Home » NHRA

Alexander Steals Show In Sonoma

| , RacinToday.com Monday, July 30 2018

Blake Alexander nabbed the Top Fuel win in Sonoma on Sunday. (Photo by Marc Gewertz/NHRA)

RacinToday.com

Native Californian Blake Alexander brought home the second Top Fuel victory of his career in front of a sellout crowd Sunday at the 31st annual Toyota NHRA Sonoma Nationals at Sonoma Raceway.

Robert Hight (Funny Car), Jeg Coughlin Jr. (Pro Stock) and LE Tonglet (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also emerged as winners in their respective categories at the 15th of 24 events on the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule. The race also was Round 2 of three events comprising NHRA’s annual summertime Western Swing.

Alexander powered to the winner’s circle with a 1,000-foot run of 4.004-seconds at 287.41 mph to take down the winningest driver in Top Fuel history, Tony Schumacher. Despite having competed at only six events this season, Alexander now has three final -round appearances as one of four Top Fuel competitors with multiple wins in 2018.

“We may be a part-time team but we come out to the track trying to win every race, and so far this year we’ve had a lot of success with that,” Alexander said. “My life has changed this year with how well we have been running, and the opportunity that Bob Vandergriff Jr. has given me to drive his race car has been paramount in my career.”

Alexander eliminated fellow-Californian Mike Salinas, three-time world champion Antron Brown and Scott Palmer as he continues to make a bid to qualify for the six-race Countdown to the Championship playoffs.

An eight-time world champion, Schumacher’s third runner-up finish of the season moved “The Sarge” into second in the standings in his bid to close the gap to leader Steve Torrence. Schumacher, of Don Schumacher Racing, also was one of four Top Fuel competitors to join Torrence by clinching a position in the Countdown, as he, Clay Millican, Doug Kalitta and Leah Pritchett fill out the first portion of 10 available spots.

Hight, the two-time/reigning world champion from John Force Racing, covered the 1,000-foot distance in 3.984-seconds at 319.75 mph to beat DSR’s Ron Capps in the final. Hight secured his second win of the season and the second of his career at Sonoma.

“This track is unbelievable, and we were fortunate to have three great days of racing because of these conditions this weekend,” said Hight. “This is the time of year you have to get it together if you want to win a championship, and we know we need to keep clicking before we start off the Countdown to the Championship.”

Hight qualified 11th and defeated Tim Wilkerson, Bob Tasca III and Tommy Johnson Jr. on his path to victory as he locked in his position in the Countdown.

Capps, the 2016 world champ and driver of his Dodge Charger R/T, now has two runnerup results in three final rounds this year. Capps and DSR teammate/two-time world champ Matt Hagan joined Courtney Force by locking into the Countdown.

Coughlin covered the traditional quarter-mile in 6.532-seconds at 212.16 mph to defeat Deric Kramer in the final to become the second Pro Stock driver with three victories this season. A five-time world champion, Jeggie secured his third career win in Sonoma and first since 2010.

“We’ve weathered a few storms over the past few seasons, but this team is a lot of fun and the fact that we’re a threat to win every weekend is a real testament to how far this team has come,” said Coughlin. “We never once felt like we had to back-off because of these conditions, and seeing four win lights turn on at this track is an amazing feeling.”

Coughlin defeated Alex Laughlin, Tanner Gray and No. 1 qualifier/four-time world champ Greg Anderson before locking down the win. Despite falling in the semifinals to Coughlin by 0.0018-seconds, Anderson became the first driver in the “Factory Hot Rod” class to clinch a spot in the Countdown.

“We lost by one stinkin’ thousandth,” Anderson said. “My Summit Racing Chevrolet Camaro was a great race car all weekend long, but Sunday has been our Achilles heel this year and we didn’t do a good job of staying fast. It’s a work in progress still on Sunday, but overall, the performance of our cars is better. That’s been really great. We’ll keep trying and we know we’ll figure it out before the Countdown.”

Tonglet brought home the win in Pro Stock Motorcycle after covering the quarter-mile in 6.771-seconds at 198.52 mph aboard his Nitro Fish Racing Suzuki to eliminate point-leader Andrew Hines in the final. The 2010 world champion, Tonglet notched his third consecutive victory at Sonoma Raceway as he now has two wins this season.

“We got lucky in the first round because I had a terrible light, but once we got that round win we just kept rolling and turning on win lights,” Tonglet said. “We came off the trailer going fast this weekend and that kept going with each round, so that made today a great day.” Tonglet trailered Cory Reed, Joey Gladstone and No. 1 qualifier/four-time world champ Eddie Krawiec en route to victory.

Hines, a five-time world champ, now has four runnerup finishes aboard his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Street Rod. The current point-leader, Hines will look for his first win in 2018 when Pro Stock Bike returns to the circuit at Brainerd, Minn.

Five Pro Stock Motorcycle riders have clinched a spot in the Coutndown _ Hines, Krawiec, Tonglet, Hector Arana Jr. and 2016 world champion Jerry Savoie.

The Western Swing will conclude at Pacific Raceways in Kent, Wash., near Seattle, from Aug. 3-5.

###

Final finishing order (1-16) at the 31st annual Toyota NHRA Sonoma Nationals at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway. The race is the 15th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series:

Top Fuel _1. Blake Alexander; 2. Tony Schumacher; 3. Doug Kalitta; 4. Scott Palmer; 5. Antron Brown; 6. Bill Litton; 7. Brittany Force; 8. Clay Millican; 9. Richie Crampton; 10. Steve Torrence; 11. Jim Maroney; 12. Terry McMillen; 13. Shawn Reed; 14. Leah Pritchett; 15. Mike Salinas.

Funny Car _ 1. Robert Hight; 2. Ron Capps; 3. Tommy Johnson Jr.; 4. John Force; 5. Jack Beckman; 6. Del Worsham; 7. Matt Hagan; 8. Bob Tasca III; 9. Shawn Langdon; 10. Tim Wilkerson; 11. Jonnie Lindberg; 12. Courtney Force; 13. Cruz Pedregon; 14. Jim Campbell; 15. J.R. Todd; 16. Richard Townsend.

Pro Stock _1. Jeg Coughlin Jr.; 2. Deric Kramer; 3. Jason Line; 4. Greg Anderson; 5. Tanner Gray; 6. Erica Enders; 7. Alex Laughlin; 8. Drew Skillman; 9. Vincent Nobile; 10. Chris McGaha; 11. Fernando Cuadra; 12. Steve Graham; 13. Alan Prusiensky; 14. Matt Hartford; 15. Bo Butner; 16. Joey Grose.

Pro Stock Motorcycle _1. LE Tonglet; 2. Andrew Hines; 3. Eddie Krawiec; 4. Jim Underdahl; 5. Joey Gladstone; 6. Jerry Savoie; 7. Hector Arana Jr.; 8. Matt Smith; 9. Hector Arana; 10. Steve Johnson; 11. Angie Smith; 12. Ryan Oehler; 13. Angelle Sampey; 14. Cory Reed; 15. Karen Stoffer; 16. Scotty Pollacheck.

Sunday’s final results from the 31st annual Toyota NHRA Sonoma Nationals at Sonoma Raceway:

Top Fuel _Blake Alexander, 4.004-seconds, 287.41 mph def. Tony Schumacher, 4.345-seconds, 219.65 mph.

Funny Car _ Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 3.984, 319.75 def. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger, 4.077, 296.11.

Pro Stock _ Jeg Coughlin Jr., Chevy Camaro, 6.532, 212.16 def. Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.534, 210.54.

Pro Stock Motorcycle _ LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.771, 198.52 def. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.802, 197.48.

Super Stock _ Don Keen, Ford Mustang, 10.315, 127.86 def. Mark Kirby, Plymouth Duster, 10.242, 126.07.

Stock Eliminator _ Leo Glasbrenner, Pontiac Firebird, 10.595, 120.23 def. Jody Lang, Chevy Malibu, 12.224, 97.68.

Super Comp _ Robert Naber, Dragster, 8.911, 177.84 def. Matt Woodard, Dragster, 8.920, 175.43.

Super Gas _ Matt Blodgett, Chevy Nova, 9.908, 141.50 def. Ron Mackenzie, Chevy Corvette, Foul/Red Light.

Top Dragster presented by RacingRVs.com _ John Richardson, Dragster, 28.098, 192.66 def. Andy Spiegel, Dragster, Foul/Red Light.

Top Sportsman presented by RacingRVs.com _ Ken Ratzloff, Studebaker, 7.230, 191.35 def. Ted Kellner, Pontiac Firebird, 7.314, 187.29.

Final round-by-round results from the 31st annual Toyota NHRA Sonoma Nationals at Sonoma Raceway:

TOP FUEL

ROUND ONE _ Blake Alexander, 3.774, 330.15 def. Mike Salinas, Foul/Centerline; Clay Millican, 3.697, 332.75 was unopposed; Bill Litton, 4.169, 219.76 def. Leah Pritchett, Foul/Red Light; Antron Brown, 3.786, 326.87 def. Jim Maroney, 3.879, 302.96; Tony Schumacher, 3.743, 330.88 def. Shawn Reed, 4.776, 157.04; Brittany Force, 3.759, 329.91 def. Richie Crampton, 3.766, 325.14; Scott Palmer, 3.798, 329.34 def. Terry McMillen, 4.726, 133.46; Doug Kalitta, 3.746, 332.26 def. Steve Torrence, Foul/Red Light;

QUARTERFINALS _ Alexander, 3.791, 330.23 def. Brown, 3.822, 317.72; Kalitta, 3.772, 329.50 def. Millican, 5.111, 147.79; Schumacher, 4.375, 192.71 def. Force, 4.985, 144.77; Palmer, 3.811, 325.92 def. Litton, 4.163, 231.68;

SEMIFINALS _ Alexander, 3.878, 313.15 def. Palmer, 7.634, 106.52; Schumacher, 3.836, 317.42 def. Kalitta, 3.837, 274.44;

FINAL _ Alexander, 4.004, 287.41 def. Schumacher, 4.345, 219.65.

FUNNY CAR

ROUND ONE _ Ron Capps, Dodge Charger, 3.995, 318.99 def. Richard Townsend, Toyota Camry, 10.192, 85.25; Del Worsham, Camry, 3.983, 325.22 def. Courtney Force, Chevy Camaro, 4.091, 300.00; Jack Beckman, Charger, 3.973, 320.58 def. J.R. Todd, Camry, 4.242, 225.18; Bob Tasca III, Ford Mustang, 4.004, 317.27 def. Jonnie Lindberg, Mustang, 4.022, 317.79; Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.958, 320.89 def. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.115, 310.13; Robert Hight, Camaro, 3.974, 322.65 def. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.010, 321.96; Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.012, 321.58 def. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 4.103, 306.40; John Force, Camaro, 4.026, 323.12 def. Shawn Langdon, Camry, 4.000, 321.27;

QUARTERFINALS _ Hight, 4.010, 317.19 def. Tasca III, 12.467, 67.36; Capps, 3.969, 322.65 def. Hagan, 4.512, 190.59; Johnson Jr., 4.016, 323.35 def. Beckman, 4.013, 314.83; J. Force, 4.069, 316.75 def. Worsham, 4.080, 268.87;

SEMIFINALS _ Hight, 3.956, 322.04 def. Johnson Jr., 3.990, 323.81; Capps, 4.000, 321.04 def. J. Force, 4.081, 321.42;

FINAL _ Hight, 3.984, 319.75 def. Capps, 4.077, 296.11.

PRO STOCK

ROUND ONE _ Drew Skillman, Chevy Camaro, 6.532, 211.79 def. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.560, 211.49; Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.530, 211.56 def. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 7.155, 146.35; Tanner Gray, Camaro, 6.509, 211.79 def. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.553, 210.73; Jeg Coughlin Jr., Camaro, 6.537, 211.86 def. Fernando Cuadra, Camaro, 6.582, 208.97; Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.506, 211.16 def. Alan Prusiensky, Dodge Dart, Foul/Red Light; Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.558, 210.18 def. Bo Butner, Camaro, 8.274, 110.94; Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.528, 211.49 def. Joey Grose, Camaro, 18.077, 43.99; Jason Line, Camaro, 6.505, 211.96 def. Steve Graham, Camaro, 6.620, 209.62;

QUARTERFINALS _ Coughlin, 6.534, 211.43 def. Laughlin, 6.563, 210.28; Anderson, 6.534, 211.36 def. Skillman, 6.585, 211.33; Kramer, 6.523, 211.39 def. Gray, 6.532, 211.46; Line, 6.538, 211.10 def. Enders, 6.547, 211.96;

SEMIFINALS _ Coughlin, 6.548, 211.13 def. Anderson, 6.554, 212.43; Kramer, 6.525, 211.10 def. Line, 6.551, 211.26;

FINAL _ Coughlin, 6.532, 212.16 def. Kramer, 6.534, 210.54.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE

ROUND ONE _ Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.856, 194.91 def. Hector Arana, Buell, 6.853, 196.96; Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 6.863, 196.82 def. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.892, 194.46; Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.778, 198.47 def. Scotty Pollacheck, Suzuki, 7.305, 145.89; LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.806, 197.48 def. Cory Reed, Buell, 6.914, 196.73; Joey Gladstone, Suzuki, 6.814, 195.45 def. Angie Smith, Buell, 6.896, 194.46; Hector Arana Jr., Buell, 6.832, 200.35 def. Angelle Sampey, Buell, 6.906, 196.90; Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.846, 199.05 def. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.952, 193.90; Matt Smith, 6.803, 196.90 def. Ryan Oehler, Buell, 6.901, 195.90;

QUARTERFINALS _ Krawiec, 6.771, 200.08 def. Savoie, 6.876, 196.19; Underdahl, 7.004, 173.90 def. Arana Jr., 9.242, 96.10; Tonglet, 6.803, 198.32 def. Gladstone, 6.853, 194.72; Hines, 6.798, 197.94 def. M. Smith, 12.443, 64.66;

SEMIFINALS _ Hines, 6.820, 197.57 def. Underdahl, 6.907, 195.59; Tonglet, 6.796, 198.09 def. Krawiec, 6.769, 198.93;

FINAL _ Tonglet, 6.771, 198.52 def. Hines, 6.802, 197.48.

Point standings (top-10) following the 31st annual Toyota NHRA Sonoma Nationals at Sonoma Raceway:

Top Fuel _1. Steve Torrence, 1,168*; 2. Tony Schumacher, 1,031*; 3. Clay Millican, 1,025*; 4. Leah Pritchett, 989*; 5. Doug Kalitta, 951*; 6. Antron Brown, 809; 7. Terry McMillen, 728; 8. Brittany Force, 697; 9. Scott Palmer, 617; 10. Richie Crampton, 608.

Funny Car _1. Courtney Force, 1,197*; 2. Ron Capps, 1,032*; 3. Robert Hight, 1,024*; 4. Matt Hagan, 1,001*; 5. Jack Beckman, 967; 6. J.R. Todd, 863; 7. Tommy Johnson Jr., 819; 8. John Force, 807; 9. Shawn Langdon, 680; 10. Bob Tasca III, 656.

Pro Stock _1. Greg Anderson, 1,126*; 2. Tanner Gray, 1,031; 3. Erica Enders, 1,023; 4. Vincent Nobile, 979; 5. Jeg Coughlin Jr., 956; 6. Chris McGaha, 907; 7. Drew Skillman, 895; 8. Jason Line, 857; 9. Deric Kramer, 828; 10. Bo Butner, 822.

Pro Stock Motorcycle _1. Andrew Hines, 687*; 2. Eddie Krawiec, 651*; 3. LE Tonglet, 609*; 4. Hector Arana Jr., 562*; 5. Jerry Savoie, 534*; 6. Matt Smith, 473; 7. Scotty Pollacheck, 449; 8. Angie Smith, 336; 9. Hector Arana, 321; 10. Angelle Sampey, 320.

Note _ *Denotes clinched a spot among the top-10 for the Countdown to the Championship playoffs.

 

| , RacinToday.com Monday, July 30 2018
No Comment

Comments are closed.