NHRA back after 4 1/2 months: Line, B. Torrence, Hagan, Oehler win in Indy

NHRA
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Billy Torrence (Top Fuel), Matt Hagan (Funny Car), Jason Line (Pro Stock) and Ryan Oehler (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were victorious in Sunday’s finals as the NHRA returned to racing for the first time in 4 ½ months.

Drag racing has been shut down since late February due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This weekend’s E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway in suburban Indianapolis not only brought racers back to the drag strip, it also attracted paying fans in the stands.

Of note, John Force Racing’s four drivers – team founder and 16-time Funny Car champ John Force, defending Funny Car champ Robert Hight and Top Fuel drivers Brittany Force and Austin Prock – did not compete in the event.

With the entry deadline set for Monday, John Force has not issued any statement on whether the team will take part in this coming weekend’s next event, the Lucas Oil Summernationals, once again in Indianapolis. NBC Sports has asked for a statement from Force, but he has declined comment.

Here’s the highlights from Sunday’s finals:

In Top Fuel: Billy Torrence (3.802 seconds, 322.34 mph) – father of two-time reigning champ Steve Torrence – earned his sixth career win, defeating Doug Kalitta (3.852 seconds, 307.86 mph).

Torrence reached the final round by knocking off Terry Totten, T.J. Zizzo, and son Steve to reach the final round match vs. Kalitta.

“These boys worked so hard to give me a competitive car,” Billy Torrence said. “If you can’t have fun doing this, you can’t have fun doing anything.

“For the people that come out here to put these events on and for all the people trying to keep all of us safe and all, just thank you.”

Even though he fell short, Kalitta still became the only driver in Top Fuel, Funny Car or Pro Stock to reach the final round in each of the season’s first three races.

Also of note in Top Fuel:

* Making his first race since the end of the 2018 season, eight-time champ Tony Schumacher lost to Leah Pruett in the first round. Still, it was a good weekend for Schumacher, who proposed to his longtime girlfriend Summer Penland on Saturday. Schumacher returns to the track next weekend to race again.

* Cory McClenathan’s dragster broke in his first-round elimination match vs. T.J. Zizzo. McClenathan will return next weekend in what potentially will be the final race of his storied career.

In Funny Car: Hagan (4.328 seconds, 215.00 mph) defeated Don Schumacher Racing teammate Tommy Johnson Jr. (5.854 seconds, 117.84 mph) to earn the two-time world champ his 34th career NHRA win.

Hagan defeated son and father Daniel and Tim Wilkerson, as well as another DSR teammate and new points leader Jack Beckman, to meet Johnson in the final round.

“We’re so glad to be doing this here with NHRA and fans in the stands,” Hagan said. “I can’t just say enough about NHRA and this team. These guys are my family and what an amazing job by my crew chief Dickie Venables. He’s dangerous when you give him a couple laps.”

In Pro Stock: The final round was a battle of drivers slated to retire at season’s end as Jason Line (6.647 seconds, 207.21 mph) defeated five-time champ Jeg Coughlin (6.658 seconds, 206.76 mph).

It was Line’s 51st career win. He defeated Alan Prusiensky, Alex Laughlin and KB Racing teammate Greg Anderson before meeting Coughlin in the final round.

“I wish I could see my dad’s face because he’s big into streaks and it was very important to him that I win one race every race that I’ve done this, and we got it done today,” Line said.

Even with the loss, Coughlin took over the Pro Stock points lead.

In Pro Stock Motorcycle: Oehler (6.974 seconds, 194.16 mph) earned his first career win to defeat former champ Matt Smith (10.126 seconds, 83.38 mph). Of note, Oehler had a near-perfect .010 reaction time at the starting line.

After qualifying fifth, Oehler defeated Marc Ingwersen, Scotty Pollacheck and Hector Arana Jr. to advance to the final round for the first time in his career.

“We’ve been hunting for this for a long time,” Oehler said. “This has been my dad’s dream and we just keep working every day. Just to have it all come together for my dad, my mom, my wife, my team, I love it all.”

The NHRA returns to Indy this coming weekend for another two-day show before the series takes two weeks off and returns in August to begin 13 consecutive race weekends in a row.

Here are the statistics from Sunday’s racing:

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FINAL FINISHING ORDER:

TOP FUEL: 1. Billy Torrence; 2. Doug Kalitta; 3. Steve Torrence; 4. Antron Brown; 5. Leah Pruett; 6. T.J. Zizzo; 7. Shawn Langdon; 8. Clay Millican; 9. Doug Foley; 10. Justin Ashley; 11. Lex Joon; 12. Tony Schumacher; 13. Terry McMillen; 14. Luigi Novelli; 15. Cory McClenathan; 16. Terry Totten.

FUNNY CAR: 1. Matt Hagan; 2. Tommy Johnson Jr.; 3. Tim Wilkerson; 4. J.R. Todd; 5. Jack Beckman; 6. Jonnie Lindberg; 7. Alexis DeJoria; 8. Blake Alexander; 9. Ron Capps; 10. Cruz Pedregon; 11. Daniel Wilkerson; 12. Mike McIntire; 13. Dale Creasy Jr.; 14. Alex Miladinovich; 15. Bob Bode; 16. Paul Lee.

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

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1. Ryan Oehler; 2. Matt Smith; 3. Andrew Hines; 4. Hector Arana Jr; 5. Scotty Pollacheck; 6. Eddie Krawiec; 7. Angelle Sampey; 8. Angie Smith; 9. Steve Johnson; 10. John Hall; 11. Jerry Savoie; 12. Marc Ingwersen; 13. Kelly Clontz; 14. Ron Tornow; 15. David Barron; 16. Chris Bostick.

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FINAL RESULTS:

TOP FUEL: Billy Torrence, 3.802 seconds, 322.34 mph def. Doug Kalitta, 3.852 seconds, 307.86 mph.

FUNNY CAR: Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 4.328, 215.00 def. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 5.854,117.84.

PRO STOCK: Jason Line, Chevy Camaro, 6.647, 207.21 def. Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 6.658, 206.76.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: Ryan Oehler, EBR, 6.974, 194.16 def. Matt Smith, EBR, 10.126, 83.38.

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FINAL ROUND-BY-ROUND RESULTS:

TOP FUEL: ROUND ONE — Shawn Langdon, 3.789, 315.19 def. Justin Ashley, 3.960, 256.99; Clay Millican, 3.845, 314.17 def. Doug Foley, 3.878, 310.13; T.J. Zizzo, 3.778, 326.40 def. Cory McClenathan, Broke; Antron Brown, 3.997, 242.71 def. Terry McMillen, 6.659, 89.70; Doug Kalitta, 3.847, 311.56 def. Lex Joon, 4.045, 230.02; Steve Torrence, 3.758, 325.92 def. Luigi Novelli, 11.809, 66.62; Billy Torrence, 3.768, 326.32 def. Terry Totten, Foul – Centerline; Leah Pruett, 3.817, 262.03 def. Tony Schumacher, 4.108, 253.14; QUARTERFINALS — Brown, 3.780, 316.01 def. Millican, 4.145, 222.80; Kalitta, 3.803, 321.58 def. Pruett, 3.813, 319.14; B. Torrence, 3.774, 324.75 def. Zizzo, 3.822, 319.14; S. Torrence, 3.760, 324.75 def. Langdon, 3.828, 316.38; SEMIFINALS — Kalitta, 3.794, 319.07 def. Brown, 5.565, 125.00; B. Torrence, 3.801, 322.42 def. S. Torrence, 4.216, 210.24; FINAL — B. Torrence, 3.802, 322.34 def. Kalitta, 3.852, 307.86.

FUNNY CAR: ROUND ONE — J.R. Todd, Toyota Camry, 4.391, 275.11 def. Alex Miladinovich, Camry, 5.067, 160.98; Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger, 4.099, 250.60 def. Mike McIntire, Camry, 4.506, 203.55; Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.896, 324.90 def. Ron Capps, Charger, 3.956, 294.24; Jonnie Lindberg, Ford Mustang, 3.965, 322.65 def. Bob Bode, Mustang, Broke; Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 4.009, 315.05 def. Dale Creasy Jr., Charger, 4.567, 228.27; Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.025, 315.27 def. Daniel Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.238, 249.44; Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.005, 319.82 def. Cruz Pedregon, Charger, 4.096, 280.31; Blake Alexander, Mustang, No Time Recorded def. Paul Lee, Charger, Foul – Centerline; QUARTERFINALS — Todd, 4.128, 278.86 def. DeJoria, 4.697, 162.12; Johnson Jr., 3.963, 318.32 def. Alexander, Broke; T. Wilkerson, 3.982, 321.12 def. Lindberg, 3.990, 318.99; Hagan, 3.949, 321.19 def. Beckman, 3.969, 316.90; SEMIFINALS — Johnson Jr., 3.959, 319.29 def. Todd, 9.211, 77.50; Hagan, 3.959, 322.34 def. T. Wilkerson, 4.349, 211.43; FINAL — Hagan, 4.328, 215.00 def. Johnson Jr., 5.854, 117.84.

PRO STOCK: ROUND ONE — Alex Laughlin, Chevy Camaro, 6.634, 206.42 def. Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.658, 206.51; Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.644, 207.27 def. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.654, 206.57; Aaron Stanfield, Camaro, 6.620, 206.64 def. Kyle Koretsky, Camaro, 6.654, 208.17; Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.630, 206.07 def. Val Smeland, Camaro, 6.712, 205.10; Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.603, 207.43 def. Troy Coughlin Jr., Ford Mustang, 6.648, 206.10; Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.615, 206.70 def. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.647, 207.50; Jason Line, Camaro, 6.615, 206.83 def. Alan Prusiensky, Dodge Dart, 7.062, 159.21; Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 6.622, 206.70 def. Bruno Massel, Camaro, 7.093, 155.60; QUARTERFINALS — Coughlin, 6.651, 206.99 def. C. McGaha, 6.773, 206.83; Enders, 6.621, 207.02 def. Stanfield, 6.647, 207.11; Line, 6.609, 207.59 def. Laughlin, 6.674, 206.20; Anderson, 6.620, 207.75 def. Hartford, 6.648, 206.76; SEMIFINALS — Coughlin, 6.651, 207.05 def. Enders, 6.723, 206.45; Line, 6.622, 207.34 def. Anderson, 6.683, 208.14; FINAL — Line, 6.647, 207.21 def. Coughlin, 6.658, 206.76.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: ROUND ONE — Hector Arana Jr, 6.942, 194.66 def. John Hall, Suzuki, 6.978, 191.43; Angelle Sampey, Harley-Davidson, 6.925, 192.69 def. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.920, 191.84; Angie Smith, 6.971, 193.65 def. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 7.012, 192.36; Ryan Oehler, 6.921, 196.33 def. Marc Ingwersen, 7.077, 189.73; Scotty Pollacheck, 6.948, 196.42 def. Kelly Clontz, Suzuki, 7.149, 188.04; Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.890, 194.55 def. Ron Tornow, 7.172, 184.93; Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.887, 195.53 def. David Barron, 7.341, 176.26; Matt Smith, 6.855, 197.71 def. Chris Bostick, Suzuki, 7.963, 166.21; QUARTERFINALS — Oehler, 6.942, 194.41 def. Pollacheck, Foul – Red Light; Hines, 6.927, 193.65 def. A. Smith, 6.956, 195.48; Arana Jr, 6.928, 194.16 def. Krawiec, 6.873, 195.53; M. Smith, 6.856, 197.36 def. Sampey, Foul – Red Light; SEMIFINALS — Oehler, 6.901, 195.39 def. Arana Jr, 6.984, 192.91; M. Smith, 6.943, 195.42 def. Hines, 6.943, 193.68; FINAL — Oehler, 6.974, 194.16 def. M. Smith, 10.126, 83.38.

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UPDATED POINT STANDINGS:

TOP FUEL: 1. Doug Kalitta, 310; 2. Steve Torrence, 199; 3. Billy Torrence, 190; 4. Leah Pruett, 189; 5. Antron Brown, 174; 6. Brittany Force, 153; 7. Shawn Langdon, 144; 8. Clay Millican, 142; 9.Justin Ashley, 140; 10. Austin Prock, 131.

FUNNY CAR: 1. Jack Beckman, 278; 2. Tommy Johnson Jr., 276; 3. Matt Hagan, 238; 4. Tim Wilkerson, 179; 5. John Force, 173; 6. Ron Capps, 159; 7. Alexis DeJoria, 154; 8. Bob Tasca III, 149; 9. J.R. Todd, 141; 10. Robert Hight, 100.

PRO STOCK: 1. Jeg Coughlin, 297; 2. Jason Line, 289; 3. Erica Enders, 282; 4. Kenny Delco, 165; 5. Bo Butner, 162; 6. Chris McGaha, 158; 7. Alex Laughlin, 157; 8. Greg Anderson, 143; 9. Matt Hartford, 139; 10. Aaron Stanfield, 125.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1. Ryan Oehler, 115; 2. Matt Smith, 101; 3. Andrew Hines, 78; 4. Hector Arana Jr, 73; 5. Eddie Krawiec, 63; 6. Scotty Pollacheck, 55; 7. Angie Smith, 54; 8. Angelle Sampey, 52; 9. Steve Johnson, 33; 10. (tie) John Hall, 32. Marc Ingwersen, 32. Jerry Savoie, 32.

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Final 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona results, stats

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona overall results were all streaks: two consecutive victories in the endurance classic for Meyer Shank Racing and three in a row for Acura.

And Helio Castroneves became the second driver to win three consecutive Rolex 24s and the first to win in three straight years (Peter Gregg won in 1973, ’75 and ’76; the race wasn’t held in ’74 because of a global oil crisis).

Starting from the pole position, Tom Blomqvist took the checkered flag in the No. 60 ARX-06 that led a race-high 365 of 783 laps with co-drivers Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud and Colin Braun.

RESULTS: Click here for the finishing order in the 61st Rolex 24 at Daytona l By class

Meyer Shank Racing now has two Rolex 24 victories and the 2022 championship since entering the premier prototype category of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2021.

“I think what’s so special about this team is we are a small team compared to some of our opponents, but the atmosphere, the way we work, enables people to get the best out of themselves, and I think that’s why we’re such high achievers,” Blomqvist said. “I think there’s no egos. It’s a very open book, and that just enables each and every one of us to reach our potential. I think that’s why we’ve achieved so much success in really a short time at this level of competition.”

It’s the 16th IMSA victory for MSR.

The 61st running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona marked the debut of the Grand Touring Prototype category that brought hybrid engine technology to IMSA’s top level.

In other categories:

LMP2: James Allen passed Ben Hanley on the final lap and delivered a victory in the No. 55 ORECA by 0.016 seconds. It’s the second IMSA victory for Proton Competition, which last won at Sebring in 2012. It was the first Rolex 24 victory for Allen and co-drivers Gianmaria Bruni, Fred Poordad and Francesco Pizzi.

GTD Pro: Cooper MacNeil won in the last start of his IMSA career as the No. 79 Mercedes-AMG GT3 scored the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for WeatherTech Racing and the team’s fourth career victory.

MacNeil, who co-drove with Maro Engel, Jules Gounon and Daniel Juncadella, earned his 12th career victory and first at the Rolex 24.

“Winning by last IMSA race is tremendous,” MacNeil said.

GTD: The No. 27 Heart of Racing Team delivered the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for Aston Martin, which has been competing in endurance races at Daytona International Speedway since 1964. Drivers Marco Sorensen, Roman De Angelis, Darren Turner and Ian James (also the team principal) earned the victory in the English brand’s 13th attempt.

It’s also the first Rolex 24 at Daytona win for Heart of Racing, which has seven IMSA wins.

LMP3: Anthony Mantella, Wayne Boyd, Nico Varrone and Thomas Merrill drove the No. 17 AWA Duqueine D08 to victory by 12 laps for the team’s first class win in IMSA.


STATS PACKAGE FOR ROLEX 24 HOURS OF DAYTONA:

Fastest laps by driver

Fastest laps by driver after race (over the weekend)

Fastest laps by driver and class after race

Fastest lap sequence

Lap chart

Leader sequence

Race analysis by lap

Stint analysis

Time cards

Pit stop time cards

Best sector times

Race distance and speed average

Flag analysis

Weather report

NEXT: The 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season will resume with the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring March 18 with coverage across NBC, USA and Peacock.