NHRA: Upsets abound in final rounds at Gateway

NHRA photo from left: Karen Stoffer, Erica Enders, Shawn Langdon, Billy Torrence
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The name of the game in Sunday’s eliminations of the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway near St. Louis was upsets.

Shawn Langdon (Funny Car), Billy Torrence (Top Fuel), Erica Enders (Pro Stock) and Karen Stoffer (Pro Stock Motorcycle) all emerged victorious at the end of the second race of the six-race Countdown to the Championship playoffs.

In Top Fuel: Billy Torrence earned his third win of the season and fourth of his career, showing his son and defending Top Fuel champ Steve that father sometimes does know best.

Billy Torrence covered the track at 3.835 seconds at 319.67 mph to his son’s effort of 4.374 seconds at 195.93 mph. It marks the second time the father-son duo have met in a final round, and that record is now even at one win apiece for each driver. It also is just the third father-son final round matchup in NHRA history.

Even with the loss, Steve Torrence still closed in on points leader Doug Kalitta, who now holds just a two-point lead over the defending series champ.

To get to race Steve in the final was the goal,” Billy Torrence said. “We watched how we qualified and we did a good job of staying on opposite sides of the ladder. It came out a little better for me in the end this time.

It’s tough to come out here. You’re at the pinnacle of drag racing on this level, but I’ve got to have fun. It’s just a blessing to get to be out here with my family. We’ve raced everything and it’s just really fun. It’s a family sport and we’re right in the middle of it.”

In Funny Car: It was an all-Kalitta Motorsports final round as Langdon defeated teammate and defending Funny Car champion J.R. Todd.

A former NHRA Top Fuel world champ, Langdon became only the second driver in NHRA history to win in both Top Fuel and Funny Car at the suburban St. Louis track. He clocked a time and speed of 4.068 seconds at 310.41 mph over Todd’s effort of 4.276 seconds at 223.32 mph.

It was the second career Funny Car win for Langdon, who switched to Funny Cars from Top Fuel prior to the start of the 2018 season. Including his Top Fuel record, he now has won 16 national event finals.

What an incredible day,” Langdon said. “Going through qualifying, we had a consistent car. We’ve got such a great group of guys and it was a pretty good day. Anytime you can get a win in this class, it builds momentum.

We had to make some big changes coming into St. Louis and the car was flawless for me to drive. I love racing for (team owner) Connie (Kalitta). He just has so much passion. He’s a great motivator and a great leader, and we just follow his vision. We all just work together.”

Even though he didn’t win, Robert Hight took over the Funny Car points lead.

In Pro Stock: Two-time champion Erica Enders moved a step closer to a potential third Pro Stock championship, earning her first win since early in 2018 with an effort of 6.598 seconds at 208.36 mph, defeating Matt Hartford (6.621 seconds at 207.30 mph) in the final round.

Enders came into Sunday’s eliminations as the event’s No. 1 qualifier and left with her 24th career win, her first since Charlotte in spring 2018. She also moved into the No. 2 spot in the standings.

We just had to pick ourselves up and we redeemed ourselves after our poor performance in Reading (the playoff opener two weeks ago at Reading, Pennsylvania),” Enders said. “I’m ready for the remaining four races. I put my money on us.

It’s all come together at the right time. It feels like it’s been eternity since we last won in 2018. We just continue to keep our heads down and working hard, and this definitely means a lot to our entire program. I knew every time we fired that bad boy up, we were going to go out and make a really great pass.”

In Pro Stock Motorcycle: Also winning after a lengthy winless drought was Stoffer, who earned her first win in four seasons (since 2015). Stoffer (6.869 seconds at 197.74 mph) upset points leader Andrew Hines (6.871 seconds at 196.59 mph) in the final round for the ninth win of her career.

The big win also vaulted Stoffer into the second spot in the standings behind series leader Hines. It was the first time the two have faced each other in the final round of a national event in nine years.

I really don’t feel the pressure out there because every team is phenomenal,” Stoffer said. “I listened to the team and did what I had been doing. We had Matt (defending PSM champ Matt Smith and this weekend’s No. 1 qualifier), and then Eddie (Krawiec) and then we had Andrew (Hines).

Out of all the heavy hitters, those are it. We just went out and did our job. The Suzuki platform definitely went through some challenges and we’re not one of those high-budget teams, but we have fun. It’s been a long time (since her last win), and I wasn’t even scheduled to race this year, and here we are in the top 10 and winning a race in the Countdown.”

NOTES: With this weekend being the 20th race on the 24-race NHRA national event schedule, there are now four races remaining in the six-race Countdown to the Championship playoffs. … The wins by Stoffer and Enders marked the first time in NHRA history that females won in both Pro Stock classes at the same race. It also marked the 148th and 149th win for females in NHRA history. … The next race and the midway point of the playoffs occurs in two weeks – from October 11-13 – with the NTK NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Concord, North Carolina.

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FINAL FINISHING ORDER:

TOP FUEL: 1. Billy Torrence; 2. Steve Torrence; 3. Mike Salinas; 4. Leah Pritchett; 5. Doug Kalitta; 6. Austin Prock; 7. Pat Dakin; 8. Terry McMillen; 9. T.J. Zizzo; 10. Clay Millican; 11. Brittany Force; 12. Kyle Wurtzel; 13. Cameron Ferre; 14. Richie Crampton; 15. Antron Brown; 16. Scott Palmer.

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

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

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1. Karen Stoffer; 2. Andrew Hines; 3. Steve Johnson; 4. Eddie Krawiec; 5. Matt Smith; 6. Angie Smith; 7. Angelle Sampey; 8. Hector Arana Jr; 9. Hector Arana; 10. Kelly Clontz; 11. Jerry Savoie; 12. Michael Ray; 13. Ryan Oehler; 14. Andie Rawlings; 15. Scotty Pollacheck; 16. Jianna Salinas.

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FINAL RESULTS:

TOP FUEL: Billy Torrence, 3.835 seconds, 319.67 mph def. Steve Torrence, 4.374 seconds, 195.93 mph.

FUNNY CAR: Shawn Langdon, Toyota Camry, 4.068, 310.41 def. J.R. Todd, Camry, 4.276, 223.32.

PRO STOCK: Erica Enders, Chevy Camaro, 6.598, 208.36 def. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.621, 207.30.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.869, 197.74 def. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.876, 196.59.

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FINAL ROUND-BY-ROUND RESULTS:

TOP FUEL: ROUND ONE — Terry McMillen, 3.781, 323.81 def. Clay Millican, 3.801, 326.08; Pat Dakin, 3.793, 327.27 def. Brittany Force, 3.802, 294.31; Austin Prock, 3.744, 326.00 def. T.J. Zizzo, 3.769, 329.75; Billy Torrence, 3.793, 326.08 def. Kyle Wurtzel, 3.908, 274.22; Mike Salinas, 3.733, 328.70 def. Cameron Ferre, 4.011, 300.66; Steve Torrence, 3.746, 325.77 def. Scott Palmer, Broke; Leah Pritchett, 3.764, 326.87 def. Antron Brown, 6.001, 116.41; Doug Kalitta, 4.285, 248.48 def. Richie Crampton, 5.086, 136.25; QUARTERFINALS — B. Torrence, 3.801, 321.12 def. Kalitta, 3.827, 323.04; S. Torrence, 3.784, 323.58 def. Dakin, 4.656, 164.31; Pritchett, 3.835, 321.88 def. Prock, 3.925, 309.06; Salinas, 3.773, 325.22 def. McMillen, 5.250, 137.39; SEMIFINALS — B. Torrence, 3.769, 322.96 def. Pritchett, 5.290, 132.79; S. Torrence, 3.805, 324.59 def. Salinas, 3.937, 312.13; FINAL — B. Torrence, 3.835, 319.67 def. S. Torrence, 4.374, 195.93.

FUNNY CAR: ROUND ONE — Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 3.921, 331.85 def. Bob Bode, Ford Mustang, 4.013, 320.36; Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 3.920, 328.22 def. Cruz Pedregon, Dodge Charger, 5.588, 129.10; John Force, Camaro, 3.939, 326.08 def. Terry Haddock, Mustang, 9.152, 77.06; Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.197, 249.39 def. Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.204, 265.06; Ron Capps, Charger, 3.966, 328.86 def. Blake Alexander, Mustang, 3.997, 319.29; Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 3.915, 325.14 def. Jonnie Lindberg, Mustang, 5.162, 158.52; Shawn Langdon, Toyota Camry, 3.907, 330.47 def. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.898, 324.44; J.R. Todd, Camry, 3.954, 327.27 def. Jack Beckman, Charger, 3.944, 326.56; QUARTERFINALS — Todd, 3.986, 326.56 def. Force, 4.870, 169.55; Langdon, 5.875, 253.52 def. Campbell, 6.940, 93.59; Tasca III, 3.947, 321.19 def. Wilkerson, 4.012, 315.56; Hight, 3.988, 323.27 def. Capps, 4.272, 225.52; SEMIFINALS — Todd, 3.979, 325.37 def. Hight, 12.733, 62.18; Langdon, 3.953, 323.50 def. Tasca III, 3.976, 323.04; FINAL — Langdon, 4.068, 310.41 def. Todd, 4.276, 223.32.

PRO STOCK: ROUND ONE — Aaron Stanfield, Chevy Camaro, 6.623, 207.30 def. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.618, 207.53; Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.601, 208.23 def. Fernando Cuadra, Camaro, 6.637, 207.88; Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.617, 207.62 def. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.615, 208.33; Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.633, 208.33 def. Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.584, 208.91; Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.601, 207.78 def. Fernando Cuadra Jr., Camaro, 6.637, 208.30; Jason Line, Camaro, 6.592, 209.14 def. Steve Graham, Camaro, Foul – Red Light; Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.590, 207.78 def. Alan Prusiensky, Dodge Dart, 6.640, 207.66; Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 6.603, 207.69 def. Val Smeland, Camaro, 6.646, 207.40; QUARTERFINALS — McGaha, 6.658, 207.59 def. Anderson, 6.672, 209.56; Butner, 6.638, 207.78 def. Coughlin, 6.630, 207.21; Hartford, 6.644, 207.37 def. Line, 9.100, 103.58; Enders, 6.614, 208.14 def. Stanfield, 6.628, 207.34; SEMIFINALS — Hartford, 6.643, 207.50 def. Butner, 6.647, 208.39; Enders, 6.628, 207.82 def. McGaha, 6.621, 208.68; FINAL — Enders, 6.598, 208.36 def. Hartford, 6.621, 207.30.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: ROUND ONE — Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.911, 195.85 def. Ryan Oehler, 7.037, 193.52; Hector Arana Jr, 6.935, 194.77 def. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.971, 195.31; Angie Smith, 6.934, 195.03 def. Hector Arana, 6.951, 194.02; Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.872, 195.39 def. Kelly Clontz, Suzuki, 6.967, 191.84; Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.872, 195.22 def. Michael Ray, 7.018, 190.54; Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.854, 195.73 def. Andie Rawlings, Suzuki, 7.121, 185.87; Matt Smith, 6.902, 197.77 def. Jianna Salinas, Suzuki, 11.986, 67.85; Angelle Sampey, Harley-Davidson, 6.907, 194.83 def. Scotty Pollacheck, 9.873, 86.58; QUARTERFINALS — Stoffer, 6.916, 196.30 def. M. Smith, Foul – Red Light; Hines, 6.895, 195.17 def. A. Smith, 6.926, 193.88; Johnson, 6.914, 194.07 def. Sampey, Foul – Red Light; Krawiec, 6.892, 195.59 def. Arana Jr, 7.011, 193.63; SEMIFINALS — Hines, 6.916, 195.42 def. Johnson, 6.892, 193.90; Stoffer, 6.921, 195.59 def. Krawiec, 6.927, 194.38; FINAL — Stoffer, 6.869, 197.74 def. Hines, 6.876, 196.59.

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UPDATED POINT STANDINGS:

TOP FUEL: 1. Doug Kalitta, 2,232; 2. Steve Torrence, 2,230; 3. Mike Salinas, 2,191; 4. Brittany Force, 2,184; 5. Leah Pritchett, 2,170; 6. (tie) Antron Brown, 2,159; Richie Crampton, 2,159; 8. Austin Prock, 2,153; 9. Billy Torrence, 2,152; 10. Clay Millican, 2,125.

FUNNY CAR: 1. Robert Hight, 2,235; 2. John Force, 2,222; 3. Jack Beckman, 2,211; 4. Ron Capps, 2,191; 5. J.R. Todd, 2,182; 6. Bob Tasca III, 2,156; 7. Shawn Langdon, 2,155; 8. Tommy Johnson Jr., 2,138; 9. Matt Hagan, 2,132; 10. Tim Wilkerson, 2,109.

PRO STOCK: 1. Jason Line, 2,254; 2. Erica Enders, 2,243; 3. Bo Butner, 2,232; 4. Matt Hartford, 2,197; 5. Alex Laughlin, 2,171; 6. Jeg Coughlin, 2,160; 7. Greg Anderson, 2,147; 8. Deric Kramer, 2,132; 9. Chris McGaha, 2,113; 10. Val Smeland, 2,062.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1. Andrew Hines, 2,266; 2. Karen Stoffer, 2,232; 3. Eddie Krawiec, 2,215; 4. Matt Smith, 2,205; 5. Jerry Savoie, 2,200; 6. Hector Arana Jr, 2,169; 7. Angelle Sampey, 2,136; 8. Angie Smith, 2,116; 9. Ryan Oehler, 2,075; 10. Hector Arana, 2,064.

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Supercross 2023: Results and points after Houston

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Eli Tomac led all 23 laps of the Monster Energy Supercross race at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas and the results show he now has three wins in the season and is one shy of tying Ricky Carmichael’s 48 for third on the all-time list. With this win, he takes a seven point lead in the standings with 12 rounds remaining.

For Tomac at Houston, it was literally a tale of two races. Both his heat and the main started the same with Tomac grabbing the holeshot, but he was passed quickly by Chase Sexton in the heat. Tomac faded quickly after getting passed and was trailing by almost eight seconds at the checkered flag, which caused him to retreat to the hauler and reassess his lines. Without making any adjustments to the bike, Tomac entered the Main with a new attitude, and simply rode better.

Supercross Results Houston
Chase Sexton played it safe in the sand, but he was aggressive in every other turn. – Feld Motor Sports

Sexton had so great a lead in his heat that one could not even use the cliche that he left Tomac in his dust. By the time the rider with the No. 1 plate crossed the same real estate as the No. 23, the dust was well settled. Sexton had a modest start on the initial gate drop and ended Lap 1 in fourth. He worked his way past Aaron Plessinger on Lap 3 and got around Jason Anderson three laps later. Sexton was able to catch Tomac and pressure him, but he picked a safe, i.e. slow line through the sand section and could never get alongside his rival.

RESULTS: Click here for 450 Results; Click here for full 250 East Main Results

After starting the season with back-to-back seventh-place finishes, Anderson now has a pair of podiums. He won his heat and was easily one of the top three riders in the field, ultimately finishing behind the riders who finished 1-2 in the other preliminary. Anderson was subdued on the podium – happy he was there, but disappointed he has not yet found a way around the riders he is chasing in the points.

In the early stages of the race, Plessinger appeared to have a bike capable of winning. He pressured Tomac on the first two laps and was setting up the pass just as a red flag waved for an injury to Dylan Ferrandis that brought out a red flag. He lost second to Anderson on the restart and eventually slipped to fourth to score his first top-five of the season.

Click here for 450 Heat 1 | Heat 2 | Last Chance Qualifier

Cooper Webb rounded out the top five. Along with Sexton, he is now one of just two riders with a sweep of that mark in 2023, but with Tomac’s three wins, he is beginning to slip in the points. Webb sits third in the standings, 12 points behind the leader.

Ken Roczen entered the race as the third rider with a sweep of the top five and progressively better results in the first three races of 2023. Had the pattern held, he would have finished at least second, but he struggled for most of the night, finishing fifth in his heat and eighth in the Main. There may have been extenuating circumstances, however. Ferrandis’ injury was suffered when he landed on the back of Roczen’s bike and potentially damaged the No. 94 Suzuki.

Click here for 450 Main results | Rider Points | Manufacturer Points | Lap Chart


The 250 East division made their 2023 debut in Houston, but the name atop the board was familiar. Hunter Lawrence joined his brother Jett Lawrence as the early points’ leader in their respective divisions, but it didn’t come without a little anxiety.

Riding behind Supercross newbie Tom Vialle on the second lap, Lawrence was forced to take evasive action when the leader pitched his bike sideways to scrub speed over a jump. Lawrence veered left and landed off course, but he cleared the Tuff Blox and kept his bike straight. Lawrence made the pass for the lead on Lap 18 and never relinquished it.

Click here for 250 Heat 1 | Heat 2 | Last Chance Qualifier

In his first attempt on a 250, Max Anstie ascended to the podium. – Feld Motor Sports

England’s Max Anstie made the move from 450s to 250s this year after scoring a best result of 11th on the big bike at Anaheim 2 last year. It didn’t take anytime at all to find the front for Anstie, who finished second in both his heat and main.

It has been a while since Jordon Smith stood on the podium: February 23, 2019 to be exact when he finished that well in Detroit. A series of injuries kept him off the bike for much of 2020 and 2021, but he’s proving to be a factor when he’s healthy.

Click here for 250 Main results | 250 East Rider Points | Combined Rider Points | Lap Chart

There was a lot of hype surrounding the debut of Haiden Deegan in the 250 class and he proved it was merited. He finished fourth in his heat and main. He was as far down as ninth at one point in the feature before slowly picking off riders on his way to the front.

Jeremy Martin finished fifth and now has a streak of three consecutive top-fives to his credit stretching back to last year. Unfortunately, his pair of strong runs in 2022 were interrupted by injury.

Making impressive debuts in the 250 division, Vialle recovered from a fall to finish seventh, Chance Hymas finished eighth, and Talon Hawkins just missed the top 10 with an 11th.

2023 Results

Race 3: Chase Sexton, Levi Kitchen win
Race 2: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence win
Round 1: Tomac, Lawrence win

2023 SuperMotocross Power Rankings

Week 3: Ken Roczen takes the top spot
Week 2: Roczen moves up; Chase Sexton falls
Week 1: Eli Tomac tops 450s; Jett Lawrence 250s