John Force goes down the track at Maple Grove Raceway. (NHRA photo)

NHRA Milestones: Kalitta, DeJoria, Force & More

Milestones have been on the mind since Doug Kalitta won his 50th NHRA national event on Monday at Pennsylvania’s Maple Grove Raceway.

The longtime Top Fuel racer was forced to become the picture of patience after waiting 1,079 days to back up his 49th triumph, which came at World Wide Technology Raceway on Oct. 4, 2020.

Kalitta wasn’t the only one with a milestone on his mind this season.

In June, Antron Brown earned his 800th round win in NHRA competition. Next, the 47-year-old will check off his 500th national event start on Sunday at the Betway NHRA Carolina Nationals as he simultaneously chases his 75th career victory.

The three-time Top Fuel champion is also looking to record back-to-back wins during NHRA’s fall visit to zMAX Dragway in Concord, N.C., as he is the defending event winner in his Matco Tools, AB Motorsports dragster.

A second driver who is hoping to pull off a repeat victory at the Carolina Nationals is Funny Car wheelman Ron Capps, who claimed an emotional victory at the “Bellagio of Drag Strips” last September.  

Capps is also deep in his campaign for a third-consecutive (fourth overall) Funny Car title.

Should he complete the feat at season’s end, Capps would be the first driver to go three-in-a-row since 2002, when John Force ended his streak of 10-consecutive championships.

Meanwhile, Funny Car rival Robert Hight recently made his 100th final-round appearance during his matchup with Chad Green at Maple Grove Raceway. At the top end of the Pennsylvania drag strip, Hight secured his second consecutive win at Maple Grove and his 64th career Funny Car victory.

Earlier this season — at Seattle’s Pacific Raceways — Steve Torrence brought Toyota its 200th NHRA triumph when he powered past Kalitta in the final round. Points leader Torrence will continue his quest for a fifth Top Fuel title at zMAX.

At the Route 66 Nationals in May, 12-year Funny Car driver Alexis DeJoria made her 200th career start.

She was the first woman to reach 200 races in the class.

There has even been something new for 16-time Funny Car champion John Force to celebrate.

The 155-time national event winner earned his first Mission #2Fast2Tasty Challenge victory at the Dodge Power Brokers NHRA U.S. Nationals on Sept. 2, defeating Capps in the bonus event.

There are five races left in the 72nd NHRA season that concludes Nov. 12 at In-N-Out Burger Dragstrip in Pomona, Calif.