NHRA winners circle 2017 Midwest Nationals Gateway Motorsports Park

Left-to-right, Steve Torrence (Top Fuel), Ron Capps (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock), and LE Tonglet (Pro Stock Motorcycle) claimed victory Sunday. All four NHRA racers are positioned to fight for the championship in their respective categories with just three races to go in the 2017 NHRA Countdown to the Championship. (Image/NHRA)

NHRA Pro Stock driver Greg Anderson outdueled his teammate and defending category champion Jason Line in an all-Team Summit final on Sunday at the NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, IL near St. Louis, MO.

Anderson’s third win of the season moved the four-time NHRA Pro Stock champ to the category points lead with just three races to go in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship.

Ron Capps and Steve Torrence continued the annihilation of their respective classes, both securing their eighth win of 2017. True to form, LE Tonglet won his sixth Wally of 2017 in Pro Stock Motorcycle which runs fewer events than the car classes.

Anderson won the Pro Stock final with a run of 6.571 seconds at 210.73 miles per hour in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro to beat Line’s 6.545 at 211.26 in his Chevy Camaro. It was the 89th win of Anderson’s phenomenal career—now just three wins shy of tying David Rampy’s 92 wins for #5 on NHRA’s all-time wins list.

“It’s hard to win out here,” Anderson said. “I knew I was in deep in the final and knew it was going to take a stroke of luck, to be honest with you, to win it. I’d had a great race car, but didn’t have the total package. It’s been an up-and-down kind-of year, but you have to peak going into the playoffs and obviously I have.”

Anderson was the #1 qualifier in Pro Stock and continued his strong weekend with victories over Dave River, Larry Morgan, and Brian Self before reaching his 10th final round of 2017. Line earned the third spot in qualifying and defeated Alan Prusiensky, Deric Kramer, and Bo Butner on the way to his second final round of the season.

Unstoppable Capps Wins #8 of 2017 in Funny Car

In Funny Car, Capps took down rookie Jonnie Lindberg with a 3.879 pass at 331.53 in his Dodge Charger R/T to secure his category-best eighth victory of the season and 58th of his career. He maintains the points lead and continues to pursue back-to-back world championships.

“The toughest cars in the Countdown are the ones that didn’t make the Countdown,” Capps said. “We saw that today with Lindberg and Alexis’ (DeJoria) car. We fear them more so than we do a lot of the Countdown cars because you’re trying to race smart. We’re just trying to get as many points as we can get.”

Capps entered Sunday as the No. 3 qualifier before defeating Jim Campbell, teammate Jack Beckman, and 16-time world champion John Force on his way to his 11th final round of the year. Lindberg qualified fifth and was victorious against Tim Wilkerson, Alexis DeJoria, and top-qualifier Robert Hight.

Torrence’s Domination of Top Fuel Continues

Torrence raced to his eighth victory of the year with a 3.684-second pass at 329.34 in his dragster to take down Doug Kalitta, who ran a 3.698 at 331.28 in his dragster in the final found. Torrence eighth win of 2017 doubled his career victory total to 16 Wallys.

“We got here by doing what we do all year long and doing it ourselves,” Torrence said. “We went out and we just took those guys out and put them back in the trailer. We’re leaving here with a bigger points lead and a trophy. You’re going to have to come in here and do everything you can to get every possible point because this thing could come down to one or two points at the end of the season.”

Torrence qualified seventh and took down Shawn Langdon, Leah Pritchett, and defending world champion Antron Brown on the way to his 11th final round this season. Kalitta qualified in the #2 position and defeated Scott Palmer, Brittany Force, and Dom Lagana and as he reached his third finals round of the season.

Tonglet Keeps Championship Dreams Alive with Pro Stock Motorcycle Win

Tonglet rode to the Pro Stock Motorcycle victory with a 6.792 at 197.91 on his Suzuki to better top qualifier Andrew Hines on his Harley-Davidson in the finals. He earned his sixth Wally of the season and 16th of his career.

“You’ve just got to stay calm and go rounds,” Tonglet said. “This is make-or-break for us. We felt that if we lost this race, our Championship hunt was over. We just haven’t been qualifying that great, but Tim (Kulungian, crew chief) figures it out by Sunday and it just hauls butt and we’re able to get round wins.”

Tonglet qualified seventh before taking down Joey Gladstone, Eddie Krawiec, and Matt Smith en route to the finals. Hines bested Andrew Rawlings, Kate Stoffer, and Scotty Pollacheck to reach his third final-round appearance this season.

Three events remain on the 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season schedule. The Countdown to the Championship will continue October 12-15 with the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals at Texas Motorplex in Dallas, TX.

NHRA Pro Stock Point Standings

1. Greg Anderson      2,393
2. Bo Butner          2,390
3. Jason Line         2,317
4. Tanner Gray        2,299
5. Drew Skillman      2,208

NHRA Funny Car Point Standings

1. Ron Capps          2,395
2. Robert Hight       2,349
3. Courtney Force     2,287
4. Matt Hagan         2,238
5. Jack Beckman       2,228

NHRA Top Fuel Point Standings

1. Steve Torrence     2,376
2. Doug Kalitta       2,334
3. Brittany Force     2,293
4. Antron Brown       2,282
5. Clay Millican      2,235

NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle Point Standings

1. Eddie Krawiec      2,378
2. LE Tonglet         2,362
3. Andrew Hines       2,306
4. Hector Arana Jr.   2,263
5. Jerry Savoie       2,261

Drag Race Central and NHRA contributed to this report.