Steve Torrence (Top Fuel), Ron Capps (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock), and LE Tonglet (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were all winners at the 6th annual AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park.
Steve Torrence is living the NHRA dream in 2017 by beating Doug Kalitta by 8 thousands of a second. This is Torrence’s eight win in 2017 and his first win at Gateway.
Dog Kalitta edged Don Lagana to face Steve Torrence. For Torrence this will his 11th final of the year. Torrence defeated Brown.
Don Lagana upset the class of the field and national record setter Clay Millican to advance to the semi finals. Lagana will face Doug Kalitta.
Antron Brown upset his teammate Tony Schumacher to face Steve Torrence
There were no upsets to start the day of racing. Clay Millican, Don Lagana, Leah Pritchett, Tony Schumacher, Brittany Force, Antron Brown and Steve Torrence all cruised to victories in the 1st round.
However, Doug Kalitta had a battle against Scott Palmer. Kalitta blew a cylinder and before he could reach the finish line his engine blew up breaking the in pieces. Kalitta was not injured and still had enough momentum to win when Palmer’s parachute came open prior to the finish line slowing his car.
“We are concentrating on wins,” said Kalitta “But we just got lucky.”
Brittany Force had the 3rd fast run in the history of NHRA at 3.644/ 332.26 mph blowing past Pat Dakin easily.
“To run on race day is great,” said Force. “We are going to have a long day.”
Ron Capps reigning Funny Car champion has been unstoppable in quest to win the championship again and could not be stopped in today’s final. It is the fourth time Capps has won at Gateway.
Independent team Jonnie Linberg was tough all day and literally was nearly tied at the start of the race but Capps was just too powerful.
Ron Capps beat the charging John Force. And Jonnie Lindberg continued hot racing to upset Robert Hight.
The key race was between father vs daughter, John vs Courtney Force. And father taught daughter edging her for the victory with a 3.913 ET / 330.88 mph. The difference was the .34 start of the race something noted by John after the race.
“She [Coutney] always kills me on the light,” said Force. “I am excited to get back on the [points] chase.”
John Force will face Ron Capps.
Robert Hight continues his march through the weekend with a battle against Jonnie Lindberg. For Lindberg who did not make the chase is just out to win the weekend.
“Hopefully we can take advantage of this opportunity,” said Lindberg.
Like Top Fuel, there were no upsets and the higher seeds all won. Robert Hight, Matt Hagen, Jonnie Lindberg, Alexis Djoria, John Force, Courtney Force, Rob Capps, Jack Beckman are all moving forward.
John Force will face in daugher Courtney in the second round. And as usual John Force is fired up.
“It is great to see full house,” said John Force. “You want to win and win again for these fans”
Car owner and drag racing legend Don Schumacher also raved about the day.
“Fantastic crowd,” said Schumacher. “What great weather. Everyone will have a ball.”
When asked if he is relaxed or feels tension on a great day and Schumacher was extremely clear.
“Tension,” immediately responded Schumacher. “We have to go out and do our job.”
Greg Anderson beat Jason on the line by 3 thousands of a second on holeshot. Greg in fourth consecutive final will hold the Wally trophy after three previous losses.
Brian Self’s dream day ends against the weekend nominator Greg Anderson. Greg march continues as he will face teammate Jason Line in the finals.
This is the 36th time that Greg and Jason have raced one another in the final. Anderson is the 19-16 against Line.
Brian Self upsets continue during his first Sunday racing. This round he beat Chris McGaha.
“Just Awesome,” said Self. “Well just keep going round after round.”
For his efforts, he will face one of the hottest Pro Stock racers and 2nd in points chase, Greg Anderson.
Bo Butner will face Jason Line.
Red Light, starting the race to early, dominated the race taking out three racers including # 6 race qualifier and 3rd in points Tanner Gray. Gray’s misfortune allowed Dereic Kramer to move to the next round.
Brian Self upset Drew Skillman who is 5th in season points championship. For Self it was his 1st career win in Pro Stocks on a Sunday.
“That is awesome,” said an excited Self. “Hey we got a win light!”
Greg Anderson top qualifier of the weekend continued his march. Larry Morgan won in a mild upset over Alex Laughlin. Chris McGaha, Erica Enders, Bo Butner, and Jason Line
Pro Stock Motorcycle
LE Tonglet win 6 thousands of second over Andrew Hines. It has been over a year since Hines has won a Sunday final.
Andrew Hines will try to make it a perfect weekend and bet LE Tonglet in the finals.
The highlight of the round was showdown between husband and wife, Angela Smith vs. Matt Smith. As they lined up for the race Angela blew Matt a kiss, maybe to distract him but it did not work as Matt edge her at the finish line. He will face LE Tonglet.
Andrew Hines also continues his near perfect weekend winning his race to face Scott Pollacheck.
Former Pro Stock Motorcycle Champion Jerry Savoie had a rough time with his bike setup all weekend.
“We brought Louisiana gremlins with us,” said Savoie, the alligator farmer from his home base in the bayous in Louisiana.
But Savoie righted the bike for a strong win in the first round with a 6.817 ET / 196.39 mph to move to next round.
Andrew Hines who has been dominating the whole weekend won his race.
“We tried to go 200 mph,” said a confident Hines.
But Hines had a bit of trouble on the run and had to settle with a 197.42 mph.