After losing an extremely respected and very loved member of it’s racing society — it was back to business for NHRA…..

NHRA’s latest event took place with heavy hearts following the very recent passing of influential sponsor and racing patriarch Terry Chandler, part of Don Schumacher’s formidable DSR racing team and the Make-A-Wish foundation.

During the 20th anniversary for Chicagoland’s NHRA Route 66 Nationals facility, it was Steve Torrence who powered his Top Fuel dragster to his fifth victory of the season for the Fallen Patriots NHRA Route 66 Nationals presented by K&N Filters.  Funny Car points leader Ron Capps was also a winner as was Drew Skillman (Pro Stock) and LE Tonglet (Pro Stock Motorcycle at the 13th of 24 events on the 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.

Top Fuel points leader Torrence secured the win with a run of 3.779-seconds at 326.08 mph in his Capco Contractors dragster to take down Antron Brown after he ran a 3.786 at 326.71 in his Matco Tools dragster in the final round. Torrence notched his 13th career victory and his third in the past four events.

Steve Torrance continued his torrid pace in Top Fuel – winning for the 5X this season.

“I knew Antron [Brown] was going to bring his best, because when we race each other we are both at our best,” Torrence said. “When I go up to the line I only think about racing my car and trying to beat everybody, and with the car that I have right now I feel like we can beat anybody at any time.”

Torrence qualified fourth and defeated Scott Palmer, Blake Alexander and T.J. Zizzo on the way to victory. Brown qualified seventh and defeated Doug Kalitta, Leah Pritchett and Clay Millican before reaching his sixth final round of the season.

Pritchett narrowly remains in second after a quarterfinal appearance and teammate Brown trails by just two points for the second spot in the standings.

Points leader Capps locked down his sixth victory of the season after a 4.026 at 319.67 in his NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger R/T to defeat teammate Tommy Johnson Jr. who ran a 4.047 at 319.90 in his Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T in the final round. Capps has now reached three final rounds in the past four races, earning two victories in that span.

Ron Capps also remained white hot in NHRA Fuel FC class racing – collecting his 6th win of 2017

“This has been a season that I could not even dream about, coming off a championship and having that four-win winning streak over in the season, it’s been incredible,” Capps said. “This is not an easy place to drive since it demands a lot out of you, but my team did a great job of making adjustments.”

Capps qualified ninth and defeated Jonnie Lindberg, Jim Campbell and Matt Hagan before reaching his eighth final round of the season. Johnson Jr. qualified sixth and took down John Force, J.R. Todd and Tim Wilkerson before appearing in his second final round of 2017.

Capps holds a 200-point lead over second-place Matt Hagan, who fell in the semifinals. Jack Beckman sits in third place after making a quarterfinal appearance.

In Pro Stock, Skillman notched his first victory of the season after driving to a 6.627 at 209.23 in his Ray Skillman Chevy Camaro to defeat Erica Enders who ran a 6.655 at 207.37 in her Elite Motorsports Chevy Camaro in the final. Skillman became the ninth different winner in Pro Stock in 13 events, earning his fourth career victory.

3rd generation racer Drew Skillman was convincing while winning Pro Stock

“We’ve struggled all year, but we finally put everything together and took things round-by-round,” Skillman said. “The Pro Stock division is so close now, but I definitely feel like we have finally gotten where we deserve to be with this win.”

Skillman qualified third and defeated Shane Tucker, Tanner Gray and points leader Bo Butner en route to his second final round appearance of 2017. Enders reached her third final round of the season after qualifying ninth and defeating Chris McGaha, Greg Anderson and Jason Line.

Butner remains in the top spot of the Pro Stock standings after the semifinal appearance, while Anderson and T. Gray round out the top three. Skillman’s victory put him in eighth in the standings, while Enders now sits at sixth after her second runner-up of the season.

Points leader Tonglet secured his fourth Pro Stock Motorcycle victory in six events with a 6.835 at 195.99 on his Nitro Fish Racing Suzuki to defeat Hector Arana Jr. who ran a 6.878 at 193.29 on his Lucas Oil Buell in the finals. This is Tonglet’s first victory at Route 66 Raceway since he went back-to-back in 2010-11. He has now earned victories in all four of his final round appearances this season.

LE Tonglet’s win in Pro Stock Motorcycle was his 4th triumph of the season.

“We knew we had a good bike at the start of the season, but it was just a matter of getting tuned up as we learn more about the bike each week,” Tonglet said. “On Sunday our goal is to get win lights, so I’ve improved on being calm and staying focused to try and get the job done.”

Tonglet earned the No. 1 qualifier and defeated Cory Reed, Scotty Pollacheck and Karen Stoffer on his way to victory. Arana Jr. notched the second spot in qualifying, defeating Angelle Sampey, Angie Smith and Eddie Krawiec before earning his second runner-up finish of the season.

Krawiec remains in second following the semifinal appearance. Arana Jr. moves up to third with the runner-up, surpassing Pollacheck who fell to fourth.

The Lucas Oil Lowdown 

TAD was won by young lady driver Meagan Meyer

Many special moments were made this past weekend at Route 66 Raceway. Dan Fletcher and team celebrated in winner’s circle as Fletcher took home his 100th national event win. Mark McDonald took home national event wally trophies from both the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series and the JEGS ALLStars championship event.

Fletcher racing out of Churchville, N.Y. squared off against west coast rival Greg Ventura from Corona, Calif., in the Super Street final round. Ventura was a few ticks too quick on the tree and turned on the red light to giving Fletcher his 100th National event Wally. The New York driver recorded his victory lap at 11.681 seconds, 94.65 mph. He is only the third driver in NHRA history to win 100 National events, joining John Force (148) and Frank Manzo (105).

Its now 100 wins and counting in NHRA Lucas Oil class racing for Dan Fletcher!

Mark McDonald, Boonville, Ind., captured his first national event win, downing Todd Ewing, Vinemont, Ala., in the Top Sportsman Presented by Racing RV’s final round. McDonald took the starting line advantage and out ran Ewing, coming in at 6.677 seconds, 195.79 mph. Ewing runner upped at 6.833 seconds, 192.66 mph. McDonald also captured the Top Sportsman crown in JEGS Allstars final round; outlasting J.J. Heber of Centennial, Colo., on Saturday.

McDonald was not the only driver to double up this weekend. Local Illinois racer Luke Bogacki of Carterville took home the Super Comp and Super Gas crowns. Bogacki (8.909 seconds, 169.32 mph) edged out fellow Illinois driver and 2016 Lucas Oil Super Comp champ Nick Folk (8.918 seconds, 168.81 mph) in the final round. In the Super Gas final round, Bogacki hit a perfect light 0.000, 9.930 seconds 149.10 mph and cruised to victory, upending Mike Sawyer, Leominister, Mass. Folk did take home the Super Comp championship in the JEGS Allstars national event.

Father and son battled in the final round of Super Stock, as Greg and Aaron Stanfield, Bossier City, La., met at the starting line. Aaron took the starting line advantage and never gave his dad the chance to get back into the race. Aaron recorded his victory lap at 9.909 seconds, 128.74 mph, Greg 9.059 seconds, 141.56 mph. Aaron also bested his father at the Thunder Valley Nationals last month.

Megan Meyer of Olathe, Kan., defeated 2016 Lucas Oil Top Alcohol Dragster champion Joey Severance, Woodburn, Ore., for the first time in her career in the final round of TAD. Meyer took the lead and never gave Joey a chance, who had technical issues midway through race. Meyer finished at 5.427 seconds, 263.46 mph, Severance 5.798 seconds, 181.96 mph.

In a battle for Southern California bragging rights in Top Alcohol Funny Car, Sean Bellemeur, Placentia ran 5.528 seconds, 266.90 mph to defeat Shane Westerfield, Anaheim 6.095 seconds, 239.44 mph in the final round.

The other drivers visiting the winner’s circle were David Rampy in Comp Eliminator; Brad Burton in Stock; and Zach Sackman in Top Dragster.

Competition eliminator winner – David Rampy


Home state racer “Cool Hand” Luke Bogacki – doubled up – winning both in Super Gas and Super Comp!


Mark McDonald won the event’s TS title on Sunday – after winning in the Jegs Allstars the previous day!

Super Stock winner – Aaron Stansfield


Drag racing premium annual race-within-a-race – the 33rd annual JEGS Allstars was completed during Saturday’s event schedule.

The crew from the NHRA North Central Division claimed the $20,000 top prize in the overall team competition.

The Division 3 crew won the elite competition for the eighth time following individual wins by Brian Browell in Comp Eliminator, Andrew Hill in Stock and Mark McDonald in Top Sportsman. The final tally had Division 3 with 900 points and the teams from Division 7, Division 5 and Division 6 tied for second with 700 points.

Andrew Hill won in Jegs Stock

The other champions crowned during the annual event included Joey Severance in Top Alcohol Dragster, Andy Bohl in Top Alcohol Funny Car, James Antonette Jr. in Super Stock, Nick Folk in Super Comp, Ken Mostowich in Super Gas, Josh Dalrymple in Super Street and Steven Furr in
Top Dragster.

Calgary’s Ken Mostowich won in the Jegs S/G class!

The JEGS Allstars is a unique competition that features 80 of the best Sportsman racers from the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series. Racers qualify for the event by earning points in their home division during the previous year. Champions are crowned in 10 different classes and there also is an overall team champion.

The Regional portion of the show, which features racers in Top Alcohol Dragster and Top Alcohol Funny Car, was effectively decided in the first round in favor of the Western Region, which featured Severance. The West finished with 700 points to 500 for the North Central region and 100 each for the Central and East regions.

Severance, the winner of the last two national championships, defeated Mia Tedesco in the Top Alcohol Dragster final, 5.258 to 5.342. In Top Alcohol Funny Car, Bohl drove around Chris Marshall with an impressive 5.553 run.

TAD JEGS Allstars winner – Joey Severance

Andy Bohl drove his Camaro to the Jegs TAFC title.

Browell overcame a slow start in the Comp final against Division 6 racer Brian Hyerstay and drove around his opponent with a 7.136 in his D/Dragster. In Super Stock, Division 1 racer Antonette used a perfect reaction time to stop Division 3’s Jeff Dona and in Stock, Hill chipped in with 300 points when he stopped Division 7 racer Tibor Kadar in a double-breakout contest.

Folk, the reigning NHRA Super Comp champ, continued his recent hot streak with a near-perfect 8.904 run in the final to beat Trevor Larson, who was the blocker based on his win in last year’s JEGS Allstars event. Folk won both the Super Comp and Super Stock titles two weeks ago in Norwalk.

The Division 7 team picked up their lone victory after Mostowich got past Dave Kelly in the final. Mostowich was able to coast to the final after Kelly shutoff early. Dalrymple got the best of Division 2 racer Jonathan Anderson in the Super Street final, 10.886 to 10.886. The difference was Dalrymple’s .002 reaction time.

The overall win was decided when McDonald drove to the Top Sportsman title over blocker J.J. Heber and Furr scored in the Top Dragster class for the Division 2 team after opponent Phil Unruh red-lighted in the final.

Sportsman powerhouse Steve Furr won this time in Jegs Top Dragster

Each member of the Division 3 team shared in a $20,000 bonus provided by JEGS Mail Order. If any of the champions from today’s event can duplicate that feat in the final round of tomorrow’s Fallen Patriots NHRA Route 66 Nationals, they will earn a double-up bonus from JEGS.

JEGS Allstars Final Points Standings

West 700
North Central 500
Central 100
East 100

Division 3 (North Central) 900
Division 7 (Pacific) 700
Division 5 (West Central) 700
Division 6 (Northwest) 700
Division 1 (Northeast) 600
Division 4 (South Central) 500
Division 2 (Southeast) 400

Posted with files by NHRA Communications, Rob Geiger, Keith Yazdanseta and Bruce Biegler
All photos by Bruce Biegler

To connect to DragRaceCanada’s extensive photo gallery from the Route 66 Nationals – click: HERE