Patriot Games: Tricky Track Conditions Result in Rare 2018
1st-Round Loss for Clay Millican, Parts Plus Team at NHRA New Hampshire Nationals
Epping, N.H., July 9, 2018: For Parts Plus/Great Clips/Strutmasters driver Clay Millican and Team Matco’s Antron Brown, it had been a tale of two teams having very different seasons heading into Sunday’s opening elimination stanza in front of a sold-out crowd for the NHRA New Hampshire Nationals at New England Dragway.
Fresh off another record-breaking No. 1 qualifying run at Norwalk, Millican returned to Epping, where he dominated back in his IHRA days, fully expecting to continue his winning ways in what has been the Parts Plus driver’s breakout season in the NHRA’s Top Fuel ranks. Meanwhile, three-time NHRA Top Fuel World champion Brown was looking for a spark to reignite what has been a disappointing year filled with frustrating 1st-round losses and only one final-round appearance, which ended in a four-wide defeat at the...
Event 13: NHRA New England Nationals
New England Dragway
Langdon advances to his fourth semifinal of the season Race Recap: Shawn Langdon and the Global Electronic Technology team had a strong weekend in Epping with his fourth semifinal finish of his first Funny Car season.
The strength was shown early in qualifying as Langdon scored the third-best qualifying pass on the Friday evening session. That gave the Global Electronic Technology driver a bonus point and his...
Texan Stops Three-Time Series Champ Antron Brown in New England Final
EPPING, N.H. – Steve Torrence found his “A” game just in time Sunday and used it to apply an exclamation point to a near perfect weekend at the sixth annual Lucas Oil New England Nationals at historic New England Dragway.
In directing his Capco Contractors Top Fuel dragster into the winners’ circle for the fifth time this season and for the 13th time in the last 33 Mello Yello tour events, the 35-year-old Texan put even more distance between himself and his rivals in an ongoing bid to win the regular season championship for the second straight year.
When racing resumes in 12 days at the 39th Dodge Mile-High Nationals at Denver, Colo., Torrence will lead eight-time series champion Tony Schumacher by a whopping 190 points with only five races remaining before the NHRA adjusts the points for the Countdown.
Sunday’s success was a direct result of crew chief Richard Hogan’s...
Point Leader’s Versatility Makes Him a Threat Regardless of Circumstances
EPPING, N.H. – Regardless of the weather conditions, the level of track preparation, the composition of the racing surface, the altitude, the track temperature, the quality of the competition or any other variable one might wish to interject, the one constant in this year’s race for the Mello Yello Top Fuel Championship has been steady Steve Torrence.
Entering this week’s sixth annual NHRA New England Nationals, the 35-year-old Texan is top three or four in every statistical category from reaction time average (fourth at .072), to average qualifying position (second at 3.417), total qualifying bonus points (tie, third with 38), No. 1 qualifiers (tie, third with one) and races won (first with four).
He has taken his Capco Contractors dragster to the winners’ circle this year in 70 degree weather on a 98 degree racetrack and in 90 degree weather on a 128 degree surface...
Cruz Pedregon and team are upbeat after spending time in their Brownsburg, Indiana shop before heading to New England. "We are really looking forward to Epping and aren't letting the fact that we didn't qualify last weekend get in the way of what we'll make happen this weekend in the Snap-on Toyota," says Cruz. "I honestly feel we have the best car in the pit and on the track, and we're ready to show the fans what it can do."
Crew Chief Aaron Brooks says, "As a team, we're forward-focused and taking what we learn each week to improve the next…that's what winning teams do, and we have our eyes on a win in Epping. We did well there last year, and there's every reason for us to do even better this year."
Fans who stop by Cruz's pit this weekend will get a close-up view of the Snap-on Toyota with its “Frankenstein” body and perhaps a glimpse of Ultimate Fighting Championship® (UFC) athlete Devin Powell, who Cruz is expecting as a special guest at the track.
Event 12: NHRA Norwalk Nationals
Summit Motorsports Park
Todd advances to third straight semifinal Race Recap: J.R. Todd and the DHL/WIX Filters team earned their third straight semifinal finish in Norwalk today.
Todd and the DHL/WIX Filters team was only able to hit the track twice in qualifying due to weather, but the Jon Oberhofer and Todd Smith-tuned machine made quick work of their first opportunity recording a 4.044 second pass, which secured a top half starting spot.
For the third time in four races, Todd drew Bob Tasca III on...
Capco Contractors Driver Retains Big Lead in Mello Yello Point Standings
NORWALK, Ohio – Steve Torrence’s Capco Contractors Top Fuel dragster suffered a rare engine failure in the semifinals of the 12th annual Summit Racing Equipment Nationals Sunday and it denied the point leader a shot at his second straight victory at Summit Motorsports Park.
Despite the loss, it basically was a “no harm, no foul” weekend for the 35-year-old Texan who came in leading the Mello Yello driver standings by 110 points and left Sunday evening having extended that advantage over second place Clay Millican to 117 at the mid-point of the season.
“It got pretty hot in there,” Torrence said after the engine let go three-quarters of the way down the course in his race with Terry McMillen.
“I didn’t wait till it got completely stopped to bail out,” he said. “I was getting out of there. That was a mess. This Capco crew is gonna have some work to do but...
Point Leader Aims for Fifth Season Victory in Capco Contractors Dragster
NORWALK, Ohio – Over the last 31 races, Steve Torrence has dominated Top Fuel racing in the NHRA’s high profile Mello Yello Series, guiding his Capco Contractors dragster to 12 victories and a glittering 75-19 record in head-to-head competition.
As a result, only once in the last 25 races has the Texas terror NOT been No. 1 or No. 2 in the driver standings.
Nevertheless, entering this week’s 12th annual Summit Racing Equipment Nationals at Summit Motorsports Park, an event in which he is the defending champion, Torrence is more impressed with his team’s resilience than with its amazing consistency.
“When we’ve stumbled, we’ve recovered well and I’m really proud of that,” Torrence said. “After our only first round losses this year (Gainesville, Fla., and Chicago), we came back at the next race and won.
“This is the same team we had all last year and the year before that,”...
NHRA® Team Report
Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals – Norwalk, OH
Cruz Pedregon and team made time to stop in their Brownsburg, Indiana shop this week before heading to Norwalk. The team is revved and ready for the fourth consecutive weekend race. "Jumping to eighth in the points has really bolstered this young team's confidence as we get on the road to Norwalk," says Cruz. "It feels good to have qualified in the top five in four of the last five races, and we're confident we'll do well Friday and Saturday and go rounds Sunday."
Crew Chief Aaron Brooks says, "We're looking at much cooler temperatures for the weekend ahead after grueling heat took its toll on all of us last weekend. We were able to get back to the shop to restock and refuel, and we're looking forward to making good things happen for Cruz and all the great NHRA fans at the track and watching the broadcast."
The Snap-on Funny Car will have its “Frankenstein” body for Norwalk. This fan...
Despite Track Issues, Texan Takes Capco Dragster to Semifinals in Bristol
BRISTOL, Tenn. – On a weekend during which he failed to earn a single qualifying bonus point for just the sixth time in the last 59 events, Steve Torrence managed to wrestle his Capco Contractors Top Fuel dragster all the way to the semifinals Sunday in the 18th annual Fitzgerald USA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway.
Ultimately, though, a 143-degree racetrack and the loss of the lane choice option denied the 35-year-old Texan a bookend Father’s Day victory to match the one he claimed in 2011.
Although he stopped Shawn Reed in round one and close friend and three-time series champ Antron Brown in round two, Torrence couldn’t get around eight-time champ Tony Schumacher in the semifinals after being relegated to the less-favored lane.
Schumacher advanced with a time of 4.038 seconds at 297.02 miles per hour while Torrence trailed at 4.104 at 254.04 mph, times and speeds to...
Event 11: Fitzgerald USA NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals
Back-to-back semifinals for Todd Race Recap: J.R. Todd and the DHL/WIX Filters team scored their third semifinal result in the last four events today at Bristol Dragway.
Todd continued his run of solid qualifying performances. For the 10th time in the first 11 events to start the season, Todd earned bonus points as his 4.072 second pass in the Friday evening session was second-best, and allowed him to tie his career-best start...