Motorsports

NHRA Wrap-Up: Millican, Capps & Laughlin Win Thunder Valley Nationals

 
nhra thunder valley nationals winners 2017

(Image/NHRA)

Clay Millican piloted his dragster to his first career Top Fuel victory Sunday at the 17th annual NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway.

Ron Capps in Funny Car and Alex Laughlin in Pro Stock were also winners in their respective categories at the 11th of 24 races on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.

Millican, a Tennessee native, raced a 3.825-second pass at 316.38 miles per hour to defeat Leah Pritchett, who made a 3.881-second, 307.09 mph pass in her dragster. He became the 103rd different driver to win in Top Fuel. This was Millican’s 254th NHRA Top Fuel start and the ninth final round of his career.

“I love what I do,” Millican said. “There were times I wondered if this was ever going to happen. I don’t deserve this credit. I’m really happy for David Grubnic and all of the boys who work on this car and I mean that 100-percent.”

Millican battled past Kyle Wurtzel, Brittany Force and Steve Torrence en route to the finals. Pritchett squared up against Troy Coughlin, Scott Palmer and Shawn Langdon before falling to Millican in the final round. Millican is seventh in points, and Pritchett moved from third to second with the runner-up finish. Torrence now has possession of the Top Fuel points lead.

Capps Wins Funny Car

Defending Funny Car world champion Capps raced to his fifth victory this season and 55th of his career in his Dodge Charger R/T. He won on a holeshot against Don Schumacher Racing teammate Jack Beckman in his Dodge Charger R/T with a pass of 4.054 at 317.05.

“We’ve gotten a few lucky rounds, but it’s been preparation in the off season,” Capps said. “We had runs on Sunday against four of the toughest cars, drivers and crew chiefs combined. You read down the list of people we had to beat in a new car that was prepared. There are not very many teams that are that prepared to pull a car out and have a quicker set-up than we were.”

Capps ties John Force with most Funny Car victories at Bristol Dragway with four apiece on their resume.

Before entering the final round, Capps defeated Alexis DeJoria, Robert Hight and teammate Matt Hagan. Beckman sailed past Cruz Pedregon, Courtney Force and teammate Tommy Johnson Jr. before seeing Capps for the second consecutive final round. Beckman defeated Capps in the finals at the event in Englishtown.

Laughlin Wins Second Career Wally in Pro Stock

In Pro Stock, Laughlin clinched his first Wally of the season and second of his career with a perfect reaction time in the finals. He powered his Chevrolet Camaro to a 6.718 at 205.04 to defeat Bo Butner in his Chevy Camaro. Laughlin is the eighth different Pro Stock winner this season.

“We didn’t really have anything handed to us; we had some good matchups all day,” Laughlin said. “I definitely feel like I had a point to prove. We have a competitive car on the starting line. I came into this weekend with the confidence to win.”

Laughlin raced past Allen Johnson, #1 qualifier Jeg Coughlin, and rookie Tanner Gray before facing Butner in the final round. Butner lined up against Wally Stroupe and two-time world champion Erica Enders en route to his fourth final round appearance this season.

The 2017 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season continues at the 11th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals June 22-25 at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park in Norwalk, OH.

NHRA Pro Stock Point Standings

1. Bo Butner            945
2. Greg Anderson        835
3. Tanner Gray          830
4. Jeg Coughlin         766
5. Jason Line           702

NHRA Funny Car Point Standings

1. Ron Capps          1,044
2. Matt Hagan           881
3. Jack Beckman         748
4. Robert Hight         707
5. Courtney Force       704

NHRA Top Fuel Point Standings

1. Steve Torrence       954
2. Leah Pritchett       943
3. Antron Brown         934
4. Tony Schumacher      801
5. Doug Kalitta         678

NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle Point Standings

1. Eddie Krawiec        358
2. LE Tonglet           356
3. Jerry Savoie         322
4. Andew Hines          263
5. Scotty Pollacheck    250

Drag Race Central and NHRA contributed to this report.

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