Torrence, Hagan, Enders win NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series Midwest Nationals

Torrence back on top following ninth Top Fuel win of the season

Three-time Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence reclaims the points lead following a final round win over Mike Salinas
Kevin McKenna, NHRA National Dragster Senior Editor

Steve Torrence says he doesn’t count points, and there is certainly no reason to doubt him, but the three-time Top Fuel world champ clearly didn’t enjoy coughing up the points lead last week in Charlotte when he lost in the semifinals of the DeWalt NHRA Carolina Nationals. Who could blame Torrence for enjoying the view from the top. The Capco driver took the lead at the second event of the season in Las Vegas and steadily extended it throughout the regular season, where he dominated with eight wins.

Seven days after he surrendered the top spot to rival Brittany Force, Torrence quickly addressed the issue by claiming his ninth win of the season in St. Louis. Torrence went to the final for the 72nd time in his career where he bested Mike Salinas and his Scrappers team. Torrence was in trouble early in the final when  Salinas left with a .011 reaction time, but the Scrappers car drifted towards the centerline at half-track and Torrence took advantage of the miscue with a 3.736 to seal the win and extend his advantage over the field.

Torrence didn’t have the quickest car in St. Louis but he was never far off the pace set by the leaders. In qualifying, he ran a 3.697 but trailed Salinas and Force, who exchanged haymakers with runs of 3.652 and 3.663 that are among the quickest in the history of the class. Throughout his career, Torrence has always been more content to made headlines on Sunday than on Friday or Saturday and he was content to do just that in St. Louis with victories against Shawn Langdon, Antron Brown, and Josh Hart, the winner a week ago at zMax Dragway.

Torrence and his Richard Hogan-led team were overpowering with a 3.669 to beat Langdon, and a 3.709 against Brown, but his semifinal win took a bit more finesse. In his first season in the Top Fuel class, Hart has already won a few races via holeshot but he and Torrence left even. Any thoughts of an upset quickly evaporated when Hart’s R&L Carriers dragster hazed the tires. Torrence may have gotten a break when he made his slowest run of the day, a 3.767.

Although Salinas didn’t’ win in St. Louis, he had to be happy with the progress of his Scrappers team on several fronts. Salinas has been quick at times, but also a bit inconsistent. Team manager Alan Johnson and crew chief Brian Husen have worked on the performance end and that paid off with some of the best runs of Salinas’ career, and he’s also done his part working to improve his driving. That part became evident when he cut back-to-back .042 and .038 lights in his wins against Tripp Tatum and Leah Pruett, a prelude to his .011 bulb in the final round.

Torrence now holds a 36 point lead over Force with four events remaining in the season.

Hagan distances himself from the Funny Car field with third win of 2021

After returning from a bout with COVID, Matt Hagan survives a Funny Car slugfest to claim first St. Louis title and recapture the points lead.
Kevin McKenna, NHRA National Dragster Senior Editor

Matt Hagan came into the NHRA Midwest Nationals just five points out of the lead in what is shaping up to be one of the most competitive Funny Car points battles in years. He’s leaving St. Louis with a somewhat generous 59 point advantage over the field thanks to an impressive performance that resulted in his third win of the season. It was also the fourth win for the Mopar Dodge team following substitute driver Tommy Johnson Jr’s victory in Reading.

This time, Hagan did the heavy lifting by himself with a clean sweep of the event that included the quickest run of qualifying with a 3.868, and a 3.933 in his final round victory against Bob Tasca III, who may have saved his season with a runner-up finish. Having to miss two races due to COVID-19 including the Dodge/SRT NHRA U.S. Nationals has given Hagan an entirely different perspective on the sport.

“I’m just humbled and grateful to be out here to be honest with you,” said Hagan. “I dealt with COVID for a couple of weeks and there were a couple of times where you’re like ‘Man, I don’t know if I’m going to pull through this.’ It’s one of those things where it humbled me and I’m glad to be back out here with you guys having fun and winning trophies.

“This was a slugfest all weekend,” said Hagan. “Everyone was making great runs and it’s pretty incredibly to be a part of it and hang on to it. I’ve never won at this race track. Denver, Sonoma, and this place. I won Denver earlier this year so we’re clicking them off. Big points day. Every round matters. I’ve won three world championships and been runner-up twice and you know how to deal with the pressure. I don’t care who you are, it’s still pressure.”

After qualifying Hagan, now a 39-time winner in his career got a chance to make a free pass with a bye run in the opening round, and then tacked on wins against fellow world champs J.R. Todd and Cruz Pedregon. Hagan’s race against Pedregon was typical of the current state of Funny Car racing with an even start, followed by a close 3.92 to 3.95 race that fell in Hagan’s favor. Hagan also made one of the best runs of Sunday’s eliminations with a 3.894 in his win against Gainesville champ Todd.

Despite the final round loss, Tasca is still very much in the championship picture after driving his Mike Neff-tuned Motorcraft Quicklane Ford to the final round for the fourth this season and first since Norwalk. Starting from the No. 6 spot, Tasca was solid in his wins over Alexis DeJoria, Bobby Bode, and John Force. Tasca began the day in eighth place, 93 points out of the lead, but passed managed to hang tough. Tasca trails by 120 points and is behind Hagan, Capps, John Force, Pedregon, and Todd.

 

With today’s victory, Erica Enders joins Antron Brown as a five-time winner at WWTR.  (Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire)

By two-thousandths of a second, Enders gets fourth Pro Stock win of the season

Following a dramatic final round win over Dallas Glenn, Erica Enders claims her fourth win of the season and takes back the Pro Stock points lead
Kevin McKenna, NHRA National Dragster Senior Editor

Pro Stock racing has always been close, but few races have been as close, or as dramatic as the St. Louis final round featuring Erica Enders and Dallas Glenn. Enders won her 33rd career race and fourth season but the margin of victory at the finish line was just two thousandths of a second, or just a few inches at nearly 210 mph. The numbers were impressive as Glenn left first with an almost perfect .001 reaction time and made a very competitive run with a 6.583 in his RAD Torque Systems Camaro. That wasn’t enough as Enders countered with a .010 light of her own and a 6.572 in the Elite entry.

For Enders, the win was much needed after she’d fallen 65 points behind rival Greg Anderson as both drivers battle for their fifth Pro Stock world championship. Anderson lost in round two, giving Enders the opportunity that she needed to get back in the hunt.

“I always put it in high gear and check and I knew exactly where [Glenn] was. I knew it was going to be close,” said Enders. “I was legging it and shoving the throttle pedal through the firewall. We just needed to have Greg stumble a little and we needed to go to work on our program and I needed to work on myself. I’ve been struggling a little bit. Tim Freeman and Mark Ingersoll, my two crew chiefs said ten or better [on the Tree] and you can’t lose. I was .010 and Dallas was .001 and these kids are keeping us honest and making us work for it. Again, it’s going to be a dog fight.”

Enders has also won the last St. Louis events, a combined 12 round win streak in the Gateway City. She’s at a loss to explain that success, but will happily take it.

“I don’t know but I love it. I’m not going to question it,” said Enders. “I don’t know what it is about this facility. I’ve been coming here since we were kids with our Super Comp dragsters. It’s a blast and I really enjoy it.

Enders came from the No. 5 qualifying spot to reach the final thanks to wins against Bo Butner, Aaron Stanfield, who later clinched his second-straight now two-time Factory Stock champion Aaron Stanfield and Mason McGaha, who also got the early lead with a .017 light before falling behind when his 6.63 was nosed out by Enders’ 6.59.

For his part, Glenn continues to have what amounts to an amazing rookie season. Already a two-time winner, he’s now been to four final rounds including last week in Charlotte, his home track. Glenn took advantage of red-light starts by Fernando Cuadra and semifinal opponent Chris McGaha, but also did his part with a 6.580 in his victory against Rodger Brogdon in the quarterfinals.

Points leader Anderson was dominant in qualifying but took a tough loss in the quarterfinals when he got beat on a holeshot by Mason McGaha. Anderson once had the biggest championship lead of any of the four pro classes, but that has now shrunk to just 17 points with four events remaining.

MADISON, Ill. — Final finish order (1-16) at the 10th annual NHRA Midwest Nationals at World Wide
Technology Raceway.  The race is the 16th of 20 events in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series.

TOP FUEL:
1.  Steve Torrence; 2.  Mike Salinas; 3.  Josh Hart; 4.  Leah Pruett; 5.  Brittany Force; 6.  Tripp
Tatum; 7.  Antron Brown; 8.  Billy Torrence; 9.  Doug Kalitta; 10.  Shawn Langdon; 11.  Scott Palmer;
12.  Spencer Massey; 13.  Kyle Wurtzel; 14.  Clay Millican; 15.  Justin Ashley; 16.  T.J. Zizzo.

FUNNY CAR:
1.  Matt Hagan; 2.  Bob Tasca III; 3.  Cruz Pedregon; 4.  John Force; 5.  Ron Capps; 6.  Bobby Bode;
7.  J.R. Todd; 8.  Blake Alexander; 9.  Jim Campbell; 10.  Dale Creasy Jr.; 11.  Tim Wilkerson; 12.
Alexis DeJoria; 13.  Chris King; 14.  Terry Haddock; 15.  Robert Hight.

PRO STOCK:
1.  Erica Enders; 2.  Dallas Glenn; 3.  Mason McGaha; 4.  Chris McGaha; 5.  Greg Anderson; 6.  Aaron
Stanfield; 7.  Rodger Brogdon; 8.  Kyle Koretsky; 9.  Troy Coughlin Jr.; 10.  Deric Kramer; 11.
Cristian Cuadra; 12.  Bo Butner; 13.  Fernando Cuadra; 14.  Matt Hartford; 15.  Kenny Delco; 16.
Marty Robertson.

MADISON, Ill. — Sunday’s final results from the 10th annual NHRA Midwest Nationals at World Wide
Technology Raceway. The race is the 16th of 20 in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series:

Top Fuel — Steve Torrence, 3.736 seconds, 328.78 mph  def. Mike Salinas, 3.996 seconds, 226.70 mph.

Funny Car — Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 3.933, 333.49  def. Bob Tasca III, Ford Mustang, 3.967,
329.99.

Pro Stock — Erica Enders, Chevy Camaro, 6.572, 207.24  def. Dallas Glenn, Camaro, 6.583, 206.86.

Competition Eliminator — Joseph Arrowsmith, Pontiac GTO, 7.844, 173.03  def. Brett Speer, ’23-T
Ford, Foul – Red Light.

Super Stock — Robert Cruzen, Chevy Cobalt, 9.239, 139.11  def. Ricky Decker, Chevy Camaro, 9.737,
133.01.

Stock Eliminator — Ryan Montford, Chevy Camaro, 9.889, 109.72  def. Wes Neely, Pontiac Firebird,
Foul – Red Light.

Super Comp — Nick Isenhower, Dragster, 8.933, 181.18  def. Vernon Rowland, Dragster, 8.943, 165.23.

Super Gas — Jeremy Mason, Chevy Nova, 9.917, 154.26  def. Jason McClure, Chevy Camaro, 9.883,
161.02.

Top Sportsman presented by Vortech Superchargers — Larry Demers, Chevy Cobalt, 6.898, 197.71  def.
Curt Fredrich, Chevy Camaro, 6.587, 212.93.

Factory Stock Showdown — Aaron Stanfield, Chevy Camaro, 7.805, 176.49  def. Leonard Lottig, Camaro,
8.755, 139.16.

MADISON, Ill. — Final round-by-round results from the 10th annual NHRA Midwest Nationals at World
Wide Technology Raceway, the 16th of 20 events in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series:

TOP FUEL:

ROUND ONE — Antron Brown, 3.708, 330.39 def. Spencer Massey, 3.845, 273.50; Billy Torrence, 3.748,
320.13 def. Scott Palmer, 3.767, 323.58; Brittany Force, 3.641, 337.66 def. T.J. Zizzo, 4.921,
144.29; Mike Salinas, 3.843, 244.69 def. Kyle Wurtzel, 3.847, 299.93; Leah Pruett, 3.701, 326.16 def.
Clay Millican, 3.883, 253.80; Steve Torrence, 3.669, 329.42 def. Shawn Langdon, 3.762, 324.98; Josh
Hart, 3.758, 326.95 def. Justin Ashley, 4.091, 216.03; Tripp Tatum, 3.714, 331.36 def. Doug Kalitta,
3.724, 325.30; QUARTERFINALS — Salinas, 3.736, 329.10 def. Tatum, Foul – Red Light; Hart, 3.793,
325.69 def. Force, 3.767, 321.27; Pruett, 3.769, 316.01 def. B. Torrence, 6.575, 122.59; S. Torrence,
3.709, 331.36 def. Brown, 4.445, 190.35; SEMIFINALS — Salinas, 3.713, 328.06 def. Pruett, 20.077, no
speed; S. Torrence, 3.767, 325.61 def. Hart, 3.965, 249.49; FINAL — S. Torrence, 3.736, 328.78 def.
Salinas, 3.996, 226.70.

FUNNY CAR:

ROUND ONE — Bob Tasca III, Ford Mustang, 3.927, 330.55 def. Alexis DeJoria, Toyota Camry, 4.505,
186.87; Blake Alexander, Mustang, 3.953, 298.01 def. Dale Creasy Jr., Dodge Charger, 4.028, 289.14;
Matt Hagan, Charger,  was unopposed; Ron Capps, Charger, 3.854, 333.41 def. Chris King, Camry, 6.016,
123.07; Bobby Bode, Mustang, 4.353, 250.51 def. Terry Haddock, Mustang, 11.981, 72.48; Cruz Pedregon,
Charger, 3.913, 327.03 def. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.005, 313.22; John Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.970,
316.30 def. Robert Hight, Camaro, 24.203, 58.41; J.R. Todd, Camry, 3.895, 330.39 def. Tim Wilkerson,
Mustang, 4.220, 222.22; QUARTERFINALS — Pedregon, 4.127, 243.06 def. Alexander, 8.867, 73.85; Tasca
III, 3.959, 330.88 def. Bode, 4.431, 195.93; Force, 3.970, 328.70 def. Capps, 3.929, 326.56; Hagan,
3.894, 332.18 def. Todd, 4.571, 182.21; SEMIFINALS — Tasca III, 4.306, 216.69 def. Force, 6.826,
93.68; Hagan, 3.922, 328.30 def. Pedregon, 3.954, 323.58; FINAL — Hagan, 3.933, 333.49 def. Tasca
III, 3.967, 329.99.

PRO STOCK:

ROUND ONE — Mason McGaha, Chevy Camaro, 6.566, 209.95 def. Troy Coughlin Jr., Camaro, Foul – Red
Light; Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.574, 210.34 def. Deric Kramer, Camaro, Foul – Red Light; Rodger
Brogdon, Camaro, 6.560, 209.62 def. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.863, 165.09; Erica Enders, Camaro,
6.559, 209.98 def. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.607, 207.78; Dallas Glenn, Camaro, 6.547, 210.31 def.
Cristian Cuadra, Ford Mustang, Foul – Red Light; Kyle Koretsky, Camaro, 6.586, 209.17 def. Marty
Robertson, Mustang, 6.989, 158.87; Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.532, 209.52 def. Fernando Cuadra,
Mustang, 6.611, 207.78; Aaron Stanfield, Camaro, 6.561, 209.65 def. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.903,
164.67; QUARTERFINALS — C. McGaha, 6.611, 208.46 def. Koretsky, 11.543, 76.46; Enders, 6.578, 208.88
def. Stanfield, 6.590, 208.07; Glenn, 6.580, 209.10 def. Brogdon, 6.627, 208.49; M. McGaha, 6.569,
209.43 def. Anderson, 6.564, 210.01; SEMIFINALS — Glenn, 6.609, 208.33 def. C. McGaha, Foul – Red
Light; Enders, 6.592, 206.54 def. M. McGaha, 6.637, 208.07; FINAL — Enders, 6.572, 207.24 def.
Glenn, 6.583, 206.86.

MADISON, Ill. — Point standings (top 10) following the 10th annual NHRA Midwest Nationals at World
Wide Technology Raceway, the 16th of 20 events in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series –

Top Fuel

1.  Steve Torrence, 2,373; 2.  Brittany Force, 2,337; 3.  Billy Torrence, 2,247; 4.  Mike Salinas,
2,239; 5.  Justin Ashley, 2,235; 6.  Leah Pruett, 2,222; 7.  Antron Brown, 2,188; 8.  Shawn Langdon,
2,164; 9.  Clay Millican, 2,157; 10.  Doug Kalitta, 2,096.

Funny Car

1.  Matt Hagan, 2,354; 2.  Ron Capps, 2,295; 3.  John Force, 2,282; 4.  Cruz Pedregon, 2,255; 5.
J.R. Todd, 2,239; 6.  Bob Tasca III, 2,234; 7.  (tie) Robert Hight, 2,194; Tim Wilkerson, 2,194; 9.
Alexis DeJoria, 2,163; 10.  Blake Alexander, 2,120.

Pro Stock

1.  Greg Anderson, 2,394; 2.  Erica Enders, 2,377; 3.  Kyle Koretsky, 2,297; 4.  Dallas Glenn, 2,278;
5.  Aaron Stanfield, 2,227; 6.  Troy Coughlin Jr., 2,202; 7.  Mason McGaha, 2,192; 8.  Chris McGaha,
2,183; 9.  Matt Hartford, 2,162; 10.  Deric Kramer, 2,147.

 

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