With 22 nationwide occasions, 44 regional and division occasions of the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Collection, plus the well-launched JEGS SPORTSnationals and JEGS Allstars, it is exhausting to discover a weekend with out motion. from coast to coast for NHRA’s Star Athlete. The sheer variety of riders and races makes it practically inconceivable for us to curate essentially the most memorable occasions of the 12 months, however we managed to do it on our annual Prime 10 Athlete moments checklist.
Within the nationwide occasion competitors, just one good run went on all season, and it made it to the second spherical of the Tremendous Comp on the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals in Bristol. Robert Houston hit a nail within the head when he mixed the .000 gentle with the proper 8,900 observe on his Race Tech race automotive. Extremely, the driving force with one of the best view of the observe again was Houston’s grandson, Vance, who occurred to be within the different lane and misplaced regardless of his personal .007 lights. Houston finally made it by to the third spherical, however he left Bristol with the correct amount of time to border. Houston got here again on the finish of the season to win the Charlotte fall occasion.
The checklist of drivers, each Professional and Sportsman, who’ve 50 or extra NHRA nationwide occasions wins is slightly quick as solely 21 riders have completed the feat within the NHRA’s lengthy historical past. The latest driver to affix the membership is Jeff Taylor, who received the Comp title on the fall occasion in Las Vegas. Taylor entered the 2022 season with 4 world championships and 49 wins in Comp, Tremendous Inventory, Inventory and Tremendous Comp. Whereas his Corridor of Fame credentials are nicely established, he’s eager for one more fiftieth win in reminiscence of his late brother, Charlie. Mockingly, Taylor, Eddie Krawiec, Edmond Richardson and Doug Kalitta every began the 12 months with 49 wins, however Taylor is the one one to attain that this season.
Any rider to win the NHRA US Nationals is aware of they’ve achieved one thing very particular, however within the case of the 2022 Shares champion Sweet Brett, that feeling is additional amplified by the lengthy household historical past and success within the sport. As most individuals know, Candies is the son of Paul Candies, proprietor of the legendary Prime Gasoline and Humorous Automobile staff, who received the championship alongside Richard Tharp and Mark Oswald earlier than his demise in 2013. Tharp additionally received the US Nationwide Prime Gasoline title in 1976 in a Candies & Hughes, so when Brett received the Indy Inventory title earlier this 12 months, it was comprehensible to count on a couple of tears. will fall. “My dad could be so proud now,” stated Sweet, shortly after his ultimate spherical win over Jim Marshall. “He loves this race.”
Greg Stanfield could have failed in his bid to win a sixth world Tremendous Inventory title, however what he has achieved in his profession could by no means be repeated. Stanfield received 4 Tremendous Inventory titles over a five-year interval from 1990-1994 earlier than turning into a profitable Professional Inventory racer and engine builder. In 2021, Stanfield provides a fifth title with one other dominant season. He is nearly doubled down on that success this season with an epic scoring battle undecided till the ultimate race of the season. Stanfield wanted to achieve the semi-finals in Pomona to overhaul chief Pete D’Agnolo and declare the title however dropped out in a troublesome race in opposition to Tim Seymour. Stanfield’s 691 factors is one in all his highest totals with no title, and he is simply eight factors behind D’Agnolo. Oh, and yet one more factor, all of Stanfield’s six championships come behind the wheel of the identical Chevy Camaro.
Madison Payne made headlines in 2022 when she beat NASCAR Corridor of Famer Tony Stewart within the Prime Alcohol Dragster ultimate in Las Vegas, however her youthful brother, toby, will most likely by no means let her overlook what occurred eight months earlier firstly of the season. Payne’s raced within the second lap of the Tremendous Comp on the NHRA Winternationals, with Toby scoring bragging rights with 8,911 to eight,919 wins. Each drivers had been ready for the competitors with Toby’s 0.003 gentle being solely barely higher than the massive sister’s 0.008. Paynes comes from rickshaw racing royalty together with his grandfather Brad Anderson and fogeys Jay and Shelly Payne, every with profitable careers, so chances are high they will go head-to-head for years to come back.
When Bob Locke received and completed second on the Division 3 giants match in St. Louis, he is a direct contender for the 2022 Lucas Oil Tremendous Gasoline championship, however getting the job performed is not simple. Locke did not fairly anticipate getting into a championship sport, so he needed to make the choice to move West for the ultimate three occasions of the season in Las Vegas and Pomona. A little bit of coaxing from his mates solved that half, however two races in Las Vegas weren’t variety to Locke, which meant he made it to the NHRA Finals of the Vehicle Membership in New York. Pomona faces a “should win” scenario. Though Locke is a aggressive Tremendous Gasoline racer, he has by no means received a nationwide occasion earlier than, and the Indiana resident is unfamiliar with most of his seventh Division rivals in Pomona. Regardless of the challenges, Locke managed to do what many thought-about inconceivable as he received the race and the 2022 world championship.
Double nationwide occasions are nonetheless fairly uncommon, so when one occurs, it is value celebrating. This season, just one driver can depart with a pair of Wallys, and that’s Tyler Cassil, who’s in command of buying and selling each Shares and Tremendous Securities at Menards NHRA Heartland Nationals in Topeka. Cassil has received many races in his profession, however nothing compares to this occasion the place he beat Tyler Bohannon to win Inventory and completed the race by knocking out the championship contender. Greg Stanfield to win the Tremendous Inventory. All informed, Cassil led 12-0 on the weekend. Mockingly, the Topeka occasion was Cassil’s solely NHRA nationwide occasion of the season, however he actually made essentially the most of it.
Bo Butner’s Returning to Professional Inventory this season wasn’t all he anticipated, however his season at Tremendous Gasoline has been nothing wanting spectacular. Butner hasn’t recurrently raced his ’63 Corvette within the Tremendous Gasoline for a few seasons with fairly a little bit of success, however he did tick an enormous merchandise off his to-do checklist when he received the Dodge Energy title. Brokers NHRA US Nationals. Just a few weeks later, Butner entered the Maple Grove Raceway and received for the second time. The previous Comp and Professional Inventory world champion did not have a lot luck at division occasions or else he may need challenged for the world title. As a substitute, Butner was eleventh out of greater than 700 Tremendous Gasoline drivers, one level behind the Prime 10. Butner additionally ended the 12 months by marrying longtime fiancée ‘Randi Lyn Shipp at a Las Vegas wedding ceremony, a social occasion of the season.
There are a number of contenders for this, together with a number of Tremendous Comp drivers, together with Allison McKoane (Las Vegas 1), Michael Handras (Charlotte), Pat Debottis (Norwalk) and Michael Holcombe (Houston). The entire above is offered within the ultimate spherical, the place strain can typically take its toll and errors are typically amplified. Nonetheless, our vote right here goes to Troy Huntzberry, who not solely received the Tremendous Inventory crown on the Betway NHRA Carolina Nationals in Charlotte, but in addition marked the victory with a near-perfect run. Huntzberry, on his Camaro SS/JA ’89, left with a 0.001 gentle after which crossed the end line with 10,040 on his 10.04 dial lacking only one good run. Oh, and the driving force within the different lane? It occurred to be Pete D’Agnolo, who received the 2022 World Tremendous Inventory title.
Leo Glasbrenner solely attended 5 nationwide occasions in Inventory in the course of the 2022 season, however he received three of them, which isn’t a foul batting common. Glasbrenner kicked off the season in one of the best ways attainable with a win at Winternationals, and two weeks later he repeated that success in Phoenix, taking his Camaro ’14 COPO to 12 straight wins to catch up. early season. On the finish of the season, Glasbrenner impressed once more by successful the autumn race in Las Vegas, giving him 10 profession wins in nationwide competitors. With three wins, Glasbrenner additionally accomplished the uncommon good season scorecard, serving to raise him to fifth within the title battle. Glasbrenner had a little bit of a tough time within the division races, scoring solely single credit score for a semi-final. If not, he might have fought Jimmy Hidalgo Jr., Brad Burton and Ryan McClanahan on the finish of the season for the world title.