Photo courtesy LindbergBros.com

NHRA: Swedish driver, 2-time champ Jonnie Lindberg jumps to Funny Car for 2017

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Competition in the NHRA Funny Car class is hard enough with the likes of defending champion Ron Capps, 16-time champ John Force, Matt Hagan, “Fast Jack” Beckman, Del Worsham, Tommy Johnson Jr., Courtney Force, Alexis De Joria, Cruz Pedregon, Tim Wilkerson and more.

But the competition just got even tougher with the announcement that two-time defending Top Alcohol Funny Car champ Jonnie Lindberg will move up to the nitro fuel Funny Car class in the 2017 season with Head Racing.

According to NHRA.com and National Dragster, Lindberg – a native of Sweden – will take over for Chad Head, who stepped out of the driver’s seat of his family’s long-time Funny Car operation after last season to devote more time to the overall family business.

“This is a dream come true for me,” Lindberg told Kevin McKenna of NHRA.com/National Dragster. “I’ve always wanted to drive a fuel Funny Car. Last year, my goal was to win a second [Top Alcohol Funny Car] championship and then get my fuel license.

“… I thought it was a good idea to have the license just in case someone was looking for a driver. I didn’t expect that anything would happen this quickly, but I’m happy that it did.”

Lindberg has been a dominating force in Top Alcohol Funny Car – which is similar to the Xfinity Series in NASCAR, namely, one step below the NHRA’s big leagues. Not only did he win back-to-back TA/FC championships in 2015 and 2016, he also has six national event wins.

And, according to McKenna, Lindberg is the first driver in Top Alcohol Funny Car to break the 5.3-second barrier and to surpass 270 mph.

But by moving up to nitro Funny Car, Lindberg will also be making a big step: Funny Cars typically run less than four seconds and oftentimes over 330 mph down a 1,000-foot drag strip.

Per NHRA.com, the initial plan for Lindberg calls for him to compete in between 16 and 18 of the NHRA’s 24-race national event schedule, according to team owner Jim Head. Lindberg’s first race in a nitro Funny Car will be the Amalie Motor Oil Gatornationals, March 16-19, in Gainesville, Florida.

Lindberg will also be in contention for the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Road to the Future award as NHRA’s top overall rookie driver.

Click here for McKenna’s full story on Lindberg.

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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.