2020 NHRA FINALS - EVENT RESULTS
S. TORRENCE, HAGAN, ENDERS AND M. SMITH CLINCH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS AT DODGE NHRA FINALS PRESENTED BY PENNZOIL
All four points leaders in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series finished the job on Sunday, as Steve Torrence, Matt Hagan, Erica Enders and Matt Smith claimed world championships during the 20th annual Dodge NHRA Finals presented by Pennzoil at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Torrence picked up his third straight championship in Top Fuel, Hagan claimed his third career world title in Funny Car, Pro Stock’s Enders won her fourth title and Smith earned his fourth championship in Pro Stock Motorcycle.
Hagan and Enders both won the race as well. Antron Brown (Top Fuel) and Angie Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were also winners on Sunday at the final event of the 2020 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season.
Torrence clinched his championship almost immediately on Sunday when veteran Doug Kalitta lost in the opening round. But the Texan, who became just the third driver in NHRA Top Fuel history to win three straight world titles, turned in another impressive showing by advancing to his seventh final round in 10 races in 2020 in his 11,000-horsepower Capco Contractors dragster. He finished the year with four victories, continuing a dominating stretch that has included 24 wins — and now three championships — over the last three seasons.
“I’m proud of my team -– Richard Hogan, Bobby Lagana, all of those guys who give heart and blood to be out here and do this -– it’s unbelievable,” Torrence said. "Three championships in three years. The success that we had, we’re just a bunch of hillbilly pipeliners from east Texas and to be out here and do this is unreal. I thank my mom and dad who support me, and my wife who supports me. I don’t get emotional much, but this is different. Thanks to everybody for everything. It’s unreal.
"Doug Kalitta is the fiercest competitor out here and they have fought hard for so many years, I want to kick myself in the butt for robbing that guy, but it’s truly a blessing to be here. I’ve had a lot of highlights in my career and this is going to be right up there at the top.”
Brown beat Torrence in the final round, going 3.759-seconds at 315.34 mph in his Matco Tools dragster to pick up his first win in more than two years. Brown, who now has 51 career victories, beat Tony Schumacher, Clay Millican and Billy Torrence to reach the finals.
“It feels great and it was a whole team effort,” Brown said. “Everyone is working hard and we’re looking forward to next year. Everybody stuck with us and it’s a process. We just never gave up when the chips were down. We stayed persistent.”
Hagan clinched his third world title when Don Schumacher Racing teammate Tommy Johnson Jr. lost in the semifinals, and he finished the day in championship fashion, going 3.914 at 326.40 in his 11,000-horsepower Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye to beat Ron Capps in the final round. The Funny Car year was dominated by DSR drivers, as they won every race in 2020, but it was Hagan who came out on top.
He won for the third time in 2020, 36th time in his career and handed Don Schumacher Racing its 14th straight victory in the class. Hagan was splendid when NHRA returned to racing in July, winning the first event at Indy and holding the points lead over the final four races. He beat Cruz Pedregon, Paul Lee and Alexis DeJoria to reach the final round, capping off his year in an impressive way. Hagan and Brown’s victories also gave DSR its second straight double-up in the nitro categories and 67th overall.
“It’s been a dogfight the whole time,” Hagan said. “This race, this championship was for my brother I lost three years ago. It still hurts, but this kind of stuff, he’s riding with me. We had to battle it out and I can’t say enough about how proud I am of (crew chief) Dickie Venables and all my guys. They bust their butts each day and I try to drive the wheels off this thing.
“We’ve got a hell of a team with Don Schumacher Racing, Dodge SRT, Pennzoil, Mopar. Everybody that’s been a part of this, I can’t thank you enough. I love my team, I love my guys and I love everybody who allows us to do this. I also love our NHRA fans. They allow us to get this adrenaline going at 300 mph, and I just love it. I’m in awe of my guys right now.”
Enders made NHRA history on Sunday, as her fourth world championship gave her the most for any female in NHRA history. She clinched her second straight world title early in the day when Jason Line and Jeg Coughlin Jr. both lost in the first round. It set off an emotional celebration for Enders, but she wasn’t done, rolling to her fourth victory of the season and 29th in her career.
She beat Alex Laughlin, Troy Coughlin Jr. and No. 1 qualifier Greg Anderson to reach the final round, going 6.643 at 206.39 in her Melling Performance/Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro to beat first-time finalist Kyle Koretsky. It gave Enders her seventh career win in Vegas and second straight at the facility, finishing off a challenging year in emphatic fashion.
“It's no secret that I've struggled this year, the last couple of years honestly," Enders said. "It's been an uphill battle. I speak so highly of these guys, and I mean it from the bottom of my heart. Between (crew chiefs) Rick Jones, Mark Ingersoll and Rickie Jones, (team owner) Richard Freeman has organized the most amazing group of people. All of these guys, they give their lives to this. I could not be more proud. I'm so blessed. I've never been in a situation like that where I've depended on other people to handle it for us. I love this life I get to live.”
M. Smith’s championship dream became reality when Eddie Krawiec fell in the second round. He also did his job on his Denso/Stockseth/MSR EBR, beating three-time champ Angelle Sampey in the opening round and defending champ Andrew Hines a round later. The four-time champion was a step ahead of the class for most of the season, qualifying in the No. 1 spot five times, winning twice and advancing to three final rounds. He also won the Mickey Thompson Pro Bike Battle, becoming just the fourth rider in Pro Stock Motorcycle history to win four championships.
“This was a long hard deal today,” M. Smith said. “That [Vance & Hines] group played their cards right and I had to race them in the first and second rounds. If you want to be the champ you have to beat the champ and I just beat the champ [Hines] to win this, so we are the champions. I can’t thank Denso and Mark Stockseth enough for what they do for me.”
A. Smith gave the husband and wife team another reason to smile on Sunday, picking up her second career victory with a run of 6.917 at 194.83 on her Denso EBR to beat Steve Johnson in the final round. She advanced to the championship round with wins against Katie Sullivan, Scotty Pollacheck and Hector Arana Jr.
“You never know when you’re going to get back here, and I’m so emotional,” A. Smith said. “I want to thank my team. They have built me up and have told me to never give up. This one’s for them.”
The 2021 NHRA season begins with the 52nd annual AMALIE Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals, March 12-14 at Gainesville Raceway.
SATURDAY - B. TORRENCE, CAPPS, ANDERSON, KRAWIEC QUALIFY NO. 1 AS NHRA CHAMPIONSHIP SUNDAY APPROACHES
Billy and Steve Torrence powered to the top two spots in Top Fuel on Saturday during qualifying at the 20th annual Dodge NHRA Finals presented by Pennzoil at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, bringing S. Torrence a step closer to his third straight world championship.
Ron Capps (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were also No. 1 qualifiers at the Dodge NHRA Finals presented by Pennzoil, which is the final race of the 2020 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season.
B. Torrence went 3.728-seconds at 325.30 mph in his 11,000-horsepower Capco Contractors dragster, with his son, Steve, a step behind at 3.731 at 330.39. It is B. Torrence’s third career No. 1 qualifier and first this season. Should S. Torrence win his first-round matchup on Sunday against Kebin Kinsley, he will claim a Top Fuel world title for the third consecutive year. He clinched his first world title at Las Vegas two years ago and now has an opportunity to do it again in 2020 to keep his incredible run going.
“I saw my old man keep on rolling down through there, so I knew it was on a good run, but we’ll just go out and do what we need to do tomorrow,” S. Torrence said. “We need to go rounds. We don’t need to worry about what the points are and who we have. We just need to go rounds tomorrow.”
Doug Kalitta qualified third with a run of 3.746 at 327.74. To claim his first world championship, he’ll need to win the race and have S. Torrence lose in the opening round.
In Funny Car, Ron Capps picked up his first No. 1 qualifier of 2020 and 25th in his career, powering to the top spot with a run of 3.902 at 327.98 in his 11,000-horsepower NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat. He will take on Chris Morel in the first round of eliminations as Don Schumacher Racing seeks its 14th straight victory in the class and a sweep of the 2020 season.
His strong run bumped teammate Matt Hagan to the second spot, as the points leader looks to claim his third career world title. Hagan ran 3.911 at 327.82 and he’ll meet Cruz Pedregon to start raceday. He leads DSR teammates Tommy Johnson Jr. and Jack Beckman by 45 and 52 points, respectively, heading into eliminations. Johnson qualified fourth with a 3.915 at 319.14 and Beckman starts raceday from the 10th position. With the race being a points-and-a-half scenario, a round win is worth 30 points, meaning Johnson or Beckman would have to finish two rounds ahead of Hagan to win a title.
The Summit Racing Equipment/KB Racing Pro Stock team of Greg Anderson and Jason Line impressed during qualifying on Saturday, with Anderson taking the top spot and Line, who has championship aspirations in the final race of his Pro Stock career, following in second. Anderson went 6.601 at 206.73 in his Chevrolet Camaro to claim his second No. 1 qualifier this season and 106th in his standout career. He’s also an eight-time Vegas winner and opens eliminations against Aaron Strong.
Line, meanwhile, will head into race day second after going 6.635 at 206.39. That brings him to within 47 points of leader and defending world champ Erica Enders heading into eliminations. Enders struggled on Saturday and qualified 12th, and will take on Elite Motorsports teammate Alex Laughlin in the first round as she seeks back-to-back world titles. The third championship contender, Jeg Coughlin Jr., qualified ninth and is 55 points behind Enders heading into Sunday, which is also his final race in his storied Pro Stock career.
Following his win last weekend, Eddie Krawiec continues to stay hot in Pro Stock Motorcycle, vaulting to the No. 1 spot with a track record run of 6.818 at 198.12 on his Harley-Davidson FXDR. It is Krawiec’s second No. 1 qualifier — his first came at the opening race of the season — and the 48th in his career. The victory last weekend in Houston kept him in championship contention and he’ll open eliminations against Cory Reed, trailing leader Matt Smith by 80 points.
Smith, meanwhile, qualified second with a 6.821 at 198.38 and he’ll take on Krawiec’s teammate, three-time champion Angelle Sampey, in the first round. Joey Gladstone qualified third with a 6.893 at 195.56. Scotty Pollacheck, who is 86 points behind teammate Smith, remains in contention as well after taking the fourth spot with a run of 6.900 at 196.04.
In the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service, Khalid alBalooshi qualified No. 1 for the third time in 2020, going 5.755 at 248.34 in his ProCharger-powered Bahrain 1 Racing Camaro. Points leader Brandon Snider took the second spot at the race, which is presented by Strutmasters.com, with a run of 5.766 at 248.71. He’ll open eliminations against Brandon Pesz and started the weekend with a 26-point lead over defending world champion Stevie “Fast” Jackson, who qualified fifth. Should both Snider and Jackson win their first-round matchups, they would meet in the second round with the winner getting a bye to the final round.
Eliminations for the Dodge NHRA Finals presented by Pennzoil begin at 10 a.m. PT on Sunday. Live television coverage of eliminations starts at 4 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1 (FS1).
Sunday's first-round pairings for eliminations for the 20th annual Dodge NHRA Finals presented by Pennzoil at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the final of 11 events in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series. Pairings based on results in qualifying, which ended Saturday. DNQs listed below pairings.
Top Fuel -- 1. Billy Torrence, 3.728 seconds, 325.30 mph vs. 14. Cameron Ferre, 6.595, 101.23; 2. Steve Torrence, 3.731, 330.39 vs. 13. Kebin Kinsley, 6.276, 109.60; 3. Doug Kalitta, 3.746, 327.74 vs. 12. Justin Ashley, 5.659, 115.47; 4. Antron Brown, 3.762, 322.81 vs. 11. Tony Schumacher, 5.249, 112.46; 5. Shawn Langdon, 3.775, 319.90 vs. 10. Clay Millican, 5.002, 141.88; 6. Leah Pruett, 3.791, 322.04 vs. 9. Chris Karamesines, 4.166, 224.66; 7. Jim Maroney, 3.971, 307.37 vs. 8. Troy Buff, 4.123, 218.97.
Funny Car -- 1. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger, 3.902, 327.98 vs. 16. Chris Morel, Charger, 4.617, 191.73; 2. Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.911, 327.82 vs. 15. Cruz Pedregon, Charger, 4.359, 244.56; 3. Alexis DeJoria, Toyota Camry, 3.915, 322.42 vs. 14. Terry Haddock, Ford Mustang, 4.334, 238.47; 4. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.915, 319.14 vs. 13. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.126, 312.13; 5. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 3.929, 325.92 vs. 12. Dave Richards, Mustang, 4.035, 282.54; 6. Blake Alexander, Mustang, 3.929, 321.50 vs. 11. Steven Densham, Mustang, 4.004, 314.75; 7. Paul Lee, Charger, 3.933, 327.66 vs. 10. Jack Beckman, Charger, 3.996, 309.70; 8. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 3.940, 322.88 vs. 9. J.R. Todd, Camry, 3.975, 326.24.
Did Not Qualify: 17. Bobby Bode, 4.755, 151.92; 18. Alex Miladinovich, 5.440, 140.08.
Pro Stock -- 1. Greg Anderson, Chevy Camaro, 6.601, 206.73 vs. 16. Aaron Strong, Camaro, 6.724, 204.35; 2. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.635, 206.39 vs. 15. Cristian Cuadra, Ford Mustang, 6.709, 204.23; 3. Kyle Koretsky, Camaro, 6.637, 206.32 vs. 14. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.691, 206.07; 4. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.641, 206.35 vs. 13. Troy Coughlin Jr., Mustang, 6.670, 205.60; 5. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.642, 205.76 vs. 12. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.652, 205.35; 6. Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.645, 205.76 vs. 11. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.650, 205.79; 7. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.645, 204.98 vs. 10. Mason McGaha, Camaro, 6.649, 205.94; 8. Aaron Stanfield, Camaro, 6.646, 206.45 vs. 9. Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 6.647, 205.38.
Did Not Qualify: 17. Val Smeland, 6.727, 205.66; 18. Alan Prusiensky, 6.728, 204.54; 19. Steve Graham, 6.763, 203.06; 20. Fernando Cuadra, 8.818, 107.97.
Pro Stock Motorcycle -- 1. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.818, 198.12 vs. 16. Cory Reed, EBR, 7.318, 190.14; 2. Matt Smith, EBR, 6.821, 198.38 vs. 15. Angelle Sampey, Harley-Davidson, 7.141, 158.82; 3. Joey Gladstone, EBR, 6.893, 195.56 vs. 14. Freddie Camarena, Suzuki, 7.082, 189.82; 4. Scotty Pollacheck, EBR, 6.900, 196.04 vs. 13. David Barron, EBR, 7.045, 190.00; 5. Angie Smith, EBR, 6.918, 196.30 vs. 12. Katie Sullivan, Suzuki, 7.014, 192.36; 6. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.941, 192.19 vs. 11. Kelly Clontz, Suzuki, 7.009, 190.78; 7. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.946, 194.74 vs. 10. Chris Bostick, Suzuki, 6.998, 184.85; 8. Hector Arana Jr, EBR, 6.947, 194.44 vs. 9. Ryan Oehler, EBR, 6.955, 193.35.