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Countdown to the Championship fields set in dramatic final eliminations at Indy

The final positions in the Countdown to the Championship playoff fields were decided during eliminations at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals. Here's a look at the latest status.
04 Sep 2017
Phil Burgess, NHRA National Dragster Editor
Road to the Countdown
Indy

After three days of dramatic qualifying at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals couldn’t get it done, it came down to Labor Day raceday to decide the 10 drivers in the four Mello Yello classes who will compete in the six-race Countdown to the Championship playoffs.

C_Pedregon.JPGAlthough the Top Fuel and Pro Stock field were completed in qualifying, Funny Car and Pro Stock remained undecided entering eliminations. Going into final eliminations, Alexis DeJoria was in 10th place in Funny Car, trying to hold off Cruz Pedregon, Jim Campbell, Jonnie Lindberg, and Del Worsham for the final spot.

But after DeJoria lost to Ron Capps and Pedregon defeated Courtney Force, he moved past her into the top 10. Lindberg’s first-round loss to Tim Wilkerson eliminated him, but Campbell and Worsham stayed alive with opening-frame victories. 

Worsham's longshot hopes finally ran out in round two, where he lost to Jack Beckman, and Campbell fell two pairs later to Capps, locking Pedregon into the Countdown field. Pedregon later lost to J.R. Todd but his place was already secure.

A_Smith.JPGSix Pro Stock Motorcycle riders were in the hunt for the three open spots, with Joey Gladstone, Karen Stoffer, and Angie Smith hoping to hold off Steve Johnson, Angelle Sampey, and Cory Reed.

Although 10th-place Smith red-lighted against world champ Jerry Savoie, Gladstone lost to Matt Smith, and Stoffer fouled to L.E. Tonglet in round one, none of their persuers could advance as Johnson fell to Scotty Pollacheck, Sampey lost to Andrew Hines, and Reed was defeated by Hector Arana Jr., setting the top 10.

The Countdown to the Championship begins at the NHRA Carolina Nationals in Charlotte in two weeks.

Here are qualifiers in the 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship. 

TOP FUEL
1. Steve Torrence
2. Antron Brown
3. Leah Pritchett
4. Tony Schumacher
5. Doug Kalitta
6. Brittany Force
7. Clay Millican
8. Terry McMillen
9. Scott Palmer
10. Shawn Langdon

FUNNY CAR
1. Ron Capps 
2. Robert Hight
3. Matt Hagan
4. Jack Beckman
5. Tommy Johnson Jr.
6. Courtney Force
7. John Force
8. J.R. Todd
9. Tim Wilkerson
10. Cruz Pedregon

PRO STOCK
1. Bo Butner
2. Tanner Gray
3. Greg Anderson
4. Drew Skillman
5. Jason Line
6. Erica Enders
7. Jeg Coughlin Jr.
8. Vincent Nobile
9. Allen Johnson
10. Chris McGaha

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE
1. LE Tonglet 
2. Eddie Krawiec
3. Hector Arana Jr.
4. Jerry Savoie
5. Matt Smith
6. Andrew Hines
7. Scotty Pollacheck
8. Joey Gladstone
9. Karen Stoffer
10. Angie Smith