Despite difficult current times – the world’s largest drag racing event delivers solid inspiration…

DENSO US Nationals (Mello Yello Series) Race Summary: Shawn Langdon powered to his first Top Fuel victory since 2016 at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, capping off an impressive weekend with a win at drag racing’s biggest race, the 66th annual DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA U.S. Nationals.

Jack Beckman (Funny Car), Erica Enders (Pro Stock) and Scotty Pollacheck (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also won in their respective categories at the sixth race of the 2020 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season.

Langdon, who was also the No. 1 qualifier this weekend, went 3.705-seconds at 326.32 mph in his 11,000-horsepower DHL dragster to beat Leah Pruett in the final round, winning for the 17th time in his career and second time at Indy. The victory marked a major moment for Langdon, a former Top Fuel world champ who moved to Funny Car in 2018 before switching back to Top Fuel in 2020. He knocked off Joey Haas, Cory McClenathan and Justin Ashley to reach the final round, where Langdon impressed with a .015 reaction time and had a superb start-to-finish run.

“There’s been a lot of hard work that has gone into this team,” Langdon said. “Working with (team owner) Connie (Kalitta) and the DHL team again, I love those guys and they’re all awesome. They proved that today. We’ve had an awesome car the entire weekend and it’s just a great team. How much work they put into this, it’s really impressive. This is an awesome deal, and when I hit the gas I knew we had it as long as we didn’t smoke the tires. I’m trying to give it everything I’ve got and my team did a great job.”

Shawn Langdon notched his 2nd career win for drag racing’s ultimate event.

Pruett beat Terry McMillen, Tony Schumacher and Steve Torrence to reach her 16th final round.

Funny Car points leader Beckman continued his impressive 2020 campaign, going 3.908 at 327.35 in his 11,000-horsepower Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat to beat J.R. Todd in the final round, claiming his second win this year and 32nd overall. A day after Don Schumacher Racing claimed its 350th overall win, Beckman added to it on Sunday, also giving DSR its ninth straight Funny Car win dating back to last year. He beat Cruz Pedregon, teammate Ron Capps and Tim Wilkerson to reach the final round, edging out Todd in a close side-by-side race.

Funny Car points leader Jack Beckman won in fuel FC — which kept DSR racing’s undefeated season streak in tact.

“If this is the last time I race at Indy, this team left nothing on the race track,” said Beckman, who reached his 67th career final round. “This is what drag racing is all about. I hope I can continue to keep doing this, but I’m going to revel in this right now. Our team was just awesome today.”

Todd reached his 35th final round by knocking off Blake Alexander, Dale Creasy Jr. and Matt Hagan.

A year after a heartbreaking defeat in the final round, defending world champ Enders enjoyed her U.S. Nationals redemption on Sunday, rolling to the Pro Stock win with a 6.606 at 208.55 in her Melling Performance/Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro. She posted a sterling .009 reaction time against Matt Hartford in the final round and never trailed, winning for the second time in 2020 and 27th time in her career. To reach her 53rd career final round, Enders beat Kenny Delco, Deric Kramer and rookie Mason McGaha, picking up her second career U.S. Nationals victory a round later.

Highly skilled, popular and defending NHRA World Champion Erica Enders –prevailed in Pro Stock.

“This is really sweet and it means the world to me,” Enders said. “You work your entire life for something like this and it’s a dream come true. I’ve drag raced for 30 years and raced in Pro Stock for 16 years, and so many people have made this possible. This Chevy Camaro is mean, I’ve got the three baddest crew chiefs on the property in Rick Jones, Rickie Jones and Marc Ingersoll, and I’ve got the best team in the world. This is just amazing.”

Hartford beat Fernando Cuadra, Bo Butner and Jason Line to reach his eighth career final round.

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Pollacheck capped off his dream weekend with his first career victory in the class, beating Andrew Hines in the final round with a 6.790 at 200.53 on his EBR, breaking the track speed record he set on Saturday in the process. Pollacheck also qualified No. 1 for just the second time in his career, advanced to the finals of the Mickey Thompson Pro Bike battle and joined the DENSO 200-mph club earlier in the weekend, finishing it off with the victory on the biggest possible stage. He raced past Michael Phillips, Angelle Sampey and Steve Johnson to reach the final round, riding past Hines in the finals and setting off an emotional celebration.

Scotty Pollacheck had a dream weekend in PSB — he qualified #1 and won for the first time in NHRA competition.

“There’s so many people that put in so much work and effort to help get us here,” Pollacheck said. “My wife, Susan, has really pushed me, and Matt and Angie Smith have given me an amazing bike. Michael Ray, my crew guy, he’s the baddest man on the planet. This bike was just flawless all weekend. This is like the biggest thing ever. I can’t even believe it. It’s just awesome.”

Hines, the defending world champ, topped John Hall, Matt Smith and Eddie Krawiec to advance to his 97th career final round.

The Lucas Oil Lowdown 

NHRA’s most prestigious annual gathering of Lucas Oil Series Sportsman racers featured impressive winners during the Denso Spark Plugs US Nationals event.

Defending NHRA Lucas Oil TAD World Champion Megan Meyer (from Kansas) grabbed the top headlines however following a national record setting performance while winning her second consecutive US Nationals event title.

Defending NHRA World Champion Megan Meyer was at the top of her game — winning at Indy again in national record setting fashion,

After roaring to an all time quick 5.090 secs in qualifying (besting a national ET record which has stood since 2007!) Megan won it all on Sunday — defeating Josh Hart in a final round battle of injected nitro cars.  Megan recorded a winning 5.148 secs ET at 271.13 mph to Hart’s 5.226 secs at 277.89 mph.

California’s Doug Gordon won the TAFC event portion — racing past Brian Hough (from Oregon) in that all Chevy Camaro final round.  Gordon won with a 5.481 secs at 268.76 mph – his quickest run  during eliminations.

Doug Gordon (from California) prevailed for the TAFC title.

Other Lucas Oil Series event champions included brothers Terry and Jerry Emmons, from Texas who prevailed to win in Super Stock and Stock eliminators respectively driving their Lucas Oil/Protect the Harvest sponsored Chevy cars.  Jason Coan won in Competition eliminator with his 4-cylinder G/EA while the index winners were Troy Williams Jr (S/C 8.90), Ray Sawyer (S/G 9.90) and Raymond Miller (S/ST 10.90)

Ray Sawyer (from NHRA Divison 1) scored the Super Gas title in his Camaro.

Terry Emmons — racing his Lucas Oil/Protect the Harvest SS/BS Chevy — won in Super Stock.

Jerry Emmons (brother to Terry) was the Stock eliminator winner in his Lucas Oil backed classic B/SA Camaro.

The “Comp” title when to Jason Coan’s G/EA

The event also included Top Dragster and Top Sportsman competition with those wins going to Danny Nelson (TD) and Dusty Meyer (TS).

Racing his cool Chevy S-10 – Dusty Meyer prevailed for the event’s TS title.

Editor’s Note: This 2020 version DENSO Spark Plugs U.S. Nationals weekend was of very high magnitude — featuring a number of other race-within-a-race speciality events and additional class results — all of which will be featured shortly but separately to DragRaceCanada & elsewhere on LMLC Media that coverage coming soon.

Posted with files by NHRA Communications & Bruce Biegler
All photos by Dave DeAngelis

To view additional images from this event link to our LMLC Media Photo Gallery presentation:  HERE