesn't hurt anyone.”

Top Fuel driver Clay Millican, who is still seeking his first career NHRA win, sits 12th in points going into Brainerd, 151 points behind 10th place JR Todd. Millican was runner-up at last year’s event after qualifying No. 1.

“I love going to race in Brainerd and it’s always a lot of fun,” said Millican. “Last year was an awesome, awesome weekend. We qualified No. 1 and went to the final and ran real well against Spencer, so it was a big weekend all the way around. I love the fans there and that makes it more fun. It’s like one big group outing.”

Pro Stock driver Greg Anderson climbed into the top 10 for the first time this season following the last race in Seattle, but would like to go into the Countdown with a win under his belt.

“The last three races have proven to us that what we’ve done works in all types of conditions,” said Anderson, who missed the first five races of the season after heart surgery. “It’s very repeatable and that’s very reassuring. Everything has gradually improved and it’s starting to show. I definitely feel like we’ve gotten a lot better.”

Qualifying for the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals gets underway Friday at 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. CT, and continues Saturday at 1 and 3:30 p.m. CT. Final eliminations get underway Sunday at 11 a.m. CT. Keep up with the action at www.nhra.com.

Quotes in this piece provided by the NHRA.

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