Courtney Force Wins Fan Draw for $100K Traxxus Nitro Shootout
When the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series rolls into Indianapolis for the Chevrolet U.S. Nationals prior to the Labor Day weekend, E3 Spark Plugs race fans know there are races within the race. A popular addition to what is called the world's biggest drag race is the Traxxas Nitro Shootout featuring the top drivers and teams in the National Hot Rod Association's Top Fuel and Funny Car divisions. Based in McKinney TX, Traxxas (a radio-control model manufacturer) awards $100,000 to the winner in each division with $15,000 going to the runners-up and $7,500 to drivers reaching the semi-finals.
Leading up to the U.S. Nationals, the first seven winners of a Mello Yello Funny Car or Top Fuel race automatically qualify for the special event with the point's leader in each division receiving the top seed. The final spot in each class is determined by a fan vote and live lottery draw conducted at "Fan Fest" in downtown Indianapolis on Memorial Circle. This year John Force Racing's Courtney Force and AMALIE Motor Oil's Terry McMillen were selected to participate in the Funny Car and Top Fuel Nitro classes. Courtney Force, who won the Traxxas Nitro Shootout in 2016 was eliminated in the first round by NAPA driver Ron Capps. McMillen upset point's leader Antron Brown in round one before falling victim to Tony Schumacher.
When the smoke cleared at the end of the day, Fast Jack Beckman added another $100,000 to his bank account winning the Funny Car Shootout for the third time in six years. Driving the Infinite Hero Dodge, Beckman had a 324.67 mph pass to eliminate Robert Hight, who finished runner up for the fourth consecutive year. In Top Fuel, a red-hot Steve Torrence relied upon a 3.673 ET to fend off the challenge of Tony Schumacher who posted the faster speed at 330.31 mph. Schumacher was the defending Traxxas Nitro Shootout winner making the final run a battle between the most successful Top Fuel drivers in Traxxus Shootout history.