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C. Force, Torrence and McGaha secure victories at NHRA Arizona Nationals

by Mike Haag | Posted on Sunday, February 25th, 2018

Steve Torrence, Courtney Force and Chris McGaha. NHRA photo

 

Courtesy of the NHRA

CHANDLER, Ariz. — The second event of the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series concluded Sunday as Courtney Force took home the Funny Car victory at the 34th annual NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park.

Courtney Force. NHRA photo

Steve Torrence (Top Fuel) and Chris McGaha (Pro Stock) are also winners in their respective categories at the second of 24 events on the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.

Force emerged victorious with a run of 3.834 seconds at 337.16 mph in her Advance Auto Parts 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.”

Courtney Force. NHRA photo

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.

John Force was involved in an incident during the second round of eliminations Sunday after his Peak Chevrolet Camaro SS suffered an engine explosion, went out of control, made contact with the retaining wall and collided with Jonnie Lindberg. Force was responsive, speaking with medical personnel, and was transported to a local hospital for evaluation.

Torrence powered his Capco Contractors/Torrence Racing 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.

Steve Torrence. NHRA photo

“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 No. 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.

Chris McGaha. NHRA photo

In Pro Stock, McGaha drove to the winner’s circle with a 6.529 at 211.59 run in his Harlow Sammons 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.

“We picked up some power this offseason that we’ve been looking for but when we went No. 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 was the No. 7 qualifier as he was victorious against Tanner Gray, Erica Enders and Alex Laughlin as he earned his first victory of the season.

Line qualified fifth on the weekend and beat Vincent Nobile, teammate Greg Anderson and No. 1 qualifier Deric Kramer as he notched his second consecutive runner-up finish to open the year.

The 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season continues with the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway March 15-18 in Gainesville, Fla.

Steve Torrence. NHRA photo

 

Chris McGaha. NHRA photo

 

Media Center Interviews:

Steve  Torrence –

 

Courtney Force –

 

Chris McGaha –

 

CHANDLER, Ariz. — Final finish order (1-16) at the 34th annual NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park. The race is the second of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. 

TOP FUEL:

  1. Steve Torrence; 2. Scott Palmer; 3. Billy Torrence; 4. Greg Carrillo; 5. Blake Alexander; 6. Brittany Force; 7. Antron Brown; 8. Leah Pritchett; 9. Mike Salinas; 10. Troy Buff; 11. Tony Schumacher; 12. Richie Crampton; 13. Clay Millican; 14. Doug Kalitta; 15. Terry McMillen; 16. Steven Chrisman.

FUNNY CAR:

  1. Courtney Force; 2. Tommy Johnson Jr.; 3. Shawn Langdon; 4. John Force; 5. Matt Hagan; 6. Ron Capps; 7. Richard Townsend; 8. Jonnie Lindberg; 9. J.R. Todd; 10. Tim Wilkerson; 11. Robert Hight; 12. Bob Tasca III; 13. Del Worsham; 14. Cruz Pedregon; 15. Jeff Diehl; 16. Jack Beckman.

PRO STOCK:

  1. Chris McGaha; 2. Jason Line; 3. Alex Laughlin; 4. Deric Kramer; 5. Greg Anderson; 6. Drew Skillman; 7. Erica Enders; 8. Jeg Coughlin; 9. Bo Butner; 10. Val Smeland; 11. Kenny Delco; 12. Tanner Gray; 13. Alan Prusiensky; 14. Steve Graham; 15. Matt Hartford; 16. Vincent Nobile.

CHANDLER, Ariz. — Sunday’s final results from the 34th annual NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park. The race is the second of 24 in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series:

Top Fuel — Steve Torrence, 3.729 seconds, 330.72 mph def. Scott Palmer, 6.449 seconds, 102.70 mph.

Funny Car — Courtney Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.834, 337.16 def. Tommy Johnson Jr., Dodge Charger, 6.814, 101.57.

Pro Stock — Chris McGaha, Chevy Camaro, 6.529, 211.59 def. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.538, 210.14.

Top Fuel Harley — Tii Tharpe, Harley, 6.337, 217.39 def. Jay Turner, Harley, Broke.

Super Stock — Justin Lamb, Chevy Cobalt, 8.513, 149.02 def. Mike Cotten, Plymouth Barracuda, 10.025, 130.99.

Stock Eliminator — Jody Lang, Chevy Malibu Wagon, 12.328, 94.78 def. Brian McClanahan, Chevy Camaro, Foul – Red Light.

Super Comp — Trevor Harkema, Dragster, 8.968, 172.08 def. Glenn Kern, Dragster, 8.927, 170.79.

Super Gas — Todd Barton, Chevy Bel Air, 9.905, 151.56 def. Val Torres, Chevy Corvette, 9.899, 159.63.

Super Street — David Kiesel, Chevy Vega, 10.895, 133.17 def. Chris Borges, Chevy Chevelle, 10.890, 137.37.

Top Dragster presented by RacingRVs.com — Paul Nero, Dragster, 6.760, 195.62 def. Rodger Comstock, Dragster, 6.817, 198.50.

Top Sportsman presented by RacingRVs.com — Bryan Warr, Chevy Corvette, 6.978, 196.22 def. Bud Preuss, Chevy Camaro, 6.851, 202.55.

CHANDLER, Ariz. — Final round-by-round results from the 34th annual NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, the second of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series:

TOP FUEL:

ROUND ONE — Antron Brown, 8.756, 79.76 def. Mike Salinas, Foul – Red Light; Blake Alexander, 3.848, 322.27 def. Terry McMillen, 11.728, 65.81; Brittany Force, 3.724, 293.66 def. Clay Millican, 5.154, 135.70; Leah Pritchett, 3.679, 333.08 def. Troy Buff, 3.823, 314.75; Greg Carrillo, 4.223, 221.27 def. Tony Schumacher, 4.858, 189.66; Steve Torrence, 3.705, 330.07 def. Steven Chrisman, 14.505, 71.18; Scott Palmer, 3.768, 325.45 def. Richie Crampton, 5.061, 144.95; Billy Torrence, 6.570, 138.34 def. Doug Kalitta, 6.714, 154.46;

QUARTERFINALS — Carrillo, 4.054, 284.21 def. Brown, 6.793, 120.75; B. Torrence, 3.723, 320.74 def. Force, 4.661, 156.12; S. Torrence, 3.690, 331.36 def. Alexander, 3.784, 306.19; Palmer, 3.844, 325.85 def. Pritchett, 7.962, 86.85;

SEMIFINALS — Palmer, 3.853, 322.11 def. Carrillo, 4.999, 147.25; S. Torrence, 3.722, 328.86 def. B. Torrence, 3.726, 328.54;

FINAL — S. Torrence, 3.729, 330.72 def. Palmer, 6.449, 102.70.

FUNNY CAR:

ROUND ONE — Jonnie Lindberg, Toyota Camry, 4.618, 283.67 def. Bob Tasca III, Ford Mustang, 4.862, 225.03; Ron Capps, Dodge Charger, 3.908, 325.30 def. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.091, 256.89; Courtney Force, Chevy Camaro, 4.334, 228.61 def. Del Worsham, Camry, 5.084, 167.47; Richard Townsend, Camry, 5.503, 179.90 def. Jack Beckman, Charger, Broke; John Force, Camaro, 5.715, 224.51 def. Jeff Diehl, Camry, 7.620, 124.46; Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.715, 225.60 def. Robert Hight, Camaro, 4.806, 273.44; Shawn Langdon, Camry, 3.965, 328.22 def. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 5.112, 152.95; Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.910, 331.85 def. J.R. Todd, Camry, 4.017, 320.66;

QUARTERFINALS — Langdon, 3.927, 328.14 def. Capps, 4.651, 182.30; J. Force, 4.139, 278.75 def. Lindberg, No Time Recorded; Johnson Jr., 4.454, 244.74 def. Townsend, 5.174, 144.52; C. Force, 3.965, 319.14 def. Hagan, 4.480, 192.19;

SEMIFINALS — C. Force, 3.938, 327.90 def. J. Force, Broke – No Show; Johnson Jr., 3.916, 328.46 def. Langdon, 3.958, 325.77;

FINAL — C. Force, 3.834, 337.16 def. Johnson Jr., 6.814, 101.57.

PRO STOCK:

ROUND ONE — Drew Skillman, Chevy Camaro, 6.536, 210.34 def. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 16.184, 50.25; Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.553, 211.73 def. Tanner Gray, Camaro, 6.642, 209.82; Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 6.574, 209.49 def. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.555, 211.03; Jason Line, Camaro, 6.552, 210.08 def. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, Broke; Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.676, 202.58 def. Alan Prusiensky, Dodge Dart, 8.557, 112.00; Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.628, 208.88 def. Val Smeland, Camaro, 6.609, 203.06; Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.561, 209.92 def. Steve Graham, Camaro, 9.567, 96.49; Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.552, 211.46 def. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.622, 207.94;

QUARTERFINALS — Laughlin, 6.577, 209.92 def. Coughlin, 6.590, 209.69; McGaha, 6.561, 211.93 def. Enders, 6.549, 210.14; Line, 6.548, 210.37 def. Anderson, 6.541, 211.00; Kramer, 6.542, 210.67 def. Skillman, 6.548, 210.54;

SEMIFINALS — McGaha, 6.562, 211.83 def. Laughlin, 6.574, 210.21; Line, 6.552, 210.41 def. Kramer, Foul – Red Light;

FINAL — McGaha, 6.529, 211.59 def. Line, 6.538, 210.14.

CHANDLER, Ariz. — Point standings (top 10) following the 34th annual NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, the second of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series –

Top Fuel

  1. Steve Torrence, 183; 2. Doug Kalitta, 144; 3. Tony Schumacher, 140; 4. Scott Palmer, 139; 5. Antron Brown, 133; 6. Clay Millican, 122; 7. Leah Pritchett, 90; 8. Brittany Force, 86; 9. Billy Torrence, 71; 10. Greg Carrillo, 66.

Funny Car

  1. Matt Hagan, 179; 2. Courtney Force, 160; 3. Ron Capps, 139; 4. Robert Hight, 133; 5. Tommy Johnson Jr., 128; 6. Jack Beckman, 122; 7. Jonnie Lindberg, 107; 8. Shawn Langdon, 104; 9. J.R. Todd, 83; 10. Cruz Pedregon, 82.

Pro Stock

  1. Jason Line, 195; 2. Deric Kramer, 154; 3. Chris McGaha, 152; 4. Bo Butner, 149; 5. Alex Laughlin, 136; 6. Erica Enders, 134; 7. Greg Anderson, 119; 8. Drew Skillman, 117; 9. Vincent Nobile, 95; 10. Jeg Coughlin, 84.
About the Author

Mike Haag has covered motorsports in San Antonio and South Texas for more than 30 years. In addition to working for the San Antonio Express-News for nearly 28 years, Mike also has co-hosted TrackSmack with Dawn Murphy for 15 race seasons. In addition to being a writer, Mike also teaches English at Floresville High School.