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The latest update as of August 26, 2021

It's been a busy couple of weeks in the drag racing world and we've got some serious catching up ahead of us. Let's get started by showing the latest updated points standings for the NHRA Top Alcohol classes, following the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd, MN last weekend. There was also an Eastern Region event at Epping, NH's iconic New England Dragway, but the final rounds were rained out and won't be completed until mid-September (TAD) and a TBD date (TAFC). Hence, the points highlighted in yellow on the spreadsheets below, which indicates the points have not been awarded yet, nor the event counted towards their maximum allowed.

NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster & Funny Car Standings

NOTE: Click on the images to see a larger - and easier to read - version of these tables

TAD National Points Standings - August 22, 2021

What a difference a few weeks can make, and in Shawn Cowie's case, it wasn't the best of times. Following his big win - over a very small field - at the much-delayed Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals on August 1st, it's been all downhill for him since then. Going into the next event on the NHRA national event calendar, the Menards NHRA Nationals at Topeka, Cowie was tied with Rachel Meyer for the points lead. At a regional event (Great Bend, KS) on the weekend following the Winternationals, Meyer opened up a big lead (85 points) as she won the event.

Then Cowie's first round loss at Topeka, coupled with Meyer's event win, put him 139 points behind in the championship chase. Last weekend, at Brainerd, Shawn had a golden opporunity to close the gap as he met Meyer in the second round of eliminations, but an oh-so-close loss (5.178 - 281.01 to 5.188 - 279.85) that saw a margin of just two feet at the finish line, put an end to his weekend. Despite Meyer losing to eventual event winner Rich McPhillips Jr. in the semi-finals, her lead over Cowie grew to 150 points going into this coming weekend. (More on that later).

A few other racers made moves, both up and down the charts, with McPhillips jumping from #12 all the way to #8 for his first venture into the Top Ten this season. Multi-time national champion (four so far) Joey Severance continued his climb up the ladder with a runner-up finish to move into #5, pushing Jianna Salinas down one notch to #6. Two racers who have at least runner-up points in limbo, Jackie Fricke (#4) and Karen Stalba (#11) will have to wait until the in September to be able to count those points and presumably move up in the standings.

TAFC National Points Standings - August 22, 2021

In sharp contrast with all the moves in the dragster standings, the two racers at the top of the TAFC charts, Sean Bellemeur and Doug Gordon didn't compete and didn't see their lead(s) threatened. Even though the #3 racer, Bob McCosh Jr. was runnerup at Brainered, he only closed the gap to 79 points, and both Bellemeur and Gordon have a race or two in hand over McCosh. The biggest move was by #6 Kyle Smith who continued his hot streak, taking his third event win in his last four outings, and continued his climb to the top half of the Top Ten.

Due to the incomplete eliminations at Epping, #5 D. J. Cox Jr. (who has earned at least 64 points at that race) was unable to advance and challenge Kris Hool for the #4 position, but when the Epping final round is run, he could well be in a position to challenge for at least the #3 spot in the final standings. There weren't any moves in the current standings as only THREE, yes THREE Top Alcohol Funny Cars competed at Brainerd, following a 9-car field at Topeka. And the Eastern regional event had just four entries.

One reason for the short fields can be traced to the BIG prize money being offered in the Mid-West Drag Racing Series this year. With $10,000 to win (for an 8-car field) and a further $1,000 for low qualifier, it's tempting for racers to skip the NHRA events when there's an MWDRS race on the same date. Instead of going to Brainerd, Sean Bellemeur, Chris Marshall, Annie Whiteley, and some lower ranked - but serious competitors - Bill Bernard, Mark Billington, and Bryan Brown (all of whom compete regularly at NHRA regional and national events) went to Great Bend, KS to race. Bellemeur currently leads the MWDRS points standings, and all of the racers listed above (except Billington) have attended all three of the Mid-West events contested in 2021.

Finally, for all the Top Alcohol racers, there are not one, not two, but three regional events on tap this coming weekend, with the postponed Eastern regional at Reading, PA, the North Central regional at Bowling Green, KY, and the Western regional at Acton, MT, all happening simulataneously. While racer turnouts at the regional level have been mostly on the small side, and with the U.S. Nationals taking place next weekend, there will almost certainly be short fields at most, if not all, the venues running this week. However, those valuable Lucas Oil points are available for those competing and we're getting to the point in the season where every race could have an effect on the final standings.

We'll do our best to keep you updated throughout the weekend, but with a pair of big birthday parties tomorrow and Saturday and a neighbourhood pot-luck party on Sunday... it might be Monday-ish before we can get all the points updates done. Stay tuned!