A race summary from NHRA’s marquee annual Dodge//SRT U.S. Nationals….

Tim Wilkerson won for the first time in more than five years and came through at the biggest event of the season, racing to the Funny Car victory at the prestigious 67th annual Dodge//SRT NHRA U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.

Steve Torrence (Top Fuel), Erica Enders (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also won in their respective categories at the 13th event of the 2021 NHRA season. It is also the final race of the regular season before the Countdown to the Championship playoffs begins.

Wilkerson, who last won in 2016, powered his 11,000-horsepower Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford Shelby Mustang to a run of 3.912-seconds at 320.36 mph in the final round, denying Ron Capps his first U.S. Nationals victory. Wilkerson picked up his second win at Indy and 21st career victory as well, also earning a trip to the winner’s circle for the first time in 114 races. Wilkerson got past Bobby Bode, John Force and Cruz Pedregon en route to the final round, where he raced past Capps early in the run and picked up the long-awaited win. He’ll open the playoffs ninth in points and with plenty of momentum after his memorable weekend at the Big Go.

Tim Wilkerson upset the usual NHRA fuel FC “applecart” with a big win – his first title in 5 seasons!

“We go out there and run the car and race the lane,” Wilkerson said. “Capps has used me up the last 2-3 years. He’s whooped me every time in the finals. We’ve got a good car, ran well in Brainerd and I was making sure I was going down the track today. In the finals, I ran it like it was a night run. My guys do such a terrific job and there’s a lot of emotion in this. I’m really proud of them. This place and me, we’ve got a good relationship and it always treats me well.”

Capps defeated Justin Schreiber, Robert Hight and Alexis DeJoria to reach the final round for the fourth time this season and 129th time overall. With his strong showing, he jumped into the points lead heading into the playoffs, with Force in second.

Torrence’s incredible 2021 campaign continued at Indy, as rocketed past Brittany Force in the final round with an impressive run of 3.749 at 324.44 in his 11,000-horsepower Capco Contractors dragster. That gives the points leader and three-time defending world champ his eighth victory in 13 races this season and 48th in his career, as well as his second U.S. Nationals win. Torrence reached the final round by taking out Antron Brown, Greg Carrillo and his father, Billy, before easily dispatching No. 1 qualifier Force when she went up in smoke early in the run. It’s another impressive moment for Torrence, who has his sights on trying to win a fourth consecutive world title.

Steve Torrence kept his unreal NHRA winning ways alive in Top Fuel – he recorded his 8th win so far in 2021.

“It was just a great raceday and it’s unbelievable to be able to say you’ve won Indy and do it twice in Top Fuel, it’s the pinnacle race of our sport,” Torrence said. “This was a great weekend and there was some really good racing today. We’ve been so blessed to win eight races this season. We’re going to approach (the Countdown) one round at a time and one race at a time, and I’m going to lean on my guys and they’re going to lean on me and we’ll see what we can do.”

Force, who will start the Countdown to the Championship as Torrence’s chief competition and second in points, defeated Shawn Langdon, Alex Laughlin and Josh Hart to reach the finals for the fourth time this season and 27th time in her career.

Enders’ Indy dominance continued in impressive fashion on Sunday, as she won at the Big Go for the second straight year by slipping past Kyle Koretsky on a holeshot in the final round in her Melling Performance/Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro. Enders went 6.626 at 206.01 in the final round, with her .024 reaction time making the difference to beat Koretsky’s 6.613 at 206.35. It gives Enders her third win this season, third at Indy at 32nd in her career. The defending and back-to-back world champ beat Bruno Massel, Matt Hartford and points leader Greg Anderson to reach the final round at the U.S. Nationals for the third straight year. Now, she’ll aim to pick up her third straight world title and Enders will start the playoffs from second place.

Defending NHRA World Champ – Erica Enders – was a popular winner for Pro Stock.

“I had a really great car all day,” Enders said. “To win this in back-to-back years, it’s a great way to head into the Countdown. We’ve just got to keep it rolling, but it’s really humbling when you take a step back and realize what we’ve accomplished in a short time. Getting the win in 2020 and sticking it in the winner’s circle today, I had a good feeling this morning. To be victorious at the end of the day makes everything else go away. This one means a lot and it’s our Super Bowl.”

Koretsky’s impressive late-season surge continued as he advanced to his second straight final round with wins against Larry Morgan, Chris McGaha and rookie Dallas Glenn. Koretsky will open the playoffs in fourth, while Anderson maintains the points lead heading into the Countdown to the Championship.

Krawiec had an impressive weekend at the ideal time, picking up his first victory of the season by taking out Vance & Hines teammate Angelle Sampey in the final round with a run of 6.844 at 198.58 on his Buell. Krawiec qualified No. 1 for the first time this season and then rode that momentum to the winner’s circle for the 49th time in his standout career. He also won for the third time at the Big Go, taking out teammate Andrew Hines, Michael Phillips and Joey Gladstone to reach the final round. He raced past Sampey and appears to be rolling at the perfect time, heading into the playoffs fourth in points thanks to his tremendous Indy showing.

Eddie Krawiec raced the Vance & Hines Buell to a convincing win in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

“It was a little bit of luck, a little bit of good and hopefully things just fall your way,” Krawiec said. “We came out with the No. 1 motorcycle right off the trailer and second round was my lucky round. In the final round, I knew we had to be good and I was just excited. We’re back in (the class) and that feels good. To get two team bikes in the final round, that was something special. This is a true Vance & Hines win and it’s really cool to do that for everybody. It’s just really great to get this.”

Sampey reached the final round for the second straight race and 76th time in her career, knocking off Cory Reed, Steve Johnson and defending event winner Scotty Pollacheck. Defending world champ Matt Smith will enter the playoffs with the points lead and Johnson is second. 

First Time Champs!

On drag racing’s biggest stage, Jeffery Barker and Ryan Peery both picked up first career Pro victories.

Barker was the winner for the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series (presented by J&A Service) while Perry prevailed for the event’s Top Fuel Harley title.

Barker beat back-to-back world champ Stevie “Fast” Jackson in the championship round. (**Visit DragRaceCanada’s “Smokies Garage” presented PRO MOD PORTAL for more detail : HERE

Jeffery Barker picked the perfect stage to earn his first Pro Modified title — winning Indy in the Bahrain 1 Racing Toyota.

Peery, who is from Ohio, won the TFH title when his 6.696 secs at 196.16 mph prevailed over Tyler Wilson – in a battle between two first time NHRA finalists.

Peery, who had qualified #3 had upset class stars Randal Andras (the defending NHRA World Champ) and Bob Malloy in rounds one and two. Perry was also credited with low ET of the event — a 6.498 secs.

(Editor’s Note DragRaceCanada has posted separate/expanded coverage for the C.A. Factory Stock Showdown – Dodge Hemi Challenge and Jegs All Stars events – Link to that : HERE)

Lucas Oil Lowdown
(Final Round Results)

Drag racing’s backbone Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series at Indy featured massive racer attendance and included a number of first time NHRA national event winners.

Top Alcohol Dragster — Jackie Fricke, 5.164, 278.98 def. Matthew Cummings, 5.396, 254.76.

Top Alcohol Funny Car — Doug Gordon, Chevy Camaro, 5.492, 267.59 def. Shane Westerfield, Camaro, Foul – Red Light.

Competition Eliminator — Jim Greenheck, Chevy Camaro, 7.504, 179.33 def. Frank Aragona, Roadster, 7.466, 156.08.

Super Stock — Matt Morris, Chevy Cavalier, 9.748, 129.79 def. Gary Emmons, Chevy Camaro, 10.036, 126.12.

Stock Eliminator — Matt Lisa, Chevy Camaro, 10.959, 117.89 def. Todd Hoven, Dodge Coronet, 9.826, 133.58.

Super Comp — Nick Isenhower, Dragster, 8.894, 184.17 def. Mike Jirousek, Dragster, Foul – Red Light.

Super Gas — Edmond Richardson, Chevy Camaro, 9.890, 148.71 def. Tim Gillespie, Ford, Foul – Red Light.

Super Street — Larry Paden, Chevy S-10, 10.958, 143.55 def. Trevor Larson, Chevy Corvette, 10.963, 148.25.

Top Sportsman presented by Vortech Superchargers — Jimmy Lewis, Pontiac Pontiac GXP, 6.356, 221.89 def. Allen Firestone, Chevy Camaro, 6.589, 209.85.

Top Dragster presented by Vortech Superchargers — Zach Sackman, Dragster, 6.114, 227.88 def. Bradley Johnson, Dragster, 6.113, 224.10.

Jackie Fricke won the TAD title – it was her 5th career score but her first at the US Nationals.
Defending NHRA Lucas Oil World Champion Doug Gordon was the TAFC winner.
Ed Greenheck drove his C/AA Camaro to the Competition eliminator title.
Super Comp (8.90) racing included a first time winner – Nick Isenhower
Matt Morris raced his GT/EA Cavalier to the Super Stock title – his first NHRA national event victory.
The winner in Top Dragster was Zack Hackman’s supercharged machine.
Jimmy Lewis prevailed for the event’s hard fought T/S title.

The NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series returns Sept. 9-12 with the Mopar Express Lane NHRA Nationals presented by Pennzoil at Maple Grove Raceway — the first race of the Countdown to the Championship playoffs.

Posted with files by NHRA Communications and Bruce Biegler

All photos by Steve Embling

To view our event photo gallery feature from the Dodge//SRT U.S. Nationals visit LMLCMedia: HERE