Top Fuel champion Brittany Force captured her first victory of 2018 at the NHRA SpringNationals in Baytown, as J.R. Todd took back-to-back Funny Car wins and Matt Hartford scored his first career win in Pro Stock.
Force piloted her Monster Energy dragster to a pass of 3.762 at 299.46 to defeat Terry McMillen in the final round to become the seventh different John Force Racing driver to win at Royal Purple Raceway. With the eighth win of her career, she also ensured all Force family members have won at least once at the venue.
“We kind of struggled a little bit today,” Force said. “The tires were spinning and I’m trying to drive the thing down there and try to get it to the finish line. I didn’t know where the guy was next to me, but it was just about getting down there first. Saw our win lights come on in the final round and that was the most important one.”
Force drove past Terry Haddock, Doug Kalitta and Tony Schumacher to reach her first final round of the season and 18th of her career. McMillen defeated Antron Brown, Billy Torrence and No. 1 qualifier Leah Pritchett before entering his fourth career final round.
Todd’s DHL Toyota Camry made a pass of 3.955-seconds at 313.29 mph to defeat defending champion Robert Hight in the final round. He is the third driver in Royal Purple Raceway history to have won in both Top Fuel and Funny Car. This is his second win of the season and 13th of his career.
“It’s nice to have this much momentum early in the season,” Todd stated. “We struggled really bad last season and didn’t really turn around till probably the Western Swing. It’s nice for Kalitta Motorsports to come out swinging at these races this year.”
Todd defeated Tommy Johnson Jr., Jeff Diehl and Tim Wilkerson before entering the final round. Hight drove past Todd Simpson, Jonnie Lindberg and Jack Beckman before entering his second final round of the season.
Matt Hartford drove to his first career winner’s circle after taking down the hometown hero Erica Enders. His pass of 6.552 at 211.36 in his Total Seal Chevrolet Camaro was enough to make him the 66th different Pro Stock driver to win in NHRA history.
“We started in the back half of the field today and had to work our way through,” Hartford stated. “We earned this. We did a better job with our car today than the other teams. My driving is not why we won today and that is a fact. My crew tuned the car enough for us to be able to drive around her [Enders] at the end.”
Hartford faced Chris McGaha, Tanner Gray and Jeg Coughlin Jr. to enter the first final round of his career. Enders took down Vincent Nobile, Rodger Brogdon and No. 1 qualifier Greg Anderson.
Finish order at the 31st NHRA SpringNationals at Royal Purple Raceway
TOP FUEL: 1. Brittany Force; 2. Terry McMillen; 3. Tony Schumacher; 4. Leah Pritchett; 5. Billy Torrence; 6. Steve Torrence; 7. Doug Kalitta; 8. Clay Millican; 9. Scott Palmer; 10. Bill Litton; 11. Terry Brian; 12. Antron Brown; 13. Kebin Kinsley; 14. Mike Salinas; 15. Terry Haddock; 16. Richie Crampton.
Final: Brittany Force, 3.762 seconds, 299.46 mph def. Terry McMillen, 3.818 seconds, 311.56 mph.
FUNNY CAR: 1. J.R. Todd; 2. Robert Hight; 3. Jack Beckman; 4. Tim Wilkerson; 5. Jonnie Lindberg; 6. Matt Hagan; 7. Del Worsham; 8. Jeff Diehl; 9. Tommy Johnson Jr.; 10. Ron Capps; 11. Richard Townsend; 12. Bob Tasca III; 13. Courtney Force; 14. Cruz Pedregon; 15. Shawn Langdon; 16. Todd Simpson.
Final: J.R. Todd, Toyota Camry, 3.955, 313.29 def. Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 3.993, 308.14.
PRO STOCK: 1. Matt Hartford; 2. Erica Enders; 3. Greg Anderson; 4. Jeg Coughlin; 5. Bo Butner; 6. Tanner Gray; 7. Alex Laughlin; 8. Rodger Brogdon; 9. Vincent Nobile; 10. Drew Skillman; 11. Chris McGaha; 12. Alan Prusiensky; 13. John Gaydosh Jr; 14. Steve Graham; 15. Deric Kramer; 16. Jason Line.
Final: Matt Hartford, Chevy Camaro, 6.522, 211.36 def. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.570, 210.50.
Point standings after five of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series
Top Fuel: 1. Tony Schumacher, 385; Steve Torrence, 385; 3. Antron Brown, 324; 4. Clay Millican, 309; 5. Doug Kalitta, 304; 6. Leah Pritchett, 284; 7. Brittany Force, 270; 8. Richie Crampton, 247; 9. Terry McMillen, 240; 10. Scott Palmer, 214.
Funny Car: 1. Jack Beckman, 415; 2. Matt Hagan, 363; 3. J.R. Todd, 347; 4. Courtney Force, 342; 5. Robert Hight, 326; 6. Tommy Johnson Jr., 298; 7. Ron Capps, 289; 8. Shawn Langdon, 237; 9. Jonnie Lindberg, 221; 10. Del Worsham, 219.
Pro Stock: 1. Bo Butner, 374; 2. Greg Anderson, 337; 3. Chris McGaha, 330; 4. Deric Kramer, 322; 5. Vincent Nobile, 319; 6. Jason Line, 303; 7. Erica Enders, 292; 8. Tanner Gray, 287; 9. Drew Skillman, 277; 10. Alex Laughlin, 264.