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Records Forced Aside at Virginia Drags

| , RacinToday.com Monday, May 16 2022

Earning the right to spray champagne Sunday in the NHRA were Matt Smith (Motorcycles), Britany Force (Top Fuel) and Robert Hight (Funny Car).

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Brittany Force capped a dominant weekend featuring track records and another pole with an impressive Top Fuel victory Sunday at Virginia Motorsports Park, where John Force Racing completed a Top Fuel/Funny Car sweep during the third annual Virginia NHRA Nationals.

JFR’s Robert Hight (Funny Car) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also won at the seventh of 22 races during the 2022 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season.

Force never trailed in the final round against four-time/reigning world champion Steve Torrence, covering the 1,000-foot distance in 3.770-seconds at 334.07 mph in her Flav-R-Pac dragster to win for the third time this season.

After setting both ends of the track record during qualifying, Brit knocked off Shawn Langdon and Mike Salinas to reach the final of NHRA’s first race at the facility in Dinwiddie, Va., since 2019 with her 14th career win. In the process, Force extended her point lead to 81 over rival Torrence.

“This has been our greatest season yet,” said Force, the 2017 world champion. “To come on strong with this many wins, I’m so excited. We’ve never won here in Virginia, so it was very cool to get this win. This Wally (trophy) is for (crew chief) David Grubnic because he makes the impossible happen. Any win is special, but to qualify No. 1, set the track record and then get the win _ it’s great.

“Robert and I seem to have a lot of luck together, and it was great to see him win. Our whole team has come a long way and we’re already ahead of ourselves from last year.”

Torrence reached his first final round this season and 78th in his standout career via wins against Scott Palmer, eight-time world champion Tony Schumacher and Austin Prock. Torrence is winless in seven consecutive races this year for the first time since 2017. Driver of the Capco Contractors dragster, Torrence did, however, move into second in the point standings.

Robert Hight contributed to JFR’s nitro sweep by delivering a 1,000-foot pass in 3.907-seconds at 328.86 mph in his Auto Club Chevrolet Camaro SS in the Funny Car final against point-leader Matt Hagan.

Hight’s Sunday performance marked a massive turnaround from the previous two days, as the three-time world champion and his standout team struggled mightily in qualifying. Hight and crew rallied during eliminations, knocking off Tim Wilkerson, two-time/reigning world champ Ron Capps and Bob Tasca III to reach the final. Hight followed with the victory against Hagan, notching his third win this year and 56th in his career. Hight scored his first victory at VMP to complete a productive weekend.

“I think we’ve had three battles with Hagan this year and it seems like it happens every week,” Hight said. “I think we’ve got the best two cars in the class and when you race them, you better be up for it. They were better than us in qualifying, but what a difference a day makes. We had mechanical failure the first run and it set us behind the whole weekend. But when you’ve got this great team, you just believe in them, and they just navigated things great today. We’re going to have a lot of these battles the rest of the year and hopefully we can just keep winning them.”

Hagan, the No. 1 qualifier for Tony Stewart Racing, delivered a strong 3.948-second pass in the final at his home racetrack. Hagan’s home in Christiansburg, Va., is approximately 190 miles from VMP. Hagan reached the championship round with wins against Chad Green and 16-time world champ John Force. A three-time world champ, Hagan reached his fifth final round this season and the 76th in his career. Hagan’s point lead now stands at just 15 over Hight.

“We went to the finals again and got to race Robert Hight,” said Hagan, driver of the Smithfield Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat. “It’s going to be a fun season throwing down against him. It was special since it was my 300th career start in Virginia. Our car is running great and we’ve been to so many finals already and won two races, so I know there is more to come.

“I just want to say ‘thank you’ to the fans for coming out and supporting us. The stands were packed. Thank you all for the love and we’re going to keep working hard to turn on those win lights.”

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, four-time/reigning world champ Matt Smith denied Steve Johnson his third straight win while adding another chapter to their rivalry. Smith covered the quarter-mile in 6.842-secnds at 198.35 aboard his Denso Auto Parts/Stockseth/Matt Smith Racing Suzuki to beat the point leader on a holeshot. It was a satisfying first victory in 2022 for Smith on a number of levels, including the fact it was his first career victory on a Suzuki.

“This is big for us,” Smith said. “Our did team did their homework after (zMAX Dragway) at Charlotte. We’re still not where we want to be, but we’re getting closer and all in all, it was a great weekend for us. I went to four or five finals on a Suzuki early in my career but I could never close the deal, so to now have won on a Suzuki, I’m truly blessed. I haven’t been this excited to win a race in a very long time.”

To reach the final, Smith knocked off Chris Bostick, teammate Jimmy Underdahl and four-time world champion Eddie Krawiec. Smith left first on Johnson in the final, holding him off at the finish line to earn his 33rd career victory and first at Virginia.

Veteran campaigner Johnson, who maintained his point lead, reached his third straight final on the strength of wins against Ryan Oehler, Karen Stoffer and Marc Ingwersen.

The NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series will return with the NHRA New England Nationals on June 3-5 at New England Dragway in Epping, N.H.

Tylor Miller picked up his first career win in just his third career start in the FuelTech NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by D-Wagon, racing to victory at Virginia Motorsports Park. The event was the third of 10 races on the 2022 schedule.

Paired in the final round against teammate and multi-time world champion Rickie Smith, Miller ran 5.798-seconds at 251.02 mph in his nitrous-powered Pee Dee Fleet Chevrolet Camaro to secure the win. A Pro Mod rookie, Miller reached the final with victories against J.R. Gray, Stan Shelton and Justin Bond. Miller again impressed, leading to an emotional moment in the Winner’s Circle.

“I’ve been dreaming about this since I was 9-years-old,” said Miller, who qualified third with at 5.761 at 252.24. “My dad and I have been in this business for a long time and I’m trying to not cry right now. I’ve been working on this really hard. Rickie Smith, without him, this wouldn’t have happened. Everybody who works for us at the shop makes this possible.”

Smith reached his 26th career final thanks to round-wins against Sidnei Frigo, Doug Winters and point leader Kris Thorne. Smith and Miller are now second and third in points, respectively, after three races. Thorne, who was the No. 1 qualifier and won the first two races of the season, still holds an 89-point advantage over Smith.

The FuelTech NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by D-Wagon returns to action June 23-26 as part of the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio.

Final finishing order (1-16) at the third annual Virginia NHRA Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park in Dinwiddie. The race was the seventh of 22 events in the 2022 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series:

Top Fuel_ 1. Brittany Force; 2. Steve Torrence; 3. Austin Prock; 4. Mike Salinas; 5. Shawn Langdon; 6. Tony Schumacher; 7. Doug Kalitta; 8. Josh Hart; 9. Scott Palmer; 10. Antron Brown; 11. Leah Pruett; 12. Justin Ashley; 13. Clay Millican; 14. Lex Joon; 15. Doug Foley.

Funny Car _ 1. Robert Hight; 2. Matt Hagan; 3. Bob Tasca III; 4. John Force; 5. Chad Green; 6. Blake Alexander; 7. Ron Capps; 8. Cruz Pedregon; 9. Tim Wilkerson; 10. Alexis DeJoria; 11. J.R. Todd; 12. Dale Creasy Jr.; 13. Mike McIntire; 14. Phil Burkart; 15. Jim Campbell.

Pro Stock Motorcycle _ 1. Matt Smith; 2. Steve Johnson; 3. Eddie Krawiec; 4. Marc Ingwersen; 5. Angelle Sampey; 6. Jim Underdahl; 7. Karen Stoffer; 8. Angie Smith; 9. Ryan Oehler; 10. Ron Tornow; 11. Chris Bostick; 12. Joey Gladstone; 13. Lance Bonham; 14. Jianna Evaristo; 15. Kelly Clontz.

Final Pro and Sportsman results from the Virginia NHRA Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park:

Top Fuel _ Brittany Force, 3.770-seconds, 334.07 mph def. Steve Torrence, 3.781-seconds, 326.24 mph. 

Funny Car _ Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 3.907, 328.86 def. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 3.948, 327.59. 

Pro Stock Motorcycle _ Matt Smith, Suzuki, 6.842, 198.35 def. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.786, 198.06. 

Competition Eliminator _ David Eaton, Roadster, 6.805, 155.11 def. William Scott, Dragster, 7.669, 136.88.

Super Stock _ Bryan Worner, Chevy Camaro, 10.150, 130.28 def. Sterling Simmons, Chevy Cavalier, 9.456, 138.94.

Stock Eliminator _ Jeff Longhany, Chevy Corvette, 10.516, 121.03 def. Wallace Dent, Chevy Camaro, 10.700, 121.20.

Super Comp _ John Labbous Jr., Dragster, 8.934, 163.35 def. Deb Moses, Dragster, 8.897, 180.77.

Super Gas _ Frank Altilio, Chevy S-10, 9.977, 153.54 def. Jerry Heffelfinger, Roadster, Foul/Red Light. 

Top Dragster presented by Vortech Superchargers _ Chad Traylor, Dragster, 7.029, 187.89 def. Robert Houston, Dragster, 7.123, 186.82. 

Factory Stock Showdown _ Bill Skillman, Ford Mustang, 7.813, 183.54 def. Dan Condon, Chevy Camaro, 7.848, 174.46. 

Pro Modified _Tylor Miller, Chevy Camaro, 5.798, 251.02 def. Rickie Smith, Ford Mustang, Foul/Centerline.

Top Fuel Harley _ Tii Tharpe, Harley, 6.344, 217.11 def. Bill Jackson, Harley, 41.222, 155.56.

Mountain Motor Pro Stock _ JR Carr, Chevy Camaro, 6.349, 221.42 def. Elijah Morton, Ford Mustang, Foul/Red Light.

Final round-by-round results from the Virginia NHRA Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park:

TOP FUEL 

ROUND ONE _ Tony Schumacher, 3.792, 319.52 def. Justin Ashley, 8.368, 76.72; Mike Salinas, 5.384, 259.66 def. Antron Brown, 5.833, 143.66; Brittany Force, 9.811, 72.37 was unopposed; Austin Prock, 3.727, 333.16 def. Lex Joon, 20.760, no speed; Steve Torrence, 3.772, 323.58 def. Scott Palmer, 3.926, 293.15; Josh Hart, 3.801, 326.87 def. Clay Millican, 9.786, 80.10; Doug Kalitta, 5.995, 234.33 def. Leah Pruett, 7.253, 129.35; Shawn Langdon, 3.769, 328.38 def. Doug Foley, Broke;

QUARTERFINALS _ Salinas, 6.686, 204.39 def. Hart, 8.512, 87.59; Torrence, 4.402, 234.98 def. Schumacher, 5.309, 253.56; Prock, 3.837, 313.88 def. Kalitta, 5.946, 143.05; Force, 3.788, 328.94 def. Langdon, 4.512, 203.22; 

SEMIFINALS _ Torrence, 3.803, 325.61 def. Prock, 4.932, 155.85; Force, 3.770, 332.26 def. Salinas, 9.494, 84.36;

FINAL _ Force, 3.770, 334.07 def. Torrence, 3.781, 326.24.

FUNNY CAR 

ROUND ONE _ Blake Alexander, Ford Mustang, 4.269, 230.02 def. Jim Campbell, Dodge Charger, Foul/Centerline; Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 3.948, 331.45 def. Alexis DeJoria, Toyota Supra, Foul/Red Light; Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.964, 328.38 was unopposed; Ron Capps, Supra, 5.481, 151.43 def. Mike McIntire, Toyota Camry, 8.027, 97.91; Cruz Pedregon, Charger, 4.038, 317.57 def. Phil Burkart, Chevy Monte Carlo, 11.252, 72.81; John Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.922, 329.67 def. J.R. Todd, Supra, 3.994, 325.85; Robert Hight, Camaro, 3.919, 329.83 def. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 3.942, 325.92; Chad Green, Mustang, 4.133, 307.30 def. Dale Creasy Jr., Charger, 6.296, 109.89;

QUARTERFINALS _ Tasca III, 3.949, 327.66 def. Alexander, 9.462, 87.41; Force, 3.992, 329.91 def. Pedregon, 10.719, 75.87; Hight, 3.935, 325.30 def. Capps, 9.626, 79.84; Hagan, 3.965, 322.65 def. Green, 4.021, 317.05;

SEMIFINALS _Hagan, 3.955, 327.03 def. Force, Foul/Red Light; Hight, 3.906, 324.20 def. Tasca III, 4.015, 328.06;

FINAL _ Hight, 3.907, 328.86 def. Hagan, 3.948, 327.59.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE 

ROUND ONE _ Eddie Krawiec, Suzuki, 6.823, 196.30 def. Joey Gladstone, Suzuki, Foul/Red Light; Marc Ingwersen, 6.950, 193.16 def. Ron Tornow, 6.980, 189.39; Angie Smith, 7.009, 197.51 was unopposed; Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 6.846, 197.91 def. Kelly Clontz, Suzuki, 13.221, 58.42; Angelle Sampey, Suzuki, 6.784, 199.26 def. Jianna Evaristo, Suzuki, 7.299, 149.20; Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.807, 196.56 def. Lance Bonham, Buell, Foul/Red Light; Matt Smith, Suzuki, 6.871, 197.57 def. Chris Bostick, Suzuki, 7.042, 188.83; Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.888, 195.65 def. Ryan Oehler, Foul/Red Light; 

QUARTERFINALS _ M. Smith, 6.860, 196.67 def. Underdahl, 6.886, 197.13; Krawiec, 6.869, 196.99 def. A. Smith, 9.496, 89.39; Johnson, 6.813, 196.64 def. Stoffer, 6.897, 197.19; Ingwersen, 6.884, 194.32 def. Sampey, Foul/Red Light;

SEMIFINALS _ M. Smith, 6.868, 197.86 def. Krawiec, 6.898, 196.56; Johnson, 6.850, 196.19 def. Ingwersen, 6.918, 194.52;

FINAL _ M. Smith, 6.842, 198.35 def. Johnson, 6.786, 198.06.

Point standings (top-10) following the Virginia NHRA Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park: 

Top Fuel _1. Brittany Force, 605; 2. Steve Torrence, 524; 3. Mike Salinas, 521; 4. Justin Ashley, 468; 5. Austin Prock, 367; 6. Clay Millican, 365; 7. Josh Hart, 345; 8. Doug Kalitta, 316; 9. Tony Schumacher, 295; 10. Shawn Langdon, 269.

Funny Car _1. Matt Hagan, 673; 2. Robert Hight, 658; 3. Ron Capps, 561; 4. John Force, 447; 5. Cruz Pedregon, 395; 6. Bob Tasca III, 354; 7. J.R. Todd, 331; 8. Chad Green, 321; 9. Alexis DeJoria, 310; 10. Tim Wilkerson, 277.

Pro Stock Motorcycle _1. Steve Johnson, 393; 2. Karen Stoffer, 343; 3. Eddie Krawiec, 279; 4. Matt Smith, 272; 5. Angie Smith, 245; 6. Joey Gladstone, 229; 7. Angelle Sampey, 209; 8. Jim Underdahl, 194; 9. Marc Ingwersen, 186; 10. Jerry Savoie, 158. 

Pro Modified _1. Kris Thorne, 305; 2. Rickie Smith, 216; 3. Tylor Miller, 178; 4. Lyle Barnett, 174; 5. Jose Gonzalez, 158; 6. Sidnei Frigo, 155; 7. Mike Thielen, 153; 8. Justin Bond, 151; 9. Steve Jackson, 135; 10. Stan Shelton, 129.

 

| , RacinToday.com Monday, May 16 2022
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