Torrence, Capps and Line sprint to No. 1 qualifiers at Thunder Valley Nationals
Sunday's first-round pairings for eliminations for the 16th annual NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway, the 11th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.
Bristol, Tenn. – Steve Torrence claimed the No. 1 qualifying position in Top Fuel on Saturday at the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway.
Ron Capps (Funny Car) and Jason Line (Pro Stock) also were No. 1 qualifiers in their respective categories at the 11th of 24 events on the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.
Torrence posted a 3.745-second pass at 324.12 mph in his Capco Contractors / Torrence Racing dragster to secure his sixth No. 1 qualifier of the year and 11th of his career. Torrence raced to victory in Englishtown, N.J., last weekend as the No. 1 qualifier and posted a runner-up finish the weekend before in Epping, N.H. He has two wins this year and will hope to earn his second Thunder Valley victory tomorrow. He will meet Terry Haddock in the opening round of Sunday’s eliminations scheduled to begin at noon.
“It feels great and I did win here a few years ago and it’s always Father’s Day when we race and this year I have my dad with me so that adds a lot to it,” said Torrence, who won at Bristol in 2013. “To be able to share success with him while he’s here, with the way the car is running and with the team, the moral is at an all-time high. We’re going to try to repeat and go all the way.”
Three-time 2016 winner Doug Kalitta qualified in the No. 2 spot with a 3.767 at 323.97 in his Mac Tools dragster. Kalitta, a three-time Bristol winner, will battle Kyle Wurtzel in the opening round. Brittany Force, who has two wins in 2016, is third in her Monster Energy dragster. She will face Chris Karamesines.
Reigning world champ Antron Brown is fourth in his Matco Tools dragster and will race Scott Palmer in the first round while Phoenix winner Leah Pritchett is fifth and will meet Aussie Richie Crampton.
1. Steve Torrence, 3.745 seconds, 324.12 mph vs. 16. Terry Haddock, broke; 2. Doug Kalitta, 3.767, 323.97 vs. 15. Kyle Wurtzel, 5.564, 195.25; 3. Brittany Force, 3.773, 323.04 vs. 14. Chris Karamesines, 4.253, 216.13; 4. Antron Brown, 3.774, 317.34 vs. 13. Scott Palmer, 4.082, 237.21; 5. Leah Pritchett, 3.799, 323.35 vs. 12. Richie Crampton, 3.947, 280.84; 6. Shawn Langdon, 3.802, 323.12 vs. 11. Terry McMillen, 3.918, 299.66; 7. Clay Millican, 3.805, 318.39 vs. 10. Pat Dakin, 3.867, 314.02; 8. Tony Schumacher, 3.808, 322.42 vs. 9. J.R. Todd, 3.825, 319.60.
In Funny Car, Capps raced to his third consecutive No. 1 qualifying position with a track-record time of 3.884 at 323.66 in his NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger R/T. Capps, who has won the last two races and three so far this year, has 21 top qualifiers in his career and will be gunning for his fourth Thunder Valley Nationals victory on Sunday. He will race Jim Campbell to open eliminations.
“We wipe it clean every night and we wipe it clean every race,” said Capps, who with a win tomorrow could become the first driver since John Force in 1996 to win three consecutive Funny Car races from the No. 1 spot. Capps would also tie his former team owner, NHRA legend Don “The Snake” Prudhomme on the all-time wins list at 49 career victories.
“We’re glad we can continue on to the next race,” Capps continued. “The streak, starting in Epping, then going to completely different weather conditions and track conditions in Englishtown, and then here, again completely different, just shows the versatility that (crew chief Rahn) Tobler has. Then the NAPA guys continually give him a car without nuts or bolts loose and nothing strange. It’s a fun car to drive right now.”
Reigning world champ Del Worsham sits second with a 3.888 at 329.42 in his DHL Toyota Camry. Worsham, a two-time Bristol winner, will meet Jeff Diehl in Sunday’s first round. Robert Hight, who won in Gainesville, Fla., is third in his Auto Club Chevy Camaro and he will battle John Hale in the opening round of eliminations.
Matt Hagan, a two-time 2016 winner, qualified third and is matched up with Dave Richards while Houston winner Courtney Force is fifth and will race Cruz Pedregon.
1. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger, 3.884, 323.66 vs. 16. Jim Campbell, Toyota Camry, 6.992, 89.20; 2. Del Worsham, Camry, 3.888, 329.42 vs. 15. John Hale, Charger, 6.589, 98.90; 3. Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 3.897, 321.27 vs. 14. Jeff Diehl, Toyota Solara, 5.476, 135.33; 4. Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.914, 327.51 vs. 13. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 4.236, 266.16; 5. Courtney Force, Camaro, 3.938, 322.81 vs. 12. Dave Richards, Mustang, 4.197, 266.53; 6. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.948, 320.51 vs. 11. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 4.167, 258.47; 7. Chad Head, Camry, 3.955, 320.36 vs. 10. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 3.999, 314.83; 8. John Force, Camaro, 3.956, 320.43 vs. 9. Jack Beckman, Charger, 3.976, 318.84.
In Pro Stock, Line pushed his Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro to a 6.652 at 208.01 to earn his fourth consecutive No. 1 qualifier and sixth of the year. Line, who has 47 top qualifiers in his career, won this event 10 years ago. The five-time 2016 winner and points leader will face Dave River in the first round.
“I wasn’t expecting to run that quick, so that was a really good run,” said Line, a two-time world champion. “I was pretty excited about that. It’s a lot of fun. This is not going to last forever and I’ll spare you of the ‘They’re Gaining on Us’ speech, but that was a really good run. We were missing something on the previous runs and I think we figured out why. It feels good and we should have three really fast (Ken Black Racing) hot rods for tomorrow.”
Line’s Ken Black Racing teammate Greg Anderson qualified second with a 6.675 at 206.95 in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro. Anderson, a two-time Bristol winner, is second in points with five wins and two runners-up this season. He will meet John Gaydosh Jr. in the opening round of eliminations.
Bo Butner, the third and final member of the KB Racing team, is third and will battle V. Gaines in the first round. Drew Skillman is fourth and will race five-time world champ Jeg Coughlin Sunday morning while Vincent Nobile is fifth and will go heads-up with teammate and back-to-back world champ Erica Enders.
1. Jason Line, Chevy Camaro, 6.652, 208.01 vs. 14. Dave River, Chevy Cobalt, 18.977, 201.10; 2. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.675, 206.95 vs. 13. John Gaydosh Jr, Chevrolet Camaro, 6.801, 202.85; 3. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.689, 209.26 vs. 12. Jeg Coughlin, Dodge Dart, 6.755, 204.57; 4. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.695, 206.70 vs. 11. V. Gaines, Dart, 6.755, 205.35; 5. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.700, 206.54 vs. 10. Erica Enders, Dart, 6.746, 205.10; 6. Allen Johnson, Dart, 6.708, 206.51 vs. 9. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.741, 205.04; 7. Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.713, 206.61 vs. 8. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.713, 205.60.
Capps, Torrence and Line race to qualifying leads Friday at Thunder Valley Nationals
Johnson and Langdon take first wins of season