NHRA’s Countdown to the Championship series continues at zMax Dragway….
Three-time world champion Antron Brown picked up his first playoff win in six years on at zMAX Dragway, driving to the Top Fuel victory at the 14th annual Betway NHRA Carolina Nationals.

Ron Capps (Funny Car) and Aaron Stanfield (Pro Stock) also picked up wins at the second of six races in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship.

Brown put together a run of 3.672-seconds at 335.73 mph in his 11,000-horsepower Matco Tools dragster, slipping past points leader Justin Ashley on a holeshot in a thrilling final round to win his first race in the Countdown to the Championship since 2016. It is Brown’s third victory in the past five races and the 71st in his career, as the first-year team owner also moved to second in the points standings with four races left in 2022. To reach the finals, Brown beat three standout competitors, including Reading winner Austin Prock, Brittany Force and Clay Millican. He followed with a .035 reaction time in the final round, which was enough to allow him to beat Ashley’s quicker 3.671 at 333.99.
Ashley, who was also the No. 1 qualifier, advanced to his second straight final round thanks to wins against Alex Laughlin, four-time defending world champ Steve Torrence and Doug Kalitta. It’s the sixth final round this year for Ashley, who holds a 43-point lead over Brown after two playoff races.

Antron Brown won for the 3X in the last 5 NHRA events!

Capps, the defending world champ in Funny Car, also pulled to second in points with his win on Sunday, hanging on against Alexis DeJoria in the championship round with a 3.967 at 267.32 in his 11,000-horsepower NAPA Auto Parts Toyota GR Supra. That gives Capps his fourth win this season, which is also his first as a team owner, and 72nd in his standout career. Capps’ Sunday included wins against Blake Alexander, Bob Tasca III and then 16-time world champ and No. 1 qualifier John Force to set up the marquee matchup with DeJoria. Capps was quicker on the starting line and then hung on for the victory, which puts him just 27 points behind leader Robert Hight as the Countdown to the Championship nears the halfway mark.

Defending NHRA World Champion Ron Capps won again in the Napa Auto Parts Toyota

DeJoria knocked off J.R. Todd, Hight and Matt Hagan to reach the finals for the first time this year.

Stanfield made a major move and jumped back into the championship mix on Sunday in Pro Stock, capturing his first career Countdown to the Championship victory by knocking off Matt Hartford in the final round with a run of 6.567 at 210.21 in his Janac Brothers Chevrolet Camaro. It’s Stanfield’s third win this season and seventh in his career and it might have come at the perfect time when it comes to the title conversation. He knocked off Deric Kramer, defending world champion Greg Anderson and Troy Coughlin Jr. to reach the final round and then left first on Hartford en route to the playoff win. Elite Motorsports teammate Erica Enders held a sizable lead after the first race in the Countdown to the Championship, but Stanfield pulled within 64 points after his impressive day at zMAX Dragway.

2nd generation racer Aaron Stanfield was victorious for Pro Stock class racing.

Hartford enjoyed a big day as well, beating Bo Butner, Dallas Glenn, and Enders to reach the finals for the second time this season and the 12th time overall.

In the FuelTech NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series (Presented by D-Wagon) it was 2X  world champion Stevie “Fast” Jackson picking up his first win since early in the 2021 season.

The event, which was powered by Pee Dee Fleet, was the eighth of 10 races during the 2022 FuelTech NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by D-Wagon season. Jackson came to life at the perfect time, beating Topeka winner and star Canadian racer Justin Bond in the final round with his pass of 5.715-seconds at 254.62 mph in his screwblower-powered Bahrain 1 Racing Camaro.

That was Jackson’s quickest run of the weekend, giving the talented driver his 12th career victory and first since the four-wide race at Charlotte early in the 2021 campaign. To reach the finals, Jackson, who qualified fifth, knocked off Khalid AlBalooshi, Indy winner Lyle Barnett and defending world champion Jose Gonzalez, posting back-to-back reaction times of .016 and .017 to reach the championship round.

He led wire-to-wire against Bond, getting a crucial win that also pulled him to within 125 points of leader Kris Thorne with two races remaining this season.

“I didn’t know if we still knew how to win. The NHRA Pro Mod class has the absolute best competitors in the world, and this is the top of the heap,” Jackson said. “You get your teeth kicked in by these guys for a year and a half and you’re not sure if you’ll win another one. I feel like I drove pretty well, and we got a tremendous outpouring of support from the fans, and to get this win, it means a lot and we’re about to celebrate. This was an awesome event and we’re going to keep swinging at it.”

Bond advanced to the finals for the second time this season and seventh time in his career by defeating Jerico Balduf, Brandon Snider, and Virginia winner Tylor Miller. Thorne’s points lead also dwindled to just 46 over multi-time world champ Rickie Smith heading into the final two events.

The FuelTech NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by D-Wagon returns to action as part of the NHRA Midwest Nationals, which takes place Sept. 30-Oct. 2 at World Wide Technology Raceway in St. Louis.

Pro Mod class winner – Steve “Fast” Jackson

The NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series returns to action with the NHRA Midwest Nationals on Sept. 30-Oct. 2 at World Wide Technology Raceway in St. Louis.

Lucas Oil Lowdown
(Final Round Results Summary)

Top Alcohol Dragster — Earl Nichols Jr., 5.289, 273.61 def. Jasmine Salinas, 5.291, 275.96.
Top Alcohol Funny Car — Sean Bellemeur, Chevy Camaro, 8.302, 109.29 def. Shane Westerfield, Camaro, Foul – Red Light.
Competition Eliminator — Joe Carnasciale, Chevy Cavalier, 8.946, 152.16 def. David Eaton, Roadster, 6.743, 169.08.
Super Stock — Troy Huntzberry, Chevy Cobalt, 10.040, 131.77 def. Peter D’Agnolo, Chevy Camaro, 9.508, 134.69.
Stock Eliminator — Dan Fletcher, Chevy Camaro, 11.449, 105.03 def. Mitch Kight, Plymouth Barracuda, Foul – Red Light.
Super Comp — Robert Houston, Dragster, 9.736, 122.40 def. Dan Foley, Dragster, Foul – Red Light.
Super Gas — Billy Upton, Chevy Corvette, 9.899, 162.90 def. Ernie Knight, Chevy Nova, 9.895, 138.83.
Top Dragster presented by Vortech Superchargers — Jeremy Hancock, Dragster, 8.956, 99.02 def. Clint Riley, Dragster, Foul – Red Light.
Top Sportsman presented by Vortech Superchargers — Jerry Albert, Chevy Camaro, 6.611, 208.52 def. Larry Willard, Chevy Bel Air, 7.328, 182.23.
Mountain Motor Pro Stock — JR Carr, Chevy Camaro, 6.277, 224.06 def. John DeFlorian Jr, Camaro, 6.291, 223.58.

Posted with files by NHRA Communications
DragRaceCanada File Photos by Dave DeAngelis & Bruce Biegler