Steve Torrence continued his dominance of the NHRA Top Fuel category at the Dodge SRT NHRA US Indy Nationals over the Labor Day weekend.
After qualifying second, Torrence took out Antron Brown (3.716 at 335.37 mph to 8.442 at 72.76 mph), Doug Carrillo (3.744 at 323.35 mph to 3.948 at 278.75 mph) and his dad, Billy Torrence (3.744 at 325.14 mph to 3.792 at 323.04 mph) to advance to the final round. Brittany Force qualified number one for the sixth consecutive event at (3.684 at 334.57 mph), just edging out Torrence (3.688 at 329.50 mph). On her way to the final round, Force took out Shawn Langdon (3.702 at 332.34 mph to 10.623 at 82.33 mph), Alex Laughlin (3.759 at 325.53 mph to 8.621 at 84.58 mph) and Josh Hart (3.748 at 324.75 mph to 4.255 at 201.25 mph). It should be noted, that both Force and Torrence each had lane choice throughout eliminations and chose the preferred left lane. Very few of the nitro category cars made competitive runs in the right lane. Billy Torrence (Top Fuel) and Tim Wilkerson (Funny Car) were two of the few exceptions.
In the Top Fuel final, both cars left strong, with Steve Torrence gaining a slight starting line advantage. But, Force’s dragster lost traction within 15-feet and she could only watch Torrence streak to the event win (3.749 at 324.44 mph to 13.165 at 24.39 mph).
In Funny Car, Tim Wilkerson came in having not won an event since 2016. But, he was able to accomplish something that almost no one in either of the nitro categories (Top Fuel and Funny Car) could do. He won two rounds (semi-final and final) from the less preferred right lane. He opened eliminations by taking out Bobby Bode (4.611 at 218.72 mph 6.289 at 112.25 mph). Then he eliminated the top qualifier, John Force (3.974 at 287.91 mph) to get to the semi-finals. He then powered past Cruz Pedregon (3.984 at 325.37 mph to 8.704 at 87.34 mph) to advance to the final round, without lane choice. In the final, Wilkerson was able to power past Ron Capps (3.912 at 320.36 mph to 3.946 at 326.63 mph) from the right lane, for his second career NHRA US Nationals win.
Greg Anderson has been having a very good year, in the NHRA Pro Stock category, leading in the seasonal points standing from start to finish. He has clinched the top playoff position for the six-race countdown to the championship. But, Erica Enders is not going away quietly. After qualifying third, she set low elapse time of eliminations at 6.590 at 206.35 mph, getting past Bruno Massel, Mart Hartford and Greg Anderson for a final round match against Kyle Koretsky. Koretsky qualified first and raced past Larry Morgan, Chris McGaha and Dallas Glenn. Based on semi-final round performances, Koretsky had lane choice for the final round match. Three-time NHRA Pro Stock season champion, Enders, showed why she is the defending champion. By getting off the starting line first (0.024 to 0.040), she took the 2021 US Nationals Pro Stock title with a hole shot 6.626 at 206.01 mph to 6.613 at 206.35 mph winning effort. It was her third career Indy US Nationals victory.
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Eddie Krawiec returned to the winner’s circle at Indy for the third time in his prestigious career. From the number one qualifying position, he was able to get past Andrew Hines, Michael Phillips, Joey Gladstone and (teammate) Angelle Sampey to claim the event win.
The ‘Countdown to the Championship’ six-event playoff is up next, at Maple Grove Raceway in Mohnton, PA for the MOPAR Express Lane NHRA Nationals.