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Torrence Off And Rolling In Home State Of Texas

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, October 14 2017

Steve Torrence dumps the clutch during Friday’s qualifying at Texas Motorplex in his home state. (Photo courtesy of the NHRA)

By John Sturbin | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

ENNIS, Texas – Accompanied by his favorite adult beverage, Steve Torrence officially christened a wide-flat-open pursuit of his first Top Fuel victory at Texas Motorplex Friday night.

“I’m in Texas now, and I can do what I want,” Torrence joked, a reference to the can of Miller Lite in his hand and the numbers posted on the scoreboard at the top end of The Plex’s all-concrete drag strip. The Top Fuel point-leader after three of the six races comprising the Countdown to the Championship, Torrence claimed the provisional pole for the 32nd annual AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals with a 1,000-foot pass in 3.682-seconds at 327.51 mph.

The 34-year-old resident of Kilgore in West Texas is chasing his first pole and victory at the facility he considers his home turf.

“Going into tomorrow, and ultimately Sunday, confidence is for sure at an all-time high,” said Torrence, driver of the Capco Contractors dragster. “It’s always good to win at your home track. We’ve just not been able to do it. It’s been elusive. But ultimately, what we need to do is get points. I’ve said before I think this championship could be decided by just a few points. To win here would be cool but we just need to go rounds and get points however we need to do it.”

Ron Capps (Funny Car), Bo Butner (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were provisional No. 1 qualifiers in their respective categories in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series playoff race. 

Eight-time world champion Tony Schumacher, the winningest Top Fuel driver in NHRA history, is second with his 3.692-second pass at 327.66 mph in the U.S. Army dragster fielded by Don Schumacher Racing. Three-time/reigning world champion Antron Brown, also of DSR, currently holds the third spot in his Matco Tools dragster. 

Capps, the reigning Funny Car world champ and point-leader, powered his NAPA Auto Parts Dodger Charger R/T to a 1,000-foot pass in 3.872-seconds at 329.58 mph on his second pass on a day featuring weather conditions typical of a mid-July Texas afternoon. Capps and point-runnerup Robert Hight were paired in the first round after a near 90-minute delay prompted by two-time world champion Cruz Pedregon’s oil-down in the left lane. Both Capps and Hight, the 2009 world champion from John Force Racing, lost traction at separate points of their laps.  

“For us to go up there and not go down (the track) on that first run and not gain points on Robert, and to have Courtney (Force) get three points on us who’s third in points _ I mean, yes, we are counting those little (qualifying) points,” Capps said. “We’re just trying to get our little points and get that Mello Yello hat for No. 1 qualifier. We haven’t had one of those in a long time. It’s going to be fun.”

Capps’ Don Schumacher Racing teammate, 2012 world champion “Fast” Jack Beckman, sits second after racing his Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T to a 3.873-second pass at 332.34 mph. Rookie Jonnie Lindberg currently holds the third position in his Toyota Camry. 

Point-leader Butner covered the quarter-mile in 6.588-seconds at 208.94 mph in his Jim Butner’s Auto Chevrolet Camaro during Friday’s final round to lead the Pro Stock ladder.  

“We have to get through tomorrow and try to make two good runs,” said Butner, already anticipating a forecast calling for a 20-degree drop in temperatures for Sunday’s eliminations. “It’s almost like showing up to a new track on Sunday, if the weather forecast is correct. Tomorrow is going to be a lot similar to today (HOT!) so we want to learn and get better. We made a fairly good run. We need to stay ahead of the pack.”

That pack prominently includes Ken Black Racing teammate Greg Anderson, a four-time world champion who ran 6.626-seconds at 207.27 mph in his Summit Racing Equipment Camaro. Erica Enders, a two-time world champion and native of Houston, is in the third slot in her Elite Motorsports Camaro. 

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, defending event champion Krawiec took the lead with a quarter-mile pass in 6.860-seconds at 196.53 mph aboard his Screamin’ Eagle/Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Street Rod. 

“I made a really clean, very good run off the truck,” said Krawiec, a three-time world champion. “We had the bike, obviously the tune-up…Andrew (Hines) and Matt (Hines) had the tune-up really right on, the chassis set-up was right. I’ve got to maintain, that’s key. Get those little (qualifying) points and just keep moving forward.”

Reigning world champion Jerry Savoie is in the No. 2 spot with a 6.873-second pass at 194.35 mph aboard his White Alligator Racing Suzuki. Savoie began his push toward the 2016 championship with a victory in this event last year. Scotty Pollacheck rounds out the top three aboard his Suzuki. 

Professional qualifying will continue with Round 3 Saturday at 2:15 p.m. (EDT).  NHRA.com and FOX Sports Go will carry live bonus coverage Saturday from 5 to 7 p.m. (EDT). On Sunday, FOX Sports 1 will air a qualifying recap from 1 to 2 p.m., with three hours of live finals coverage to begin at 2 p.m. (EDT).

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Friday’s provisional qualifying results after the first two of four rounds of time trials for the 32nd annual AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals at Texas Motorplex. The race is the 22nd of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series and fourth of six in the Countdown to the Championship playoffs. Qualifying will continue Saturday for Sunday’s final eliminations:

Top Fuel _ 1. Steve Torrence, 3.682-seconds, 327.51 mph; 2. Tony Schumacher, 3.692, 327.66; 3. Antron Brown, 3.696, 329.91; 4. Doug Kalitta, 3.704, 330.07; 5. Brittany Force, 3.747, 322.19; 6. Shawn Langdon, 3.748, 320.13; 7. Richie Crampton, 3.749, 499.81; 8. Leah Pritchett, 3.767, 323.89; 9. Billy Torrence, 3.771, 319.82; 10. Clay Millican, 3.773, 321.42; 11. Terry McMillen, 3.813, 311.85; 12. Shawn Reed, 3.816, 324.67; 13. Scott Palmer, 3.824, 324.90; 14. Kebin Kinsley, 3.926, 247.52; 15. Terry Haddock, 4.012, 277.54; 16. Blake Alexander, 4.520, 187.44.

Not Qualified _17. Troy Buff, 4.594, 168.05.

Funny Car _1. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger, 3.872, 329.58; 2. Jack Beckman, Charger, 3.873, 332.34; 3. Jonnie Lindberg, Toyota Camry, 3.873, 328.14; 4. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 3.909, 326.00; 5. Courtney Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.928, 331.94; 6. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.930, 327.59; 7. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 3.941, 322.50; 8. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 3.947, 319.67; 9. Daniel Wilkerson, Mustang, 3.987, 311.13; 10. Del Worsham, Camry, 4.118, 252.05; 11. John Force, Camaro, 4.215, 221.31; 12. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 4.255, 216.69; 13. Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.283, 211.03; 14. Robert Hight, Camaro, 4.471, 191.00; 15. Jim Campbell, Charger, 5.311, 136.77; 16. Jeff Diehl, Toyota Solara, 7.137, 90.38.

Not Qualified _ 17. Todd Simpson, 8.829, 56.42; 18. J.R. Todd, 9.019, 72.79.

Pro Stock _ 1. Bo Butner, Chevy Camaro, 6.588, 208.94; 2. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.626, 207.27; 3. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.634, 208.49; 4. Brian Self, Camaro, 6.635, 208.10; 5. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.636, 209.04; 6. Jeg Coughlin Jr., Camaro, 6.636, 208.78; 7. Tanner Gray, Camaro, 6.637, 208.04; 8. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.638, 207.78; 9. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.639, 208.17; 10. Allen Johnson, Dodge Dart, 6.658, 207.24; 11. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.665, 207.59; 12. Larry Morgan, Camaro, 6.679, 206.67; 13. Deric Kramer, Dart, 6.682, 205.79; 14. Alan Prusiensky, Dart, 6.691, 206.86; 15. Shane Tucker, Camaro, 6.730, 204.35; 16. Val Smeland, Camaro, 6.826, 201.85.

Not Qualified _ 17. Chris McGaha, 13.506, 63.99.

Pro Stock Motorcycle _1. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.860, 196.53; 2. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.873, 194.35; 3. Scotty Pollacheck, Suzuki, 6.879, 195.53; 4. Hector Arana Jr., Buell, 6.900, 193.57; 5. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.901, 195.19; 6. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.901, 193.54; 7. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.914, 193.02; 8. Matt Smith, Victory, 6.941, 194.55; 9. Joey Gladstone, Suzuki, 6.957, 191.76; 10. Melissa Surber, Buell, 6.982, 191.16; 11. Angie Smith, Buell, 6.999, 190.38; 12. Mike Berry, Buell, 7.007, 189.47; 13. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 7.011, 191.59; 14. Gunner Courtney, Suzuki, 7.120, 185.31; 15. David Hope, Buell, 7.207, 185.74; 16. Lance Bonham, Buell, 7.211, 185.74. 

 

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, October 14 2017
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