CLERMONT, Ind — The 68th annual Dodge Power Brokers NHRA U.S. Nationals are back and are filled with tons of varying storylines for each division competing here at the Lucas Oil Raceway (IRP) this week. So instead of cramming them into a long post, lets separate it out by 5 things I’m watching for each division. Here’s the Funny Car edition.
Is This Finally The Year For Capps?
Ron Capps is eventually going to win here on Labor Day weekend. He has too. He’s won everything else there is to win in NHRA. Capps is a 70 time victor (2nd most ever) in his NHRA Drag Racing career but has just 1 victory on these IRP grounds. However, that win didn’t occur in the US Nationals but rather the other race weekend thrown together here in 2020. For the US Nationals, he’s 0-for-25. Is this finally going to be his year?
He lost in the final round last year to Tim Wilkerson.
He does have 2 wins this year and the 2-time Funny Car champion, including last year’s title, would likely trade most of it all away from a Wally on Labor Day weekend in Indianapolis.
Tasca III/Hight Or The Field?
Robert Hight is the current Funny Car points leader. He’s there because he’s won 6 of the 15 race weekends this season. Can he score his first Big Go triumph since 2013? Capps will be an obvious factor but so will Bob Tasca III who’s as hot as anyone in the sport right now.
Tasca III fits the parity narrative for this event as he’s never won here before on Labor Day weekend but the Ford driver does also have 3 wins in the last 4 races on the season including 2 straight.
In total, Hight and Tasca III have also combined to have won each of the last 6 races on the season as the last time someone not named Hight or Tasca III won a Funny Car race was back on June 19 by Capps.
For Funny Car, we’ve had JR Todd win in 2017 and 2018, but Mike Neff (2012), Robert Hight (2013), Alexis DeJoria (2014), Jack Beckman (2015, 2020), Matt Hagan (2016), John Force (2019) and Tim Wilkerson (2021) to give us 8 different winners in the last 10 years.
For Funny Car and Pro Stock Motorcycle divisions, their fields are more solidified. However, their battles on the cutline are just as close though.
In Funny Car 9 of the 10 spots are clinched (Robert Hight, Matt Hagan, Ron Capps, Bob Tasca III, John Force, JR Todd, Alexis DeJoria, Cruz Pedregon and Tim Wilkerson). Currently, Chad Green leads Jim Campbell by a mere 4 points for that 10th and final spot. Blake Alexander is only 26 points out himself.
Friday Night’s Qualifying
More times than not, qualifying on Friday night dictates the top half of these ladders during these weekends. That’s because it’s under nighttime conditions to where the sun is set and the lights are on. That creates more natural horsepower and grip levels which produce faster times.
But, with only 1 shot to go on Friday, it puts a lot of pressure to get it right too…Saturday and Sunday is more qualifying passes but all are during daytime hours.