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Torrence, Capps, Butner top Tricky Tipster's picks for Topeka

Three of the hottest drivers in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series right now -- Steve Torrence (Top Fuel), Ron Capps (Funny Car), and Bo Butner (Pro Stock) -- are the favorites of NHRA National Dragster's Tricky Tipster to win the Menards NHRA Heartland Nationals presented by Minties.
18 May 2017
NHRA National Dragster staff
News
Steve Torrence, Ron Capps, and Bo Butner

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 Menards NHRA Heartland Nationals presented by Minties.

TOP FUEL
Funny Car | Pro Stock | Pro Mod
Steve Torrence
Steve Torrence • Capco Contractors
We don’t need to tell you this because he’ll happily do it for himself, but this is the hottest driver in NHRA right now with wins in 10 of his last 11 rounds.
ODDS: 3-1
Tony Schumacher
Tony Schumacher • U.S. Army
For all of his past success, he’s got just one win in Topeka (2010), but would anyone really be surprised if that changed this weekend? If anything, he’s overdue for another victory.
ODDS: 4-1
Leah Pritchett
Leah Pritchett • Papa John’s Pizza
OK, so she didn’t win Atlanta, but the Papa John’s car did make the best run of the weekend with a 3.69, which should tell you that not much has changed since she opened the season with back-to-back wins.
ODDS: 6-1
Antron Brown
Antron Brown • Matco Tools
With one win this season, it might be tempting to think the reigning champ is slumping, but then again, he’s only qualified lower than third once, and he’s got 14 round-wins. He’ll get his fair share this season.
ODDS: 7-1
Doug Kalitta
Doug Kalitta • Mac Tools
The Kalitta family has had a lot of success in Topeka, including Doug’s 2016 victory over Brown, which could make this a perfect place for them to bank their first win of the season.
ODDS: 9-1
Brittany Force
Brittany Force • Monster Energy
A recent test session in Indy yielded some big numbers, which makes one think the Monster team is back in contention. Nobody should be surprised if Brittany hoists the Wally on Sunday.
ODDS: 11-1
Clay Millican
Clay Millican • Parts Plus/Great Clips
It’s a given that he’s going to qualify well, but there is still that small matter of four win lights on race day. It’s going to happen. Just a matter of when and where.
ODDS: 13-1
Shawn Langdon
Shawn Langdon • Global Electronic Technology
Won here in his championship season of 2013 and appears to be getting comfortable in his new surroundings as part of the Kalitta team.
ODDS: 15-1

FUNNY CAR
Ron Capps
Ron Capps • NAPA Dodge
The NAPA team can’t really win four straight, can they? Well actually, they can, and there is a good chance they will. Right now, Capps and Tobler are playing the hot hand, and it would be foolish to bet against them.
ODDS: 2-1
Matt Hagan
Matt Hagan • Mopar Express Lane Dodge
Defending event champ will celebrate his 200th race as an NHRA Pro this weekend. He’ll have a solid chance to bag his 25th career victory as well.
ODDS: 4-1
John Force
John Force • Peak Chevy
More of a hunch than anything here, but he’s got seven wins at Heartland Park, so he knows this place well. This should also be a good weekend for the “go-fast” teams.
ODDS: 6-1
Robert Hight
Robert Hight • Auto Club Chevy
Much like his beloved Los Angeles Dodgers, this team is trending upwards lately with a runner-up in Houston and a pair of semifinals in Charlotte and Atlanta. Expect to see a big number on the board in qualifying as well.
ODDS: 7-1
Courtney Force
Courtney Force • Advance Auto Chevy
The Advance team gets an A-plus in qualifying for four-straight poles, but they’ve got just six round-wins to show for it this season. That sort of imbalance won’t continue much longer. Expect a big breakout soon.
ODDS: 8-1
Tim Wilkerson
Tim Wilkerson • Levi, Ray & Shoup Mustang
We’ve said this 1,000 times before, but nobody does more with less. Solidly in the top 10 after Atlanta final, and he’s not likely to get bumped out.
ODDS: 10-1
J.R. Todd
J.R. Todd • DHL Toyota
Eight races into his Funny Car career, and it’s time to make things happen. This is a championship-winning car, and sooner or later it’s going to start behaving like one. Our guess is sooner.
ODDS: 12-1
Jack Beckman
Jack Beckman • Infinite Hero Dodge
After a rough start, things are starting to come together for the former champ and his Infinite Hero team. Interestingly, he has just one first-round loss this season.
ODDS: 15-1

PRO STOCK
Bo Butner
Bo Butner • Butner Auto Camaro
Welcome to the top spot, Bo Butner. After two wins in the last four races, you’ve earned it. Momentum is a wonderful thing. Now, the challenge is to keep it going.
ODDS: 3-1
Jeg Coughlin Jr.
Jeg Coughlin Jr. • JEGS.com Camaro
Lately, he’s had the car to beat, especially in qualifying, but not a lot of luck on race day. Still, this is a five-time world champ who is still in his prime, so the wins will come. Bank on it.
ODDS: 4-1
Erica Enders
Erica Enders • Elite Camaro
Back to winning rounds via holeshot, which is never a bad thing, but she’ll be an even bigger threat when the Elite team starts overpowering their opponents as well.
ODDS: 6-1
Jason Line
Jason Line • Summit Camaro
Defending world and Topeka champ probably deserves a little better spot on this list, but he hasn’t been to a final round since Pomona, and that’s not good.
ODDS: 7-1
Greg Anderson
Greg Anderson • Summit Camaro
Atlanta was nothing short of a nightmare for the current points leader, but the good news is that he’s been to seven final rounds at Heartland Park Topeka and won four of them.
ODDS: 8-1
Tanner Gray
Tanner Gray • Gray Manufacturing Technologies Camaro
Was pretty hard on himself after first holeshot loss. How he responds will be the key going forward. We’re betting he gets mean and quickly evens the score.
ODDS: 10-1
Vincent Nobile
Vincent Nobile • Mountain View Camaro
He’s one lucky break away from making his first final round of the season, and we’re betting that it comes fairly soon. There’s too much talent here for the string of second-round losses to continue.
ODDS: 12-1
Drew Skillman
Drew Skillman • Skillman Auto Group Camaro
This is a tough team to handicap since they tend to run hot and cold. Certainly the potential is there for a big weekend. In fact, it wouldn’t be much of a shock if they just went ahead and won the whole thing.
ODDS: 14-1

PRO MOD
Mike Castellana
Mike Castellana • Al-Anabi Performance Camaro
Right now, this could well be the most dominant vehicle in any NHRA class. They have barely skipped a beat all season.
ODDS: 3-2
Jonathan Gray
Jonathan Gray • Vallen Camaro
So far, he’s looked extremely comfortable behind the wheel of Rickie Smith’s Camaro, and with the recent weight adjustment, it might be time for his first final of the season.
ODDS: 4-1
Steve Matusek
Steve Matusek • Aeromotive Camaro
OK, so he has three round-one losses this season. He’s also won a race, and he’s playing a home game in Topeka. That has to count for something.
ODDS: 5-1
Steve Jackson
Steve Jackson • Bahrain1 Camaro
Made the final round in Atlanta and looked good doing it. That figures to be the first of many for NHRA Pro Mod’s newest sensation.
ODDS: 6-1
Troy Coughlin
Troy Coughlin • JEGS.com Corvette
If there are “mulligans’ in Pro Mod racing, he’ll happily take one for Atlanta, where he DNQ’d for the first time in 34 events. Another long qualifying streak starts now.
ODDS: 7-1
Steven Whiteley
Steven Whiteley • J&A Service Cadillac
Not sure if consistency really exists in Pro Mod racing, but this might be the closest thing to it. Qualifies well everywhere and often goes a few rounds on race day.
ODDS: 9-1
Danny Rowe
Danny Rowe • Agave Underground Corvette
Cooled off a bit since hot start in Gainesville, but that is apt to change at any moment. No reason to think he can’t join teammate Matusek with a win or two this season.
ODDS: 12-1
Shane Molinari
Shane Molinari • S&T Truck Repair Firebird
As we’ve noted before, this team is greatly improved for 2017. A win here (or anywhere else) would not be the least bit surprising.
ODDS: 14-1