Fan’s View: Who to Watch at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals

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The biggest race of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season is "The Big Go," the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis. The Labor Day weekend staple in drag racing is not only a prestigious event to win, it's also the last race where drivers can qualify for the Countdown to the Championship, which begins at zMAX Dragway in Concord, North Carolina, September 14 through 16 with the O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals. These drivers have already locked up spots in the Countdown, but still want to win a Wally in this event.

Top Fuel - Tony Schumacher has won this event eight times, currently tied with Don Garlits for the most Top Fuel wins. Another win would not only break the tie with Garlits, it would tie Schumacher for overall wins in the event with Pro Stock legend Bob Glidden. Another driver to watch is Schumacher's Don Schumacher Racing teammate Antron Brown, who is the defending Top Fuel champ in the event and is also leading the points by 58 points over the third DSR driver, Spencer Massey.

Funny Car - after leading the standings for most of the "regular season," Robert Hight lost the Funny Car points lead to Ron Capps following Capps' win at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd. Hight's teammate, Mike Neff, is the defending champ at Indy, and team owner John Force has four wins of his own at the track, so the John Force Racing camp - including rookie star Courtney Force - could be the team to beat at "The Big Go."

Pro Stock - Greg Anderson is the defending champion and six-time winner of the U.S. Nationals, currently sitting third in points with four wins on the season. Points leader Allen Johnson, also a four-time winner this year, has never even been to a final round at Indy, but merely qualifying for the event means he locks up the top spot in the Pro Stock Countdown field.

Pro Stock Motorcycle - Hector Arana Jr. is the defending event winner in PSM, but neither he nor his father, 2009 PSM champ Hector Arana, have been able to break through against the Vance & Hines Screamin' Eagles Harley duo of Ed Krawiec and Andrew Hines, who have accounted for all nine victories this season.

Source: "NHRA Countdown newsletter," NHRA Media, August 21, 2012

Paula is a long-time auto racing fan who also covers the NHRA at Examiner.com.

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