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Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals Sunday Preview

Playoff spots on the line as final eliminations begin for Top Fuel and Funny Car racers at the 40th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd Int’l Raceway.
21 Aug 2022
Kevin McKenna, NHRA National Dragster Senior Editor
Race coverage

So far, a total of nine drivers in Top Fuel and Funny Car have clinched their spots in the Countdown to the Championship playoffs and several more will undoubtedly join that group today as final eliminations kick off for the 40th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals in Brainerd.

Brittany Force is locked into the Top Fuel field and she’s also the low qualifier in Brainerd with an impressive 3.661-second run. In addition to Force, Mike Salinas, Justin Ashley, and Steve Torrence are also locked into the field for the Camping World NHRA series playoffs, which begin in mid-September at Maple Grove Raceway. Interestingly enough, Torrence and Salinas race each other in round one.

The next group who should join the field are Josh Hart, Leah Pruett, Shawn Langdon, and Doug Kalitta, who currently occupy spots 5-8 in the standings. All three are comfortably qualified for today’s final eliminations. Langdon and Pruett will race in round one which means one of them will add 20 points to their score.

In Funny Car, Robert Hight, Matt Hagan, Ron Capps, John Force, and Bob Tasca III are locked in to the playoff field while J.R. Todd, Alexis DeJoria, Cruz Pedregon, Tim Wilkerson, and Jim Campbell round out the current Top 10.

Hight had been the low qualifier for much of qualifying until Hagan stole the No. 1 spot with a 3.84-second run late Saturday afternoon. Hagan will get a bye run in the opening round while Hight races Steven Densham.  Todd and Campbell are scheduled to race in round one but perhaps the most intriguing match-up involves Tim Wilkerson and Chad Green. Wilkerson has all-but locked up a spot in the playoffs but Green needs to in at least a couple of rounds in order to pass Campbell for tenth place. As most know, Green’s BP Fuels Mustang is tuned by Wilkerson’s son, Daniel.

In addition to Top Fuel and Funny Car, Sunday’s docket in Brainerd includes eliminations in Mountain Motor Pro Stock, the FuelTech Pro Mod Series presented by D-Wagon, and the Lucas Oil Sportsman series.

You can catch the action all weekend on FOX Sports 1 and NHRA.tv.

You can follow NHRA on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to get a closer look at the action.


Steve Torrence, Top Fuel; John Force, Funny Car; Steve Johnson, Pro Stock Motorcycle.


3.640 seconds by Leah Pruett, Aug. 2017; 334.90 mph by B. Force, Aug. 2021
3.793 seconds by Robert Hight, Aug. 2017; 338.00 mph by Hight, Aug. 2017

Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, August 21.

SUNDAY August 20, FS1 will televise one hour of qualifying highlights at 1:30 p.m. (ET)
SUNDAY, August 21, FOX network will televise 3 hours of finals coverage at 3:30 p.m. (ET)