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Schumacher, Hagan, Line top Tricky Tipster's Houston rankings

Points leaders Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel) and Matt Hagan (Funny Car) and reigning Pro Stock world champion Jason Line are Tricky Tipster's favorites to win this weekend's NHRA SpringNationals at Royal Purple Raceway.
20 Apr 2017
NHRA National Dragster staff
News
Tony Schumacher, Matt Hagan, and Jason Line

For more than five decades, NHRA National Dragster's famed Tricky Tipster has tested his prognosticating skills prior to each national event, putting odds on the top eight racers he thinks have the best shot at victory in Tricky Tipster. This week, Tricky Tipster handicaps the NHRA SpringNationals.

TOP FUEL
Funny Car | Pro Stock | Pro Mod
Tony Schumacher
Tony Schumacher • US Army
Began the season with a win, a runner-up, and two semi’s. That’s an early sign that the consistency now matches the performance potential for the Army team.
ODDS: 3-1
Antron Brown
Antron Brown • Matco Tools
Las Vegas champ is on a hot streak with seven wins in his last eight rounds. He did qualify No. 8 in Las Vegas, but he might not be ranked that low again this week.
ODDS: 4-1
Leah Pritchett
Leah Pritchett • Papa John’s Pizza
Cooled off ever so slightly since her hot start, but this is a car that can deliver an impressive number at any time.
ODDS: 5-1
Doug Kalitta
Doug Kalitta • Mac Tools
Defending Houston champ should get on the board any time now. So far this year, he’s lost nothing but close races. Eventually, they’re going to start falling his way.
ODDS: 6-1
Steve Torrence
Steve Torrence • Capco Contractors
How many remember his holeshot loss in the final last year against Kalitta? We guarantee that Steve-O does, and he’d love nothing more than a bit of redemption in his home state.
ODDS: 8-1
Brittany Force
Brittany Force • Monster Energy
Not sure exactly what’s going on here, but this is too good of a team to have three second-round losses in four events. Expect to see another final round shortly.
ODDS: 10-1
Clay Millican
Clay Millican • Parts Plus/Great Clips
Anyone else notice he’s been a top-half qualifier in the last three races? Crew chief David Grubnic clearly has the Stringer entry headed in the right direction.
ODDS: 12-1
Shawn Langdon
Shawn Langdon • Global Electronic Technology
The newest Team Kalitta driver spotted the rest of the field four races. Now the battle begins to make the top 10. This will be fun to watch.
ODDS: 14-1

FUNNY CAR
Matt Hagan
Matt Hagan • Mopar Express Lane Dodge
This is Funny Car 2017 where no one is supposed to dominate. Then again, he’s come out of the gate with an 11-2 record, which might be as close to domination as it gets.
ODDS: 3-1
John Force
John Force • Peak Chevrolet
Might be a tad bit generous to have him in the No. 2 spot this week, but hey, he’s John Force, and nothing he does surprises us anymore.
ODDS: 9-2
Tommy Johnson Jr.
Tommy Johnson Jr. • Make-A-Wish Dodge
His stock is clearly on the rise after impressive Las Vegas win. Going back to back would also be great medicine for his biggest supporter, Terry Chandler.
ODDS: 5-1
Ron Capps
Ron Capps • NAPA Dodge
What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, at least when it comes to ugly round-one losses. Do not expect the NAPA crew to repeat that performance anytime soon.
ODDS: 6-1
Jonnie Lindberg
Jonnie Lindberg • Head Racing Toyota
Is this guy for real? Two races into his nitro career, and he’s been to back-to-back final rounds. It sure looks like he’s going to battle for a spot in the Countdown.
ODDS: 8-1
Robert Hight
Robert Hight • Auto Club Chevrolet
At times, this can be the quickest car in the field, which makes it difficult to understand why they haven’t been to a semifinal yet. That is a trend that certainly won’t continue much longer.
ODDS: 10-1
J.R. Todd
J.R. Todd • DHL Toyota
How many times have we heard, “Once he gets the hang of driving a Funny Car, look out?” It’s now race No. 5. He’s got the hang of it. Draw your own conclusions.
ODDS: 11-1
Tim Wilkerson
Tim Wilkerson • Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford
These days, just getting mentioned in the Funny Car Tipster is a badge of honor. He’s earned it this week with a nice qualifying performance in Las Vegas.
ODDS: 15-1

PRO STOCK
Jason Line
Jason Line • Summit Camaro
Fresh off his runner-up finish in Stock Eliminator at the recent Division 2 race, he’s ready to resume the battle for the top spot in Pro Stock.
ODDS: 2-1
Greg Anderson
Greg Anderson • Summit Camaro
Holeshot loss to Tanner Gray in Las Vegas prevented a double, but this is still a championship-caliber team with a four-time world champ at the wheel. He’ll be just fine.
ODDS: 3-1
Tanner Gray
Tanner Gray • Gray Manufacturing Technologies Camaro
Is there anyone who didn’t see his Las Vegas win coming? It’s sure to be the first of many for the kid who, so far, looks like he was born to drive a Pro Stock car.
ODDS: 5-1
Shane Gray
Shane Gray • Gray Manufacturing Technologies Camaro
It’s certainly true that this year is all about Tanner, but it’s hard not to think that proud father Shane might stick around a while longer. After all, how cool would it be to have both Grays in the top 10?
ODDS: 6-1
Erica Enders
Erica Enders • Elite Motorsports Camaro
There is almost certainly a breakthrough event coming, and if the two-time champ had any say in it, the big comeback would begin in her old stomping grounds in Houston.
ODDS: 8-1
Jeg Coughlin Jr.
Jeg Coughlin Jr. • JEGS.com Camaro
His qualifying performances this year are 7, 5, 4, and 2. Combine that with his clutch lights, and there’s another driver set for a big breakthrough.
ODDS: 10-1
Bo Butner
Bo Butner • Butner Auto Sales Camaro
Qualifying? He’s got that part down pat. The rest remains a work in progress. Perhaps he’ll follow Oprah’s lead and give away free cars when he finally wins his first Pro Stock race.
ODDS: 12-1
Chris McGaha
Chris McGaha • Harlow Sammons Camaro
Racing as a single-car team, what this group is able to do is pretty amazing. Odessa is a long way from Baytown, but he’s still a true Texan, which makes this an important event.
ODDS: 14-1

PRO MOD
Steven Whiteley
Steven Whiteley • J&A Services Cadillac
We’re going with him in the top spot this week not just because he won the season-opener in Gainesville but because he looked darn good doing it.
ODDS: 4-1
Steve Jackson
Steve Jackson • Bahrain1 Camaro
OK, so his NHRA debut didn’t go exactly as planned. That only adds fuel to an already raging fire. This guy will be fun to watch this year.
ODDS: 5-1
Jonathan Gray
Jonathan Gray • IDG Camaro
Pinch-hitting while reigning champ Rickie Smith recovers from surgery. Still a very dangerous car/driver combination.
ODDS: 6-1
Troy Coughlin
Troy Coughlin • JEGS.com Corvette
Despite the perception that the supercharged cars have the upper hand, the turbocharged JEGS Corvette is still one of the baddest Pro Mods ever built.
ODDS: 7-1
Mike Castellana
Mike Castellana • Al-Anabi Performance Camaro
Admittedly, he got a bit lucky to reach the final round in Gainesville, but when you’ve got Frank Manzo on your side, how much luck do you really need?
ODDS: 9-1
Eric Latino
Eric Latino • GESI/Quality Plus Camaro
Welcome to Tricky Tipster, Eric. After your 5.72-second bomb in Gainesville, you’ve earned your place. Now, the mission is to stick around for a while.
ODDS: 10-1
Danny Rowe
Danny Rowe • Agave Underground Corvette
If not for an untimely red-light start (aren’t they all?), he could easily have won Gainesville and taken the early points lead.
ODDS: 12-1
Mike Janis
Mike Janis • Jan-Cen Engines Camaro
Kicked off the season with a rock-solid 5.80 to qualify No. 4 at the season opener. That type of performance will get the job done just about anywhere.
ODDS: 14-1