With Round 9 in the books, Eli Tomac continues to pad his points lead. Finishing perfectly with a 1-1, he took the overall win. More importantly he gained points on second-place Marvin Musquin at Washougal MX Park.
As has often been the case this season, Tomac had to overcome a poor start. In Moto 2, he ended the first lap well outside the top 10, but mounted a charge to pass Ken Roczen with seven minutes remaining. He got around Musquin quickly after.
In Moto 1, Tomac battled back from outside the top five and moved up steadily throughout the race. He was eight seconds back when he moved into the runner-up position and set his sights on then-leader Roczen.
Tomac showed just how dangerous he is with three laps to go in Moto 1. The rider of the No. 1 was right beside Roczen and about the make the pass when he tipped over – seemingly handing the win back to Roczen. Tomac stood his bike back up and caught Roczen within a single lap. An aggressive inside move on the last lap that gave him the Moto 1 win.
“On the bike it was perfection,” Tomac said on NBC Gold after the race. “Except for the starts. The second moto there, it was pretty much mistake free.”
Finishing second overall, Roczen seemed to have a comfortable advantage until Tomac put him in his sights during Moto 1. With very little chance of winning the championship, Roczen nevertheless needs consistently strong runs. Finishing 2-3 and second overall was not the result Roczen wanted, but it was a moral victory.
“For me it’s important not to leave anything on the table…I’m going to gather myself for the second one and try my best again,” Ken Roczen said after losing the lead in Moto 1 on the final lap.
Marvin Musquin, who has finished second to Tomac in the last two seasons championship battles, needed to make up 9.5 points per race in the final four rounds; he lost 12 instead. Musquin finished third overall with his 5-2.
“I feel sorry for the team for that first moto,” Musquin said. “I couldn’t get around for third-place and then got frustrated and lost some positions…I came back the second moto with a better start, better riding and a better feeling on the bike.”
Cooper Webb (3-6) and Jason Anderson (4-5) rounded out the top five – pending a final judgment. A pass by Anderson on Joey Savatgy is under review.
In 250s, the battle for the championship took center stage.
In the Moto 2, Dylan Ferrandis and Adam Cianciarulo were never more than two seconds apart from one other from start to finish, but in the end it was Ferrandis who took the moto win. Every point matters at this stage of the season and with a 1-1, Ferrandis scored the overall win and earned the maximum number of points.
While Cianciarulo had Ferrandis in sight the entire race, the battle really heated up with seven minutes remaining on the clock. That’s when Cianciarulo got on Ferrandis’ back tire and started seriously challenging for the lead change. As soon as he caught him, however, Cianciarulo landed slightly off center and lost just a little momentum. That allowed Ferrandis to get some breathing room and gird himself for the final three laps.
Cianicarulo entered the round with a 36-point advantage and four rounds remaining. Ferrandis needed to make up nine points per race. At Washougal, he made up eight, but served notice that he is not going to go gently into the good night.
“It was crazy,” Ferrandis said on NBC Sports Gold after the race. “We got a really good start and I’m really happy to get two good starts – I gave everything on the second corner to take the lead. (Cianciarulo) was there already and I was like, ‘now we’re going to see who’s the best.’
“I gave everything I had. I wasn’t at my limit, but I was really close and I think him too.”
The difference actually came in the first moto. At the 14-minute mark, Cianciarulo laid his bike down, but quickly got back on the seat. It was enough to keep him from challenging for second in the moto. Finishing third in that race allowed Ferrandis to gain a couple of extra points that could become critical in the final round.
Cianciarulo finished second overall with a 3-2.
Last week Cianciarulo earned points on Ferrandis in both motos; this week Ferrandis returned the favor.
“You’re conscious of points, obviously, but at the end we’re all just racers,” Cianciarulo said. “Especially after winning a lot this year. It’s what I think about when I go to sleep. It’s what I think about when I wake up. I crave it. I want it so bad.”
Cianciarulo was right on top of Ferrandis with seven minutes remaining on the clock. On that lap, he landed just a little sideways and lost some momentum.
Justin Cooper took the final spot on the podium with a 2-4.
Michael Mosiman (7-3) and Chase Sexton (4-6) rounded out the top five.
 Eli Tomac (Hangtown II, Pala I & Pala II, Thunder Valley II, WW Ranch II, RedBud I, Washougal I & II)
 Ken Roczen (Hangtown I, Thunder Valley I, High Point II)
 Marvin Musquin (WW Ranch I, The Wick I, RedBud II)
 Cooper Webb (Spring Creek I & II)
 Blake Baggett (High Point I)
 Zach Osborne (The Wick II)
 Adam Cianciarulo (Hangtown II, Pala II, Thunder Valley I, High Point II, The Wick I, Spring Creek II)
 Dylan Ferrandis (WW Ranch II, The Wick II, RedBud I & II, Washougal I & II)
 Justin Cooper (Hangtown I, Pala I, Thunder Valley I)
 Hunter Lawrence (High Point I, Spring Creek I)
 Chase Sexton (WW Ranch I)
Next race: Unadilla MX, New Berlin, NY., August 10
Defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence is a proud Texan who hates to lose. But if there’s one person Torrence likely doesn’t mind seeing win if he can’t reach the winner’s circle – particularly if it’s on home turf – it’s father Billy.
Steve was cheering his father on as the latter boosted his own championship hopes Sunday by winning the Top Fuel category in the final eliminations of the 34th annual AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals in the Dallas suburb of Ennis, Texas.
Billy Torrence (3.775 seconds at 319.67 mph) defeated Jordan Vandergriff (4.299 seconds, 246.03 mph in his first career final round) for his fourth win of the season, including his second win in the first four races of the six-race Countdown to the Championship playoffs. With the fifth Top Fuel triumph of his career, the elder Torrence moved into fourth in the Top Fuel standings, just 71 points behind his son with two races remaining in the Countdown.
Even though Billy’s son lost in the opening round Sunday, he still leads the Top Fuel standings, holding a 33-point lead over second-ranked Doug Kalitta and a 46-point lead over third-ranked and the weekend’s No. 1 qualifier, Brittany Force.
Sunday marked the third consecutive win in this year’s playoffs for the father-son combo and their second straight triumph at Dallas (Steve won there last year as part of an unprecedented sweep of the six-race Countdown en route to the championship).
“It’s home turf and we love to race here,” Billy Torrence said after visiting the winner’s circle. “We’ve raced here our whole career and we have a lot of fans here. There’s no better place to race than Dallas, Texas, and we did have the best car today.
“It has been very humbling, and we’ve been very blessed and fortunate to have the success we’ve had. We’ve got a great group of guys on both cars and our success is just a testament to the work these guys do. I think that we’re probably the second-best car in the country, with Steve having the best. We’ve had a stellar season.”
In Funny Car: Matt Hagan (3.909 seconds at 327.59 mph) roared to his third win of the season – as well as his third at the Motorplex – and the 32nd victory of his career, defeating Bob Tasca (3.928 seconds at 323.12 mph). Hagan also moved up to fourth in the standings.
“We had a great race car today,” Hagan said. “Qualifying was pretty tough, but to turn on four win lights was pretty huge. (Tasca) is a great driver and those guys are good, so I’m glad things turned out the way they did.
“We’re just trying to keep some momentum going, keep doing our job and control what we can control. It was a pretty special weekend. We’ve just got to keep digging and keep working. I love this sport and it’s been a big part of my life for 10 years. I knew (crew chief Dickie Venables) was tuned in and you could see he was confident, and that builds confidence in me.”
Robert Hight continues to lead the Funny Car standings, followed by Jack Beckman (70 points back) and No. 1 qualifier John Force (74 points back).
In Pro Stock: Greg Anderson (6.609 seconds at 209.75 mph) defeated longtime rival Jeg Coughlin Jr. (6.610 seconds at 207.56 mph) to earn his third win of the season, fifth of his career at the Motorplex and 94th of his overall Pro Stock career.
It was the 102nd time Anderson and Coughlin, who qualified No. 1 for the weekend, have met each other in a race, including the 21st time in the final round.
“We’ve had so many titanic clashes with so much on the line, and I knew it would be close,” said Anderson, who is seventh in points. “It’s a total team effort and that’s what it takes to win a national event in Pro Stock right now. You’ve got to have perfection every time out there.
“We made a lot of changes this week and we hit on it. It showed it on Saturday and I knew coming into today we had a chance. Now it’s a matter of if I can drive the car well enough. I can’t tell you who’s going to win this thing because everybody right now can beat everybody else.”
Erica Enders held on to her lead in the category, but saw the margin over second-ranked Matt Hartford drop to only 28 points. Coughlin is third (-65 points) and Anderson is seventh (-99 points).
In Pro Stock Motorcycle: Jerry “Alligator Farmer” Savoie (6.881 seconds at 195.90 mph) took a big step towards potentially earning his second PSM championship in the last three seasons, defeating three-time champion Eddie Krawiec (6.901 seconds at 195.62 mph).
It was Savoie’s third win of the season and 12th of his career. It’s also his second win in the first four playoff races and fifth straight appearance in the final round at the Motorplex. He’s now third in the PSM standings, 94 points behind five-time champion Andrew Hines.
“It was a great day and we knew we had a good bike coming in,” Savoie said. “We said if we held our composure we could win this thing. For the most part, tracks favor certain riders and we’ve been blessed here. It’s a great place and today was great.
“Bottom line, I want a championship just as bad as anybody else, so whoever is in my way I’m going to do everything I can to try and beat them. I felt good and we’ve got a great team. To me, this win gives you more hope and means a lot. This gives you that window of opportunity where you could win a championship again.”
NOTES: Only two races remain this season: Las Vegas in two weeks (Oct. 31 – Nov. 3) and Pomona, California four weeks from now (Nov. 14 – 17).
TOP FUEL: 1. Billy Torrence; 2. Jordan Vandergriff; 3. Brittany Force; 4. Austin Prock; 5. Leah Pritchett; 6. Antron Brown; 7. Shawn Reed; 8. Lee Callaway; 9. Steve Torrence; 10. Terry McMillen; 11. Doug Kalitta; 12. Kebin Kinsley; 13. Mike Salinas; 14. Cameron Ferre; 15. Clay Millican; 16. Richie Crampton.
FUNNY CAR: 1. Matt Hagan; 2. Bob Tasca III; 3. John Force; 4. Robert Hight; 5. Tommy Johnson Jr.; 6. J.R. Todd; 7. Jack Beckman; 8. Shawn Langdon; 9. Tim Wilkerson; 10. Ron Capps; 11. Paul Lee; 12. Blake Alexander; 13. Cruz Pedregon; 14. Jim Campbell; 15. Jeff Arend; 16. Jonnie Lindberg.
PRO STOCK: 1. Greg Anderson; 2. Jeg Coughlin; 3. Deric Kramer; 4. Matt Hartford; 5. Erica Enders; 6. Chris McGaha; 7. Aaron Stanfield; 8. Bo Butner; 9. Jason Line; 10. Fernando Cuadra Jr.; 11. Val Smeland; 12. Kenny Delco; 13. Shane Tucker; 14. Fernando Cuadra; 15. Alex Laughlin; 16. Richie Stevens.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1. Jerry Savoie; 2. Eddie Krawiec; 3. Angelle Sampey; 4. Andrew Hines; 5. Steve Johnson; 6. Karen Stoffer; 7. Scotty Pollacheck; 8. Matt Smith; 9. Hector Arana; 10. Ryan Oehler; 11. Angie Smith; 12. Hector Arana Jr; 13. Kelly Clontz; 14. Michael Ray; 15. Jianna Salinas.
FUNNY CAR: 1. Robert Hight, 2,437; 2. Jack Beckman, 2,367; 3. John Force, 2,363; 4. Matt Hagan, 2,325; 5. Bob Tasca III, 2,315; 6. Ron Capps, 2,302; 7. J.R. Todd, 2,274; 8. Tommy Johnson Jr., 2,243; 9. Shawn Langdon, 2,239; 10. Tim Wilkerson, 2,188.
PRO STOCK: 1. Erica Enders, 2,395; 2. Matt Hartford, 2,367; 3. Jeg Coughlin, 2,330; 4. Jason Line, 2,327; 5. Deric Kramer, 2,323; 6. Bo Butner, 2,321; 7. Greg Anderson, 2,296; 8. Alex Laughlin, 2,239; 9. Chris McGaha, 2,217; 10. Val Smeland, 2,124.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1. Andrew Hines, 2,464; 2. Karen Stoffer, 2,383; 3. Jerry Savoie, 2,370; 4. Eddie Krawiec, 2,365; 5. Matt Smith, 2,297; 6. Hector Arana Jr, 2,274; 7. Angelle Sampey, 2,248; 8. Angie Smith, 2,181; 9. Ryan Oehler, 2,159; 10. Hector Arana, 2,128.