General

Tricky Tipster: Pep Boys Top Fuel and Funny Car Allstar Callouts

NHRA

The upcoming Dodge Power Brokers NHRA US Nationals is packed with additional features and special events, not least the Pep Boys NHRA All-Star Callout for nitro Funny Cars and the completion of the Top Fuel event in Gainesville.

When it comes to making odds, Tricky Tipster has done his job for him, as the unique callout format for the $80,000 win event adds to the difficulty. Because the best qualifiers have a chance to pick their opponents, there is no guarantee that the top two cars in the field will not race in one of the first two rounds.

All things considered, Robert Hight comes in as the favorite in the race, in large part because of the monstrous regular season the Auto Club team has had. Here’s a rundown of how each of the contenders stacks up against each other.

FUNNY CAR

Robert Hight Auto Club Camaro

Hight has dominated the regular season for the most part, and there’s no reason not to think he can’t keep that momentum going through the US Nationals and the upcoming Countdown to the Championship playoffs. Hight also doesn’t seem to get upset when there’s a lot at stake, which might give him a slight edge on the field. ODDS: 3-1

Bob Tasca III Motorcraft/Quick Lane Mustang

A few months ago his chances might have been much better, but four finals in the last five events and impressive victories at Sonoma and Topeka have elevated the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team to favorites status. Tasca was once as low as No. 9 in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series Funny Car standings, but his recent hot streak has lifted him to the No. 5 position. ODDS: 5-1

Matt Hagan Dodge Power Brokers Charger

The recent Western Swing wasn’t kind to the Dodge Power Brokers team, but does anyone really think they won’t be competitive in Indy? While Hight has won the most races this season, Hagan isn’t exactly struggling with three wins in six final rounds. ODDS: 6-1

Ron Capps NAPA Auto Parts Supra

Throughout his career, Capps has done surprisingly well at special events, winning multiple times in the past, winning the Big Bud Shootout back-to-back in 1998-99 and the Skoal Showdown in 2002. Capps was also second at the U.S. Nationals of 2021. ODDS: 7-1

John Force Peak/Blu Def Camaro

Force has won just about everywhere NHRA has raced in the past 30 years, so if there’s anyone who isn’t intimidated by racing on NHRA’s biggest podium, it’s the 16-time World Champion. This season, Force has been largely competitive with a few final laps and a Charlotte Four-wide race win. ODDS: 8-1

Alexis DeJoria Bandero Premium Tequila Supra

This is one of the most interesting entries in the field, and not just because the Bandero Toyota is a fast car that can win anytime. DeJoria will likely finish in the bottom half of the field once qualifying points are tabulated, meaning she won’t be able to pick her opponent in the first round. But again, this is a car no one wants to sign early on. ODDS: 9-1

Cruz Pedregon Snap-on Toyota Charger

The Snap-on team would probably agree that the first half of the 2022 season was a disappointment, but there would be no better way to launch a strong second half than a win at the Callout. Although Pedregon has yet to win a race, he is stable, especially in qualifying where he qualified twice in the top half of the field in 12 of the first 13 events. Pedregon’s resume also includes four Big Bud Shootout finals. ODDS: 10-1

Tim Wilkerson Levi, Ray & Shoup Mustang

Wilkerson held onto the last spot in the Pep Boys NHRA All-Star Callout field, and now his mission is to claim the $80,000 top prize. It’s also worth noting that Wilkerson has had a few Indy wins in 2001 and 2003, so he manages to find the winner’s circle at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park. ODDS: 12-1

TOP FUEL

Brittany Force Monster Energy

Force had the fastest car in Gainesville when this whole deal started, but of course that was almost six months ago. The 2017 world champion still has a great car and should have an above average chance of closing the deal in Indy. ODDS: 3-1

Steve Torrence Capco Contractors

If the Capco team hadn’t set the bar incredibly high with four consecutive world championships, no one would be saying much about their record this season. The fact is that this is still an elite team that should be able to win anytime, anywhere. After a final round in Topeka, it’s not unreasonable to think they could win the weekend. ODDS: 7-2

Mike Salinas Pep Boys/Scrappers Racing

The Scrappers team has cooled down a bit since their successful Summer Swing, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t competitive enough to take home the title here. Frankly, there isn’t much of a difference between the four cars left in the chase for the $80,000 top prize. ODDS: 4-1

Justin Ashley Phillips Connect

Ashley is fourth here as he had the slowest time on the first lap (3.72), while the other three drivers were in the 3.6s. That was a long time ago, of course, and conditions in Indy will be very, very different. It’s also worth pointing out that he won his first Top Fuel event at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park a few years ago. ODDS: 5-1