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NHRA descends on Monument Circle to promote U.S. Nationals

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Monument Circle turned into a racing fans dream when the NHRA held its annual kickoff event downtown to promote the U.S. Nationals, the biggest event of the year.

Ten-time champion Tony Schumacher says it feels like home to him after all of his top fuel success.

“It’s a lucky place for us,” said the driver of the US. Army dragster. “It’s a beautiful track, a high-pressured race. It’s more difficult every year. Nobody’s won eleven, and we’re a team capable of it.”

Antron Brown is the points leader, and will give him a battle. As will up-and-coming driver Leah Pritchett, who had to rally one year ago just to get a ride for this season. She’s made the most of it in her Papa John’s ride, standing 3rd in points.

“We come in here with a lot of momentum after breaking a record last week in Brainerd, Minnesota,” said Pritchett. “But this is what we’ve been striving for, running with all the big teams. This is when it counts, and like that Raiders guy used to say, just win baby!”

One driver who knows how tin win? 68-year old funny car vet John Force, who has a stable of cars and drivers capable of winning The Wally, the trophy representing a U.S. Nationals champion.

The winningest driver in NHRA history says this event has changed over the years, but the support is as strong as ever.

“The heart of the city is what it’s all about,” said Force. “Our crowds are great, the television coverage on FOX is fantastic, they come to see our cars here. It’s going to be great. Our team hasn’t had as many wins as we would have liked so far this season, but we are capable of it. That’s what we want to get back to.”

The U.S. Nationals run from August 31 through Labor Day at Lucas Oil Raceway in Brownsburg.