A few minutes before 8 a.m., the first pair of Stock eliminator cars lit the stage bulbs to officially kick off the 2021 Dodge//SRT NHRA U.S. Nationals. By the end of the day, several hundred Sportsman racers had made runs at historic Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis. The highlight of the day was class eliminations, where 34 individual winners were crowned in Super Stock and 33 Stock racers earned a coveted Indy Wally.
After two qualifying runs, reigning world champion Bryan Worner sits atop the 128-car Super Stock field with his Pennsylvania-based SS/JA Camaro. Worner drove to a (-1.104) 9.896 to take the top spot. The top five drivers in Super Stock have all run more than a second under their respective indexes, including Rick Rogers, David Barton, Steve Comella, and Gary Summers.
In addition to Worner, the Super Stock field includes world champions Justin Lamb, Byron Worner, Jeff Taylor, Ricky Decker, John Calvert, Hugh Meeks III, Christopher Dodd, Jimmy DeFrank, and Dan Fletcher.
The competition in Stock is perhaps even tougher with 16 drivers running at least a second under the index. The Stock field, which also features 128 cars, is led by Jim Marshall, who drove his H/SA ’79 Nova to a run of (-1.087) 11.063 to secure the top spot. Marshall is followed by Jim Hale, Cory Hopkins, John McCarthy Jr., and Darren Poole-Adams.
There are also a host of world champions in the Stock field, including Jeff Lopez, Jeff Taylor, Justin Lamb, and Jeff Strickland. Former Indy champs like Brad Plourd, Jerry Emmons, Donnie Beeler, and Ben Wenzel.
Wednesday’s on-track action also included the first qualifying runs for Friday’s Dodge Hemi Challenge, a special event for factory-built '86 vintage Dodge Dart and Plymouth Barracuda factory Super Stock cars. Steve Comella made the quickest run of the day with an 8.43 in his New York-based Barracuda followed by defending event winner Stephen Yantus with an 8.51. Former Hemi Challenge champion Bucky Hess is also within striking distance of the leaders with an 8.55 best.
The Super Comp and Super Gas classes each feature more than 100 entries, and they had a chance to make their first runs today, taking shots at their respective 8.90 and 9.90 indexes.
On Thursday, the racers in Super Stock, Stock, Super Comp, and Super Gas will begin their final eliminations that will result in the crowning of individual champions on Sunday. Thursday’s schedule also includes the opening qualifying runs for racers in Top Dragster and Top Sportsman presented by Vortech Superchargers as well as Super Street time trials and the first qualifying passes in Top Alcohol Dragster, Top Alcohol Funny Car, and Comp eliminator.