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Torrence, Capps, Skillman, Krawiec top Tricky Tipster's Charlotte rankings

Indy champions Steve Torrence (Top Fuel), Drew Skillman (Pro Stock), and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle), along with Funny Car points leader Ron Capps are NHRA National Dragster's Tricky Tipster's favorites for wins at this weekend's NHRA Carolina Nationals.
14 Sep 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 NHRA Carolina Nationals.

TOP FUEL
Funny Car | Pro Stock | Pro Stock Motorcycle | Pro Mod
Steve Torrence
Steve Torrence • Capco Contractors
The Capco team has hardly skipped a beat this year, and this is not the time to ease off the gas. Expect a big finish to a record season.
ODDS: 3-1
Antron Brown
Antron Brown • Matco Tools
He hasn’t won three championships by accident. As much as anyone else, the Matco team knows how to get things done during the pressure-packed Countdown.
ODDS: 4-1
Tony Schumacher
Tony Schumacher • U.S. Army
This has been a strange year for the Army team. Round-one losses to Smax Smith, Blake Alexander, and Scott Palmer but also four final rounds. Historically, they do some of their best work during the Countdown.
ODDS: 6-1
Leah Pritchett
Leah Pritchett • Papa John’s Pizza
Won Brainerd. Semifinal in Indy. Peaking at the right time for a serious championship run.
ODDS: 7-1
Doug Kalitta
Doug Kalitta • Mac Tools
The team Kalitta Funny Cars seem to have turned the corner. If the dragsters can follow suit, the championship battle will be epic.
ODDS: 9-1
Brittany Force
Brittany Force • Monster Energy
Recently got some seat time in a Funny Car, but for now, the focus is squarely on bringing the Top Fuel title to John Force Racing.
ODDS: 11-1
Shawn Langdon
Shawn Langdon • Global Electronic Technology
Recently signed an extension for next season and put up some impressive numbers. Good things are happening for this start-up operation.
ODDS: 13-1
Clay Millican
Clay Millican • Parts Plus/Great Clips
Hasn’t been to a final since historic Bristol win, but he does have five semifinals this year, which is a great way to initiate a championship run.
ODDS: 15-1

FUNNY CAR
Ron Capps
Ron Capps • NAPA Dodge
He’s the defending world champ and the regular season points leader. There is still much work to be done to win a second title, but the NAPA team appears to be up for it.
ODDS: 3-1
J.R. Todd
J.R. Todd • DHL Toyota
He made a big move up the standings this week, but hey, an Indy win will do that for you. This car is also consistent, which is going to be vital during the six-race Countdown.
ODDS: 4-1
Jack Beckman
Jack Beckman • Infinite Hero Dodge
He’s been rock-solid since Englishtown with 19 round-wins plus a $100,000 Traxxas Shootout title.
ODDS: 5-1
Robert Hight
Robert Hight • Auto Club Chevy
This is still arguably the best car in the class. Expect him to pick up more than a few qualifying bonus points. Of course, he might also win the whole darn thing.
ODDS: 7-1
Matt Hagan
Matt Hagan • Mopar Express Lane Dodge
There is no easy way to put it, the last few races have been a disaster, yet the potential is there for a big rebound and a serious run at a third championship.
ODDS: 8-1
Courtney Force
Courtney Force • Advance Auto Parts Chevy
Starts the Countdown in sixth place. This would be a great time to break through for a long-overdue first win of the season.
ODDS: 10-1
Tommy Johnson Jr.
Tommy Johnson Jr. • Make-A-Wish Dodge
Struggled in Indy, but it’s important to note that he’s also been to four final rounds in the last six events. Got to figure the Make-A-Wish team will bounce back quickly.
ODDS: 12-1
Cruz Pedregon
Cruz Pedregon • Snap-on Tools Toyota
It took a massive effort for him just to make the Countdown. Now, the real work begins. His goal should be to improve two spots per event.
ODDS: 15-1

PRO STOCK
Drew Skillman
Drew Skillman • Skillman Auto Camaro
Indy champ is the hottest Pro driver in any class right now. He’s got four wins in the last six races, and his driving has been superb.
ODDS: 3-1
Tanner Gray
Tanner Gray • Gray Motorsports Camaro
Can an 18-year-old kid really win the Mello Yello championship? We’ve seen nothing yet this year to make us think otherwise. Winning this event would be a great start.
ODDS: 4-1
Bo Butner
Bo Butner • Butner Auto Camaro
How much has he improved this year? Consider that in 18 races, he’s been to the semifinals or better 14 times. That’s the formula for Countdown success.
ODDS: 5-1
Greg Anderson
Greg Anderson • Summit Racing Camaro
He loves this race and generally does very well here. Also eager to have another shot at a zMAX win after a red-light in the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals final.
ODDS: 6-1
Jason Line
Jason Line • Summit Racing Camaro
OK, time to find out if he’s really been in “test mode” these last few months. If there is a magic combination that will help the reigning champ find some consistency, this would be a good time to roll it out.
ODDS: 8-1
Erica Enders
Erica Enders • Melling Camaro
They may be down on power a little, but this is still a very scary racer because she’s going to be .020 or quicker off the starting line almost every time.
ODDS: 10-1
Jeg Coughlin Jr.
Jeg Coughlin Jr. • JEGS.com Camaro
This is his 400th start in Pro Stock. For the record, he’s been to the final in more than 25 percent of those races.
ODDS: 13-1
Allen Johnson
Allen Johnson • Marathon Petroleum Dart
Entering the home stretch of his long and successful Pro Stock career. Hopefully, he’s got at least one more win left in him.
ODDS: 15-1

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE
Eddie Krawiec
Eddie Krawiec • Screamin’ Eagle Harley-Davidson
The new “old” Harley team returned in Indy, and this guy got his second win at the Big Go. Now, he takes aim at his fourth Mello Yello championship.
ODDS: 3-1
LE Tonglet
LE Tonglet • Nitro Fish Suzuki
During playoff time, almost every racer feels the pressure of the Countdown, but this guy might be the lone exception. Nothing ever rattles him.
ODDS: 4-1
Andrew Hines
Andrew Hines • Screamin’ Eagle Harley-Davidson
Got to figure it’s just a matter of time before his bike runs as good as that of Krawiec. Actually, it did in Indy. He just didn’t get the desired result.
ODDS: 5-1
Hector Arana Jr.
Hector Arana Jr. • Lucas Oil Buell
Almost sealed the deal in Indy. Disappointed, yes, but it’s also a reminder that he’s got what it takes to make a serious run at the championship.
ODDS: 7-1
Jerry Savoie
Jerry Savoie • White Alligator Suzuki
Quick history lesson. Last year, he started the Countdown in the No. 6 spot, lost in the first round in Charlotte, and still won the title. He’s going to be in a better position than that this time around.
ODDS: 8-1
Matt Smith
Matt Smith • Polaris Victory Magnum
This really isn’t very complicated: if his luck turns around, he’s going to be a factor in the championship battle. Maybe he’ll find a four-leaf clover on the ground at zMAX.
ODDS: 10-1
Scotty Pollacheck
Scotty Pollacheck • Suzuki Extended Protection Suzuki
Already accomplished his main goal of making the Countdown. Now it’s time to set a new mark by winning his first race and/or making a run at the title.
ODDS: 12-1
Chip Ellis
Chip Ellis • Pippin Trucking Buell
Not in the Countdown, but he made some great runs in Indy. A strong showing here would be a big emotional boost for a team that could really use it.
ODDS: 15-1

PRO MOD
Troy Coughlin
Troy Coughlin • JEGS.com Corvette
He is red-hot right now and just a round-win or so away from taking the points lead. No one would have thought that was possible four races ago.
ODDS: 2-1
Mike Castellana
Mike Castellana • AAP Camaro
Yes, he’s struggled lately, but he’s also still the points leader, and when you have Frank Manzo in your corner, nothing becomes impossible. Look for a bounce-back weekend here.
ODDS: 4-1
Rickie Smith
Rickie Smith • Vallen Camaro
The turbocharged cars now have less boost thanks to a recent rules revision. That should provide a spark for Smith and the rest of the nitrous oxide contingent.
ODDS: 6-1
Steve Jackson
Steve Jackson • Bahrain1 Camaro
He’s been very quiet lately, which is so un-Jackson like. He also ran 5.77 in Indy, which is usually enough to get the job done.
ODDS: 7-1
Shane Molinari
Shane Molinari • S&T Trucking Firebird
He’s probably a bit too far back to make a serious run at the championship, but there are still a few races left to be won, and he’s got what it takes to do just that.
ODDS: 9-1
Sidnei Frigo
Sidnei Frigo • Artivinco Racing Corvette
Made history in Indy with the first national event win for a South American-born driver. He also did one of the best driving jobs of his career.
ODDS: 10-1
Steven Whiteley
Steven Whiteley • J&A Service Cadillac
A consistent top-half qualifier who should be in the thick of the battle until the bitter end. Look for this guy to be a championship spoiler at the next few races.
ODDS: 12-1
Jonathan Gray
Jonathan Gray • Smith Racing Camaro
The performance numbers are there, but consistency is still a work in progress. Once that issue is addressed, look for some big wins. The driving part of the equation is just fine.
ODDS: 15-1