Ron Capps continued his remarkable winning ways during a ridiculously fast version Funny Car eliminator at Topeka…

Ron Capps raced his NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger R/T to his fourth consecutive Funny Car victory this season at the 29th annual Menards NHRA Heartland Nationals presented by Minties at Heartland Park Topeka.

Antron Brown (Top Fuel) and Tanner Gray (Pro Stock) were also winners in their respective categories at the eighth event of 24 on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing series schedule.

Defending World Champion Ron Capps collected his 4th straight circuit victory during NHRA’s Heartland Nationals.

Defending world champion Capps raced to a 3.924-second pass at 321.42 mph to defeat teammate and No. 1 qualifier, Matt Hagan, in his Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car. Capps is the first driver since Robert Hight in 2012 to have four consecutive wins in a single season.

“I’m just the luckiest dude in the world,” Capps stated. “I had nothing to do with it I just stepped on the gas at the right time and held the car together in the right lane. We’ve won a championship for a reason and we’ve won four in a row together for a reason. Everyone just gels together.”

Capps battled past Cruz Pedregon, Courtney Force and Robert Hight en route to the finals. Hagan, who set both ends of the national record on Saturday with a pass of 3.802 at 338.85, squared up against Jack Wyatt, J.R. Todd and teammate Jack Beckman before falling to Capps in the final round.

Matt Hagan recorded the fastest speed ever in NHRA drag racing – a mind boggling 338.85 mph!

In Top Fuel, three-time and defending world champion Brown raced to his first career victory at Heartland Park Topeka, second of this season and 63rd of his career in his Matco Tools dragster. His pass of 3.709 at 332.75 defeated the losing pass of 3.836 at 256.70 of Steve Torrence in his Capco Contractors dragster.

“The competition has been so tight that you have to run these cars on edge every lap,” Brown said. “We kept our head down and stayed poised. We went out there and raced our hearts out. It feels real good to win here at Topeka. I’ve been wanting to win here for so long.”

3X World Champion Antron Brown won his 2nd Top Fuel event of the season

Before entering the final round, Brown defeated Kebin Kinsley, Shawn Langdon and teammate Leah Pritchett. Torrence piloted his dragster past Mike Salinas, Brittany Force, who set the national speed record of 333.96, and Clay Millican to make it to his fourthfinal round appearance this season.

In Pro Stock, Gray clenched the second Wally of his rookie season when Jeg Coughlin Jr. red lit during the final round. Gray powered his Gray Motorsports Valvoline Chevrolet Camaro to a 6.580 pass at 210.87.

Rookie sensation driver Tanner Gray won his 2nd Pro Stock event of the season.

“I felt like I was pretty consistent all day,” Gray stated. “My guys gave me a great racecar. I definitely wouldn’t be sitting here if it wasn’t for them. They put a lot of hard work into this new car. There’s no doubt we have a championship caliber team. ”

Gray raced past Drew Skillman, Greg Anderson and Vincent Nobile before entering the final round. Coughlin Jr. defeated Deric Kramer, Alan Johnson and the No. 1 qualifier Bo Butner on his way to the finals.


The Pro Stock final round saw Jeg Coughlin foul out with a rare red-light start.

First Win Comes Fast!

In just his fifth class start, fast street car genre crossover racer Stevie Jackson powered to his first career NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series win. The weekend’s Pro Mod racing, presented by the Real Pro Mod Association, was the fifth of 12 events this season.

Steve Fast continued his impressive migration to Pro Mod class racing — winning his first NHRA J&A Services title.

The final was a rematch from the event in Atlanta and marked the third consecutive final round appearance for points leader Mike Castellana. Jackson, who has built a sizable fan following after ample success in the eighth-mile radial tire world, had a better reaction time and was able to hold off Castellana for the win. Jackson posted a winning time of 5.794-seconds at 248.48 to the trailing time of 5.857 at 250.64.

This was the second final round for Jackson who made his NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Series debut in Gainesville.

“It’s just as special as I thought it’d be,” Jackson said. “I honestly didn’t think it’d come this quickly. The guys we were racing were an awesome team. We’ve got good funding and really good support behind me. Sheik Abdula is an absolute dream boss to race for. In the good times and bad times he’s with us. Everybody that’s over there in Bahrain, I told you we were gonna get ’em.”

The Lucas Oil Lowdown 

Calgary’s Mike Scott roared to victory in the event’s featured Top Fuel Harley eliminator.

Shawn Cowie and John Lombardo Jr. raced to victory at the 29th annual Menards NHRA Heartland Nationals presented by Minties at Heartland Park Topeka.
Cowie, Surrey, B.C., collected his 8th career national event win and his second of the 2017 season in defeating second generation driver Rachel Meyer, Springhill, Kan., in the Top Alcohol Dragster final. Cowie saved his best pass of eliminations posting a 5.214 second 277.54 mph lap as Meyer lost traction and could not recover as she watched Cowie power to the win. Cowie qualified number one with a career best 5.214, 275.90.

Lombardo, Brea, Calif., faced off with Annie Whiteley, Grand Junction, Colo., in the Top Alcohol Funny Car Final with both drivers loosing traction at the start. Lombardo peddled his ’16 Napa Auto Parks Camaro and recovered to post a 6.261 at 263.05 for the win and the 8th of his career. Like Cowie, Lombardo posted his quickest and fastest career pass in his second round win over Doug Gordon at 5.395, 274.16, just the third 5.30 run in history.

Austin Williams continued his winning ways at Heartland Park taking home the NHRA Wally trophy for the fifth year in a row. Williams posted a .016 package to end James Repka’s day in Super Comp. Williams also won in Super Comp last year and in Stock the three previous.

Pete Perry, Bowie, Texas, was out first on Jason DeForrest in Super Stock but ran too quick by .029 seconds as DeForrest, Andover, Minn., took the win in his ’05 Cavalier running 9.164, 144.57 mph. Jeff Lopez took the Stock win over Randi Lyn Shipp in a double breakout final round. The former Lucas Oil National Champion Lopez clocked in at 9.200 in his ’14 Camaro to Shipp’s 10.519.

Afton Swanson and Roger Warren rounded out the Lucas Oil winners list as Swanson grabbed his first NHRA national event win in his first final round appearance in the Top Dragster presented by Racing RVs. Swanson was better at both ends of the track to defeat Larry Piper with a lap of 6.202 at 219.08 mph. Warren, Jacksonville, Texas, went 9.901 on the 9.90 index for the Super Gas title beating Repka’s dad Jim of Wylie, Texas, who broke out with a 9.882.

In Top Fuel Harley action it was Mike Scott (from Calgary AB) out running Jay Turner for the win. Scott covered the quarter-mile in 6.318 seconds at 223.54 mph to Turner’s 6.339, 221.38.
The next stop for the 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series is the fifth annual NHRA New England Nationals June 2-4 at New England Dragway.

Posted with files by NHRA Communications, Eric Lotz and Bruce Biegler

Photos courtesy of NHRA and Richard Shute (Auto Imagery)