With the 2022 NHRA season approximately half-over, its time for anyone who desires to become a champion to make hay and win some rounds. That sentiment is certainly the foremost thought for Brittany Force, Ron Capps, Erica Enders, and Eddie Krawiec, who lead their respective pro fields into final eliminations at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals.
Force acknowledged during Saturday’s media center interview that she’s off to the best start of her career and the statistics, including three wins, confirm that. While Force and her Monster Energy team have been exceptional at times, they came into the Norwalk event nursing a slim 25 point lead over Mike Salinas and they are just 52 markers ahead of Bristol winner Justin Ashley.
Force will look to extend that lead when she races No. 16 qualifier Kyle Wurtzel in round one. Ashley, the No. 2 qualifier can keep pace by beating Leah Pruett in the opening round while Salinas is the No. 3 qualifier in Norwalk and will race eight-time world champ Tony Schumacher.
Another noteworth match will pit Doug Kalitta and Antron Brown in a battle of drivers seeking to join the championship hunt.
Reigning and two-time world champ Ron Capps sits atop the Funny Car field and that means an opening round date with Dale Creasy Jr. Capps is coming off a big win in Bristol, which allowed the NAPA team to close the gap on points leaders Matt Hagan and Robert Hight.
Hagan is scheduled to race Tim Wilkerson while Hight is the No. 3 qualifier and will race Jim Campbell. Sixteen-time champ John Force came to Norwalk with a very competitive car and faces Bobby Bode in round one. Cruz Pedregon, the defending Norwalk winner, faces a tough battle as he takes his Snap-on Dodge against upstart Chad Green in a battle between the No. 8 and No. 9 qualifiers.
In Pro Stock, Erica Enders’ win streak ended at 14 rounds when she hurt and engine in the final round of the Bristol race against Aaron Stanfield so she’s determined to start another one this weekend. Enders had by far the quickest car in qualifying with a strong 6.53 run and that means she’ll race Fernando Cuadra Jr. in round one.
From the No. 2 spot, Kyle Koretsky will take his Lucas Oil Camaro against Bo Butner in round one while No. 3 qualifier Stanfield has a date with Troy Coughlin Jr. Another marquee Pro Stock race will feature No. 6 Dallas Glenn and No. 11 Mason McGaha, two drivers who could, but haven’t yet won this season.
Eddie Krawiec has been chasing his 50th Pro Stock Motorcycle win for quite some time and he’s in a prime position to get it after riding his Vance & Hines Suzuki to a 6.798. Ironically, Krawiec has now been the low qualifier 50 times in his career. He’ll race Jianna Evaristo in round one.
Bristol runner-up Angelle Sampey will try to make it to her second-striaight final by beating Ron Tornow while Angie Smith, the No. 3 qualifier, is racing Ryan Oehler in an all-Buell battle. In a race with major points implications, Steve Johnson will run Bristol champ Jerry Savoie.
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.
2021 EVENT WINNERS
Steve Torrence, Top Fuel; Cruz Pedregon, Funny Car; Erica Enders, Pro Stock; Matt Smith, Pro Stock Motorcycle.
3.696 seconds by Brittany Force, June 2021; 332.67 mph by Clay Millican, June 2018
3.865 seconds by Matt Hagan, June 2017; 334.65 mph by Robert Hight, June 2017.
6.523 seconds by Erica Enders, July 2014; 2012.63 mph by Enders, July 2014
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE
6.782 seconds by Matt Smith, June 2021; 201.58 by Matt Smith, June 2021.
Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, June 26.
SUNDAY, June 26, FOX network television will televise 3 hours of finals coverage at 3 p.m. (ET)