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Torrence, Capps, Anderson are Tricky Tipster's top picks for Bristol

Steve Torrence (Top Fuel), Ron Capps (Funny Car), and Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) top NHRA National Dragster's Tricky Tipster's rankings for this weekend's NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway.
15 Jun 2017
NHRA National Dragster staff
News
Steve Torrence, Ron Capps, and Greg Anderson

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 Thunder Valley Nationals.

TOP FUEL
Funny Car | Pro Stock | Pro Mod
Steve Torrence
Steve Torrence • Capco Contractors
He’s got the hot hand right now with five finals in the last six races, and he’s also a former Bristol winner (2013). That spells trouble for the rest of the field.
ODDS: 3-1
Antron Brown
Antron Brown • Matco Tools
The Matco car is beginning to show its championship form lately, but oddly enough, Bristol is one of the few tracks where Brown does not have a win. Best finish is a runner-up in 2011.
ODDS: 9-2
Tony Schumacher
Tony Schumacher • U.S. Army
Five-time Bristol champ has had a rough start to the “Eastern Swing,” but there is still time to end the four-race stretch on a high note.
ODDS: 6-1
Brittany Force
Brittany Force • Monster Energy
The progress that the Monster team has made this season is evident. Now, their biggest obstacle (like everyone else) is perfecting their hot-weather tune-up.
ODDS: 7-1
Leah Pritchett
Leah Pritchett • Papa John’s Pizza
Cooled off a bit since red-hot start to the season, but this is still a team that will likely be challenging for the championship all season long.
ODDS: 9-1
Doug Kalitta
Doug Kalitta • Mac Tools
Won back-to-back Bristol titles in 2005-06 and generally runs well here. Last week’s win over Schumacher figures to be a nice morale-booster for the Kalitta crew.
ODDS: 11-1
Clay Millican
Clay Millican • Parts Plus/Great Clips
Knows the Bristol track quite well, and as we say every week, he’s long overdue for his first NHRA win. It would also help if he could avoid Torrence, who’s beaten him four times this season.
ODDS: 14-1
Shawn Langdon
Shawn Langdon • Global Electronic Technology
Former champ needs to bank some round-wins to make the top 10. Fortunately, he’s won this race in two of the last three years, so he knows how to win at Thunder Valley.
ODDS: 16-1

FUNNY CAR
Ron Capps
Ron Capps • NAPA Dodge
No way to sugarcoat this: he should not have been in the Englishtown final. Then again, great teams tend to win even on their off days, and the NAPA crew doesn’t have many of those.
ODDS: 3-1
Jack Beckman
Jack Beckman • Infinite Hero Dodge
Admittedly a big move up the Tipster chart after just one win, but that could be the start of something really good for the Infinite Hero crew.
ODDS: 4-1
Robert Hight
Robert Hight • Auto Club Chevrolet
The 2011 Bristol winner is eager to get into the win column for the first time this season. Much like his beloved Dodgers, he’s been close too many times for the win drought to continue.
ODDS: 6-1
Matt Hagan
Matt Hagan • Mopar Express Lane Dodge
Qualified in the bottom half of the field in Englishtown. That almost never happens. Expect something much better this week.
ODDS: 7-1
Courtney Force
Courtney Force • Advance Auto Parts Chevrolet
Englishtown red-light overshadowed the only three-second run of Sunday’s eliminations. That is an extremely positive sign heading into some more warm-weather races.
ODDS: 9-1
Tommy Johnson Jr.
Tommy Johnson Jr. • Make-A-Wish Dodge
Almost a given that he’s looking forward to racing in Bristol, where he’s won two of the last three races. Honestly, no reason he shouldn’t be as quick as Capps or Hagan.
ODDS: 11-1
Tim Wilkerson
Tim Wilkerson • Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford
Picked Wilk over a lot of other strong cars because, well, we think he’s got a real shot to win this race. He’s also been to the final here a couple of times.
ODDS: 13-1
Cruz Pedregon
Cruz Pedregon • Snap-on Toyota
Finally, some signs of progress from the two-time champ. Winning some rounds lately and qualified No. 5 in Englishtown. That makes him a serious player.
ODDS: 15-1

PRO STOCK
Greg Anderson
Greg Anderson • Summit Camaro
Englishtown win wasn’t exactly the sort of overpowering victory we’ve seen in the past, but a win is a win, and it’s clear this team is trending in the right direction.
ODDS: 3-1
Tanner Gray
Tanner Gray • Gray Manufacturing Technologies Camaro
Englishtown was a disaster of a race on many levels for the rookie prodigy. It will be interesting to see how he reacts and rebounds going forward. We’re banking on a quick turnaround.
ODDS: 9-2
Bo Butner
Bo Butner • Butner Auto Camaro
By now, everyone should know the deal here. Car is arguably the best in the class. How many rounds he goes is almost entirely dependent on getting the clutch out on time.
ODDS: 5-1
Erica Enders
Erica Enders • Elite Motorsports Camaro
Coming off a win in Epping, few would have predicted a round-one loss in Englishtown, but that’s Pro Stock for you. Regardless, there is another win in her near future.
ODDS: 6-1
Vincent Nobile
Vincent Nobile • Mountain View Camaro
He gets props for reaching the final in Englishtown with a car that qualified in the middle of the pack. Wouldn’t be a bit surprising if he’s Pro Stock’s next 2017 winner.
ODDS: 8-1
Jeg Coughlin Jr.
Jeg Coughlin Jr. • JEGS.com Camaro
Here’s another driver who seems overdue for a big breakout. He almost made the final last weekend. If you’re looking for a good dark-horse bet, Jeg is your man.
ODDS: 10-1
Jason Line
Jason Line • Summit Camaro
One of these days, Line is going to qualify No. 1, set low e.t., and win a race, and then he’s going to laugh at us for putting him all the way down here. It’s OK, Tipster has thick skin.
ODDS: 12-1
Allen Johnson
Allen Johnson • Marathon Petroleum Dart
Say what you want about AJ, but there is no quit in him. When he struggled, he didn’t complain, just worked harder, and the results are appearing on the scoreboards. This is also his home event.
ODDS: 15-1

PRO MOD
Rickie Smith
Rickie Smith • Vallen Camaro
Back surgery. Out of the car for two months. Supercharged cars too quick. It doesn’t matter. Rickie is still Rickie, and he’s one of the best to ever put on a firesuit. He could win in a shopping cart.
ODDS: 3-1
Mike Castellana
Mike Castellana • Al-Anabi Camaro
Points leader got absolutely ambushed by Steven Whiteley in E-town, losing with a 5.85. If he doesn’t show up here with payback on his mind, there is something wrong.
ODDS: 4-1
Steven Whiteley
Steven Whiteley • J&A Service Cadillac
Coming off a solid semifinal finish last weekend, he’s primed for a second win of the season. This car is certainly capable of getting the job done, and his driving ain’t too bad, either.
ODDS: 5-1
Troy Coughlin
Troy Coughlin • JEGS.com Corvette
Look who’s back. He didn’t win in Englishtown, but that’s the best he’s looked in quite a while. Probably too late to mount a championship run, but who knows. This is Pro Mod after all.
ODDS: 7-1
Steve Jackson
Steve Jackson • Bahrain1 Camaro
For the old-timers who thought Gapp is what you did to spark plugs, this guy has been a breath of fresh air in Pro Mod. He’s already proven that he belongs among the class’ elite.
ODDS: 9-1
Shane Molinari
Shane Molinari • S&T Truck Repair Firebird
Hard not to root for someone who works hard to improve their program and then sees positive results. This team is light years better than they were last year, and they weren’t too bad then.
ODDS: 11-1
Steve Matusek
Steve Matusek • Aeromotive Camaro
Gotta figure he’s another guy who feels like he let one slip away in Englishtown. Thankfully, the next race is only a week away. Redemption time.
ODDS: 13-1
Bob Rahaim
Bob Rahaim • TLC Waste Disposal Corvette
Accident in Houston was absolutely a big setback, but things seem to have calmed down a bit lately. Of course, calm is a relative term in any Pro Mod pit area.
ODDS: 15-1