Billy Torrence Claims 1st Top Fuel Win at NHRA Lucas Oil Nationals
Although Billy Torrence is a three-time NHRA champion, Sunday's final run in his Capco Contractors Top Fuel dragster at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals will long be remembered as his first Top Fuel win. Torrence was joined at the finish line by his family, including Top Fuel point's leader and son Steve Torrence, to celebrate his "Holeshot Win". The elder Torrence relied on a .037 RT with a 3.756 ET to post a winning run of 329.99 mph. Antron Brown, a four-time Brainerd winner, carded a slightly faster ET by .005 seconds in his Matco Tools Top Fuel dragster but came up inches short at the finish. The last time the number one qualifier in Top Fuel took home the Wally was Gary Scelzi in 1997.
Don Schumacher Racing staged in both lanes for the Funny Car final at Brainerd Raceway. Teammates Jack Beckman in the Infinite Hero Dodge and Tommy Johnson Jr. in the Make a Wish Dodge both had a lot on the line. Beckman was looking for the 28th win of his career and second for the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series while TJ was seeking his first for the year. "Fast" Jack showed how he got his nickname with a .027 holeshot for a 325.69 mph run. When Beckman hoisted the 12-pound Wally on the winner's podium, the popular driver dedicated the win to the veterans and children that the "Teams That Change Lives" support.
Sophomore sensation Tanner Gray believes that he is suppose to stage in the final round of every Pro Stock event. The teenager boosts a Round Record of 78-31 with nine Wallys in 12 final events and four wins in 2018 NHRA championship series. However, there was a reversal of fortunes from the Seattle final a week ago. This time Gray red lighted the start with a -.002 RT handing the win to a very fast Deric Kramer with a .002 green light reaction time. The Kramer family is well respected in the drag racing community and this was Deric's second career victory. Greg Anderson heads to Indianapolis as the point's leader in Pro Stock.
As a recurring side note, the Screamin' Eagle teammates of Andrew Hines and Eddie Krawiec staged their Harley Davidson motorcycles in the Pro Stock motorcycle final. The two have battled all season for the points lead but Hines, who remains winless, saw teammate Krawiec lay down a .010 on the tree to claim his fourth Wally of the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Championship season. Krawiec enters the season finale at the U.S. Nationals with the points lead. The world's fastest race teams now travel to Indianapolis for the NHRA Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals on Aug. 29 - Sept. 3 at The Big Go. The E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Series also returns to action August 29 through September 3 at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, IN.