Event 24: NHRA Finals
Auto Club Raceway at Pomona
November 8 - 11
Todd caps off championship season with victory at NHRA Finals Race Recap: The unstoppable postseason dominance of J.R. Todd and the DHL/WIX Filters team continued with their sixth final round appearance in the past seven events and fourth in a row. Much like their most recent attempt in Las Vegas, the DHL/WIX team was once again able to guide their Toyota Camry to the winner's circle in Pomona.
It wasn't Todd's event win that clinched his championship, as his first Funny Car title was decided when Robert Hight was eliminated in the first round. Todd became the first African-American Funny Car world champion in NHRA history, but his day of...
TORRENCE ACHIEVES THE UNACHIEVABLE
Texan Completes Incredible Sweep with Victory at Auto Club Finals at Pomona
POMONA, Calif. – Perfection! A sizzling Steve Torrence, who two weeks ago celebrated a Mello Yello Top Fuel championship, completed an unlikely sweep of the NHRA playoffs Sunday by beating Tony Schumacher in the final round of the 54th annual Auto Club Finals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.
It was the sixth consecutive victory for the talented Texan who will return here for next February’s season-opener having won 24 consecutive rounds of racing.
“I don’t know how we did it,” marveled the 35-year-old cancer survivor after his .029 reaction time paved the way to a narrow victory over Schumacher, the eight-time world champion who on Veterans Day was making his final appearance in a car sponsored by the U.S. Army.
“But I have to credit the Good Lord, (crew chief) Richard Hogan and (assistant crew chief) Bobby Lagana Jr. and the best crew on the planet. Richard Hogan...
POMONA, Calif. (November 11, 2018) – J.R. Todd, driver of the DHL Toyota Camry for Kalitta Motorsports, captured his first career Funny Car world championship at Auto Club Raceway earlier this afternoon to become the first African-American Funny Car champion in NHRA history.
Todd entered the final race of the 2018 NHRA season in Pomona, California with a 74-point lead in the standings over the defending world champion, Robert Hight.
Todd officially clinched the championship when Hight was defeated in the first round of eliminations in Pomona, ensuring his points lead could no longer be overcome.
"This is what you live your whole life for when you start racing Junior Dragsters at ten years old. You hope that you can get to this point in your life and your career, but you never really think it is going to happen. There were definitely some tough times when I got my start with Top Fuel, and I didn't know that I would ever be back at this point. I have so many people to...
NHRA® Team Report
NHRA Finals – Pomona
Pomona has been a winning track for Cruz Pedregon, and the team plans to make it happen again this weekend for the final race of the 2018 season. “It’s been a season of change, regrouping and looking ahead,” says Pedregon. “We worked hard this year and, even with the ups and downs, we’re proud of what we’ve done as a team getting more consistent round wins and 3-second runs.”
Crew Chief Tommy DeLago says, "We’ve continued to evolve and test the Snap-on Toyota throughout the year. Glen (Huzar) and I have a good handle on the tune up, and we're heading into our last race of the season with a positive mindset and looking forward to finishing on a high note.”
While the team is very much focused on the finals in Pomona, they’re already planning for a big 2019. A scheme change is in the works for all trucks, trailers and car bodies in the New Year. Several crew changes will take place over the break, so current and new...
TORRENCE TAKES WIN STREAK TO FINALS
Newly-Crowned Series Champ Goes for Countdown Perfection at Pomona
POMONA, Calif. – Steve Torrence pursues playoff perfection this week when he sends his Capco Contractors dragster after the Top Fuel championship in the season-ending 54th annual Auto Club Finals at Auto Club Raceway.
Although he already has clinched the $500,000 Mello Yello championship, in the process etching his name in the NHRA archives as the first driver to win five Countdown races in one season and the first to win titles in both the Fuel and Alcohol divisions, the 35-year-old Texan still has a couple more items to cross off his competitive bucket list.
First is that matter of sweeping the playoffs, something conventional wisdom once suggested was not possible, especially in a category as volatile as Top Fuel. The other is ending 10 years of frustration in the Auto Club Finals, an event in which he has qualified no better than fifth and never advanced beyond the second...
Event 23: NHRA Toyota Nationals
The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Las Vegas, Nev.
October 26 - 28
Todd takes over Funny Car points lead with fifth win of season Race Recap: The incredible postseason run of J.R. Todd and the DHL/WIX Filters team persisted with their fifth final round appearance in the past six events and third in a row. Unlike the previous two events that resulted in runner-up finishes for Todd, the DHL/WIX team was able to guide their Toyota Camry to the winner's circle in...
TORRENCE WRAPS IT UP WITH A WIN!
Texan Stays Perfect in Playoffs; 10th Win in Mello Yello Championship Season
LAS VEGAS, Nevada – Three hundred-and-fifty days after enduring the biggest disappointment of his drag racing career, Steve Torrence celebrated a Mello Yello Top Fuel Championship Sunday at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Although the title already was secure before the final round at the 18th annual NHRA Toyota Nationals, Torrence made sure no “mathematical” wiggle room remained for rivals Clay Millican and Tony Schumacher by driving his Capco Contractors dragster to a record fifth consecutive Countdown victory and running his playoff winning streak to 20 straight rounds.
He dispatched Leah Pritchett in an almost anticlimactic final round, winning in 3.751 seconds at 326.32 miles per hour after Pritchett’s car lost traction and fell back. That signaled the start of the team’s familiar “dogpile” starting line celebration.
TORRENCE RACING FOR THE TITLE
Point Leader Can Make Drag Racing History at The Strip at LVMS
LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Their season of retribution almost complete, Steve Torrence and the “Capco Boys” race for a piece of straight-line history this week when the NHRA Mello Yello tour moves to The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the 18th renewal of the Toyota Nationals.
Torrence, the 35-year-old Texan who beat cancer, survived a heart attack and rejected the premise that an independent couldn’t win a championship in the NHRA’s “mega-team era,” will roll his Capco Contractors Top Fuel dragster to the starting line for
Friday’s first qualifying session with that “unachievable” title very much in sight.
“To be honest, we don’t change anything,” Torrence said of his approach to an event in which he could clinch the $500,000 championship and put behind him the crushing disappointment he experienced one year ago when he saw the title slip away on the final day of the season.
NHRA® Team Report
NHRA Toyota Nationals – Las Vegas
Cruz Pedregon will build on the good runs the Snap-on Toyota has been showing and replicating that tuning during the upcoming weekend in Las Vegas. "We’re pleased with the strong numbers we’ve been seeing in the 3’s and have had a series of round 1 wins, so we plan to stick with that game plan and go more rounds in Vegas Sunday,” Cruz says. “The El Cucuy ‘boogieman' body is making a positive impression in its Pink Fund paint scheme. All of us know or have someone in our lives impacted by breast cancer. So, we hope having ‘Socket to Breast Cancer’ on the car is helping to raise awareness of The Pink Fund. Our primary sponsor, Snap-on, is supporting the nonprofit in its mission to connect individuals undergoing breast cancer treatment to the help they may need with non-medical expenses.”
Crew Chief Tommy DeLago says, "We’ve had four runs of 3.94 or better, and we like the way the season is finishing out for...
No. 3 Qualifier Clay Millican Remains Red Hot Sunday—Literally—Before Enduring Round 2 Heartbreaker at Charlotte
CONCORD, N.C., October 15, 2018: After earning his ninth No. 1 qualifier of the season last week at Texas, No. 2-ranked Clay Millican was looking to maintain the hot hand and cool off current No. 1 driver Steve Torrence at the Carolina Nationals.
As it turned out, things got plenty hot, pretty quickly, as the Parts Plus Top/Strutmasters/Great Clips Fuel dragster qualified third in the field with a blazin’ quick [email protected] mph. And how’s this for a hot streak? The popular Parts Plus/Strutmasters driver has now qualified in the top-four spots at 13 of the last 14 events, a remarkable feat.
Sunday’s elimination rounds were primed to really heat up despite mild temperatures in the area, as the top-3 point-leaders in the Countdown for the Championship—Torrence, Millican and No. 3-ranked Tony Schumacher— would all be competing in the same ladder at...
Event 22: NHRA Carolina Nationals presented by WIX Filters
October 12 - 14
Todd secures second consecutive runner-up finish as he closes Funny Car points gap Race Recap: J.R. Todd and the DHL/WIX Filters team continued their incredible streak of consistency with a final round appearance for the fourth time in the past five events. Unfortunately, for just the second time in six final round appearances this season, Todd was not able to earn the Wally.
Todd continued his incredibly consistent racing with four...
TORRENCE CRUSHES ‘EM AGAIN!
Texan Stays Playoff Perfect with Only Two Races Remaining
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Steady Steve Torrence extended his playoff winning streak to 16 consecutive rounds Sunday and took another step toward an historic Mello Yello Championship by driving his Capco Contractors Top Fuel dragster to victory in the 11th annual NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMAX Dragway.
Racing the final three rounds without the benefit of lane choice after a first round scare against Chris Karamesines, the 35-year-old cancer survivor never flinched in taking down Leah Pritchett, eight-time series champion Tony Schumacher and reigning champ Brittany Force for his fourth win in the Countdown and his category-best ninth of the current season.
As he has all season long, an emotional Torrence gave credit first to the Lord for providing him with the resources and the opportunity and second to an incredible crew anchored by Richard Hogan and Bobby Lagana Jr.
He should have thrown in an...