Courtney Force was able to build on her Funny Car points lead Sunday at the inaugural NHRA Virginia Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park, bringing home her fourth Funny Car victory of the season.
Steve Torrence in Top Fuel, Tanner Gray in Pro Stock, and LE Tonglet in Pro Stock Motorcycle were also winners in their respective categories at the 10th of 24 events on the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.
The Virginia Nationals in Dinwiddie, VA is the event that was added to the NHRA calendar to replace NHRA Summer Nationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, NJ which had previously occupied this race weekend for the past 48 years.
Force’s 4.039-second pass at 321.96 miles per hour in her Chevrolet Camaro SS was enough to take down her father, John Force, in the final round on Sunday.
“It was really exciting for us to be part of an all John Force Racing final, but to have my team tuning this car so well all weekend helped get us a win here,” Courtney Force said. “We just have to maintain our focus throughout the season and keep performing well as a driver as we prepare for the Countdown to the Championship.”
This marked the 50th time in the history of John Force Racing that two team cars faced off in the final. She took down Jeff Diehl, Jim Campbell, and J.R. Todd on her road to victory.
Torrence Nabs Top Fuel Win #4 in 2018
Torrence powered to the Top Fuel win with a run of 3.812 at 322.96 in his dragster to take down Doug Kalitta in the finals. The current points leader in the class notched his fourth victory of the year and the 20th of his career in his 200th race as a Top Fuel competitor.
“We didn’t qualify exactly where we wanted to, but at the end of the day we were in the right spot to win the race so I was proud of my team,” Torrence said. “This is one of the best racetracks I’ve ever been down because it’s so smooth, I really enjoyed coming back here where my Top Fuel career started.”
Torrence qualified sixth for the event and defeated Scott Palmer, Terry McMillen, and Antron Brown en route to victory.
Kalitta secured his second runner-up of the season and first since Charlotte, as he is still aiming for his first win since the season-opening Pomona event.
T. Gray Wins 2nd Pro Stock Race of Season
Gray was able to take down two-time world champion Erica Enders in the final round for his seventh career victory and second of the season. His 6.595 at 208.81 in his Chevy Camaro made him just the second Pro Stock competitor to reach the winner’s circle twice in 2018.
“Every time we match up with Erica it makes for some good racing, it’s a lot of fun getting to race the two-time champion,” Gray said. “It means a lot to get a win in my first time at the track, so it’s fun to get a win here in Virginia especially since it isn’t far from my home.”
He took down Kenny Delco, Vincent Nobile, and Drew Skillman to lock down the win.
Enders now has three runner-up finishes on the year to go along with a victory in Charlotte, as her four final rounds are the most in the class in 2018.
Tonglet Wins Pro Stock Motorcycle
Tonglet earned his first victory of the season in Pro Stock Motorcycle, using a 6.841 at 196.76 on his Suzuki to take down points leader Andrew Hines in the finals.
“Getting this win was huge, especially going against a Harley-Davidson bike because we know they are always going to be tough to beat,” Tonglet said. “Our bike is just flying and is fun to ride right now.”
After qualifying fifth, he bested John Hall, defending champion Eddie Krawiec, and #1 qualifier Hector Arana Jr. to notch the win.
Hines now has three runner-up appearances on the season, as he still chases his first win of the year.
The 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season continues at Bristol Dragway in Bristol, TN June 15-17.
NHRA Pro Stock Point Standings
1. Greg Anderson 720 2. Vincent Nobile 703 3. Tanner Gray 693 4. Erica Enders 686 5. Bo Butner 610
NHRA Funny Car Point Standings
1. Courtney Force 856 2. Jack Beckman 683 3. Robert Hight 665 4. Matt Hagan 633 5. J.R. Todd 615
NHRA Top Fuel Point Standings
1. Steve Torrence 827 2. Clay Millican 719 3. Doug Kalitta 665 4. Tony Schumacher 641 5. Leah Pritchett 639
NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle Point Standings
1. Andrew Hines 454 2. Eddie Krawiec 401 3. LE Tonglet 367 4. Scotty Pollacheck 332 5. Hector Arana Jr. 317
Drag Race Central and NHRA contributed to this report.