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Torrences Are Tops In Brainerd

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, August 19 2018

Billy Torrence drove to his first NHRA Top Fuel pole on Saturday.

RacinToday.com

Billy Torrence made the most of a weekend off from the family-owned pipeline business Saturday, leading Team Capco to a Top Fuel qualifying sweep for the 37th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway in Minnesota.

On the last of his four qualifying runs, the 60-year-old Torrence drove through the 1,000-foot course in 3.784-seconds at 326.32 mph to steal the No. 1 spot from son Steve. The elder Torrence earned the first No. 1 qualifying position of his 27-race career. Earlier, class point-leader Steve Torrence stopped the timers in 3.786-seconds at 328.14 mph in his Capco entry.

Because of their qualifying positions, the father and son from Kilgore, Texas, could race in the final round Sunday. When they met in February in the semifinals of the Arizona Nationals near Phoenix, Steve prevailed and went on to win the race, the first of his category-best five 2018 tour victories. Steve has led the point standings after all but the season-opening Winternationals in Pomona, Calif.

Billy Torrence will race in Round 1 against fellow-journeyman Terry Totten of Gretna, Neb.  Steve will oppose Bill Litton of LaJolla, Calif.

“I didn’t think it could get much better than racing my dad in the semifinals at Phoenix,” Steve Torrence said. “But I’ve gotta say this was an awesome day for Capco and Torrence Racing. These Capco boys are the best.  (Crew chiefs) Richard Hogan, Bobby Lagana, Dom Lagana, Gary Pritchett, there’s nobody on this team I don’t love like a brother.

“We do it the old way. We race hard, we play hard. We win as a team and we lose as a team and that’s what makes it so special. My old man, he was racing long before me. He’s not new at this. He’s won national events and divisional races in Super Comp. He’s no novice at this no matter what he says. If we both go out there and do our jobs tomorrow, maybe there’ll be a Phoenix rematch.  I tell you what, if there is, I’m definitely not cuttin’ him any slack.”

Robert Hight (Funny Car), Erica Enders (Pro Stock) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also emerged as No. 1 qualifiers in their respective categories at the 17th of 24 events on the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.

FOX Sports 1 will air one hour of “Sunday Nitro” qualifying coverage at noon (EDT), followed by three hours of finals racing beginning at 2 p.m.

Hight raced to his second pole of the season and 59th of his Funny Car career. Hight improved upon his 1,000-foot run from Friday in the third session by posting a time of 3.959-seconds at 324.67 mph in his Chevrolet Camaro SS. The two-time/reigning world champion from John Force Racing has one win at this event.

Hight, who has two wins this season, will face two-time world champ Cruz Pedregon and his Toyota Camry in Sunday’s first round of eliminations. Hight is 28-15 against Pedregon and 2-1 against him this year. Hight’s 11 bonus qualifying points this weekend ties the most earned by a JRF driver in 2018.

 “(Crew chief) Jimmy Prock thought we could step-up and we ran what he thought it would,” Hight said. “The left lane is the better lane. I’m surprised other teams didn’t run better. The conditions were really good today. We got all the bonus points except one in qualifying. I’m pretty jazzed because this is the time of year you better have your act together. It’s starting to come together for us. We were No. 1 here last year but didn’t get the win. We’re hoping to get that win this year.”

Qualifying second was 2016 world champion Ron Capps of Don Schumacher Racing in his Dodge Charger R/T with his pass of 3.969-seconds at 319.67 mph. Capps will face Jonnie Lindberg and his Ford Mustang in Round 1. Point-leader Courtney Force, also of JFR, qualified 10th in her Camaro with a run of 4.025 at 318.02 and will face Jim Campbell and his Charger.  

In Pro Stock, Enders secured her first pole position since the Las Vegas-2 event in 2015 with a quarter-mile run of 6.609-seconds at 207.53 mph in her Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro SS. Enders, who has 19 pole positions in her career, will face David River and his Chevy Cobalt in Round 1. 

“It has been a long road for us since our back-to-back championships,” Enders said. “2016 was a huge struggle and ’17 we got our feet wet again. It’s more like a well-oiled machine now and things are going great for our entire program.”

Chris McGaha qualified his Camaro second with his pass of 6.609-seconds at 205.73 mph and will face Mark Hogan and his Pontiac GXP. Point-leader Greg Anderson, a four-time world champion, is ninth following his best pass of 6.626 at 208.52 in his Ken Black Racing Camaro. Anderson will face five-time world champ Jeg Coughlin Jr., who qualified eighth in his Elite Camaro. 

Smith recorded his second Pro Stock Motorcycle pole of the season via a quarter-mile pass of 6.852-seconds at 198.47 mph during the first session on Friday and was able to hold onto the top spot. Smith posted his second No. 1 at Brainerd aboard his Elite Motorsports/Denso EBR and will face Jim Underdahl and his Suzuki in the first round.

“The bike is working good,” said Smith, a two-time world champion. “We tried something today first round and it bogged down real bad but we went back and adjusted that and were low E.T. again in Q4. All in all, this new EBR bodywork we have is pretty fast and we have a good package right now.” 

Hector Arana Jr. remained second with a 6.877-second pass at 197.08 mph and will face Scotty Pollacheck and his Suzuki in the opener.  Point-leader/five-time world champ Andrew Hines qualified fourth aboard his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Street Rod and will race Karen Stoffer and her Suzuki in Round 1.

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Sunday’s first-round pairings for eliminations at the 37th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway in Minnesota, 17th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Pairings based upon results in qualifying, which ended Saturday. DNQs listed below pairings:

Top Fuel _ 1. Billy Torrence, 3.784-seconds, 326.48 mph vs. 16. Terry Totten, 12.286, 72.31; 2. Steve Torrence, 3.786, 328.14 vs. 15. Bill Litton, 7.177, 78.39; 3. Antron Brown, 3.789, 325.45 vs. 14. Luigi Novelli, 4.646, 167.95; 4. Clay Millican, 3.790, 323.04 vs. 13. Chris Karamesines, 4.003, 305.01; 5. Mike Salinas, 3.797, 322.19 vs. 12. Doug Kalitta, 3.947, 257.43; 6. Brittany Force, 3.803, 325.53 vs. 11. Richie Crampton, 3.878, 310.55; 7. Tony Schumacher, 3.818, 326.87 vs. 10. Terry McMillen, 3.846, 319.60; 8. Leah Pritchett, 3.818, 324.83 vs. 9. Scott Palmer, 3.834, 323.04. 

Funny Car _1. Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 3.959, 326.95 vs. 16. Cruz Pedregon, Toyota Camry, 4.081, 305.84; 2. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger, 3.969, 319.67 vs. 15. Jonnie Lindberg, Ford Mustang, 4.081, 314.53; 3. Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.990, 324.51 vs. 14. Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.029, 317.05; 4. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 3.991, 318.32 vs. 13. John Force, Camaro, 4.029, 322.04; 5. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.003, 317.42 vs. 12. Del Worsham, Camry, 4.028, 321.04; 6. Shawn Langdon, Camry, 4.013, 321.04 vs. 11. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 4.026, 318.09; 7. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.014, 313.15 vs. 10. Courtney Force, Camaro, 4.025, 318.02; 8. J.R. Todd, Camry, 4.018, 318.17 vs. 9. Bob Bode, Charger, 4.018, 316.01. 

Did Not Qualify _ 17. Gary Densham, 4.107, 315.64; 18. Dale Creasy Jr., 4.141, 267.59. 

Pro Stock _1. Erica Enders, Chevy Camaro, 6.609, 207.72 vs. 16. Dave River, Chevy Cobalt, 7.002, 197.33; 2. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.613, 208.36 vs. 15. Mark Hogan, Pontiac GXP, 6.854, 200.59; 3. Alex Laughlin, Dodge Dart, 6.613, 207.59 vs. 14. Alan Prusiensky, Dart, 6.737, 204.45; 4. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.614, 208.78 vs. 13. Fernando Cuadra, Camaro, 6.677, 207.08; 5. Tanner Gray, Camaro, 6.615, 208.71 vs. 12. Dave Connolly, Camaro, 6.659, 207.53; 6. Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.615, 208.10 vs. 11. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.642, 207.72; 7. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.622, 207.91 vs. 10. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.640, 208.04; 8. Jeg Coughlin Jr., Camaro, 6.623, 208.23 vs. 9. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.626, 208.52.

Pro Stock Motorcycle _ 1. Matt Smith, Victory, 6.852, 198.47 vs. 16. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 6.997, 191.21; 2. Hector Arana Jr., Buell, 6.877, 197.22 vs. 15. Scotty Pollacheck, Suzuki, 6.985, 192.06; 3. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.886, 195.45 vs. 14. Ryan Oehler, Buell, 6.983, 192.49; 4. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.899, 195.76 vs. 13. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.979, 191.00; 5. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.909, 193.07 vs. 12. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.972, 192.03; 6. Mark Paquette, Buell, 6.917, 193.32 vs. 11. Hector Arana, Buell, 6.965, 193.90; 7. Joey Gladstone, Suzuki, 6.924, 193.27 vs. 10. Angelle Sampey, Buell, 6.960, 192.80; 8. Angie Smith, Buell, 6.924, 192.82 vs. 9. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.946, 193.74. 

Did Not Qualify _ 17. Cory Reed, 7.040, 191.35; 18. Kelly Clontz, 7.072, 190.35.

 

 

 

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, August 19 2018
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