Coughlin Jr, Schumacher, and Hight bring Wally’s home at Northwest Nationals in Seattle

By Briar Starr, NHRA Staff Writer 

With the regular season winding down and the action heating up for the Countdown on the horizon, the NHRA Camping World Series wrapped up their Western Swing by visiting Seattle for the first time in four years since 2019. 

There were many storylines heading into this weekend’s race. Those being could Robert Hight continue his 2022 Funny Car dominance? How will new Team Owners, Maynard Racing Family step up after being announced as majority owners over Don Schumacher Racing, and could Erica Enders seek a Western Swing sweep? 

All those questions were answered Sunday afternoon after a thrilling day of NHRA Camping World action with Hight taking career win No. 59 in Funny Car, Tony Schumacher ending a two-year drought and bringing home the Maynard Family’s first Wally, and Troy Coughlin Jr stopping Enders dominance and earned the first Pro Stock Wally of his NHRA career. 

Hight’s Dominance Continues

As it is in most sports, it’s hard to stop someone who is on a roll and the case could be said for Robert Hight and the John Force Racing team. Prior to last weekend’s loss at Sonoma, Hight was riding on a roll with two consecutive victories at Norwalk and Denver. Unfortunately, he lost at Sonoma which prevented him from sweeping the Western Swing, however, he had his eyes set on returning to the top spot once again.

Following the three rounds of qualifying, Hight had an surprise run of 4.003 and 315.71 mph, which put him in a first-round match with Toyota Racing’s Ron Capps who qualified in the eighth position with times of 4.024 and 312.64 mph. Hight was victorious in the round as Capps lost traction in the left lane, despite having an early advantage. Hight rocketed to 323.35 mph and 3.914 to advance to the quarterfinals, as he would face Alexis DeJoria. DeJoria defeated Jim Campbell in her first round to face Hight in the quarterfinals  As for last week’s winner Bob Tasca III, he qualified No. 1 for the first time in the 2022 season and eliminated Gary Densham with 3.939 and 323.66 mph run to advance.

When the second round came, Hight moved on again as he ran low ET of race day with a 3.960 pass over DeJoria, which would see him face a familiar opponent in the semis. That opponent would be his boss John Force, who was victorious against Tim Wilkerson in the second round, making a run of 3.965 and 323.97 mph. Also competing in the semis in a bye run was Kalitta Motorsports J.R. Todd. Todd defeated last week’s winner Bob Tasca III with a pass of 3.980 and 323.35 mph. As we’ve seen a lot in drag racing, Hight and Force squared off in the semis and once again, Hight won with a 3.976 pass, even though Force was quicker on the mph speed. Hight moved on to face Todd in the finals. The final was Todd’s first of the year. 

When the finals came, Hight had a quicker reaction time of .050 than Todd’s .068. It was a close drag race with a margin of victory being .0214 seconds. Hight ousted Todd with a 3.975 to a 3.978 for his sixth win of the 2022 season and the 59th of his career. 

“I’m blown away that at this point in the year we already have six wins,” said Hight, the No. 5 qualifier in the Automobile Club of Southern California Chevrolet Camaro SS who matched his career best for wins in a season. “But coming up we have a Countdown, and if we don’t do equally as good in the back half we’re not going to win a championship. That’s the goal for this Auto Club Chevy team.”

Todd earned his first runner-up of the year and the 22nd of his career. 

“This DHL team has really been working hard to get our GR Supra to the point of consistently going rounds and today we were able to do that,” said Todd, who is sitting in sixth place in the Funny Car point standings. “Really proud of our whole team and all the effort these guys put into today and this whole weekend. It’s hot out here and it was hot on the race track, but they never gave up. I would have loved to have gotten the win, but it was a close race and we know we’re right there knocking on the door. We’ll get one soon.”

Tony Schumacher Brings Home First Wally for Maynard Family Racing

In their first full week as majority owners, the Maynard Family was most certainly excited to head to Seattle for the Northwest Nationals in an attempt to bring home their first Wally. After all, they had every reason to be excited with the all-time Top Fuel winner Tony Schumacher behind the wheel of their dragster. Returning to the drag racing scene full-time in 2022 hasn’t been an easy one for the all-time great. He’s had some success here and there with just one semi-final that occurred in the four-wide race at Las Vegas earlier this year. Since then? He’s had one round win coming against Justin Ashley at Richmond but has lost in every first round since Epping, making him have a 5-12 record entering Seattle. However, the competition was going to be tough for Schumacher, as he was going to have to stop the dominating Brittany Force who has earned four races this season including a most recent victory at Sonoma last weekend.

The weekend was looking great for Schumacher as he qualified third with a pass of 3.830 and 315.78 mph in qualifying, seeing him face No. 14 qualifier, Scott Palmer, in round one. Meanwhile, Force scored the fifth qualifier of the season with a run of 3.753 and 327.35 mph Saturday night, which saw her face, Jim Maroney, in the first round. In the first round, Schumacher eliminated Palmer with a 3.852 and 294.75 mph run, as Palmer had cylinders coming out the header early. Additionally, Force easily grabbed her win against Maroney firing a 3.742 and 332.43 mph pass to face Josh Hart in the second round after Hart won over Clay Millican. 

Quarterfinals, Schumacher faced Shawn Langdon in what would be a close race. Schumacher had the starting line advantage and had to use a holeshot to get the victory over Langdon. Schumacher’s reaction time was .045, while Langdon’s was .121, giving him a third-round opponent of Justin Ashley. 

No. 1 qualifier Force continued her successful day winning another race over Hart in the quarterfinals. She would run a 3.791 and 327.59 mph pass over Hart to face Leah Pruett in the semis. Pruett advanced with a win over Doug Kalitta. 

As the semis rolled around, Force won by 2.5 seconds and eliminated Pruett to head to the finals. The same was said in a thrilling race with Schumacher and Ashley. Ashley’s car was all over the place in the right lane and ended up being disqualified after hitting blocks in the middle of the track thus seeing Schumacher collect the victory. 

For the finals, Force was seeking her fifth win of the season, while Schumacher was looking for his first. When the two dragsters left the starting line, Schumacher was faster with a .077 to Force’s .082, and when the two crossed the line, the victory went to Schumacher for the first time this season and the 86th time of his career. 

“This was a fantastic weekend, and talk about perfect timing,” said Schumacher from the Pacific Raceways media center following the momentous win. “Joe and Cathi Maynard, along with their partners Eric and Kim Lehman, buy the team with my dad, and here we go out and qualify third, which is our best qualifying performance by far all year. We’ve been struggling. We were having a tough time this year, a lot of awful luck, but we dug deep, worked hard, and made some big changes, and it paid off.”

“We went out today and got that first round win, and we were excited, and you look at that ladder and you’ve got Justin Ashley, Langdon, Brittany, and it’s like, what are you kidding me? This was not an easy one by any means. These guys are all great; they’re excellent on the starting line, and they all had lane choice. So, to be able to go out there today and have a race day like we had, it’s just exciting. It’s good for the sport, it’s good for Joe and Cathi Maynard, it and was good for my guys. It’s a tough sport, you’ve got to be able to overcome adversity, and when you have days like today, it’s a beautiful, beautiful thing.”

Force saw the 18th runner-up of her career. 

“It was a great weekend for this Flav-R-Pac team running at the first-ever Flav-R-Pac Northwest Nationals. I’m very proud to be teamed with a company like Flav-R-Pac. I was excited to see their colors painted all over the drag strip this weekend. “We had an awesome weekend. We qualified No. 1 and had a final round appearance. We stayed in the points lead, and that’s the most important thing. We’ll head to Topeka next.

Troy Coughlin Jr Secures Elusive Victory

The victory has been a long time coming for Troy Coughlin Jr and his Elite Motorsports team after eliminating Erica Enders in the finals. After all, Coughlin Jr has only seen three runner-up finishes in his 53-race Pro Stock career but has won in every other category in NHRA competition in lower divisions. The win didn’t come easy for Coughlin Jr, as he had to square off with a six-time 2022 winner Enders in the final round competition. Before we get there though, Enders qualified second while Coughin Jr was fourth on the sheets. Furthermore, everyone was keeping a watchful eye on Greg Anderson, who scored the No. 1 qualifier for the first time this season and was seeking his 100th career victory in Pro Stock.

In their respectful first rounds, Enders faced Chris McGaha, Coughlin Jr competed against Fernando Cuadra Sr, and Anderson had a bye run. All were successful and went to the second round with their wins. Cuadra Sr had the advantage when he left the line, but Coughlin Jr rallied from behind and took home the win by .0074. As for Enders, she set low ET with a 6.674 and 208.23 mph pass against McGaha. Coughlin Jr faced Camrie Caruso in the second round and won by going 6.619 over Caruso’s 6.635 and saw him advancing to the semis. Enders defeated Dallas Glenn by once again setting another low ET. This time she is quicker with a run of 6.594 and 209.72 mph.

Meanwhile, Anderson eliminated Fernando Cuadra Jr in the second round after Cuadra Jr fouled .-012 too soon on the line. This was important as Anderson was set up to face eventual winner Coughlin Jr in the semis and Enders faced a familiar foe, Aaron Stanfield. Even though Anderson was seeking his 100th career Pro Stock Wally, he will have to wait another day as he lost to Coughlin Jr in the semis. Coughlin Jr had a reaction time of .038 and easily advanced by 2.1 seconds over Anderson to see him in the finals for the second time this season. In the meantime, Enders won over Stanfield with a great side-by-side race and won with a margin of victory of .0130 in the semis. This meant we would see two teammates in the finals for the first time ever in their career, Enders and Coughlin Jr. 

While Ender’s reaction time of .026 was quicker than Coughlin Jr’s .032, Coughlin Jr came back with an ET of 6.638 over Ender’s 6.644 and won by a .0001. The victory was a special one for Coughlin Jr as this was the first win of his Pro Stock career. 

“It’s something else. I’ve watched my uncle Jeg win a ton of these races in the class of Pro Stock. My dad has won five or six. The monkey is off your back, but you want to keep going,” said Coughlin, who advanced to his fourth career final in the Camaro SS.

Enders ended up with her second runner-up of the season and the 30th of her career.

Official NHRA Camping World Series Results 

Funny Car

  1. Robert Hight 
  2. J.R. Todd 
  3. John Force 
  4. Tim Wilkerson 
  5. Alexis DeJoria 
  6. Bob Tasca III 
  7. Blake Alexander 
  8. Jim Campbell 
  9. Cruz Pedregon 
  10. Matt Hagan 
  11. Ron Capps 
  12. Gary Densham 

Top Fuel

  1. Tony Schumacher 
  2. Brittany Force 
  3. Leah Pruett 
  4. Justin Ashley 
  5. Shawn Langdon 
  6. Doug Kalitta 
  7. Josh Hart 
  8. Steve Torrence 
  9. Clay Millican 
  10. Antron Brown 
  11. Austin Prock 
  12. Alex Laughlin 
  13. Jim Maroney 
  14. Scott Palmer 
  15. Ron Smith 
  16. Mike Salinas 

Pro Stock

  1. Troy Coughlin Jr 
  2. Erica Enders 
  3. Aaron Stanfield 
  4. Greg Anderson 
  5. Dallas Glenn 
  6. Camrie Caruso 
  7. Kyle Koretsky 
  8. Fernando Cuadra Jr 
  9. Cristian Cuadra 
  10. Mason McGaha 
  11. Matt Hartford 
  12. Fernando Cuadra 
  13. Deric Kramer
  14. Chris McGaha 
  15. Bo Butner 

Official NHRA Camping World Series Points Standings

Funny Car

  1. Robert Hight, 1,250 
  2. Matt Hagan, -228
  3. Ron Capps, -294
  4. John Force, -341
  5. Bob Tasca III, -453
  6. J.R. Todd, -542
  7. Cruz Pedregon, -564
  8. Alexis DeJoria, -591
  9. Tim Wilkerson, -676
  10. Jim Campbell, -793

Top Fuel

  1. Brittany Force, 1,083 
  2. Mike Salinas, -5
  3. Justin Ashley, -173
  4. Steve Torrence, -221
  5. Josh Hart, -394
  6. Leah Pruett, -410
  7. Shawn Langdon, -426
  8. Doug Kalitta, -459 
  9. Austin Prock, -481
  10. Clay Millican, -500 

Pro Stock

  1. Erica Enders, 1,078 
  2. Aaron Stanfield, -103
  3. Kyle Koretsky, -355
  4. Greg Anderson, -402
  5. Dallas Glenn, -464
  6. Mason McGaha, -506
  7. Troy Coughlin Jr, -507
  8. Camrie Caruso, -539 
  9. Matt Hartford, -557
  10. Bo Butner, – 603

Up Next: The NHRA Camping World Series will take a one-week hiatus next weekend before returning to action August 12-14 for the Menards NHRA Nationals in Topeka, Kansas. 

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