Pritchett, Capps and Butner conquer in SpringNationals
Leah Pritchett drove to her third NHRA Top Fuel victory of the season at Royal Purple Raceway in Baytown, Texas, as Ron Capps (Funny Car) and Bo Butner (Pro Stock) also prevailed at the fifth round of the year.
Pritchett made a 3.781-second pass at 321.96mph to defeat Steve Torrence’s 3.787sec pass at 322.11 to score her fourth career victory and third of the season.
“Our goal was to leave as the points leader and that was not easy at all,” said Pritchett, who achieved her aim. “Going into the final we said this is our bounce back and we’re going to keep it interesting. Never been in a position to really be counting points and I know it is early in the season, but I’m definitely enjoying that.”
Pritchett raced past Scott Palmer, Doug Kalitta and defending champion Antron Brown en route to the victory. Torrence faced Shawn Reed, Troy Coughlin Jr. and No. 1 qualifier Clay Millican before falling to Pritchett in the final round.
Defending FC champion, Ron Capps claimed his first win of the year when, despite his engine exploding, he outran Robert Hight with a 4.004 pass at 284.33 in his NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger R/T. Hight, with his own engine issues and crossing the centerline, limped his AAA Texas Chevy Camaro home with a 4.107 at 202.88 in his first runner-up effort of the season.
After scoring his 51st career win, Capps commented: “These things become so hard to win these days,” Capps said. “But you take things for granted where I felt like we should’ve won at any of those first three races of the season. NHRA Mello Yello Funny Car division has to be the most competitive thing in the world right now; it’s cut-throat.”
Capps pushed past Todd Simpson, 16-time FC champion John Force and teammate Jack Beckman before facing Hight in the finals. Hight defeated Jim Campbell, J.R. Todd and fellow John Force Racing teammate Courtney Force to reach the Final.
Butner obtained the first Pro Stock win of his career when he raced his Jim Butner’s Auto Chevy Camaro to a 6.550 pass at 212.26 to defeat No. 1 qualifier Jeg Coughlin Jr in his JEGS.com / Elite Performance Chevy Camaro (6.562 at 212.03). It was Coughlin’s first final round appearance since Seattle in 2015 and the seventh of Butner’s career.
Said Butner: “Any win that you stand on that stage – Super Stock, Super Street or whatever it is – [the feeling] never gets old. It’s a great feeling and you can’t explain it unless you experience it. To make four consecutive win lights is very tough and a lot harder than I expected.”
Butner defeated Allen Johnson and Greg Anderson before facing Coughlin Jr. in the finals. Coughlin Jr. lined up against Chris McGaha and Tanner Gray en route to his finals appearance.
Final finish order at the 30th annual NHRA SpringNationals at Royal Purple Raceway
TOP FUEL: 1. Leah Pritchett; 2. Steve Torrence; 3. Antron Brown; 4. Clay Millican; 5. Doug Kalitta; 6. Bob Vandergriff; 7. Tony Schumacher; 8. Troy Coughlin Jr.; 9. Shawn Langdon; 10. Terry McMillen; 11. Shawn Reed; 12. Brittany Force; 13. Terry Haddock; 14. Scott Palmer; 15. Steven Chrisman; 16. Troy Buff.
Final: Leah Pritchett, 3.781 seconds, 321.96 mph def. Steve Torrence, 3.787 seconds, 322.11 mph.
FUNNY CAR: 1. Ron Capps; 2. Robert Hight; 3. Courtney Force; 4. Jack Beckman; 5. J.R. Todd; 6. John Force; 7. Alexis DeJoria; 8. Jonnie Lindberg; 9. Cruz Pedregon; 10. Del Worsham; 11. Jim Campbell; 12. Tommy Johnson Jr.; 13. Matt Hagan; 14. Tim Wilkerson; 15. Jeff Diehl; 16. Todd Simpson.
Final: Ron Capps, Dodge Charger, 4.004, 284.33 def. Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, Foul - Centerline.
PRO STOCK: 1. Bo Butner; 2. Jeg Coughlin; 3. Greg Anderson; 4. Tanner Gray; 5. Chris McGaha; 6. Vincent Nobile; 7. Richie Stevens; 8. Erica Enders; 9. Alex Laughlin; 10. Allen Johnson; 11. Drew Skillman; 12. Jason Line; 13. Alan Prusiensky.
Final: Bo Butner, Chevy Camaro, 6.550, 212.26 def. Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 6.562, 212.03.
Point standings after five of 24 events in 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series
TOP FUEL: 1. Leah Pritchett, 494; 2. Antron Brown, 440; 3. Tony Schumacher, 438; 4. Doug Kalitta, 358; 5. Steve Torrence, 352; 6. Brittany Force, 282; 7. Clay Millican, 269; 8. Troy Coughlin Jr., 228; 9. Terry McMillen, 195; 10. Scott Palmer, 180.
FUNNY CAR: 1. Matt Hagan, 400; 2. Ron Capps, 398; 3. John Force, 371; 4. Tommy Johnson Jr., 357; 5. (tie) Courtney Force, 301; Robert Hight, 301; 7. Jack Beckman, 282; 8. Jonnie Lindberg, 235; 9. J.R. Todd, 222; 10. Jim Campbell, 211.
PRO STOCK: 1. Greg Anderson, 457; 2. Bo Butner, 426; 3. Jason Line, 403; 4. Jeg Coughlin, 372; 5. Tanner Gray, 370; 6. Shane Gray, 278; 7. Erica Enders, 255; 8. Chris McGaha, 246; 9. Vincent Nobile, 235; 10. Drew Skillman, 225.
C. Force, Millican and Coughlin Jr. earn no. 1 qualifying positions Saturday at NHRA SpringNationals
NHRA heads to Charlotte for Four-wide Nationals