Torrence clinches NHRA Top Fuel title with fifth straight win
Steve Torrence’s incredible 2018 continued in Las Vegas when he clinched the Top Fuel title with his 10th win of the season, as JR Todd, Bo Butner and Hector Arana Jr. won the other classes.
Torrence’s fifth straight victory, with a 3.751sec run at 326.32mph in his Capco Contractors dragster to beat Leah Pritchett, means he is yet to lose a race since the six-round playoff Countdown to the Championship began, and he clinches the title one race early.
“This is a lifelong goal right here,” said Torrence who earned the title with a semi-final victory over Richie Crampton. “All the glory goes to God, my mom and dad, because without them none of this would even be possible. Every one of those Capco boys on that race team because they put their heart in it and it is hard to beat people with heart. All the boys back home at Capco, we got it done guys. This is unreal. To all those people who said we couldn’t do it, we are here.”
Todd powered to his fifth win of the year in his DHL Toyota Camry and took over the points lead. He defeated Matt Hagan in the finals with his winning run of 3.921 at 318.39 and now has a 74-point lead over defending champion Robert Hight who had a first round loss. This is the seventh Funny Car win for Todd and the 16th nitro win in his career.
“It is so awesome to drive a car when it is that consistent,” said Todd. “You don’t have to worry about if you are going to have to go out there and pedal it or things like that. You can go up there and smack the tree as hard as you can and keep that thing stuck down the groove. It is a lot of fun to drive.
“We still have some unfinished business in Pomona. Hopefully we can go there and come out of it with two trophies.”
Todd raced to his fourth final round in the Countdown to the Championship with victories against Robert Townsend, teammate Shawn Langdon and Jack Beckman.
Defending champion Bo Butner grabbed his second win of the year defeating Erica Enders with a run of 6.657 at 207.43 in his Jim Butner’s Auto Chevrolet Camaro. This was his fifth final round at the facility in the past four seasons.
“We started off like gangbusters, win in Pomona, ran good at Gainesville and thought we had another repeat deal coming,” said Butner. "We struggled a little bit as every team does.
“I kept saying this weekend this is perfect. This car showed improvement every run. I’m very happy we got to win again, win a couple of rounds, much less win the race. This Pro Stock deal is amazing. Everybody in the top 12 qualifiers can win."
Points leader Tanner Gray raced to a semifinal finish when he was defeated by Enders. He has a 140 point lead heading into the final race of the season.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE
Hector Arana Jr. was the top qualifier for the event and scored his third win of the year when he defeated defending champion Eddie Krawiec in the finals. The Lucas Oil Buell had a winning run of 6.885 at 193.35, to take Arana’s 14th career win but his first at the Strip.
"We did a great job qualifying and that set the tone for today," said Arana. "It gave me the confidence I needed. I had great lights in qualifying and did it again today on race day.
“Great preparation and everything came back together. We just want to qualify well, win rounds and win races."
With the win, Arana moves to fourth in the points and trails leader Matt Smith by 64 points. Krawiec jumps to second, only four behind Smith and LE Tonglet is third, 61 out of first.
Final finish order at the 18th annual NHRA Toyota Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
TOP FUEL: 1. Steve Torrence; 2. Leah Pritchett; 3. Richie Crampton; 4. Tony Schumacher; 5. Blake Alexander; 6. Clay Millican; 7. Brittany Force; 8. Billy Torrence; 9. Antron Brown; 10. Troy Buff; 11. Terry McMillen; 12. Scott Palmer; 13. Greg Carrillo; 14. Doug Kalitta; 15. Shawn Reed; 16. Mike Salinas.
Final: Steve Torrence, 3.751 seconds, 326.32 mph def. Leah Pritchett, 5.317 seconds, 148.85 mph.
FUNNY CAR: 1. J.R. Todd; 2. Matt Hagan; 3. Jack Beckman; 4. Bob Tasca III; 5. Ron Capps; 6. Courtney Force; 7. Shawn Langdon; 8. Tommy Johnson Jr.; 9. John Force; 10. Cruz Pedregon; 11. Jim Campbell; 12. Robert Hight; 13. Jonnie Lindberg; 14. Tim Wilkerson; 15. Richard Townsend; 16. Jeff Arend.
Final: J.R. Todd, Toyota Camry, 3.921, 318.39 def. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 4.087, 263.62.
PRO STOCK: 1. Bo Butner; 2. Erica Enders; 3. Tanner Gray; 4. Matt Hartford; 5. Jason Line; 6. Drew Skillman; 7. Deric Kramer; 8. Jeg Coughlin; 9. Greg Anderson; 10. Alex Laughlin; 11. Chris McGaha; 12. Vincent Nobile; 13. Kenny Delco; 14. Steve Graham; 15. Fernando Cuadra; 16. Alan Prusiensky.
Final: Bo Butner, Chevy Camaro, 6.657, 207.43 def. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.652, 206.57.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1. Hector Arana Jr; 2. Eddie Krawiec; 3. Hector Arana; 4. Andrew Hines; 5. Chip Ellis; 6. Matt Smith; 7. Angelle Sampey; 8. Jerry Savoie; 9. LE Tonglet; 10. Steve Johnson; 11. Scotty Pollacheck; 12. Ron Tornow; 13. Ryan Oehler; 14. Kelly Clontz; 15. Mark Paquette; 16. Angie Smith.
Final: Hector Arana Jr, EBR, 6.885, 193.35 def. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.911, 195.05.
Point standings after 23 of 24 events in the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series
TOP FUEL: 1. Steve Torrence, 2,718; 2. Clay Millican, 2,487; 3. Tony Schumacher, 2,454; 4. Leah Pritchett, 2,394; 5. Brittany Force, 2,302; 6. Antron Brown, 2,291; 7. (tie) Doug Kalitta, 2,259; Mike Salinas, 2,259; 9. Terry McMillen, 2,253; 10. Scott Palmer, 2,182.
FUNNY CAR: 1. J.R. Todd, 2,553; 2. Robert Hight, 2,479; 3. Ron Capps, 2,388; 4. Tim Wilkerson, 2,367; 5. Tommy Johnson Jr., 2,362; 6. Courtney Force, 2,324; 7. Matt Hagan, 2,321; 8. Jack Beckman, 2,283; 9. John Force, 2,277; 10. Shawn Langdon, 2,204.
PRO STOCK: 1. Tanner Gray, 2,583; 2. Jeg Coughlin, 2,443; 3. Erica Enders, 2,434; 4. Drew Skillman, 2,413; 5. Vincent Nobile, 2,404; 6. Jason Line, 2,350; 7. Greg Anderson, 2,334; 8. Bo Butner, 2,300; 9. Deric Kramer, 2,220; 10. Chris McGaha, 2,135.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1. Matt Smith, 2,479; 2. Eddie Krawiec, 2,475; 3. LE Tonglet, 2,418; 4. Hector Arana Jr, 2,415; 5. Jerry Savoie, 2,378; 6. Andrew Hines, 2,366; 7. Angelle Sampey, 2,268; 8. Angie Smith, 2,255; 9. Steve Johnson, 2,242; 10. Scotty Pollacheck, 2,209.
Capps scores third victory of the NHRA season
Todd captures Funny Car title, takes Pomona win