It really is tasking to properly summarize and capture the feel of drag racing’s ultimate annual event: NHRA’s Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis.
The 63rd edition, held at the iconic Lucas Oil Raceway, once again commingled the who’s-who for both professional and sportsman drag racing with the end result being a highly entertaining racing product witnessed by a near capacity fan base.
As it seemingly happens every event edition, Chevrolet-brand drag racers were impactful at Indy, either through record-smashing performances or eliminator victories. The 2017 version was both representative and also atypical of that, as many new names were added to the annals of this race’s historic ledger.
The completion was certainly seeing “red” as both the event’s Pro Stock and Factory Stock Showdown final rounds featured marque and all-red-painted Camaro matches.
When Indiana’s own Drew Skillman used a holeshot in the Pro Stock final round to beat Greg Anderson, that was Skillman’s fourth win of the season. Prior to that, Skillman had waded through a Camaro-dominated field by beating Jeg Coughlin Jr., Chris McGaha, and Tanner Gray.
The impact of winning at Indy was immediate for the sophomore racer. “There is a very small list of things I’d really like to do in life,” Skillman said after the race. “And this (winning Indy) is one of them. This was something that I really wanted to do.”
Monday’s late-afternoon final rounds included the championship round for the Sam Tech-presented Factory Stock Showdown. In that spectacular race, Pennsylvania’s David Barton prevailed when he took the Wolkwitz Racing 2017 COPO past the 2016 COPO driven by Louisiana’s Stephen Bell. That was Barton’s fifth career win in the exciting and quick-developing class that features heads-up and pro tree FS/XX class car exclusively.
The myriad of Chevrolet-brand highlights and success stories was a very long list at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals.
Beginning with Thursday’s prestigious Stock Eliminator class runoffs, which featured wins by racers like J. Allen Sherman (B/SA), Victor Cagnazzi (FS/D), Jim Boburka (FS/C), and Daren Poole-Adams (FS/F), just to name a few – to Ernie Neal’s unreal run at 1.568 seconds under his index in his 2005 Cavalier to pace a 128-car Super Stock program through to Monday’s final round wins by Kevin Adams in his Chevy Nova in Super Gas and by Brazil’s Sidnei Frigo’s turbocharged C7 in J&A Service Pro Mod—it really was a race of remarkable pace.
Racing fans attending Indy got a very special treat when Ben Wenzel’s truly iconic 1967 Camaro—the very first Camaro ever built for drag racing and the longest lasting—lined up against Erica Enders-Stevens’ 2017 COPO—a most-recent product built from Chevrolet.
That snapshot, and for-the-ages exhibition run effectively captured the essence and history of the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals!
Check out this extensive Chevy High Performance photo gallery from the NHRA Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals!
Photos: Bruce Biegler