Torrence, Capps take their eighth wins of the year at Gateway
Ron Capps (Funny Car) and Steve Torrence (Top Fuel) outpaced their rivals to conquer at the sixth annual AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park, as Greg Anderson LE Tonglet scooped Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle honors.
Steve Torrence powered to victory with a 3.684-second pass at 329.34 in his Capco Contractors / Torrence Racing dragster to take down Doug Kalitta’s 3.698 at 331.28 in his Mac Tools dragster in the final found. Torrence has now doubled his career victories this season (a total of 16 Wally trophies) after beating Shawn Langdon, Leah Pritchett and defending world champion Antron Brown.
“We went out and we just took those guys out and put them back in the trailer,” said Torrence who qualified seventh. “We’re leaving here with a bigger points lead and a trophy. You’re going to have to come in here and do everything you can to get every possible point because this thing could come down to one or two points at the end of the season.”
Kalitta qualified in the No. 2 position and defeated Scott Palmer, Brittany Force and Dom Lagana as he reached his third final round of the season.
Capps took down rookie Jonnie Lindberg with a 3.879 pass at 331.53 in his NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger R/T to secure his category-best eighth victory of the season and 58th of his career. He maintains the points lead and continues to pursue back-to-back world championships.
“The toughest cars in the Countdown are the ones that didn’t make the Countdown,” said Capps. “We saw that today with Lindberg and Alexis’ DeJoria’s car. We fear them more… because you’re trying to race smart. We’re just trying to get as many points as we can get.”
Capps entered Sunday as the No. 3 qualifier before defeating Jim Campbell, teammate Jack Beckman and 16-time champion John Force on his way to his 11th final round of the year. Lindberg qualified fifth and was victorious against Tim Wilkerson, DeJoria and Robert Hight.
Greg Anderson drove to victory with a run of 6.571 at 210.73 in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro to defeat teammate and defending world champion Jason Line’s 6.545 at 211.26 in the final round. He locked down his third victory of the season and 89th of his career. Anderson took the points lead in the Countdown to the Championship with the victory.
“It’s hard to win out here,” stated Anderson. “I knew I was in deep in the final and knew it was going to take a stroke of luck, to be honest with you, to win it. I’d had a great racecar, but didn’t have the total package. It’s been an up and down kind of year, but you have to peak going into the playoffs and obviously I have.”
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE
LE Tonglet rode to the Pro Stock Motorcycle victory with a 6.792 at 197.91 on his Nitro Fish Racing Suzuki to better No. 1 qualifier Andrew Hines on his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson in the finals. He earned his sixth Wally of the season and 16th of his career.
“You’ve just got to stay calm and go rounds,” Tonglet said. “This is make or break for us. We felt that if we lost this race that our Championship hunt was over. We just haven’t been qualifying that great, but Tim (Kulungian, crew chief) figures it out by Sunday and it just hauls butt and we’re able to get round wins.”
Finish order at the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park
TOP FUEL: 1. Steve Torrence; 2. Doug Kalitta; 3. Antron Brown; 4. Dom Lagana; 5. Tony Schumacher; 6. Brittany Force; 7. Clay Millican; 8. Leah Pritchett; 9. Scott Palmer; 10. Pat Dakin; 11. Ashley Sanford; 12. Shawn Langdon; 13. Terry McMillen; 14. Kyle Wurtzel; 15. Richie Crampton; 16. Troy Buff.
Final: Steve Torrence, 3.684 seconds, 329.34 mph def. Doug Kalitta, 3.698 seconds, 331.28 mph.
FUNNY CAR: 1. Ron Capps; 2. Jonnie Lindberg; 3. Robert Hight; 4. John Force; 5. Courtney Force; 6. Jack Beckman; 7. Alexis DeJoria; 8. Matt Hagan; 9. Tommy Johnson Jr.; 10. Cruz Pedregon; 11. J.R. Todd; 12. Del Worsham; 13. Tim Wilkerson; 14. Brian Stewart; 15. Jim Campbell; 16. Dale Creasy Jr.
Final: Ron Capps, Dodge Charger, 3.879, 331.53 def. Jonnie Lindberg, Toyota Camry, 3.904, 326.87.
PRO STOCK: 1. Greg Anderson; 2. Jason Line; 3. Bo Butner; 4. Brian Self; 5. Chris McGaha; 6. Deric Kramer; 7. Erica Enders; 8. Larry Morgan; 9. Tanner Gray; 10. Allen Johnson; 11. Alex Laughlin; 12. Jeg Coughlin; 13. Drew Skillman; 14. Mark Hogan; 15. Alan Prusiensky; 16. Dave River.
Final: Greg Anderson, Chevy Camaro, 6.571, 210.73 def. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.545, 211.26.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1. LE Tonglet; 2. Andrew Hines; 3. Scotty Pollacheck; 4. Matt Smith; 5. Jerry Savoie; 6. Eddie Krawiec; 7. Karen Stoffer; 8. Angie Smith; 9. Hector Arana Jr; 10. Joey Gladstone; 11. Steve Johnson; 12. Mike Berry; 13. Ryan Oehler; 14. Marc Ingwersen; 15. David Hope; 16. Andie Rawlings.
Final: LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.792, 197.91 def. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.790, 197.94.
Point standings after 21 of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series
TOP FUEL: 1. Steve Torrence, 2,376; 2. Doug Kalitta, 2,334; 3. Brittany Force, 2,293; 4. Antron Brown, 2,282; 5. Clay Millican, 2,235; 6. Tony Schumacher, 2,234; 7. Leah Pritchett, 2,224; 8. Terry McMillen, 2,115; 9. Scott Palmer, 2,105; 10. Shawn Langdon, 2,100.
FUNNY CAR: 1. Ron Capps, 2,395; 2. Robert Hight, 2,349; 3. Courtney Force, 2,287; 4. Matt Hagan, 2,238; 5. Jack Beckman, 2,228; 6. John Force, 2,197; 7. Tommy Johnson Jr., 2,191; 8. J.R. Todd, 2,168; 9. Tim Wilkerson, 2,130; 10. Cruz Pedregon, 2,096.
PRO STOCK: 1. Bo Butner, 2,350; 2. Greg Anderson, 2,313; 3. Tanner Gray, 2,299; 4. Jason Line, 2,257; 5. Drew Skillman, 2,208; 6. Erica Enders, 2,177; 7. Allen Johnson, 2,151; 8. Jeg Coughlin, 2,148; 9. Chris McGaha, 2,102; 10. Vincent Nobile, 2,052.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1. Eddie Krawiec, 2,378; 2. LE Tonglet, 2,362; 3. Andrew Hines, 2,306; 4. Hector Arana Jr, 2,263; 5. Jerry Savoie, 2,261; 6. Scotty Pollacheck, 2,252; 7. Matt Smith, 2,238; 8. Karen Stoffer, 2,148; 9. Angie Smith, 2,119; 10. Joey Gladstone, 2,117.
Hight, Millican, Anderson and Hines earn No. 1 qualifying positions at Midwest Nationals
2018 NHRA schedule reduces number of consecutive race weekends