BROWNSBURG, Ind. (Sept. 5, 2016) - Minutes before driver introductions for the 62nd Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway, Chris McGaha asked his son and daughter, "Is this the day for a win?" Both, of course, nodded in agreement.
Wearing a gold medal and a smile the size of Texas following a TV interview in the winner’s circle, he engulfed the youngsters in a show of thanks for their support.
McGaha, the No. 9 Pro Stock qualifier, drove the Harlow Sammons of Odessa Chevrolet Camaro SS to his first victory of the season in the biggest National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) race of the year. McGaha's pass of 6.688 seconds at 207.15 mph bested Allen Johnson in the final.
McGaha, who made his Pro Stock debut at the U.S. Nationals in 2011, joined Jason Line, Greg Anderson, Aaron Strong, and Drew Skillman as Chevrolet drivers to win during the 18-race Mello Yello Drag Racing Series regular season.
McGaha, whose previous best result this season was runner-up at Phoenix in the second event, defeated No. 4 qualifier Vincent Nobile (Mountain View Tire Chevrolet Camaro SS) in one semifinal. No. 3 qualifier Shane Gray (Valvoline/Nova Services Chevrolet Camaro SS) lost in the other semifinal.
Chevrolet won 17 races in Pro Stock, three in Top Fuel, and four in Funny Car during the regular season in which drivers in the Mello Yello® classes compile points in an effort to secure one of the 10 berths in the Countdown to the Championship. The six-race playoff begins Sept. 16 with the NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Concord, North Carolina.
"The U.S. Nationals is pretty big, and to bring it home for Chevrolet is the main thing," said McGaha, who recorded his fourth career victory in 92 Pro Stock races. "I came here to Indy that first time in 2011, and the only thing I wanted to do was qualify. We did it on the last run, and thank goodness there were five runs or we wouldn't have made it. To come back five years later and win, it is a pretty big deal."