NHRA Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, Aug. 29-Sept. 1, 2014 at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, IN, USA
Krawiec Makes it Pay at Indy
story and photos by Tim Hailey with material from NHRA and team reports
What's a .117 difference on the tree look like? In runner-up Jerry Savoie's defense, his Suzuki has a recurring problem whith sensors and error codes that has it refusing to idle. After getting started three times in the waterbox, Jerry had to keep working the throttle and was unable to even shut his own visor. With no dramas on his side and a performance advantage in the bank, Krawiec calmly staged his Harley and had an .026 light. Still, Eddie's bike bogged a bit and was beatable at 6.94....it just wasn't beaten this particular day.
Kwick Eddie Krawiec took home his first Indy win and third victory of the season with a 6.941 at 192.63 on the Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson at the 60th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, the world’s most prestigious drag race. The win was the 25th career victory for Krawiec, a three-time Pro Stock Motorcycle world champ. “I’ve been fortunate to win three championships and 25 races now and I’ve finally got an Indy win,” said Krawiec, who finished second in regular season points behind teammate Andrew Hines. “I was joking that I could just step off the bike now, announce my retirement, and not run the Countdown [to the Championship]. I think I’ll stick around, though.”
Jerry Savoie was appearing in his second consecutive final on his Savoie’s Alligator Farm Suzuki. He beat Chaz Kennedy, John Hall and reigning world champ Matt Smith before posting a losing .143/6.987 at 192.58 in the final.
Alexis DeJoria with the hammer down
Alexis DeJoria crossed the finish line in 4.038 seconds at 310.34 mph in the Patron XO Cafe Toyota Camry to defeat current Funny Car points leader John Force, who won the Traxxas Nitro Shootout Sunday. It was the third win of DeJoria’s season and her first at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis. With the victory, DeJoria became the fourth female winner of the U.S. Nationals and the first female driver to win three Funny Car races in a single season. DeJoria, who also outran Cruz Pedregon, Blake Alexander and Courtney Force en route to the victory, earned a record 10th season victory for female racers in the NHRA Mello Yello Series.
“It’s huge [to win the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals],” said DeJoria, wife of noted TV personality Jesse James and daughter of famed entrepreneur John Paul DeJoria. “I was just happy to make it to another semifinal; that was four in a row. To make it past the semifinals, that was huge, but to win this race just builds our confidence even more and in me especially.”
DeJoria will be the fourth seed in Funny Car when the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship playoffs begins at the NHRA Carolina Nationals in two weeks.
Force was appearing in his sixth consecutive final and ran a 4.039 at 319.67 in the Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang. Following his Traxxas Nitro Shootout victory on Sunday, Force was strong on Monday, defeating Robert Hight, Matt Hagan and Ron Capps in the first three rounds. Force was appearing in his eighth Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals final and was seeking his fifth victory. He finished the regular season as the points leader and will open the Countdown playoffs with a 30 point advantage over teammate Hight.
Richie Crampton lifts the wheels in his win over Steve Torrence
Rookie Top Fuel driver Richie Crampton, appearing in his first Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, powered past Steve Torrence with a 3.766 at 327.98 in the GEICO/Lucas Oil dragster to claim his second Wally trophy of the season. He was close to sweeping the weekend, as he posted a runner-up finish in the $100,000 Traxxas Nitro Shootout bonus event on Saturday. “Steve-O (Torrence) is one of my great friends out here and he beat me at the Brainerd race,” said Crampton, who will be seeded eighth in the Countdown. “We said to each other before the run that we were going to go out there and have some fun. It’s pretty awesome that he and I got to share a final round here at the 60th Indy. If I would have been runner-up, I probably would have been almost as happy, because it’s been a fantastic weekend for our team.
"Just like so many things that have happened to me this year, I can hardly believe what's going on. I'm the luckiest guy in the world, bar none. Just to be driving a Top Fuel car is the dream come true for me. Then we were the 100th different Top Fuel winner in Englishtown (N.J.), and now we've won the 60th annual U.S. Nationals. That's two pretty historical moments we got to be a part of.
"After Englishtown I sat down and looked at the 99 other drivers that have won Top Fuel races in the NHRA, and it was so humbling to think I was a part of that group. I'm going to find time to look at all the Indy winners and I'm sure I'll have the same feeling. This is crazy stuff for a kid from Adelaide (Australia). I'm a long way from home."
The semifinals pitted Crampton against Tony Schumacher, who dismissed him earlier in the weekend in the final round of the $100,000 Traxxas Shootout. This time Crampton got the better of the seven-time world champion, winning by .001-second after a pass of 3.784 seconds at 322.81 mph to Schumacher's 3.788 at 325.69 mph. "That might have been the biggest single round-win of my career," Crampton admitted. "All we heard leading up to that race was that Schumacher was trying to win his 10th Indy trophy. Well, the guys in this pit weren't going to give in to anything."
Torrence was appearing in his second consecutive Indianapolis final in his Capco Contractors dragster, posting a 3.799 at 327.82 during the final. The result broke a one year drought from final round appearances for the Kilgore, Texas native. Torrence will be seeded fifth in the Countdown.
Doug Kalitta claimed the Top Fuel Countdown No. 1 seed and will open the playoffs with a 30 point advantage over Antron Brown.
Shane Gray vs teammate Dave Connolly, who immediately stepped out of the gas on the hit
In Pro Stock, Shane Gray drove his Gray Manufacturing Chevy Camaro to his first U.S. Nationals victory, defeating teammate Dave Connolly in the final with a 6.641 at 208.42. It was the fourth career victory for Gray, who finished the regular season sixth in points, and his first win since the Las Vegas race last October. “I really can’t describe this in words,” said Gray, who beat Shane Tucker, Allen Johnson and brother Jonathan Gray before the final. “If I've learned anything this year, I've learned that it's a lot different to go out and qualify [well] than it is to race on Sunday."
Connolly was appearing in his fifth final round at the Big Go, having collected victories three times. He was also runner-up at the event in 2006. Connolly defeated V Gaines, Erica Enders-Stevens and ended Jason Line’s three-race winning streak on his way to the final round matchup with his Gray Motorsports teammate. Line’s late season performance earned him the top seed for the Pro Stock Countdown playoffs.
The formerly retired Rickie Smith took another Pro Mod win, now with his new car
Reigning NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series world champion Rickie Smith raced to thePro Mod victory. Smith ran his ’68 IDG Camaro to a 5.901-second pass at 245.72 mph, defeating Pete Farber in the final. It was Smith’s second win of the season and sixth of his career. Smith, the runner-up at Indianapolis last season, defeated Danny Rowe, Jeff Naiser and Troy Coughlin on the way to the final.
Farber drove his CRC Brakeleen Dodge Daytona to the final round with victories over Steven Whiteley, Steve Matusek and Billy Glidden. It was his second final round appearance of the season, following a victory in Bristol. Farber was appearing in his first Indianapolis final.
Andrew Hines cools son Declan off with some cold water in the Indy winners circle
NHRA results and ladders
EARLIER: Krawiec Leads Indy Field to Raceday
When was the last time you saw Eddie Krawiec sitting up in the saddle before 100 feet? Fortunately for the 3X champ, he didn't need a result from this botched Q5 pass to retain #1 for eliminations on Monday. The bike bogged and Eddie let the clutch out immediately, leading "National Dragster"'s Kevin McKenna to ask the $20,000 question: "Did it run through your mind that on any other weekend that would be an E1 pass?"
"It did!" said Krawiec. "It told my crew chief Matt Hines I'm glad we got that out of the way, because we've bogged and lost a couple of times in the first two rounds this year. But we learned something from that we can use tomorrow, and I'm feeling very confident we have a good race bike."
Krawiec faces Shawn Gann in round 1 today.
Steve Johnson seeks extraterrestrial help to win another US Nationals. Qualified 10th with a 6.935, Johnson faces defending race winner Johnny "Balls" Hall in round 1
Matt Smith haulin' ass to 3rd. He faces Adam Arana, who encouraged me to get Smith drunk....which is really easy if you can get him started
Gator Jerry sits second in the order, with fellow distinguished gentleman Hector Arana Sr 11th. Savoie has Chaz Kennedy, Arana has Angie Smith
Michael Ray put some Star Racing drama behind him and qualified 4th with a 6.89. He faces Jim Underdahl in E1.
Hector Arana Jr sits 5th with a 6.906 and faces Scotty Pollacheck in the morning
John Hall launches to the #7 qualifier in front of a double-fisting Colbert Seagraves, Bobby Webb and more
Elvira Karlsson is back from Sweden but didn't make the field....17th
EARLIER: Krawiec Wrestles Back on Top at Indy
Eddie Krawiec's 6.829 anihilated the Indy PSM field in Q4
The weekend for Eddie's teammate Andrew Hines has been far less smooth, including this tire shaking Q2 pass where he folds the tire like a taco. Andrew sits 9th with a 6.93
Everyone (except Colbert) watches as Adam Arana launches in Q4. Word is that the youngest racing Arana is on his way to the Coast Guard. Will that mean less racing for him? A new rider on this Buell? Trimming the team to 2 bikes? We'll see.
After an acrobatic first round pass, Angie Smith has settled in and is having a great weekend, as is the whole MSR trailer
Savoie bites into Indy Field
Jerry Savoie and his White Alligator Suzuki jumped to #1 with a 6.878 in Q2
EARLIER: Kool Krawiec #1 after 1 at Indy
Kwick Eddie getting the job done Friday evening
Three-time world champ Eddie Krawiec, who is seeking his first Indy victory in his adopted town, rode to the Pro Stock Motorcycle qualifying lead for the 60th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals with a run of 6.930 at 193.57 on his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson. “My Harley-Davidson has been awesome,” Krawiec said. “This is also a home race, and we want to do well for our guys. That was a good run, but I think there is a couple of hundredths left. I actually thought that low E.T. would be about a 6.89, but it’s warm and humid and there is a lot of water in the air. Personally, I don’t care if low E.T. is a 7.15; I just want to be the quickest rider out here.”
Krawiec and the V&H team didn't test for the event, instead concentrating on dyno time. He agreed that is was not particularly helpful to test on tracks that don't use Crispe tire rotators for events that do.
Andrew Hines signing autographs at Monument Circle on Wednesday
Past Indy winner Hector Arana Jr. qualified second on his Lucas Oil Buell with a 6.931 at 192.96, and 2012 U.S. Nationals winner Andrew Hines is third on his Screamin’ Eagle Harley-Davidson with a 6.953 at 192.14.
Tony Schumacher, a nine-time winner of this event, raced to the Top Fuel qualifying lead on Friday, powering his U.S. Army dragster to a leading run of 3.777 seconds at 322.65 mph. “It’s huge to get that run,” Schumacher said. “Now we can go out and try to dominate the weekend and win the Traxxas Nitro Shootout and the race. We have the opportunity to do something special here and win this race for a 10th time.”
Schumacher was one of only two drivers to record an elapsed time in the 3.7-second range. Steve Torrence, runner-up and No. 1 qualifier here one year ago, was second in his Capco Contractors dragster with a 3.786 at 318.09. “It wasn’t anything special,” Schumacher said. “The car could’ve gone quicker. Mike (Green, crew chief) was turning knobs and pulling levers trying to make adjustments because a lot of cars weren’t making it down the track.”
Defending winner Shawn Langdon was third in his Al-Anabi Racing dragster with a 3.808 at 313.29 and current series points leader Doug Kalitta is 16th after his Mac Tools dragster launched hard but ultimately slowed near mid-track and posted an opening-day best of 5.066 at 137.36.
Former U.S. Nationals winner Del Worsham topped the Funny Car qualifying order with a 4.044 at 313.73 in his DHL Toyota Camry. Worsham is ninth in the points standings and says that every point is critical this weekend. “It was a great run,” Worsham said. “Every run throughout the season is very important, but to get down to the final race of the (regular) season and you’re not locked into the Countdown, you’re paying attention. There’s pressure every run, but there’s a little bit added pressure here to make the Countdown. This sport comes down to a lot of pressure. I tell people every single run down the (track) for NHRA is like the last lap of the final straight of a NASCAR race; it’s that important.”
Ron Capps was second in his NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger with a 4.052 at 316.01 and Matt Hagan sits third in his Rocky Boots/Mopar Charger with a 4.067 at 318.47. Series points leader John Force, a four-time Indy winner, is 11th overall with a 4.865 at 168.94 in his Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang.
Force and Capps will decide the Brainerd final round today during the day’s final qualifying session.
In Pro Stock, new points leader Jason Line continued his recent hot streak with a leading effort of 6.623 at 208.78 in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro. “It feels really good to get a good run under our belt,” said Line, who has won the last two races and is still in contention for the rain-delayed Brainerd event, which will be completed at this event. “Both of the Summit cars ran pretty sporty, so it's a good day to be racing a Chevy Camaro. At least I know I have a good horse. A lot of times when you leave one (track) you wonder if it's going to be as fast (at the next one).”
Three-time U.S. Nationals winner Dave Connolly was second in his Charter Communications Camaro with a 6.637 at 208.01, while six-time Indy winner Greg Anderson is third in his Summit Camaro with a 6.643 at 208.10.
In today’s Brainerd Pro Stock semifinals, which will also be held during the day’s second session, Line will face Dave River and Jeg Coughlin will race Vincent Nobile. The Brainerd Pro Stock final will be held on Sunday during the day’s first session.
EARLIER: US Nats pre-race
The Nitro Fish Pro Stock Motorcycles will be hard to miss at Indy. In addition to LE Tonglet’s colors and Matt Smith’s purple hue, Johnny “Balls” Hall’s bike will feature an electric green color scheme with yellow flames. “It’s an honor to be the newest member of the Nitro Fish team,” Hall said. “I’m grateful to Kenny Koretsky for making me a part of a winning organization. Last year, I won this race and it was the highlight of my career. I’d love to get back to the winner’s circle and bring Kenny and the whole Nitro Fish team with me.
“It’s a race everyone wants to win and I’m lucky enough to have done it, but I didn’t really get how big it was until after I won. If you win at Indy, you will be remembered for that. When people introduce you they will say you won at Indy. That’s pretty cool and not something I knew was going to happen until after I won.”
Now Hall enters the biggest race of the year as the defending event winner, hoping to add a second straight victory on his Matt Smith Racing Buell during the 60th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals this weekend at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.
Shawn Langdon (Top Fuel), Robert Hight (Funny Car) and Mike Edwards (Pro Stock) also were last year’s winners of the event that will once again be televised on ESPN2 in more than 10 hours of coverage. It is the 10th of 16 Pro Stock Motorcycle events during the 2014 season and the final race of the regular season for the two-wheel category before the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship begins.
As much pressure as entering this year’s event as the defending champ might provide, Hall calmly said he doesn’t feel any of that. In fact, he expects that last year’s win will provide a calming effect heading into the 2014 edition.
Hall is currently fifth in the series standings and in the midst of a solid and consistent season, but the two-time event winner is also looking for his first final round of the season. He posted one of four semifinal appearances at the most recent event in Sonoma and Hall knows that another strong performance in Indy would be the ideal scenario heading into the Countdown to the Championship playoffs. “I’m confident in our chances but I don’t really feel any more pressure,” Hall said. “I’ve got a trophy from Indy and I’m very grateful for that. That’s the trophy you really want and a lot of people don’t have it, so I feel like there’s more pressure on them to try and get it.”
Finding a good set-up during testing leading up to this weekend might have Hall confident, but he will face off against a talented field that includes points leader Andrew Hines, who won the U.S. Nationals victory in 2012. Hines’ teammate Eddie Krawiec has yet to win in Indy but sits second in points while other standout competitors in the category include reigning champion Smith, Epping winner Angie Smith, Michael Ray, Scotty Pollacheck, Hector Arana Jr., Hector Arana and two-time Indy winner Steve Johnson.
Hall barely qualified a year ago at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, squeaking in at No. 15. But he turned it on during eliminations, knocking off Krawiec, Ray and LE Tonglet before reaching the final round. That performance proved to Hall he was capable of winning any race no matter the circumstance. Having it happen during the world’s biggest drag race simply made it that much sweeter. “I wasn’t even sure I was going to be in the race a year ago,” Hall said. “You just never know because this class is so tight. No matter where someone qualifies they are capable of winning. You need luck, consistency, and you have to be good. But everybody is good in this class, so you need all three to get one of these wins.”
Smith won the “Big Go” in 2006. “Last year, John and I met in the final round and we’d both like to do that again this year,” said Smith. “It would also be awesome to have two Nitro Fish bikes in the final.
“This is an important race and not just because of all the history that goes with Indy. This is also the last race before the start of the Countdown, so we want to make sure that we’re prepared for the last six races. Our team has four bikes in the Countdown [including wife, Angie and teammate Scotty Pollacheck] and I don’t think that’s ever been done before.”
For Tonglet, a return to Indianapolis rekindles memories of his 2010 U.S. Nationals win, when he first met Koretsky and became a part of the Nitro Fish team. That association helped fuel a late-season run to the NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle championship and the Rookie of the Year honors. “I have a lot of great memories from this track and hopefully we can make some more this weekend,” said Tonglet, a recently anointed Jefferson Parish fireman at home in Louisiana. “I haven’t raced much this year but I’m really looking forward to getting back out there. We tested recently just to knock the rust off of me and we learned a few things. I can’t wait for the Nitro Fish Suzuki to put down some big numbers.”
Hector Arana Sr. also has a U.S. Nationals win under his belt. After finding himself holding a Wally at the end of the 2009 race, Arana went on to win the Pro Stock Motorcycle championship. "It would mean the absolute world to me to win at Indy again," Arana Sr. said. "It's a prestigious honor to be listed as a U.S. Nationals winner that very few people get the chance to have. I'd love to join an even more exclusive list of those who have more than one."
As usual, H1 spent the past month meticulously going through his Lucas Oil Buell. "It's been nothing but working hard to get the bikes ready for this weekend," Arana said. "We've been going over everything possible trying to find something that would cause us an issue during a round. We want to try to fix all the little things now to minimize damage or a round loss. It's all about making sure we have a good chance of winning the race."
"Since Sonoma, we've really just been trying to go over the motor and figure it out," Hector’s son Adam agreed. "Having the month off definitely gave us some extra time to really try to fix the issue we've been fighting. It would have been nice if we could have gone and tested somewhere, but with the focus on getting the motor right, there just wasn't time. I think we're ready though.
"We've had some good runs at Indy as a team. I just hope to have a little more success there than I did last year and at previous races this season. One goal I have for the weekend is to qualify in the top half of the ladder. I haven't been able to all year but I think it's definitely doable.
"Hopefully the weather holds off this weekend. Since we didn't get to test before this weekend we'll use the first couple runs to really set up the bike to the track and work on minor changes from there. We will have five qualifying runs, unlike other races, which will be nice. It will give us a little bit more time to make sure we get everything right for eliminations."
“I'm trying to prepare by staying focused and keeping a clear mind,” said Hector Jr, also a part of the family team. “I've been going over everything mentally. The last race (in Sonoma) I was trying to ride the bike too much, I was trying too hard. I need to go back to doing my normal thing, just riding the bike and staying relaxed. I need to go at this one run at a time.
"It's a home race for me and it's a home race for Lucas Oil. It's a really big deal and an even bigger race. We have lots of friends and family that will be there and same goes for Lucas Oil as well.
"To be able to do well at this race is very important for me. You always try to put on your best show for the people that come to support you. I want to do my best to make it worthwhile for them taking the time to come out. Without them, a lot of things wouldn't be possible."
Star Racing will be welcoming new sponsor High Performance Lubricants for the remainder of the 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events, starting at the U.S. Nationals. “High Performance Lubricants is proud to be working with George Bryce and Star Racing,” said HPL’s David Ward. Star’s riders are veteran Michael Ray and rookie Chaz Kennedy.
Top fan-vote getters Brittany Force and Tim Wilkerson secured the No. 8 positions in the Traxxas Nitro Shootout following special lottery drawings held in downtown Indianapolis.
Force, who has reached three final rounds this season, earned the most fan votes in her category with 65 percent and will face the top seed in Top Fuel, Doug Kalitta, in the first-round pairing of the Traxxas Nitro Shootout for Top Fuel. “I’m definitely excited to have this opportunity again,” said Force who will be appearing in her second consecutive Traxxas Nitro Shootout following her lottery victory last season. “Thanks to all the fans and especially thanks to my team. They’re an awesome group. I’m hoping to go out and take it home this weekend.”
Doug Kalitta, JR Todd, Del Worsham and more signing autographs Wednesday down on the circle
Veteran driver Wilkerson, who took the most fan votes in Funny Car with 38 percent, will meet top seed John Force in the first round of the Traxxas Nitro Shootout for Funny Car. “If the [warm] weather stays like this I really like our chances to win this thing,” said Wilkerson, who also took home the Funny Car fan vote last year. “I sure could use the $100,000 that’s for sure. I just want to thank the fans again for helping make this happen.”
The two drivers selected today was the culmination of a process that started on Aug. 17. All drivers in both categories who had competed in each race this season but were not a part of the seven qualified drivers for each Traxxas Nitro Shootout were eligible for the fan vote/lottery. Fan voting took place on NHRA's Facebook page and lasted until Aug. 26. The fan voting determined how many lottery balls would be assigned to each driver for the drawing. Wilkerson was followed in the fan vote by Jack Beckman (29%), Del Worsham (13%), Matt Hagan (10%), Tony Pedregon (5%) and Bob Tasca III (5%). Top Fuel’s Force was followed in the fan vote by Clay Millican (13%), J.R. Todd (9%), Bob Vandergriff (5%), Terry McMillen (4%) and Steve Torrence (4%).
Shawn Langdon is the defending Traxxas Nitro Shootout winner in Top Fuel and Jack Beckman is the defending Traxxas Nitro Shootout winner in Funny Car.
John Force's car down on the circle
In Funny Car the current points leader is John Force, who will look to tie Ed McCulloch’s Funny Car record of five wins at the event. Hight, who qualified for the Countdown a year ago with his thrilling third Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals win, is one of the top stars in the class while others include Ron Capps, Matt Hagan, Courtney Force, Cruz Pedregon, Del Worsham, Alexis DeJoria, Tim Wilkerson and Tommy Johnson Jr.
Four-time world champion Greg Anderson is a six-time Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals winner in Pro Stock, trailing only Bob Glidden’s remarkable nine wins at the race. Anderson will face a talented field that features top drivers Dave Connolly and Jeg Coughlin, who each have three Indy wins, points leader and teammate Jason Line, Erica Enders-Stevens, Allen Johnson, Shane Gray, Vincent Nobile, V Gaines and Chris McGaha.
Bonus bucks and bragging rights will be on the line for qualified drivers in Top Fuel and Funny Car as they battle in the lucrative Traxxas Nitro Shootout. The Traxxas Nitro Shootout for Top Fuel will be held on Saturday evening, while the Traxxas Nitro Shootout for Funny Car is contested Sunday afternoon. The winners in each Traxxas Nitro Shootout will earn $100,000.
Force's car and the Soldiers & Sailor's Monument
Another Mello Yello Series event also will be completed during the Big Go: the rain-delayed Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals from Brainerd, Minn. John Force and Ron Capps will decide the Funny Car final round during the third qualifying session on Saturday evening at approximately 8:15 p.m. The Brainerd Pro Stock semifinals will be run during Saturday's third qualifying session at approximately 6:30 p.m. Line will take on Dave River and Vincent Nobile will face Jeg Coughlin. The two semi winners will decide the Brainerd Pro Stock final on Sunday during the event's fourth pro qualifying session at 11:30 a.m.
Drivers in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series and the NHRA Pro Mod Series will look to become winners of the prestigious event during the weekend. The fastest Super Stock cars will challenge for the ultimate bragging rights and a bonus purse during the popular Mopar HEMI Challenge as well.
NHRA will also conduct official presentations to honor six of the most iconic moments in the history of the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals in the Hot Rod Junction Friday-Sunday of the weekend. On Sunday of race weekend “Big Daddy” Don Garlits will reenact his famous beard shaving scene that followed his triumphant 1967 victory and the “Indy’s Winningest Drivers” presentation, a ceremony honoring Schumacher, Bob Glidden and Garlits, also will take place; on Saturday Kenny Bernstein will be honored for becoming the first double-up winner at Indy, Shirley Muldowney will look back at her Indy memories including her 1982 victory, one she called the greatest victory of her outstanding Top Fuel career, and the 1978 Funny Car final where Tom “The Mongoose” McEwen defeated Don “The Snake” Prudhomme will be remembered; on Friday the harrowing 1970 Top Fuel final between Jim Nicoll and Prudhomme will be revisited.
A special Monday edition of the SealMaster NHRA Track Walk also will take place prior to final eliminations, where many of the sport’s most celebrated drivers will walk alongside fans down the historic dragstrip. Fan-favorite Cacklefests and vintage racecars on display in the Hot Rod Junction, along with several autograph sessions featuring the legends of the sport as well as today’s biggest stars will be featured throughout each day of the event. On Friday, a special fireworks show will close out the day’s racing.
The first of five Mello Yello Series qualifying sessions is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 29. Two more sessions will take to the track on Saturday, Aug. 30 at 2:30 p.m. and 6 p.m., and the final two qualifying sessions will take place on Sunday, Aug. 31 at 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Final eliminations begin at 11 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 1.
The Traxxas Nitro Shootout for Top Fuel will be contested Saturday, Aug. 30 with rounds at 4 p.m., 5:25 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. The Traxxas Nitro Shootout for Funny Car takes place on Sunday, Aug. 31 for the eight qualified drivers, with rounds at 12:30 p.m., 1:55 p.m. and 4:15 p.m.
Qualifying sessions take place at 6 p.m., Friday; 2:30 and 6 p.m., Saturday; and 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., Sunday. Eliminations will start at approximately noon, Monday, with both qualifying and elimination action broadcast on ESPN2.