The three-race Western Swing is the gateway to the home stretch of the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series regular season that sets the contenders for the six-race Countdown to the Championship playoffs and a pivotal time for teams trying to establish dominance or just to get back into the fight.
This week we’ll share a class-by-class look at those who prospered and those who floundered during the annual trek through Denver, Sonoma, and Seattle, beginning with Top Fuel.
- With her Sonoma win and Seattle runner-up, Brittany Force regained the points lead in Top Fuel from Mike Salinas, who had taken over the top spot from her in Norwalk, the last race before the Swing.
- Mike Salinas went from a 12-point lead over Force to a 75-point deficit as he slipped from first to second place.
- Force’s 274 points earned during the Swing were the most by any Top Fuel driver and third overall, behind the whopping 321 points earned by her Funny Car teammate Robert Hight and the 280 accrued by his fellow Funny Car racer Bob Tasca III.
- On the strength of her win in Denver and a strong semifinal in Seattle, Leah Pruett jumped four spots, from 10th to sixth, but her deficit to the leader actually grew, from 404 points in back of Salinas to 410 in back of new leader Force.
- Justin Ashley, who notched two semifinal finishes, and Josh Hart, who accumulated four round-wins, both picked up one spot, from fourth to third and sixth to fifth, respectively. Reigning world champ Steve Torrence dropped one spot, from third to fourth after turning on just two win lights over the three-race stretch.
- Seattle winner Tony Schumacher picked up one spot, from 12th to 11th, trading places with round-winless-in-three Antron Brown while Clay Millican, who won just one round at the three events, dropped two spots, from eighth to 10th.
- Austin Prock also won just one round but, spotlighting the tightness of the middle of the pack, plummeted four spots, from fifth, 308 points behind the leader, to ninth, 481 points back. His net gain of 89 points was the least by any driver who went to all three events, regardless of class.
- Shawn Langdon stayed in seventh place while teammate Doug Kalitta picked up one position, from ninth to eight.
- All that being said, all 12 drivers will likely be in the Countdown, if not by a Top 10 placement then by meeting the minimum qualifying-participant requirements.
POSITION CHANGES OVER WESTERN SWING