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NHRA: Millican gets first career Top Fuel win in 254 starts; Capps, Laughlin also win

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Sunday’s NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals will be something Clay Millican will never forget.

Not only was the race held in Tennessee – at the legendary Thunder Valley (a.k.a Bristol Dragway) – it was also the first career NHRA Top Fuel win for Volunteer State resident Millican.

TOP FUEL: What makes the win all the more impressive is that it was Millican’s first win in 254 career Top Fuel starts and nine final round appearances.

Millican (3.825 seconds at 316.38 mph) defeated Leah Pritchett (3.881 at 307.09) became the 103rd different winner in Top Fuel history.

“There were times I ever wondered if this was going to happen,” Millican said. “I don’t deserve this credit. I’m really happy for David Grubnic and all of the boys who work on this car and I mean that one-hundred percent.”

FUNNY CAR: Ron Capps earned his fifth win in the first 11 national events of the 24-race 2017 schedule, as well as his 55th career Funny Car win.

The defending NHRA Funny Car world champ (4.054 seconds at 317.05 mph) defeated Don Schumacher Racing teammate Jack Beckman (4.040 at 319.29). It was a better launch at the starting line that propelled Capps to the win.

“We’ve gotten a few lucky rounds, but it’s been preparation in the offseason,” Capps stated. “We had runs on Sunday against four of the toughest cars, drivers and crew chiefs combined. You read down the list of people we had to beat in a new car that was prepared. There are not very many teams that are that prepared to pull a car out and have a quicker set-up than we were.”

The win ties Capps with 16-time national champion John Force for most Funny Car wins at Bristol with four victories apiece.

PRO STOCK: Alex Laughlin (6.718 seconds at 205.04 mph) earned his first win of the season and the second win of his Pro Stock career, defeating Bo Butner (6.729 seconds at 205.79 mph).

Laughlin, who reached his fourth final round of the season, becomes the eighth different winner in Pro Stock in the first 11 races of 2017.

“We didn’t really have anything handed to us; we had some good matchups all day,” Laughlin stated. “I definitely feel like I had a point to prove. We have a competitive car on the starting line. I came into this weekend with the confidence to win.”

Plus, in a shocker, neither Greg Anderson nor teammate Jason Line reached the final round for the first time since 2014.

The 2017 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season continues next weekend at Norwalk, Ohio, in the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals June 22-25.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

FINAL FINISHING ORDER:

TOP FUEL: 1.  Clay Millican; 2.  Leah Pritchett; 3.  Shawn Langdon; 4.  Steve Torrence; 5.  Scott Palmer; 6.Brittany Force; 7.  Antron Brown; 8.  Mike Salinas; 9.  Kebin Kinsley; 10.  Tony Schumacher; 11.Terry McMillen; 12.  Doug Kalitta; 13.  Troy Coughlin Jr.; 14.  Chris Karamesines; 15.  Pat Dakin; 16.  Kyle Wurtzel.

FUNNY CAR: 1.  Ron Capps; 2.  Jack Beckman; 3.  Tommy Johnson Jr.; 4.  Matt Hagan; 5.  Robert Hight; 6.  Tim Wilkerson; 7.  Courtney Force; 8.  John Force; 9.  Del Worsham; 10.  Alexis DeJoria; 11.  Cruz Pedregon; 12.  J.R. Todd; 13.  Jonnie Lindberg; 14.  Jim Campbell; 15.  Jeff Diehl; 16.  Bob Bode.

PRO STOCK: 1.  Alex Laughlin; 2.  Bo Butner; 3.  Erica Enders; 4.  Tanner Gray; 5.  Shane Gray; 6.  Jeg Coughlin; 7.  Vincent Nobile; 8.  Allen Johnson; 9.  Jason Line; 10.  Greg Anderson; 11.  Drew Skillman; 12.  Alan Prusiensky; 13.  Wally Stroupe.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

FINAL RESULTS:

TOP FUEL: Clay Millican, 3.825 seconds, 316.38 mph  def. Leah Pritchett, 3.881 seconds, 307.09 mph.

FUNNY CAR: Ron Capps, Dodge Charger, 4.054, 317.05  def. Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.040, 319.29.

PRO STOCK: Alex Laughlin, Chevy Camaro, 6.718, 205.04  def. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.729, 205.79.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

FINAL ROUND-BY-ROUND RESULTS:

TOP FUEL: ROUND ONE — Antron Brown, 3.952, 286.62 def. Pat Dakin, 12.230, 56.62; Clay Millican, 5.313,139.40 def. Kyle Wurtzel, Broke; Shawn Langdon, 4.183, 255.53 def. Doug Kalitta, 4.414, 206.35; Steve Torrence, 4.280, 203.80 def. Chris Karamesines, 8.710, 63.35; Leah Pritchett, 4.378, 186.51 def. Troy Coughlin Jr., 4.497, 189.26; Brittany Force, 3.897, 310.55 def. Terry McMillen, 4.283, 252.19; Scott Palmer, 3.969, 307.16 def. Tony Schumacher, 4.076, 275.96; Mike Salinas, 3.855,320.05 def. Kebin Kinsley, 3.850, 317.87;

QUARTERFINALS — Pritchett, 7.094, 84.32 def. Palmer, Foul – Red Light; Langdon, 4.251, 258.37 def.

Brown, 4.310, 263.26; Torrence, 4.000, 309.56 def. Salinas, Broke; Millican, 4.011, 294.18 def. Force, 4.060, 267.85;

SEMIFINALS — Pritchett, 3.798, 319.90 def. Langdon, 3.901, 308.00; Millican, 3.812, 319.90 def. Torrence, 3.949, 303.57;

FINAL — Millican, 3.825, 316.38 def. Pritchett, 3.881, 307.09.

FUNNY CAR: ROUND ONE — Courtney Force, Chevy Camaro, 4.132, 255.43 def. J.R. Todd, Toyota Camry, 4.305, 240.89; Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 4.367, 233.12 def. Bob Bode, Dodge Charger, Broke; Robert Hight, Camaro, 3.985, 322.58 def. Jeff Diehl, Toyota Solara, 6.461, 105.19; Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.387, 233.48 def. Jim Campbell, Charger, 6.307, 105.26; Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.172, 303.43 def. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 4.302, 275.28; John Force, Camaro, 4.136, 312.42 def. Del Worsham, Camry, 4.211, 303.43; Ron Capps, Charger, 4.104, 315.34 def. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 4.246, 278.75; Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.105, 314.17 def. Jonnie Lindberg, Camry, 5.901, 122.44;

QUARTERFINALS — Beckman, 4.321, 276.75 def. C. Force, 4.343, 221.42; Capps, 4.090, 314.31 def. Hight, 4.124, 310.55; Johnson Jr., 4.083, 314.53 def. Wilkerson, 4.220, 262.18; Hagan, 4.202,306.95 def. J. Force, Foul – Centerline;

SEMIFINALS — Beckman, 4.009, 318.99 def. Johnson Jr., 4.043, 313.29; Capps, 4.045, 314.61 def. Hagan, 5.264, 168.43;

FINAL — Capps, 4.054, 317.05 def. Beckman, 4.040, 319.29.

PRO STOCK: ROUND ONE — Alex Laughlin, Chevy Camaro, 6.761, 204.88 def. Allen Johnson, Dodge Dart, 6.735, 205.13; Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.752, 205.57 def. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.765, 203.74; Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.743, 204.54 def. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.748, 204.94; Tanner Gray, Camaro, 6.736, 204.82 def. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.758, 204.60; Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.742, 205.38 def. Alan Prusiensky, Dart, 6.807, 203.61; Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.714, 205.79 def. Wally Stroupe, Camaro, Foul- Red Light; Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 6.740, 205.26 was unopposed;

QUARTERFINALS — Enders, 6.761, 204.88 def. Nobile, 16.442, 49.55; Laughlin, 6.769, 204.54 def. Coughlin, 10.491, 95.69; T. Gray, 6.748, 204.94 def. S. Gray, 6.783, 205.01; Butner, 6.763, 204.76 was unopposed;

SEMIFINALS — Butner, 6.732, 205.44 def. Enders, 6.745, 205.01; Laughlin, 6.767, 204.48 def. T. Gray, Foul – Red Light;

FINAL — Laughlin, 6.718, 205.04 def. Butner, 6.729, 205.79.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

UPDATED POINT STANDINGS:

TOP FUEL: 1.  Steve Torrence, 954; 2.  Leah Pritchett, 943; 3.  Antron Brown, 934; 4.  Tony Schumacher, 801; 5.  Doug Kalitta, 678; 6.  Brittany Force, 649; 7.  Clay Millican, 639; 8.  Troy Coughlin Jr., 443; 9.  Scott Palmer, 432; 10.  Terry McMillen, 424.

FUNNY CAR: 1.  Ron Capps, 1,044; 2.  Matt Hagan, 881; 3.  Jack Beckman, 748; 4.  Robert Hight, 707; 5.

Courtney Force, 704; 6.  Tommy Johnson Jr., 663; 7.  John Force, 641; 8.  Tim Wilkerson, 490; 9. J.R. Todd, 476; 10.  Cruz Pedregon, 397.

PRO STOCK: 1.  Bo Butner, 945; 2.  Greg Anderson, 835; 3.  Tanner Gray, 830; 4.  Jeg Coughlin, 766; 5.  Jason Line, 702; 6.  Erica Enders, 657; 7.  Vincent Nobile, 617; 8.  Drew Skillman, 536; 9.  Shane Gray, 434; 10.  Chris McGaha, 421.

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NHRA Englishtown winners: Torrence (TF), Beckman (FC), Anderson (PS), Savoie (PSM)

Photo/videos courtesy NHRA
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If Steve Torrence was a train, he’d be an express: he’s not stopping for anyone.

Torrence earned his third Top Fuel win in the first 10 races of the season and 48th of his career Sunday in the NHRA Summernationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, New Jersey.

Other winners were: Jack Beckman (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and Jerry Savoie (Pro Stock Motorcycle).

TOP FUEL: Torrence (3.857 seconds at 320.28 mph) defeated three-time defending champ Antron Brown (3.932 seconds at 306.74) to take home the winner’s check and trophy.

“All day long I was confident because we have historically done well in Englishtown since I have won here twice and don’t have that chip on my shoulder,” Torrence said in a media release. “Both Antron and I have cars that can win and we know we just have to do our jobs to win.

“I know my record against him isn’t the best (2-22), but it’s always fun to go up against one of my best friends in the final round.”

Torrence has now reached the final round in five of the last six NHRA national events, including his first two wins of the season back-to-back at Charlotte and Atlanta.

Even with his runner-up finish, Brown – who reached his fifth final round of the season – regained the lead in the Top Fuel standings. He leads Torrence by just seven points.

Former points leader Leah Pritchett fell to third in the standings after a first-round loss in eliminations.

FUNNY CAR: “Fast Jack” Beckman lived up to his nickname, earning his 25th career Funny Car win.

In reaching his first final round of the season, Beckman (4.100 seconds at 312.42 mph) also earned his first win since St. Louis last season, defeating defending Funny Car champ and Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron Capps (4.143 at 299.66 mph). It was Capps’ sixth final round appearance thus far this season, with four of those being wins.

“We needed to get this win today so we knew that we could do this more often,” Beckman said. “Not only is this our team’s first win together, but a win at the Summernationals in Funny Car is about as cool as it gets.”

PRO STOCK: Anderson (6.613 seconds at 210.44 mph) won his second race of the season (won at Phoenix), defeating Vincent Nobile (6.665 seconds at 210.21 mph). It was Anderson’s first win since Phoenix early this season.

But more importantly, the win continued Anderson’s dominance at Englishtown, where he now has eight career Pro Stock triumphs there.

“It certainly was a tough weekend but everything worked out for us, but this Wally (winner’s trophy) is going to my son for getting through high school,” Anderson said. “This track has been magical for me, I have a lot of great memories here. To win eight times here makes it a pretty special place.”

Anderson earned his fifth final round of the season to move into second place in the Pro Stock standings, while Nobile reached the final round for the first time of 2017.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: Defending 2016 PSM champ Jerry Savoie finally earned his first win of 2017 (6.918 seconds at 192.85 mph) and seventh of his career, defeating Hector Arana Jr. (6.862 at 195.62).

“I’ve had some struggles earlier in the season, but each win is special because you never know which one will be your last,” said Savoie, who has reached the final round twice in the last four races. “This track has been good to me in the past and we were able to take this one home today and I’m extremely thankful for that.”

The NHRA’s next event is this weekend at Bristol Dragway, which hosts the 17th NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals, June 16-18, in Bristol, Tennessee.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

FINAL FINISHING ORDER:

TOP FUEL: 1.  Steve Torrence; 2.  Antron Brown; 3.  Doug Kalitta; 4.  Brittany Force; 5.  Tony Schumacher; 6.  Scott Palmer; 7.  Clay Millican; 8.  Troy Coughlin Jr.; 9.  Dom Lagana; 10.  Terry McMillen; 11.  Leah Pritchett; 12.  Blake Alexander; 13.  Shawn Langdon; 14.  Smax Smith.

FUNNY CAR: 1.  Jack Beckman; 2.  Ron Capps; 3.  Courtney Force; 4.  Robert Hight; 5.  Cruz Pedregon; 6.  Matt Hagan; 7.  Tommy Johnson Jr.; 8.  Alexis DeJoria; 9.  Jonnie Lindberg; 10.  Tim Wilkerson; 11.  Del Worsham; 12.  John Force; 13.  Bob Tasca III; 14.  Jeff Diehl; 15.  J.R. Todd; 16.  Jim Campbell.

PRO STOCK: 1.  Greg Anderson; 2.  Vincent Nobile; 3.  Bo Butner; 4.  Jeg Coughlin; 5.  Allen Johnson; 6.  Alan Prusiensky; 7.  John Gaydosh Jr; 8.  Erica Enders; 9.  Kenny Delco; 10.  Matt Hartford; 11.  Val Smeland; 12.  Tanner Gray; 13.  Jason Line; 14.  Drew Skillman.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1.  Jerry Savoie; 2.  Hector Arana Jr; 3.  Karen Stoffer; 4.  Angie Smith; 5.  Hector Arana; 6.  Eddie Krawiec; 7.  Scotty Pollacheck; 8.  LE Tonglet; 9.  Angelle Sampey; 10.  Chip Ellis; 11.  Melissa Surber; 12.  Joey Gladstone; 13.  Andrew Hines; 14.  Kelly Clontz; 15.  Steve Johnson; 16.  Cory Reed.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

FINAL RESULTS:

TOP FUEL: Steve Torrence, 3.857 seconds, 320.28 mph  def. Antron Brown, 3.932 seconds, 306.74 mph.

FUNNY CAR: Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger, 4.100, 312.42  def. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.143, 299.66.

PRO STOCK: Greg Anderson, Chevy Camaro, 6.613, 210.44  def. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.665, 210.21.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.918, 192.85  def. Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.862, 195.62.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

FINAL ROUND-BY-ROUND RESULTS:

TOP FUEL: ROUND ONE — Clay Millican, 3.806, 314.31 def. Terry McMillen, 3.926, 307.02; Brittany Force, 3.809, 321.96 def. Troy Coughlin Jr., 3.852, 309.91; Steve Torrence, 3.832, 322.04 def. Smax Smith, 4.837, 177.46; Antron Brown, 3.783, 323.12 def. Blake Alexander, 3.992, 289.32; Doug Kalitta, 3.762, 326.79 def. Dom Lagana, 3.865, 319.37; Tony Schumacher, 3.839, 318.69 def. Leah Pritchett, 3.928, 300.26; Scott Palmer, 3.888, 319.67 def. Shawn Langdon, 4.270, 196.82;

QUARTERFINALS — Torrence, 3.827, 323.27 def. Millican, 7.241, 84.20; Force, 3.838, 316.67 def. Palmer, 3.901, 314.90; Brown, 6.622, 103.10 was unopposed; Kalitta, 3.805, 325.37 def. Schumacher, 3.900, 299.00;

SEMIFINALS — Brown, 3.789, 324.98 def. Force, 3.932, 279.09; Torrence, 3.827, 322.42 def. Kalitta, 3.854, 319.37;

FINAL — Torrence, 3.857, 320.28 def. Brown, 3.932, 306.74.

FUNNY CAR: ROUND ONE — Ron Capps, Dodge Charger, 4.664, 260.36 def. Del Worsham, Toyota Camry, 4.689, 254.95; Courtney Force, Chevy Camaro, 4.019, 294.18 def. Jeff Diehl, Toyota Solara, 11.687, 77.47; Robert Hight, Camaro, 4.880, 189.10 def. J.R. Todd, Camry, 13.961, 64.63; Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.082, 306.60 def. Jim Campbell, Charger, 23.920, 130.73; Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 4.722, 243.59 def. John Force, Camaro, 4.829, 206.13; Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 4.048, 316.82 def. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 4.242, 228.58; Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.010, 319.67 def. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 4.949, 182.85; Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.013, 317.94 def. Jonnie Lindberg, Camry, 4.044, 314.39;

QUARTERFINALS — Hight, 4.048, 314.75 def. Johnson Jr., 4.515, 195.05; Beckman, 4.285, 290.94 def. Pedregon, 4.286, 291.76; Capps,  def. DeJoria, Foul – Centerline; C. Force, 4.094, 312.28 def. Hagan, 4.374, 268.60;

SEMIFINALS — Beckman, 9.145, 72.26 def. C. Force, Foul – Red Light; Capps, 4.195, 260.31 def. Hight, 6.302, 107.84;

FINAL — Beckman, 4.100, 312.42 def. Capps, 4.143, 299.66.

PRO STOCK: ROUND ONE — Vincent Nobile, Chevy Camaro, 6.752, 208.68 def. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 18.629, 43.74; Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 6.611, 209.82 def. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.635, 210.67; Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.647, 210.21 def. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.636, 208.78; Allen Johnson, Dodge Dart, 6.637, 209.59 def. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.645, 209.79; Alan Prusiensky, Dart, 6.806, 182.92 def. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.941, 207.69; John Gaydosh Jr, Chevrolet Camaro, 6.801, 199.70 def. Tanner Gray, Camaro, 6.799, 176.12; Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.612, 210.28 def. Val Smeland, Camaro, 6.743, 198.50;

QUARTERFINALS — Nobile, 6.640, 210.37 def. Gaydosh Jr, Broke – No Show; Anderson, 6.611, 210.14 def. Johnson, 6.622, 209.56; Butner, 6.616, 210.14 was unopposed; Coughlin, 6.643, 209.49 def. Prusiensky, 6.715, 207.40;

SEMIFINALS — Nobile, 6.644, 209.56 def. Coughlin, 6.654, 208.62; Anderson, 6.632, 210.28 def. Butner, 6.648, 209.69;

FINAL — Anderson, 6.613, 210.44 def. Nobile, 6.665, 210.21.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: ROUND ONE — Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.854, 194.35 def. Cory Reed, 7.169, 182.65; Angie Smith, Buell, 6.942, 191.02 def. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.960, 195.51; LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.817, 196.27 def. Kelly Clontz, Suzuki, 6.978, 192.74; Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.870, 196.70 def. Chip Ellis, Buell, 6.859, 193.27; Scotty Pollacheck, Suzuki, 6.845, 194.30 def. Angelle Sampey, 6.858, 194.38; Hector Arana, Buell, 6.946, 195.56 def. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 7.014, 193.79; Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.902, 191.51 def. Joey Gladstone, Suzuki, 6.947, 193.79; Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.816, 196.79 def. Melissa Surber, Buell, 6.894, 192.66;

QUARTERFINALS — Stoffer, 6.894, 192.77 def. Arana, 6.874, 195.73; Savoie, 6.852, 195.45 def. Pollacheck, 6.938, 193.93; A. Smith, 6.942, 192.44 def. Tonglet, 7.257, 194.46; Arana Jr, 6.828, 196.02 def. Krawiec, 6.937, 194.38;

SEMIFINALS — Savoie, 6.878, 195.14 def. A. Smith, Foul – Red Light; Arana Jr, 6.854, 195.56 def. Stoffer, 6.899, 192.91;

FINAL — Savoie, 6.918, 192.85 def. Arana Jr, 6.862, 195.62.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

UPDATED POINT STANDINGS:

TOP FUEL: 1.  Antron Brown, 878; 2.  Steve Torrence, 871; 3.  Leah Pritchett, 842; 4.  Tony Schumacher, 766; 5.  Doug Kalitta, 648; 6.  Brittany Force, 609; 7.  Clay Millican, 520; 8.  Troy Coughlin Jr., 412; 9.  Terry McMillen, 392; 10.  Scott Palmer, 380.

FUNNY CAR: 1.  Ron Capps, 931; 2.  Matt Hagan, 802; 3.  Jack Beckman, 652; 4.  Courtney Force, 648; 5.  Robert Hight, 645; 6.  (tie) John Force, 587; Tommy Johnson Jr., 587; 8.  J.R. Todd, 444; 9.  Tim Wilkerson, 427; 10.  Del Worsham, 372.

PRO STOCK: 1.  Bo Butner, 837; 2.  Greg Anderson, 797; 3.  Tanner Gray, 758; 4.  Jeg Coughlin, 701; 5.  Jason Line, 668; 6.  Erica Enders, 579; 7.  Vincent Nobile, 562; 8.  Drew Skillman, 504; 9.  Chris McGaha, 421; 10.  Shane Gray, 382.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1.  Eddie Krawiec, 358; 2.  LE Tonglet, 356; 3.  Jerry Savoie, 322; 4.  Andrew Hines, 263; 5.  Scotty Pollacheck, 250; 6.  Hector Arana Jr, 234; 7.  Joey Gladstone, 223; 8.  Karen Stoffer, 186; 9.  (tie) Steve Johnson, 167; Angie Smith, 167.

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Watch one of most ferocious NHRA Top Fuel explosions in decades — and Terry McMillan walks away

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If you attended this weekend’s NHRA New England Nationals at New England Dragway in Epping, New Hampshire, you can be forgiven if you thought it was 4th of July weekend.

There were plenty of fireworks, not just celebrating the winner’s of the race, but also two huge explosions that occurred during the course of the three-day event.

On Friday, Funny Car driver Courtney Force — daughter of 16-time NHRA Funny Car champion John Force and sister of Brittany Force (won Top Fuel Sunday) — walked away uninjured from a massive explosion — and still managed to qualify No. 1 on the same run!

In Sunday’s first round of eliminations, Top Fuel driver Terry McMillan had an equally tremendous motor explosion — some NHRA observers called it arguably the worst they’ve seen in the last two decades.

Like Courtney Force, McMillan was uninjured. But boy, what an explosion it was.

Check it out:

 

And for those of you that missed Courtney Force’s explosion on Friday, here it is again (thankfully, Force also walked away uninjured):

 

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NHRA: Watch Courtney Force walk away from huge explosion – and still qualifies No. 1!

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Courtney Force walked away uninjured following a massive explosion of her Funny Car Friday during Friday’s opening round of qualifying for the NHRA New England Nationals in Epping, New Hampshire.

Force was in the left lane against “Fast Jack” Beckman and crossed the finish line first at a top qualifying speed of 331.53 mph, a new track record and an elapsed time of 3.842 seconds.

Suddenly, her car exploded (see video above) and ended up against the left wall. She hopped out of the car and was met quickly by NHRA’s safety crew.

The daughter of 16-time Funny Car champ John Force then returned to the track for a second round qualifying effort with a backup car and new motor. But she suffered more problems as her car shut off after leaving the starting line and coasted to a stop about 300 feet down the track.

Her car was pushed back to the pits, where her team will likely have a long night of repairs ahead of Saturday’s two final rounds of qualifying.

NHRA at Topeka: Capps wins 4th straight; Brown, Gray also winners

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Fans that attended the Menards NHRA Heartland Nationals in Topeka, Kansas this weekend most certainly got their money’s worth.

Each day of the race weekend – Friday through Sunday – saw at least one major NHRA professional national record set in either speed or elapsed time (or both).

The biggest class to see numerous records set was in Funny Car, where the speed mark was re-set twice, while the ET mark was re-set once.

We’ll get back to that more in a second, but first, here’s how Sunday’s final round of eliminations transpired in the eighth of 24 national events this season:

Funny Car: Ron Capps won his fourth straight race, defeating Matt Hagan. Capps is the first driver in nearly five years to win four straight (Robert Hight last did so in 2012).

“I’m just the luckiest dude in the world,” Capps said. “I had nothing to do with it. I just stepped on the gas at the right time and held the car together in the right lane. We’ve won a championship (last season) for a reason and we’ve won four in a row together for a reason. Everyone just gels together.”

Top Fuel: Antron Brown came into the race having defeated Steve Torrence 21 of 22 times in their respective race careers. Make it 22 of 23 now, as Brown earns the 63rd win of his career (passes Larry Dixon for seventh on the NHRA all-time wins list) – and his first ever at Topeka. It was also Brown’s second win of the season.

“The competition has been so tight that you have to run these cars on edge every lap,” Brown said. “We kept our head down and stayed poised. We went out there and raced our hearts out. It feels real good to win here at Topeka. I’ve been wanting to win here for so long.”

Pro Stock: Tanner Gray became the third member of his family to win at Topeka, joining grandfather Johnny (won in Funny Car in 2013) and father Shane (won in Pro Stock in 2011). The youngest Gray essentially had a free pass to the win when Jeg Coughlin red-lit in the final round, automatically disqualifying him.

“I felt like I was pretty consistent all day,” Gray stated. “My guys gave me a great racecar. I definitely wouldn’t be sitting here if it wasn’t for them. They put a lot of hard work into this new car. There’s no doubt we have a championship caliber team.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Now, as for all the records, the weekend saw the 10 fastest speeds or quickest elapsed times in Funny Car history, as well as the two fastest speeds ever in Top Fuel annals.

Robert Hight set things in record-breaking motion on Friday when he broke the new mark in a big way with a run of 337.66 mph.

While that speed appeared pretty stout, it ultimately wasn’t for Matt Hagan on Saturday, who not only re-set the speed record at 338.85 mph, but also set the national elapsed tie record at 3.802 seconds.

“This is about as extreme as it gets,” Hagan told NHRA.com. “338 mph with a steering wheel in your lap is craziness – and we’re doing it in 1,000 feet.

“We’ve got the conditions, the parts and pieces and the power and the crew that is doing a great job out there. It’s just cool to go out there and get it done.”

Also Saturday, three-time champ Antron Brown set the Top Fuel national speed record (333.16 mph).

In Sunday’s first round of eliminations in Top Fuel, Brittany Force set a new national speed record (333.66 mph). However, Brittany’s record speed would go for naught when she lost in the second round to Steve Torrence, one of the hottest drivers this season.

Then Brittany’s baby sister, Courtney Force, went out and recorded the second-fastest speed in Funny Car history (338.68 mph) and the fourth-quickest ET (3.821 mph).

Hight roared back in his own first-round match (338.09 mph and 3.833 seconds), meaning the event saw the four quickest ETs and the six fastest speeds in Funny Car history.

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Here’s all the stats from Sunday’s final eliminations:

FINAL FINISHING ORDER:

TOP FUEL: 1.  Antron Brown; 2.  Steve Torrence; 3.  Leah Pritchett; 4.  Clay Millican; 5.  Doug Kalitta; 6.Brittany Force; 7.  Shawn Langdon; 8.  Tony Schumacher; 9.  Terry McMillen; 10.  Kebin Kinsley; 11.Scott Palmer; 12.  Luigi Novelli; 13.  Mike Salinas; 14.  Troy Coughlin Jr.; 15.  Pat Dakin; 16.Rob Passey.

FUNNY CAR: 1.  Ron Capps; 2.  Matt Hagan; 3.  Jack Beckman; 4.  Robert Hight; 5.  Courtney Force; 6.  Bob Tasca III; 7.  Del Worsham; 8.  J.R. Todd; 9.  John Force; 10.  Tim Wilkerson; 11.  Brian Stewart; 12.  Chad Head; 13.  Dale Creasy Jr.; 14.  Tommy Johnson Jr.; 15.  Jack Wyatt; 16.  Cruz Pedregon.

PRO STOCK: 1.  Tanner Gray; 2.  Jeg Coughlin; 3.  Bo Butner; 4.  Vincent Nobile; 5.  Greg Anderson; 6.  Allen Johnson; 7.  Jason Line; 8.  Drew Skillman; 9.  Matt Hartford; 10.  Deric Kramer; 11.  Dave River; 12.  Mark Hogan; 13.  Erica Enders; 14.  Alan Prusiensky.

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FINAL RESULTS:

TOP FUEL: Antron Brown, 3.709 seconds, 332.75 mph  def. Steve Torrence, 3.836 seconds, 256.70 mph.

Funny Car: Ron Capps, Dodge Charger, 3.924, 321.42  def. Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.985, 318.92.

PRO STOCK: Tanner Gray, Chevy Camaro, 6.580, 210.87  def. Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, Foul – Red Light.

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FINAL ROUND-BY-ROUND RESULTS:

TOP FUEL: ROUND ONE — Clay Millican, 3.732, 304.67 def. Terry McMillen, 3.761, 321.50; Doug Kalitta, 3.731, 329.42 def. Scott Palmer, 3.811, 323.58; Antron Brown, 3.691, 332.34 def. Kebin Kinsley, 3.790, 322.73; Tony Schumacher, 5.895, 193.85 def. Pat Dakin, 10.012, 71.62; Leah Pritchett, 3.707, 326.87 def. Rob Passey, 14.850, 35.15; Brittany Force, 3.698, 333.66 def. Luigi Novelli, 3.986, 288.95; Steve Torrence, 3.707, 332.10 def. Mike Salinas, 4.406, 167.93; Shawn Langdon, 3.722, 329.42 def. Troy Coughlin Jr., 4.933, 125.46;

QUARTERFINALS — Millican, 5.428, 143.41 def. Schumacher, 8.413, 64.85; Pritchett, 3.708, 325.92 def. Kalitta, 3.731, 330.96; Torrence, 3.745, 326.95 def. Force, 3.736, 332.92; Brown, 4.026,275.90 def. Langdon, 4.736, 179.21;

SEMIFINALS — Torrence, 3.718, 329.34 def. Millican, 3.822, 316.08; Brown, 3.715, 330.15 def. Pritchett, 3.718, 329.34;

FINAL — Brown, 3.709, 332.75 def. Torrence, 3.836, 256.70.

FUNNY CAR: ROUND ONE — Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 3.833, 338.09 def. Dale Creasy Jr., Chevy Impala, 4.412, 212.16; Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 3.852, 333.99 def. Jack Wyatt, Dodge Stratus, 5.699, 124.65; Courtney Force, Camaro, 3.821, 338.68 def. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 3.913, 328.30; Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.218, 217.70 def. Chad Head, Toyota Camry, 4.172, 247.97; Del Worsham, Camry, 3.968, 326.87 def. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.456, 190.83; Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 3.930, 317.49 def. John Force, Camaro, 3.907, 332.34; Ron Capps, Charger, 4.606, 179.02 def. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 9.778, 81.34; J.R. Todd, Camry, 3.938, 329.58 def. Brian Stewart, Mustang, 3.930, 322.96;

QUARTERFINALS — Hight, 3.895, 332.43 def. Tasca III, 3.910, 325.22; Capps, 3.866, 325.45 def. C. Force, 3.902, 333.00; Hagan, 4.016, 273.94 def. Todd, 5.288, 148.27; Beckman, 3.883, 328.54 def. Worsham, 4.012, 324.36;

SEMIFINALS — Capps, 3.908, 323.97 def. Hight, 6.168, 118.16; Hagan, 3.918, 330.55 def. Beckman, 4.434, 195.65;

FINAL — Capps, 3.924, 321.42 def. Hagan, 3.985, 318.92.

PRO STOCK: ROUND ONE — Vincent Nobile, Chevy Camaro, 6.583, 210.44 def. Erica Enders, Camaro, 9.145, 109.08; Tanner Gray, Camaro, 6.553, 210.73 def. Drew Skillman, Camaro, Foul – Red Light; Allen Johnson, Dodge Dart, 6.587, 209.39 def. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.578, 210.67; Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 6.563,210.67 def. Deric Kramer, Dart, 6.639, 208.84; Greg Anderson, Camaro,  def. Alan Prusiensky, Dart, Broke – No Show; Jason Line, Camaro, 6.557, 211.10 def. Dave River, Chevy Cobalt, 6.707, 205.69; Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.556, 210.50 def. Mark Hogan, Pontiac GXP, 6.832, 202.18;

QUARTERFINALS — Coughlin, 6.575, 209.23 def. Johnson, 6.634, 209.98; Nobile, 6.581, 210.14 def. Line, Foul – Red Light; Butner, 6.557, 209.95 was unopposed; Gray, 6.575, 209.69 def. Anderson, 6.568, 210.34;

SEMIFINALS — Gray, 6.577, 210.14 def. Nobile, 16.918, 49.57; Coughlin, 6.576, 210.60 def. Butner, 6.569, 210.18;

FINAL — Gray, 6.580, 210.87 def. Coughlin, Foul – Red Light.

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UPDATED POINT STANDINGS:

TOP FUEL: 1.  Leah Pritchett, 721; 2.  Steve Torrence, 691; 3.  Antron Brown, 680; 4.  Tony Schumacher, 673; 5.  Doug Kalitta, 539; 6.  Clay Millican, 433; 7.  Brittany Force, 405; 8.  Terry McMillen, 333; 9.Troy Coughlin Jr., 327; 10.  Scott Palmer, 276.

FUNNY CAR: 1.  Ron Capps, 748; 2.  Matt Hagan, 629; 3.  John Force, 524; 4.  Robert Hight, 518; 5.  Jack Beckman, 502; 6.  Courtney Force, 464; 7.  Tommy Johnson Jr., 461; 8.  J.R. Todd, 378; 9.  Tim Wilkerson, 360; 10.  Jonnie Lindberg, 318.

PRO STOCK: 1.  Bo Butner, 670; 2.  Greg Anderson, 646; 3.  Tanner Gray, 610; 4.  Jeg Coughlin, 593; 5.  Jason Line, 576; 6.  Erica Enders, 423; 7.  Chris McGaha, 421; 8.  Vincent Nobile, 414; 9.  Drew Skillman, 392; 10.  Shane Gray, 382.

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