The Big Go Sees Top Performances At Indy
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.
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.