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

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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.

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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.

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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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F1 Preview: 2018 German Grand Prix

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The German Grand Prix continues its biennial presence on the Formula 1 calendar – it’s hosted F1 events in even numbered years since 2014 – as Formula 1 returns to the Hockenheimring this weekend.

The German fans will undoubtedly be joyful in Sebastian Vettel entering his home race in the championship lead, by nine points over Lewis Hamilton. Yet, somewhat surprisingly, Vettel despite being one of the most successful and decorated drivers of his generation, Vettel has won in Germany only once (2013, at the Nurburgring) and he has never won at Hockenheim.

Conversely, Hamilton has won in Germany three times, including twice at Hockenheim (2008 and 2016).

As such, Vettel will hope to add to his points lead over Hamilton with a win on home soil, though Hamilton may be equally as motivated after watching Vettel his own home race at Silverstone two weeks ago.

Nevertheless, their 2018 championship duel will most certainly continue to be closely fought.

Talking points ahead of the German Grand Prix are below.

A Different World in 2018 vs. 2016

Nico Rosberg during the Formula One Grand Prix of Germany at Hockenheimring on July 31, 2016 in Hockenheim, Germany. Photo: Getty Images

The Formula 1 landscape looked completely different back in 2016, the last time Formula 1 visited the Hockenheimring. Bernie Ecclestone was still the chief executive of Formula 1.

Nico Rosberg was partnering Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes team, and was on his way to a driver’s championship that year.

Vettel and teammate Kimi Raikkonen were in the midst of a slump as Ferrari went winless in 2016.

The world was still getting to know a then 18-year-old Max Verstappen, the young Dutchman having won the Spanish Grand Prix in May that year.

And the cars looked completely different, with skinnier and taller rear wings and taller rear tires highlighting the appearance differences.

In 2018, Vettel and Ferrari might be the strongest combination. Rosberg is long from Mercedes, and Valtteri Bottas is doing his best to shine in the wake of Hamilton’s enormous shadow.

Verstappen is still a rising star, though he has come under fire at times for overly aggressive driving and his Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo has garnered more headlines this year, with a pair of race wins alongside his status as an F1 free agent after 2018.

In short, the Formula 1 landscape is hardly recognizable from what it was back in 2016. And even though Hamilton won that year, followed by Ricciardo and Verstappen in second and third, very little will carry over from that race two years ago.

Hamilton, Mercedes Look to Take Back Momentum from Vettel, Ferrari

NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – JULY 08: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes WO9 leads Sebastian Vettel of Germany driving the (5) Scuderia Ferrari SF71H on track during the Formula One Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone on July 8, 2018 in Northampton, England. (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)

The seesaw championship fight has tilted back in the favor of Ferrari, with Vettel leading Hamilton after finishes of third and first in Austria and England. Hamilton, meanwhile, DNF’ed in Austria and came home second in England after spinning on Lap 1.

Hamilton trails by nine points, but this is hardly an unfamiliar position for Hamilton in 2018 – he started the year trailing Vettel until he took the championship lead for the first time after the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Both teams have had multiple swings of momentum this year – Vettel won the opening two races before finishes of eighth in China (he spun after contact with Verstappen) and a pair of fourth place efforts in Azerbaijan and Spain before getting two more wins in Canada and England.

Hamilton, meanwhile stumbled out of the gates somewhat with finishes of second and third before taking a fortuitous win in Azerbaijan and two dominant wins in Spain and France before the misfortune in Austria.

All told the ebb and flow of the 2018 season seems to change with every race, and while Vettel now leads Hamilton again, things could change this weekend.

Raikkonen Trying to Fend off Ricciardo, Bottas

NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – JULY 06: Kimi Raikkonen of Finland driving the (7) Scuderia Ferrari SF71H on track during practice for the Formula One Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone on July 6, 2018 in Northampton, England. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Kimi Raikkonen is somewhat of a forgotten man this Formula 1 season, but he does rank third in the championship at the moment, 10 points ahead of Ricciardo and 12 points ahead of Bottas.

However, both Ricciardo and Bottas are likely thought to have had better seasons – Ricciardo has the aforementioned wins (at China and Monaco) and the only thing that has kept Bottas from the top step of the podium is a string of horrendous luck.

However, Raikkonen, to his credit, has picked up the pieces whenever others around him have faltered, and he has six podium finishes through 10 races.

However, in order to fully silence any critics, and maybe even keep his Ferrari drive, Raikkonen would do well to get a win in 2018.

Misc.

  • The driver challenging Raikkonen’s position within Ferrari is Sauber’s Charles Leclerc. The Ferrari junior driver has five points finishes, and that could have been six if not for a pit stop error at Silverstone that caused him to leave his pit stall with a loose wheel – it forced him to retire. Leclerc’s star is on the rise, and he could shine again in Germany.
  • Nico Hulkenberg is the “other” German driver on the grid. And though he has a 24 Hours of Le Mans win to his name, he is yet to finish on the podium in an F1 race. The Renault package may not be a podium threat in usual circumstances, but if he stays clean and others falter, he could sneak in there…and doing so in his home race would make that overdue podium even sweeter.
  • After a pair of eighth place finishes, Fernando Alonso has helped McLaren at least stop the bleeding after a dismal stretch of races from Monaco through France in which the team scored zero points. However, the team still has a long way to go, and Germany could be another weekend of struggles.

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