The 2022 Camping World NHRA Drag season features a new special “race within a race” event, called the Pep Boys All-Star Callout Race. Special events are for the two main NHRA categories, Top Fuel and Funny Car. Events are held during qualifying for Top Fuel at the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gator Nationals in Gainesville, Florida and for Funny Car at Dodge Power Brokers. NHRA US Nationals in Indianapolis, Indiana. Top Fuel and Funny Car drivers qualify for one of eight positions, based on their respective qualifying efforts over a one-year period prior to each event. The Top Fuel event started but didn’t finish due to inclement weather that weekend in Florida, with the rest being postponed until the NHRA US Nationals in Indy this past weekend. The Top Fuel event was completed on Saturday, while the Funny Car event was completed on Sunday. These special events, from Pep Boys Auto Service Centers, are winners and take all $80,000 payouts. Based on how each driver qualifies in their respective specialty event, they get to choose (“called”) who they compete with in the opening round (first round of three). In the second round, only four of the eight riders remain, so the fastest winner in the first round gets to choose who they will race. The two unchosen runners then race against each other, letting two runners battle it out for the winner to take the entire purse.
Brittany Force had come into the Top Fuel event in Gainesville as the number one seed and was the fastest winner in the first round. Only one qualifying round was competed in that event. Having been the fastest winner, she was able to pick her second round/semi-final opponent, Mike Salinas. This left Steve Torrence and Justin Ashley to face off. Force defeated Salinas, although neither car performed very well, which put her into the final round, where she would compete against Torrence, who had just beaten Ashley. In the final, Torrence defeated Force with a 3.692 at 329.02 mph to 3.704 at 330.31 mph to claim the $80,000 prize. It should be noted that during the next qualifying round, Force was back on form, as she reset her own track records (set in 2019) by running 3.640 at 337.75 mph to put her in the NHRA US Nationals field as number one. qualifier for Monday’s playoffs. The Top Fuel field for this year’s NHRA US Nationals is the fastest in history with a 3.75 second bump (ranking 16).
In Funny Car, Robert Hight came in as the top seed and “called out” Robert Tasca, who was second in the season and in the All-Star points battles. This allowed Ron Capps the opportunity to call out his first round competitor, Tim Wilkerson. Matt Hagan then called out Alexis DeJoria, leaving John Force to face Cruz Pedregon. Hight, Capps, Hagan and Force all won their matchups, with Capps the fastest winner at 3.864 at 333.58 mph. It would be Capps vs. Force and Hight vs. Hagan, with Capps and Hagan advancing to the finals to battle it out for the $80,000 prize. Capps held a slight lead off the starting line to take out Hagan (3.936 at 330.47 mph at 3.900 at 328.66 mph) to capture the first All-Star call-up title. His elapsed time of 3.864 seconds held onto the number one spot before eliminations for the NHRA’s US Nationals.
In addition, a special $30,000 bonus will be paid to the first Top Fuel or Funny Car driver to first reach 300 mph over a 1/8 mile (half track) distance. Brittany Force has hit 299 mph twice, including 299.73 mph in her 3.640-337.75 qualifying effort.
In Pro Stock, Greg Anderson was able to grab the top qualifying spot with a 6.567 at 208.10 mph. In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Angelle Sampey is the top qualifier entering eliminations with an effort of 6.796 at 199.88 mph.
The actual main event on the NHRA calendar, the NHRA US Nationals, wraps up on Monday night (Labor Day), as has been the case for more than 50 years. The results of the Labor Day competition will be featured in a story in the September 14 edition, as the races were staged after the sports edition closed.