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Brown, Hight, Butner, Tonglet top Tricky Tipster's Indy rankings

Points leaders Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Bo Butner (Pro Stock), and LE Tonglet (Pro Stock Motorcycle) and Funny Car national record holder Robert Hight are NHRA National Dragster's favorites for wins at this weekend's Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals.
31 Aug 2017
NHRA National Dragster staff
News
Tricky Tipster

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 Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals.

TOP FUEL
Funny Car | Pro Stock | Pro Stock Motorcycle | Pro Mod
Antron Brown
Antron Brown • Matco Tools
So good. So consistent. So few flaws. It will be a big surprise if this team doesn’t win the race, the Traxxas Shootout, or both.
ODDS: 3-1
Steve Torrence
Steve Torrence • Capco Contractors
Pretty sure he remembers last year’s final-round loss at the Big Go. Also pretty sure he’d like to put it behind him with a victory this season.
ODDS: 4-1
Tony Schumacher
Tony Schumacher • U.S. Army
Despite his recent struggles, he’s the undisputed King of Indy with 10 wins here since 2000. He also lit it up during the recent Indy test session.
ODDS: 5-1
Leah Pritchett
Leah Pritchett • Papa John’s Pizza
Interesting that the Papa John’s team elected to skip last week’s Indy test session. Then again, when you run 3.64, how much testing do you really need?
ODDS: 6-1
Doug Kalitta
Doug Kalitta • Mac Tools
For all the frustration this season has brought to the Mac Tools team, a U.S. Nationals victory would be all that’s needed to make the world right again.
ODDS: 8-1
Brittany Force
Brittany Force • Monster Energy
This program could use a little good luck right now, and a win in the Traxxas Shootout or Monday’s U.S. Nationals finals would go a long way.
ODDS: 9-1
Shawn Langdon
Shawn Langdon • Global Electronic Technologies
With the sudden resignation of teammate Troy Coughlin Jr., he’s a lock to make the top 10. To be honest, based on his performance at the Indy test, he was going to make it anyway.
ODDS: 11-1
Clay Millican
Clay Millican • Parts Plus/Great Clips
This team made some amazing runs in Brainerd. They have the capability to run with any other team in the class. They just need to do it more consistently.
ODDS: 14-1

FUNNY CAR
Robert Hight
Robert Hight • Auto Club Chevy
The Funny Car class is insanely competitive, but this car has recently emerged from the pack as the performance leader.
ODDS: 5-2
Jack Beckman
Jack Beckman • Infinite Hero Dodge
A bit of a gamble here, but he looked awfully good during the Indy test session with a 3.82 at over 337 mph.
ODDS: 4-1
Ron Capps
Ron Capps • NAPA Dodge
After winning the championship, his “to-do” list is almost complete, but one big item remains, a U.S. Nationals Funny Car title.
ODDS: 5-1
Matt Hagan
Matt Hagan • Mopar Express Lane Dodge
This car can and does deliver big-time performance numbers, but oddly, he’s winless since Epping. Look for that to change, soon.
ODDS: 7-1
Alexis DeJoria
Alexis DeJoria • Tequila Patron Toyota
The Brainerd win was anything but a fluke. The Patrón team came straight to Indy and put up more competitive 3.8-second numbers. If she can stay in the top 10, it will make for a very interesting Countdown.
ODDS: 9-1
Tommy Johnson Jr.
Tommy Johnson Jr. • Make-A-Wish Dodge
Made a lot of runs during the test and tried a lot of different parts and pieces. Didn’t exactly set the scoreboards on fire, but they certainly gained some valuable tuning data for the rest of the year.
ODDS: 11-1
John Force
John Force • Peak Chevy
There’s been a concerted effort to make this car more like Hight’s, and the results are showing. That means more low-3.8s and 335-plus speeds.
ODDS: 13-1
Courtney Force
Courtney Force • Advance Auto Parts Chevy
It’s probably not fair to have this team eighth, but that’s Funny Car racing for you, especially when there are 12-13 cars that can win on any given weekend.
ODDS: 15-1

PRO STOCK
Bo Butner
Bo Butner • Butner Auto Camaro
He’s locked up the top spot in the Countdown, so there is no reason not to go all-out for an Indy victory. Besides, he’s still smarting from last year’s early loss.
ODDS: 3-1
Tanner Gray
Tanner Gray • Gray Motorsports Camaro
He was good when the season started, and now he’s even better. Winning a race over a field that includes his father and grandfather would be history-making.
ODDS: 4-1
Drew Skillman
Drew Skillman • Skillman Auto Group Camaro
Since he’s got a quiet demeanor, he sometimes flies under the radar, but his driving skills have clearly improved this year. Winning at his home track would be epic.
ODDS: 5-1
Greg Anderson
Greg Anderson • Summit Racing Camaro
If the Summit guys have been saving anything for Indy and the Countdown, this would be a good time to bring it out. Or at least revert to a combination they have confidence in.
ODDS: 6-1
Erica Enders
Erica Enders • Melling Camaro
Hoping to become the first driver to double up with wins in Pro Stock and the Factory Stock Showdown. She’s very much in the running in both classes.
ODDS: 8-1
Jason Line
Jason Line • Summit Racing Camaro
He’s 0-4 against two-time champ Enders this season, so a good opening strategy would be to avoid her. Otherwise, it’s a mystery that he hasn’t been to a final since his Pomona victory.
ODDS: 9-1
Shane Gray
Shane Gray • Gray Motorsports Camaro
Will the epic 300-foot burnouts continue? Let’s hope so. He’s going to Indy to do more than just break in tires. He’s in it to win it.
ODDS: 11-1
Chris McGaha
Chris McGaha • Harlow Sammons Camaro
Defending Indy champ has missed a few races this season, but so far, the layoff hasn’t seemed to have much effect on his performance.
ODDS: 14-1

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE
LE Tonglet
LE Tonglet • Nitro Fish Suzuki
Lost the Brainerd final, so that was his one mistake for the year. Seriously, it seems he can do no wrong in 2017. Oh, and he already knows how to win Indy.
ODDS: 2-1
Jerry Savoie
Jerry Savoie • White Alligator Suzuki
Speaking of guys who know how to win Indy. The defending champ is riding high after Brainerd win. Another all-WAR final wouldn’t surprise anyone.
ODDS: 4-1
Matt Smith
Matt Smith • Polaris Victory Magnum
His bike is quick, and his riding is solid. It’s his luck that needs to change. No one has been more snakebitten this season. It has to turn around sometime, right?
ODDS: 5-1
Hector Arana Jr.
Hector Arana Jr. • Lucas Oil Buell
Another guy who just needs a little luck to find the winner’s circle. This would be a great place to do it. Hasn’t qualified worse than fourth since Charlotte.
ODDS: 6-1
Eddie Krawiec
Eddie Krawiec • Screamin’ Eagle Harley-Davidson
The new Harley Street Rods continue to be a work in progress, which makes it hard to justify top billing. Then again, this team knows when to turn up the wick, and Indy is usually the best time for that.
ODDS: 8-1
Andrew Hines
Andrew Hines • Screamin’ Eagle Harley-Davidson
No telling what “Plan B” might be for the new Street Rods, but we’re sure it’s being implemented this week in Brownsburg. Looking to find a bit of starting-line consistency.
ODDS: 9-1
Scotty Pollacheck
Scotty Pollacheck • Suzuki Extended Protection Suzuki
Indy has produced a lot of first-time winners in Pro Stock Motorcycle — the late John Myers, Rick Ward, Reggie Showers. No reason to think he couldn’t be next.
ODDS: 11-1
Angie Smith
Angie Smith • Smith Racing Buell
At this point, it’s almost a given that she makes the Countdown. Now, she can focus on winning some rounds and perhaps, her second race.
ODDS: 15-1

PRO MOD
Mike Castellana
Mike Castellana • AAP Camaro
AAP team tested in Indy a few weeks ago, then tested some more, and both times, they looked very competitive. They certainly are as prepared as they can be.
ODDS: 3-1
Troy Coughlin
Troy Coughlin • JEGS.com Corvette
If he’s going to make another late-season run at the championship, it’s pretty much a given that he needs to pick up points on Castellana at this race. A win would do that.
ODDS: 5-1
Rickie Smith
Rickie Smith • Vallen Camaro
They don’t come any more savvy than “Tricky Rickie,” especially when it comes to tuning and reading a racetrack. Oh, and his driving is still pretty darn solid.
ODDS: 6-1
Shane Molinari
Shane Molinari • S&T Truck Repair Firebird
When it comes to putting a big number on the scoreboard, these guys have done it consistently. They’re also piling up round-wins, too.
ODDS: 7-1
Steven Whiteley
Steven Whiteley • J&A Service Cadillac
When it comes to qualifying, he’s got it down pat, and with 33 cars on the entry list, the importance of that is something that cannot be overstated.
ODDS: 9-1
Michael Bowman
Michael Bowman • Coburn Equipment Chevelle
Recently bagged a $100,000 win in Denver. Assuming his thumb isn’t too tired from counting all those Benjamins, he should be a player here as well.
ODDS: 10-1
Steve Jackson
Steve Jackson • Bahrain1 Camaro
Recently went for another wild ride with a huge wheelstand in a small-tire car. Who would have thought that a 250-mph Pro Mod would be a less hectic environment?
ODDS: 12-1
Michael Biehle
Michael Biehle • Biehle Motorsports Mustang
Call this a hunch, but this guy is nothing if not overdue. He’s quick and usually qualifies well. No reason to think he can’t take down the sport’s most prestigious title.
ODDS: 14-1