The 2022 Camping World NHRA Drag racing season features a new “race within a race” specialty event, called the Pep Boys All-Star Callout race. The specialty events are for NHRA’s two top categories, Top Fuel and Funny Car. The events are held during qualifying for Top Fuel at the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gator Nationals in Gainesville, Florida and for Funny Car at the Dodge Power Brokers NHRA U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, Indiana. Drivers in Top Fuel and Funny Car qualify for one of eight positions, based on their respective qualifying efforts over a one-year span coming into each event. The Top Fuel event started but did not finish due to inclement weather conditions over that weekend in Florida, with the remainder postponed until the NHRA U.S. Nationals in Indy this past weekend. The Top Fuel event was completed on Saturday, while the Funny Car event was completed on Sunday. These specialty events, out of Pep Boys Auto Service Centers, are winner take all payouts of $80,000. Based on how each driver qualifies in their respective specialty event, they get to choose (“callout”) who they race in the opening round (first round of three). In the second round, there are only four of the eight racers left, so the quickest winner in the opening round gets to choose who they will race. The two unchosen racers then race each other, leaving two racers to battle for the winner take all purse.
Brittany Force had come into the Top Fuel event in Gainesville as the number one seed and was the quickest winner in the opening round. There was only one qualifying round competed at that event. Having been the quickest winner, she was able to choose her second/semifinal round opponent, Mike Salinas. This left Steve Torrence and Justin Ashley to square off. Force defeated Salinas, though neither car ran very well, putting her into the final round, where she would race against Torrence, who had just defeated Ashley. In the final, Torrence defeated Force with a 3.692 at 329.02 mph to 3.704 at 330.31 mph to claim the $80,000 prize. It should be noted that during the very next round of qualifying, Force was back in form, as she reset her own track records (set in 2019) by running 3.640 at 337.75 mph to put her into the NHRA U.S. Nationals field as the number one qualifier for Monday eliminations. The Top Fuel field for this year’s NHRA U.S. Nationals is the quickest in history with a 3.75-second bump (16th qualifier) spot.
In Funny Car, Robert Hight came in as the top seed and he “called out” Robert Tasca, who was second in the season and All-Star point battles. This allowed Ron Capps the chance to callout his opening round competitor, Tim Wilkerson. Matt Hagan then called out Alexis DeJoria, leaving John Force to square off against Cruz Pedregon. Hight, Capps, Hagan and Force all won their match ups, with Capps being the quickest winner with a 3.864 at 333.58 mph. It would be Capps vs. Force and Hight vs. Hagan, with Capps and Hagan advancing to the final to battle for the $80,000 prize. Capps gained a slight starting line advantage to take out Hagan (3.936 at 330.47 mph to 3.900 at 328.66 mph) to capture the first ever All-Star callout title. His 3.864-second elapse time held on for the number one spot going into eliminations for the NHRA U.S. Nationals.
Also, a $30,000 special bonus will be paid to the first Top Fuel or Funny Car driver to reach 300 mph at 1/8-mile (half-track) distance first. Brittany Force has reached 299 mph twice, including 299.73 mph on her 3.640 at 337.75 qualifying effort.
In Pro Stock, Greg Anderson was able to take the top qualifying spot with a 6.567 at 208.10 mph. In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Angelle Sampey is the top qualifier going into eliminations with a 6.796 at 199.88 mph effort.
The actual main event on the NHRA schedule, the NHRA U.S. Nationals, gets completed late Monday (Labor Day), as has been the case for well over 50 years. Results from the Labor Day competition will be featured in a story in the Sept. 14 issue, as the races were staged after sports press time.