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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.

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.