NHRA: Torrence (TF), Todd (FC), Nobile (PS) are Four-Wide Las Vegas winners

Photos and videos courtesy NHRA
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Top Fuel driver Steve Torrence won for the second time in the first four races of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series on Sunday at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Torrence (Top Fuel), J.R. Todd (Funny Car) and Vincent Nobile (Pro Stock) all won in the final round of the sold-out DENSO Spark Plus NHRA Four-Wide Nationals.

It was the first-ever four-wide race at The Strip, which joins sister track zMAX Dragway as the only hosts of four-wide races. zMAX began the unique style of racing back in 2010.

Here’s how things played out:

* In Top Fuel: In the final round, Torrence made a 3.771 second pass at 326.63 mph to defeat No. 1 qualifier Tony Schumacher, Antron Brown and Doug Kalitta.

“I knew my team was confident coming into today, but going into a final round against Antron, Tony Schumacher and Doug up against you makes it a tough round,” Torrence said. “Our car still isn’t performing at the level it was last year.

“We just have to work on the car and prepare for the later part of this season when every race really matters.”

The win propelled Torrence to the top of the Top Fuel points standings.

* In Funny Car: Todd ran 4.041 seconds at 317.05 mph for his first win in Las Vegas and the 11th overall win of his NHRA career.

Todd held off Jack Beckman, No. 1 qualifier Courtney Force and Tommy Johnson Jr. to secure the win.

“We brought out a new car in Gainesville and struggled during Friday’s qualifying this weekend, but I got my confidence up in the fourth round of qualifying and then definitely carried over into today,” Todd said. “I know it’s going to be tough to crack the top 10 in this Funny Car class because it’s so competitive, so every win we can get is going to help us crack the Countdown to the Championship.”

* In Pro Stock: Just like Todd, Nobile also earned his first career win at Las Vegas and his 11th career NHRA win. He defeated Deric Kramer, Bo Butner and Chris McGaha in the final round.

“My team worked their tails off this weekend,” Nobile said. “We went through three engines over the weekend but overall it was a great weekend and there isn’t any reason we can’t be back in the winner’s circle again soon.

“The car has been running well but we have had some bad luck so far this season, but we are hoping this is our turning point.”

The next NHRA national event will be the April 20-22 at Royal Purple Raceway in suburban Houston, Texas.

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FINAL FINISHING ORDER:

TOP FUEL: 1. Steve Torrence; 2. Tony Schumacher; 3. Doug Kalitta; 4. Antron Brown; 5. Richie Crampton; 6. Steven Chrisman; 7. Leah Pritchett; 8. Clay Millican; 9. Billy Torrence; 10. Terry Totten; 11. Brittany Force; 12. Terry McMillen; 13. Troy Buff; 14. Mike Salinas; 15. Terry Haddock; 16. Scott Palmer.

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

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

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FINAL 

TOP FUEL: Steve Torrence, 3.771 seconds, 326.63 mph def. Tony Schumacher, 3.790 seconds, 325.22 mph and Doug Kalitta, 3.914 seconds, 273.27 mph and Antron Brown, 4.097 seconds, 252.52 mph.

FUNNY CAR: J.R. Todd, Toyota Camry, 4.041, 317.05 def. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger, 4.052, 312.21 and Courtney Force, Chevy Camaro, 4.007, 300.53 and Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, foul.

PRO STOCK: Vincent Nobile, Chevy Camaro, 6.690, 206.80 def. Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.678, 206.45 and Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.682, 206.57 and Chris McGaha, Camaro, foul;

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FINAL ROUND-BY-ROUND RESULTS:

TOP FUEL: ROUND ONE — Clay Millican, 3.744, 326.48 and Steve Torrence, 3.811, 326.87 def. Billy Torrence, 3.811, 321.73 and Troy Buff, 3.832, 314.39; Doug Kalitta, 3.819, 320.89 and Richie Crampton, 3.832, 313.22 def. Brittany Force, 4.690, 175.52 and Terry Haddock, 6.914, 76.49; Antron Brown, 3.797, 327.35 and Leah Pritchett, 3.793, 324.05 def. Terry Totten, 4.139, 278.17 and Mike Salinas, 4.398, 191.81; Tony Schumacher, 3.899, 257.43 and Steven Chrisman, 4.111, 284.81 def. Terry McMillen, 4.697, 173.01 and Scott Palmer, 7.975, 94.17; SEMIFINALS — S. Torrence, 3.763, 326.08 and Schumacher, 4.297, 249.49 def. Chrisman, 4.568, 216.24 and Millican, 5.970, 108.82; Kalitta, 3.864, 320.13 and Brown, 4.050, 278.58 def. Crampton, 4.261, 261.47 and Pritchett, 5.391, 149.51; FINAL — S. Torrence, 3.771, 326.63 def. Schumacher, 3.790, 325.22, Kalitta, 3.914, 273.27 and Brown, 4.097, 252.52.

FUNNY CAR: ROUND ONE — J.R. Todd, Toyota Camry, 3.959, 318.99 and John Force, Chevy Camaro, 4.015, 316.75 def. Bob Tasca III, Ford Mustang, 4.044, 314.97 and Shawn Langdon, Camry, 7.119, 104.82; Courtney Force, Camaro, 3.967, 317.87 and Jonnie Lindberg, Camry, 4.389, 294.56 def. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 7.016, 73.75 and Jim Campbell, Dodge Charger, broke; Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.030, 316.01 and Del Worsham, Camry, 4.496, 244.25 def. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.855, 172.36 and Matt Hagan, Charger, 5.899, 117.68; Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.082, 305.56 and Gary Densham, Mustang, 5.304, 149.66 def. Robert Hight, Camaro, 6.165, 109.93 and Ron Capps, Charger, 6.697, 78.55; SEMIFINALS — Johnson Jr., 4.007, 314.68 and Todd, 4.054, 314.17 def. J. Force, 4.050, 315.34 and Worsham, 4.049, 307.93; Beckman, 4.013, 317.05 and C. Force, 4.126, 298.67 def. Lindberg, 4.674, 188.65 and Densham, 5.379, 136.72; FINAL — Todd, 4.041, 317.05 def. Beckman, 4.052, 312.21, C. Force, 4.007, 300.53 and Johnson Jr., foul.

PRO STOCK: ROUND ONE — Chris McGaha, Chevy Camaro, 6.650, 207.59 and Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.685, 207.30 def. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.708, 206.10 and Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 10.415, 121.10; Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.686, 206.16 and Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.695, 205.69 def. Steve Graham, Camaro, 6.774, 204.51 and Jason Line, Camaro, 6.667, 205.38; Tanner Gray, Camaro, 6.672, 205.82 and Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.669, 205.98 def. Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.684, 206.07 and Alan Prusiensky, Dodge Dart, 6.756, 204.70; Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.668, 206.57 and Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.725, 203.74 def. Joey Grose, Camaro, 6.825, 202.73 and Erica Enders, Camaro, 7.311, 200.80; SEMIFINALS — Kramer, 6.693, 206.10 and Butner, 6.700, 205.91 def. Skillman, 6.697, 205.88 and T. Gray, 6.773, 206.07; McGaha, 6.675, 206.51 and Nobile, 6.674, 206.35 def. Anderson, 6.680, 207.62 and Hartford, 6.720, 205.72; FINAL — Nobile, 6.690, 206.80 def. Kramer, 6.678, 206.45, Butner, 6.682, 206.57 and McGaha, foul.

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UPDATED POINT STANDINGS:

TOP FUEL: 1. Steve Torrence, 333; 2. Tony Schumacher, 300; 3. Antron Brown, 290; 4. Clay Millican, 255; 5. Doug Kalitta, 248; 6. Richie Crampton, 215; 7. Leah Pritchett, 202; 8. Scott Palmer, 195; 9. Brittany Force, 158; 10. Terry McMillen, 148.

FUNNY CAR: 1. Jack Beckman, 338; 2. Courtney Force, 302; 3. Matt Hagan, 301; 4. Tommy Johnson Jr., 265; 5. Ron Capps, 258; 6. J.R. Todd, 235; 7. Robert Hight, 222; 8. Shawn Langdon, 205; 9. Jonnie Lindberg, 171; 10. Del Worsham, 167.

PRO STOCK: 1. Bo Butner, 322; 2. Chris McGaha, 293; 3. Deric Kramer, 289; 4. Vincent Nobile, 283; 5. Jason Line, 268; 6. Greg Anderson, 253; 7. Drew Skillman, 242; 8. Tanner Gray, 229; 9. Alex Laughlin, 212; 10. Erica Enders,

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Houston Supercross by the numbers: Five riders begin to gap the field

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Chase Sexton stumbled in San Diego and Eli Tomac had a hard fall in Anaheim 2, but the Monster Energy Supercross numbers for Houston suggest they will continue to be the ones to beat in Houston. To do so, they will have to turn back challenges from another pair of riders who have swept the top five in the first three rounds and another with a worst finish of sixth.

Houston Supercross numbers
Cooper Webb’s ability to close races makes him a Houston favorite. – Feld Motor Sports

Despite an accident in his heat in San Diego that sent him to the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ), Sexton recovered to score a top-five that weekend. His podium finish in Anaheim 1 and overall win last week in Anaheim 2 makes him one of the three riders with a perfect top-five record. He is joined by Cooper Webb, who finished second in the first two rounds and fourth last week, and Ken Roczen, whose consistency in the first three races contributed to him grabbing the top spot in this week’s NBC Supercross Power Rankings.

There are reasons to believe Webb and Roczen can keep those streaks alive.

Webb is the only multiple winner at Supercross’ current Houston stadium. His pair of wins came in 2019 and 2021, the same year he won his two 450 championships.

Clinton Fowler points out this week, that Webb has carried that strength into 2023. Webb had a late surge in Anaheim 1, advancing from fifth to second in the final six laps. In San Diego, he set his ninth fastest lap with two to go and his eighth fastest on the final lap. He posted his fastest lap of Anaheim 2 on Lap 12 while the rest of the field did so on Lap 6 on average.

By comparison, Tomac set his 14th fastest lap on the final circuit in route to winning the Main at San Diego while he was trying to keep Webb at bay.

With a sixth at San Diego, Dylan Ferrandis barely missed sweeping the top five in his first three races as did Tomac with a sixth last week at Anaheim 2.

This will be the 46th year Supercross has visited Houston and with 55 races the city is tied for the second-most with Detroit.

Jim Pomeroy won the first race in the Astrodome during the inaugural season of 1974 on a 250, which was the premiere class at the time. Houston was one of three races held that year along with events at Daytona International Speedway and the Los Angeles Coliseum. All three venues return in 2023 with the first SuperMotocross championship finale returning to the famed LA Coliseum in September.

Webb won most recently in 2021 in the final race of three held there that year as the series executed a strategy of racing in residencies to limit travel during height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tomac and Justin Barcia also won in Houston in 2021.

Two privateers have started the season on a high note.

Joshua Cartwright and Joshua Varize have each made the last two Mains. Cartwright finished 18th in San Diego and 21st last week in Anaheim 2 – all while working fulltime as a Business Intelligence Analyst at the University of Texas, Dallas. Varize earned a top-15 (12th) in San Diego and was 21st in Anaheim 2 in his third season on a 450.

Michael Mosiman scored his first 250 win last year in San Diego. – Feld Motor Sports

The numbers show none of the active 250 Supercross East riders have won in Houston, so no matter who steps on top of the box, there is going to be a fresh face. That is not surprising since most of the top competitors have not raced at this venue yet.

Michael Mosiman has a pair of top-fives there, however. His best finish was a second in the second 2021 race. Garrett Marchbanks scored a top-10 in his rookie season of 2019 in Houston.

In the 250 East division, Hunter Lawrence is one of the favorites to win the title now that Christian Craig has moved to 450s. Last year he had four wins and nine podiums, but failed to set a fast lap in a race.

The other 250 riders with 2022 wins this week are Mosiman, who earned his first Supercross win last year in San Diego, and Nate Thrasher, who became the fifth new class winner at Daytona.

Jeremy Martin will attempt to extend a record this week in Houston. His division leading SuperMotocross podiums number 65. He has 26 wins in the combined sessions, which ranks fourth all time.

Last Five Houston Winners

450s
2022, no race
2021, Race 3: Cooper Webb
2021, Race 2: Eli Tomac
2021, Race 1: Justin Barcia
2020, no race
2019, Cooper Webb
2018, Jason Anderson

250s
2022, no race
2021, Race 3: Colt Nichols
2021, Race 2: Jett Lawrence
2021, Race 1: Christian Craig
2020, no race
2019, Dylan Ferrandis
2018, Aaron Plessinger

By the Numbers

Anaheim 2
San Diego

More SuperMotocross coverage

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Power Rankings after week 3
Malcom Stewart out for “extended duration” after knee surgery
Haiden Deegan makes Supercross debut in Houston, Justin Cooper to 450s
Talon Hawkins set to relieve injured Jalek Swoll in Houston
Jalek Swoll out for an indefinite period with broken arm
Ken Roczen urgently needed a change
Chris Blose joins Pro Circuit Kawasaki in 250 East opener
Seth Hammaker to miss Houston with wrist injury
Jo Shimoda joins Seth Hammaker, Austin Forkner on injured list
Injury sidelines Austin Forkner for remainder of 2023 SX
Chase Sexton wins Anaheim 2 in 450s; Levi Kitchen takes 250s
Results and points from Anaheim 2