The biggest race of the NHRA season will also feature the biggest qualified field of racers in the Constant Aviation Factory Stock Showdown. This weekend’s Dodge//SRT NHRA U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway will be open to a 32-car field of Chevrolet COPO Camaros, Ford Cobra Jet Mustangs, and Dodge Challenger Drag Paks. The elite field will be racing for at NHRA’s oldest and most prestigious national event.
John Cerbone, of Yorkton Heights, New York, will enter the race as the most recent winner following his victory in Topeka. Cerbone will also carry the $1,000 bounty into eliminations behind the wheel of his Saw Mill Auto COPO Camaro.
“I am heading into The U.S. Nationals feeling the same way I do at every race, you just have to get into the field,” said Cerbone. “You have to be in the field to have a shot at winning. We ran Indy in the Factory Stock Showdown last year and Indy is a special deal. It is a fun race, and it is a little longer race. I have been racing with Pro Stock’s Kenny Delco at Indy for decades, so this is a cool event. Everybody wants to win the U.S. Nationals and I am no different. You want to be able to say, ‘I won Indy.’”
As part of the Constant Aviation Bounty program, any driver who can beat Cerbone at Indy will receive a $1,000 bonus.
At the last two races, former series champ and Top Fuel driver Leah Pruett has raced to runner-up finishes with her Don Schumacher Racing Challenger. In Topeka Pruett came up in the final against Cerbone and prior to that, Pruett finished second to Stephen Bell at the Dodge Mile-High Nationals in Denver. Pruett is also the 2018 U.S. Nationals Factory Stock Showdown winner.
“I like our odds of capturing another U.S. Nationals win for our Dodge Challenger Mopar Drag Pak team,” said Pruett. “It will not be easy, but we have proven we are capable. I can’t think of a much better feeling to be in than when the tides turn from not only being around people that are rooting for you, but betting on you. There is a difference, and I like our odds, and I love our people.
Aaron Stanfield, the reigning champion and current class leader, opened the season with a win at the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals and has not found his way back to the winner’s circle since. Four different drivers have followed Stanfield with wins this season. The competition has been tough throughout the season and this weekend’s race should highlight the manufacturer battle between Chevrolet, Dodge and Ford.
The first round of qualifying will get underway on Friday, September 3 at 4:45 p.m. with one more qualifying round on Saturday at 12:00 p.m. Final eliminations will commence on Saturday afternoon, the first round of the Constant Aviation Factory Stock Showdown slated for approximately 3:55 p.m.
The U.S. Nationals is the sixth of event events on the Constant Aviation Factory Stock Showdown schedule. From Indy, the series will move to St. Louis on Sept. 24-26 and will wrap up in Las Vegas on October 29-31.