Enders back-to-back in Pro Stock; Krawiec makes Countdown in PSM
The National Hot Rod Association hosted the first NHRA Nationals in the mid-50s, but the legacy of U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis did not start until 1961. That is when NHRA founder Wally Parks brokered a deal with the existing track owners to give the event a permanent home. Traditionally raced on Labor Day, the final rounds were moved to Sunday in 2020 to comply with local and state restrictions for COVID-19. Sixteen years ago, the U.S. Nationals (known as The Big Go) earned the distinction of being the longest-running Labor Day motorsports event in history.
In 1979, the NHRA purchased the track and a decade ago Lucas Oil purchased naming rights. Over the weekend, joyful race fans filled the stands at Lucas Oil Raceway to witness one of the most prestigious drag racing events in the world – the Dodge//SRT NHRA U.S. Nationals. From Super Gas to Top Fuel, NHRA drivers (and riders) from around the world race for a chance to win The Big Go. After all, a win at the NHRA U.S. Nationals means just a little bit more to any driver and race team participating in NHRA events.
Erica Enders Wins Third U.S. Nationals Title
Four-time Pro Stock world champion Erica Enders gave herself a chance to win a third Indy Wally by defeating Greg Anderson in the semifinal round. However, it was good fortune for the Texas-native when Anderson’s HendricksCars.com Camaro shook the tires after the points leader got off the pro tree with a .009-second reaction time. But… she would have to outrun Number One qualifier Kyle Koretsky and the Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camara team would have to dial in some traction for a sketchy right-hand lane.
Enders posted a pass of 6.626 seconds at 206.01 mph to Koretsky’s 6.613 ET at 206.35 mph. However, Enders got off the pro tree with a .024-second reaction time to Koretsky’s .040 RT. That allowed the Melling Performance driver to reach the finish line first despite her slightly slower elapsed time. It was the third Wally of the 2021 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series and the 32nd Pro Stock victory of her distinguished career. Her previous wins in Pro Stock at The Big Go came in 2015 and 2020.
Vance & Hines Teammates Ensured a Team Win
In Pro Stock Motorcycles, the legendary Terry Vance won The Big Go in 1985-86 and set the bar for the Vance & Hines race team. Since then, Matt Hines, Andrew Hines, and Eddie Krawiec have all won at the prestigious NHRA U.S. Nationals. Nonetheless, it is always special for the Brownsburg-based team to win at their home track. Two-time Indy winner Angelle Sampey proved that she had one of the bikes to beat Steve Johnson in the quarterfinals and ran a 6.831 in the semi, even though Scotty Pollacheck left early.
Riding the Vance & Hines Buell Pro Stock Motorcycle, Eddie Krawiec he needed to have a great weekend at The Big Go to take advantage of the point and half scoring the NHRA implemented for the U.S. Nationals. He got the ball rolling as the Number One qualifier in PSM and promptly defeated his teammate Andrew Hines in round one. Michael Phillips left the line early allowing Krawiec to easily advance. A great matchup in the semifinal round saw Krawiec’s .015 narrowly beat Gladstone’s .018 reaction time all the way to the finish line. Krawiec and Sampey both had excellent showings in the final with Eddie taking home the Wally.
Mopar Express Lane NHRA Nationals
The Countdown to the Championship begins at Maple Grove Raceway at the Mopar Express Lane NHRA Nationals presented by Pennzoil on September 9 – 12 at Mohnton, PA.