‘This is the U.S. Nationals and there is just something about it,” Neff said. “You just know there is a lot more at stake even though you try to tell yourself it’s just another race, but it’s just not. You can’t deny that.”
With Neff’s win, John Force Racing has taken home the last five U.S. Nationals trophies, showcasing the strength of the Brownsburg-based team at its home track.
“This place is kind of magic for it,” Neff said. “I think it’s the Castrol GTX that’s magic because that’s four-in-a-row for the Castrol GTX car because Ashley (Force-Hood) has two and now me two. We’re definitely bringing this thing back here.”
In the Pro Stock finals, No. 1 qualifier Erica Enders met teammate — her normal crew chief — and No. 15 qualifier Dave Connolly. Enders was looking to become the first female to win the U.S. Nationals in Pro Stock and win three races in row but the underdog did not roll over.
Connolly, a three-time winner, took victory with a final run of 6.589 seconds at 210.05 mph to Enders’ 6.580 seconds at 210. 31 mph.
Connolly has not raced in the U.S. Nationals since his back-to-back victories in 2007 and 08’ but beat the car he is usually in charge of tuning.
“It was definitely bittersweet in the final, running Erica,” Connolly said. “I think I’m more proud when she wins than when I do and I truly mean that. I hope she whupps my butt the next six finals. But it’s the U.S. Nationals and there is no laying over, it’s cutthroat.”
Brownsburg resident Andrew Hines, racing out of the Brownsburg Vance and Hines shop, won his first U.S. Nationals trophy in the Pro Stock Motorcycle class. Hines defeated 2009 winner Hector Arana with a run of 6.937 seconds at 191.70 mph.