Todd, McMillen, T. Gray, Tonglet win at U.S. Nationals
JR Todd conquered the Funny Car field in the 64th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, as Terry McMillen, Tanner Gray, and LE Tonglet also triumphed.
J.R. Todd, an Indianapolis native, powered his DHL Toyota Camry to a 4.062-second pass at 311.70 mph to defeat Matt Hagan’s pass of 4.141 at 300.60 in his Mopar Express Lane Dodge Hellcat SRT in the final round. This was Todd’s second consecutive victory at the prestigious Indianapolis race. He is the first Funny Car driver to win back-to-back U.S. Nationals titles since Mike Neff in 2011 and 2012.
“This is by far a dream come true,” Todd stated. “You don’t know if you’re ever going to win Indy let alone go back-to-back. For whatever reason this year just felt different. It felt like we had a car that could come in here and win. Last year the confidence wasn’t there like it is this year.”
With the win Todd moves to fifth in points heading into the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship.
Hagan’s final round appearance was the second of his career at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals. He defeated Jonnie Lindberg, points leader Courtney Force and Shawn Langdon before entering his sixth final round of the season.
Terry McMillen powered past Doug Kalitta with a 4.037 pass at 300.66 in his AMALIE Motor Oil Xtermigator dragster to better Kalitta’s 4.067 at 303.57 in his Mac Tools dragster. It is McMillen’s first career win at the U.S. Nationals and second of his career.
“You know, it’s so surreal because it’s one of the most prestigious races out there,” McMillen said. “To have your name that you won Indy is one of the highest accomplishments you can have. I’ve always known that this year was going to be a good year, but I couldn’t have scripted that it was going to be this good.”
McMillen picked up wins against Scott Palmer, points leader Steve Torrence and Blake Alexander before taking home the Wally and he’s secured the No. 7 spot heading into the Countdown to the Championship. Kalitta took out Leah Pritchett, three-time world champion Antron Brown and Billy Torrence en route to his third final round appearance at Indianapolis.
Tanner Gray ran a 6.641 pass at 208.42 in his Gray Motorsports / Valvoline Chevrolet Camaro to defeat Jeg Coughlin Jr.’s 6.639 at 206.80 in his JEGS.com/Elite Performance Chevrolet Camaro on a holeshot for his first Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals victory, fifth win of the season and tenth of his career. He secured the No. 1 seed leading into the Countdown to the Championship during the semifinals when veteran Greg Anderson lost in the quarterfinals.
“I guess the main thing is that I want to strive to be the best driver that I can be,” Gray stated. “I continue to work and don’t really settle for what I am right now. I think every driver’s dream is to win Indy at least once and it’s pretty cool for me to be able to do that.”
On the way to victory, Gray defeated John Gaydosh Jr., Jason Line, and Drew Skillman prior to entering the finals. Coughlin, a five-time champion and three-time U.S. National winner, raced past Alex Laughlin, Greg Anderson and reigning world champion Bo Butner to reach the finals.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE
LE Tonglet rode to the Pro Stock Motorcycle win with his 6.864 pass at 197.10 on his Nitro Fish Racing Suzuki to defeat four-time world champion Eddie Krawiec and his Mello Yello Vance & Hines Harley Davidson’s 6.884 pass at 197.02. This is Tonglet’s second career victory at Lucas Oil Raceway, his third win on the season and 19th of his career.
“I try not to think about anything,” Tonglet said. “We just go up there and try our best and whatever happens, happens. I don’t lose sleep over this since this is still a hobby for us. We just come out here to have fun.”
Tonglet took down Ryan Oehler, Chip Ellis and Steve Johnson before seeing Krawiec who beat Jerry Savoie, teammate Andrew Hines and Hector Arana Jr., in the finals.
Final finish order at Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway, Indianapolis
TOP FUEL: 1. Terry McMillen; 2. Doug Kalitta; 3. Billy Torrence; 4. Blake Alexander; 5. Steve Torrence; 6. Clay Millican; 7. Antron Brown; 8. Mike Salinas; 9. T.J. Zizzo; 10. Tony Schumacher; 11. Wayne Newby; 12. Richie Crampton; 13. Brittany Force; 14. Leah Pritchett; 15. Pat Dakin; 16. Scott Palmer.
Final: Terry McMillen, 4.037 seconds, 300.66 mph def. Doug Kalitta, 4.067 seconds, 303.57 mph.
FUNNY CAR: 1. J.R. Todd; 2. Matt Hagan; 3. Tommy Johnson Jr.; 4. Shawn Langdon; 5. Tim Wilkerson; 6. Bob Bode; 7. Courtney Force; 8. Robert Hight; 9. Del Worsham; 10. Jim Campbell; 11. John Force; 12. Bob Tasca III; 13. Ron Capps; 14. Jack Beckman; 15. Jonnie Lindberg; 16. Cruz Pedregon.
Final: J.R. Todd, Toyota Camry, 4.062, 311.70 def. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 4.141, 300.60.
PRO STOCK: 1. Tanner Gray; 2. Jeg Coughlin; 3. Drew Skillman; 4. Bo Butner; 5. Greg Anderson; 6. Matt Hartford; 7. Erica Enders; 8. Jason Line; 9. Chris McGaha; 10. Deric Kramer; 11. Alex Laughlin; 12. Fernando Cuadra; 13. Kenny Delco; 14. Vincent Nobile; 15. Steve Graham; 16. John Gaydosh Jr.
Final: Tanner Gray, Chevy Camaro, 6.641, 208.42 def. Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 6.639, 206.80.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1. LE Tonglet; 2. Eddie Krawiec; 3. Hector Arana Jr; 4. Steve Johnson; 5. Andrew Hines; 6. Chip Ellis; 7. Jim Underdahl; 8. Mark Paquette; 9. Jerry Savoie; 10. Angelle Sampey; 11. Joey Gladstone; 12. Karen Stoffer; 13. Hector Arana; 14. Matt Smith; 15. Ryan Oehler; 16. Scotty Pollacheck.
Final: LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.864, 197.10 def. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.884, 197.02.
Top 10 drivers after 18 of 24 events and therefore eligible for Countdown to the Championship:
TOP FUEL: 1. Steve Torrence, 1,422; 2. Clay Millican, 1,234; 3. Tony Schumacher, 1,195; 4. Leah Pritchett, 1,170; 5. Doug Kalitta, 1,166; 6. Antron Brown, 1,112; 7. Terry McMillen, 959; 8. Brittany Force, 839; 9. Mike Salinas, 768; 10. Scott Palmer, 755.
FUNNY CAR: 1. Courtney Force, 1,457; 2. Matt Hagan, 1,247; 3. Robert Hight, 1,231; 4. Ron Capps, 1,227; 5. J.R. Todd, 1,174; 6. Jack Beckman, 1,161; 7. Tommy Johnson Jr., 1,107; 8. Shawn Langdon, 907; 9. John Force, 904; 10. Tim Wilkerson, 831.
PRO STOCK: 1. Tanner Gray, 1,432; 2. Greg Anderson, 1,355; 3. Erica Enders, 1,230; 4. Jeg Coughlin, 1,198; 5. Vincent Nobile, 1,135; 6. Deric Kramer, 1,099; 7. Drew Skillman, 1,068; 8. Jason Line, 1,067; 9. Bo Butner, 1,050; 10. Chris McGaha, 1,042.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1. Eddie Krawiec, 930; 2. Andrew Hines, 867; 3. LE Tonglet, 815; 4. Hector Arana Jr, 770; 5. Jerry Savoie, 636; 6. Matt Smith, 604; 7. Scotty Pollacheck, 528; 8. Steve Johnson, 443; 9. Angie Smith, 424; 10. (tie) Angelle Sampey, 421; Jim Underdahl, 421.
Beckman, B. Torrence, Kramer, Krawiec win at Brainerd
Todd, Torrence, Nobile and Arana Jr. win opening Countdown round