Capps scores third straight Funny Car victory
Ron Capps raced to his third consecutive win at the 37th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway, as Steve Torrence, Bo Butner and LE Tonglet nailed the Top Fuel, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle categories.
Defending champion Capps lay down a 3.991-second pass at 317.79mph to defeat Tim Wilkerson in his Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford Shelby Mustang to score second victory at Atlanta Dragway and 52nd of his Top Fuel career.
“It’s a ‘pinch me’ moment,” Capps stated. “The car speaks for itself lately. This is probably one of the more difficult racetracks to navigate. You really had to be ready for two or three different sets of bumps. It makes for an exciting run but you’re just hoping that your car stays in the groove. Funny Car is just getting tougher and tougher.”
Capps sailed passed J.R. Todd, 16-time world champion John Force and Robert Hight, who set the track elapsed time record with his 3.880 pass in the semifinals, en route to the victory. Wilkerson faced rookie Jonnie Lindberg, Jack Beckman and Matt Hagan before encountering Capps in his first final round appearance of the season.
Torrence piloted his Capco Contractors dragster to the winner circle in back-to-back races after a 3.745sec pass at 320.81mph to defeat U.S. Army driver Tony Schumacher. This is Torrence’s third consecutive final round appearance.
“The racecar I have right now is the best I’ve ever had in my life,” Torrence said. “My driving is showing that I’m confident in it. The continuity of my team has what it takes to win championships. We’ve got a chip on our shoulder and a point to prove.”
Torrence pushed past Smax Smith, Shawn Langdon and Top Fuel points leader Leah Pritchett before facing Schumacher in the finals. Schumacher defeated Brittany Force, Bob Vandergriff and Doug Kalitta before falling to Torrence.
During eliminations, Pritchett set the elapsed time track record with a pass of 3.699, while teammate Brown set the track speed record of 329.91 mph.
Bo Butner, who made his Pro Stock debut at Atlanta in 2015, powered his Jim Butner’s Auto Chevy Camaro to the second victory of his career after a 6.569 pass at 211.26 that bettered two-time champion Erica Enders 6.593 pass at 210.97. It marked Enders’ first final round appearance since Las Vegas 2 in 2015.
“You have to have a lot of trust in your car,” Butner stated. “I’m happy in this car and happy with this team. We’ve had the car to win for the last year and a half. Now, it’s all just coming together and I’m doing my job.”
Butner defeated Wally Stroupe, Vincent Nobile and Jeg Coughlin Jr. before facing Enders in the finals. Enders lined up against Alan Prusiensky, defending world champion Jason Line and Tanner Gray en route to her final round appearance.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE
LE Tonglet took back-to-back wins after he rode his Nitro Fish Racing Suzuki to a 6.843 pass at 194.35 defeating teammate and defending world champion, Jerry Savoie. This is Tonglet’s 12th career win and second at Atlanta Dragway.
“I’ve got a great group of guys behind me who get the bike back to running in no time,” Tonglet said. “To be able to go to the third race of the season and get both of ‘em (bikes) in the final round; it is just unbelievable. This won’t be the last time both bikes are in the finals and we’re going to put on a good show.”
Tonglet raced past Cory Reed, Andrew Hines and Scott Pollacheck before entering the final round. Savoie defeated Matt Smith, Hector Arana Jr. and No.1 qualifier Eddie Krawiec on his way to the finals.
Final finish order at the 37th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway
TOP FUEL: 1. Steve Torrence; 2. Tony Schumacher; 3. Doug Kalitta; 4. Leah Pritchett; 5. Antron Brown; 6. Bob Vandergriff; 7. Shawn Langdon; 8. Clay Millican; 9. Terry McMillen; 10. Troy Coughlin Jr.; 11. Pat Dakin; 12. Chris Karamesines; 13. Smax Smith; 14. Scott Palmer; 15. Terry Haddock; 16.Brittany Force.
Final: Steve Torrence, 3.745 seconds, 320.81 mph def. Tony Schumacher, 4.061 seconds, 243.28 mph.
FUNNY CAR: 1. Ron Capps; 2. Tim Wilkerson; 3. Robert Hight; 4. Matt Hagan; 5. John Force; 6. Jack Beckman; 7. Courtney Force; 8. Dave Richards; 9. Chad Head; 10. Jonnie Lindberg; 11. Tommy Johnson Jr.; 12. Del Worsham; 13. Jeff Diehl; 14. Jim Campbell; 15. Cruz Pedregon; 16. J.R. Todd.
Final: Ron Capps, Dodge Charger, 3.991, 317.79 def. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 3.978, 316.60.
PRO STOCK: 1. Bo Butner; 2. Erica Enders; 3. Tanner Gray; 4. Jeg Coughlin; 5. Jason Line; 6. Chris McGaha; 7. Vincent Nobile; 8. Drew Skillman; 9. Greg Anderson; 10. Allen Johnson; 11. Alan Prusiensky; 12. John Gaydosh Jr; 13. Wally Stroupe; 14. Shane Tucker; 15. Mark Hogan; 16. Shane Gray.
Final: Bo Butner, Chevy Camaro, 6.569, 211.26 def. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.593, 210.97.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1. LE Tonglet; 2. Jerry Savoie; 3. Eddie Krawiec; 4. Scotty Pollacheck; 5. Andrew Hines; 6. Chip Ellis; 7. Joey Gladstone; 8. Hector Arana Jr; 9. Matt Smith; 10. Cory Reed; 11. Angie Smith; 12. Karen Stoffer; 13. Angelle Sampey; 14. Hector Arana; 15. Mike Berry; 16. Steve Johnson.
Final: LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.843, 194.35 def. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 34.292, 20.68.
Point standings after seven of 24 events in the 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series
TOP FUEL: 1. Leah Pritchett, 641; 2. Tony Schumacher, 627; 3. Steve Torrence, 592; 4. Antron Brown, 560; 5. Doug Kalitta, 486; 6. Clay Millican, 385; 7. Brittany Force, 347; 8. Terry McMillen, 301; 9.Troy Coughlin Jr., 295; 10. Scott Palmer, 244.
FUNNY CAR: 1. Ron Capps, 633; 2. Matt Hagan, 539; 3. John Force, 490; 4. Robert Hight, 437; 5. Tommy Johnson Jr., 427; 6. Jack Beckman, 426; 7. Courtney Force, 405; 8. Tim Wilkerson, 329; 9. J.R.Todd, 326; 10. Jonnie Lindberg, 318.
PRO STOCK: 1 Greg Anderson, 586; 2. Bo Butner, 585; 3. Jason Line, 515; 4. Tanner Gray, 496; 5. Jeg Coughlin, 495; 6. Chris McGaha, 421; 7. Erica Enders, 390; 8. Shane Gray, 382; 9. Drew Skillman, 360; 10. Vincent Nobile, 341.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1. Eddie Krawiec, 306; 2. LE Tonglet, 291; 3. Andrew Hines, 230; 4. Jerry Savoie, 204; 5.Scotty Pollacheck, 196; 6. Joey Gladstone, 188; 7. (tie) Steve Johnson, 136; Matt Smith, 136; 9.Hector Arana Jr, 126; 10. (tie) Angelle Sampey, 114. Karen Stoffer, 114.
Schumacher, C. Force, Butner and Krawiec are No. 1 qualifiers at the Southern Nationals
Torrence, Capps, Butner looking to carry momentum into Topeka