The 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season is off and rolling. In the second event of the season, the 34th annual NHRA Arizona Nationals in Phoenix, AZ, Pro Stock driver Chris McGaha, Funny Car driver Courtney Force, and Top Fuel driver Steve Torrence all hoisted Wally trophies as winners in their respective classes.
Chris McGaha Notches 6th Career Victory
McGaha drove to the winner’s circle with a 6.529 at 211.59 run in his Chevrolet Camaro to defeat Jason Line in the final round. He secured his sixth career victory and first since winning the Four-Wide Nationals last season in Charlotte, NC.
“We picked up some power this offseason that we’ve been looking for but when we went #1 in the first round of qualifying we knew we had something that could compete,” McGaha said. “It’s really satisfying to do this as a one car team, and it’s really special to get our first win of the year.”
McGaha, who qualified seventh, was victorious against Tanner Gray, Erica Enders, and Alex Laughlin as he earned his first win of the season.
Line qualified fifth on the weekend and beat Vincent Nobile, teammate Greg Anderson, and #1-qualifier Deric Kramer as he notched his second consecutive runner-up finish to open the year.
Courtney Force Wins Funny Car for 1st Win Since 2016
Force emerged victorious with a run of 3.834 seconds at 337.16 mph in her Chevy Camaro to take down Tommy Johnson Jr. in the final round. After earning the No. 1 qualifier on Saturday, Force secured her first victory since Houston 2016.
“Having [crew chief] Brian Corradi on my team and working with Dan Hood has been a great connection for our entire team,” Force said. “I had the utmost confidence to get in the car today because of the job my team does on it, so to get a victory at this race and take home a Wally at the end of the weekend is pretty incredible.”
After setting both ends of the track record on Saturday, Force took down Del Worsham and Matt Hagan before taking a solo pass in the semifinals as she raced to her first win in 2018.
Tommy Johnson Jr. overcame defending Funny Car world champion Robert Hight, Richard Townsend and Shawn Langdon en route to his first final round of 2018.
Torrence Earns First Top Fuel Win in Phoenix
Torrence powered his dragster to the Top Fuel victory with a run of 3.729 at 330.72 to take down Scott Palmer in the final round. After locking down a career-best eight victories in 2017, Torrence recorded a victory in Phoenix for the first time in his career.
“There is no easy round in this Top Fuel class anymore, you can’t take anybody lightly but it was a heck of a day with some pretty great races,” Torrence said. “The round against my dad is one that ranks up there that you remember as a high note that you remember of your career.”
Torrence qualified second on the weekend and defeated Steve Chrisman, Blake Alexander and his father, Billy Torrence, on his path to victory.
Palmer secured the #12 qualifying spot and took down Richie Crampton, Leah Pritchett, and Greg Carrillo as he reached the first final round of his career in Top Fuel.
The third race of the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series is the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals, scheduled for March 15-18 in Gainesville, FL.
NHRA Pro Stock Point Standings
1. Jason Line 195 2. Deric Kramer 154 3. Chris McGaha 152 4. Bo Butner 149 5. Alex Laughlin 136
NHRA Funny Car Point Standings
1. Matt Hagan 179 2. Courtney Force 160 3. Ron Capps 139 4. Robert Hight 133 5. Tommy Johnson Jr. 128
NHRA Top Fuel Point Standings
1. Steve Torrence 183 2. Doug Kalitta 144 3. Tony Schumacher 140 4. Scott Palmer 139 5. Antron Brown 133