Motorsports

NHRA Wrap-Up: Capps Wins 4th Straight, Rookie Gray Wins #2 & Brown Takes Top Fuel Victory

NHRA Heartland Nationals Winners 2017 Topeka

(Image/NHRA)

Ron Capps raced his Dodge Charger R/T to his fourth-consecutive Funny Car victory this season Sunday at the 29th annual Menards NHRA Heartland Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka.

Antron Brown in Top Fuel, and 18-year-old rookie sensation Tanner Gray in Pro Stock were also winners in their respective categories at the eighth of 24 events on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing series schedule.

Defending world champion Capps raced to a 3.924-second pass at 321.42 miles per hour to defeat teammate and #1 qualifier, Matt Hagan, in his 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 said. “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 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.

Brown Wins Top Fuel

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 dragster. His pass of 3.709 at 332.75 defeated the losing pass of 3.836 at 256.70 of Steve Torrence in his 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.”

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 fourth final round appearance this season.

Rookie Gray, 18, Nabs Career Win #2

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 Chevrolet Camaro to a 6.580 pass at 210.87.

“I felt like I was pretty consistent all day,” Gray said. “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.”

When Gray won at Charlotte in early April just before his 18th birthday, the son of Shane Gray became the youngest-ever winner of an NHRA national event.┬áCheck out this video to learn more about the life and racing career of NHRA’s newest young gun.

Gray raced past Drew Skillman, Greg Anderson and Vincent Nobile before entering the final round. Coughlin Jr. defeated Deric Kramer, Alan Johnson, and the #1 qualifier Bo Butner on his way to the finals.

The 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season continues at the NHRA New England Nationals June 2-4 at New England Dragway in Epping, NH.

NHRA Pro Stock Point Standings

1. Bo Butner            670
2. Greg Anderson        646
3. Tanner Gray          610
4. Jeg Coughlin         593
5. Jason Line           576

NHRA Funny Car Point Standings

1. Ron Capps            748
2. Matt Hagan           629
3. John Force           524
4. Robert Hight         518
5. Jack Beckman         502

NHRA Top Fuel Point Standings

1. Leah Pritchett       721
2. Steve Torrence       691
3. Antron Brown         680
4. Tony Schumacher      673
5. Doug Kalitta         539

NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle Point Standings

1. Eddie Krawiec        306
2. LE Tonglet           291
3. Andrew Hines         230
4. Jerry Savoie         204
5. Scotty Pollacheck    196

Drag Race Central and NHRA contributed to this report.

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