What’s at stake: 5 things I’m watching for Sunday’s Funny Car eliminations in the Dodge Power Brokers U.S. Nationals

Is This Finally The Year For Capps?

Ron Capps was on the outside looking in after the 1st round of qualifying on Friday night. He came back in a big way in going from last to 4th by the end of Day 2. On Day 3, he stormed to the top with a ET of 3.864 ET on Sunday afternoon. Now, can he end the weekend the opposite to where he started – on top?

He just won the Callout all-star race to give him plenty of momentum to do so.

It would be historic on Monday too if he can. He’s 0-for-25 here in the US Nationals. He’s got to win here at some point. 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. Is this finally going to be his year?

He lost in the finals to Tim Wilkerson last year and marched to the finals of the Callout on Sunday this year.

He does have 2 wins this season at that 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.


Bob Tasca III this weekend in the Dodge Power Brokers U.S. Nationals. Photo Credit: NHRA Media Site

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.

They qualified P2 and P3 respectively which would set up an intense semifinal fight if they can both get there.

Hight called out Tasca in Round 1 of the Callout on Sunday and beat him. Can Tasca get revenge when it matters the most?


Matt Hagan this weekend in the Dodge Power Brokers U.S. Nationals. Photo Credit: NHRA Media Site

Countdown Bubble

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.


Parity

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.


John Force this weekend in the Dodge Power Brokers U.S. Nationals. Photo Credit: NHRA Media Site

Can John Force Pick Up Another Win?

John Force has won 155 times during his historic Funny Car career. 5 of those wins have come in the US Nationals. Can he pick up No. 6 on Monday?

Force was the No. 4 qualifier and takes on Paul Lee in Round 1. If he wins, it would set up a Round 2 between Blake Alexander or Chad Green. A win there would put him into the semifinals for the 5th time in the last 6 races. The No. 1 seed is Ron Capps. That would be a phenomenal matchup between the two.

If Force can get to the finals, don’t count him out.

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