Force versus Force in Funny Car Final at Virginia Nationals
Courtney Force added to her overall points lead with a Funny Car victory at the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series in Dinwiddie VA over the weekend. It was Courtney's fourth win of the season boosting the top female Funny Car driver to a 173-point lead over "Fast Jack" Beckman and 191 points ahead of teammate Robert Hight. When "Force versus Force" tripped the Christmas tree in staging, it marked the 50th time in history that John Force Racing had two cars face off in an NHRA final run. Courtney posted a 4.039-second pass at 321.96 mph in her Advanced Auto Parts Camaro to eliminate her 69-year-old father John as well as even their head-to-head final round score at three a piece.
Twelve years ago, 2018 points leader Steve Torrence competed in his first Top Fuel event at Virginia Motorsports Park. This weekend the driver of the Capco Contractors dragster returned to Virginia to celebrate his 200th event with his 20th career win and fourth victory of the season. Torrence had advanced to the final after Antron Brown left early on a -.017 red light. Doug Kalitta made Sunday his 94th appearance in a career final by eliminating teammate Richie Crampton. As for the hottest Top Fuel team entering the Virginia Nationals, Clay Millican red-lighted in his Great Clips dragster in the first round after having scored eight-consecutive Top Fuel round wins. It was Kalitta's second runner-up finish after claiming victory at the season opening round in Pomona.
Pro Stock had its share of trash talk in the pits at Virginia Motorsports Park. It seems like two-time champion Erica Enders and Tanner Gray can't stay out of each other's way. On his way to the final, Gray eliminated Kenny Delco, Vincent Nobile and Drew Skillman in his Gray Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro. A 6.595-second pass at 208.81 mph was good enough to earn the Wally and the second Pro Stock win of the year for the Valvoline driver. It was Enders' third runner up of the year to go with a win at the Charlotte four-wide national. Greg Anderson maintains the points lead in Pro Stock with Gray and Enders moving to third and fourth, respectively.
Next week drivers and teams head to Bristol Dragway for the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals on June 15-17. Prior to its status as an NHRA national event track, the Bristol Dragway was the flagship strip of the rival IHRA organization; the strip's owner Larry Carrier formed the IHRA at the Bristol Dragway in November 1970.