Saturday, June 22, 2024

NHRA U.S. Nationals Sportsman Preview

The annual Big Go comes to Indianapolis Labor Day weekend for the 65th U.S. Nationals!

INDY – The annual sportsman pilgrimage to Lucas Oil Raceway on Labor Day weekend started this past weekend. Lucas Oil Sportsman racers from around the country descend upon the hallow grounds for the biggest NHRA race of the year, the U.S. Nationals.

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Stock and Super Stock racers will compete to see who has the fastest car in each class. An INDY class elimination win is on the bucket list of almost every class racer.

In addition to class trophies, there is a 32-car field for the Factory Stock cars and the annual HEMI Challenge for the SS/AH cars.

With hundreds of the best racers in the country in attendance, those fortunate to hold up the U.S. Nationals trophy on Monday, will have their name etched in history.

The U.S. Nationals will showcase over 740 Lucas Oil sportsman racers competing in nine different classes. The schedule includes Competition Eliminator, Super Stock, Stock Eliminator, Super Comp, Super Gas, Top Sportsman, Top Dragster, Factory Stock Showdown, and the HEMI Challenge.

Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series

2018 NHRA U.S. Nationals Champions

Competition Eliminator – David Rampy

Super Stock – Dennis Steward

Stock Eliminator – TC Morris

Super Comp – Joe Hessling

Super Gas – Devin Isenhower

Factory Stock Showdown – Leah Prichett

HEMI Challenge – James Daniels

US Nationals Logo

2019 NHRA U.S. Nationals Predictions

With each NHRA national event DragChamp’s sportsman preview includes an overview of each class. In addition, we select the DragChamp Picks to win the race. Here are this week’s picks.

Competition Eliminator – 52 Car Field

Aragona and Sawyer lead Atco LODRS winners

David Rampy picked up another INDY win last year. Can he add to his legacy once again in 2019? Or will someone new shine on Monday?

DragChamp pick to win:

Frank Aragona – It’s hard to pick against the champ. He’s won everything else this year, why not INDY?

Craig Bourgeois – The raging cajun started the season on fire. This would be a great week to rekindle that fire!

Super Stock – 159 Car Field (128 Qualify)

Tyler Bohannon Super Stock

There are a number of story lines heading into the U.S. Nationals. Can Ricky Decker make another final round, will Tyler Bohannon continue his recent run, how about Vic Penrod? Questions will be answered this weekend.

DragChamp picks to win:

Tyler Bohannon – I’m going with the hot hand here. This kid’s been making finals everywhere.

Peter Biondo – Doesn’t race much, but when he does, I pick him!

Jerry Emmons – The triplet’s are a tough out at any track but they are so overdue at INDY.

Stock Eliminator – 159 Car Field (128 Qualify)

Austin Williams D4 LODRS Stock Winner Texas Motorplex Race 2

The Stock class features competitors from all parts of the U.S. along with some racers from overseas. Class eliminations brings out some of the most unique combinations around as everyone is chasing an INDY class win. That also makes for some interesting matchups in the early rounds.

DragChamp picks to win:

Austin Williams – INDY is a drivers race and this guy is one of the best pure drivers in the game.

Randy Mans – Fast Shocks entry knows how to turn on win lights!

Phil Mandella Jr. – Flying the DragChamp colors this week! Hopefully that’s enough to get him to the winners circle.

Super Comp – 136 Car Field

Gary Stinnett Super Comp Tulsa LODRS

Joe Hessling drove an outstanding race last year to earn his first U.S. Nationals crown, can he go back-to-back? If so, he’ll have to roll through one of the toughest fields of the year to do so.

DragChamp picks to win:

Luke Bogacki – I picked Luke twice at the Brainerd national and almost pulled off the double! Luke finished with a runner up and a semifinal appearance.

Brad Plourd – This guy can get it done in anything from a 6-second roadster and to a 12-second Stocker. I like his chances this weekend.

Tom StalbaTalented D1 racer has been deadly since last season. Look for him to be in the mix come Monday.

Super Gas – 133 Car Field

Iggie Boicesco SG winner New England Nationals

Devin Isenhower served notice on the Super Gas contingent last year in claiming the U.S. Nationals title. The win helped secure the Super Gas world championship. Look for more great things from Devin this week.

Randi Lyn Shipp will be one to watch as she jumps into Bo Butner’s Corvette roadster. Bo’s been practically unstoppable in it over the last month.

DragChamp picks to win:

John Labbous Jr. – It’s hard to bet against this guy. He’s so talented and nothing rattles him. Sounds like a great combination for an INDY win.

Iggie Boicesco – This guy has been winning everywhere in 2019. National events, divisionals, and even the Mid-Atlantic .90 Assoc. races.

Phil Smida – Talented .90 racer has been quiet lately. An INDY win would change that.

Top Sportsman – 39 Car Field (32 Qualify)

Lester Johnson 55 Chevy Top Sportsman
Lester Johnson 55 Chevy Top Sportsman – Photo by Charlie Carroll

Who’s going to be the first U.S. Nationals Top Sportsman champion? A talented group of racers will battle it out this weekend to find out.

DragChamp picks to win:

Ronnie Proctor – To be the man, you’ve got to beat the man! And Ronnie is the man. Look for the world champion to make some noise.

Sandy Wilkins – One of the top 2 or 3 racers in the class. Don’t be surprised to see the Sand Flea hoisting the Wally come Monday.

Top Dragster – 36 Car Field (32 Qualify)

JB Strassweg WSOPM winner

The question is what’s the bump going to be at INDY? Since the class was added to the U.S. Nationals, competitors have been talking about this race. Well it’s go time now!

DragChamp picks to win:

Joe Hessling – Look for last year’s Super Comp champ to make it two in a row!

Peter Biondo – The Terminator steps up for big events and this is definitely a big one. There’s only one first-time Top Dragster U.S. Nationals winner and I think Peter will be on a mission.

Factory Stock Showdown – 31 Car Field

Drew Skillman Factory Stock Showdown Summit Racing Nationals
Drew Skillman

Although the NHRA increased the field to 32-cars, it looks like the class will be at least one short of a full field. Either way, it should be an exciting race as we get to see who capitalized on the mid-season break.

DragChamp pick to win:

Bo Butner – Bo knows Pro Stock, Bo knows Super Gas, I think Bo knows FSS too. Look for him to grab his first Factory Stock win of the season.

HEMI Challenge – 16 Car Qualified Field

James Daniels – photo by NHRA

The elephant parade is one of the coolest classes in drag racing. Although the Factory Stockers have stolen some of their limelight, the HEMI cars are still exciting to watch and put on a great show.

DragChamp pick to win:

James Daniels – Easy pick here, Jimmy’s been the class of the field for several years. Look for his dominance to continue.

DragChamp is your source for NHRA Lucas Oil sportsman drag racing news and drag race results. Follow DragChamp for daily updates throughout the week.

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