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NHRA U.S. Nationals: Steve Torrence, J.R. Todd, Drew Skillman, Eddie Krawiec win ‘the Big Go’

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Steve Torrence (Top Fuel), J.R. Todd (Funny Car), Drew Skillman (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) emerged as the winners in Monday’s final eliminations of the 63rd NHRA Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway in Brownsburg, Indiana.

In Top Fuel, Torrence earned his first career U.S. Nationals title with a run of 3.757 seconds at 322.96 mph, while also ending the Cinderella story of the weekend, fellow Texan Kebin Kinsley (lost traction at starting line), in the final round of the biggest race of the season.

A tearful Torrence told Fox Sports, “This is the biggest day of my life. It’s a lot of hard work. My dad ain’t here. This is for you, Dad (holding the winner’s trophy). I’m proud like a little kid. We’ve been here three times in the final and didn’t get it done. This is bad-ass!”

Torrence swept the weekend, winning Sunday’s Traxxas Nitro Top Fuel Shootout and the $100,000 prize that came with it, and leaves Indianapolis as the No. 1 seed in the upcoming six-race Countdown to the Championship, Sept. 15-17 at zMax Dragway in Concord, N.C.

“This is surreal,” Torrence said after earning his 14th career NHRA Top Fuel win, and fifth this season. “I don’t even know if I’m realizing what’s going on right now. This is what we race our careers for, is to try and win Indy and it’s a marathon. I’m wore out.

“Unless you’re a racer and in this situation, I don’t think I can explain the feelings that you get. This is us winning the biggest race of our sport. I said this the other day, you can win a bunch of championships but if you don’t win Indy then you haven’t really done much. So, we’ve won Indy.”

In Funny Car, Todd — an Indiana native — knocked off 2016 NHRA Funny Car champ Ron Capps (3.923 seconds at 325.61 mph). Both drivers were seeking their first U.S. Nationals title, and Todd (3.949 seconds at 325.53 mph) did so.

“This was where it all started for me in Junior Dragsters,” Todd said. “I remember watching Capps as a kid and now I raced him in the final round of Indy. It’s too surreal. Like Torrence said, you win Indy and you know you’ve beaten the best in the sport. Ron Capps and those guys out there are the best in the sport.”

Capps told Fox Sports, “We’ve got to wait until next year. That’s what’s so special about this race. It comes once a year and you have your chance. The gods here at Indy, when they decided it’s time for me, hopefully we’ll get that win. Tough race. Obviously, the fans got a good race. (Todd) stepped it up and outran us. I’m disappointed we lost, obviously, but also very excited about our chances going into the Countdown.”

Capps is the No. 1 Countdown seed in Funny Car.

In Pro Stock, it was a battle of old school racing (veteran and three-time champ Greg Anderson) vs. youthful local Indianapolis racer Drew Skillman.

Anderson (6.660 seconds at 208.01 mph) would be deprived of his seventh U.S. Nationals win, as the young gun had a better reaction time and carried it all the way (6.676 seconds at 206.621 mph) to the finish line, earning his first career U.S. Nationals title.

“That’s a lifetime achievement right there,” Skillman told Fox Sports. “I got two goals off my back: I got Greg Anderson, who I’ve never beat, and finally got him, and I won my hometown race. This is huge. This is record book stuff for me.”

What made Skillman’s win all the more impressive is the engine in his car broke after the quarterfinals, forcing his team to scramble to replace it with a brand new motor that had never been tested beforehand.

As for Anderson, he told Fox Sports, “The other driver did a better job, he was better on the tree, I had a better car and I lost. I apologize to all my guys. I’ve had such a great car all weekend. It was my race to win. Worst (starting) light I had all weekend. My hat’s off to Drew Skillman. He did a better job. Next race, we start over and try again … but a golden opportunity lost.”

Bo Butner is No. 1 heading into the Countdown.

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, No. 1 qualifier Eddie Krawiec (6.868 seconds at 196.90 mph) earned his second career U.S. Nationals win and 39th overall win of his career, defeating Hector Arana Jr. (6.886 seconds at 195.48 mph) by less than the length of a tire.

“It couldn’t be any better than this,” Krawiec told Fox Sports. “We struggled through the early part of the season. It looks now like we’ve turned the corner. It’s an awesome deal.”

L.E. Tonglet is the No. 1 seed heading into the Countdown.

Here’s the final statistics from Monday’s final eliminations of the U.S. Nationals:

 

FINAL FINISHING ORDER:
TOP FUEL: 1. Steve Torrence; 2. Kebin Kinsley; 3. Tony Schumacher; 4. Leah Pritchett; 5. Antron Brown; 6. Doug Kalitta; 7. Pat Dakin; 8. Shawn Langdon; 9. Brittany Force; 10. Clay Millican; 11. Bob Vandergriff; 12. Ashley Sanford; 13. Terry McMillen; 14. Scott Palmer; 15. Richie Crampton; 16. Wayne Newby.
FUNNY CAR: 1. J.R. Todd; 2. Ron Capps; 3. Jack Beckman; 4. Tim Wilkerson; 5. Cruz Pedregon; 6. Robert Hight; 7. Del Worsham; 8. Jim Campbell; 9. Alexis DeJoria; 10. Jonnie Lindberg; 11. Tommy Johnson Jr.; 12. Courtney Force; 13. John Force; 14. Justin Schriefer; 15. Brian Stewart; 16. Matt Hagan.
PRO STOCK: 1. Drew Skillman; 2. Greg Anderson; 3. Tanner Gray; 4. Alex Laughlin; 5. Jason Line; 6. Allen Johnson; 7. Chris McGaha; 8. Bo Butner; 9. Vincent Nobile; 10. Matt Hartford; 11. Johnny Gray; 12. Shane Gray; 13. Erica Enders; 14. Jeg Coughlin; 15. Deric Kramer; 16. Kenny Delco.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1. Eddie Krawiec; 2. Hector Arana Jr; 3. Jerry Savoie; 4. Matt Smith; 5. Scotty Pollacheck; 6. Chip Ellis; 7. Andrew Hines; 8. LE Tonglet; 9. Angelle Sampey; 10. Steve Johnson; 11. Karen Stoffer; 12. Cory Reed; 13. Jim Underdahl; 14. Angie Smith; 15. Joey Gladstone; 16. Mike Berry.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
FINAL RESULTS:

TOP FUEL: Steve Torrence, 3.757 seconds, 322.96 mph def. Kebin Kinsley, 10.820 seconds, 48.47 mph.

FUNNY CAR: J.R. Todd, Toyota Camry, 3.923, 325.61 def. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger, 3.949, 325.53.

PRO STOCK: Drew Skillman, Chevy Camaro, 6.676, 206.61 def. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.660, 208.01.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.858, 196.90 def. Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.886, 195.48.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
FINAL ROUND-BY-ROUND RESULTS:
TOP FUEL: ROUND ONE — Pat Dakin, 3.757, 315.64 def. Bob Vandergriff, 3.762, 325.22; Tony Schumacher, 3.736, 319.98 def. Terry McMillen, 3.797, 318.84; Kebin Kinsley, 3.813, 318.02 def. Clay Millican, 3.756, 323.97; Leah Pritchett, 3.711, 323.97 def. Wayne Newby, Broke; Steve Torrence, 3.738, 329.75 def. Ashley Sanford, 3.785, 323.27; Doug Kalitta, 3.874, 315.56 def. Richie Crampton, 4.084, 207.75; Antron Brown, 3.726, 324.44 def. Scott Palmer, 3.828, 300.46; Shawn Langdon, 3.756, 325.69 def. Brittany Force, 3.724, 329.02;
QUARTERFINALS — Kinsley, 3.757, 322.96 def. Langdon, 4.238, 229.47; Schumacher, 3.734, 328.78 def. Kalitta, 3.757, 325.30; Torrence, 3.730, 327.59 def. Brown, 3.745, 322.50; Pritchett, 3.732, 320.97 def. Dakin, 4.071, 221.45;
SEMIFINALS — Kinsley, 3.772, 316.30 def. Schumacher, 3.801, 324.59; Torrence, 3.765, 324.05 def. Pritchett, 9.779, 81.04;
FINAL — Torrence, 3.757, 322.96 def. Kinsley, 10.820, 48.47.
FUNNY CAR: ROUND ONE — Del Worsham, Toyota Camry, 4.010, 320.97 def. John Force, Chevy Camaro, 4.068, 318.17; Robert Hight, Camaro, 3.867, 330.15 def. Justin Schriefer, Dodge Charger, 4.172, 295.01; Jim Campbell, Charger, 5.008, 164.63 def. Matt Hagan, Charger, 10.951, 77.59; Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 3.946, 328.62 def. Courtney Force, Camaro, 4.055, 300.20; Jack Beckman, Charger, 3.890, 327.03 def. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.925, 329.34; J.R. Todd, Camry, 3.914, 329.02 def. Brian Stewart, Ford Mustang, 4.641, 174.55; Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 3.915, 326.71 def. Jonnie Lindberg, Camry, 3.914, 325.14; Ron Capps, Charger, 3.880, 328.54 def. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 3.901, 331.94;
QUARTERFINALS — Beckman, 3.878, 327.35 def. Worsham, 4.132, 252.90; Wilkerson, 3.940, 326.79 def. Hight, 4.102, 286.50; Capps, 3.939, 300.60 def. Campbell, 6.609, 100.03; Todd, 3.939, 326.00 def. Pedregon, 3.970, 325.30;
SEMIFINALS — Todd, def. Wilkerson, Foul – Centerline; Capps, 3.940, 324.75 def. Beckman, 3.948, 322.81;
FINAL — Todd, 3.923, 325.61 def. Capps, 3.949, 325.53.
PRO STOCK: ROUND ONE — Jason Line, Chevy Camaro, 6.656, 206.86 def. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.688, 207.15; Allen Johnson, Dodge Dart, 6.662, 207.05 def. Johnny Gray, Camaro, 6.688, 207.18; Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.660, 206.42 def. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.703, 206.99; Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.669, 206.86 def. Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.692, 206.23; Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.669, 206.20 def. Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 6.713, 205.66; Tanner Gray, Camaro, 6.638, 208.07 def. Deric Kramer, Dart, 6.752, 204.23; Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.630, 208.04 def. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 11.441, 77.96; Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.651, 207.59 def. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.674, 207.30;
QUARTERFINALS — Skillman, 6.680, 206.61 def. McGaha, 6.697, 206.54; Laughlin, 6.688, 206.67 def. Butner, Foul – Red Light; T. Gray, 6.669, 207.43 def. Johnson, 6.679, 206.89; Anderson, 6.633, 208.23 def. Line, 6.664, 207.34;
SEMIFINALS — Skillman, 6.692, 206.04 def. T. Gray, 6.689, 206.70; Anderson, 6.664, 207.82 def. Laughlin, 6.691, 207.46;
FINAL — Skillman, 6.676, 206.61 def. Anderson, 6.660, 208.01.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: ROUND ONE — Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.919, 194.24 def. Angie Smith, Buell, Foul – Red Light; LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.898, 194.86 def. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, Foul – Red Light; Scotty Pollacheck, Suzuki, 6.881, 193.93 def. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.940, 191.95; Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.882, 197.22 def. Angelle Sampey, 6.933, 193.35; Chip Ellis, 6.898, 194.24 def. Mike Berry, Buell, 9.374, 93.07; Matt Smith, 6.858, 196.24 def. Joey Gladstone, Suzuki, 7.003, 190.94; Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.842, 196.56 def. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 6.989, 193.16; Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.891, 194.74 def. Cory Reed, 6.976, 190.54;
QUARTERFINALS — Savoie, 6.901, 193.65 def. Hines, 6.929, 195.96; Arana Jr, 6.882, 195.14 def. Pollacheck, 6.915, 193.63; M. Smith, 6.916, 195.03 def. Ellis, 6.922, 192.11; Krawiec, 6.881, 195.31 def. Tonglet, 6.985, 193.93;
SEMIFINALS — Arana Jr, 6.920, 194.88 def. Savoie, 7.043, 190.57; Krawiec, 6.922, 195.90 def. M. Smith, Broke;
FINAL — Krawiec, 6.858, 196.90 def. Arana Jr, 6.886, 195.48.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
UPDATED POINT STANDINGS:

TOP FUEL: 1. Steve Torrence, 1,667; 2. Antron Brown, 1,599; 3. Leah Pritchett, 1,563; 4. Tony Schumacher, 1,220; 5. Doug Kalitta, 1,126; 6. Brittany Force, 1,105; 7. Clay Millican, 1,080; 8. Terry McMillen, 770; 9. Scott Palmer, 698; 10. Shawn Langdon, 647.

FUNNY CAR: 1. Ron Capps, 1,530; 2. Robert Hight, 1,344; 3. Matt Hagan, 1,280; 4. Jack Beckman, 1,275; 5. Tommy Johnson Jr., 1,229; 6. Courtney Force, 1,072; 7. John Force, 1,007; 8. J.R. Todd, 959; 9. Tim Wilkerson, 902; 10. Cruz Pedregon, 730.

PRO STOCK: 1. Bo Butner, 1,616; 2. (tie) Greg Anderson, 1,423; Tanner Gray, 1,423; 4. Drew Skillman, 1,270; 5. Jason Line, 1,206; 6. Erica Enders, 1,093; 7. Jeg Coughlin, 1,054; 8. Vincent Nobile, 947; 9. Allen Johnson, 736; 10. Chris McGaha, 728.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1. LE Tonglet, 958; 2. Eddie Krawiec, 884; 3. Hector Arana Jr, 781; 4. Jerry Savoie, 768; 5. Matt Smith, 696; 6. Andrew Hines, 620; 7. Scotty Pollacheck, 611; 8. Joey Gladstone, 475; 9. Karen Stoffer, 457; 10. Angie Smith, 443.

NASCAR America: Scott Speed’s quest for Red Bull GRC three-peat

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Red Bull Global Rallycross points leader Scott Speed is going for his third consecutive championship next month (Saturday, October 14, 4:30 p.m. ET, NBC from Los Angeles) for the Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross team.

Prior to that, he joined Thursday’s edition of NBCSN’s NASCAR America, checking in with his former Red Bull Racing teammate Brian Vickers, show host Carolyn Manno and analyst Steve Letarte.

Speed talked teammate dynamics – he and Tanner Foust have been the class of the Red Bull GRC field for several years – and what it takes to succeed in the diverse championship that features racing on both pavement and dirt.

“Tanner comes from more of a more rally background and I come from more of an open-wheel, road course background,” Speed explained. “You have to meet in the middle and often times that creates success. Our personalties are polar opposites and that’s a good thing.”

One other thing Speed addressed was Austin Cindric’s couple notable incidents in the last month or so. Going for his maiden NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win, Cindric hit Kaz Grala at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park to move for the lead and ultimately the win.

Cindric then made his GRC Supercars debut at the most recent weekend in Seattle and the two collided after a miscommunication in a preliminary race, prior to the Joker section of the course.

“He’s a young kid with not a lot of experience. He’s made a couple big mistakes. He came in like a wrecking ball,” Speed laughed.

“I was more mad because the car couldn’t restart at first. But it did, and we got going.”

Public clashes over future of Detroit Grand Prix

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DETROIT (AP) State officials are deciding whether to continue hosting the Detroit Grand Prix on Belle Isle, a state park and island that opponents say is negatively impacted by the annual event.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is considering whether to allow the race to continue after its current five-year contract expires after the 2018 race.

The department held a public meeting Wednesday at the Belle Isle Nature Center to gather feedback. Dozens of residents attended.

Opponents voiced concerns about the race’s environmental impact. Several conservation groups have requested a third-party environmental impact study on how the race affects island habitat.

But supporters say the race shines a spotlight on Detroit and stimulates the economy.

The Grand Prix has occurred on Belle Isle periodically since 1992 and annually since 2012.

FIA confirms Halo crash test details, International F3 plans and more

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Following the latest meeting of the FIA World Motor Sport Council in Paris, France, a number of updates concerning the championships under the governing body’s umbrella for 2018 had been confirmed.

The stand-out news was the confirmation of a Formula E race in Zurich for June 2018, marking motorsport’s return to Switzerland after being outlawed back in 1955.

A number of tweaks have also been made to the FIA Super Licence points allocation from next year, placing a greater onus on drivers to race in Formula 2 before stepping up to Formula 1.

Here’s a run-down of all the other news from the WMSC’s meeting in Paris.

FORMULA 1

Following the F1 Strategy Group’s approval of ‘Halo’ cockpit protection being introduced to F1 from 2018, the WMSC gave its approval to the required updates in the technical regulations to allow its implementation.

The various technical details can be found in the regulations by clicking here (under Article 17), but the key point is that teams will now be able to finalize their chassis designs for 2018 now they know the crash test details.

The WMSC also confirmed that Sentronics will be the exclusive supplier of fuel flow meters in F1 for 2018 and 2019.

There is also a clampdown on oil burn in F1 for 2018 following the controversy with Mercedes and Ferrari in 2017, as well as continued plans to ban the ‘shark fin’ from next year’s regulations.

One point we already knew but is nevertheless of interest is the reduction in power unit elements permitted to each driver per season. As of 2018, each driver will be limited to just three internal combustion engines, three MGU-Hs, three turbochargers, two control electronics and two MGU-Ks per season, down from four for each element in 2017.

No updates were made to the F1 calendar for 2018, but Bahrain and China are tipped to switch places, the latter becoming the third round of the season.

INTERNATIONAL FORMULA 3

The WMSC confirmed plans to form an International Formula 3 series in 2019 in a bid to complete the pyramid from Formula 4 to F1.

Both the FIA European F3 and GP3 Series co-exist as the third rung on the single-seater ladder at the moment, with the international championship tipped to replace the latter.

The WMSC called for expressions of interest for chassis and engine suppliers for an international series, as well as a promoter.

Loose regulations have also been formed that are similar to GP3’s current rules, with a 24-car grid desired over a nine-to-10 round season featuring single-make chassis, engines and tires.

The FIA is also pushing to create more regional F3 series in the future to bridge the gap between F4 and International F3.

FIA WORLD ENDURANCE CHAMPIONSHIP

Following confirmation of Silverstone’s return to the 2018/19 ‘super season’ calendar last week, the WMSC ratified the schedule for the next WEC campaign that will last 13 months.

The technical regulation amendments for 2018 were also approved as part of the WEC’s bid to attract more manufacturers to the LMP1 class following Porsche’s shock exit.

“The FIA Endurance Commission was also encouraged to pursue a number of exciting and innovative proposals that it is currently working on, with the aim of enticing new manufacturers to the Championship,” part of the WMSC’s release reads.

FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP

The FIA confirmed its calendar for the 2018 WRC season, with the addition of a rally in Turkey being announced in place of Poland.

1. Rally Monte Carlo – January 28
2. Rally Sweden – February 18
3. Rally Mexico – March 11
4. Tour de Corse – April 8
5. Rally Argentina – April 29
6. Rally de Portugal – May 20
7. Rally Italia – June 10
8. Rally Finland – July 29
9. Rally Germany – August 19
10. Rally Turkey – September 16
11. Rally Great Britain – October 7
12. Rally Spain – October 28
13. Rally Australia – November 18

To see the full release from the WMSC, click here.

FIA tweaks Super Licence points allocation for 2018

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The FIA has tweaked its points allocation for the Super Licence required to race in Formula 1 for 2018, placing a greater onus on Formula 2 as being the final step on the single-seater ladder.

In a bid to tighten up on the route drivers took to reach F1, the FIA introduced a new points system for the Super Licence from 2016.

Drivers require a score of 40 points in a three-year period to be granted an FIA Super Licence, with different scores being awarded for success across a variety of categories.

Previously, drivers scored the full 40 points required for a top-two finish in GP2 (now F2) or winning the title in IndyCar, FIA Formula 3, Formula E or the FIA World Endurance Championship’s LMP1 class.

As of 2018, 40 points will only be awarded for a top-three finish in F2 or winning the IndyCar drivers’ title, with the other series facing points reductions.

One of the most devalued championships is Formula V8 3.5, formerly seen as being equivalent to GP2, with a title win previously worth 35 points now worth just 20.

Here are the points breakdowns for the most valuable championships, running from P1 in the final standings to P10.

FIA Super Licence Points Allocations

Formula 2: 40-40-40-30-20-10-8-6-4-3
IndyCar: 40-30-20-10-8-6-4-3-2-1
FIA F3: 30-25-20-10-8-6-4-3-2-1
Formula E: 30-25-20-10-8-6-4-3-2-1
WEC LMP1: 30-24-20-16-12-10-8-6-4-2
GP3: 25-20-15-10-7-5-3-2-1-0
Formula V8 3.5: 20-15-10-8-6-4-3-2-1-0
Super Formula: 20-15-10-8-6-4-3-2-1-0

You can see the full breakdown by clicking here.