SUNDAY -TORRENCE, GRAY, ANDERSON AND KRAWIEC EARN VICTORIES AT TOYOTA NHRA SUPERNATIONALS IN ENGLISHTOWN
Steve Torrence raced to his second Top Fuel victory of the season Sunday at the Toyota NHRA SuperNationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park.
Johnny Gray (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were winners at the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event, which was slightly delayed by a passing afternoon thunderstorm as teams prepared for their final rounds.
Torrence beat Tony Schumacher and Spencer Massey in earlier rounds with quicker reaction times and then used a horsepower advantage to edge Brandon Bernstein at the finish line in the final round. In the final, Torrence’s Capco Contractors dragster finished in 3.800 seconds at 323.66 mph while Bernstein’s MAV TV/Lucas Oil machine trailed with a 3.807 at 321.04.
“It’s really a little surreal coming out and having success in a short time,” Torrence said. “I figured this team to be a competitive team and run with these guys, but I didn’t expect to do as well as we have. It’s really gratifying to be able to go out and do that well. Today, we had some really tough races. Two races, we won by a thou against both of the Schumacher cars. I don’t know but it’s more gratifying when you go out and you really have races that you’ve got to beat the guy beside you rather than them smoking the tires or whatever. I had my best light of the weekend against Brandon that round, and I was pretty pumped up because I knew he’d been on it. I may have cheated the car a little bit. I think it was going to go .79 instead of .80, but I stole from the starting line.”
Massey, who failed to certify his his category-best low E.T. of the event as a national record, maintained his series lead over second place Schumacher with the semifinal effort. Torrence, who also won at Atlanta in May, has surged to fifth in the points standings.
“The car that I’ve got right now is the best Top Fuel car that I’ve ever driven, so I do feel like we have a championship contender car if it stays the way that it’s running,” Torrence said. “We’ll just see. [Contending for the championship] is in the back of my mind, but we’re still going one round, one race at a time because consistency is the key. We’re trying to get some parts built up for the Countdown, and when that time comes, we’ll start looking in that direction. I don’t want to get the cart before the horse. I just want to go out here and keep racing and hopefully get some round-wins.”
In Funny Car, Gray claimed his first victory of the season and second of his career by beating teammate Ron Capps in the final round. Gray pulled away from Capps, who was making his fifth consecutive final round appearance, with a performance of 4.078 at 314.39 in his NTB/Service Central Dodge Charger. Capps’ NAPA Auto Parts Charger, which posted the quickest run in NHRA history on Friday with a blast of 3.964 seconds, lost traction and finished in 5.358 at 160.71. Capps also failed to back-up his category-best performance during eliminations to certify it as a national record.
Gray faced tough competitors all day, as he beat Jim Head, John Force and Robert Hight in the opening rounds.
“There wasn’t anything easy about it,” Gray said. “Nothing is ever easy trying to outrun any of the fuel cars that are out there, but Rob [Wendland, crew chief], Rip [Reynolds, assistant crew chief], and all the guys just gave me a great race car all weekend. I think a .11 was our slowest pass of the weekend. What can you say? That car’s just awesome. It’s fun to drive. It goes good. It goes straight. You know what it’s going to do, so we’re really looking forward to going to the next race.”
With the semifinal finish Hight increased his series lead over Capps, who solidified his second place position with the runner-up effort. Gray, who failed to qualify for the Countdown playoffs last season, made a major move toward making the top 10 this season with this victory, climbing to fourth in the standings.
“We struggled a little bit and we lost it a little bit a few races back, but we made some changes along with the help of Rahn Tobler and Mike Green and just really all the guys over at the DSR brain trust,” Gray said. “They came over and kind of got us back on track and helped the guys kind of get the car lined up, and now she’s just a pooch. You just take her up there, and she goes right down the racetrack.”
Anderson raced to his fourth Pro Stock victory of the season and 74th of his career in a new car, a Chevy Camaro. Anderson defeated teammate Jason Line in the final round with a performance of 6.560 at 212.03 in his Summit Racing Equipment Camaro, while Line’s Summit Racing Pontiac GXP trailed with a 6.588 at 200.98. It was also the 100th win for the KB Racing team, owned by Ken Black.
“We brought [the new Camaro] here with high hopes and surpassed those hopes,” Anderson said. “This is a fantastic weekend. Couple weekends ago I lost in the final to Allen Johnson. I thought I had the better car. I had a better light and we shook the tires. I lost and I told [team owner] Ken Black, that maybe you should be on hand for the 100th win for KB racing. For him to come across the country from Las Vegas, he must have had that feeling. He jetted all the way over here.”
Anderson, who qualified sixth, advanced to the final with early round wins over Ron Krisher, Mike Edwards and Allen Johnson. It was his fifth career win at Raceway Park, which makes him the winningest Pro Stock driver in the track's history, moving past Bob Glidden and Warren Johnson.
Line pulled ahead of the final round race, but then slowed dramatically as the two cars charged toward the finish line.
“In the final, Jason would have won but he broke a valve spring and that cost him about two-hundredths,” Anderson said. “If this had been a 1,000-foot race he’d have won but this isn’t Top Fuel. We run a quarter-mile and that made the difference. It’s tough for Jason but the bottom line was we couldn’t lose in the final.”
Anderson, who increased his series lead with the victory, was thrilled to win with his new Camaro in its debut.
“It was a gutsy call to bring the Camaro here,” Anderson said. “It was a tough decision but I’m so excited about GM being back in Pro Stock, and the muscle car being back in Pro Stock. We knew that the sooner we got it out here the better off the class would be. Even if it wasn’t 100-percent, we were bringing it.”
Local favorite Krawiec, former Raceway Park general manager, claimed an emotional first Pro Stock Motorcycle victory at the historic track, taking the automatic victory when his final round opponent Hector Arana Sr. fouled at the start on his Lucas Oil Buell. Krawiec claimed his 14th career victory by finishing in 6.921 at 171.45 on his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson.
“During my TV interview I actually started crying,” said Krawiec, an Englishtown, N.J. native who now calls Indianapolis home. “[Team owner] Terry Vance has said many times, that something that never comes out of Eddie’s mouth is ‘I have nothing to say.’ But I was speechless.”
Krawiec, who increased his series lead with the win, defeated Joe DeSantis and former world champs Matt Smith and LE Tonglet in the first three rounds to advance to the final. He knew he would need to be on his game for the final with Arana, who had posted some of the quickest runs of the day.
“I knew I had to hit the tree good and make a nice run to have a chance of winning,” Krawiec said. “I let Craig Treble whip me here in 2009 because I thought I had a better bike and I laid back on the starting line. He picked my pocket and still doesn’t let me forget it. I thought that was my one and only chance to win this race. Thankfully, it wasn’t.”
The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series continues June 15-17 with the Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol (Tenn.) Dragway.
SATURDAY - CAPPS WILL GO FOR FIFTH STRAIGHT FINAL ROUND APPEARANCE FROM NO. 1 SPOT AT TOYOTA NHRA SUPERNATIONALS
Massey, Line and Krawiec also top qualifiers at NHRA Full Throttle Series event at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park
After posting the quickest Funny Car run in NHRA history to claim his first No. 1 qualifying position of the season, Ron Capps will now try to extend his streak of final round appearances to five at the Toyota NHRA SuperNationals.
Spencer Massey (Top Fuel), Jason Line (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also will lead their respective categories into Sunday's 11 a.m. eliminations at the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event.
Capps, who has raced to four consecutive finals and one victory since new crew chief Rahn Tobler took over tuning duties for his NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger in early April, claimed his 12th career No. 1 qualifying position with the historic performance of 3.964 seconds at 320.89 mph during Friday evening’s qualifying session.
“Every autograph today the fans wanted 3.96 written next to my name, and it’s just pretty neat,” Capps said. “It’s starting to sink in. This track has been around forever. It’s neat to give this track what we did last night with Top Fuel and Funny Car because it’s a legendary track on our circuit.”
Capps will open eliminations at historic Old Bridge Township Raceway Park against journeyman racer Bob Bode, the 16th qualifier. During his impressive final round streak, which included a victory at Atlanta, Capps moved from eighth to second in the points standings. Capps needs to clock a time of 4.004 seconds or quicker in eliminations to certify his historic time as an NHRA national record, which carries a 20-point bonus.
“I don’t think the conditions were there [to back up the record], but I can tell you it wasn’t even in the back of Rahn Tobler’s mind to back it up,” Capps said. “We woke up at the hotel this morning like everybody else did, and it was raining or had been and it was very cool out. It would have run the four-flat on its own in those conditions because the conditions were so good. I can tell you, I had the conversation with Rahn this morning, and he said, ‘We may not want to touch it right now.’ He backed it down a little bit, but I don’t think we could have run four-flat anyway. He didn’t want to try. He just wanted to make sure we made it down the track the last run. It’s not a fun Saturday night if you don’t go down the track the last qualifying run because there’s a lot going on in your head, so that felt good. We were just conservative that last run.”
The quickest Funny Car runs on Saturday were turned in during the final session and posted by Johnny Gray with a 4.045, followed by Capps with a 4.064 and Robert Hight with a 4.066. Tony Pedregon was quickest in the third session with a 4.106.
In Top Fuel, Massey also claimed his first No. 1 qualifying position of the season with a category-quickest performance on Friday. He blasted his FRAM/Prestone dragster down the track in 3.728 at 329.14 to claim his fourth career No. 1 effort. Massey, who has won three times this season in four finals and leads the series standings, will face T.J. Zizzo in the opening round. Massey needs a 3.765 or quicker to turn his 3.728 into an NHRA national record.
“We were pushing for [the record back-up] the last session,” Massey said. “We knew it was going to be such borderline with the cloud cover and then the sun going back and forth, and then halfway through that session, the sun came back out, and we knew it was going to be a close shot at it. It was just that much too much, and it got out there and spun the tires. It’s OK. We didn’t get it. We want to go into race day now and put our race-day tune-up back in the car and just focus on going rounds. I want to focus on winning first round, not focusing on getting the record. It’s one round at a time, and hey, if we get to the final round and the conditions some back to the situation where we have a shot at it, I guarantee you we will be pushing for it in the final, not in first or second round.”
Doug Kalitta, who qualified eighth and will face Antron Brown in the opening round, had the most consistently quick dragster on Saturday, posting times of 3.838 and 3.794 and earned qualifying bonus points in both sessions. Seven-time world champ Tony Schumacher, who is looking to end a 32-race drought from the winner's circle, was the quickest on Saturday in the U.S. Army dragster with a 3.778, followed by recent first-time winner Steve Torrence, who posted a 3.785.
In Pro Stock, Line raced to his fifth No. 1 of the season and 29th of his career with his Friday run of 6.518 at 212.76 in his Summit Racing Pontiac GXP. He will face Ford Mustang driver Grace Howell in the opening round. She is only the sixth female to compete in Pro Stock in NHRA history.
“Last night’s run barely stuck, A.J. [Allen Johnson] matched us, but we got him on speed,” Line said. “I felt like we should have run faster today but we didn’t. We did make strides with [teammate Greg Anderson’s] Camaro which is the most important thing for our team. With a new car like that, you can’t just test at one place. You have to run at several places and learn from it. Hopefully we now have two good cars for tomorrow.”
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, local favorite Krawiec earned his second No. 1 of the season and 11th of his career with a track record performance of 6.782 at 197.48 on his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson. The Englishtown native and former Raceway Park general manager will face 70-year-old Suzuki rider Joe DeSantis in the opening round of eliminations. It is Krawiec’s second-consecutive No. 1 at this event.
“I have an awesome motorcycle, but there are three other bikes that have the performance to run with us,” said Krawiec, a two-time NHRA world champ. “Hector [Arana] Jr. did not make a clean run and his father [Hector Sr.] is always there. Michael Ray also ran really well with that 6.87. I do have a bike that should win, but if one of them makes a clean run, they can knock you out. This will be a starting line race.”
A pair of past world champions, two-time Funny Car champ Cruz Pedregon and four-time Pro Stock champ Jeg Coughlin, failed to qualify for eliminations in their respective categories.
FRIDAY - MASSEY, CAPPS, LINE AND KRAWIEC LEAD QUALIFYING AT TOYOTA NHRA SUPERNATIONALS AT ENGLISHTOWN
Spencer Massey and Ron Capps raced to the quickest runs in NHRA history in their respective categories to lead qualifying Friday at the Toyota NHRA SuperNationals at historic Old Bridge Township Raceway Park.
Jason Line (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were qualifying leaders at the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event.
Both nitro drivers took advantage of cool weather conditions in the evening qualifying session to post the track record performances. Should each driver record another performance within 1 percent as required by NHRA rules during the course of the weekend, those times will become NHRA national records.
Massey powered his FRAM/Prestone dragster to a time of 3.728 seconds at 329.91 mph to lead an extremely quick Top Fuel field. Morgan Lucas was second with a 3.739 at 324.51 in the GEICO/Lucas Oil dragster and Shawn Langdon powered his Al-Anabi Racing dragster to a 3.742 at 324.36.
“It’s unbelievable watching all these cars go down the racetrack and go excellent numbers,” Massey said. “I mean, Morgan [Lucas] went a .73. I believe Tony [Schumacher] went a .74 and didn’t even get bonus points for getting in the top three. That just shows you how awesome this Top Fuel field is. Todd [Okuhara] and Phil [Shuler, crew chiefs] both told me if it sticks, hang on because it’s going to run. I’ve heard that from them before, and it’s usually right.”
Massey, who leads the points standings with three victories in four finals this season, said it was an amazing run from his viewpoint.
“It left, and it started quivering the tires a little bit when it started setting the front end down, and I’m just going, ‘Don’t smoke, don’t smoke, don’t smoke,’ and it made it,” Massey said. “Once it made it past that point, I knew it was going to be killer. I didn’t think it was going to be .72. I figured maybe a .73 and change, but a .72 with an eight came up on the board, and I watched it go past when I crossed the finish line. Trust me, it was like winning a race jumping out at the top end. It’s amazing to have a great group of crew guys and crew chiefs back there that can put my entire race car together and give me a chance to do what I just did.”
Capps became the second Funny Car driver in history to post a three-second time when he finished his qualifying attempt in 3.964 seconds at 320.89 in his NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger. His teammate, Matt Hagan, was the first Funny Car driver to post a three-second run, with a 3.995 second effort, last September in Charlotte, N.C.
“It still hasn’t sunk in,” Capps said. “My teammate [Matt] Hagan came over and high-fived me and about hurt my arm. I just can’t believe it. We rolled up there and guys kept throwing down quicker and quicker numbers. It was like a video game. We were the next pair and we saw the .02 and the .01 pop up, and at that point Rahn [Tobler, crew chief] said, ‘Strap in as tight as you’ve ever been because we’re going for it.’ John Collins [assistant crew chief] was on the radio screaming something, something, six, and I was hoping it wasn’t a 4.06, so I screamed back, ‘Now before I get out of the car and make an idiot of myself on the other end, you’re saying 3.96, right?’ And he was screaming, so that’s when I knew. What a feeling.”
Like Top Fuel, the Funny Car session was very quick as well. More than 10 of the cars posted runs in the 4.0 second range. Robert Hight was second in the Auto Club Ford Mustang with a 4.013 at 318.02 and Johnny Gray was third in his Service Central Charger with a 4.022 at 318.84.
“Believe me, if we have the clouds and stuff tomorrow like could happen, this track is legendary when it cools off,” said Capps, who has advanced to the last four final rounds and is second in the points standings. “It’s legendary anyway, but it’s neat to get this historic track a record like that because it deserves it.”
Defending Pro Stock world champ Line sped to the top spot in the factory hot rod category with a 6.518 at 212.16 in his Summit Racing Pontiac GXP.
“I should have my new Camaro in Bristol, but I am still liking my old car,” Line said. “We slipped the clutch just a little, but it was a good run. I don’t know if it will be good enough to hold up tomorrow but I’m happy with it. To be honest, we should have run a little faster than that. This track is fast and as long as we don’t have rain, it might be even faster tomorrow.”
Topeka winner Allen Johnson was second in his Team Mopar Dodge Avenger with a 6.528 at 211.56 and 2009 world champ Mike Edwards was third, pushing his Penhall/Interstate Batteries Pontiac to a 6.529 at 211.73.
Krawiec, an Englishtown native and former track manager here, powered his Screamin’ Eagle/Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson to a track record performance of 6.782 at 197.48 to lead the Pro Stock Motorcycle category.
“It’s a great feeling to be back out here making runs,” Krawiec said. “When you run so good off the trailer, it always sets the tone for the weekend. Our bike is running really well lately. I have an awesome motorcycle. It’s fun to ride, and it’s very consistent and smooth. That lets me do my job.”
Hector Arana took the second spot on his Lucas Oil Buell with a 6.836 at 195.42 while his son, Hector Arana Jr., was third with a 6.856 at 194.21, also on a Lucas Oil Buell.
“I’d love to stay No. 1, but qualifying really doesn’t mean much,” said series points leader Krawiec, a two-time winner this season who has never won at his home track. “I want to make good consistent clean runs on race day. Having fast bike helps, but making good runs is the most important thing.”
Qualifying continues Saturday with sessions at noon and 2:30 p.m. Sunday’s eliminations start at 11 a.m.
THURSDAY: HILL, KENNEY AND FICACCI LEAD SPORTSMAN QUALIFYING
Eleven pairs into Toyota NHRA Supernationals Competition Eliminator qualifying, Calvin Hill drove his I/Altered Automatic Pontiac past Pat Ross for the top spot during Thursday qualifying. Hill turned in an 8.044 elapsed time at 165.54 miles per hour to run -.656 under his index to edge David Rampy, who finished second with a 7.208, -.632 effort.
Rampy bumped into the second spot by knocking down Al Ackerman, who ended the day at third with his F/Dragster, posting a 7.969, -.631.
The Comp cars have one session left on Friday before heading into final eliminations.
Super Stock waged a fierce battle in two sessions and it was Bo Kenney topping all class cars regardless of eliminator by blistering the SSA/A index with a -1.102 effort and 8.598 elapsed time. John Armstrong, also in SSA/A ran -.976 under in his 1969 Corvette.
Stock eliminator was the one sportsman division to complete three sessions on Thursday. David Ficacci’s classic Camaro, running as a B/Stock Automatic was the only car in qualifying to exceed one second under his index with a -1.073 effort and 10.177 elapsed time. Kenney, who provisionally leads Super Stock, finished second in Stock with a 9.305, -.995 effort.
Sportsman qualifying resumes on Friday morning in Englishtown, NJ.
COMP (After two sessions)
1 16 I/AA Calvin Hill, Tamaqua PA, '09 Pontiac 8.044 8.70 -0.656
2 4 A/EA David Rampy, Piedmont AL, '32 Bantam 7.208 7.84 -0.632
3 18 F/D Al Ackerman, Saddle Brook NJ, ProStart-Ch 7.969 8.60 -0.631
4 15 F/ED Frank Aragona, Freehold NJ, Ken Keir-Mopar 8.088 8.71 -0.622
5 23 D/AA Arnie Martel, Tewksbury MA, '07 GTO 7.558 8.17 -0.612
6 3002 F/A Pat Ross, Avon Lake OH, '05 Grand Am 7.979 8.58 -0.601
7 2 D/EA Sal Biondo, Middle Village NY, '07 Cavali 8.179 8.78 -0.601
8 1781 B/EA Dan Fletcher, Churchville NY, '08 Cobalt 7.722 8.31 -0.588
9 104 B/EA Frank Affronti, Ontario NY, '05 Cavalier 7.737 8.31 -0.573
10 1981 G/EA Steve Szupka, Willow Grove PA, '32 Bantam 8.216 8.78 -0.564
SUPER STOCK (After two sessions)
1 1273 SSA/A Bo Kenney, Manassas VA, '12 Mustang 8.598 9.70 -1.102
2 1116 SSA/A John Armstrong, Kingston NS, '69 Corvette 8.724 9.70 -0.976
3 340 GT/EA Rich South, Pataskala OH, '08 G5 9.676 10.65 -0.974
4 1923 SS/OA Richard Diorio, E Brunswick NJ, '56 Chevy 11.346 12.30 -0.954
5 201 GT/FA Herbie Null, Greencastle PA, '87 Camaro 9.848 10.80 -0.952
6 16 GT/EA Jacques Blais, Tolland CT, '98 Mustang 9.701 10.65 -0.949
7 1027 GT/TC Mark LaBrecque, W. Springfield MA, '00 S- 10.164 11.10 -0.936
8 1924 SS/DA John Kakalecik, Whitehouse Stn NJ, '70 Ba 9.279 10.20 -0.921
9 7701 GT/AA Don Kennedy, Mesa AZ, '05 Sunfire 9.183 10.10 -0.917
10 171 SS/TB Mark Markow, East Hartford CT, '00 S-10 9.049 9.95 -0.901
1 1013 B/SA David Ficacci, Whippany NJ, '69 Camaro 10.177 11.25 -1.073
2 2730 BB/SA Bo Kenney, Manassas VA, '08 Mustang 9.305 10.30 -0.995
3 154 AA/SA Anthony Fetch, Clifton NJ, '12 Mustang 9.012 10.00 -0.988
4 1587 AA/S Don Fezell, DuBois PA, '08 Mustang 9.028 10.00 -0.972
5 1044 A/SA John Shaul, Fultonham NY, '64 Sport Fury 10.036 11.00 -0.964
6 1010 C/SA Mike Ficacci, East Hanover NJ, '72 Corvet 10.441 11.40 -0.959
7 1811 B/SA Robbie Hudlow, Monrovia MD, '67 Mustang 10.304 11.25 -0.946
8 1117 B/SA Wayne Totaro, Baltimore MD, '02 Firebird 10.314 11.25 -0.936
9 1021 J/SA Eugene Monahan, Brockton MA, '89 Firebird 11.515 12.45 -0.935
10 1134 B/SA Tom Kreeber, Rensselaer NY, '62 Fury 10.316 11.25 -0.934
|< Prev||Next >|