4X defending Top Fuel world champion moves back into the hunt…..

Steve Torrence is back in the NHRA World Championship title hunt, powering to his second straight win at World Wide Technology Raceway at the 11th annual NHRA Midwest Nationals.

Robert Hight (Funny Car), Erica Enders (Pro Stock) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also picked up wins at the 19th event in the 2022 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season and the third of six races in the Countdown to the Championship playoffs.

Torrence put together a run of 3.741-seconds at 328.70 mph in the final round in his 11,000-horsepower Capco Contractors dragster, slipping past Josh Hart, who went 3.749 at 329.67. Torrence, who also knocked off Buddy Hull, Clay Millican and Doug Kalitta to reach the final round, picked up his second win this season and 53rd in his career, jumping three spots in the standings to move into second in the title chase. He trails Justin Ashley by just 14 points with three races remaining as the Texan seeks his fifth straight world title in Top Fuel.

Torrence also won for the fourth time in St. Louis, posting an excellent reaction time of .027 in the finals and hanging on for the victory.

4X and defending NHRA World Champ Steve Torrence won for the 4th time of his career at NHRA’s MidWest Nationals.

“We’ve struggled all year, some of it self-inflicted, but this was a great weekend for us,” Torrence said. “We’re glad to be back in this Countdown to the Championship and it’s been a heck of a year. To come here and have success, it’s nothing short of a blessing. I tried to screw it up a couple times today and my guys saved me, and I was able to step up in the final round.”

Hart enjoyed an impressive weekend as well, defeating Scott Palmer, Mike Salinas, and Shawn Langdon to advance to his second final round this season and fourth in his career. He also moved to sixth in points.

In a thrilling Funny Car final round with major championship implications, points leader Hight took down defending world champ Ron Capps on a holeshot, as his run of 3.911 at 331.61 in his 11,000-horsepower Auto Club Chevrolet Camaro SS was enough to get past Capps’ quicker 3.908 at 330.47. It gives Hight, who was also the No. 1 qualifier, a 46-point lead over Capps at the halfway mark of the Countdown to the Championship and eight victories in what has been a tremendous season for the three-time world champ.

Robert Hight won at St. Louis in fuel FC racing – greatly enhancing his 2022 NHRA World title hopes.

He advanced to the final round on the strength of wins against Tim Wilkerson and Matt Hagan, and then posted a reaction time of .041 to hold off Capps at the finish line and pick up his 61st career victory. It’s also the third victory at St. Louis for Hight, who already has two wins in the postseason.

“It doesn’t get any better than this. This was a 40-point swing in the finals, so it was a good job by my guys,” Hight said. “They keep digging every round and getting it done. You definitely can’t be racing defensively. You’ve got to be on offense out here, even if you’re the points leader and I knew I had to pull out a good reaction time in the final round.

Capps reached his second straight final round – and an 80th career matchup with Hight – by defeating Daniel Wilkerson, Cruz Pedregon and John Force. Capps has seven final-round appearances this season and 138 in his career.

Enders now has the most wins at World Wide Technology Raceway of any driver in NHRA history, claiming her sixth St. Louis win – and fourth in a row – by knocking off Dallas Glenn in the finals in her Melling Performance/Elite Motorsports Camaro. Glenn went red, while Enders put together a pass of 6.535 at 210.28, extending her points lead and winning for the eighth time in a magical 2022 season and also the 41st time in her career.

Erica Enders extended her Pro Stock points margin & won for the 6X at St. Louis’s World Wide Technology Raceway.

Like Hight, Enders now has wins at two of the first three playoff races, building a 120-point lead over Aaron Stanfield heading into the final stretch of the season. She reached the finals with victories against Chris McGaha, teammate Troy Coughlin Jr. and No. 1 qualifier Kyle Koretsky. By dispatching Glenn, Enders also moved a step closer to her fifth world title.

Glenn beat Mike DePalma, Charlotte winner Aaron Stanfield and Matt Hartford to reach the finals for the third time this season and the eighth time in his young career.

Smith finished off a nearly-perfect weekend in Pro Stock Motorcycle, rolling to the win – and moving back into the points lead – on his Denso Auto Parts Buell with a run of 6.756 at 202.00 against Jerry Savoie in the championship round. Over the course of the weekend, Smith set both ends of the track record, made a career-best run, qualified No. 1, picked up his fourth win of the season – and 36th victory in his career – and took over the points lead as the top of the standings changed hands for the sixth straight race in the category.

Defending World Champ Matt Smith assumed the 2022 NHRA points lead with his victory in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Smith was spectacular throughout the weekend and reached the final round with wins against Kelly Clontz and Joey Gladstone, who came into the race with the points lead. Smith took it back and then led wire-to-wire against Savoie to win for the fifth time in St. Louis, which is the most in the class.

Savoie reached the final round for the second time this season and the 32nd time in his career, knocking off Ryan Oehler, Angelle Sampey and Eddie Krawiec. Smith’s points lead stands at 21 over Gladstone heading to Dallas as he seeks a sixth world championship.

The NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series returns to action Oct. 13-16 with the Texas NHRA FallNationals at the Texas Motorplex in Dallas.

Successful Sub!

Filling in for defending world champ Jose Gonzalez in the FuelTech NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by D-Wagon, rookie Daniel Pharris scored his first career victory in the class.

The event, which was powered by Jerry Bickel Race Cars, was the ninth of 10 races during the 2022 season in the FuelTech NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by D-Wagon.

Pharris picked up the win in the final round went J.R. Gray went red, as Pharris went 5.883-seconds at 192.08 mph in the ProCharger-powered Q80 Camaro.

It was just the third career start in the FuelTech NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by D-Wagon for Pharris, but he was impressive throughout the weekend, going as quick as 5.673 at 251.134 in qualifying. He then knocked off points leader Kris Thorne and Kevin Rivenbark to reach his first career final round before picking up the victory against Gray to claim the win.

“What a crazy day,” said Pharris, who was also the No. 1 qualifier this weekend in St. Louis. “’I’ve got the best team, the best car, the best crew chief in the country. Jose said, ‘Go win this for me,’ and we did it for him. It’s a team win for everybody and we’re just happy to be here.”

Gray reached his first final round this season and the third in his career by knocking off Topeka winner Justin Bond and Charlotte winner Stevie “Fast” Jackson.

Daniel Pharris scored his first career victory in the FuelTech Pro Mod class.

Heading into the last race of the season, Thorne, who is seeking his first career world title in the class, holds a 65-point lead against multi-time world champ Rickie Smith. Jackson is also 102 points back. The FuelTech NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by D-Wagon returns to action with its final race of the season as part of the Texas NHRA FallNationals, which takes place Oct. 13-16 at the Texas Motorplex in Dallas.

Final round Sportsman Racing results –11th annual NHRA Midwest Nationals

Competition Eliminator — Adam Hickey, Dragster, No Time Recorded def. Jason Grima, Ford Mustang, Broke – No Show.
Super Stock — Marion Stephenson, Chevy Cobalt, 9.645, 120.35 def. Tyler Wudarczyk, Chevy Camaro, 10.952, 111.56.
Stock Eliminator — Jimmy Hildalgo Jr., Pontiac GTO, 10.880, 114.33 def. Chris Knudsen, Chevy Camaro, Foul – Red Light.
Super Comp — Junior Houston, Dragster, 8.907, 183.99 def. Jeremy Mason, Dragster, 8.924, 174.66.
Super Gas — Rob Kropfeld, Chevy Camaro, 9.913, 165.44 def. Patrick DeBottis, Dodge Dakota, 9.892, 169.55.
Top Dragster presented by Vortech Superchargers — Darian Boesch, Dragster, 6.234, 215.34 def. EdDudley, Dragster, 6.242, 222.36.

Posted with files by NHRA Communications

DragRaceCanada file photos by David Ostasewski & Dave DeAngelis