Story By: NHRA – INDIANAPOLIS, IN – During what could be the best season in his standout Funny Car career, points leader and three-time world champion Robert Hight has the opportunity to add another special moment during this weekend’s Pep Boys NHRA Funny Car All-Star Callout.
The specialty race takes part on Sunday during this weekend’s prestigious Dodge Power Brokers NHRA U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway Indianapolis Raceway Park, pitting eight of the top Funny Car drivers against each other.
The unique twist is Hight, who is seeded first among the eight drivers, will get the first selection among the drivers for his first-round opponent. Defending world champ Ron Capps, who is seeded second, would get the next pick if he is not called out, followed by Matt Hagan and John Force until all the opening round matchups are set. Cruz Pedregon is seeded fifth, with Bob Tasca III, who has three wins in the last four races, Alexis DeJoria, and Tim Wilkerson round out the field.
So, who will Hight pick for his first-round opponent? Even the six-time event winner in 2022 isn’t sure of that answer yet.
“We’re going to have some fun with it, but these are the top eight Funny Cars in the country,” Hight said. “It’s going to be exciting, and I hope the fans love it because I like this format. It’s going to be a lot of fun to see how it all plays out, but the crew chiefs and myself, we’ll all get together and figure out who we want to call out. Any of these eight cars can win on any given weekend and that’s what is going to make it fun for the fans.”
Starting with Hight, the official first-round callouts will take place at 2 p.m. ET on Saturday, Sept. 3 at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park, with the competition taking place the next day. The Pep Boys NHRA All-Star Funny Car Callout will begin with the opening round at 1:20 p.m. ET on Sunday, the semifinals at 2:45 p.m. and the final round at 4:55 p.m.
The callout aspect isn’t over after the first round, either. After the must-see opening round, the driver who makes the quickest winning run in the first round will get to select their semifinal opponent, automatically locking in the other matchup as well.
With a $130,000 total purse, including an $80,000 prize, an already huge weekend at the Big Go can get even more memorable for the standouts in Funny Car, something that isn’t lost on Hight.
“There’s a lot of history of having a specialty race here in Indy, so it’s a big moment for this race,” Hight said. “I hope everyone is watching and following what the drivers are doing and who they’re calling out. You’re going to have to go through everybody, but I want to win this thing.”
The field in the Pep Boys NHRA Funny Car All-Star Callout is just as eager to see how it all goes down in Indy.
RON CAPPS: “As a team, we’re going to have a meeting and see who we want to pick. I’m so happy they brought something like this back and the callout aspect has brought a whole new element to what’s going to happen. You can’t even pick the worst car because it’s impossible with this group. It’s still the best in the world. It’s the top eight cars and there’s nobody weak in this group. The fans are going to have fun with it and they’re going to love it.
MATT HAGAN: “We’re honestly excited to have the opportunity to go out here and race. Being able to be involved, getting the adrenaline up, and being in that zone, that’s what does it for me. It’s just incredible to have another race like this within the race. You have to take everyone seriously, so it’s going to be cool. They’re all awesome competitors and no matter who we pick if we don’t get picked before that, it’s going to be tough for me and everybody in Funny Car. We’re going to have our hands full no matter what.”
CRUZ PEDREGON: “I love that we’re having this event. It’s a nice bonus for the team that wins it before you get into the big race on Monday. A big thank you to Pep Boys for that and I’m just happy to be involved. We’re trying to get back on track with our car and it’s just great that we have another all-star race on Sunday. It’s the time of year to shine and I think we saw some signs of life in our car in Brainerd.”
JOHN FORCE: “I appreciate the fact Pep Boys has gotten involved to add this to our biggest race. I think it will give the fans something else to see and the competition will be great. They’re all great teams that are in it. I’m excited to be a part of it and I enjoy the competition, so it’s fun. But I try to win every race and that’s what it’s all about.”
ALEXIS DEJORIA: I’m just happy to be a part of it. Even if I’m being called out, we’re just happy to be involved in it. Don’t count us out and don’t count this team out. I like to go first, and I wouldn’t mind being picked first. Having the chance to win something like that before the actual race on Monday, it’s motivating. I think it’s incredible and it breaks things up with a race within a race. We love it and the fans love it.”
Full schedule for the Pep Boys NHRA Funny Car All-Star Callout (ET):
Saturday, Sept. 3:
- 2:00 PM – Pep Boys NHRA Top Fuel All-Star Callout first-round selections. Robert Hight gets the first selection, followed by the next highest-seeded driver until all matchups are set.
Sunday, Sept. 4
- 11:45 AM – Pep Boys NHRA Top Fuel All-Star Callout autograph session at the Pep Boys midway display
- 11:30 AM – Pep Boys NHRA Top Fuel All-Star Callout opening ceremonies
- 1:20 PM – First round for Pep Boys NHRA Top Fuel All-Star Callout. The driver who makes the quickest winning run in the opening round will pick their semifinal opponent.
- 2:45 PM – Pep Boys NHRA Top Fuel All-Star Callout semifinals.
- 4:55 PM – Pep Boys NHRA Top Fuel All-Star Callout final round
Television coverage of the Pep Boys NHRA All-Star Funny Car Callout will take place on Sunday from 4-5:30 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1 (FS1).
Pep Boys NHRA Top Fuel All-Star Callout Final Standings
1. Robert Hight
2. Ron Capps
3. Matt Hagan
4. Cruz Pedregon
5. John Force
6. Bob Tasca III
7. Alexis DeJoria
8. Tim Wilkerson
(Note: Hight will get first selection for the opening round, followed by the next highest-seeded driver until matchups are set.)