Capps, Torrence and Line race to qualifying leads Friday at Thunder Valley Nationals
Friday's results after the first two of four rounds of qualifying for the 16th annual NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway,
Bristol, Tenn. – Ron Capps raced to the Funny Car qualifying lead on Friday at the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway.
Steve Torrence (Top Fuel) and Jason Line (Pro Stock) also were qualifying leaders in their respective categories at the 11th event of 24 on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season.
Capps powered his NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger R/T to the provisional top spot with a track record 3.880-second pass at 323.66 mph. Capps is riding a wave of momentum after posting back-to-back victories as the No. 1 qualifier in both Epping, N.H., and Englishtown, N.J. He has 20 top qualifiers in his career and is a three-time NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals winner.
“It’s been great, but let’s not get carried away,” said Capps, the Funny Car points leader, about possibly winning three consecutive races. “You’re going to a different track and you hope that you can keep it up. As a driver, you hope that your crew and crew chief can keep it up because it’s been so much fun. We had an issue in the first run today and it put us back a little bit. I shut it off a little early and it could’ve been worse, but they bounced back. That (second run) was breathtaking.”
Del Worsham is second with a 3.888 at a track record speed of 329.42 in his DHL Toyota Camry. Worsham, the defending Funny Car world champion, is a two-time Bristol winner. In third is Robert Hight, who won earlier this season in Gainesville, Fla. Hight powered to a 3.897 at 321.27 in his Auto Club Chevy Camaro SS.
Hagan, who won back-to-back races before Epping, is fourth in his Mopar Express Lane / Rocky Boots Dodge Charger R/T while Houston winner, Courtney Force, is fifth in her Traxxas Chevy Camaro SS.
1. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger, 3.884, 323.66; 2. Del Worsham, Toyota Camry, 3.888, 329.42; 3. Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 3.897, 321.27; 4. Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.914, 327.51; 5. Courtney Force, Camaro, 3.938, 322.81; . Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.948, 320.51; 7. Chad Head, Camry, 3.955, 320.36; 8. John Force, Camaro, 3.956, 320.05; 9. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 4.016, 308.21; 10. Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.068, 309.91; 11. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 4.424, 202.24; 12. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 5.817, 116.70. Not Qualified: 13. Dave Richards, broke; 14. Jim Campbell, broke; 15. John Hale, broke.
Torrence, who has appeared in the last two final rounds and sprinted to victory last weekend in Englishtown, posted a 3.745 at 324.12 at the controls of his Capco Contractors / Torrence Racing dragster to take the Top Fuel qualifying lead. Torrence, who also qualified No. 1 last weekend, has five top qualifiers in 2016 and 10 in his career. The 2013 Bristol winner has two wins in four final round appearances this season.
“The car has been exceptional and I say this week-in and week-out but my team has given me the best car that I’ve ever had,” said Torrence, who is third in points. “When you get in the seat, you know that the thing is capable of outrunning anybody that you come up against. Setting low E.T. each session is a huge confidence boost for me as a driver and a testament to how hard these guys have worked. We’ve made 16 laps in the last two weeks and they’re still ready to go, energetic and full of drive. That’s what it takes to have the caliber of a team that can go win a championship.”
Top Fuel points leader Doug Kalitta is second in his Mac Tools dragster with a 3.767 at 323.97. Kalitta, who won three consecutive races before Epping, is a three-time winner at Thunder Valley. Two-time 2016 event winner, Brittany Force, is second in her Monster Energy dragster with a 3.773 at 323.04.
Defending world champion Antron Brown is fourth and is followed by Phoenix winner Leah Pritchett in fifth and Shawn Langdon in sixth.
1. Steve Torrence, 3.745 seconds, 324.12 mph; 2. Doug Kalitta, 3.767, 323.97; 3. Brittany Force, 3.773, 323.04; 4. Antron Brown, 3.774, 317.34; 5. Leah Pritchett, 3.799, 323.35; 6. Shawn Langdon, 3.802, 323.12; 7. Clay Millican, 3.805, 318.39; 8. J.R. Todd, 3.852, 315.64; 9. Pat Dakin, 3.867, 314.02; 10. Terry McMillen, 3.918, 299.66; 11. Scott Palmer, 4.082, 237.21; 12. Tony Schumacher, 4.091, 217.91. Not Qualified: 13. Richie Crampton, 4.305, 187.23; 14. Kyle Wurtzel, 4.318, 195.25; 15. Terry Haddock, 10.901, 35.79.
In Pro Stock, points leader Line sprinted to the lead with a 6.680 at 206.92 in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro. Line, who won in Bristol one decade ago, has raced to nine final rounds and tallied five victories this year. He has powered to the No. 1 qualifier at three consecutive races, has five top qualifiers so far this season and 46 in his career.
“Not as dominant tonight, obviously, and a lot of cars were fast tonight,” said Line. “Fortunate enough to be fast enough to be up here so we feel good about that. I felt like we should’ve gone quicker than that (in the second session) but we didn’t make a great run. Neither one of our runs were really great but it was good enough. I’m not going to whine about it – it was good enough to be No. 1.”
Line is followed by his Summit Racing Equipment teammate Greg Anderson in the No. 2 spot. Anderson, who is second in points with five wins and two runner-up finishes this season, posted a 6.692 at 206.26 in his Chevy Camaro. Anderson is a two-time Bristol winner.
Bo Butner is third in his Jim Butner Auto Chevy Camaro and is followed by Vincent Nobile in fourth and Epping, N.H., runner-up Allen Johnson in fifth.
The final two qualifying sessions of the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals will be held on Saturday, June 18, at 1 and 3:30 p.m. and will set the field for Sunday’s 11 a.m. eliminations at Bristol Dragway.
1. Jason Line, Chevy Camaro, 6.680, 206.92; 2. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.692, 206.26; 3. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.699, 205.51; 4. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.700, 205.85; 5. Allen Johnson, Dodge Dart, 6.708, 205.47; 6. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.710, 205.76; 7. Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.713, 205.51; 8. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.740, 204.82; 9. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.741, 204.79; 10. Erica Enders, Dart, 6.749, 204.91; 11. Jeg Coughlin, Dart, 6.760, 203.55; 12. V. Gaines, Dart, 6.781, 204.17. Not Qualified: 13. Dave River, 6.816, 201.10; 14. John Gaydosh Jr, 6.838, 201.22.
Looking for peaks in Thunder Valley
Torrence, Capps and Line sprint to No. 1 qualifiers at Thunder Valley Nationals