Shawn Langdon (Funny Car), Billy Torrence (Top Fuel), Erica Enders (Pro Stock) and Karen Stoffer (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were all winners at the 8th annual AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at World Wide Raceway at Gateway.
It was a day for the women racers as they won two of the four NHRA professional classes. Both women ended tough losing skids. Enders had been 1-11 in Pro Stock Finals and for Stoffer, it was her first win since 2015.
In the Pro Stock Motorcycle, it was a side-by-side to finish line and Karen Stoffer just edged out Andrew Hines. Both riders had great reaction times but Stoffer won at the finish line with a 6.869 ET at 197.74 MPH.
“It has been tough [since last win]”, said Stoffer. “To everyone that struggles with us, Thanks.”
Most important for Stoffer, the win moved her to second in points, behind Andrew Hines as she battles for her first Pro Stock Motorcycle world championship. Prior to this weekend’s racing she was in 5th place. Hines, even with the loss, was able to move head of Jerry Savoie for the countdown overall lead.
Earlier on Sunday she had to beat Ryan Oehler and then in the next round she beat the weekend number one qualifier Matt Smith.
Pro Stock racer Erica Enders also turn the tide with her win at WWT Raceway. She moved from fourth place to second in the NHRA Countdown to the Championship. This weekend at WWT Raceway, she earned with 128 out of a possible 131 points.
In the finals Erica Enders held off to beat Matt Hartford who as great RT of .003. But Enders got him at the finish with a 6.598 ET / 208.36 MPH.
“This means the world,” said Enders upon receiving her Wally trophy. “Its my dad’s birthday and I told him I would do my best to win it for him.”
On the way to the final round she beat Alan Prusiensky, Aaron Stanfield and Chris McGaha.
In Funny Car, Shawn Langdon won his first “2-wide” victory. He previously won a “4-wide” Funny Car race at Charlotte Raceway.
Prior to the start of racing at WWT Raceway, Langdon found himself in 9th place in the countdown. His team made significant changes to the car prior to the arrive in St. Louis.
“We do not have a lot of room for error,” said Langdon. “We said we need come in the final at St. Louis to have a shot.”
Langdon started his day by beating Tommy Johnson Jr. on a holeshot, cutting a .047-second reaction time to get to the stripe first.
In an unbelievable second round race, Shawn Langdon smoked the tires at the start and looked like a for sure loss, but he was able to get traction and recover to beat Jim Campbell.
“That was incredible,” said Langdon. “I don’t know if I have ever won like that one.”
Before switching to Funny Car, he previously raced NHRA Top Fuel where he had 14 career victories.
“I have a lot to learn,” said Langdon. “It is very different that Top Fuel.”
The Top Fuel final was an all Torrence family affair. It was father Billy vs son Steve. The last time they raced in the final, the son, Steve got the win. This time Billy returned the favor and beat his son.
“This one came out better for me,” said Torrence. “I think it was 60-0 in past races. It is good to get one over the kid now and then”
The win was Billy Torrence fourth win in six final pairing races. He competes in a limited race schedule during the year but made it into this year’s NHRA Countdown to the Championship.
“You have to have fun,” said Torrence. “I hate to admit it but I only recently realize I got older and might not get to do this a lot. It is just a blessing to be out here with the family.”
Despite losing to his father in the finals, it was still a good day for Steve Torrence who moved up to second place and is only 2 points behind Doug Kalitta.
Story by Kevin Proot / St. Louis Motor Racing News – www.stlracing.com
Photos by Larry Vancil / St. Louis Motor Racing News – www.stlracing.com