Defending NHRA Funny Car champ John Force picked up the 140th win of his career against long-time rival Ron Capps Sunday at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio. Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Erica Enders-Stevens (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also took home Wallys from the event.
Force took early-round wins over Cruz Pedregon, Chad Head and Tim Wilkerson before reaching the finals against Capps.
“It was special to me,” said Force. “I’ve come to this track for decades. I’ve won here at the Night of Fire races. Robert [Hight] and my daughter Ashley [Force Hood] have won here. I keep coming back here. The Bader family is P.T. Barnum doing this year-round, 90-some races a year. They light the fire under those fans. Look at the crowd on Friday night and that whole fireworks show. I’ve been real lucky in my career and you want to win them all, but I really wanted this win.”
Brown picked up his fifth win of the season, picking up round wins over Tony Schumacher, Steve Torrence and Clay Millican to reach the final round against Shawn Langdon.
“It’s been a true blessing to be out at this racetrack this weekend,” said Brown. “The Bader family really put on a great show. The racetrack was great all weekend long. We got some cloud cover today. When four cars can run 3.75 in the first round with other cars across the board at .76, .77, that shows you how competitive the Top Fuel class is right now. It’s crazy tough to win a round right now, let alone a race.”
Pro Stock points leader Enders-Stevens won for the fourth time this season, beating her former crew chief Dave Connolly in the final round. Enders-Stevens defeated Travis Mazza, Jonathan Gray, and Chris McGaha to reach the finals.
“You can’t think about any of the negative things when you get into a 215-mph race car and I was able to do that today,” Enders-Stevens said. “At the end of the day we came out on top and that’s all that matters.”
In winning her 10th Pro Stock Wally, Enders-Stevens joins Angelle Sampey (41) and Shirley Muldowney (18) as the only female racers with double-digit wins in a pro category.
“Shirley (Muldowney) is a legend and a mentor and Angelle is also a friend who lives a few miles from me,” said Enders-Stevens. “Those are two extremely talented ladies who are passionate about our sport. They broke down barriers so we could all do what we enjoy doing out here. It’s great to have my name on that list."
Hines claimed his third PSM win of the season with a final-round win against Hector Arana. He defeated John Hall, Jim Underdahl and Steve Johnson in earlier rounds on his new Harley Davidson.
“It was a lot of little things that needed to fall into place to finally come around today,” said Hines. “Without the help of everybody on the crew, we wouldn’t been able to get where we are. We struggled in the semis. But I was able to outrun Hector and to get around him was big. The fourth win light was definitely the prettiest one of the day.”
The 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule continues Friday through Sunday, July 18th through 20th at Bandimere Speedway in Denver, home of the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals. Keep up with the action at www.nhra.com.
Quotes and information in this piece provided by the NHRA.
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