(Photo courtesy NHRA)

NHRA Sonoma: John Force makes it 2 in a row; Anderson wins 7th of 2016

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John Force made it two wins in a row, capturing the Funny Car class in Sunday’s final round of the Toyota NHRA Sonoma Nationals at Sonoma Raceway.

Force won his first race in over a year last Sunday at Bandimere Speedway, just outside of Denver, Colorado.

With Sunday’s triumph, not only does the 16-time champion make it two wins in a row (and a record 145 for his career), he also made a big jump upward in the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, climbing from ninth to fifth position.

Others winning in this season’s 15th of 24 national events were J.R. Todd (Top Fuel), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and L.E. Tonglet (Pro Stock Motorcycle).

Sunday marked the first time this season that a final round was sold-out. There have also been three sell-outs on Saturday’s, as well.

Getting back to Force (3.948 seconds at 324.59 mph), he deprived points leader Ron Capps (3.960/320.13) of his 50th career win.

Still, it was a productive day for Capps, who earned his third runner-up finish of the season to go along with his class-high four wins. In addition, Capps and Courtney Force, John’s youngest daughter, become the first Funny Car pilots to qualify for the upcoming six-race Countdown to the Championship.

“We won Denver and that got me motivated,” Force said in a media release. “My daughter (Courtney Force) and Robert (son-in-law Robert Hight) were outrunning me in Denver but we got the win. We knew it was going to be a different animal here. We got down here and I was amazed.”

Next week at Seattle, Force goes for a sweep of the annual “Western Swing” – Denver, Sonoma and Seattle. If he wins at Seattle, he will have won the Western Swing for the second time in his career (also did so in 1994).

In Top Fuel, Todd (3.745 seconds at 324.83 mph) earned his first win in nearly a year and the ninth of his career, defeating Richie Crampton (3.806/313.07) in the final round.

“It has been a long time coming,” Todd said. “We have been to a few finals and haven’t been able to close the deal. I had all the faith and confidence in Connie Kalitta and Rob Flynn and they made the right calls all day.”

Also in Top Fuel, Steve Torrence – who qualified No. 1 for Sunday’s eliminations – and Brittany Force joined defending series champion Antron Brown and second-ranked Doug Kalitta in qualifying for the Countdown, as well.

In Pro Stock, Anderson had an especially big day. Not only did he earn his seventh win of the season, he overtook teammate Jason Line for the top spot in the Pro Stock standings.

But most importantly, Anderson earned his 85th career Pro Stock win, tying him with legendary driver Bob Glidden for second place on the all-time Pro Stock wins list. Warren Johnson holds the record with 97 career wins.

Anderson (6.580 seconds at 210.54 mph) defeated teammate Bo Butner (6.622/210.70) for his fifth career win at Sonoma.

“This place is special to me and magical,” Anderson said. “It is everything a Pro Stock racer wants. It is a great racetrack, great weather conditions, and full grandstands. You don’t get any better than that. It cranks us up and gives us a lot of energy.”

Line, Anderson and Butner are now all qualified for the Countdown with three more races remaining for other drivers to make the 10-driver field in each of the four pro classes (Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle).

Lastly, in Pro Stock Motorcycle, Tonglet earned his first win in nearly five years (2011). Tonglet (6.813 seconds at 196.73 mph), defeated defending series champ Andrew Hines (6.864/194.52).

“It has been five years since we have won and to bring home the Wally (winner’s trophy) after beating Andrew and Eddie back to back is just huge for our team,” said Tonglet, who won the 2010 PSM championship. “We just come out here to have fun and it wasn’t getting fun. We had to change some things up and started getting round wins and it is just great.”

The 16th race of the season is next week, Aug. 5-7, in suburban Seattle.

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

FINAL FINISHING ORDER:

TOP FUEL: 1.  J.R. Todd; 2.  Richie Crampton; 3.  Steve Torrence; 4.  Doug Kalitta; 5.  Brittany Force; 6.  Antron Brown; 7.  Tony Schumacher; 8.  Scott Palmer; 9.  Leah Pritchett; 10.  T.J. Zizzo; 11.  Terry McMillen; 12.  Terry Haddock; 13.  Shawn Langdon; 14.  Bill Litton; 15.  Clay Millican; 16.  Troy Buff.

FUNNY CAR: 1.  John Force; 2.  Ron Capps; 3.  Del Worsham; 4.  Courtney Force; 5.  Chad Head; 6.  Robert Hight; 7.  Matt Hagan; 8.  Jack Beckman; 9.  Tommy Johnson Jr.; 10.  Cruz Pedregon; 11.  Tim Wilkerson; 12.  John Hale; 13.  Tim Gibbons; 14.  Gary Densham; 15.  Jeff Diehl; 16.  Alexis DeJoria.

PRO STOCK: 1.  Greg Anderson; 2.  Bo Butner; 3.  Matt Hartford; 4.  Shane Gray; 5.  Drew Skillman; 6.  Vincent Nobile; 7.  Allen Johnson; 8.  Chris McGaha; 9.  Jason Line; 10.  Jeg Coughlin; 11.  Deric Kramer; 12.  Alex Laughlin; 13.  Aaron Strong; 14.  Joey Grose; 15.  Erica Enders; 16.  Alan Prusiensky.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1.  LE Tonglet; 2.  Andrew Hines; 3.  Eddie Krawiec; 4.  Hector Arana Jr; 5.  Matt Smith; 6.  Hector Arana; 7.  Angelle Sampey; 8.  Jerry Savoie; 9.  Chip Ellis; 10.  Jim Underdahl; 11.  Steve Johnson; 12.  Karen Stoffer; 13.  Freddie Camarena; 14.  Angie Smith; 15.  Katie Sullivan; 16.  Michael Ray.

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

FINAL ROUND RESULTS:

Top Fuel: J.R. Todd, 3.745 seconds, 324.83 mph  def. Richie Crampton, 3.806 seconds, 313.07 mph.

Funny Car: John Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.948, 324.59  def. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger, 3.960, 320.13.

Pro Stock: Greg Anderson, Chevy Camaro, 6.580, 210.54  def. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.622, 210.70.

Pro Stock Motorcycle: LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.813, 196.73  def. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.864, 194.52.

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

FINAL ROUND-BY-ROUND RESULTS

TOP FUEL: ROUND ONE — Tony Schumacher, 3.731, 324.59 def. Leah Pritchett, 3.781, 315.19; J.R. Todd, 3.743, 326.95 def. Clay Millican, 6.972, 82.18; Richie Crampton, 3.745, 327.74 def. Troy Buff, Broke; Steve Torrence, 3.746, 325.92 def. Terry Haddock, 3.921, 306.81; Antron Brown, 3.715, 324.59 def. Terry McMillen, 3.819, 315.34; Doug Kalitta, 4.098, 255.48 def. Bill Litton, 5.214, 122.60; Scott Palmer, 3.947, 308.43 def. Shawn Langdon, 5.176, 144.78; Brittany Force, 3.763, 325.45 def. T.J. Zizzo, 3.792, 322.34;

QUARTERFINALS — Kalitta, 3.782, 326.95 def. Force, 3.743, 325.30; Crampton, 3.799, 324.05 def. Palmer, 9.831, 86.50; Torrence, 4.611, 229.94 def. Schumacher, 5.104, 163.08; Todd, 3.746, 326.48 def. Brown, 4.854, 156.81;

SEMIFINALS — Crampton, 3.790, 320.74 def. Torrence, 3.987, 279.27; Todd, 4.122, 264.96 def. Kalitta, 4.513, 231.52;

FINAL — Todd, 3.745, 324.83 def. Crampton, 3.806, 313.07.

FUNNY CAR: ROUND ONE — Ron Capps, Dodge Charger, 3.942, 319.45 def. Cruz Pedregon, Toyota Camry, 4.112, 285.05; Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.909, 328.70 def. John Hale, Charger, 4.456, 199.35; Del Worsham, Camry, 4.950, 153.86 def. Tim Gibbons, Chevy Impala, Foul – Red Light; Courtney Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.915, 322.42 def. Gary Densham, Ford Mustang, 8.045, 108.43; Robert Hight, Camaro, 3.909, 326.32 def. Jeff Diehl, Toyota Solara, 10.685, 80.30; John Force, Camaro, 3.936, 326.24 def. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, Foul – Outer Boundary; Chad Head, Camry, 4.011, 325.14 def. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.221, 249.90; Jack Beckman, Charger, 3.921, 323.27 def. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.988, 296.76;

QUARTERFINALS — C. Force, 3.930, 322.42 def. Head, 3.938, 328.22; Capps, 3.961, 322.96 def. Hagan, 5.229, 203.40; J. Force, 3.927, 324.36 def. Hight, 3.939, 317.64; Worsham, 3.958, 322.04 def. Beckman, 7.608, 86.88;

SEMIFINALS — Capps, 3.938, 324.51 def. Worsham, 3.977, 320.97; J. Force, 3.933, 326.56 def. C. Force, 4.073, 314.97;

FINAL — J. Force, 3.948, 324.59 def. Capps, 3.960, 320.13.

PRO STOCK: ROUND ONE — Drew Skillman, Chevy Camaro, 6.606, 209.46 def. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.593, 210.70; Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.571, 210.93 def. Erica Enders, Dodge Dart, Broke; Allen Johnson, Dart, 6.587, 209.72 def. Aaron Strong, Camaro, 6.633, 208.71; Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.587, 209.88 def. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.613, 211.03; Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.583, 210.08 def. Deric Kramer, Dart, 6.611, 208.91; Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.567, 211.10 def. Alan Prusiensky, Dart, Broke; Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.556, 211.23 def. Joey Grose, Camaro, 6.740, 205.32; Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.593, 209.88 def. Jeg Coughlin, Dart, 6.603, 209.39;

QUARTERFINALS — Hartford, 15.796, 71.72 def. McGaha, Foul – Centerline; Gray, 6.609, 210.44 def. Johnson, 13.925, 88.88; Anderson, 6.571, 210.64 def. Nobile, 6.616, 210.57; Butner, 6.609, 210.64 def. Skillman, 6.610, 210.50;

SEMIFINALS — Butner, 6.625, 210.44 def. Hartford, 6.635, 209.49; Anderson, 6.620, 210.01 def. Gray, 6.651, 210.24;

FINAL — Anderson, 6.580, 210.54 def. Butner, 6.622, 210.70.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: ROUND ONE — Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.813, 196.39 def. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.879, 195.53; Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.804, 197.48 def. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.873, 196.67; Hector Arana, Buell, 6.820, 197.42 def. Chip Ellis, Buell, 6.802, 198.12; LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.795, 197.80 def. Katie Sullivan, Suzuki, Foul – Red Light; Angelle Sampey, Buell, 6.730, 199.76 def. Angie Smith, 6.953, 191.13; Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.787, 198.67 def. Freddie Camarena, Suzuki, 6.891, 197.02; Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.747, 199.17 def. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 6.864, 196.10; Matt Smith, 6.817, 197.74 def. Michael Ray, Buell, Broke – No Show;

QUARTERFINALS — Tonglet, 6.793, 197.13 def. Arana, 6.838, 196.76; Hines, 6.801, 196.64 def. M. Smith, 6.837, 196.64; Krawiec, 6.784, 196.04 def. Savoie, Broke; Arana Jr, 6.827, 196.73 def. Sampey, 10.865, 73.78;

SEMIFINALS — Hines, 6.831, 195.45 def. Arana Jr, Foul – Red Light; Tonglet, 6.812, 196.42 def. Krawiec, 6.831, 195.14;

FINAL — Tonglet, 6.813, 196.73 def. Hines, 6.864, 194.52.

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

UPDATED POINT STANDINGS:

Top Fuel: 1.  Antron Brown, 1,204; 2.  Doug Kalitta, 1,167; 3.  Steve Torrence, 1,072; 4.  Brittany Force, 1,008; 5.  Tony Schumacher, 971; 6.  J.R. Todd, 897; 7.  Shawn Langdon, 836; 8.  Richie Crampton, 754; 9.  Clay Millican, 715; 10.  Leah Pritchett, 586.

Funny Car: 1.  Ron Capps, 1,214; 2.  Courtney Force, 1,084; 3.  Jack Beckman, 1,031; 4.  Del Worsham, 960; 5.  John Force, 937; 6.  (tie) Matt Hagan, 936; Robert Hight, 936; 8.  Tommy Johnson Jr., 888; 9.  Tim Wilkerson, 827; 10.  Alexis DeJoria, 765.

Pro Stock: 1.  Greg Anderson, 1,587; 2.  Jason Line, 1,583; 3.  Bo Butner, 1,065; 4.  Allen Johnson, 939; 5.  Vincent Nobile, 811; 6.  Drew Skillman, 805; 7.  Shane Gray, 737; 8.  Chris McGaha, 718; 9.  Jeg Coughlin, 644; 10.  Alex Laughlin, 627.

Pro Stock Motorcycle: 1.  Eddie Krawiec, 824; 2.  Andrew Hines, 735; 3.  Angelle Sampey, 595; 4.  Jerry Savoie, 556; 5.  LE Tonglet, 484; 6.  Hector Arana, 427; 7.  Chip Ellis, 422; 8.  Matt Smith, 344; 9.  Hector Arana Jr, 305; 10.  Steve Johnson, 300.

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Steve Torrence takes NHRA points lead with Gatornationals victory

NHRA Gainesville Steve Torrence
Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two-time defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence took the points lead Sunday in the AMALIE Motor Oil Gatornationals, beating his father, Billy, in the final round at Gainesville Raceway.

Torrence had a 3.809-second run at 322.11 mph to win for the third time this year and 39th overall. He is now on track for another championship despite missing the season opener.

“We’ve got some good momentum and to be in the points lead, it’s a testament to how hard these guys work,” Steve Torrence said after the NHRA Gainesville victory. “We’ve just got to stay focused and concentrate on what the task at hand is, and that’s trying to win a championship. These guys give me an unbelievable race car and you just try not to screw it up.”

Ron Capps won in Funny Car, Alex Laughlin in Pro Stock and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Capps raced to his second win this year and 66th overall, beating Tim Wilkerson with a 3.937 at 323.12 in a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

Laughlin topped Aaron Stanfield with a 7.068 at 204.76 in a Chevrolet Camaro for his first win this season and fourth in his career. Smith rode to his first victory in 2020 and 25th overall, topping Andrew Hines with a 6.843 at 196.99 on an EBR.