NHRA Story
Tricky Tipster's Bristol picks
Thursday, June 13, 2013


For more than five decades, the National Dragster staff has tested its prognosticating skills prior to each national event, putting odds on the top eight racers it thinks have the best shot at victory in Tricky Tipster, which is first posted on NationalDragster.net the Wednesday before each event, then on NHRA.com the following day. This week, Tricky Tipster handicaps the Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals presented by Tri-Cities Area Ford Dealers. Summernationals Logo

TOP FUEL
Funny Car I Pro Stock I Pro Mod
S Langdon SHAWN LANGDON
Al-Anabi Racing
Momentum is a significant factor in this sport, and Langdon is currently riding a big, maroon-colored wave. 2-1
  
T Schumacher TONY SCHUMACHER
U.S. Army
“The Sarge” has dominated this event with four wins in the last five years and five overall wins during the course of his career. 3-1
  
K AlBalooshi KHALID ALBALOOSHI
Al-Anabi Racing
You would think the Middle Eastern driver and his crew would be happy coming off an all-team final in Englishtown, but this team is hungry for a win. 5-1
  
C Millican CLAY MILLICAN
Parts Plus
He qualified No. 1 for the first time when he was in Englishtown. Scoring his long-awaited first win in his home state would be storybook. 6-1
  
S Massey SPENCER MASSEY
Battery Extender
In nine races this year, he has won once and lost to the eventual winner on five occasions. He has reached the semifinals at a 66 percent rate, equal to points leader Langdon and No. 2 Schumacher. 7-1
  
B Vandergriff BOB VANDERGRIFF JR.
C&J Energy Services
Like teammate Millican, he showed up to Englishtown with what seemed like a whole different car following their successful test session in Topeka. 9-1
  
D Kalitta DOUG KALITTA
Mac Tools
In 12 years, only four drivers have won this event in Top Fuel: Kalitta, Schumacher, Larry Dixon, and Brandon Bernstein. Kalitta can win here a fourth time if his strong qualifying efforts can translate to round-wins. 10-1
  
A Brown ANTRON BROWN
Matco Tools
The champ lost in the first round at four of the last five events but scored the Wally in Atlanta, so your guess is as good as ours. 11-1
 

 FUNNY CAR
M Hagan MATT HAGAN
Mopar/Rocky
Boots Dodge
He and teammate Johnny Gray are neck and neck right now for the top spot, but his win from the No. 1 spot in Englishtown gave him the points lead and momentum for now. 3-2
  
J Gray JOHNNY GRAY
Gray Motorsports/
Pitch Energy Dodge
If it weren't for teammate Hagan, who just nipped him in a close second-round match in E-town, he may very well be riding a three-race winning streak entering this weekend. 2-1
  
J Beckman JACK BECKMAN
Valvoline/MTS
Dodge
The reigning Mello Yello world champ is on a steady trajectory upwards, capped by a runner-up in Englishtown. Based on recent performance, we wouldn't be surprised to see him go that one extra step to the winner's circle soon. 4-1
  
C Pedregon CRUZ PEDREGON
Snap-on Toyota
He's qualifying well and has strong moments -- he had low e.t. of the first round in E-town -- but he just can't seem to put four full runs together on Sunday. Once he corrects that, he will be a threat to win every week. 5-1
  
T Wilkerson TIM WILKERSON
Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford
Throwing his Topeka hiccup out, Wilk has been one of the steadiest racers in the class since Charlotte, qualifying no lower than fourth and recording semifinal or better finishes. 7-1
  
D Worsham DEL WORSHAM
DHL Toyota
One of only three Funny Car racers to win more than once here, he is coming off one of his best outings of the season, qualifying second and going to the semi's in New Jersey. 9-1
  
R Capps RON CAPPS
NAPA Dodge
His Achilles' heel is qualifying -- he has been 10th or 11th in four of the last five events. Improve there, and he would likely eliminate early meetings with and heartbreaking close losses to the class' top cars. 10-1
  
C Force COURTNEY FORCE
Traxxas Ford
This spot was a toss-up among the John Force Racing trio, and though we could see merits with all three, we're giving the edge to Courtney, who has been a steadier qualifier and has just been on the losing end of some close races recently. 12-1
 

 PRO STOCK
M Edwards MIKE EDWARDS
Interstate/I Am
Second Chevy
Pro Stock’s winningest driver at this track will be going for his fifth consecutive victory in Bristol. Will have lots of momentum as the No. 1 qualifier in eight of this year’s first nine races. 2-1
  
A Johnson ALLEN JOHNSON
Mopar/J&J
Racing Dodge
Following last year’s loss to Edwards by less than .0000-second, he would like nothing better than to give his dad a Wally as a Father’s Day present. 3-1
  
S Gray SHANE GRAY
Gray Motorsports
Chevy
After qualifying 13th, 10th, and 10th in the first three races, he has made the top half of the field in the last six events, including a pair of No. 2 efforts, and also recorded a pair of runner-up finishes. 5-1
  
E Enders ERICA ENDERS-STEVENS
Black iGuana
Chevy
Her Camaro has picked up performances recently by qualifying second and third at the last two events, and she was impressive in her runner-up showing here in 2011. 6-1
  
J Coughlin JEG COUGHLIN JR.
JEGS.com Mopar
Dodge
The four-time Pro Stock champion has won at this event only once in 2007. but he has the car and certainly the power to improve on that record this weekend. 7-1
  
  
J Line JASON LINE
Summit Racing
Chevy
His only career victory at this track came in his first championship season of 2006. Has recorded one win this season, in Houston, and is overdue for another. 8-1
  
G Anderson GREG ANDERSON
Summit Racing
Chevy
Will be debuting his third different Camaro of the season this weekend in the never-ending search for a wider tune-up window. Has two Bristol wins, in 2001 and 2004. 10-1
  
V Nobile VINCENT NOBILE
Mountain View
Tire Dodge
Back-to-back semifinal finishes in Topeka and Englishtown indicates that this team may be on the verge of returning to championship-contending form. 12-1
 

 PRO MOD
MIKE JANIS
Valvoline
Camaro
Won the most recent NHRA Pro Mod event in Englishtown and looked really good doing it. 4-1
  
TROY COUGHLIN
JEGS.com
Corvette
Defending champ has had an up and down season so far, but now all signs are pointing up. 5-1
  
VON SMITH
Al-Anabi/
Dr. Moon Camaro
Not hard to pick this Tennessee-based team as one of the favorites this weekend. 6-1
  
MIKE CASTELLANA
Al-Anabi
Camaro
About time for a nitrous car to claim a win this season, and he’s the most likely to do it. 8-1
  
RICKIE SMITH
IDG
Camaro
Defending event winner has been on the verge of another victory several times this season. 10-1
  
DANNY ROWE
Agave Underground
Camaro
Looking to catch up after missing Englishtown eliminations for daughter’s graduation. 12-1
  
KENNY LANG
Summit Racing
Equipment Corvette
No wins this year but rock-solid consistent, which is why he’s the points leader. 14-1
  
STEVE MATUSEK
Aeromotive/
Roush-Yates Mustang
Just a matter of time before he’s able to string four really quick runs together and win. 16-1