Torrence Still on a Roll; Wilkerson Wins Funny Car at US Nationals
The Big Go and Lucas Oil Raceway are well known on the National Hot Rod Association’s calendar of tour events as producing the biggest the field and some of the most exciting racing year after year. As the final race in which drivers could qualify for the Countdown to the Championship, the 68th annual Dodge//SRT U.S. Nationals is always a special event for drivers, teams, sponsors, and race fans. Although the pro nitro and pro stock classes receive a lot of media attentions, The Big Go features a variety of the Cars of Drag Racing, including the E3 Spark Plugs Pro Mod division. With vehicles ranging from ’63 Corvettes to late-model Dodge Vipers, few classes offer as much doorslammer diversity and engine choices with competitors using superchargers, turbochargers, or nitrous-oxide injection to boost power. Whether you are a devoted nitro-groupie or a first-time visitor to The Big Go, it is a Labor Day weekend that is fan inclusive with lots of family-friendly events staged in downtown Indianapolis and throughout the surrounding communities.
Steve Torrence Just Keeps on Winning in Top Fuel
Steve Torrence didn’t post the fastest run at Lucas Oil Raceway over the Labor Day weekend that honor went to Brittany Force with a 3.702-second ET. The primary driver of the Capco Contractors top fuel dragster didn’t have the quickest start that honor went to Leah Pruett with a .002-second RT. In fact, the three-time defending NHRA Top Fuel world champion didn’t have the fastest speed over the 1,000-foot of pavement that honor also went to Brittany Force at 332.34 mph at the Brownsburg, Indiana, racetrack.
Steve Torrence just keeps on doing what the Texas-native does best; he just keeps on winning Wally(s) and racking up NHRA points in Top Fuel. Torrence outran Antron Brown and Greg Carrillo in opening rounds of eliminations before defeating Billy Torrence in the semifinals with a 3.744 ET to his father’s 3.792 ET. Brittany Force defeated Shawn Langdon, Alex Laughlin, and Josh Hart enroute to the final round of the U.S. Nationals. Force was Number One qualifier for the sixth consecutive event, and Steve Torrence was the Number Two for the seventh time overall… on to the Countdown.
Tim Wilkerson Wins Funny Car at The Big Go
Number One qualifier John Force had his hands full in round one against Dave Richards in round one of eliminations. Force’s Peak/Blue Def Camaro smoked the tires and drifted toward the centerline. Although the bodywork visually crossed the white line, NHRA inspectors said the rear wheel touched but did not go over the line. Former U.S. Nationals winner Tim Wilkerson upset Force in the second round on Sunday to advance to the final round of the biggest race of the season that pays points-and-a-half. Wilkerson defeated Ron Capps in the final with a 3.912-second ET at 320.36 mph in his Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford Mustang.
Ron Capps started the day in fourth place but his runner-up finish at The Big Go moved the NAPA Camaro driver into the points lead entering the Countdown to the Championship. The big news from The Big Go in NHRA Funny Car was the withdrawal of points leader Matt Hagan after testing positive for COVID-19. Although Don Schumacher Racing found an immediate replacement in Indy resident Tommy Johnson Jr but a broken wheelie bar pin on Friday and persistent rain on Saturday eliminated Hagan’s hope for earning pre-Countdown points.
Mopar Express Lane NHRA Nationals
The Countdown to the Championship begins at Maple Grove Raceway at the Mopar Express Lane NHRA Nationals presented by Pennzoil on September 9 – 12 at Mohnton, PA.