John Force’s talented daughter continues to unleash havoc within NHRA’s fuel Funny Car category!…

Courtney Force was able to build on her points lead in the Funny Car category at the Virginia NHRA Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park as she brought home her fourth Funny Car victory of the season.

Steve Torrence (Funny Car), Tanner Gray (Pro Stock), and LE Tonglet (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were also winners in their respective categories at the 10th of 24 events on the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.

Force’s 4.039-second pass at 321.96 mph in her Advance Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro SS was enough to take down her father, John Force, in the final round on Sunday.

Courtney Force padded her overall 2018 NHRA FC points lead with her 4th win of the season (so far!)

“It was really exciting for us to be part of an all John Force Racing final, but to have my team tuning this car so well all weekend helped get us a win here,” Force said. “We just have to maintain our focus throughout the season and keep performing well as a driver as we prepare for the Countdown to the Championship.”

This marked the 50th time in the history of John Force Racing that two team cars faced off in the final. She took down Jeff Diehl, Jim Campbell, and J.R. Todd on her road to victory.

Torrence powered to the Top Fuel win with a run of 3.812 at 322.96 in his Capco Contractors dragster to take down Doug Kalitta in the finals. The current points leader in the class notched his fourth victory of the year and the 20th of his career in his 200th race as a Top Fuel competitor.

“We didn’t qualify exactly where we wanted to, but at the end of the day we were in the right spot to win the race so I was proud of my team,” Torrence said. “This is one of the best racetracks I’ve ever been down because it’s so smooth, I really enjoyed coming back here where my Top Fuel career started.”

Torrence qualified sixth for the event and defeated Scott Palmer, Terry McMillen, and Antron Brown en route to victory.

NHRA points leader Steve Torrence collected his milestone 20th career victory in Top Fuel.

Kalitta secured his second runner-up of the season and first since Charlotte, as he is still aiming for his first win since the season-opening Pomona event.

Top Fuel racing at VMP included a very notable qualifying effort from Canada’s Daniel Mercier (visit the Lucas Oil Hotzone subsection for more!)

Gray was able to take down two-time world champion Erica Enders in the final round for his seventh career victory and second of the season. His 6.595 at 208.81 in his Gray Motorsports Valvoline Chevrolet Camaro made him just the second Pro Stock competitor to reach the winner’s circle twice in 2018.

“Every time we match up with Erica it makes for some good racing, it’s a lot of fun getting to race the two-time champion,” Gray said. “It means a lot to get a win in my first time at the track, so it’s fun to get a win here in Virginia especially since it isn’t far from my home.”

3rd generation racer Tanner Gray won in Pro Stock with his Chevy Camaro

He took down Kenny Delco, Vincent Nobile, and Drew Skillman to lock down the win.

Enders now has three runner-up finishes on the year to go along with a victory in Charlotte, as her four final rounds are the most in the class in 2018.

Tonglet earned his first victory of the season in Pro Stock Motorcycle, using a 6.841 at 196.76 on his Nitro Fish Racing Suzuki to take down points leader Andrew Hines in the finals.

“Getting this win was huge, especially going against a Harley-Davidson bike because we know they are always going to be tough to beat,” Tonglet said. “Our bike is just flying and is fun to ride right now.”

LE Tonglet won in Pro Stock Bike aboard the “Nitro Fish” Suzuki

After qualifying fifth, he bested John Hall, defending champion Eddie Krawiec, and No. 1 qualifier Hector Arana Jr. to notch the win.

Hines now has three runner-up appearances on the season, as he still chases his first win of the year.

Janis Jumps over Pro Mod Program

Western NY-state Pro Mod class veteran Mike Janis secured his fifth career victory within the event’s E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by presented by J&A Service. This weekend’s Pro Mod racing, presented by the Real Pro Mod Association, was the fifth of 12 events this season.

Janis used a 5.821-second pass at 246.26 mph in his AAP/Mike Janis Superchargers ‘69 Camaro to take down Mike Castellana in the final round.

“Coming into this race it had been so long since we were in the winner’s circle, but we had a solid car all weekend and we put it all together today,” Janis said. “We feel really good going into Bristol as we start off this three-in-a-row stretch.”

Pro Mod class veteran Mike Janis won for the 5th time in his storied career  on the NHRA series tour.

Janis moved past Rickie Smith to take over the Pro Mod points lead with his victory.

Castellana’s 6.002 pass at 246.93 gave him his first runner-up finish of the season as he now sits fifth in the standings.

For more details on class action in Pro Mod from this event – visit DragRaceCanada’s VP Racing Fuels Pro Mod Portal subsection: HERE 

The Lucas Oil Lowdown

Jeg Coughlin Jr., Charlie Kenopic, Joe Tysinger and Randy Parker each scored big wins at the Virginia NHRA Nationals within the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series portion of the event.

Coughlin, who was also a competitor in Pro Stock turned on the win light six times on his way to hoisting the NHRA Wally trophy in Super Comp. Coughlin faced off with Rich Dorr in the final with Dorr fouling at the start to give Coughlin his 78th NHRA national event win and his third in Super Comp.

Pro Stock racer Jeg Coughlin did double driving duty at VMP and came away a winner in Super Comp class racing.

Canada’s Charlie Kenopic (Renfrew, ON) raced his ’63 Corvette to a narrow win over Mike Sawyer, Leominster, Mass., in the Super Gas class final. Kenopic was out first with a great .004 second reaction time which proved to be the difference as the pair ran identical times of 9.893 second laps. The win was Kenopic’s second in three national event final rounds.

Canadian Charlie Kenopic sped to victory in Super Gas in his topless ’63

In Super Stock it was Tysinger with a perfect 10.590 second run on the 10.59 dial as the Wrightsville Beach, N.C., racer held off Joe Lisa, Vernon, N.J., for the win in his ’87 Firebird. It was Tysinger’s second trip to the winner’s circle.

Parker, Four Oaks, N.C., and Eugene Monahan, Brockton, Mass., lined up for the Stock Eliminator final round. Monahan broke at the hit of the throttle and could only watch as Parker disappeared down the quarter-mile for his second national event win on the NHRA tour.

The Stock eliminator winner was Randy Parker in his ’80 Dodge Mirada

Posted with files by NHRA Communication and Bruce Biegler
Photos by Dave DeAngelis