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Torrence Fastest In Joliet

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, June 2 2018

Steve Torrence drove to the provisional pole in Top Fuel at Route 66 on Friday.

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Steve Torrence rode a record-setting pass to earn the provisional Top Fuel pole after Friday’s opening day of time trials for the 21st annual JEGS Route 66 NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway.

The defending event winner, Torrence set both ends of the track record in Joliet, Ill., with a blistering 1,000-foot run of 3.677-seconds at 333.58 mph in his Capco Contractors dragster in the night’s final pass. The Top Fuel point-leader, Torrence has yet to record a pole this season despite being the only driver in the class with three national event victories.

“I was really surprised by that last run, but these (unusually cool) conditions allowed for us to make a ‘hero run’ and get low E.T. for the day,” Torrence said. “Notoriously, I have not had great success at Route 66 Raceway. But last year we got the monkey off our backs here and we have a lot of confidence that we can keep making steps in the right direction this weekend.”

Reigning Top Fuel world champion Brittany Force of John Force Racing was second with a pass in 3.721-seconds at 329.34 mph in her Advance Auto Parts /Monster Energy dragster.

Matt Hagan (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also emerged as preliminary No. 1 qualifiers in their respective categories at the ninth of 24 events on the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.

Hagan sits atop Funny Car with a 1,000-foot run of 3.917-seconds at 326.79 mph in his Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T recorded during his second pass. The two-time world champion from Don Schumacher Racing is chasing his second pole of the year and first since the season-opening  Winternationals in Pomona, Calif., where he also earned his lone victory of 2018.

A three-time Route 66 Funny Car champ, Hagan already has secured a race win, a pole and three final round appearances in 2018.

“It was a great run and something we can build from,” Hagan said.”Coming out of (the previous event) Topeka, I feel like we kind of closed the gap on Courtney Force and some of the cars that were running really strong and up front. I know (crew chief) Dickie Venables; when he has enough runs, he gets everything dialed-in. I’m very, very confident in the moves we’ve been making and the direction we’re headed in.

“This is a great track and I have a lot of history here. We’ve won some races, set some world records here and the fans are just always great. These runs give us the confidence to roll into tomorrow’s two sessions and loosens up that ability to be able to throw-down, knowing we’ve got nothing to lose.”

Hagan’s DSR teammate, 2016 world champion Ron Capps, moved into second after a 3.921-second pass at 325.92 mph in his NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger R/T during his second pass. “Fast” Jack Beckman, the 2012 world champion, rounded out the top three for DSR in his Infinite Hero Charger.

Anderson paced Pro Stock after covering the traditional quarter-mile in 6.546-seconds at 211.03 mph in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro SS during the second round. The four-time world champion is chasing his fifth pole of the season.

“I think these cool conditions have caught us all off-guard,” Anderson said. “None of us expected it to cool down like this, and it was a neat change because with this weather and the humidity going down, these Pro Stock cars come alive. We love that _ we love these conditions _ and this is a great racetrack with a great atmosphere with the amphitheater type of setting. Route 66 Raceway is just a cool place to race.”

Tanner Gray, NHRA’s 2017 Rookie of the Year, is second at 6.556-seconds and 210.18 mph in his Gray Motorsports Valvoline Camaro during his second run.

Andrew Hines was class of the field in Pro Stock Motorcycle via a quarter-mile pass in 6.862-seconds at 193.90 mph aboard his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Street Rod in his first qualifying run. Hines is aiming for his second pole of the season and first since the PSM opener at Gainesville (Fla.) Raceway in March.

“This weather is really strange out here. It’s not our typical conditions in Chicago but we’ll take it because we have our Street Rod No. 1,” said Hines, a five-time world champion. “We’re happy all around and my guys are eager to come out here tomorrow to try and get some quicker times.”

Eddie Krawiec, Hines’ H-D teammate and the category point-leader, sits second with an identical 6.862-second pass at 193.24 during Round 2.

In addition to Torrence and Capps, Drew Skillman (Pro Stock) and LE Tonglet (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were last year’s winners of the event outside Chicago. It is the fourth of 16 races during the 2018 Pro Stock Motorcycle season.

Qualifying is scheduled to continue Saturday afternoon. FOX Sports 1 will televise one hour of qualifying coverage Saturday at 7 p.m. (EDT) repeated at midnight. On Sunday, FS1 will televise #NHRAToday and qualifying beginning at 10:30 a.m. (EDT). The network also will air three hours of finals coverage starting at 5:30 p.m. (EDT).

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Friday’s provisional qualifying results after the first two of four rounds of time trials for the 21st annual JEGS Route 66 NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill., ninth of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Qualifying will continue Saturday for Sunday’s final eliminations:

Top Fuel _ 1. Steve Torrence, 3.677-seconds, 333.58 mph; 2. Brittany Force, 3.721, 329.34; 3. Tony Schumacher, 3.749, 329.99; 4. Clay Millican, 3.753, 326.48; 5. T.J. Zizzo, 3.771, 326.48; 6. Blake Alexander, 3.781, 328.06; 7. Doug Kalitta, 3.786, 321.96; 8. Leah Pritchett, 3.797, 328.30; 9. Antron Brown, 3.801, 325.14; 10. Richie Crampton, 3.826, 296.83; 11. Scott Palmer, 3.839, 326.24; 12. Pat Dakin, 3.841, 320.51; 13. Terry McMillen, 3.895, 312.13; 14. Chris Karamesines, 4.130, 231.56; 15. Billy Torrence, 4.231, 202.18; 16. Kyle Wurtzel, 5.361, 123.44.

Not Qualified _ 17. Terry Haddock, 10.562, 55.97; 18. Luigi Novelli, 10.985, 48.33; 19. Bill Litton, 13.138, 68.76.

Funny Car _1. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 3.917, 326.79; 2. Ron Capps, Charger, 3.921, 325.92; 3. Jack Beckman, Charger, 3.944, 322.81; 4. Courtney Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.966, 327.66; 5. Cruz Pedregon, Toyota Camry, 3.969, 320.05; 6. John Force, Camaro, 3.971, 324.59; 7. Shawn Langdon, Camry, 3.980, 326.08; 8. Bob Tasca III, Ford Mustang, 3.988, 318.47; 9. J.R. Todd, Camry, 4.019, 310.20; 10. Robert Hight, Camaro, 4.073, 267.85; 11. Dale Creasy Jr., Dodge Stratus, 4.112, 314.46; 12. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.409, 201.73; 13. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.503, 185.36; 14. Bob Bode, Charger, 4.662, 187.99; 15. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.942, 160.12; 16. Jonnie Lindberg, Mustang, 5.640, 122.76.

Not Qualified _ 17. Justin Schriefer, 6.059, 88.64.

Pro Stock _ 1. Greg Anderson, Chevy Camaro, 6.546, 211.03; 2. Tanner Gray, Camaro, 6.556, 210.21; 3. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.559, 209.95; 4. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.560, 210.67; 5. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.564, 210.87; 6. Jeg Coughlin Jr., Camaro, 6.579, 209.07; 7. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.581, 210.18; 8. Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.582, 209.75; 9. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.584, 210.14; 10. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.585, 209.49; 11. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.587, 209.72; 12. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.600, 209.14; 13. Wally Stroupe, Camaro, 6.813, 203.43; 14. Mark Hogan, Pontiac GXP, 6.847, 199.67; 15. Dave River, Chevy Cobalt, 6.950, 197.28; 16. Tim Freeman, Camaro, 7.087, 151.78.

Pro Stock Motorcycle _ 1. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.862, 193.90; 2. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.862, 194.49; 3. Matt Smith, Victory, 6.871, 194.83; 4. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.881, 193.90; 5. Hector Arana Jr., Buell, 6.883, 195.05; 6. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.937, 192.96; 7. Angie Smith, Buell, 6.942, 190.59; 8. Ryan Oehler, Buell, 6.948, 191.46; 9. Joey Gladstone, Suzuki, 6.965, 191.65; 10. Scotty Pollacheck, Suzuki, 6.969, 191.76; 11. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 6.975, 191.97; 12. Kelly Clontz, Suzuki, 7.005, 191.27; 13. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 7.017, 190.46; 14. Marc Ingwersen, Buell, 7.026, 187.55; 15. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 7.063, 189.63; 16. Hector Arana, Buell, 7.134, 194.41.

Not Qualified _17. Mark Paquette, 7.150, 157.17; 18. Cory Reed, 7.157, 188.41; 19. Angelle Sampey, 8.999, 97.81.

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, June 2 2018
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