NHRA Story
National Dragster presents Tricky Tipster's Topeka picks
Thursday, May 22, 2014


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 NHRA Kansas Nationals. NHRA Kansas Logo
TOP FUEL
Funny Car I Pro Stock I Top Alcohol Dragster I Top Alcohol Funny Car
Doug Kalitta DOUG KALITTA
Mac Tools
The points leader's recent history and the history of Kalitta Motorsports at Heartland Park Topeka both stand in his favor. 3-1
  
Antron Brown ANTRON BROWN
Matco Tools
There has been a different winner at this event in each of the past eight years. The only driver with multiple victories this year is a good bet to make it nine. 7-2
  
Shawn Langdon SHAWN LANGDON
Al-Anabi Racing
He began to hit his stride for his remarkable championship run with a victory here last season. 4-1
  
Steven Torrence STEVE TORRENCE
Capco Contractors
As sure as the sun rises in the east, Torrence reaches the semifinal round. Maybe a return to the site of his first Sportsman win in 2005 will propel him even further. 5-1
  
Spencer Massey SPENCER MASSEY
Battery Extender
A big win in Atlanta was just what the doctor ordered for this team. Massey won here in 2011 and reached the final the following year. 7-1
  
Tony Schumacher TONY SCHUMACHER
U.S. Army
This is one of the first tracks where he has posted more wins with crew chief Mike Green than former tuner Alan Johnson. 8-1
  
J.R. Todd J.R. TODD
Optima Batteries
He has been a top-half qualifier and competitive on race day ever since he got the nod to go full time. He's driving for the team that won here two years ago. 9-1
  
Brittany Force BRITTANY FORCE
Castrol Edge
Career-best numbers in Atlanta indicate that this team keeps getting better. The combined pressure of going for her first win and the 100th by a female racer could motivate this team further. 11-1
 

FUNNY CAR
Robert Hight ROBERT HIGHT
Auto Club Ford
Do we even need to explain why he’s atop the list? Three straight wins and six finals in seven races explain it better than anything we could write. 3-2
  
Ron Capps RON CAPPS
NAPA Dodge
Seems stuck in the semi’s with four semifinal finishes in last five races, but his car is certainly good enough to go further, evidenced by low e.t. of round one in Atlanta. 4-1
  
Tommy Johnson Jr. TOMMY JOHNSON JR.
Make-A-Wish
Dodge
Continues to qualify well, but his Sunday luck just hasn’t been there. If he could catch a break here or there, he could easily land in the winner’s circle. 6-1
  
Del Worsham DEL WORSHAM
DHL Toyota
We think the first-round loss in Atlanta was a fluke for a car that has been very solid all season and shown some very big potential. 7-1
  
Alexis DeJoria ALEXIS DeJORIA
Patrón XO Café
Toyota
After a string of good, consistent performances, her car has slipped back into being the unpredictable one it was at the beginning of the year with powerhouse times one run and tire smoke the next. 8-1
  
Tim Wilkerson TIM WILKERSON
Levi, Ray & Shoup
Ford
We realize he has exited early the last two events, but Wilk admits to mistakes that led to the early exits. His car has been good since Charlotte, so erase the mistakes, and he could easily be a factor. 10-1
  
Courtney Force COURTNEY FORCE
Traxxas Ford
Had a much-needed get-well weekend in Atlanta, going to the final, but her steady runs downtrack were still off the pace of the quickest cars. 11-1
  
Matt Hagan MATT HAGAN
Mopar/Rocky
Boots Dodge
This final spot was again a toss-up, this time between Hagan, John Force, and Jack Beckman. Back-to-back 4.0s to open Atlanta eliminations lead us to believe Hagan’s car is back to contending form, so he gets the nod this time. 12-1
 

PRO STOCK
Erica Enders-Stevens ERICA ENDERS-STEVENS
Elite Motorsports
Chevy
After following a hunch and dropping EE out of Tipster’s top spot last weekend in Atlanta, she returns to her rightful claim here as having the best car in the class. A first-round loss at this race in 2013 came after she qualified second. Want to guess which one of those won’t be repeated this year? 2-1
  
Jason Line JASON LINE
Summit Racing
Chevy
Stella got her groove back in Atlanta. The blue KB Racing Camaro was one of the quickest cars in Atlanta and should make another push toward the money round in Topeka. 3-1
  
Jeg Coughlin Jr. JEG COUGHLIN JR.
JEGS.com/Mopar
Dodge
The champ picked up an impressive win in Atlanta, his first of the season, and was the winner here one year ago. It seems the JEGS team is starting to sort out its new Dart, and if so, that spells trouble for the rest of the class. 4-1
  
Dave Connolly DAVE CONNOLLY
Charter Communications
Chevy
Although his teammate was the only Gray Motorsports driver to go rounds on race day at the Southern Nats, it is D.C.’s ride that likely has more racers worried at the moment. His first race win of 2014 is coming soon, Tipster can smell it. 5-1
  
Shane Gray SHANE GRAY
FireAde 2000
Chevy
Tipster rolled the dice with Gray in Atlanta, slotting him second. There’s no shame in a semifinal finish, yet until this car shows some better consistency, we’re going to need to leave him in the middle of the pack. 7-1
  
Allen Johnson ALLEN JOHNSON
Team Mopar/
J&J Dodge
Our dear A.J., how the mighty have fallen. Tipster had the Mopar team as the preseason favorite for a championship run. Results of late suggest this team is more likely on an ill-advised detour. Last season, A.J. lost in the first round in Atlanta and rebounded with a runner-up in Topeka. If he can turn that same trick again this year, we’ll buy a T-shirt. 9-1
  
Greg Anderson GREG ANDERSON
Summit Racing
Chevy
Welcome back, dude! Before eliminations in Atlanta, Anderson said he was looking to win races, not just rounds. He nearly did just that, finishing as runner-up last weekend. If he makes it to the money round again … well, we’ll buy two T-shirts, and maybe even a hat as well. 10-1
  
Rodger Brogdon RODGER BROGDON
Protect The
Harvest Chevy
Leaving names like Gaines, McGaha, and Nobile out of Tipster’s top eight is no easy decision. However, Brogdon’s engine-leasing agreement with Elite Performance was a stand-up double in Atlanta. A few more rounds in Topeka would be a home run. 16-1
 

TOP ALCOHOL DRAGSTER
JOEY SEVERANCE
Severance Racing/
J&A Service
The Oregon resident is taking his winning streak and his Jim Whiteley horsepower on the road. 3-1
  
CHRIS DEMKE
Peen Rite/OSI/
Boost Performance
Which Chris Demke are we going to see this weekend? The one who earned four win lights/bananas in Pomona was unstoppable. 4-1
  
ALAN BRADSHAW
Doucette Racing
Doug Doucette's A/Fuel Dragster has actually become more formidable since it won this event last season. 5-1
  
MARK TALIAFERRO
Markco Machine Works
The Houston runner-up is on the verge of scoring his first win since 1997 before he took a hiatus. 6-1
  
BRANDON BOOHER
AB Construction
He won in a loaded field at the Norwalk regional one week ago. His willingness to travel is bad news for teams outside the Midwest. 7-1
  
MIKE STRASBURG
J&A Services/YNot Racing
The versatile and hardworking driver is salivating at the opportunity to drive the dragster that won the last two world titles. 8-1
  
JARED DREHER
Dreher Motorsports
This team won Gainesville in Corey Michalek's first race behind the wheel, so it's plenty capable of doing the same with a proven commodity like Dreher back in the cockpit. 9-1
  
SHAWN COWIE
Mundie's Towing
Last year's inspiring comeback story seems to have regained the 5.2-second performance he was missing at the start of the year. 10-1
 

TOP ALCOHOL FUNNY CAR
ANNIE WHITELEY
J&A Services/YNot
Racing Ford
She had the best car in Houston and should be the favorite in her first time competing at this event. 3-1
  
NICK JANUIK
Plan B Motorsports
Chevy
The former sand racer proved that his Las Vegas win was no fluke and that he can run well in various conditions with a strong showing in Houston. 4-1
  
BRIAN HOUGH
Hough Racing Ford
He started the season with a pair of wins and can be in the thick of the championship battle with more success here. 5-1
  
JAY PAYNE
Peak Motor Oil Ford
The Thunderslug's 2010 victory makes him the most recent winner of this event in attendance. 6-1
  
DALE BRAND
Goalsetter/Co-Line Chevy
The flyin' Iowan and reigning JEGS Allstars champ has his pen out, ready to cross "Win a national event" off of his checklist. 7-1
  
KRIS HOOL
CWYO.net/Wyoming Chevy
The brothers Hool have the kind of horsepower that will make them a player on the famed HPT racing surface. 8-1
  
CHRIS FOSTER
Foster Racing Ford
The former Indy winner is fresh off of his fourth consecutive win at the Norwalk regional event. 9-1
  
STEVE HARKER
Speed City/CAM2 Oil Chevy
Heartland Park has been kind to the Aussie expat with back-to-back victories in 2008 and 2009. 10-1