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Denso Spark Plugs NHRA U.S. Nationals Sportsman Highlights

Megan Meyer, Doug Gordon, Jason Coan, and brothers Terry and Jerry Emmons led the list of Lucas Oil Sportsman winners at the Denso Spark Plugs NHRA U.S. Nationals.
17 Sep 2020
Kevin McKenna, NHRA National Dragster Senior Editor
Jason Coan

Just days after announcing her impending retirement from the Top Alcohol Dragster class, reigning world champ Megan Meyer turned in one of the most dominant performances in the history of the class as she cruised to her second-straight win at the Denso Spark Plugs NHRA U.S. Nationals. Meyer shared the winner’s circle with brothers Terry and Jerry Emmons, who earned victories in Super Stock and Stock, respectively. The rest of the champions who etched their names in the history books of NHRA’s oldest and most prestigious event include Doug Gordon (Top Alcohol Funny Car), Jason Coan (Comp), Troy Williams Jr. (Super Comp), Ray Sawyer (Super Gas), Raymond Miller (Super Street), Danny Nelson (Top Dragster) and Dusty Meyer (Top Sportsman).

Meyer’s performance bordered on the surreal after she re-set the Top Alcohol Dragster record twice with a pair of 5.09 runs during eliminations. It was the first time the TAD record had been set since Bill Reichert ran 5.10 in 2007. Meyer, who also won Indy in 2019, went on to finish the rout with a 5.14 in the final to beat Josh Hart, who was well behind despite a competitive 5.22. [video]

Gordon won his 10th  Top Alcohol Funny Car national event title with a strong performance that included a 5.48 in the final, his quickest run of the event. A runner-up at Indy in 2017, Gordon powered past Brian Hough in the final and also scored wins against Dan Pomponio, Chip Beverett, and Tony Bogolo. [video]

Coan won for the sixth time in Comp eliminator by beating former world champ and JEGS Allstars winner Craig Bourgeois in the final and three of those wins have come at the U.S. Nationals. Driving his four-cylinder powered G/EA Bantam, Coan came from the No. 26 qualifying spot to reach the final, where he made his quickest pass of the weekend with an 8.14 to secure the title. [video]

The Texas-based Emmons brothers have now combined to win 43 NHRA national events after Terry won in Super Stock and his identical triplet brother Jerry won in Stock. Terry has chipped in with seven of those wins after beating Dan Fletcher in the final round. Emmons won the double-breakout battle with a 9.08 on his 9.10 dial to Fletcher’s 9.73 on a 9.77 prediction. [video]

Jerry Emmons won his first national event at the Denso U.S. Nationals in 1994 and he’s since gone on to win 15 times in his career. Emmons added a 16th win in Stock in Indy. Jerry saved his best performance for last when he cut a .001 light and ran a 10.49 on his 10.44 dial to stop fellow Division 4 racer Parker DeVore, who was coming off an impressive win at the Division 3 race in Indianapolis last month. [video]

Williams Jr., well known for a bracket racing resumé that includes a pair of Million Dollar Race wins, can now add the title of U.S. Nationals Super Comp champion following his final round win against Jerron Settles. Williams, in his FTI Converters entry, pulled back to an 8.949 in the final, letting Settles cross the finish line first with an 8.899 breakout. [video]

Add Sawyer’s name to the short list of drivers who have won both a world championship and the U.S. Nationals after the Division 1 ace scored in Super Gas. Sawyer, who also competed in the JEGS Allstars race, navigated a field of more than 100 cars to win national event No.8. Sawyer faced fellow world champ Jacob Elrod in the final and won in a double-breakout, 9.890 to 9.883. [video]

Miller is not only the first Super Street winner at the Denso NHRA U.S. Nationals. There is also a good chance that the Mansfield, Ohio, racer will be the only Indy Super Street champ. The 10.90 class was added to the Indy roster in conjunction with the JEGS Allstars race and it remains to be seen if it will be included going forward. Miller, in his Chevy Monza, was nearly untouchable in the final with a .004 light and a 10.905 to top Mark Smith. [video]

A year after winning the world championship in the Top Dragster presented by Vortech Superchargersclass, Nelson is now a U.S. Nationals winner following his final round win against JB Strasseweg. The final was over early after Strassweg, a member of the Division 3 JEGS Allstars squad, fouled by two-thousandths. [video]

Two years after winning his first two national event titles in Norwalk and Topeka, Meyer added a third when he drove to the win in Top Sportsman presented by Vortech Superchargers. Driving his six-second Chevy S-10, Meyer downed Jeff Brooks and Darian Boesch to reach the final where opponent Chad Pekrul left too soon by five-thousandths and triggered a red-light start. [video]