Stock and Super Stock competitors descended upon Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park for the Dodge Power Brokers NHRA U.S. Nationals in droves this week. Hundreds of hungry racers came to the prestigious facility with one very important task scrawled at the top of their respective Indy to-do lists: win a coveted class trophy. On Thursday at the 68th annual rendition of the historic event, 284 drivers brought their hot rods to the starting line to begin the chase, and in the end, 39 Super Stock drivers and 33 in Stock Eliminator claimed one of the most valued trophies in the sport. Here are a few highlights from the day (results pending final tech inspection).
Sedona, Ariz., resident Robert Pond, driving a classic ’64 Ford Fairlane, was awarded the first U.S. Nationals class trophy of his career when Brenda Grubbs red-lighted in the lone AA/SA round. Grubbs rebounded quickly with the SS/BA class win in her Super Stock Camaro.
There were 22 races decided by red lights in the first round of class for Stock, and the most compelling was the B/SA match between reigning Stock Eliminator world champion Jammin’ Jerry Emmons and Charlotte four-wide runner-up Jack Zimmerman. Both drivers left early with matching -.008 reaction times, but the round win was awarded to Zimmerman, who was just a teeny bit less on the offending side. Emmons had the quicker e.t. with a 10.038 at 131.56 to his opponent’s 10.358, 126.35.
Houston Raikes had quite a large advantage in the first round of B/SA as he launched in just .017-second to Barry Parker’s .138, but it was Parker at the stripe with a way quick 10.132 to Raikes’ 10.336.
Joe Santangelo, the 2011 world champ, took a 1-2 punch as he bowed out with a red light in the first round of B/SA class and then had a respectable .019 reaction time but got caught by Todd Frantz in round one of Super Stock GT/GA. Frantz won it on a 9.243 to 9.763.
The H/SA trophy round was highlighted by a gigantic wheelstand by Matt Antrobius in his ’89 Camaro. The front end came way up as Anbtrobius launched on a .013 but still kept well ahead of Chris Butcher, who had a quicker e.t. but forfeited his edge with a .110 light. Antrobius clocked a winning 10.883 to his challenger’s 10.817.
Dale Massengill had a phenomenal .002-second reaction time in the first round of G/SA against Jimmy Hidalgo. Hidalgo, however, made up ground quickly and recovered from a .074 start to snatch the win light on a 10.952 to an 11.262. Hidalgo turned it red in the Stock final but his son, Jimmy Hidalgo Jr., claimed the SS/GA trophy – his sixth U.S. Nationals class Wally and fourth in Super Stock, according to DragRaceCentral.com.
The opening round of J/SA saw Tommy Pettigrew and his ’78 Firebird with a bunch of trouble on the starting line. Ultimately, he rolled the beams and sent Mattie Case Volkman ahead to the second round on an 11.433. Pettigrew qualified for the main event with an 11.295. Volkman did her job on the tree in the next round with a pleasing .017 light to complement her efficient defeat of Frank Federico and secure her spot in the final round.
Driving Jim and Donna Boburka’s FS/C ’15 Camaro, 2020 Super Stock champion Bryan Worner took charge of the situation in his first-round meeting with Cody Herron, clocking a .020 at the hit ahead of his opponent’s .101. Herron came on charging but could not make up the difference and fell on a 9.144 to 9.192. Worner went on to win the class trophy with a final-round defeat of Lenny Lottig.
In Super Stock, Byron Worner made it two 2022 Indy class trophies for the family with his final-round defeat of Ricky Decker in SS/IA. Worner knew he had plenty to work with after overcoming Fred Bartoli Jr.’s perfect reaction time in the first round to score a bye run to the final.
There were three .000 lights in the opening round of Stock class eliminations – one on a single (Brett Candies) and two others that looked real pretty but simply didn’t pay off at the finish line. Kevin Zaskowski’s perfect reaction and 10.071 couldn’t top Mike Fuller’s .052 and 9.846 in the FS/E battle, and Ben Wentzel’s trifecta of zeroes atop the time slip were of no help to his 10.621 next to Don Keen’s .019 and 10.273 in C/S.
Mike Crutchfield will be bringing home his ninth U.S. Nationals class trophy after defeating Richard Mace in the SS/DM final. Crutchfield got the win in his ’08 Pontiac G5 by a slim .004-second margin of victory.
For the first time, the U.S. Nationals K/S trophy landed in the hands of ’88 Mustang pilot Kelly Pott-Hall, who scooped it up with a win over ’85 Mustang campaigner Tommy Turner, 11.462, 114.70 to 11.687, 112.65.
Candies Family Motorsports added to their arsenal earlier this year when PB’s wife, Anne Candies, joined the racing fold. Anne added the M/SA trophy to the family’s collection of hardware with a final-round defeat of red-lighting Jim Nichols.
Representing North Hamptonshire, United Kingdom, Dan and Nic Williams of Williams Bros. Racing are competing at the U.S. Nationals with Dan behind the wheel of their ’69 Nova and Nic on the wrenches. In the first round of class, Dan recorded a .078 reaction time and put a quick 10.000 on the scoreboard, but Brett McFarland’s .017 and 10.025 negated the world traveler’s efforts.
It was U.S. Nationals class trophy No. 20 for Jeff Taylor when he scored the SS/CM hardware over Jeremy Mudd. Taylor was .029 at the tree and 8.611, 155.49 in the JEGS-branded Cobalt to top Mudd’s .010 and 8.836, 151.99.
The final round of the A/S showdown pitted father against son with Brett McFarland driving the family’s ’68 Camaro and 30-year-old son Caleb McFarland in the ’01 Firebird. Dad was denied when Caleb cut a .008 light in the final and paired it with a 10.036, 133.74 to his .048 and 10.193, 131.90.
When Mike Cotten uncharacteristically spun the tires in the final, Sam Lusco claimed the F/SA trophy with a nice .014 and clean 10.712 at 125.80. Cotten coasted to a 24+ second pass that he hoped to put behind him with the SS/JA class win just a short time later, but Super Stock left him wanting as well; Lincoln Morehead got the nod with a more effective 9.641 to Cotton’s 9.911.
Larry Hill’s pretty pink ’70 Barracuda launched with wheels high in the air as he rocketed off the starting line next to Tyler Bohannon in the semifinals of B/SA. Hill utilized a sharp .004-second reaction time to make a smart move on Bohannon, who had been strong at the start all day. Hill advanced to the final but spun the tires next to class winner Robert Moran.
For the third year in a row, John Fisher won a Stock Eliminator class trophy driving a unique ’80 Cordoba. This time around and for the second year in a row, Fisher won it in J/SA, and in 2019, he claimed the K/SA class trophy.
East Coast racer Anne Toews scored her first U.S. Nationals class win by way of an excellent .007-second reaction time in her ’69 Camaro and an 11.984 to ’86 C-10 pickup pilot Paul Wong’s .078 and 11.922 in the N/SA final.
That’s a lotta trophies: ’87 Camaro driver Brad Zaskowski’s GT/E win over red-lighting David Neal marked his 22nd U.S. Nationals class victory and 18th in Super Stock.
Super Stock No. 1 qualifier Ernie Neal, driving his SS/PA ’96 Caprice was the last class winner of the day and claimed the combo trophy in a match with Jason DeForrest.
Click here for full Stock Eliminator class finals results.
Click here for full Super Stock class finals results.