Tricky Tipster names Torrence, Hight, Butner, Krawiec as St. Louis favorites

Steve Torrence, Robert Hight, Bo Butner, and Eddie Krawiec are NHRA National Dragster's Tricky Tipster's favorites to win this weekend's AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park just outside of St. Louis.
28 Sep 2017
NHRA National Dragster staff
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 AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals.

Funny Car | Pro Stock | Pro Stock Motorcycle | Pro Mod
Steve Torrence
Steve Torrence • Capco Contractors
Losing the Reading final certainly hurt, but looking at the bigger picture, he’s still in the driver’s seat as far as the championship goes.
ODDS: 3-1
Doug Kalitta
Doug Kalitta • Mac Tools
With four races left, he’s 22 points out of first place. In other words, the Kalitta team’s fate is in their own hands. This isn’t a make-or-break event, but a semifinal or better finish would be very welcomed.
ODDS: 4-1
Brittany Force
Brittany Force • Monster Energy
Talk about clutch; the Reading win was exactly what this team needed to jump back into championship contention. Two months ago, if you’d have told them they’d be 23 points out of first, they’d be thrilled.
ODDS: 5-1
Antron Brown
Antron Brown • Matco Tools
There are still seven teams that can legitimately claim to be championship contenders in Top Fuel, and this is certainly one of them. In fact, he may be the favorite based on past experience.
ODDS: 7-1
Tony Schumacher
Tony Schumacher • U.S. Army
No team is better equipped to handle the pressures of a points battle, but we’ve reached the stage where the Army team can’t afford to give up more ground. Expect a major offensive this weekend.
ODDS: 9-1
Leah Pritchett
Leah Pritchett • Papa John’s Pizza
With two early losses to start the Countdown, there is no more wiggle room as far as the championship goes. Anything less than a final round here would be a devastating blow to championship aspirations.
ODDS: 10-1
Clay Millican
Clay Millican • Parts Plus/Great Clips
Don’t sleep on the Parts Plus crew as they are very much in the title hunt. Oh, and for what it’s worth, this is technically Millican’s “home event” or at least the closest to home.
ODDS: 12-1
Richie Crampton
Richie Crampton • SealMaster
Didn’t take long for the SealMaster team to bond with their new driver. While others are battling for a championship, he’s hoping to block for his teammates and audition for 2018.
ODDS: 15-1

Robert Hight
Robert Hight • Auto Club Chevy
Is this the best performing car in the class? Almost certainly, but 339-mph speeds don’t guarantee a title. They need to continue to win rounds on race day.
ODDS: 3-1
Ron Capps
Ron Capps • NAPA Dodge
Although he already was winning those races, you're living large when two opponents also have parachutes deploy prematurely. The way the NAPA car usually runs, they don’t need the extra luck.
ODDS: 4-1
Courtney Force
Courtney Force • Advance Auto Parts Chevy
The performance has always been there, and now the round-wins are starting to follow. Had she won the Reading final, she’d be the leader by one point.
ODDS: 5-1
Matt Hagan
Matt Hagan • Mopar Express Lane Dodge
This team has had the craziest luck lately yet they are still very much in the hunt for the title. One good race could fix everything. Oh, and he’s been a runner-up here three of the last five years.
ODDS: 6-1
Jack Beckman
Jack Beckman • Infinite Hero Dodge
Made a nice rebound from early Charlotte loss with a semifinal in Reading, but still 100 points out. Would be very beneficial to cut that deficit by a round or two this weekend.
ODDS: 8-1
Alexis DeJoria
Alexis DeJoria • Tequila Patron Toyota
Probably the most dangerous car that’s not in the Countdown, regardless of class. She has the ability to crush almost anyone’s title hopes.
ODDS: 10-1
J.R. Todd
J.R. Todd • DHL Toyota
Is it possible to clean up a 138-point deficit with four races left? Right now, no one is happier about Pomona being a points-and-a-half race than this crew.
ODDS: 12-1
Tommy Johnson Jr.
Tommy Johnson Jr. • Make-A-Wish Dodge
He was a runner-up here last year to teammate Beckman. A rematch of that final round would be very much welcomed by both drivers. Also a finalist here in 2001.
ODDS: 14-1

Bo Butner
Bo Butner • Jim Butner Auto Camaro
We’re not sure the 2016 version of “Bob Utner” could have pulled off the Reading win. That shows you just how far he’s come as a driver this season.
ODDS: 5-2
Tanner Gray
Tanner Gray • Gray Manufacturing Technology Camaro
When he won Charlotte, it looked like lights out for the Pro Stock class. Now, he’s got to battle his way back to the front. Going to be interesting to see how the teen phenom responds to the pressure.
ODDS: 4-1
Greg Anderson
Greg Anderson • Summit Racing Camaro
Yes, he is a four-time world champion, but it’s worth noting that his last title came in 2010. That should provide all the motivation and then some for another strong championship run.
ODDS: 5-1
Jason Line
Jason Line • Summit Racing Camaro
Back-to-back semifinals are great, but they don’t mean much in the standings when the drivers above you are going to the final. This would be perfect time to even his career final-round record at 47-47.
ODDS: 7-1
Drew Skillman
Drew Skillman • Skillman Auto Group Camaro
Quarterfinal loss in Reading was brutal, but the damage could have been worse. Won this race two years ago, and another victory would be extremely timely.
ODDS: 9-1
Allen Johnson
Allen Johnson • Marathon Petroleum Dart
As his Pro Stock driving career begins to wind down, it would be nice to think he’s got enough left in the tank for one more Wally celebration.
ODDS: 11-1
Erica Enders
Erica Enders • Melling Camaro
With 163 points to make up, a third championship is a longshot. Then again, a few holeshot wins here or there, a few lucky breaks, and the Elite crew might be able to get back in the battle.
ODDS: 13-1
Alex Laughlin
Alex Laughlin • Gas Monkey Camaro
Defending event champ has looked solid at the few Pro Stock events he’s attended this season.
ODDS: 15-1

Eddie Krawiec
Eddie Krawiec • Screamin’ Eagle Harley-Davidson
With three straight wins, it isn’t an exaggeration to suggest that he’s on the best run of his career right now. A win here would be enormous in the points battle.
ODDS: 5-2
LE Tonglet
LE Tonglet • Nitro Fish Suzuki
He’s been off a tick at the last couple of races yet still continues to pile up the points and round-wins. That being said, he really needs to go further than Krawiec this week.
ODDS: 4-1
Hector Arana Jr.
Hector Arana Jr. • Lucas Oil Buell
He’s got a lot going for him this week, including a great motorcycle and a past win in St. Louis. In fact, his most recent win came here in an all-Arana final in 2015.
ODDS: 5-1
Jerry Savoie
Jerry Savoie • White Alligator Suzuki
He’s won this race in two of the last three years, and he could really use another victory to jump back into the points battle. It’s not too late for another title run.
ODDS: 7-1
Andrew Hines
Andrew Hines • Screamin’ Eagle Harley-Davidson
Believe it or not, he can still win a sixth championship, but in order to do so, it’s almost mandatory that he wins this race. Must cut into Krawiec’s lead by at least 20 to 30 points.
ODDS: 7-1
Matt Smith
Matt Smith • Polaris Victory Magnum
Same old story here; when his bike is reliable, it’s one of the best in the class. Right now, it isn’t, and that’s making it tough to string together a few round-wins.
ODDS: 9-1
Scotty Pollacheck
Scotty Pollacheck • Suzuki Extended Protection Suzuki
Let’s face it, the Reading event was his to win, and it ended with a disappointing holeshot loss. If he can bring the same level of performance to St. Louis, don’t expect him to make the same mistake twice.
ODDS: 11-1
Karen Stoffer
Karen Stoffer • Big St. Charles/Skillman Auto Suzuki
Turned in a strong qualifying effort in Reading, and quite frankly, she’s got the same power as Pollacheck. Would not be an upset to see her in the final.
ODDS: 14-1

Mike Castellana
Mike Castellana • AAP Camaro
There was a time that he looked like a lock to win the championship. Now, he’s locked in a tough battle. That being said, he’s well-armed with his Frank Manzo-tuned entry.
ODDS: 3-1
Troy Coughlin
Troy Coughlin • Corvette
Late season points battle; he’s been here many times before and usually finds a way to get the job done when he needs it the most.
ODDS: 5-1
Jonathan Gray
Jonathan Gray • Vallen Camaro
How about the driving job he did in Charlotte? Driving a Pro Mod car is difficult, driving one and cutting nearly perfect lights is infinitely more challenging, but he seems to have it down pat.
ODDS: 7-1
Steve Jackson
Steve Jackson • Bahrain1 Camaro
So far this year, “Stevie Fast” has been exactly as advertised: bold, brash, outspoken, and also extremely competitive. He won’t win the championship this year but might well have a say in who does.
ODDS: 9-1
Rickie Smith
Rickie Smith • Vallen Camaro
How many other guys can sit out four races and still finish in the top 10? Answer: almost nobody, but then again, Rickie isn’t your average Pro Mod racer.
ODDS: 11-1
Shane Molinari
Shane Molinari • S&T Truck Repair Firebird
Despite the recent rules adjustment, this is still a car that can qualify on the pole and stroll right through race-day eliminations.
ODDS: 12-1
Danny Rowe
Danny Rowe • Agave Underground Corvette
He’s been a bit quiet lately, but he’s returning to the site of his first Pro Mod victory. That could provide a needed spark for a late-season rally.
ODDS: 14-1
Sidnei Frigo
Sidnei Frigo • Artivinco Corvette
Indy winner is almost guaranteed to qualify, and with 32 cars competing for just 16 spots, that’s a big, big deal. Now let’s see if he can string together four round-wins on race day.
ODDS: 16-1