Ladies Day in Las Vegas: Brittany Force, Enders among NHRA winners

Photo and videos courtesy NHRA
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Erica Enders (Pro Stock) and Brittany Force (Top Fuel) not only celebrated the 150th and 151st wins by females in NHRA pro drag racing history Sunday in the Dodge NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas, they also significantly tightened the battle for their respective championships with just one race remaining in the season.

Other winners in the penultimate event of the 24-race Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway were Matt Hagan (Funny Car) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle).

Here’s how Sunday’s final rounds in the fifth race of the six-race Countdown to the Championship playoffs played out:

In Top Fuel: Force, daughter of 16-time Funny Car champion and the winningest driver in NHRA history, John Force, capped off a spectacular weekend that included recording the fastest pass in Top Fuel annals at 338.17 mph during Friday’s qualifying session (she also holds the quickest record in Top Fuel history, as well).

Force (3.652 seconds at 334.73 mph) defeated points leader and defending Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence (3.719 seconds at 330.63 mph) in Sunday’s final round – the 900th Top Fuel race in NHRA history. Force is now just 16 points behind Torrence heading into the season finale November 17 at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, California.

It was Force’s 10th win of her career. She won the Top Fuel championship in 2017 and is seeking her second title in three seasons.

This weekend has been incredible for this team,” Force said. “I’ve always wanted to win here. We set the MPH record here and we’ve accomplished a lot, but what we’re really going after is a championship together. I felt good coming in and we got the job done.

It was pretty cool to (win) 151 and 150 with Erica today. David Grubnic has been awesome to work with and I’m very blessed to have him as my crew chief. I want to go straight to Pomona and I’m going to do everything I can to stay in this thing. I’ll be ready when Pomona gets here. We’ve been there before and we want to do it again with this Advance Auto Parts team.”

In Funny Car: Hagan (3.876 seconds at 331.36 mph) earned his second consecutive win, defeating Jonnie Lindberg (3.945 seconds at 321.12 mph). The win moves Hagan to third in the points, just 56 points behind Funny Car points leader Robert Hight and 10 points behind second-ranked Jack Beckman. It was Hagan’s fourth win of the season and 33rd of his career.

I’m excited and fired up right now,” Hagan said. “When you have that opportunity to come into Pomona still in the championship hunt, that is why we do this. That’s what gets me fired up and motivated.

I’m just so proud of my guys. They’re killing it and they all just rise to occasion. I feed off that and coming into Pomona, I wish it were tomorrow. To come out and turn four win lights on at a Dodge-sponsored race, that’s a fairy tale. It’s hard to win back-to-back races, and it just shows you what we’re capable of. We’re going into Pomona and we’re going to work as hard as we can.”

In Pro Stock: Enders (6.617 seconds at 208.04 mph) closed in on her third Pro Stock championship, earning her second win of the season and 25th of her career, defeating Melling Performance/Elite Motorsports teammate Jeg Coughlin Jr. (6.620 seconds at 201.70 mph).

Enders now leads Coughlin by a fairly commanding 92-point edge for the Pro Stock crown. And if past history is any indication, Enders potentially has championship No. 3 all but locked up: her first two championships included wins in the fall race in Las Vegas, as well.

My guys just keep on giving me a really good racecar,” Enders said. “It’s been a great day and to get the 150th (win by a female), I’m just really proud to be part of the group of such smart, strong, talented females out there.

It was definitely taxing (today) and to have an all-Elite final, that was just the icing on the cake. It was huge to win today and we were able to rise to the occasion. We’re going to go out to Pomona to win the race. Anything can happen and I’ve been part of that. Winning in St. Louis and then Las Vegas, it’s not a big enough cushion for me. I’m excited about the opportunity.”

In Pro Stock Motorcycle: Defending champ Matt Smith earned his first win of the playoffs and second overall win of the season (6.855 seconds at 195.90 mph) over Steve Johnson (6.863 seconds at 194.04 mph).

The win elevates Smith to fourth place in the standings, but he still trails points leader Andrew Hines by 117 points heading to Pomona.

It’s not totally and mathematically over yet,” Smith said. “I told everybody we were going to shoot for the moon in the finals, and it stuck. When it stuck, there’s nobody going to catch us when it runs like that. We just pulled it off in the final and did our job.”

Hines leads Jerry Savoie by 115 as he closes in on his sixth world title.

Here are the final statistics from Sunday’s action:

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FINISHING ORDER:

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

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

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

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1. Matt Smith; 2. Steve Johnson; 3. Scotty Pollacheck; 4. Andrew Hines; 5. Jerry Savoie; 6. Angelle Sampey; 7. Eddie Krawiec; 8. Angie Smith; 9. Hector Arana Jr; 10. Hector Arana; 11. Kelly Clontz; 12. Ron Tornow; 13. Karen Stoffer; 14. Katie Sullivan; 15. Ryan Oehler; 16. Melissa Surber.

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FINAL RESULTS:

TOP FUEL: Brittany Force, 3.652 seconds, 334.73 mph def. Steve Torrence, 3.719 seconds, 330.63 mph.

FUNNY CAR: Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 3.876, 331.36 def. Jonnie Lindberg, Ford Mustang, 3.945, 321.12.

PRO STOCK: Erica Enders, Chevy Camaro, 6.617, 208.04 def. Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 6.620, 201.70.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: Matt Smith, EBR, 6.855, 195.90 def. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.863, 194.04.

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FINAL ROUND-BY-ROUND RESULTS:

TOP FUEL: ROUND ONE — Doug Kalitta, 3.722, 324.67 def. Shawn Reed, 3.734, 322.58; Austin Prock, 3.743, 331.04 def. Richie Crampton, 4.497, 195.96; Terry McMillen, 3.736, 326.24 def. Antron Brown, 3.908, 318.69; Leah Pritchett, 3.869, 310.55 def. Cameron Ferre, 3.980, 303.16; Brittany Force, 3.689, 333.16 def. Pat Dakin, 7.786, 74.09; Billy Torrence, 3.708, 329.91 def. Justin Ashley, 10.477, 79.27; Mike Salinas, 3.720, 327.98 def. Clay Millican, Foul – Red Light; Steve Torrence, 3.690, 328.62 def. Scott Palmer, 6.643, 99.16; QUARTERFINALS — Kalitta, 3.737, 323.81 def. Pritchett, 9.039, 50.45; B. Torrence, 3.728, 320.28 def. McMillen, 3.735, 327.66; Force, 3.709, 330.72 def. Prock, 3.732, 331.69; S. Torrence, 3.712, 326.79 def. Salinas, 3.704, 330.55; SEMIFINALS — S. Torrence, 3.689, 330.55 def. Kalitta, Broke; Force, 3.714, 329.99 def. B. Torrence, 3.710, 332.10; FINAL — Force, 3.652, 334.73 def. S. Torrence, 3.719, 330.63.

FUNNY CAR: ROUND ONE — Cruz Pedregon, Dodge Charger, 4.015, 289.82 def. Shawn Langdon, Toyota Camry, 7.723, 104.15; Jonnie Lindberg, Ford Mustang, 3.893, 326.00 def. J.R. Todd, Camry, 3.913, 327.90; John Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.927, 325.92 def. Steven Densham, Mustang, 3.958, 320.20; Jack Beckman, Charger, 3.879, 329.67 def. Terry Haddock, Mustang, 4.048, 306.81; Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.894, 327.27 def. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.160, 299.93; Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 3.911, 329.83 def. Ron Capps, Charger, 3.911, 329.67; Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.909, 332.34 def. Paul Lee, Charger, 3.927, 325.45; Robert Hight, Camaro, 3.893, 329.75 def. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 3.970, 315.64; QUARTERFINALS — Lindberg, 3.899, 328.54 def. Pedregon, 4.039, 290.26; Hagan, 3.869, 330.31 def. Johnson Jr., 3.907, 328.54; Beckman, 3.907, 325.92 def. Hight, 3.891, 329.75; Tasca III, 3.891, 331.61 def. Force, 4.027, 321.73; SEMIFINALS — Lindberg, 3.930, 325.30 def. Beckman, 3.915, 330.07; Hagan, 3.881, 331.77 def. Tasca III, 3.909, 326.48; FINAL — Hagan, 3.876, 331.36 def. Lindberg, 3.945, 321.12.

PRO STOCK: ROUND ONE — Jason Line, Chevy Camaro, 6.625, 206.70 def. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.698, 205.69; Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.636, 206.10 def. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.653, 207.37; Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.629, 207.85 def. Deric Kramer, Camaro, Foul – Red Light; Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 6.622, 205.91 def. Fernando Cuadra, Camaro, 6.656, 206.64; Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.611, 205.98 def. Val Smeland, Camaro, 12.221, 70.90; Aaron Stanfield, Camaro, 6.650, 206.57 def. Shane Tucker, Camaro, 7.102, 154.07; Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.603, 207.62 def. Cristian Cuadra, Ford Mustang, Foul – Red Light; Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.631, 206.73 def. Steve Graham, Camaro, 6.672, 205.69; QUARTERFINALS — Enders, 6.631, 207.53 def. Laughlin, 7.043, 188.86; Coughlin, 6.624, 206.07 def. Stanfield, 6.650, 207.30; Butner, 6.623, 205.91 def. Delco, 6.832, 171.40; Line, 6.649, 206.89 def. Anderson, 6.628, 206.39; SEMIFINALS — Coughlin, 6.631, 206.32 def. Line, 6.641, 207.18; Enders, 6.638, 207.46 def. Butner, 6.645, 206.20; FINAL — Enders, 6.617, 208.04 def. Coughlin, 6.620, 201.70.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: ROUND ONE — Angie Smith, 6.994, 191.92 def. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 7.105, 192.99; Angelle Sampey, Harley-Davidson, 6.915, 192.22 def. Hector Arana Jr, Foul – Red Light; Scotty Pollacheck, 6.917, 194.46 def. Hector Arana, Foul – Red Light; Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.910, 193.79 def. Melissa Surber, Buell, 11.776, 61.13; Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.875, 195.05 def. Ryan Oehler, 7.446, 190.54; Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.860, 192.55 def. Ron Tornow, Buell, 7.100, 185.69; Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.902, 195.19 def. Kelly Clontz, Suzuki, 7.006, 190.16; Matt Smith, 6.897, 196.99 def. Katie Sullivan, Suzuki, 7.153, 184.65; QUARTERFINALS — Pollacheck, 6.926, 194.21 def. Krawiec, 6.960, 192.82; M. Smith, 6.903, 195.85 def. A. Smith, 6.970, 192.91; Johnson, 6.888, 189.92 def. Sampey, Foul – Red Light; Hines, 6.937, 193.54 def. Savoie, 6.901, 194.58; SEMIFINALS — M. Smith, 6.895, 196.19 def. Hines, Foul – Red Light; Johnson, 6.876, 193.82 def. Pollacheck, 6.953, 194.83; FINAL — M. Smith, 6.855, 195.90 def. Johnson, 6.863, 194.04.

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UPDATED POINT STANDINGS:

TOP FUEL: 1. Steve Torrence, 2,488; 2. Brittany Force, 2,472; 3. Doug Kalitta, 2,433; 4. Billy Torrence, 2,402; 5. Leah Pritchett, 2,353; 6. Austin Prock, 2,330; 7. Mike Salinas, 2,322; 8. Antron Brown, 2,279; 9. Richie Crampton, 2,261; 10. Clay Millican, 2,241.

FUNNY CAR: 1. Robert Hight, 2,494; 2. Jack Beckman, 2,448; 3. Matt Hagan, 2,438; 4. John Force, 2,422; 5. Bob Tasca III, 2,390; 6. Ron Capps, 2,334; 7. J.R. Todd, 2,312; 8. Tommy Johnson Jr., 2,306; 9. Shawn Langdon, 2,274; 10. Tim Wilkerson, 2,223.

PRO STOCK: 1. Erica Enders, 2,517; 2. Jeg Coughlin, 2,425; 3. Bo Butner, 2,404; 4. Jason Line, 2,401; 5. Matt Hartford, 2,399; 6. Greg Anderson, 2,360; 7. Deric Kramer, 2,359; 8. Alex Laughlin, 2,291; 9. Chris McGaha, 2,250; 10. Val Smeland, 2,155.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1. Andrew Hines, 2,540; 2. Jerry Savoie, 2,425; 3. Eddie Krawiec, 2,424; 4. Matt Smith, 2,423; 5. Karen Stoffer, 2,416; 6. Hector Arana Jr, 2,306; 7. Angelle Sampey, 2,302; 8. Angie Smith, 2,233; 9. Ryan Oehler, 2,191; 10. Hector Arana, 2,160.

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World of Outlaws release 2023 Sprint Car Series schedule

2023 Outlaws Sprint schedule
World of Outlaws
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The 2023 World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series schedule features 87 races, almost identical to the last year’s number, to be contested at 36 venues across 19 states. With cancelations for mostly weather, they closed out this year’s calendar on November 5 with 69 events in the books. Carson Macedo won a series high 11 races.

In 2022, David Gravel chased Brad Sweet into the three-race finale on the Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway in one of the most hotly contested championships in Outlaws history. Sweet emerged victorious for the fourth straight year.

For the 19th consecutive season, the Outlaws Sprints will begin their season at Volusia Speedway Park for the DIRTcar Nationals from Feb. 9-11 and will return March 5-6 for another two-day show before hitting the road with a three-track swing into Pennsylvania to take on the Posse.

MORE: 2023 World of Outlaws Late Model Schedule

“Every year we continue to build the best schedule we can for drivers and fans across the country,” said World of Outlaws CEO Brian Carter is a series release. “I’m excited for the journey we’ve put together, which includes the biggest races in Sprint Car racing, our new Spring Swing through Pennsylvania, the thrill of combining the World of Outlaws and ‘Bike Week’ and so much more.”

Some tracks returning from hiatus and one brand new course include 81 Speedway in Park City, Kans. in April and again in October, Tri-City Speedway in Pontoon City, Ill. in April, Ogilvie (Minn.) Raceway in June and BAPS Motor Speedway in York Haven, Penn.

BAPS hosts its first race in more than 30 years when the track was known as Susquehanna Speedway. This midweek show will give the local Pennsylvania Posse 14 attempts to beat the traveling Outlaws.

Ogilvie Speedway is completely new to the series and makes it the 224th different venue they will have challenged.

MORE: Brad Sweet protects his place in history

Notably missing from the calendar are Vado (N.M.) Speedway Park, Cotton Bowl Speedway in Paige, Texas, Bakersfield (Calif.) Speedway and the Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt Track.

In addition to the new spring Pennsylvania Swing, the second date at Volusia Speedway will coincide with Daytona Beach’s Bike Week and bring new eyes to the sport.

Knoxville Raceway adds another multi-night show to the calendar in April, giving this track eight sanctioned events in 2023.

And of course, there are plenty of mainstays and high dollar events, such as the Memorial Day Spectacular at Lawrenceburg (Ind.) Speedway, the 35th running of the Brad Doty Classic in July and the Labor Day Spectacular at Gray’s Harbor in Elma, Wash.

Several big paydays are on the line in 2023 including the 40th annual Kings Royal at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio paying $175,000 to the winner, the Huset’s High Bank Nationals’ $250,000-to-win finale and the grandaddy of them all, the 62nd Knoxville Nationals with a total purse exceeding $1 million.

2023 Outlaws Sprint Schedule

Thursday-Saturday, Feb. 9-11 – Volusia Speedway Park (Barberville, FL)

Sunday-Monday, March 5-6 – Volusia Speedway Park (Barberville, FL)
Friday-Saturday, March 10-11 – Port Royal Speedway (Port Royal, PA)
Friday, March 17 – Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)
Saturday, March 18 – Lincoln Speedway (Abbottstown, PA)
Friday, March 24 – Talladega Short Track (Eastaboga, AL)
Saturday, March 25 – Magnolia Motor Speedway (Columbus, MS)
Friday, March 31-Saturday, April 1 – Devil’s Bowl Speedway (Mesquite, TX)

Friday, April 7 – US-36 Raceway (Osborn, MO)
Saturday, April 8 – 81 Speedway (Park City, KS)
Friday-Saturday, April 14-15 – Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 (Pevely, MO)
Friday-Saturday, April 21-22 – Knoxville Raceway (Knoxville, IA)
Friday, April 28 – Tri-City Speedway (Granite City, IL)
Saturday, April 29 – Tri-State Speedway (Haubstadt, IN)

Friday-Saturday, May 5-6 – Eldora Speedway (Rossburg, OH)
Wednesday, May 10 – Lincoln Speedway (Abbottstown, PA)
Friday-Saturday, May 12-13 – Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)
Friday, May 19 – Attica Raceway Park (Attica, OH)
Saturday, May 20 – Sharon Speedway (Hartford, OH)
Friday-Saturday, May 26-27 – Atomic Speedway (Chillicothe, OH)
Monday, May 29 – Lawrenceburg Speedway (Lawrenceburg, IN)

Friday, June 2 – River Cities Speedway (Grand Forks, ND)
Saturday, June 3 – Ogilvie Raceway (Ogilvie, MN)
Friday-Saturday, June 9-10 – Knoxville Raceway (Knoxville, IA)
Friday-Saturday, June 16-17 – Beaver Dam Raceway (Beaver Dam, WI)
Wednesday-Saturday, June 21-24 – Huset’s Speedway (Brandon, SD)
Friday, June 30-Saturday, July 1 – Cedar Lake Speedway (New Richmond, WI)

Friday, July 7 – 34 Raceway (West Burlington, IA)
Saturday, July 8 – Wilmot Raceway (Wilmot, WI)
Tuesday, July 11 – Attica Raceway Park (Attica, OH)
Friday-Saturday, July 14-15 – Eldora Speedway (Rossburg, OH)
Wednesday, July 19 – BAPS Motor Speedway (York Haven, PA)
Friday-Saturday, July 21-22 – Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)
Saturday-Sunday, July 29-30 – Weedsport Speedway (Weedsport, NY)

Friday-Saturday, Aug. 4-5 – Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 (Pevely, MO)
Wednesday-Saturday, Aug. 9-12 – Knoxville Raceway (Knoxville, IA)
Thursday-Saturday, Aug. 17-19 – Jackson Motorplex (Jackson, MN)
Friday, Aug. 25 – River Cities Speedway (Grand Forks, ND)
Saturday, Aug. 26 – Red River Valley Speedway (West Fargo, ND)
Thursday, Aug. 31-Saturday, September 2 – Skagit Speedway (Alger, WA)

Monday, Sept. 4 – Grays Harbor Raceway (Elma, WA)
Thursday-Saturday, Sept. 7-9 – Silver Dollar Speedway (Chico, CA)
Friday, Sept. 15 – Keller Auto Speedway (Hanford, CA)
Saturday, Sept. 16 – Placerville Speedway (Placerville, CA)
Friday, Sept. 22 – Eldora Speedway (Rossburg, OH)
Saturday, Sept. 23 – Sharon Speedway (Hartford, OH)
Friday-Saturday, Sept. 29-30 – Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)

Friday-Saturday, Oct. 6-7 – Port Royal Speedway (Port Royal, PA)
Friday, Oct. 13 – 81 Speedway (Park City, KS)
Saturday, Oct. 14 – Lakeside Speedway (Kansas City, KS)
Friday-Saturday, Oct. 20-21 – TBA

Wednesday-Saturday, Nov. 1-4 – The Dirt Track at Charlotte (Concord, NC)