The NHRA’s national event stop at super scenic Maple Grove Raceway in the heart of Pennsylvania was once again one for the record books. This 33rd annual version saw numerous Bowtie-brand drivers standing tall after the final rounds on Sunday afternoon.
The NHRA’s Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Sportsman division featured a slew of title wins by Chevrolet cars, and the color red was commonplace in victory lane following wins by Karl Martel, Byron Worner, and Kevin Robb.
Martel, who is from Dover, Delaware, had a remarkable weekend racing his marvelous 427ci-powered 1969 Camaro in Stock Eliminator. Martel, a hands-down fan favorite throughout the event, rode out high-flying wheelstands to win lights to earn his first-ever NHRA national event win. Martel prevailed over the course of seven rounds of racing, culminating with a final round e.t. of 10.262 at 121.96 mph to top his opponent, Lenny Williams.
The event’s Super Stock title went to the GT/HA 1994 Camaro raced by Bryon Worner (Duncannon, Pennsylvania), who topped a very tough field from the number 33 qualifier position. Worner, the 2013 NHRA National Champ in Super Stock, earned his sixth-career national event win when he held off Anthony Bertozzi in the championship round—hitting a winning 9.862 e.t against his 9.85 dial-in.
Racing his bright-red and topless ’63 Corvette, Kevin Robb emerged victorious in the Super Gas 9.90 index class when he beat the Camaro of former NHRA World Champion Ray Sawyer in the super-close and double-break-out final round: 9.899 to a 9.892. Robb, who is from Denver, Pennsylvania, had won six grueling rounds of competition before that. It was the Robb’s fourth career NHRA national event title and his second in the SG class.
A former Pro Stock racer was the winner in Competition Eliminator. New Jersey’s Tom Martino, who has five career NHRA Pro Stock class wins, had a driving stint in the Voight Racing 2008 Chevy Cobalt H/Altered car. Martino guided that show-quality machine into victory lane after he defeated the Chevy S-10 B/T raced by Scott Benham in the final round.
In Pro Stock, the Chevrolet brand continued its undefeated domination of the category for 2017 when Bo Butner emerged victorious, scoring his fourth win of the season. Butner, who is from Indiana, overcame a superior start by his opponent, KB Racing teammate and fellow 2017 Camaro racer, Greg Anderson, in the final round to win with a 6.613 e.t. at 209.95 mph to Anderson’s 6.660 at 206.95.
Butner, who qualified Number One with a 6.554 e.t., had defeated Val Smeland, Erica Enders-Stevens, and Allen Johnson in earlier competition. This victory moved him into the overall NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series points lead after the second of six playoff round races.
Scroll through to view our extensive photo gallery from the 2017 Dodge NHRA Nationals event at Maple Grove Raceway.
Photos by Bruce Biegler, Phil Hutchison, Dave DeAngelis