Steve Torrence earned his fifth Top Fuel win of the season Sunday at the 20th annual Fallen Patriots NHRA Route 66 Nationals at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, IL.
Ron Capps in Funny Car, Drew Skillman in Pro Stock, and LE Tonglet in Pro Stock Motorcycle, were also winners in their respective categories at the 13th of 24 events scheduled for the 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.
Top Fuel points leader Torrence secured the win with a run of 3.779 seconds at 326.08 miles per hour in his dragster to take down Antron Brown after he ran a 3.786 at 326.71 in the final round. Torrence notched his 13th career victory and his third in the past four events.
“I knew Antron [Brown] was going to bring his best, because when we race each other we are both at our best,” Torrence said. “When I go up to the line I only think about racing my car and trying to beat everybody, and with the car that I have right now I feel like we can beat anybody at any time.”
Torrence qualified fourth and defeated Scott Palmer, Blake Alexander and T.J. Zizzo on the way to victory. Brown qualified seventh and defeated Doug Kalitta, Leah Pritchett, and Clay Millican before reaching his sixth final round of the season.
Pritchett remains narrowly in second place after a quarterfinal appearance. Teammate Brown trails by just two points for the second spot in the standings.
Capps Wins #6 of 2017 in Funny Car
Funny Car points leader Capps locked down his sixth victory of the season after a 4.026 at 319.67 in his Dodge Charger R/T to defeat teammate Tommy Johnson Jr. who ran a 4.047 at 319.90 in his Dodge Charger R/T in the final round. Capps has reached three final rounds in the past four races, winning twice.
“This has been a season that I could not even dream about, coming off a championship and having that four-win winning streak early in the season, it’s been incredible,” Capps said. “This is not an easy place to drive since it demands a lot out of you, but my team did a great job of making adjustments.”
Capps qualified ninth and defeated Jonnie Lindberg, Jim Campbell and Matt Hagan before reaching his eighth final round of the season. Johnson Jr. qualified sixth and took down John Force, J.R. Todd, and Tim Wilkerson before appearing in his second final round of 2017.
Capps holds a 200-point lead over second-place Matt Hagan, who fell in the semifinals. Jack Beckman sits in third place after making a quarterfinal appearance.
Skillman Gets First Win of Season in Pro Stock
In Pro Stock, Skillman notched his first victory of the season after driving to a 6.627 at 209.23 in his Chevy Camaro to defeat Erica Enders who ran a 6.655 at 207.37 in her Camaro in the final. Skillman became the ninth different winner in Pro Stock in 13 events, earning his fourth career victory.
“We’ve struggled all year, but we finally put everything together and took things round-by-round,” Skillman said. “The Pro Stock division is so close now, but I definitely feel like we have finally gotten where we deserve to be with this win.”
Skillman qualified third and defeated Shane Tucker, Tanner Gray and points-leader Bo Butner en route to his second final-round appearance of 2017. Enders reached her third final round of the season after qualifying ninth and defeating Chris McGaha, Greg Anderson, and Jason Line.
Butner remains in the top spot of the Pro Stock standings after the semifinal appearance, while Anderson and Tanner Gray round out the top three. Skillman’s victory puts him eighth in the standings, while Enders now sits at sixth after her second runner-up finish of the season.
Tonglet Makes it 4 for 6 in Pro Stock Motorcycle
Pro Stock Motorcycle points leader Tonglet secured his fourth win in six events with a 6.835 at 195.99 on his Suzuki to defeat Hector Arana Jr., who ran a 6.878 at 193.29 on his Buell, in the finals. This is Tonglet’s first victory at Route 66 Raceway since he went back-to-back in 2010-11. He has now earned victories in all four of his final-round appearances this season.
“We knew we had a good bike at the start of the season, but it was just a matter of getting tuned up as we learn more about the bike each week,” Tonglet said. “On Sunday, our goal is to get win lights, so I’ve improved on being calm and staying focused to try and get the job done.”
Tonglet earned the #1 qualifier position and defeated Cory Reed, Scotty Pollacheck, and Karen Stoffer on his way to victory. Arana Jr. notched the second spot in qualifying, defeating Angelle Sampey, Angie Smith, and Eddie Krawiec before earning his second runner-up finish of the season.
Krawiec remains in second following the semifinal appearance. Arana Jr. moves to third with the runner-up, surpassing Pollacheck who fell to fourth.
The 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season continues July 21-23 with the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, CO.
NHRA Pro Stock Point Standings
1. Bo Butner 1,148 2. Greg Anderson 1,009 3. Tanner Gray 944 4. Jason Line 856 Jeg Coughlin 856
NHRA Funny Car Point Standings
1. Ron Capps 1,208 2. Matt Hagan 1,022 3. Jack Beckman 914 4. Robert Hight 853 5. Tommy Johnson Jr. 833
NHRA Top Fuel Point Standings
1. Steve Torrence 1,188 2. Leah Pritchett 1,087 3. Antron Brown 1,085 4. Tony Schumacher 894 5. Doug Kalitta 813
NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle Point Standings
1. LE Tonglet 601 2. Eddie Krawiec 460 3. Hector Arana Jr. 419 4. Scotty Pollacheck 381 5. Jerry Savoie 379
Drag Race Central and NHRA contributed to this report.