CLERMONT, Ind – I don’t know why it hasn’t caught on yet, but the bracket style format that the Mello Yello NHRA Drag Racing Series uses to determine race winners has been another hit in the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals.
Last year, we saw upsets galore. This year, while we did see some upsets again, the 2018 edition will be looked back on with how the legends of this sport were knocked out early.
John Force, Tony Schumacher, Ron Capps and Jack Beckman were all eliminated from the first round of action in their respectively divisions on Monday afternoon. Then, Antron Brown, Courtney Force, Robert Hight, Steve Torrence, Clay Millican, Greg Anderson and Erika Enders were bounced a round later.
That’s a lot of star power that was gone by mid afternoon at the Lucas Oil Raceway.
How strong is this group?
There’s 12 US Nationals Top Fuel victories as well as 12 Funny Car wins in this race knocked out before we even got to the semifinals.
In terms of Top Fuel, Torrence and Schumacher won each of the last two years and neither made it past the second round. Torrence, is the current points leader and saw his third defeat in the first or second round in the last nine races.
Schumacher, has 10 U.S. Nationals wins, most ever, 84 career Top Fuel race wins, most ever and eight championships, again most ever. He was knocked out in the first round by Billy Torrence.
John Force has 16 Funny Car titles, most ever, 149 wins, most ever and four U.S. Nationals wins. He lost in the first round to Robert Hight.
Take this stat, among the top four in career wins in Top Fuel competition, both didn’t last past the second round. Three of the top four in all-time wins in Funny Car were bounced in either the first or second rounds. Half of the drivers in the top 10 of most wins in Funny Car competition ever lost in the first or second round on Monday.
Greg Anderson has the second most wins ever in Pro Stock and he lost in the second round.
In terms all all-time victories in NHRA, the first, third, fifth and seventh ranked drivers all lost on Monday.
Most elimination wins, eight active drivers are in the top 30, all lost in either the first or second round.
That’s how wild Monday’s eliminations were.