AT THE RACES

Riverbank News - - FRONT PAGE - By JEFF BURGHARDT

La­bor Day week­end in In­di­anapo­lis can only mean one thing, time for the 63rd run­ning of the Chevro­let per­for­mance NHRA US Na­tion­als. Along with the big­gest race of the year there was a pair of $100,000 Traxxas shootouts dur­ing qual­i­fy­ing for Top Fuel and Funny Car. Th­ese races fea­ture eight cars in each class; the top seven are the first seven win­ners since the last time the NHRA was in In­di­anapo­lis. The eighth driver is done by fan vote.

In Top Fuel Steve Tor­rence scored the big bonus by mow­ing through the com­pe­ti­tion on Fri­day. Tor­rence’s Capco Contractor’s team took down Clay Mil­li­can in the open­ing round with a 3.725 @ 329 mph. He would then square off with Doug Kalitta and the Mac Tools squad. Tor­rence put a smooth 3.711 @ 329 mph on the score­board to score the win. In the fi­nal round he would take on the US Army team and seven-time Top Fuel world cham­pion Tony Schu­macher. Tor­rence got off the start­ing line first and never looked back run­ning a 3.673 @329 mph to Schu­macher’s 3.680 @ 330 mph.

The Funny Car shootout vic­tory was scored by Fast Jack Beck­man and the In­fi­nite He­roes team. In the open­ing round he picked off team­mate Tommy John­son Jr.

In round two Beck­man faced off with an­other team­mate reign­ing se­ries cham­pion Ron Capps and the NAPA team. Both cars lost trac­tion around 300 feet, and both driv­ers feath­ered the throt­tle try­ing to re­gain trac­tion. Capp’s en­gine let go into a ball of fire crack­ing the carbon fiber body and all he could do was watch Beck­man slide his car from side to side to pick up the win light. In the fi­nal round Beck­man took on Robert Hight and the Auto Club of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia team. Beck­man put a solid 3.952 @ 324 mph on the score­board while Hight’s car lost trac­tion for the first time all week­end.

Top Fuel qual­i­fy­ing was led by Clay Mil­li­can and the Great Clips/Parts Plus team with a 3.663 @ 329 mph. The Papa John’s Pizza team with Leah Pritch­ett held the two spot with a 3.667 @ 329 mph. The Capco Con­trac­tors team of Steve Tor­rence picked up the third po­si­tion with a 3.673 @ 329 mph. The US Army team and Tony Schu­macher had the fourth spot head­ing into race day with a 3.68 @ 330 mph. Round­ing out the top five would be Doug Kalitta and the Mac tools en­try with a 3.682 @ 329 mph.

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