All four of NHRA’s Professional class points leaders stampede to lucrative and timely victories….

Texas native Steve Torrence piloted his Capco Contractors dragster to the Top Fuel winners circle and secured his first career victory at his hometown race, the AAA Texas NHRA Nationals at Texas Motorplex.

Robert Hight (Funny Car), Tanner Gray (Pro Stock), and LE Tonglet (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were also winners in their respective categories at the third of six playoff events during the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship.

Top Fuel points leader, Torrence, has swept the first three races during Countdown to the Championship after his pass of 3.786-seconds at 325.92 mph in his Capco Contractors dragster defeated Terry McMillen’s 3.826 at 321.04 in the final round. Torrence earned his eighth victory of the season and 24th of his career. With the win, Torrence now has a 103-point lead over the category.

Steve Torrence continued his amazing season trek – keeping his Top Fuel playoff undefeated streak in tact.

“We were just here to go rounds,” Torrence stated. “I don’t have a Top Fuel championship. I have a Top Alcohol championship and the year that I won that I won at Dallas. We’ve been trying to get it done here since 2010. This is a check off my bucket list to be able to come to Dallas and win. I couldn’t be prouder to pull off a victory in front of everyone that was here this weekend.”

Torrence beat Bill Litton, Blake Alexander, and eight-time world champion Tony Schumacher, to reach the final round. McMillen defeated Mike Salinas, defending world champion Brittany Force, and No. 1 qualifier, Clay Millican.

Defending event and world champion, Hight, powered his Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet Camaro SS to his second consecutive win with his pass of 3.955 at 325.69 to defeat J.R. Todd’s 3.984 at 319.52 in his DHL Toyota Camry. This is his fourth career victory at Texas Motorplex, 11th in the Countdown to the Championship and 45th overall. Hight has a 50-point lead over Todd after the win. Hight returned to action this week after suffering an engine explosion and broken collar bone in St Louis, the most recent event.

“This AAA team was just flawless,” Hight said. “We just got better all weekend as we went. I promise you that we will celebrate tonight because we’re going to make up for the last one. That was one of the biggest rounds I’ve ever raced right there. J.R. Todd is No. 2 in points, he was 30 behind me going into the final and had I lost I’d be 10 ahead; which isn’t much. Luckily we get to do it again next week.”

Points leader Robert Hight won for the second playoff round in a row.

Hight took down Jim Campbell, Tim Wilkerson and Bob Tasca III en route to his 71st career final round. Todd defeated John Hale, Jack Beckman and No. 1 qualifier Tommy Johnson Jr. on his way to his second final round of the Countdown to the Championship.

Pro Stock’s Gray grabbed his second consecutive victory during the Countdown to the Championship with his pass of 6.622 at 207.62 in his Valvoline/Gray Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro to take down No. 1 qualifier, Jeg Coughlin Jr, in the final round. Gray who knocked off Deric Kramer, Greg Anderson, and Matt Hartford to secure his seventh Wally of the season, 12th of his career and continue to extend his point’s lead over the category.

Points leader Tanner Gray also scored in Pro Stock for the second consecutive event.

“We’ve been struggling with qualifying it seems like,” Gray stated. “Really, for whatever reason, we’ve been able to pull it out on Sunday. Some of it being luck while others its just making good runs and beating the other guy in the lane. It’s awesome to have the group of guys that I have around me.”

Coughlin Jr., a five-time world champion, defeated Val Smeland, Drew Skillman and Vincent Nobile to climb to the No. 3 spot in the points.

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Tonglet earned his fourth victory of 2018 and 20th of his career with his run of 6.892 at 194.80 to team owner Jerry Savoie’s 6.907 at 193.88. Tonglet took the points lead after his second win at the track on his Nitro Fish Racing Suzuki. He picked up round wins against Andrew Hines, Angelle Sampey, and defending world champion Eddie Krawiec en route to the finals.

LE Tonglet won his 4th race of the season in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

“It was just a lot of fun,” Tonglet said. “It was fun in the pit while we were trying to get the bikes cooled off (after semi-finals). Once we came up to the start line though I didn’t even look at him and he didn’t look at me. It was just all business. We’re leading the points now though and we’re not going to look back.”

Breakthrough Pro Mod Winner!

Jermey Ray raced to his first career victory during the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service portion of the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals. This weekend’s Pro Mod racing, presented by Bruce Lowrie Chevrolet, is the 10th of 12 races this season.

Ray won on a holeshot with his pass of 5.785-second at 248.07 mph in his ’63 Corvette to defeat Canadian Justin Bond’s 5.774 at 255.53. This is his first season in the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series.

Jeremy Ray wheeled his supercharged ’63 Corvette to it’s first NHRA title win in Pro Mod.

“We just had to keep everything together,” Ray stated. “You have to be perfect every time you go up to the line. Everything worked well here though. The tuning was good, I was driving good and was able to just keep ahead on everything.”

Ray defeated Steve Jackson, Steven Whitelely and No. 1 qualifier Sidnei Frigo to advance to the finals.

Editor’s Note: For more detail on Pro Mod Racing action at Dallas visit our VP Racing Fuels Pro Mod Portal subsection coverage: HERE

The Lucas Oil Lowdown

In the final results from the AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals and the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series at Texas Motorplex, Leah Pritchett, Redlands, Calif., and Kevin Skinner, Grove City, Ohio, both worked their way through the field to meet up in the final round and a winner take all for the SAM Factory Stock Showdown World Championship.

Racing her Mopar — Leah Pritchett won both the Dallas event and the series season championship for the Sam-Tech Stock Showdown program.

Pritchett and Skinner had a close start of the line with Skinner in the lead at the 300-foot mark until his car made a quick move allowing Pritchett to go around and pull away for the win and the championship. Pritchett had a late charge in the season making this her 3rd consecutive win in the SAM Factory Stock Showdown.

Joey Severance, Woodburn, Ore., and Sean Bellemeur, Placentia, Calif., took home the wins in Top Alcohol Dragster and Top Alcohol Funny Car respectively. Severance, defending NHRA Lucas Oil World Champion, was victorious with the quickest pass of the weekend at 5.236 seconds at 273.55 mph in his final round victory over Alan Bradshaw, Odessa, Texas, who clocked in at 5.342 seconds, 270.00 mph – racing Doug Doucette’s machine that is based from Winnipeg MB.

Defending World Champion Joey Severence won in TAD class competition.

Top Alcohol Funny Car points leader Bellemeur faced off against Doug Gordon, Paso Robles, Calif. and posted a winning run of 5.513 seconds, 265.43 mph in his Chevy Camaro. Gordon, drove to a 5.513 second, 265.43 mph lap for his runner up finish. The win puts Bellemeur one step closer to clinching the NHRA Lucas Oil Top Alcohol Funny Car Championship.

Clint Neff, Arvada, Colo., in Comp Eliminator and Brandon Bakies, Alexandria, La., in Super Stock both ran against David Rampy, Piedmont, Ala., who advanced to the final in both classes and was hoping for his 100th NHRA national event win this weekend. Neff had the starting line advantage and made a winning pass of 7.573 seconds, 172.36 mph to deny Rampy. In Super Stock Rampy had the starting line advantage, but Bakies chased him down to get the win with a pass of 9.688 seconds and at 132.88 mph.

Canada’s Casey Plaizier won at the national event level for the first time in his career racing the Plaizier Racing Corvette from Stony Plain Alberta.

Other racers visiting the winner’s circle this weekend were, Brian McClanahan Alta Loma, Calif., in Stock; Jack Collier, Benton, La., in Super Comp; Canada’s Casey Plaizier, Stony Plain, AB., in Super Gas; and Val Harmon, Boutte, La., in Super Street. In Top Sportsman presented by Racing RV’s it was Lance Rutland, Spring, Texas, taking the win while Darian Boesch, Kenner, La., won in the Top Dragster class presented by Racing RV’s.

Posted with files from NHRA Communications

Photos by Gary Nastase, Ian Tocher, Bruce Biegler and courtesy of NHRA