INDIANAPOLIS, IN. (September 4rd, 2016) The annual Traxxas Nitro Shootout took place in between Sunday’s qualifying rounds at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals. It’s a specialty race with 8 drivers who race for a $100,000 check, trophy, and bragging rights. The ladder was comprised of 7 winners of Mello Yello national events from earlier this season, the 8th spot was voted on by the fans and picked in a lottery. The Funny Car field was comprised of Ron Capps, Courtney Force, Matt Hagan, Robert Hight, Tommy Johnson Jr., Tim Wilkerson, Alexis Dejoria, voted in to the eighth and final spot was 16x Funny Car champion, John Force.
In the first round of the Traxxas Nitro Shootout, number one seed, Ron Capps had a scary ride down the racetrack after he took out John Force for the round win. Capps shoots failed to fully deploy and sent him flying into the sand trap before the car came to a stop and rolled over. Capps emerged visibly upset but unhurt. “I didn’t feel the ‘chutes hit. So I hit the [release] button a few more times, and then it was into survival mode,” Capps recalls. “I went through the checklist – get on the brakes, make sure the fuel shutoff is off – and I was on the brakes so hard that I’m sure the [brake] fluid was bubbling. I figured this was it and I braced myself for something I’ve never done. I’ve never been into the sand at a high rate of speed like that and I wanted to put it in [to the sand trap] at a little bit of an angle. I put it into a little bit of a slide and it worked until right at the end when it caught and flipped into the net.”
Capps’ Funny Car chassis and body had to be retired and replaced with a backup before continuing with his day. Per NHRA rules, Capps was not able race the backup car in the Traxxas Nitro Shootout. However, he was able to run the backup car in the remaining qualifying sessions for Sunday as well as the race on Monday. This snafu gave Robert Hight a bye run into the finals against John Force Racing teammate, Courtney Force who beat Matt Hagan in the second round.
In the final round it was Courtney Force who powdered her Chevrolet Camaro down the racetrack for the win. Force pocketed the $100,000 check and got to hoist the trophy. Force ran a 4.018 at 266.64 mph to best Robert Hight’s 4.596 at 180.09 mph. This is Courtney’s first win in the Traxxas Nitro Shootout, which also happens to be her primary sponsor.