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Justin Ashley corrals Steve Torrence at Stampede of Speed to win NHRA Top Fuel race at the Texas Motorplex

by Mike Haag | Posted on Sunday, October 10th, 2021

By Mike Haag, Raceday San Antonio

ENNIS, Texas – Justin Ashley showed NHRA Top Fuel points leader and three-time defending world champ Steve Torrence that there was a new sheriff in town at the Stampede of Speed NHRA Texas Fall Nationals on Sunday at the Texas Motorplex.

Ashley drove his Smart Sanitizer Top Fuel dragster powered by Vita C Shot to victory over Torrence in the final round with a pass clocked at 3.759 at 326.40 mph. Torrence crossed the line in his Capco Contractors dragster in 3.764 at 321.81.

Justin Ashley. NHRA photo

Both drivers had identical reaction times of .035, but it was Ashley who nosed Torrence at the finish line and the margin of victory was .0056 seconds. The victory not only stopped Torrence from winning on his home turf but he also was denied a 50th career win in Top Fuel.

“I think when you win a race like this the key to victory is the team effort and the fact that everybody did their job,” Ashley said. “Today was a complete team effort. I did my job behind the wheel. Crew Chief Mike Green did an awesome job tuning this race car all weekend. It felt like a bracket car. The key to the win was this group of guys and the leadership of (team owner) Dustin Davis and Mike. They work incredibly hard. They definitely deserve this win.”

Justin Ashley, 2021 Texas NHRA Fall Nationals Top Fuel winner. Photo by Ron Lewis Photography)

The victory was Ashley’s first of the season and second of his Top Fuel career. The win also moved him from fifth to third in the point standings. Torrence leaves Texas with a 52-point lead over Force. Ashley trails Force by 69 points and is still a contender for the title.

“For me the thought was unfinished business,” Ashley said. “We had unfinished business to take care of this weekend. I knew that we were long overdue. This just felt so good because we were so close a few times and we finally sealed the deal. I wanted to finish it off for my guys and our sponsors. That is how you get it done and put on a great show for the fans.”

Ashley had a stellar performance on the track throughout the day. He advanced to the finals by defeating Keith Murt, Billy Torrence and then scored a holeshot win over the No. 1 qualifier Brittany Force in the semifinals to set up the showdown with Torrence.

Torrence reached the finals with round victories against Buddy Hull, Doug Kalitta and rookie Josh Hart. Torrence, who has scored nine wins this season, reached the finals for the 11th time this season.

“It is satisfying to throw our name into the championship mix,” Ashley said. “We are happy that we did it. We can’t control what Steve or Brittany or any of the other Top Fuel teams are doing. They are all in the Top Ten for a reason. They are all great drivers. We are happy for us because it puts us right back in the middle of things. Next weekend is Bristol. That will be a huge race.”

Interview:

 

ENNIS, Texas — Final finish order (1-16) at the 36th annual Texas NHRA FallNationals at Texas Motorplex. The race is the 17th of 20 events in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series.

TOP FUEL:

  1. Justin Ashley; 2. Steve Torrence; 3. Brittany Force; 4. Josh Hart; 5. Clay Millican; 6. Billy Torrence; 7. Mike Salinas; 8. Doug Kalitta; 9. Keith Murt; 10. Krista Baldwin; 11. Alex Laughlin; 12. Buddy Hull; 13. Leah Pruett; 14. Antron Brown; 15. Shawn Langdon; 16. Joe Morrison.

FUNNY CAR:

  1. Ron Capps; 2. Matt Hagan; 3. Cruz Pedregon; 4. J.R. Todd; 5. Paul Lee; 6. Bob Tasca III; 7. John Force; 8. Robert Hight; 9. Tim Wilkerson; 10. Alexis DeJoria; 11. Jim Campbell; 12. Terry Haddock; 13. Dale Creasy Jr.; 14. Blake Alexander; 15. Jack Wyatt; 16. Jeff Arend.

PRO STOCK:

  1. Greg Anderson; 2. Chris McGaha; 3. Aaron Stanfield; 4. Troy Coughlin Jr.; 5. Erica Enders; 6. Dallas Glenn; 7. Rodger Brogdon; 8. Matt Hartford; 9. Marty Robertson; 10. Kyle Koretsky; 11. Deric Kramer; 12. Mason McGaha; 13. Kenny Delco; 14. Alan Prusiensky; 15. Fernando Cuadra; 16. Vincent Nobile.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE:

  1. Matt Smith; 2. Hector Arana Jr; 3. Angie Smith; 4. Steve Johnson; 5. Jerry Savoie; 6. Chris Bostick; 7. Scotty Pollacheck; 8. Angelle Sampey; 9. Andrew Hines; 10. Jim Underdahl; 11. Karen Stoffer; 12. Joey Gladstone; 13. Jianna Salinas; 14. Kelly Clontz; 15. Eddie Krawiec; 16. Michael Ray.

ENNIS, Texas — Sunday’s final results from the 36th annual Texas NHRA FallNationals at Texas Motorplex. The race is the 17th of 20 in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series:

Top Fuel — Justin Ashley, 3.759 seconds, 326.40 mph def. Steve Torrence, 3.764 seconds, 321.81 mph.

Funny Car — Ron Capps, Dodge Charger, 3.930, 326.87 def. Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.919, 328.78.

Pro Stock — Greg Anderson, Chevy Camaro, 6.624, 206.32 def. Chris McGaha, Camaro, Foul – Red Light.

Pro Stock Motorcycle — Matt Smith, EBR, 6.839, 199.08 def. Hector Arana Jr, EBR, Foul – Red Light.

Top Alcohol Dragster — Jackie Fricke, 5.204, 275.73 def. Matthew Cummings, 5.240, 271.79.

Top Alcohol Funny Car — Doug Gordon, Chevy Camaro, 5.517, 267.22 def. Brian Hough, Camaro, 5.562, 262.69.

Competition Eliminator — Don Thomas, Dragster, 7.074, 178.19 def. Keith Mawhee, Chevy Cavalier, 7.777, 175.48.

Super Stock — Jimmy Hidalgo Jr., Pontiac Firebird, 9.787, 135.69 def. Harvey Emmons III, Chevy Cavalier, 9.724, 129.87.

Stock Eliminator — Brenda Grubbs, Chevy Camaro, 10.018, 131.52 def. Jerry Emmons, Camaro, 10.242, 128.59.

Super Comp — Steve Evans, Dragster, 9.777, 146.65 def. Jeromy Hefler, Dragster, Broke – No Show.

Super Gas — Austin Williams, Chevy Camaro, 9.937, 166.91 def. Jerry DeBusk, Ford Probe, 9.948, 164.83.

Super Street — Scooter Wilkins, Chevy Nova, 10.945, 141.22 def. John Leibham, Chevy Camaro, 10.903, 150.90.

Top Sportsman presented by Vortech Superchargers — Jimmy Lewis, Pontiac GXP, 6.529, 192.47 def. Darian Boesch, Chevy Camaro, 7.296, 183.52.

Top Dragster presented by Vortech Superchargers — Ross Laris, Dragster, 6.285, 183.64 def. Wayne Landry, Dragster, 6.397, 218.72.

Pro Modified — Lyle Barnett, Chevy Camaro, 5.894, 251.20 def. Justin Bond, Camaro, 5.829, 244.65.

Top Fuel Harley — Chris Smith, Weekend, 6.338, 221.63 def. David Larson, Harley, 12.460, 73.53.

ENNIS, Texas — Final round-by-round results from the 36th annual Texas NHRA FallNationals at Texas Motorplex, the 17th of 20 events in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series:

TOP FUEL:

ROUND ONE — Josh Hart, 3.755, 305.56 def. Leah Pruett, 4.230, 192.63; Billy Torrence, 3.761, 327.66 def. Alex Laughlin, 3.927, 290.63; Brittany Force, 3.703, 334.15 def. Joe Morrison, 7.811, 90.75; Mike Salinas, 3.723, 329.02 def. Krista Baldwin, 3.913, 308.28; Justin Ashley, 3.748, 319.29 def. Keith Murt, 3.862, 311.85; Steve Torrence, 3.720, 328.06 def. Buddy Hull, 4.000, 300.26; Doug Kalitta, 4.504, 187.83 def. Antron Brown, 4.556, 210.44; Clay Millican, 3.766, 327.27 def. Shawn Langdon, 4.626, 171.66;

QUARTERFINALS — Ashley, 3.755, 324.75 def. B. Torrence, 3.749, 328.86; Force, 3.710, 332.10 def. Millican, 3.734, 323.19; Hart, 3.788, 318.39 def. Salinas, 3.774, 296.05; S. Torrence, 3.752, 324.51 def. Kalitta, 5.093, 144.07;

SEMIFINALS — Ashley, 3.740, 325.30 def. Force, 3.727, 332.84; S. Torrence, 3.764, 326.40 def. Hart, 3.792, 321.19;

FINAL — Ashley, 3.759, 326.40 def. S. Torrence, 3.764, 321.81.

FUNNY CAR:

ROUND ONE — John Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.916, 324.44 def. Alexis DeJoria, Toyota Camry, 3.893, 329.91; Bob Tasca III, Ford Mustang, 3.884, 331.61 def. Jim Campbell, Dodge Charger, 4.019, 309.98; Robert Hight, Camaro, 3.953, 304.46 def. Jeff Arend, Chevy Monte Carlo, 5.951, 131.13; Ron Capps, Charger, 3.898, 324.75 def. Jack Wyatt, Charger, 4.795, 168.72; Cruz Pedregon, Charger, 3.898, 329.18 def. Terry Haddock, Mustang, 4.026, 307.93; Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.910, 330.15 def. Dale Creasy Jr., Charger, 4.032, 297.29; Paul Lee, Charger, 3.954, 326.79 def. Blake Alexander, Mustang, 4.425, 272.01; J.R. Todd, Camry, 3.867, 331.36 def. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 3.886, 330.31;

QUARTERFINALS — Pedregon, 3.925, 329.10 def. Force, 4.299, 225.07; Todd, 4.796, 205.19 def. Hight, 5.955, 220.98; Hagan, 3.918, 325.53 def. Tasca III, 3.955, 331.61; Capps, 3.928, 323.58 def. Lee, 3.943, 326.95;

SEMIFINALS — Capps, 3.924, 326.56 def. Pedregon, 3.906, 327.59; Hagan, 3.904, 331.04 def. Todd, 7.983, 71.40;

FINAL — Capps, 3.930, 326.87 def. Hagan, 3.919, 328.78.

PRO STOCK:

ROUND ONE — Matt Hartford, Chevy Camaro, 7.765, 187.99 def. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 8.147, 199.02; Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.658, 206.45 def. Mason McGaha, Camaro, 6.667, 206.48; Aaron Stanfield, Camaro, 6.644, 205.82 def. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.671, 205.72; Troy Coughlin Jr., Camaro, 6.636, 205.38 def. Kyle Koretsky, Camaro, 6.664, 205.82; Rodger Brogdon, Camaro, 6.647, 206.42 def. Alan Prusiensky, Dodge Dart, Foul – Red Light; Dallas Glenn, Camaro, 6.621, 206.01 def. Fernando Cuadra, Ford Mustang, 6.687, 204.66; Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.621, 205.94 def. Marty Robertson, Mustang, Foul- Red Light; Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.640, 207.78 def. Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.666, 205.13;

QUARTERFINALS — Stanfield, 6.674, 205.72 def. Enders, 6.655, 207.50; Coughlin Jr., 6.652, 205.38 def. Brogdon, 17.226, 39.35; Anderson, 6.680, 205.72 def. Hartford, 18.623, 29.97; C. McGaha, 6.668, 206.04 def. Glenn, 6.673, 206.20;

SEMIFINALS — C. McGaha, 6.695, 206.13 def. Stanfield, 6.690, 205.26; Anderson, 6.666, 205.51 def. Coughlin Jr., 11.055, 81.38;

FINAL — Anderson, 6.624, 206.32 def. C. McGaha, Foul – Red Light.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE:

ROUND ONE — Scotty Pollacheck, 6.966, 194.21 def. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.999, 190.59; Chris Bostick, 6.909, 194.30 def. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 6.982, 190.35; Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.901, 194.86 def. Joey Gladstone, Suzuki, 7.016, 67.58; Hector Arana Jr, 6.911, 197.19 def. Kelly Clontz, Suzuki, 7.066, 189.34; Angelle Sampey, Suzuki, 6.845, 196.19 def. Andrew Hines, Buell, 6.940, 195.65; Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.840, 195.62 def. Jianna Salinas, Suzuki, 7.026, 191.29; Matt Smith, 6.798, 201.37 def. Michael Ray, Broke – No Show; Angie Smith, 6.935, 196.33 def. Eddie Krawiec, Buell, 7.142, 198.64;

QUARTERFINALS — Arana Jr, 6.938, 193.29 def. Savoie, 6.902, 193.74; A. Smith, 6.952, 195.99 def. Sampey, 8.074, 116.13; Johnson, 6.872, 194.13 def. Pollacheck, 7.012, 192.49; M. Smith, 6.828, 199.40 def. Bostick, 6.957, 189.90;

SEMIFINALS — Arana Jr, 7.061, 192.28 def. Johnson, Broke; M. Smith, 6.882, 198.12 def. A. Smith, 7.066, 192.74;

FINAL — M. Smith, 6.839, 199.08 def. Arana Jr, Foul – Red Light.

ENNIS, Texas — Point standings (top 10) following the 36th annual Texas NHRA FallNationals at Texas Motorplex, the 17th of 20 events in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series –

Top Fuel

  1. Steve Torrence, 2,473; 2. Brittany Force, 2,421; 3. Justin Ashley, 2,352; 4. Mike Salinas, 2,305; 5. Billy Torrence, 2,301; 6. Leah Pruett, 2,255; 7. Antron Brown, 2,221; 8. Clay Millican, 2,212; 9. Shawn Langdon, 2,196; 10. Doug Kalitta, 2,148.

Funny Car

  1. Matt Hagan, 2,449; 2. Ron Capps, 2,416; 3. Cruz Pedregon, 2,336; 4. John Force, 2,334; 5. J.R. Todd, 2,315; 6. Bob Tasca III, 2,291; 7. Robert Hight, 2,261; 8. Tim Wilkerson, 2,211; 9. Alexis DeJoria, 2,197; 10. Blake Alexander, 2,153.

Pro Stock

  1. Greg Anderson, 2,520; 2. Erica Enders, 2,439; 3. Dallas Glenn, 2,337; 4. Kyle Koretsky, 2,334; 5. Aaron Stanfield, 2,304; 6. Chris McGaha, 2,278; 7. Troy Coughlin Jr., 2,274; 8. Mason McGaha, 2,224; 9. Matt Hartford, 2,214; 10. Deric Kramer, 2,178.

Pro Stock Motorcycle

1. Matt Smith, 2,368; 2. Steve Johnson, 2,360; 3. Angelle Sampey, 2,315; 4. Eddie Krawiec, 2,267; 5. Scotty Pollacheck, 2,229; 6. Joey Gladstone, 2,203; 7. Angie Smith, 2,194; 8. Karen Stoffer, 2,150; 9. Andrew Hines, 2,141; 10. Cory Reed, 2,125.

About the Author

Mike Haag has covered motorsports in San Antonio and South Texas for more than 33 years. In addition to covering motorsports for the San Antonio Express-News for nearly 28 years, Mike also has co-hosted TrackSmack with Dawn Murphy for 16 race seasons. In addition to being a writer, Mike taught high school English and Journalism for 30 years before retiring in May, 2020.