NHRA U.S. Nationals Results, Notes: Ron Capps (Funny Car), Antron Brown (Top Fuel) Repeat

nhra ron capps us nationals
NHRA Camping World U.S. Nationals Results, NotesNHRA/National Dragster
  • Toyota sweeps nitro-class victories at Dodge-sponsored Labor Day classic.

  • Robert Hight pockets $80,000 for winning Funny Car’s Pep Boys All-Star Callout

  • Brown nearly misses show, fights mechanical troubles to record fifth overall triumph at hometown track.

In a retro move that rekindled some of the fondest memories from the 69-year-old U.S. Nationals and revived perhaps the sport’s most clever marketing campaigns, Ron Capps wrapped his Funny Car in tribute to Don Prudhomme’s iconic yellow Hot Wheels livery that marks the 50th anniversary of one of “The Snake’s” five U.S. Nationals victories – and he took it to the winners circle for the second straight Labor Day.


The Hot Wheels homage also was a nod to the 10th anniversary of the “Snake & Mongoose” film that features a cameo by Capps.

Capps – and Prudhomme – shared the spotlight Monday at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park with first-time U.S. Nationals Pro Stock winner Matt Hartford and three-time and back-to-back Pro Stock Motorcycle winner Matt Smith.

“This is a dream come true, both as a kid growing up and now as an NHRA driver,” Capps said. “It’s exciting to bring together the old-school Hot Wheels fans like myself with the next generation and offer up a tribute car. It’s also a tribute to what Hot Wheels did for the sport with ‘The Snake’ and ‘The Mongoose.’ It’s incredibly emotional to be on the starting line at Indianapolis Raceway Park with ‘The Snake’ standing behind the car.

“I’m grateful to our partners, especially NAPA, for graciously supporting this idea and allowing us to run a throwback car like this at such a big, historic race,” he said.

The Hot Wheels/NAPA GR Supra is a modern version of the Hot Wheels Funny Car Prudhomme drove to victory at the 1973 NHRA U.S. Nationals. Prudhomme was already an established name in the sport with five Top Fuel victories, but his first of three Funny Car triumphs at Indianapolis helped take his career to new levels. He became the first driver in drag-racing history to win a national event in two pro categories, and he won four straight Funny Car championships (1975-78) and 49 victories in a combination of Top Fuel and Funny Car races. As a team owner, Prudhomme added more than 50 victories in both nitro classes.
“I got a little tear in my eye when Ron approached me about doing this paint scheme,” Prudhomme said. “It blew me away that he was doing that, and to have NAPA on board with the whole project is quite an honor for me. It's really a throwback paint scheme. That paint scheme, along with ‘The Snake and The Mongoose’ Hot Wheels set which was originally released in 1970, really made my career. I couldn’t think of a better guy to be teamed up with to run this paint scheme.”

The 1:64-scale Hot Wheels die-cast version of Prudhomme’s bright yellow car, as well as partner Tom “The Mongoose” McEwen’s red version, brought drag racing to the living rooms of kids around the world. The toy sets introduced Prudhomme and McEwen to a mainstream audience, propelling both drivers and the ntir sport of drag racing in general to unprecedented heights.

“The Hot Wheels team is so excited to have NHRA Funny Car champion, Ron Capps, pay tribute to the legendary Don ‘The Snake’ Prudhomme and his iconic Hot Wheels Funny Car at this year’s NHRA U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis,” Bryan Benedict, Mattel’s director of vehicles product design, said. “Ron has been a great friend of the Hot Wheels brand and continues to push boundaries, inspiring the next generation of automotive legends through his perseverance, passion and countless hours of ‘challenge accepted’. And the fact that this is honoring the ultimate legend, Don ‘The Snake’ Prudhomme, makes this a perfect match."

The journey of Prudhomme and McEwen’s early racing careers and the introduction of Corporate America into drag racing was the focus of the 2013 film “Snake and Mongoose.” The film was released during the 2013 NHRA U.S. Nationals weekend, with special screenings at a theater near IRP. It included cameos by racing personalities such as Capps and fellow Toyota driver Alexis DeJoria.

“It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years since the ‘Snake and Mongoose’ movie came out,” Capps said. “As someone who grew up idolizing ‘The Snake’ and ‘The Mongoose,’ it was really exciting to see their life stories played out on the big screen. To get to be a part of the production and have a cameo in the film was surreal. This throwback car is also a great way to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the movie.”

nhra antron brown top fuel
Antron Brown took the long road to win in Top Fuel after qualifying 15th.NHRA/National Dragster

Antron Brown Overcomes Adversity to Win from 15th Position

During qualifying, Antron Brown and his Matco Tools Toyota team didn’t perform like three-time Top Fuel champions, thanks to mechanical glitches. But he burst into the field, 15th out of 16, on his final qualifying chance late Sunday.

Still battling clutch, ignition, and electrical troubles through servicing for the final round, Brown managed to eliminate three of the class’ toughest customers – Brittany Force, Clay Milican, and Justin Ashley – before defeating four-time champion Steve Torrence.

“It’s one of those weekends where we never quit, and that’s what you have to do to win the U.S. Nationals,” Brown said. “We went through all the trials and tribulations, and that’s what makes this win so special. We were coming off that win in Brainerd [Minn.], and we got thrown a curveball. But we got this one done, and we’re going to remember this win for a long time.

“This is one that was a getting-dirty win. We went through all the pain, all the stuff all the way through qualifying, and we found a way as a team. We never stopped believing. You’ve got to have faith,” he said. “I love this team so much. They never quit, never stopped working. And all the credit goes to this team. They worked so, so hard, and to win this two years in a row, it’s amazing.”

Funny Car Finalist J.R. Todd Loses Brakes in Semifinals

After J.R. Todd defeated Blake Alexander, Bob Tasca III, and Cruz Pedregon to advance to the final round, he had a frightening moment that he handled with aplomb. Although he didn’t know what the reason was at the time for his close call at the top end of the 1,000-foot course, Todd’s DHL Toyota Supra experienced a failure of the brake pressure sensor on the master cylinder. What he did now was that he had no brakes.

nhra jr todd
J.R. Todd had a harrowing trek to the final.NHRA/National Dragster

Top Fuel cars sat at the end of the race track in front of him, and he swerved to the right to avoid them and ended up in a patch of grass. The car came back to the pit on a flatbed and was unloaded for a repair thrash that included all three teams from the Kalitta Motorsports camp. Todd lost in the final round to Ron Capps.

“It was definitely dramatic, for sure, after the semis,” he said. “Once you get to the semifinals, you start thinking it’s going to be your day, especially after what we had to go through there. We had a really good car the first two rounds, and I just hate we dropped a hole there in the final. In the semis, I pulled the ’chute, went to grab the brake, and there was nothing there. It was either hit the Top Fuel cars in front of me or [make a] hard right turn into the grass. And that’s what I did. I wasn’t sure what happened, but I knew I had no brakes. It turned out it ripped the pressure sensor off the master cylinder, so we had absolutely no brakes. That’s a helpless feeling. I’m glad it was something minor like that, so we were able to get it fixed up there for the final. Losing in the final round at Indy sucks. That stings. These opportunities don’t come around that often. We’ve been here before, but when you’re that close, you just want it.

“All in all, it was a good day. We made up some ground in points like we wanted to going into the Countdown,” Todd said. “That’s the ultimate goal. I always say you want to be top five going into the Countdown, and you can make that up in a race. I feel like we have a car capable of contending with these guys. We just have to do our job in qualifying and work on getting a little quicker, and I think we’ll be in good shape. We just have to keep digging.”

nhra robert hight callout
Robert High didn’t take home the top prize at the U.S. Nationals, but he did win $80,000 in the Callout specialty race over the weekend.NHRA/National Dragster

Robert Hight wins Funny Car Callout, $80,000 Top Payout of the Year

The Robert Hight approach to the Pep Boys All-Star Call-Out specialty race was to treat it like a bar fight.

The Cornwell Tools-sponsored Funny Car driver made a bold choice as the first to select a Round 1 opponent for Saturday’s Pep Boys All-Star Callout. Hight used the philosophy of seeking out the biggest dude in the bar for a fistfight and punching him out early. It worked for the John Force racing driver. He erased one of his toughest opponents right away and went on to beat Cruz Pedregon then Matt Hagan for the $80,000 season’s-richest victory. In last year’s inaugural event, Hight followed the same train of thought—he called out Bob Tasca III when Tasca was in the midst of a strong run.

Capps crew chief Dean Antonelli called Hight’s move pure genius. Hight replied, “I don’t know that it’s genius, I’ll be honest. You’re sitting in your car for first round and you’re thinking, ‘Boy, I hope I made the right decision. I hope I don’t go up here and choke and do something stupid and really look stupid.’ Just because you call somebody out doesn’t mean you’re going to beat them. You’ve got to now go out and get the job done and then do your job, and it can go a million ways. These are race cars that anything can happen and the driver can screw up, the car can break, can be overpower, anything can happen.”

Robert Hight looked anything but stupid. And he said, “There’s no doubt about it: It’s going to be Hagan and Capps right to the bitter end. We’re going to be fighting these guys, so this is practice. If you happen to get it done, you’re one up on them.”

nhra antron brown toyota
Antron Brown helped Toyota win bragging rights at a Dodge-sponsored event.NHRA/National Dragster

Toyota Steals Dodge’s Thunder at U.S. Nationals

The race officially is the Dodge Power Brokers U.S. Nationals, but Toyota was the big beneficiary. That was a surety after the semifinal, with Steve Torrence and Antron Brown set to face off in the Top Fuel final and J.R. Todd and Ron Capps poised for a Funny Car showdown.

That meant that for the second straight season, Toyota drivers would sweep the U.S. Nationals. Last year, Brown and Capps pulled it off. Brown’s back-to-back performance stretched the automaker’s Top Fuel winning streak to five races, dating back to the July event at Seattle. Steve Torrence started it, then Justin Ashley won at Sonoma and Topeka, and Brown has captured the past two, at Brainerd, Minn., and Indianapolis.

nhra john force funny car
John Force won the #2FAST2TASTY specialty race on Saturday.NHRA/National Dragster

John Force Breaks Through for Specialty-Race Victory

John Force broke a winless streak of 30 races without any bonus- or specialty-race accomplishment, winning the Funny Car’s final Mission Foods #2Fast2Tasty Challenge of the season.

The long-awaited victory happened to come on the day his son-in-law, Graham Rahal, broke his own 14-year performance struggle by earning the pole position for the IndyCar series finale at Portland, Ore.

“I do what I do, and I was really lucky in this Mission Foods deal. It was almost a red light against Robert. He knows it; I screwed up. Then with Capps, I took all the bulbs to New York. But then I got to race Capps and the Don ‘The Snake” Prudhomme car, and that means a lot. He used to whoop me up every week,” Force said. “In the final, the last thing I said to my crew chief Danny Hood was ‘Look where we’re at. Let’s get out of the bottom half (of the lineup).’ He and Tim Fabrisi both said, ‘Go for the win.’ So, I jumped on it. I’ve got a lot of work cut out. I’m in the Countdown now. I want to see where it goes. I’m no spring chicken, so I got a lot of work to do. It’s a good feeling. I’ve won Indy five times, but it was a good feeling to be here.”

nhra justin ashley top fuel
Justin Ashley picked up some bonus points for the Countdown with his win on Saturday.NHRA/National Dragster

... And Justin Ashley Takes Care of Business in Top Fuel

Top Fuel points leader Justin Ashley capped his class’ run of Mission Foods #2Fast2Tasty Challenges by capturing his sixth trophy. That punctuated his season-long supremacy with a total of $69,000 in prize money and 21 Countdown to the Championship points. The Phillips Connect Toyota Dragster driver pocketed $15,000 Saturday, a $5,000 bump-up from the usual $10,000 winners share of the purse.

In the opening round, Ashley won when Leah Pruett disqualified herself with a foul start. Against Brown in the final round, Ashley cut a nearly perfect reaction time (.017 of a second) to propel him to the wire-to-wire victory.


69th Dodge Power Brokers NHRA U.S. Nationals

Final finish order (1-16) at the 69th annual Dodge Power Brokers NHRA U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park. The race is the 15th of 21 events in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series.


1. Antron Brown; 2. Steve Torrence; 3. Justin Ashley; 4. Doug Kalitta; 5. Clay Millican; 6. Shawn Langdon; 7. Mike Salinas; 8. Leah Pruett; 9. Doug Foley; 10. Tony Schumacher; 11. Austin Prock; 12. Spencer Massey; 13. Will Smith; 14. Brittany Force; 15. Josh Hart; 16. T.J. Zizzo.


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


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


1. Matt Smith; 2. Hector Arana Jr; 3. Gaige Herrera; 4. Angie Smith; 5. Chase Van Sant; 6. Kelly Clontz; 7. Ron Tornow; 8. Eddie Krawiec; 9. Marc Ingwersen; 10. Chris Bostick; 11. Bud Yoder II; 12. Ryan Oehler; 13. Cory Reed; 14. Jianna Evaristo; 15. John Hall; 16. Steve Johnson.


Monday's final results from the 69th annual Dodge Power Brokers NHRA U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park. The race is the 15th of 21 in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series:

Top Fuel -- Antron Brown, 3.779 seconds, 328.54 mph def. Steve Torrence, 3.870 seconds, 327.43 mph.

Funny Car -- Ron Capps, Toyota GR Supra, 3.986, 323.27 def. J.R. Todd, GR Supra, 4.131, 288.09.

Pro Stock -- Matt Hartford, Chevy Camaro, 6.624, 206.57 def. Fernando Cuadra Jr., Ford Mustang, 7.099, 178.87.

Pro Stock Motorcycle -- Matt Smith, Suzuki, 6.864, 198.20 def. Hector Arana Jr, EBR, Foul - Red Light.

Top Alcohol Dragster -- Madison Payne, 10.073, 85.76 def. Julie Nataas, Foul - Red Light.

Top Alcohol Funny Car -- Sean Bellemeur, Chevy Camaro, 5.521, 263.82 def. Doug Gordon, Camaro, 5.537, 266.32.

Competition Eliminator -- Chase Williams, Dragster, 6.921, 190.38 def. Troy Galbraith, Dragster, 6.787, 189.71.

Super Stock -- Wyatt Wagner, Chevy Camaro, 9.763, 129.79 def. Frankie Morris, Camaro, Foul - Red Light.

Stock Eliminator -- Donnie Beeler, Chevy Camaro, 10.899, 122.93 def. Ross Ponville, Camaro, 10.105, 127.63.

Super Comp -- Devin Isenhower, Dragster, 8.897, 185.41 def. Jason Kenny, Dragster, 8.880, 166.17.

Super Gas -- Bo Butner, Chevy Corvette, 9.948, 163.28 def. George Meyer, Chevy Malibu, 9.987, 156.44.

Top Sportsman -- Chris Osborn, Chevy Camaro, 6.722, 205.63 def. Steve Jaeger, Chevy Monte Carlo, 6.739, 206.26.

Top Dragster -- Jeff Strickland, Dragster, 6.292, 201.55 def. Holden Laris, Dragster, 6.251, 215.96.

Pro Modified -- Kris Thorne, Chevy Camaro, 5.827, 248.07 def. Justin Bond, Camaro, 5.777, 246.89.

Factory Stock Showdown -- Jesse Alexandra, Chevy Camaro, 7.831, 175.05 def. Stephen Bell, Camaro, 7.811, 177.60.

Factory X -- Greg Stanfield, Chevy Camaro, 7.254, 191.73 def. Chris Holbrook, Ford Mustand, 8.047, 173.09.

Round By Round

Final round-by-round results from the 69th annual Dodge Power Brokers NHRA U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park, the 15th of 21 events in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series:


ROUND ONE -- Shawn Langdon, 3.809, 315.71 def. Josh Hart, 3.968, 307.37; Clay Millican, 3.752, 333.58 def. T.J. Zizzo, 4.348, 183.59; Antron Brown, 3.749, 320.05 def. Brittany Force, 3.870, 244.21; Justin Ashley, 3.719, 333.41 def. Doug Foley, 3.763, 317.87; Doug Kalitta, 3.692, 336.49 def. Spencer Massey, 3.798, 326.95; Steve Torrence, 3.716, 333.08 def. Will Smith, 3.830, 309.42; Mike Salinas, 3.757, 308.92 def. Tony Schumacher, 3.770, 326.00; Leah Pruett, 3.747, 333.33 def. Austin Prock, 3.777, 319.29;

QUARTERFINALS -- Brown, 3.791, 326.79 def. Millican, 3.919, 275.96; Ashley, 3.753, 332.34 def. Pruett, 7.617, 92.86; Torrence, 4.086, 230.61 def. Langdon, 4.266, 297.55; Kalitta, 3.888, 313.73 def. Salinas, 6.574, 98.54;

SEMIFINALS -- Torrence, 4.158, 255.15 def. Kalitta, 8.290, 90.78; Brown, 4.924, 165.44 def. Ashley, 6.569, 141.71;

FINAL -- Brown, 3.779, 328.54 def. Torrence, 3.870, 327.43.


ROUND ONE -- Bob Tasca III, Ford Mustang, 3.899, 332.43 def. Terry Haddock, Mustang, 4.061, 300.80; Alexis DeJoria, Toyota GR Supra, 3.889, 331.61 def. Bobby Bode, Mustang, 4.187, 253.90; Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 3.889, 329.67 def. Paul Lee, Dodge Charger, 4.119, 258.81; Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.914, 329.91 def. Alex Laughlin, Charger, 6.157, 108.84; Ron Capps, GR Supra, 3.894, 326.87 def. Dale Creasy Jr., Charger, 4.605, 193.24; Cruz Pedregon, Charger, 3.962, 324.36 def. John Force, Camaro, 3.998, 318.69; J.R. Todd, GR Supra, 3.913, 304.19 def. Blake Alexander, Mustang, 3.972, 324.83; Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 3.913, 329.58 def. Chad Green, Mustang, 3.989, 328.94;

QUARTERFINALS -- Todd, 3.974, 327.66 def. Tasca III, 3.945, 327.11; Pedregon, 3.944, 325.30 def. DeJoria, 3.973, 326.48; Hight, 3.952, 318.99 def. Wilkerson, 5.032, 152.37; Capps, 4.582, 235.19 def. Hagan, 5.146, 184.50;

SEMIFINALS -- Todd, 4.007, 326.32 def. Pedregon, 5.557, 133.16; Capps, 4.029, 323.50 def. Hight, 5.580, 138.43;

FINAL -- Capps, 3.986, 323.27 def. Todd, 4.131, 288.09.


ROUND ONE -- Camrie Caruso, Chevy Camaro, 6.630, 206.51 def. Cristian Cuadra, Ford Mustang, Broke; Fernando Cuadra Jr., Mustang, 6.652, 205.41 def. Bo Butner, Camaro, 18.956, 43.04; Kyle Koretsky, Camaro, 6.639, 206.32 def. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.857, 179.14; Dallas Glenn, Camaro, 6.631, 206.45 def. Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.636, 206.20; Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.613, 206.83 def. Mason McGaha, Camaro, 11.496, 77.08; Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.618, 208.17 def. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.647, 208.01; Aaron Stanfield, Camaro, 6.613, 208.26 def. Eric Latino, Camaro, 6.640, 206.57; Troy Coughlin Jr., Camaro, 6.619, 207.59 def. Jerry Tucker, Camaro, 6.671, 206.13;

QUARTERFINALS -- Cuadra Jr., 6.707, 205.26 def. Coughlin Jr., 14.854, 56.87; Enders, 6.644, 207.75 def. Glenn, 6.638, 205.82; Hartford, 6.643, 206.76 def. Caruso, 6.649, 206.80; Koretsky, 6.654, 206.20 def. Stanfield, 6.645, 207.62;

SEMIFINALS -- Cuadra Jr., 7.275, 201.79 def. Koretsky, 7.300, 202.06; Hartford, 6.648, 206.61 def. Enders, 6.676, 206.92;

FINAL -- Hartford, 6.624, 206.57 def. Cuadra Jr., 7.099, 178.87.


ROUND ONE -- Ron Tornow, 7.005, 193.02 def. Jianna Evaristo, Suzuki, 7.121, 167.05; Angie Smith, 6.913, 196.47 def. Marc Ingwersen, 6.931, 195.99; Kelly Clontz, Suzuki, 7.453, 172.72 def. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 9.039, 97.53; Chase Van Sant, Suzuki, 6.857, 197.33 def. Ryan Oehler, 7.044, 193.21; Matt Smith, Suzuki, 6.888, 198.44 def. John Hall, 7.217, 192.66; Hector Arana Jr, 6.882, 200.29 def. Chris Bostick, 6.962, 190.14; Eddie Krawiec, Suzuki, 6.870, 198.50 def. Bud Yoder II, Buell, 7.028, 191.95; Gaige Herrera, Suzuki, 6.793, 198.58 def. Cory Reed, Suzuki, 7.091, 189.79;

QUARTERFINALS -- Arana Jr, 6.828, 199.79 def. Clontz, 6.956, 194.58; A. Smith, 6.932, 196.62 def. Krawiec, 7.059, 198.47; M. Smith, 6.866, 198.20 def. Van Sant, 6.894, 196.04; Herrera, 6.768, 199.29 def. Tornow, 6.991, 193.46;

SEMIFINALS -- Arana Jr, 6.896, 200.14 def. A. Smith, 6.925, 196.22; M. Smith, 6.876, 198.35 def. Herrera, 6.920, 197.97;

FINAL -- M. Smith, 6.864, 198.20 def. Arana Jr, Foul - Red Light.

Final Regular Season Points

Point standings (top 10) following the 69th annual Dodge Power Brokers NHRA U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park, the 15th of 21 events in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series -

Top Fuel

1. Justin Ashley, 1,250; 2. Steve Torrence, 1,186; 3. Antron Brown, 1,076; 4. Leah Pruett, 954; 5. Brittany Force, 943; 6. Doug Kalitta, 867; 7. Mike Salinas, 855; 8. Austin Prock, 838; 9. Clay Millican, 799; 10. Josh Hart, 768.

Funny Car

1. Ron Capps, 1,250; 2. Matt Hagan, 1,139; 3. Robert Hight, 1,068; 4. Bob Tasca III, 985; 5. J.R. Todd, 930; 6. Alexis DeJoria, 926; 7. Chad Green, 914; 8. Tim Wilkerson, 902; 9. John Force, 799; 10. Cruz Pedregon, 738.

Pro Stock

1. Dallas Glenn, 1,114; 2. Matt Hartford, 937; 3. Erica Enders, 816; 4. Troy Coughlin Jr., 801; 5. Deric Kramer, 782; 6. Aaron Stanfield, 745; 7. Greg Anderson, 725; 8. Kyle Koretsky, 668; 9. Camrie Caruso, 656; 10. Cristian Cuadra, 551.

Pro Stock Motorcycle

1. Gaige Herrera, 1,055; 2. Matt Smith, 729; 3. Hector Arana Jr, 717; 4. Eddie Krawiec, 657; 5. Angie Smith, 617; 6. Steve Johnson, 535; 7. Chase Van Sant, 503; 8. Marc Ingwersen, 393; 9. Jianna Evaristo, 391; 10. Kelly Clontz, 373.