Point Lead Intact as NHRA Tour Moves This Week to Sonoma
DENVER, Colo. – Racing without crew chief Richard Hogan in his pit for the first time in more than four years, point leader Steve Torrence fell to Blake Alexander Sunday in the second round of the 39th annual Dodge Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway.
Despite the loss, the 35-year-old Texan will carry a 133-point lead over Clay Millican into this week’s 31st annual Toyota Sonoma Nationals, the second of three races in a grueling Western Swing that sets the table for the Countdown to the Mello Yello Championship.
The veteran Hogan, who has come into his own as tuner of the Capco Contractors dragster, was confined to his hotel room at Denver after reacting adversely to the heat and thin air at Bandimere’s 5,800 foot altitude. “He was a little under the weather,” Torrence said of the man who has directed him to a category-best 13 wins over the last two seasons. “We were sending data back to him at the hotel but...
Point Leader Plans to Keep Pressure on Rivals at the Dodge Mile-High Nationals
DENVER, Colo. – His Mello Yello point lead is so big that Texan Steve Torrence could have stayed home this week, not turned a tire at the 39th annual Dodge Mile-High Nationals and still been four rounds ahead of his nearest rival when the NHRA drag racing tour moved next week to Sonoma, Calif.
He could have caught up on the paperwork at his day job at Capco Contractors, hung out with his dogs, Gus and Cuatro, relaxed with girlfriend Natalie Jahnke, indulged in one of his several hobbies or maybe donned his cowboy hat and done a little calf-roping.
Instead, he’ll be back in the cockpit of his 10,000 horsepower Top Fuel dragster Friday when qualifying begins at Bandimere Speedway in the first of three races-in-three-weeks that comprise the NHRA’s grueling Western Swing.
Skipping an event never was an option for the 35-year-old point leader who has been a man on a...
NHRA fans will see a new body and paint scheme on the Snap-on Toyota when Cruz Pedregon and team roll into Bandimere Speedway. "We're excited to continue the team's tradition of naming our Funny Car bodies, and we'll be introducing 'El Chicano' this weekend and its new Snap-on Franchise 'Own It' paint scheme," says Cruz. "The body name is one that reflects my heritage as a Mexican American, and I'm ready to show it off to fans watching the events at Mile-High this weekend."
Crew Chief Aaron Brooks says, "It feels like a fresh start as we head to Denver with a new body and look on the Snap-on Toyota. We even had the Snap-on toolboxes trimmed out with custom pinstriping that will give the team and everyone coming by our pit a whole new energy as we head into the Western Swing."
Sporting the franchise paint scheme is important to Cruz since he's been through Snap-on franchisee...
NHRA Legend Jeb Allen Returns to Top Fuel Competition as Primary Sponsor of Leah Pritchett’s Sonoma Entry
BROWNSBURG, Indiana (July 11, 2018) – NHRA legend Jeb Allen will return to Top Fuel competition when he partners with Don Schumacher Racing at the 31st annual NHRA Sonoma Nationals at Sonoma Raceway, July 27-29.
The Top Fuel champion of yesteryear will take to the track not as a driver, but as the primary sponsor of Leah Pritchett’s nitro-burning machine. Palomar Builders, the construction company owned and operated by Allen, will flank the sides of Pritchett’s 11,000-horsepower...
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...