The Big Go Sees Top Per­for­mances At Indy

Riverbank News - - SPORTS - By JEFF BURGHARDT

The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing se­ries made its an­nual trip to In­di­anapo­lis, In­di­ana for the fi­nal reg­u­lar sea­son race be­fore the countdown to the cham­pi­onship. The Chevro­let Per­for­mance U.S. Na­tion­als is the big­gest race of the year for the NHRA and the teams come out in full force to win the event ti­tled ‘The Big Go.’

Top Fuel driver Steve Tor­rence and the Capco Con­trac­tors team dou­bled up with their win in the Traxxas shootout and the event win. Tor­rence clinched the num­ber one seed in the countdown and scored his 15th ca­reer win. In the open­ing round Tor­rence took on rookie Ash­ley San­ford. San­ford gave a valiant ef­fort with a 3.785 @ 323 mph but came up a lit­tle short to Tor­rence’s 3.738 @ 329 mph. Tor­rence then took on three-time Top Fuel Cham­pion An­tron Brown and the Matco tools team. Tor­rence laid down the quick­est run of the round with a 3.730 @ 327 mph to Brown’s 3.745 @ 322 mph. In the semi­fi­nal round he squared off against Leah Pritch­ett and the Papa John’s team. Pritch­ett’s car lost trac­tion al­most im­me­di­ately af­ter she stomped on the gas. All she could do was watch Tor­rence put a 3.765 @ 324 mph on the score­board. In the fi­nal round Tor­rence would take on part timer Ke­bin Kins­ley in the Road Rage drag­ster. Kins­ley qual­i­fied 16th and took out the num­ber one qual­i­fier Clay Mil­li­can in the open­ing round. Kins­ley then took out for­mer cham­pion Shawn Lang­don in round two be­fore mov­ing on to take down the win­ningest Top Fuel driver and seven-time cham­pion Tony Schu­macher. In the fi­nal round, though, the Cin­derella story would come to an end as Kins­ley’s car lost trac­tion at the start­ing line. Tor­rence put a 3.757 @ 322 mph on the board to cap­ture the event win.

In Funny Car, JR Todd cap­tured his sec­ond ca­reer Funny Car event win. Todd and the DHL team took down Brian Ste­wart in the open­ing round with a 3.914 @ 329 mph to a 4.641 @ 174 mph. In round two he would take on two-time cham­pion Cruz Pe­dregon and the SnapOn Tools team. Todd laid down a 3.939 @ 326 mph to a 3.970 @ 325 mph. In one of the wilder semi­fi­nal rounds Todd had some racer’s luck. Todd’s DHL Toy­ota lost trac­tion and his chances looked to be over ex­cept for the fact that Tim Wilk­er­son’s car lost trac­tion fur­ther down track and his car got side­ways and tagged a cen­ter­line cone thus dis­qual­i­fy­ing him and hand­ing the win light over to Todd. Todd then went on to face Ron Capps and NAPA team in the fi­nal round. Both driv­ers left the start­ing line to­gether but Todd was able to slide out in front of Capps with a 3.923 @ 325 mph to a 3.949 @ 325 mph.

Pro Stock racer Drew Skill­man con­quered his home track with a big win over three-time cham­pion Greg An­der­son. Skill­man marched his way through the field tak­ing down for­mer cham­pion Jeg Cough­lin in the open­ing round. He would then take down Chris McGaha in round two be­fore tak­ing down rookie sen­sa­tion Tan­ner Gray in the semi­fi­nal round. This is his sev­enth ca­reer win and first at his home track in In­di­anapo­lis.

Ed­die Kraw­iec took home his sec­ond win at Indy and 39th of his ca­reer. He qual­i­fied on the pole with his Scream­ing Ea­gle Har­ley David­son and de­feated Jim Un­der­d­ual in round one, LE Ton­glet in round two and Matt Smith in the semi­fi­nals. In the fi­nal round in Pro Stock Mo­tor­cy­cle, he took down Hec­tor Arana Jr.

The countdown to the cham­pi­onship be­gins at Char­lotte the week­end of Sept. 15 through 17 for the NHRA Carolina Na­tion­als.

PHOTO BY JEFF BURGHARDT

Ke­bin Kins­ley, left, in the Road Rage drag­ster came up a bit short to cham­pion Steve Tor­rence, right, in Top Fuel com­pe­ti­tion over the La­bor Day week­end at In­di­anapo­lis. Tor­rence earned $200,000 for a pair of week­end vic­to­ries.

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