Story By: NHRA – TEMECULA, CA – Multi-time world champions Brittany Force, Ron Capps, Erica Enders and Matt Smith were crowned Monday evening during the 2022 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series awards ceremony at the Pechanga Resort Casino in scenic Southern California Wine Country.
The four standout drivers were honored for their season-long achievements and presented with their trophies for winning 2022 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series championships during a memorable Countdown to the Championship playoffs.
Force picked up her second Top Fuel championship and earned the top prize from NHRA and Camping World following a banner season in the loaded category. She clinched the championship with her first-round victory in Pomona, as the record-breaking driver of the 11,000-horsepower Monster Energy/Flav-R-Pac dragster picked up five wins and 10 No. 1 qualifiers – along with a plethora of track records and the fastest run in Top Fuel history – during her banner 2022 campaign.
In his first year as a team owner, Capps became the first repeat Funny Car champion in 20 years, outlasting Robert Hight on the final day in Pomona to claim his third career world championship. His semifinal win, coupled with Hight’s second-round loss at the NHRA Finals, secured the championship for Capps in his 11,000-horsepower NAPA Auto Parts Toyota GR Supra. In all, Capps picked up five wins this season, earning his second straight NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series championship.
Enders was recognized for her Pro Stock dominance on Monday as well, as the star driver rolled to her fifth career championship and third in the past four years. She clinched the title in Las Vegas, winning four of the first five races in the Countdown to the Championship in her Melling Performance/Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro. Enders also enjoyed her best season to date, picking up 10 wins and advancing to 13 final rounds, with her Vegas win capping off a spectacular season.
Pro Stock Motorcycle’s Matt Smith laid claim to his third straight world championship on his Denso Auto Parts Buell, also earning his sixth career title. That ties him with Andrew Hines and Dave Schultz for the most in class history, with Smith winning four of those crowns in the past five years. This season, Smith picked up four wins and advanced to six finals, winning on both a Suzuki and Buell over the course of the season.
Pro Stock’s Camrie Caruso won the NHRA Rookie of the Year award after a standout debut season in her Powerbuilt Tools Chevrolet Camaro. Caruso qualified at all 19 races and advanced to the Countdown to the Championship playoffs, earning her first No. 1 qualifier in Houston. She also advanced to the final round there, where she joined points leader Enders as part of the first all-female final round in Pro Stock history. Top Fuel’s Scott Farley and Funny Car’s Jason Rupert were also nominated.
The NHRA Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to legendary driver and team owner Don Schumacher. Heralded as one of drag racing’s pioneers, Schumacher has claimed more than 365 wins, as well as 19 world championships, as a team owner. As a driver, the fierce competitor won five races from 1970 to 1973, including the 1970 U.S. Nationals in Indy.
For the sixth straight season and an NHRA-record 27th time, Chevrolet was named the winner of the NHRA’s Manufacturers Cup. The award is given to the automaker whose current model year vehicles accumulate the most points during the NHRA season. Among those who enjoyed banner seasons for Chevrolet were Hight, Funny Car legend John Force, Enders, Aaron Stanfield, Greg Anderson and Troy Coughlin Jr.
Drivers in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series were also recognized as 2022 world champions, including Jeremy Hancock (Top Dragster), Lance Abbot (Top Sportsman), Bob Locke (Super Gas), James Glenn (Super Comp), Jimmy Hidalgo Jr. (Stock), Pete D’Agnolo (Super Stock), Ryan Priddy (Comp), Top Alcohol Funny Car (Doug Gordon) and Joey Severance (Top Alcohol Dragster).
The 2023 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season begins March 9-12 with the 54th annual Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals at historic Gainesville Raceway.