NHRA Sonoma winners: Hight, B. Torrence, Anderson and Hines

From left: Andrew Hines, Billy Torrence, Greg Anderson, Robert Hight. Photo: NHRA.
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Even though his boss continues to chase a milestone 150th career win, Robert Hight earned his own milestone in Sunday’s NHRA Sonoma Nationals at Sonoma Raceway, capturing the 50th win of his Funny Car career.

Hight (3.973 seconds at 325.45 mph) defeated Matt Hagan (4.030 seconds at 316.60 mph) to earn his fifth win of the season. In doing so, he continues to maintain a stranglehold on the Funny Car point standings, which he’s led since the season-opening race at Pomona, California in February.

Hight is now one of only three drivers to win at least 50 races in Funny Car history, joining Force and Ron Capps.

Hight, who is married to Force’s oldest daughter, Adria, was No. 1 qualifier for Sunday’s eliminations and also earned a first-round bye. He then defeated Blake Alexander and last week’s winner at Denver, Tommy Johnson Jr., in the quarter-finals and semifinals, respectively.

The first national event I ever attended was right here (at Sonoma), and I never honestly dreamed I would get to drive a Funny Car,” said Hight, who now has three career wins in Sonoma. “I still have to pinch myself. It’s hard to believe I’m at 50 (wins).”

Hagan, meanwhile, defeated Don Schumacher Racing teammate Jack Beckman and 2018 Funny Car world champion J.R. Todd in the first two rounds, then beat Force in the semifinals before his matchup with Hight.

Matt Hagan had the best car out there in the second and third round, and we had to step up in the final,” Hight said. “We didn’t want to get outrun, and we really pushed in the final and got the win.”

In Top Fuel, Steve Torrence was stopped from earning his fourth win in a row and his 10th win in the season’s first 15 races by someone he knows quite well: his father, Billy, who earned his third career Top Fuel win – all of which have come in the last year.

To add icing to his victorious cake, Billy Torrence is now just 31 points from becoming one of 10 drivers to qualify for the upcoming six-race Countdown to the Championship playoffs. What makes that potential achievement unique is that Billy Torrence is only a part-time driver on the Top Fuel circuit.

Billy Torrence defeated his son Steve in the first round, and Austin Prock and Steve Faria in the next two rounds. Billy Torrence (3.804 seconds at 320.20 mph) then defeated No. 1 qualifier Clay Millican (3.842 seconds at 321.65 seconds) in the final round to earn the event win.

Millican, meanwhile, had a bye in the first round and then defeated three-time champion Antron Brown and 2017 champion Brittany Force before meeting up with Billy Torrence in the final round.

We had a good car going into raceday and we were just steady,” Billy Torrence said. “We had a really tough race against Steve, and we knew Clay had a good car. It took it all (to beat him).

We have a good car and we’re capable of winning everywhere we go. I couldn’t do this without Steve’s team and it takes all of those guys. They make certain I have a very well-prepared car every time I show up, and they make me look good.”

Still, Billy Torrence is going to really enjoy this weekend, joking to NationalDragster.com, “There will be a little bragging going on at home tomorrow.”

In Pro Stock, Greg Anderson won his second race in a row and the second in the Western Swing. Anderson, who had gone a year before his win at Denver last week, covered the quarter-mile in 6.602 seconds at 208.71 mph to defeat Alex Laughlin in the final round at Sonoma. Anderson now goes for the sweep at Seattle.

Anderson previously swept the Western Swing in 2004, the only driver in Pro Stock history to sweep the Swing. Sunday’s win is the 93rd of his Pro Stock career.

Anderson defeated, in order, Kenny Delco, Jeg Coughlin Jr. (car would not start) and K.B. Racing teammate Jason Line in the semifinals before meeting Laughlin in the final.

It’s been a long time since I won two races in a row and it’s more of a mind game than anything, and you’ve got a find a way to get that right,” said Anderson, who has a class-best six victories at Sonoma. “This is going to do a lot for me.

Sonoma has always been one of my very favorite tracks on the circuit. I love the tracks where the cars run fast. As two races have shaken out, I’m the only guy standing with a chance to (sweep the Swing), and I’ll go into Seattle with a smile on my face, eager to race and see if the cards can fall the right way again.”

Laughlin, meanwhile, began Sunday as the No. 1 qualifier for the second time in his career. He then defeated, in order, Val Smeland, Erica Enders and Bo Butner before facing Anderson in the final round.

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Andrew Hines won for a record seventh time this season (6.790 seconds at 198.00 mph), defeating defending PSM champion Matt Smith (6.822 seconds at 197.36 mph). It was the culmination of a great weekend for Hines, who also won Saturday’s Mickey Thompson Pro Bike Battle – a race within a race – for the seventh time in his career and the $25,000 first place prize that goes with it, defeating Vance & Hines teammate Eddie Krawiec.

Hines defeated Jerry Savoie, Scotty Pollacheck and Kelly Clontz to reach Sunday’s final round match-up vs. Smith.

“This might be the best motorcycle I’ve ever had underneath me,” Hines said of the 55th PSM win of his career and third career win at Sonoma. “It’s absolutely mind-boggling what we’ve been able to achieve this year.

The confidence with my motorcycle and my team, and the level of performance and professionalism the guys bring to the starting line every single time, it’s unsurpassed right now. I can sit on that starting line with confidence and it’s just unreal. I feel I’m probably riding the best in my career and I just want it that much more.”

The Pro Stock Motorcycle category returns to action at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals on Labor Day weekend in suburban Indianapolis.

The final event of the three-race Western Swing for Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock continues next weekend (August 2-4) in the NHRA Northwest Nationals in Seattle.

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FINAL FINISHING ORDER:

TOP FUEL: 1. Billy Torrence; 2. Clay Millican; 3. Steve Torrence; 4. Antron Brown; 5. Brittany Force; 6. Doug Kalitta; 7. Austin Prock; 8. Richie Crampton; 9. Mike Salinas; 10. Leah Pritchett; 11. Terry McMillen; 12. Cameron Ferre; 13. Scott Palmer; 14. Steve Faria; 15. Steven Chrisman.

FUNNY CAR: 1. Robert Hight; 2. Matt Hagan; 3. Tommy Johnson Jr.; 4. John Force; 5. Jack Beckman; 6. Blake Alexander; 7. Bob Tasca III; 8. Shawn Langdon; 9. Cruz Pedregon; 10. Tim Wilkerson; 11. J.R. Todd; 12. Ron Capps; 13. Jeff Diehl; 14. Jim Campbell; 15. Terry Haddock.

PRO STOCK: 1. Greg Anderson; 2. Alex Laughlin; 3. Jason Line; 4. Bo Butner; 5. Deric Kramer; 6. Erica Enders; 7. Chris McGaha; 8. Jeg Coughlin; 9. Richard Freeman; 10. Kenny Delco; 11. Steve Graham; 12. Val Smeland; 13. Fernando Cuadra; 14. Steve Matusek; 15. Fernando Cuadra Jr.; 16. Matt Hartford.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1. Andrew Hines; 2. Matt Smith; 3. Jerry Savoie; 4. Hector Arana; 5. Scotty Pollacheck; 6. Katie Sullivan; 7. Angelle Sampey; 8. Ryan Oehler; 9. Karen Stoffer; 10. Eddie Krawiec; 11. Joey Gladstone; 12. Angie Smith; 13. Cory Reed; 14. Hector Arana Jr; 15. Kelly Clontz; 16. Jianna Salinas.

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SUNDAY’S FINAL RESULTS:

TOP FUEL: Billy Torrence, 3.804 seconds, 320.20 mph def. Clay Millican, 3.842 seconds, 321.65 mph.

FUNNY CAR: Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 3.973, 325.45 def. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 4.030, 316.60.

PRO STOCK: Greg Anderson, Chevy Camaro, 6.602, 208.71 def. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 7.203, 175.68.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.790, 198.00 def. Matt Smith, EBR, 6.822, 197.36.

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FINAL ROUND-BY-ROUND RESULTS:

TOP FUEL: ROUND ONE — Austin Prock, 3.744, 327.66 def. Leah Pritchett, 3.774, 324.44; Doug Kalitta, 3.795, 324.83 def. Scott Palmer, 6.455, 93.38; Clay Millican, 3.725, 328.94 was unopposed; Billy Torrence, 3.758, 325.53 def. Steve Faria, 6.618, 89.58; Steve Torrence, 3.802, 324.36 def. Steven Chrisman, 9.016, 65.91; Antron Brown, 3.863, 312.35 def. Cameron Ferre, 3.992, 254.47; Richie Crampton, 3.798, 319.52 def. Terry McMillen, 3.855, 308.99; Brittany Force, 3.718, 335.15 def. Mike Salinas, 3.740, 327.74; QUARTERFINALS — S. Torrence, 3.825, 321.19 def. Crampton, 5.115, 138.41; B. Torrence, 3.838, 307.09 def. Prock, 4.667, 177.67; Brown, 4.064, 304.74 def. Kalitta, 4.637, 191.29; Millican, 3.838, 315.05 def. Force, 4.072, 270.10; SEMIFINALS — Millican, 3.858, 320.74 def. Brown, 3.931, 306.95; B. Torrence, 3.779, 324.75 def. S. Torrence, 3.822, 311.92; FINAL — B. Torrence, 3.804, 320.20 def. Millican, 3.842, 321.65.

FUNNY CAR: ROUND ONE — Bob Tasca III, Ford Mustang, 3.944, 325.85 def. Jim Campbell, Dodge Charger, 4.559, 187.29; Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 3.925, 327.35 was unopposed; Shawn Langdon, Toyota Camry, 3.952, 315.71 def. Terry Haddock, Mustang, 6.548, 102.27; Jack Beckman, Charger, 3.996, 320.74 def. Jeff Diehl, Camry, 4.529, 195.45; John Force, Camaro, 3.917, 327.11 def. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.216, 228.89; Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.084, 273.72 def. Cruz Pedregon, Charger, Foul – Red Light; Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.958, 324.59 def. J.R. Todd, Camry, 4.441, 197.97; Blake Alexander, Mustang, 4.010, 314.75 def. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.466, 197.22; QUARTERFINALS — Johnson Jr., 4.031, 318.47 def. Tasca III, 5.622, 129.85; Hight, 4.007, 323.35 def. Alexander, 4.055, 303.98; Force, 4.111, 312.13 def. Langdon, 5.664, 128.65; Hagan, 3.924, 325.37 def. Beckman, 3.995, 321.81; SEMIFINALS — Hight, 4.011, 323.19 def. Johnson Jr., 4.046, 318.54; Hagan, 3.962, 322.42 def. Force, Broke; FINAL — Hight, 3.973, 325.45 def. Hagan, 4.030, 316.60.

PRO STOCK: ROUND ONE — Erica Enders, Chevy Camaro, 6.579, 210.54 def. Fernando Cuadra, Camaro, 6.611, 209.46; Jason Line, Camaro, 6.570, 210.08 def. Richard Freeman, Camaro, 6.585, 210.01; Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.570, 209.52 def. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.594, 209.69; Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.577, 209.75 def. Matt Hartford, Camaro, Foul – Centerline; Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.552, 210.57 def. Steve Graham, Camaro, 6.594, 208.17; Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.561, 210.47 def. Steve Matusek, Ford Mustang, 6.611, 209.49; Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.553, 209.92 def. Val Smeland, Camaro, 6.610, 209.43; Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 6.559, 209.98 def. Fernando Cuadra Jr., Camaro, Foul – Red Light; QUARTERFINALS — Butner, 6.593, 210.05 def. McGaha, 6.745, 180.28; Anderson, 6.568, 211.10 def. Coughlin, Broke; Line, 6.574, 209.85 def. Kramer, 6.578, 210.41; Laughlin, 6.578, 209.10 def. Enders, 6.651, 208.14; SEMIFINALS — Laughlin, 6.614, 209.95 def. Butner, Foul – Red Light; Anderson, 6.625, 209.52 def. Line, 6.593, 208.71; FINAL — Anderson, 6.602, 208.71 def. Laughlin, 7.203, 175.68.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: ROUND ONE — Katie Sullivan, Suzuki, 6.927, 194.21 def. Hector Arana Jr, Foul – Red Light; Ryan Oehler, 6.892, 196.22 def. Cory Reed, Foul – Red Light; Hector Arana, 6.868, 197.02 def. Angie Smith, 6.914, 194.04; Scotty Pollacheck, 11.395, 72.34 def. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, Foul – Red Light; Angelle Sampey, Harley-Davidson, 6.886, 194.44 def. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.874, 197.02; Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.807, 197.62 def. Kelly Clontz, Suzuki, 7.060, 191.38; Matt Smith, 6.878, 196.47 def. Jianna Salinas, Suzuki, 7.096, 191.48; Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.827, 197.39 def. Joey Gladstone, 6.898, 192.74; QUARTERFINALS — M. Smith, 9.900, 88.18 def. Oehler, Broke; Arana, 6.882, 198.12 def. Sampey, Foul – Red Light; Savoie, 6.794, 198.96 def. Sullivan, 6.938, 194.72; Hines, 6.801, 198.67 def. Pollacheck, 6.896, 196.36; SEMIFINALS — M. Smith, 6.880, 198.06 def. Arana, 6.976, 196.93; Hines, 6.805, 198.23 def. Savoie, 6.807, 197.88; FINAL — Hines, 6.790, 198.00 def. M. Smith, 6.822, 197.36.

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UPDATED POINT STANDINGS:

TOP FUEL: 1. Steve Torrence, 1,486*; 2. (tie) Antron Brown, 914; Clay Millican, 914; 4. Brittany Force, 894; 5. Doug Kalitta, 887; 6. Mike Salinas, 802; 7. Leah Pritchett, 749; 8. Richie Crampton, 719; 9. (tie) Terry McMillen, 641; Austin Prock, 641.

FUNNY CAR: 1. Robert Hight, 1,283*; 2. Tommy Johnson Jr., 1,084*; 3. John Force, 1,035; 4. Jack Beckman, 964; 5. Ron Capps, 962; 6. Bob Tasca III, 924; 7. J.R. Todd, 889; 8. Matt Hagan, 888; 9. Shawn Langdon, 786; 10. Tim Wilkerson, 757.

PRO STOCK: 1. Bo Butner, 781*; 2. Greg Anderson, 675; 3. Alex Laughlin, 658; 4. Jason Line, 582; 5. Matt Hartford, 567; 6. Deric Kramer, 558; 7. Jeg Coughlin, 544; 8. Erica Enders, 535; 9. Chris McGaha, 477; 10. Rodger Brogdon, 320.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1. Andrew Hines, 967*; 2. Eddie Krawiec, 770*; 3. Matt Smith, 712*; 4. Hector Arana Jr, 658*; 5. Karen Stoffer, 452; 6. Angie Smith, 419; 7. Ryan Oehler, 408; 8. Hector Arana, 400; 9. Angelle Sampey, 397; 10. Jerry Savoie, 379.

* Clinched berth in NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Motocross: Chase Sexton to miss Hangtown after midweek practice crash

Sexton Hangtown practice crash
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Chase Sexton announced on Instagram he will sit out this weekend’s Pro Motocross race at Hangtown in Rancho Cordova, California after a practice crash on Tuesday left him with a concussion.

Sexton’s crash on Tuesday happened during a test session at Fox Raceway.

“Bummed to make this post but I’ll be sitting out this weekend,” Sexton said. “As you guys saw I had a big one during qualifying at Pala, then another one on Tuesday this week that banged me up pretty good. Nothing broken just need a few days to get back to 100%.”

Despite his crash in the first qualification session in Pala, California, Sexton mounted up for both motos and finished second in each race behind his teammate Jett Lawrence, who was making his Motocross debut and won with a pair of first-place finishes. Sexton padded his SuperMotocross points’ lead over the injured Eli Tomac, who is still second in the combined Supercross and Motocross standings despite missing the SX finale at Salt Lake City and the outdoor opener with a ruptured Achilles tendon.

Sexton has an advantage of 78 points over Cooper Webb and cannot give up his SMX lead by missing this round.

At stake, however, is the risk of losing ground to Lawrence in the Pro Motocross championship. Sexton currently trails his teammate by six points and is liable to lose significant ground this weekend.

In addition to his concussion, Sexton has also been diagnosed with mononucleosis and the combination of the two conditions caused the team to make the difficult decision to keep him out of the lineup at Hangtown.

“I’m super-bummed to miss this weekend’s race,” Sexton said in a press release. “I feel like I rode well at Pala, and I was really looking forward to Hangtown because it’s a good track for me. Unfortunately, I was already pretty banged up from my qualifying crash on Saturday, and now with mono and Tuesday’s concussion on top of it, I want to do the right thing and hopefully be back on the track soon.”

A return date for Sexton has not yet been announced.

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