Torrence Clinches Top Fuel Championship at Las Vegas Toyota Nationals
For the better part of a year, Texan Steve Torrence has been focused on one goal and one goal only; winning the 2018 NHRA Championship in Top Fuel. Having seen his hopes slip away on the final day of last season's Countdown to the Championship, Torrence has shown no mercy on this year's field of contenders. The Capco Contractors driver extended his elimination win streak to 20 rounds, sweeping five of the first six playoff races to lay claim to the half million dollar prize with a race to go. Car builder Richie Crampton at Morgan Lucas Racing is responsible for the very competitive and very reliable top fuel dragster that cemented Torrence's place as the 30th champion in Top Fuel history.
Billy Torrence, Steve's father, set low ET of the first round but was eliminated by his son in second round action. With Tony Schumacher matched up against Leah Pritchett in the Semifinal pairings, Torrence posted a 3.72 ET to beat Richie Crampton and claim the title prior to the day's final runs. Torrence added the nitro title to the Top Alcohol Dragster championship that he won thirteen years ago. After Pritchett lit up the tires in her chrome Pennzoil U.S. Army top fuel dragster, Torrence claimed his twentieth straight round win and the Wally for the NHRA Toyota Nationals.
In Funny Car, J.R. Todd swept the NHRA events at The Strip in Las Vegas with a win at the Toyota Nationals to go along with his "Four-Wide Nationals" win at the track in April. Todd got left at the tree with a .058 to Matt Hagan's .037 reaction time but posted a 3.921 ET at 318.39 mph to defeat the Pennzoil Mopar Express Funny Car. This was the fifth win of season for Todd who takes a 74-point lead over Robert Hight into final round of the Countdown. With a .007 RT at the light, Bo Butner, earned his first win at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway by defeating Erica Enders. Enders had eliminated current Pro Stock points-leader Tanner Gray in the semifinal round. Gray holds 140-point lead over Jeg Coughlin, Jr.
The 2018 Mello Yello season will conclude at the Auto Club NHRA Finals in Pomona November 8-11. All categories, except Top Fuel Dragster, will be decided at the final event of the season.