Torrence Continues to Set a Torrid Pace for NHRA Top Fuel Title
After getting off to a rocky start in 2019, Top Fuel point's leader Steve Torrence drove his Capco Contractors dragster to a fourth consecutive victory this season defeating Mike Salinas with a 3.763 ET at 326.32 mph in the final round of the 22nd annual Route 66 NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway outside Joliet, Illinois. Torrence defeated Terry McMillen, Richie Crampton and Antron Brown en route to his 31st career Wally in Top Fuel and his second victory at the Route 66 Raceway. Top Fuel Number 1 qualifier Mike Salinas beat Scott Palmer, TJ Zizzo and Doug Kalitta to reach the finals.
Despite having an engine detonate at the line, Tommy Johnson Jr. piloted his Make-A-Wish Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car to victory for his first win since the Auto Club NHRA Finals in 2017 in an explosive final round. Johnson experienced an engine explosion just before crossing the finish line with an ET of 4.175-seconds at 229.86 mph. He defeated Robert Hight’s 4.438 ET at 202.55 mph to secure his sixteenth Funny Car win and second Wally at Route 66 Raceway. On his way to victory, Johnson Jr. secured round wins against Paul Lee, teammate Matt Hagan and John Force. Hight defeated Jim Campbell, Cruz Pedregon and Jack Beckman before facing Johnson in the finals.
Top Fuel driver Steve Torrence and Funny Car ace Tommy Johnson Jr. will enter the race at Heartland Motorsports Park as the most recent winners on the NHRA Nitro tour. Conversely, Clay Millican (Top Fuel) and Courtney Force (Funny Car) enter the Heartland Nationals as the most recent winners at the Topeka drag strip. Stevie "Fast" Jackson won the last time we saw the E3 Spark Plugs Pro Mod compete on the NHRA national circuit. Jackson and the rest of the field have an opportunity to ink their names in the record book becoming a first time winner at Topeka, as the series did not race at the track in 2019.
The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series continues to the Menards NHRA Heartland Nationals presented by Minties at Heartland Motorsports Park in Topeka, Kan. June 7-9.