The world wide sport of drag racing’s most reputed single drag race went into the record books last weekend…..

The marquee annual attraction – the NHRA’s Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals,  the 63rd edition was played out at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.

Texan Steve Torrence was on an absolutely torrid pace when he piloted his Capco Contractors dragster to two major wins including the event’s Top Fuel title.  J.R. Todd (Funny Car), Drew Skillman (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were also victorious at the 18th event of 24 on the 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Series Drag Racing Series schedule.

Torrence raced to a 3.757-second pass at 322.96 mph to defeat Kebin Kinsley who lost traction in his Road Rage Fuel Booster dragster at the start of the final. It is Torrence’s first win at the Chevy Performance U.S. Nationals, seventh of the season and 15th of his career.

Texan Steve Torrence had a highly lucrative winning weekend in Top Fuel!

“This is surreal,” Torrence said. “I don’t even know if I’m realizing what’s going on right now. You come to Indy and you race for a week. This is our biggest race. This is what we race our careers for, is to try and win Indy and it’s a marathon. I’m wore out. Unless you’re a racer and in this situation, I don’t think I can explain the feelings that you get. This is us winning the biggest race of our sport. I said this the other day, you can win a bunch of championships but if you don’t win Indy then you haven’t really done much. So, we’ve won Indy.”

Torrence also won the Top Fuel Traxxas Nitro Shootout, the lucrative race-within-a-race with a $100,000 cash prize. He defeated rookie Ashley Sanford, reigning and three-time world champion Antron Brown and Leah Pritchett en route to the finals. With his semifinal win over Pritchett, Torrence clinched the No. 1 seed heading into the Countdown to the Championship, NHRA’s six race playoff.

Kinsley’s final round appearance was the first of his career. He defeated No. 1 qualifier Clay Millican, Shawn Langdon and the winningest Top Fuel driver in NHRA history, Tony Schumacher, before falling to Torrence.

Kebin Kinsley was a surprising finalist in Top Fuel racing at Indy.

Todd, an Indianapolis native, powered past Funny Car reigning world champion Ron Capps with a 3.949 pass at 325.53 in his DHL Toyota Camry to better Capps’ 3.923 at 325.61 in his NAPA Dodge Charger. It is Todd’s first career win at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, his second of the season and of his Funny Car Career.

“This was where it all started for me in Jr. Dragsters,” Todd said. “I remember watching Capps as a kid and now I raced him in the final round of Indy. It’s too surreal. Like Torrence said, you win Indy and you know you’ve beaten the best in the sport. Ron Capps and those guys out there are the best in the sport.”

Todd picked up wins against Brian Stewart, veteran Cruz Pedregon and, Tim Wilkerson who crossed the center line in the semifinals before taking home the Wally. He’s secured the No. 9 spot heading into the Countdown to the Championship. Capps took out 2015 winner Alexis DeJoria, Jim Campbell and teammate Jack Beckman before losing.

JR Todd won in fuel Funny Car racing the Kalitta Motorsports DHL-Toyota.

In Pro Stock, Drew Skillman ran a 6.676 pass at 206.61 in his Ray Skillman Chevrolet Camaro to defeat Greg Anderson’s 6.660 at 208.01 in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro on a holeshot for his first Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals victory, fourth win of the season and seventh of his career. His four victories have come in the last six races.

“I cannot speak highly enough of my team,” Skillman said. “They’ve been killing it. Consistency is super hard in this sport and we have a car that keeps repeating. This has been a long time coming. We’ve worked really hard to finally get something like this to happen. There’s a very small list of things I’d really like to do in life. And this is one of them. I want for nothing and this was something that I really wanted to do. And that’s finally done and we’re not done chasing yet.”

Racing his Camaro – Drew Skillman won for the 4th time this season in Pro Stock class racing.

On the way to his victory, Skillman defeated Pro Stock veteran Jeg Coughlin Jr., Chris McGaha and rookie and No. 1 qualifier Tanner Gray. Anderson, a four-time world champion and six-time Chevrolet Performance U.S. National winner, raced Kenny Delco, teammate and reigning champ Jason Line and Alex Laughlin before reaching the finals.

Krawiec rode to the Pro Stock Motorcycle win with his 6.858 pass at 196.90 on his Screamin’ Eagle / Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson to defeat Hector Arana Jr. and his Lucas Oil Buell’s 6.886 pass at 195.48.  This was Krawiec’s second Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals victory, his third win of the season and 39th of his career.

Eddie Krawiec won at Indy for the 2nd time in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

“We had a great motorcycle all weekend long,” said Krawiec, who was the No. 1 qualifier. “We just needed to keep finessing it and get it better and better and better. I couldn’t be prouder of my crew that I got right now; everybody that puts forth the effort in our program. It’s been nonstop the last two weeks at our shop and for it all to come together and to celebrate here having half of our shop here, it’s just something special.”

Krawiec took down Jim Underdahl, points leader LE Tonglet and Matt Smith before seeing Arana who beat 2016 rookie of the year Cory Reed, Scotty Pollacheck and reigning world champ Jerry Savoie, in the finals.

International Invader Prevails!

NHRA drag racing’s very popular J&A Service Pro Mod class category featured a refreshing winner when Brazilian native Sidnei Frigo emerged victorious.

For Frigo, who endured a horrific crash in the class category last season, this was his first career NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series victory.

The Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals Pro Mod racing eliminator, which was presented by, was the ninth of 12 events on the 2017 schedule.

Brazil’s Sidnei Frigo rolled to victory in Pro Mod racing his turbocharged C7

Frigo raced a 6.318-second pass at 203.68 mph in his Artivinco Racing / Fuel Tech C7 Corvette to defeat veteran Troy Coughlin who ran a 9.079 at 122.76 in his JEG’s Mail Order Corvette.

“It’s amazing,” Frigo said. “For my crew chief, for my guys. My son’s here. It’s amazing. The car is so…everything is working good now. I’m very confident. And thank you to my crew.”

Frigo, who qualified #13 faced-off with Steve Jackson, Steven Whiteley and Richie Stevens, the husband to Pro Stock world champion Erica Enders, before reaching his first career final round. Coughlin set the track speed record in qualifying (258.76 mph) defeated Jim Whiteley, Johnny Gray and Rickie Smith before falling to Frigo in the finals.

Despite a first round exit, Mike Castellana, the No. 1 qualifier (5.706 secs), maintains the points lead. Coughlin follows in second and event winner Frigo is fifth.

Frigo’s win came over the quickest assembly of Pro Mod class cars in history — after 26 entries battled to produce a record quick bump spot of 5.846 secs.

Shootout Specialists

The Chevrolet Performance US Nationals also included a number of very lucrative and highly competitive race-within-a-race features.

Indy’s 17th annual MOPAR Hemi Challenge final went to Jim Daniels (far lane) who won the event for the 2nd straight year. Daniels defeated Canada’s Wendall Howes in the championship final.

Prior to US Nationals event title on Monday – Steve Torrence collected the first place $100,000 payment during Saturday’s Traxxas Top Fuel Nitro Showdown when he beat Tony Schumacher in that final round.

Fan favourite racer Jack Beckman won his 2nd career Traxxas Funny Car title on Sunday and then quickly dedicated his win to the memory of former team sponsor Terry Chandler.  “Fast Jack” overcame Robert Hight in the final to nab $100G.

David Barton sped to victory in impressive style during the highly anticipated 2017 Factory Stock Showdown event presented by Sam-Tech.  Barton qualified #1 in the Wolkwitz Racing Camaro and beat another COPO driven by Stephen Bell in the final round.

Ohio’s Brian Spotts won the event’s added attraction AA/GS title in his ’48 Anglia. Spotts won the 1/8th mile 8-car exhibition eliminator.

The Lucas Oil Lowdown

The Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series was in full effect during the 63rd annual NHRA Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals with Josh Hart and John Lombardo Jr. scoring in the Top Alcohol dragster and Funny Car divisions accordingly.

Josh Hart raced his Advanced Auto Parts sponsored injected nitro car to the TAD title.

Hart, Ocala Fla., and Megan Meyer, Olathe, Kan., lined up against each other in the final round of Top Alcohol Dragster. Meyer was 1-0 against Hart in prior final round appearances heading into this final round. Hart took the starting line advantage and powered his way down the track at 5.307 seconds, 274.33 mph to take the win. Meyer followed up at 5.364 seconds, 275.79 mph. This was both drivers’ first final round appearances at the U.S. Nationals.

John Lombardo Jr., drove his Napa-sponsored Chevy Camaro (tuned by Canada’s Les Davenport) to the TAFC championship.

California rivals Lombardo Jr., Brea, Calif and Doug Gordon of Paso Robles, Calif., made their final round debuts at the U.S. Nationals. Lombardo took off first, Gordon stayed with him but had mechanical issues. Lombardo was able to pull away for the Top Alcohol Funny Car national event Wally trophy, running 5.485 seconds, 269.08 mph. Gordon registered a runner up pass of 5.715 seconds, 262.64 mph.

Kevin Helms, Plant City Fla., the 2015 NHRA Stock eliminator World Champion. earned his first win at Indy as he left the gate first in his Dodge DragPak and kept Marion Stephenson Williamsport, Ind., behind him in the Super Stock final round.

Mopar brand drivers Larry Gilley (top) and Kevin Helms scored in Stock and Super Stock class racing.

Brad Plourd, Holly Pond, Ala., cruised down the strip in his Ford Roadster for the easy win in the Comp Eliminator final round; Mike Farrell, Louisville, K.y., triggered red at the starting line.

Brad Plourd drove the quickest and fastest car entered in Competition eliminator to a popular win. This car is tuned by Alberta’s Sean Brown.

Other drivers visiting the winner’s circle at the annual “Big Go” included Mopar racer Larry Gilley in Stock; Ray Connolly in Super Comp and Kevin Adams in Super Gas 9.90 racing.

Kevin Adams won in Super Gas 9.90 with his cool Chevy Nova.

The 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season continues Sept. 15-17 at zMAX Dragway with the 10th annual NHRA Carolina Nationals and the kickoff to the Countdown to the Championship.

Posted with files by NHRA Communications, Keith Yazdanseta and Bruce Biegler
All photos by Bruce Biegler, Steve Embling & Dave DeAngelis

To view our very extensive photo gallery from this event click: HERE