RECAP: Robert Hight, Leah Pruett, Matt Hartford, Matt Smith Take NHRA Victories At 2022 Mile High Nationals

Following a few weeks off, the NHRA Camping World Series headed west to start their annual Western Swing this past weekend in Morrison, Colorado at Bandimere Speedway

As usual, the series didn’t disappoint as all four series Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock, and Pro Stock Motorcycle saw some great action and some upsets in round action, and another first-time team owner winner as well. With that said, at the end of the day we saw Robert Hight (Funny Car), Leah Pruett (Top Fuel), Matt Hartford (Pro Stock), and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) take home their respective class victories. 


  1. Top Fuel – It’s been nearly a year since Leah Pruett last visited victory lane. In fact, the last time the Tony Stewart Racing driver visited victory lane came at Pomona I last summer, just three races after the Denver nationals where she had a quarterfinal loss to Joey Haas. However, one year later, she was determined to bounce back and turn around from what’s not been an easy year with five first-round losses to date. Following the first two rounds of qualifying from Friday, she was the provisional No. 1 qualifier with a 3.788 and 326.79 mph. Unfortunately, she was bumped from that spot by Brittany Force who went 3.758 and 325.61 mph to earn the No. 1 spot forcing Pruett to the third position with an effort of 3.771 and 322.50 mph, which was good enough for a first-round match with No. 14 qualifier Antron Brown. Brown’s 2022 season woes continued Sunday morning with a first-round loss to Pruett with Pruett winning 3.910 and 308.50 mph to Brown’s 4.189 and 231.79 mph. Pruett then moved on to the second round to face Clay Millican and was victorious there with a 4.059 to Millican’s 4.192 after Millican began losing traction in the left lane.  From there, she moved to the semi-finals with a match-up of familiar foe Justin Ashley. Despite not having the advantage against Ashley as Ashley was 5-4 with Pruett, the Tony Stewart Racing driver had a perfect A to B run and never trailed and advanced to the final for the first time this season. In the finals, she met Kalitta Motorsports driver Shawn Langdon in what would be a wild round. As the two cars rolled up to the line, Langdon’s car could not fire and ended up breaking which saw Pruett go down the track by herself and pick up the 10th win of her career. 
    “This is absolutely everything. We have the best fans in the entire nation,” Pruett said about the victory. “This is my favorite track. I’ve been trying to be emotionless all day just to do my job, but this is for Neal Strausbaugh (crew chief), Mike Domagala (co-crew chief), Ryan McGilvry (car chief), and my entire Dodge Power Brokers crew that has been flawless all weekend. I told you guys a long time ago it was coming and I couldn’t be prouder than to do it at a place like this. Thank you, Bandimere. This is the first Top Fuel win for Tony Stewart Racing, so hearing those words will never get old. For those that don’t know, Tony won his Camping World SRX Series race last night. We wanted to keep the wins in the family and get another win, so that was great. What you guys are seeing here is pure gratitude for my team and the belief that Tony has had in us. We’ve had a tough season so far, but the team is optimistic and this is deserved long-term goals and you’re seeing the short-term results of it.”For Langdon’s efforts, he had victories over Greg Carrillo, Mike Salinas, and Josh Hart before being unable to compete in the finals and seeing his 20th runner-up of his career. 

    “That was a very frustrating end to a great day for this DHL Toyota team,” said Langdon. “My guys worked so hard all day and delivered a great car. We made some great runs. In the final, we are still diagnosing exactly what happened, but it is a major bummer to get up there and not have a shot at it. It’s tough to think big picture right now, but again, I’m proud of the effort of my team.”

    “We have now gone to two of the last three final rounds. If we keep delivering this consistency, I know we will get back into the winner’s circle soon. Thank you to all of our partners, DHL, CMR, Revchem, Toyota – everybody that allows us to do what we love to do. We will get back after it in Sonoma.”

  2. Funny Car – A usual competitor of John Force Racing ended up in the winner circle at the end of the day for the fifth and second consecutive time in 2022. Robert Hight earned his 58th career Funny Car victory after eliminating Bob Tasca in the finals. Hight qualified second with an ET of 3.929 and 323.58 mph that saw him face No. 13 Terry Haddock in Round 1. Hight is successful in first rounds normally winning 76% of the time and was 9-1 heading into his match-up with Haddock. Off the line, Hight won with a 4.035 and 319.07 mph to Haddock’s 4.394 and 229.98 mph. One other thing to note in this first round was an upset alert. Jack Wyatt out of Iowa eliminated No. 1 qualifier, Matt Hagan, as Wyatt went 4.182 and Hagan was 4.913. Tasca advanced to the quarterfinals with a win over Chad Green. Heading into the second round, Hight would face Tim Wilkerson and win with a 4.253 after Wilkerson moved over toward the centerline, hitting the cylinder blocks causing a disqualification. Tasca moved on with a win over Ron Capps to face Jack Wyatt in the semis. In the semis, Hight faced his Team Owner John Force and had a 31-29 advantage over Force. He improved that win record by getting a holeshot victory with a .056 to Force’s .112. Meanwhile, Tasca won over Wyatt to face Hight in the finals. The finals saw a great race between the two competitors, but the victory went to Hight with a 4.065 to Tasca’s 4.263 and moved his record to 3-0 in the finals over Tasca. 
    “Good job by this Auto Club team. Their back was to the wall all day,” said Hight, who increased his Funny Car points lead with the victory. “We didn’t have lane choice the last two rounds and that was a masterful job of getting this race car down the track. Jimmy (Prock) and Chris (Cunningham) did on a little tougher lane. “To have five wins at this point in the season, it’s surreal. Everything is working from top to bottom and we’re just going to try to stay focused and keep working. It’s been a great first half of the season, but these next 11 are going to be even tougher.”

    Tasca earned his second runner-up of the season and the 14th of his career. 

  3. Pro Stock – In 2022, Pro Stock has been the Erica and Aaron show for most of the season with Erica picking up five wins and Stanfield two wins. The two drivers have faced each other a lot in the finals, but on this particular day, the Pro Stock finals saw a new driver which was Matt Hartford who was slated to face than none other Aaron Stanfield. Hartford qualified in the seventh spot with a time of 6.957 seconds and 196.87 mph to face No. 10 qualifier, Deric Kramer. Hartford rocketed off the line with a victorious ET of 6.980 to Kramer’s 7.029, good enough to face Mason McGaha in the quarterfinals. For Stanfield, the No. 1 qualifier, he easily won in a bye to face Bo Butner in the second round. In the quarterfinals, Stanfield eliminated Butner with a 6.995 pass and Hartford won over McGaha with a 6.991 pass. Moving on to the semis, Stanfield won over Troy Coughlin Jr while Hartford eliminated Cristian Cuadra after Cuadra fouled .0.001 too early. As Stanfield and Hartford faced each other in the finals, Hartford was off the line first with a 0.004 reaction time to Stanfield’s 0.0041. With that reaction time, Hartford picked up his first win of the season and fifth of his career. “I love Bandimere, but it’s a hard facility to race at,” Hartford said. “Since Epping, we’ve turned our program around and come race day I know we’re going to have a top car. It would eat me up every time I watched the finals versus Greg in ’19. It’s a hard pill to swallow knowing if I would have driven better, I could have won that race. But to have this redemption it’s great for this team. Coming up here, it’s an equalizer and anyone can win on race day, but I was relaxed, and I knew I had a great car.”

    Stanfield was granted the fourth runner-up of the 2022 season and the sixth of his career.

  4. Pro Stock Motorcycle – The Mile High Nationals 2022 weekend will be a weekend that Matt Smith and associates won’t forget in a long time. After switching over to a Suzuki bike a few weeks ago, the domination started with a solid qualifying effort of 7.090 and 189.79 mph to give him his 49th No. 1 qualifier of his career. The No. 1 spot gave Smith a bye in the first round with a low-class count of 13 bikes. Smith advanced to the second round with a win over Marc Ingwersen. Smith beat Ingwersen with a 7.013 and 189.97 mph pass to face Norwalk winner Angelle Sampey in the semis. There in the semis, Smith went 7.121 over Sampey’s 7.253 to face Joey Gladstone in the finals. It would be the first time ever in Smith and Gladstone’s career the two would face each other. Even though Gladstone had the quicker reaction time of 0.018, Smith won with an ET of 7.097 over Gladstone’s 7.163. The victory was Smith’s 34th of his career and second of the season. “This is the bike that won this race last year and it paid off,” Smith said. “We qualified No. 1, won the race, and set both ends of track record. I can’t ask for much more than that. I really wish I’d have run Angie in the final, but something happened to her bike in the (semifinals). Her bike slowed up, but Denso took the win and that’s most important.”
NHRA Top Fuel Results 
  1. Leah Pruett
  2. Shawn Langdon 
  3. Josh Hart
  4. Justin Ashley
  5. Mike Salinas 
  6. Brittany Force
  7. Clay Millican 
  8. Austin Prock 
  9. Steve Torrence
  10. Doug Kalitta
  11. Terry Totten 
  12. Alex Laughlin 
  13. Tony Schumacher
  14. Antron Brown 
  15. Cameron Ferre 
  16. Greg Carrilo 
NHRA Funny Car 
  1. Robert Hight 
  2. Bob Tasca III 
  3. John Force
  4. Jack Wyatt
  5. J.R. Todd
  6. Ron Capps
  7. Tim Wilkerson 
  8. Chad Green
  9. Alexis DeJoria 
  10. Jim Campbell 
  11. Cruz Pedregon 
  12. Terry Haddock
  13. Matt Hagan
  14. Paul Lee
NHRA Pro Stock
  1. Matt Hartford
  2. Aaron Stanfield 
  3. Cristian Cuadra
  4. Troy Coughlin Jr 
  5. Mason McGaha
  6. Bo Butner
  7. Fernando Cuadra Jr
  8. Chris McGaha
  9. Erica Enders
  10. Dallas Glenn
  11. Kyle Koretsky 
  12. Camrie Caruso 
  13. Deric Kramer
  14. Greg Anderson 
  15. Fernando Cuadra 
NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle 
  1. Matt Smith
  2. Joey Gladstone
  3. Angie Smith
  4. Angelle Sampey
  5. Eddie Krawiec
  6. Marc Ingwersen 
  7. Jerry Savoie 
  8. Steve Johnson 
  9. Karen Stoffer
  10. Jim Underdahl 
  11. Ryan Oehler 
  12. Jianna Evaristo 
  13. Kelly Clontz 

Official NHRA Camping World Points Standings 

NHRA Top Fuel 
  1. Mike Salinas, 877 points 
  2. Brittany Force, -10
  3. Justin Ashley, -92 
  4. Steve Torrence, -133
  5. Josh Hart, -295
  6. Leah Pruett, -337
  7. Austin Prock, -339
  8. Shawn Langdon, -348
  9. Clay Millican, -358
  10. Doug Kalitta, -385
NHRA Funny Car
  1. Robert Hight, 1,050 points
  2. Matt Hagan, -95 
  3. Ron Capps, -166
  4. John Force, -314
  5. Bob Tasca III, -435
  6. Cruz Pedregon, -457
  7. J.R. Todd, -487
  8. Alexis DeJoria, -527
  9. Tim Wilkerson, -562
  10. Chad Green, -610
NHRA Pro Stock 
  1. Erica Enders, 853 points 
  2. Aaron Stanfield, -35
  3. Kyle Koretsky, -259
  4. Dallas Glenn, -346
  5. Greg Anderson, -362
  6. Mason McGaha, -367
  7. Matt Hartford, -395
  8. Camrie Caruso, -398
  9. Deric Kramer, -444
  10. Troy Coughlin Jr, -460
NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle 
  1. Steve Johnson, 525 points
  2. Angelle Sampey, -10 
  3. Matt Smith, -19
  4. Joey Gladstone, -46
  5. Angie Smith, -58
  6. Karen Stoffer, -59
  7. Eddie Krawiec, -91
  8. Jerry Savoie, -130
  9. Marc Ingwersen, -179 
  10. Jim Underdahl, -234

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