Anderson gets 100th win as Brown, Capps and M. Smith also take US Nationals victories

Anderson gets 100th win as Brown, Capps and M. Smith also take US Nationals victories

NHRA

Anderson gets 100th win as Brown, Capps and M. Smith also take US Nationals victories

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Greg Anderson picked up his 100th career win on Monday and veteran Ron Capps won for the first time at the 68th annual Dodge Power Brokers NHRA U.S. Nationals, capping off a memorable day for the pair of longtime standouts at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park.

Antron Brown (Top Fuel) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also won at the 16th of 22 races during the 2022 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season and the final event of the regular season.

Anderson drove to the milestone win with a run of 6.587-seconds at 208.07 mph in his HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro to defeat Dallas Glenn in the finals, becoming just the second driver in NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series history to reach 100 career victories. He knocked off Fernando Cuadra Sr., Troy Coughlin Jr., and Fernando Cuadra Jr. to reach the final round, making the quickest run of each round of eliminations. Glenn went red in the finals, handing the five-time world champion his seventh Indy win and one of the best moments in his incredible career.

“I don’t know if I can explain how meaningful this is,” Anderson said. “It’s incredible and this (100th) win was meant to happen here. Indy means everything to me, and I’ve said that my whole career.

“Nothing compares to this place and to get my 100th win here, I couldn’t possibly ask for anything more. This just means everything to me. It’s been a while since I’ve won here and it’s hard to win here, so it really makes you appreciate it. It’s probably my most special win here because of that. It’s just unbelievable.”

Glenn reached the final for the second time this year by knocking off Kenny Delco, Kyle Koretsky, and Erica Enders, who will enter the playoffs as the points leader.

Capps, the defending Funny Car world champion, went 3.911 at 327.98 in his 11,000-horsepower NAPA Auto Parts GR Toyota Supra to defeat points leader Robert Hight in the final round, giving the veteran his 71st career win and his first victory in 27 appearances at the Big Go. He also won the Pep Boys NHRA Top Fuel All-Star Callout on Sunday and earned $180,000 over two days, also qualifying No. 1 en route to one of the biggest weekends in his career. To reach the finals, Capps beat Dale Creasy Jr., J.R. Todd, and John Force, making three straight runs of 3.88. He drove past Hight in the final round, avenging last year’s defeat in the final round and adding another significant chapter in his first year as a team owner.

“It’s such a surreal feeling, I can’t even put it into words,” Capps said. “There are so many emotions that come from winning such a big event that exemplifies NHRA’s heritage and history. This year has been so crazy being a first-year team owner and having so much help around me. So many people wanted to be a part of what we were doing, and what we’re building, and it was so nice to have that support. There are so many neat things that have happened in my life this past year. I’m living the American dream, now running my own business. We’ve been trying to win this one for a long, long time.”

Hight, who will be the points leader to start the Countdown to the Championship, reached his ninth final this year and 93rd in his career after picking up wins against John Smith, Matt Hagan, and Bob Tasca III.

Brown drove to his second win in the past three races, earning his first Indy victory since 2011 with a strong run of 3.706 at 321.66 in his 11,000-horsepower Matco Tools dragster to knock off points leader Brittany Force in the final round. It also hands Brown his 70th career win and fourth at Indy, two of which have come in Top Fuel. The last one came 11 years ago, but Brown was on his game on Monday, defeating Tripp Tatum, Steve Torrence, and Justin Ashley to reach the final round. He went 3.698 to defeat Ashley to make his first run in the 3.60s this year and then led wire-to-wire against Force in the championship round. He’ll open the playoffs in sixth place, but Brown, who also became a team owner in the off-season, seems to be peaking after a fabulous weekend in Indy.

“You come here to Indy with 25 good teams, and it took a 3.75 just to get in the show,” Brown said. “At the beginning of this year, we started from scratch in putting this team together. But it’s all coming together. That final round, it was the longest 3.7-seconds of my entire life. When that win light came on, I said look at what this team has done. It’s a testament to all the work everyone has put in. All of these guys, they never lost faith and they never gave up. Heading into the Countdown, we’re going to let the racetrack do the talking, but we’re going to be humble, fierce, and give it all we’ve got.”

Force reached her second straight final round at Indy, beating Dan Mercier, Josh Hart, and Doug Kalitta to reach the finals for the sixth time this season. She’ll also open the Countdown to the Championship as the points leader.

Defending world champ Smith may be getting hot at the perfect time in Pro Stock Motorcycle, rolling to the Dodge Power Brokers NHRA U.S. Nationals victory in impressive fashion. He went 6.872 at 195.99 on his Denso Auto Parts EBR in the final round, knocking off Karen Stoffer to claim his first Indy win since 2006. It’s also Smith’s third win this season and 35th in his standout career, as he knocked off Scotty Pollacheck, Hector Arana Jr., and Jerry Savoie to reach the final round. Smith was consistent throughout qualifying and eliminations, putting together an ideal weekend to win at the Big Go, moving into the points lead heading into the Countdown to the Championship.

“We started with the Suzuki on Friday, but I just wasn’t happy with it,” Smith said. “It ran well up to the eight-mile, but I was just frustrated with it. I decided to go with the (EBR) and we had a good bike the rest of the weekend. All in all, I felt it was a great weekend for the bike. I’ve been to the finals a lot of times here and I’m just blessed to have two (Indy) wins. They better watch out for me. We’ve got a good bike and we’re going to defend our championship.”

Stoffer reached her 30th career final round and third this season on the strength of round wins against Joey Gladstone, Ron Tornow, and Steve Johnson.

The NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series returns to action with the Pep Boys NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway on Sept. 15-18. It is the first event in the six-race Countdown to the Championship playoffs.

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