Updated NHRA Countdown to the Championship Standings
Maple Grove Raceway in Mohnton PA has a history of bringing out the best in the top NHRA teams and drivers and the 2017 Dodge NHRA Nationals were no exception. With the Countdown to the Championship in full swing, drivers looked to improve their position in the point's standings on one of the series most historic high-speed venues. At the end of Sunday's final rounds, Brittany Force, Ron Capps, Bo Butner and Eddie Krawiec had all claimed victories in their respective classes at the second of six playoff events.
Krawiec piloted his Screamin' Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson to his fifth victory of the season in Pro Stock Motorcycle. Having switched back to last year's chassis, Krawiec put the team on top of the podium for the third consecutive time taking top honors in both Countdown rounds so far. Having only qualified fourth in Saturday's events, the Harley rider eliminated No. 1 qualifier Scott Pollacheck, teammate Andrew Hines and Kelly Clontz. He posted a 6.852 second pass at 196.70 mph in the final run to defeat LE Tonglet on his Nitro Fish Racing Suzuki.
Bo Butner continued his hot streak by qualifying in the number one position on Saturday in his Jim Butner's Auto Chevy Camaro. Butner would face Greg Anderson in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro in the Final round. It was Anderson's ninth trip to the finals in 2017 having eliminated the hot rookie Tanner Gray and teammate Jason Line en route. Butner's defeated Anderson with a 6.613 pass at 209.95 mph to record his fourth career victory and fourth of the season to maintain his lead in the points championship.
Next up in Sunday's final round of the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series was a Courtney Force in her Advance Auto Parts Chevy Camaro. Looking for traction in the final round at Maple Grove Raceway, Force elected to run a six-disc clutch. The equipment change (and Force's best effort) was not enough to stop Ron Capps in his Napa Auto Parts Dodge Charger R/T. Capps claimed his 57th career win and seventh victory of 2017 with a 3.968 pass at 326.48 mph. Capps had eliminated last year's winner Jim Campbell on his way to the finals and the win boosted the Napa driver to the points lead in the Countdown to the Championship.
Race fans eagerly awaited the Top Fuel matchup between Brittany Force and Steve Torrence, who had lost the points lead in the opening round of the playoffs to Doug Kalitta. Force eliminated reigning world champion Antron Brown on her way to her third Final of the season. A 3.756 pass at 326.24 mph secured her second win of the season for the Monster Energy team. Having reached the final round at Maple Grove Raceway on two previous occasions, this victory was particularly sweet and moved Force into third overall behind Torrence and Kalitta.
Race teams head west as the playoffs continue for the 2017 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series at the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park in St. Louis on Sept. 29-Oct. 1.