Torrence, Todd, Skillman, Krawiec storm to U.S. Nationals wins
Steve Torrence (Top Fuel), J.R. Todd (Funny Car), Drew Skillman (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) won the biggest race in the NHRA calendar, the Chevy Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis.
Steve Torrence raced his Capco Contractors dragster to a 3.757-second pass at 322.96 mph to defeat Kebin Kinsley who lost traction in his Road Rage Fuel Booster dragster at the start of the final. It is Torrence’s first win at the U.S. Nationals, seventh of the season and 15th of his career.
“This is surreal,” Torrence said. “I don’t even know if I’m realizing what’s going on right now. You come to Indy and you race for a week. This is our biggest race. This is what we race our careers for, is to try and win Indy and it’s a marathon. I’m worn out.
“Unless you’re a racer and in this situation, I don’t think I can explain the feelings that you get. This is us winning the biggest race of our sport. You can win a bunch of championships but if you don’t win Indy then you haven’t really done much. So… we’ve won Indy.”
Torrence also won the Top Fuel Traxxas Nitro Shootout, the lucrative race-within-a-race with a $100,000 cash prize.
J.R. Todd, an Indianapolis native, powered past Funny Car reigning world champion Ron Capps with a 3.949 pass at 325.53 in his DHL Toyota Camry to better Capps’ 3.923 at 325.61 in his NAPA Dodge Charger. It is Todd’s first win at the U.S. Nationals, his second of the season and of his Funny Car career.
“This was where it all started for me in Junior Dragsters,” Todd said. “I remember watching Capps as a kid and now I raced him in the final round of Indy. It’s too surreal. Like Torrence said, you win Indy and you know you’ve beaten the best in the sport. Ron Capps and those guys out there are the best in the sport.”
Todd picked up wins against Brian Stewart, veteran Cruz Pedregon and Tim Wilkerson before beating Capps. Todd has now secured the No. 9 spot heading into the Countdown to the Championship.
Drew Skillman ran a 6.676 pass at 206.61 in his Ray Skillman Chevrolet Camaro to defeat Greg Anderson’s 6.660 at 208.01 in his Summit Racing Equipment Camaro on a holeshot for his first Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals victory, fourth win of the season and seventh of his career. His four victories have come in the last six races.
“I cannot speak highly enough of my team,” Skillman said. “They’ve been killing it. Consistency is super hard in this sport and we have a car that keeps repeating. This has been a long time coming. We’ve worked really hard to finally get something like this to happen. There’s a very small list of things I’d really like to do in life and this is one of them.”
On the way to his victory, Skillman defeated Pro Stock veteran Jeg Coughlin Jr., Chris McGaha and No. 1 qualifier Tanner Gray before defeating Anderson, a six-time U.S. Nationals winner.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE
Eddie Krawiec made a 6.858 pass at 196.90 on his Screamin’ Eagle / Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson to defeat Hector Arana Jr. and his Lucas Oil Buell’s 6.886 pass at 195.48. This was Krawiec’s second U.S. Nationals victory, his third win of the season and 39th of his career.
“We had a great motorcycle all weekend long,” said Krawiec, who was the No. 1 qualifier. “We just needed to keep finessing it and get it better and better and better. I couldn’t be prouder of my crew that I got right now. It’s been nonstop the last two weeks at our shop and for it all to come together and to celebrate here having half of our shop here, it’s just something special.”
Krawiec took down Jim Underdahl, points leader LE Tonglet and Matt Smith before beating Arana.
The six-race Countdown to the Championship starts on Sept. 15-17 at zMAX Dragway with the 10th annual NHRA Carolina Nationals. The top 10 in each championship (scroll to bottom of this story) are now locked in.
Results of 63rd Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals
TOP FUEL: 1. Steve Torrence; 2. Kebin Kinsley; 3. Tony Schumacher; 4. Leah Pritchett; 5. Antron Brown; 6. Doug Kalitta; 7. Pat Dakin; 8. Shawn Langdon; 9. Brittany Force; 10. Clay Millican; 11. Bob Vandergriff; 12. Ashley Sanford; 13. Terry McMillen; 14. Scott Palmer; 15. Richie Crampton; 16. Wayne Newby.
Final: Steve Torrence, 3.757 seconds, 322.96 mph def. Kebin Kinsley, 10.820 seconds, 48.47 mph.
FUNNY CAR: 1. J.R. Todd; 2. Ron Capps; 3. Jack Beckman; 4. Tim Wilkerson; 5. Cruz Pedregon; 6. Robert Hight; 7. Del Worsham; 8. Jim Campbell; 9. Alexis DeJoria; 10. Jonnie Lindberg; 11. Tommy Johnson Jr.; 12. Courtney Force; 13. John Force; 14. Justin Schriefer; 15. Brian Stewart; 16. Matt Hagan.
Final: J.R. Todd, Toyota Camry, 3.923, 325.61 def. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger, 3.949, 325.53.
PRO STOCK: 1. Drew Skillman; 2. Greg Anderson; 3. Tanner Gray; 4. Alex Laughlin; 5. Jason Line; 6. Allen Johnson; 7. Chris McGaha; 8. Bo Butner; 9. Vincent Nobile; 10. Matt Hartford; 11. Johnny Gray; 12. Shane Gray; 13. Erica Enders; 14. Jeg Coughlin; 15. Deric Kramer; 16. Kenny Delco.
Final: Drew Skillman, Chevy Camaro, 6.676, 206.61 def. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.660, 208.01.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1. Eddie Krawiec; 2. Hector Arana Jr; 3. Jerry Savoie; 4. Matt Smith; 5. Scotty Pollacheck; 6. Chip Ellis; 7. Andrew Hines; 8. LE Tonglet; 9. Angelle Sampey; 10. Steve Johnson; 11. Karen Stoffer; 12. Cory Reed; 13. Jim Underdahl; 14. Angie Smith; 15. Joey Gladstone; 16. Mike Berry.
Final: Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.858, 196.90 def. Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.886, 195.48.
Point standings after 18th and final ‘regular season’ event in 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series
TOP FUEL: 1. Steve Torrence, 1,667; 2. Antron Brown, 1,599; 3. Leah Pritchett, 1,563; 4. Tony Schumacher, 1,220; 5. Doug Kalitta, 1,126; 6. Brittany Force, 1,105; 7. Clay Millican, 1,080; 8. Terry McMillen, 770; 9. Scott Palmer, 698; 10. Shawn Langdon, 647.
FUNNY CAR: 1. Ron Capps, 1,530; 2. Robert Hight, 1,344; 3. Matt Hagan, 1,280; 4. Jack Beckman, 1,275; 5. Tommy Johnson Jr., 1,229; 6. Courtney Force, 1,072; 7. John Force, 1,007; 8. J.R. Todd, 959; 9. Tim Wilkerson, 902; 10. Cruz Pedregon, 730.
PRO STOCK: 1. Bo Butner, 1,616; 2. (tie) Greg Anderson, 1,423; Tanner Gray, 1,423; 4. Drew Skillman, 1,270; 5. Jason Line, 1,206; 6. Erica Enders, 1,093; 7. Jeg Coughlin, 1,054; 8. Vincent Nobile, 947; 9. Allen Johnson, 736; 10. Chris McGaha, 728.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1. LE Tonglet, 958; 2. Eddie Krawiec, 884; 3. Hector Arana Jr, 781; 4. Jerry Savoie, 768; 5. Matt Smith, 696; 6. Andrew Hines, 620; 7. Scotty Pollacheck, 611; 8. Joey Gladstone, 475; 9. Karen Stoffer, 457; 10. Angie Smith, 443.
Beckman wins Funny Car Traxxas Nitro Shootout
Brittany Force completes first Funny Car test