The Las Vegas Motor Speedway played host to the 17th annual NHRA Toyota Nationals. This is the next to last race of the season for the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.
In Top Fuel Steve Torrence and his Capco Contractors team, recovering from a horrific crash two weeks ago in Dallas, held a solid 57-point lead over Brittany Force. Torrence’s day would be cut short as Shawn Langdon took him down with a 3.795 @ 318 mph to a tire smoking 4.309 @ 222 mph. This would open the door for Force and the Monster Energy team to make up some ground. Force took down Shawn Reed in the opening round with low elapse time of race day with a 3.696 @ 322 mph. She then took down Doug Kalitta in round two when Kalitta’s car broke on the starting line. Force would then muscle her way past the Pennzoil dragster of Leah Pritchett with a 3.714 @ 329 mph to a 3.754 at 323 mph to advance to the final round. Meanwhile on the opposite side of the ladder Terry McMillen and his Amalie Oil team mowed down the field to earn their final round appearance. McMillen took down Richie Crampton in round one with a 3.784 @ 319 mph. In round two he laid down a 3.786 @ 319 mph to advance past Clay Millican to the semifinal round. He motored past Shawn Langdon with a 3.798 @ 297 mph to a 3.893 @ 276 mph. In the final round there was much at stake for both teams. If Force won she would be tied for the points lead heading into the final race of the year. For McMillen it would be his first win of his career. Pressure mounted and Force left the starting line a little too soon with a -.063 reaction thus fouling out handing the win to an emotional McMillen. It took McMillen 195 starts to capture this first win. Force trails Torrence by 20 points heading into the final race.
The Funny Car points battle between Ron Capps and the Napa team and Robert Hight and the Auto Club team was 26 points entering the event. Capps’s day would come to an abrupt end in the opening round against 16-time champion John Force and the Peak team. Both drivers lost traction around half track and both got off and on the throttle. Force was able to get his Chevy to recover while Capps’s Dodge exploded the engine in a big fireball. Capps was uninjured but could only watch as Force took the win light thus opening the door for Hight to make up some ground. Hight took down Tim Wilkerson in the opening round on a hole-shot as both drivers ran equal 3.922 @ 327 mph but Hight left the starting line with a .062 to a .085 to score the victory. In round two Hight took on his teammate and boss John Force. Hight made a solid 3.934 @ 328 mph to Force’s tire smoking 5.178 @ 150 mph. Hight would take on his other teammate Courtney Force in the semifinal round. He would not have the same success against Courtney as he lost traction right at the starting line and watched Courtney’s Advance Auto Parts Chevy disappear in the distance running a 3.928 @ 331 mph. She would take on Matt Hagan and the Pennzoil team in the final round. Hagan scored his 26th career win with a 3.942 @ 329 mph to Courtney’s 4.020 @ 320 mph. As for the points battle Hight took over the lead by 15 points heading into the final race of the year.
In Pro Stock Greg Anderson and his Summit team scored their fourth win of the year and the 90th of his career. That extended his points lead over teammate Bo Butner to 40 points.
Eddie Krawiec scored his seventh win of the year in Pro Stock Motorcycle and the 43rd of his career. Krawiec has a 150-point lead over LE Tonglet. All Krawiec has to do is qualify for the last race of the year to clinch the title.
The Series moves to the last race of the year in Pomona for the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals Nov 9 through 12.