NHRA kept some season momentum going by hosting its 3rd consecutive national event at Indianapolis….

Ron Capps picked up his first career win at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, racing to the Funny Car victory at the Dodge NHRA Indy Nationals presented by Pennzoil. With the it also gave the longtime standout driver a win at every track on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series circuit.

Steve Torrence (Top Fuel), Jeg Coughlin Jr. (Pro Stock) and Angelle Sampey (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also won in their respective categories at the fifth race of the 2020 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season and third straight at Indy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Capps won for the first time in 2020 and 65th time in his career with a final-round run of 4.110-seconds at 294.63 mph in his 11,000-horsepower NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat to beat J.R. Todd in a battle of former world champs. It also gives Don Schumacher Racing its seventh straight Funny Car win and the organization its 349th overall win. Capps beat Tim Wilkerson, Blake Alexander and Bob Tasca III to reach his first final round of the year, leading to a memorable celebration after the first-time Indy win.

Ron Capps beat JR Todd in the fuel FC final at Indy — and with that win has now recorded a victory at ever single NHRA Mello Yello National event track.

“We’ve been coming here 23 years and I’ve never won at this track,” Capps said. “For a driver to say he has won on every track on the (NHRA) circuit, that tells you the talent that is around Don Schumacher, Dodge, Pennzoil, (and) especially NAPA Auto Parts. That’s a huge accomplishment. I’m so proud to drive that race car. We’ve been coming to Indy so many years.

Todd reached the final round for the first time in 2020 and 34th overall with victories against Mike McIntire, Cruz Pedregon and Paul Lee.

Defending and back-to-back Top Fuel world champ Torrence picked up his second win of the year and 38th overall in unconventional fashion on Sunday, outlasting Terry McMillen in the finals with a run of 4.273 at 224.17 in his 11,000-horsepower Capco Contractors dragster. Torrence smoked the tires and pedaled the car late in the run, but held off McMillen, who was late on the starting line. It gave Torrence his first victory since the NHRA restart last month, advancing to the final round after victories against Luigi Novelli, Justin Ashley and Leah Pruett.

2X and defending World Champion Steve Torrence and his Capco Team won their second event of 2020.

“I’m not the best at pedaling one of these things, but I try to do my job,” Torrence said. “We go out there and we knocked the tire off, and it kind of surprised me, but I did the best I could do. All the guys at Capco, thank you for supporting us and I got my head out of my butt. We’re headed home with another Wally and it’s a blessing to be able to come back out here and get to enjoy what we enjoy doing. We just love to race.”

McMillen, who qualified in the No. 1 spot for the first time in his career, beat Lex Joon, Billy Torrence and points leader Doug Kalitta to reach the final round for the ninth time.

Florida’s Terry McMillen had a nice R/UP placing in Top Fuel.

In Pro Stock, it was an all-Coughlin final round, as five-time world champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. drove past nephew and first-time Pro Stock finalist Troy Coughlin Jr. in the championship round with a 6.680 at 206.92 in his JEGS.com Chevrolet Camaro. It gave the points leader his second win of the year and 65th in his career. Jeg Coughlin, who is retiring from full-time action following the season, knocked off Val Smeland, Elite Motorsports teammate Alex Laughlin and longtime rival Greg Anderson to reach his 114th final and first against his nephew.

In Pro Stock, it was an all-Coughlin final round when 5X World Champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. drove past his nephew and first-time Pro Stock finalist Troy Coughlin Jr. (Photo courtesy of Team Jegs)

“This is huge, without question,” Jeg Coughlin said. “I’ve loved having Troy Jr. coming with us week in, week out and I knew I would have my hands full with him in the finals. We’ve been pretty good and what a weekend. We’re going to celebrate and we’re looking forward to getting to the next race.”

Making just his second career NHRA Pro Stock start, Troy Coughlin beat fellow class rookie Kyle Koretsky, teammate and defending world champ Erica Enders and Jason Line, who won the previous race.

It was an emotional scene in Pro Stock Motorcycle, as Sampey picked up her first win since 2016 and 43rd overall, going 6.880 at 196.07 in the final round on her Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson EBR to beat Chris Bostick. Sampey, who celebrated her birthday on Friday, won for the third time at Indy. She knocked off Steve Johnson, defending world champion Andrew Hines and Scotty Pollacheck to reach the final round, adding another victory in her impressive career as the NHRA’s winningest female competitor.

Angelle Sampey won an emotional battle within Pro Stock Motorcycle racing.

“I just tried to stay calm,” said Sampey, who had a .001 reaction time in the finals. “I didn’t know if we were going to get the bike fixed and I just said I’m going to stay calm. They got it fixed and thank you to Vance & Hines and Harley-Davidson. I told you I was going to do this.”

Bostick played the underdog role well on Sunday, reaching his first career final round with wins against Angie Smith, Ryan Oehler, who won the previous race in Indy, and multi-time champ Eddie Krawiec.

NHRA’s Pro Modified class contingent got their second stab at racing this season with a spirited 20 car entry list for the E3 Spark Plugs Series.

Jonathan Gray raced to his second career E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series victory slipping past Bo Butner in the final round as part of the Dodge NHRA Indy Nationals presented by Pennzoil.

Jonathan Gray won in Pro Mod racing Rickie Smith’s nitrous injected Camaro.

This Pro Mod race was presented by Jerry Bickel Race Cars within the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service.

Gray went 5.850-seconds at 249.49 mph in his nitrous-powered Camaro to knock off Butner, who went 5.899 at 248.48 in the finals. It gave Gray his second career win in the class in a matchup that featured two standouts driving for the injured Rickie Smith, a multi-time champ in the class.

Gray was impressive on Sunday in Indy, reaching the final round with victories against Jeffrey Barker, No. 1 qualifier Khalid Albalooshi and former world champ Mike Janis.

For more details on Pro Mod class racing link to our event coverage posted to our VP Racing Fuels Pro Mod Portal subsection: HERE (Coming soon)

NHRA Race #5 for 2020 also featured completion in Top Fuel Harley and for Mountain Motor Pro Stock.

Louisiana’s Randal Andras scored his 3rd career win for the M/T Tires and Wheels Top Fuel Harley eliminator winning that program from the 2nd qualifying position.

Randal Andras roared to his 3rd career victory in the M/T Top Fuel Harley class.

In the final round he topped rival Tii Tharpe who had a red light foul start. Andras recorded a winning lap of 6.324 secs at 222.77 mph — and he was also credited with low ET of the event — a 6.304 secs — which came in the semi final round.

New York’s Johnny Pluchino — who is the current points leader within the PDRA’s 1/8th mile XPS class — won the 1/4 mile Mountain Motor Pro Stock demonstration.

In a final round battle featuring two Ford Mustangs, Pluchino beat Elijah Morton in a close race by a 6.347 secs 221.31 mph to 6.366 secs 221.05 mph.

Pluchino had qualified #3 (6.291 secs) and also beat out Brad Waddle and John DeFlorian in earlier completion for that 8-car field.

Johnny Pluchino was the winner in the event’s demonstration Mountain Motor Pro Stock eliminator.

Posted with files by NHRA Communications and Bruce Biegler
Photos by Dave DeAngelis – Marc Gewertz – Phil Hutchison