NHRA’s 2017 chase for Mello Yello Drag Racing Championship glory continued at St. Louis last weekend…

Top Fuel points leader Steve Torrence piloted to victory for the eighth time this season during the sixth annual AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals held at Gateway Motorsports Park.

Steve Torrence has further solidified his chances for a NHRA World Championship with another convincing Top Fuel victory.

Ron Capps (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock), and LE Tonglet (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were also victorious in their respective categories at the third of six playoff events during the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship.

Torrence powered to victory with a 3.684-second pass at 329.34 in his Capco Contractors / Torrence Racing dragster to take down Doug Kalitta’s 3.698 at 331.28 in his Mac Tools dragster in the final found. Torrence has doubled his career victories this season with a total of 16 Wally trophies with today’s victory.

“We got here by doing what we do all year long and doing it ourselves,” Torrence stated. “We went out and we just took those guys out and put them back in the trailer. We’re leaving here with a bigger points lead and a trophy. You’re going to have to come in here and do everything you can to get every possible point because this thing could come down to one or two points at the end of the season.”

Torrence qualified seventh and took down Shawn Langdon, Leah Pritchett and defending world champion Antron Brown on the way to his 11th final round this season. Kalitta qualified in the No. 2 position and defeated Scott Palmer, Brittany Force and Dom Lagana and as he reached his third finals round of the season.

Popular Top Fuel racer Clay Millican set a new NHRA national ET record when he qualified #1 at 3.631 secs

Capps took down rookie Jonnie Lindberg with a 3.879 pass at 331.53 in his NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger R/T to secure his category-best eighth victory of the season and 58th of his career. He maintains the points lead and continues to pursue back-to-back world championships.

“The toughest cars in the Countdown are the ones that didn’t make the Countdown,” said Capps. “We saw that today with Lindberg and Alexis’ (DeJoria) car. We fear them more so than we do a lot of the Countdown cars because you’re trying to race smart. We’re just trying to get as many points as we can get.”

Ron Capps roared to a category’s best 8th fuel FC win of the season!

Capps entered Sunday as the No. 3 qualifier before defeating Jim Campbell, teammate Jack Beckman and 16-time world champion John Force on his way to his 11th final round of the year. Lindberg qualified fifth and was victorious against Tim Wilkerson, Alexis DeJoria and No. 1 qualifier Robert Hight.

Racing for car owner Jim Head – Sweden’s Jonnie Lindberg advanced to his third career final round – all this season.

In Pro Stock, Anderson drove to victory with a run of 6.571 at 210.73 in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro to defeat teammate and defending world champion Jason Line’s 6.545 at 211.26 in the final round. He locked down his third victory of the season and 89th of his career. Anderson took the points lead in the Countdown to the Championship with the victory.

“It’s hard to win out here,” stated Anderson. “I knew I was in deep in the final and knew it was going to take a stroke of luck, to be honest with you, to win it. I’d had a great race car, but didn’t have the total package. It’s been an up and down kind of year, but you have to peak going into the playoffs and obviously I have.”

With his win in Pro Stock – Greg Anderson has assumed the overall NHRA points lead with 3 events remaining this season.

Anderson was the No. 1 qualifier and continued his strong weekend with victories over Dave River, Larry Morgan, and Brian Self before reaching his 10th final round of 2017. Line earned the third spot in qualifying and defeated Alan Prusiensky, Deric Kramer and Bo Butner on the way to his second final round of the season.

Tonglet rode to the Pro Stock Motorcycle victory with a 6.792 at 197.91 on his Nitro Fish Racing Suzuki to better No. 1 qualifier Andrew Hines on his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson in the finals. He earned his sixth Wally of the season and 16th of his career.

“You’ve just got to stay calm and go rounds,” Tonglet said. “This is make or break for us. We felt that if we lost this race that our Championship hunt was over. We just haven’t been qualifying that great, but Tim (Kulungian, crew chief) figures it out by Sunday and it just hauls butt and we’re able to get round wins.”

LE Tonglet won in Pro Stock Bike – it was his 6th event victory of 2017

Tonglet qualified seventh before taking down Joey Gladstone, Eddie Krawiec, and Matt Smith en route to the finals. Hines bested Andrew Rawlings, Kate Stoffer and Scotty Pollacheck as he finished as the runner-up for only his third final round appearance of the season.

The 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season continues with the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals at Texas Motorplex in Dallas, Texas on Oct. 12 – Oct. 15.

Crucial Score for C7 Pilot

Ohio’s Troy Coughlin earned a crucial and timely victory enroute to a potential 2nd career NHRA Pro Modified World Championship.

The turbocharged C7 Corvette racer moved to the top of the points standings when he secured the Wally in the NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series portion of the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park. That weekend’s Pro Mod racing, presented by Real Pro Mod Association, is the 11th of 12 events on the 2017 schedule.

Troy Coughlin has vaulted to the Pro Mod points podium – with one J&A Services Pro Mod event remaining this season

Coughlin powered to a 5.792-second pass at 257.24 mph in his JEGS.com Corvette to earn the victory over Khalid alBalooshi in the final round. Coughlin defeated Rickie Smith, Steven Whiteley, and Pete Farber on his way to the finals. This is his third career victory at Gateway Motorsports Park.

“The whole JEGS.com team has been fantastic,” Coughlin stated. “We just kept picking at it and kept trying to pick it up. I’ve been driving pretty decent. We couldn’t be more excited to have the points lead going into Vegas. We’ve never had the points lead going into Vegas – we’ve always been behind. It feels great to be ahead. We just need to maintain what we’ve been doing.”

Coughlin entered the event second in the Pro Mod standings and claimed the No. 1 spot over Mike Castellana with the victory.

The J&A Service Pro Mod Series concludes at the NHRA Toyota Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas in Las Vegas, Nev. Oct. 26-29.

The Lucas Oil Lowdown 

A win by 19-year old New Jersey based driver Peter Gasko Jr., in the final Sam-Tech Factory Stock Showdown event of the season highlighted Lucas Oil Sportsman drag racing action at St. Louis.

Racing his 2017 COPO Camaro, Gasko Jr., earned his 2nd win of the season when he defeated the Ford Mustang raced by Kevin Skinner in the concluding final round:  8.162 secs 167.03 mph to 8.243 secs 161.57 mph.

Gasko Jr had qualified #1 for with a record quick FS/XX class run – hitting a super quick 8.097 secs to pace the 8-car program. Gasko Jr had defeated Joseph Welch and David Barton in earlier competition.

David Barton, a 3X winner on the circuit this season who also races a COPO, clinched the overall 2017 Sam-Tech points title when he won his first round match at the event.

Peter Gasko Jr., prevailed in the final Sam-Tech Factory Stock Showdown event for 2017

(Final Round Results)

Competition Eliminator — Shaun Vincent, Chevy S-10, 8.747, 119.70 def. David Billingsley, Chevy Camaro, Foul – Red Light.

Super Stock — Slate Cummings, Chevy Cavalier, 9.339, 130.82 def. Tyler Wudarczyk, Chevy Camaro, 10.139, 120.20.

Stock Eliminator — Tyler Wudarczyk, Chevy Camaro, 10.395, 110.42 def. Matt Lund, Pontiac Firebird, 10.290, 127.62.

Super Comp — Tommy Phillips, Dragster, 8.915, 168.81 def. Ryan Herem, Dragster, 8.890, 167.97.

Super Gas — Dwight Nuest, Dodge Rampage, 9.921, 149.81 def. Randy Shipp, Chevy Camaro, 9.924, 145.80.

Top Dragster presented by RacingRVs.com — Danny Nelson, Dragster, 6.036, 232.31 def. Mike Coughlin, Dragster, 6.031, 221.92.

Top Sportsman presented by RacingRVs.com — Rich Smith, Chevy Camaro, 6.725, 188.31 def. Tom Schmidt, Chevy Corvette, 8.298, 132.15.

Posted with files by NHRA Communications and Bruce Biegler
Photos by NHRA, Auto Imagery, Steve Embling & Bruce Biegler