NHRA field set for SpringNationals at Houston Raceway Park

On a somber Saturday afternoon at Houston Raceway Park, NHRA teams and drivers took to the track for their respective qualifying rounds for the second to last race of the year.

Prior to the qualifying sessions taking place, NHRA paid their respects with a video to fallen team member Eric Lane (former co-crew chief on Cruz Pedregon’s team), who was tragically killed this past week. For those wanting to donate to help out Lane’s family, please visit the Go Fund Me page here. Those also interested in sending flowers or cards to the family can send them to:

Cruz Pedregon Racing
ATTN: Lane Family
462 Southpoint Circ.
Brownsburg, Indiana 46112

American Muscle

In addition, the team will have a donation box set up at their tent in the garage area.

After the emotional opening, the two qualifying rounds took place for Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycles.

Top Fuel

Looking to continue his late season dominance was last week’s winner Steve Torrence, who previously scored his 40th national win at the Dallas Nationals. The Longview, Texas native earned his 27th career No. 1 qualifier and the third at Houston Raceway Park. Torrence went 3.672 and 3.689 seconds in the two rounds of qualifying Saturday afternoon that places him in a bye during the first round. From there, Torrence will either face Shawn Langdon or Justin Ashley in the second round of eliminations Sunday morning.

“(Crew chief) Richard Hogan and these Capco boys have got this hot rod running on mean right now,” Torrence said. “I think that’s eight straight runs at 3.720 or better. That just gives a driver so much confidence going up there (to the starting line).”

Torrence extended his championship points lead on second place Doug Kalitta to 61 points, which was previously at 51. Should Torrence win Sunday at Houston, it will cross off one of the tracks where he has not yet won in his NHRA career, with the other being Brainerd International Raceway located in Minnesota.

Last week’s runner-up, Billy Torrence, (Steve’s dad) qualified in the third position after posting a time of 3.701 seconds. Billy will face No. 14 qualifier Joe Morrison.

First Round competitions

1. Steve Torrence, 3.672 seconds, 327.98 mph vs. Bye; 2. Tony Schumacher, 3.685, 330.07 vs. 15. Cameron Ferre, 10.492, 70.27; 3. Billy Torrence, 3.701, 327.74 vs. 14. Joe Morrison, 7.028, 89.62; 4. Antron Brown, 3.741, 326.87 vs. 13. Scott Palmer, 6.440, 99.46; 5. Doug Kalitta, 3.764, 269.78 vs. 12. Kebin Kinsley, 5.235, 132.11; 6. Leah Pruett, 3.767, 324.20 vs. 11. Lee Callaway, 4.131, 224.88; 7. Clay Millican, 3.802, 276.58 vs. 10. Doug Foley, 3.913, 301.87; 8. Shawn Langdon, 3.812, 269.67 vs. 9. Justin Ashley, 3.881, 256.99. 

Funny Car

In the Funny Car division, Don Schumacher Racing’s Jack Beckman earned some points by once again being fast in qualifying. Beckman, the Dallas Nationals winner, scored the No. 1 qualifier by going 4.093 and 242.58 mph in Round 1 while going 3.884 seconds and 328.14 mph in the second round. By doing so, Beckman gains three additional points for setting the pace in both qualifying rounds.

“If we beat four people tomorrow, they’ll hand us another trophy,’ Beckman said following his No. 1 qualifier effort. “I didn’t ever think, with 17 cars here, that (Ron) Capps would be the No. 16 qualifier but I’m happy. We know we are going to have to earn this championship. I’d rather take it from the No. 1 spot because Matt (Hagan) had a four-point lead coming in. He stretched that out in Q1 and now we tightened that (points) back up a little bit.”

Don Schumacher Racing has been on fire as of late and they’ll look forward to potentially getting their 13th consecutive final round victory with Beckman hoping to be the one to deliver the victory to the team.

“The streak of the Don Schumacher Racing cars is awesome but it’s also ulcer-inducing because it’s always one of our cars next to us to when we go to the late rounds, or in tomorrow’s case, round one,” Beckman continued. “Four win lights tomorrow is what we need.”

Beckman will have lane choice and will square off against his Don Schumacher teammate Ron Capps in Round 1, who qualified 16th. The No. 1 qualifier was Beckman’s 28th of his NHRA Funny Car career.

First Round competitions

1. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger, 3.884, 328.14 vs. 16. Ron Capps, Charger, 5.295, 136.44; 2. Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.907, 327.74 vs. 15. Dave Richards, Ford Mustang, 5.269, 169.85; 3. J.R. Todd, Toyota Camry, 3.923, 328.62 vs. 14. Terry Haddock, Mustang, 5.021, 150.48; 4. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 3.928, 325.22 vs. 13. Paul Lee, Charger, 4.492, 190.59; 5. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 3.958, 308.21 vs. 12. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.291, 225.71; 6. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.973, 317.94 vs. 11. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.120, 309.70; 7. Bobby Bode III, Mustang, 4.024, 259.51 vs. 10. Blake Alexander, Mustang, 4.077, 302.62; 8. Cruz Pedregon, Charger, 4.041, 298.47 vs. 9. Chad Green, Mustang, 4.062, 294.88. Did Not Qualify: 17. Todd Simpson, 7.606, 85.74. 

Pro Stock

Up next was the Pro Stock division. Alex Laughlin, in the TexPlex Park/Havoline Chevrolet Camaro, went 6.506 seconds, and 210.73 mph to qualify on the pole in the Pro Stock category. The pole position was Laughlin’s third of his NHRA career and the first of the 2020 season.

Laughlin will be scheduled to face No. 16 Fernando Caudra in the first round. Caudra posted a time of 6.506 seconds, and 208.20 mph to give him 16th for the first round.

1. Alex Laughlin, Chevy Camaro, 6.506, 210.73 vs. 16. Fernando Cuadra, Ford Mustang, 6.605, 208.20; 2. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.517, 212.23 vs. 15. Mason McGaha, Camaro, 6.593, 209.04; 3. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.517, 211.36 vs. 14. Bruno Massel, Camaro, 6.578, 209.72; 4. Aaron Stanfield, Camaro, 6.520, 211.30 vs. 13. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.558, 210.50; 5. Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.527, 210.70 vs. 12. Troy Coughlin Jr., Mustang, 6.546, 209.56; 6. Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 6.528, 210.14 vs. 11. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.546, 209.82; 7. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.532, 211.79 vs. 10. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.541, 210.57; 8. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.540, 211.23 vs. 9. Kyle Koretsky, Camaro, 6.540, 210.34. Did Not Qualify: 17. Val Smeland, 6.638, 209.07; 18. Alan Prusiensky, 6.664, 196.30; 19. Cristian Cuadra, 24.214, 29.40. 

Pro Stock Motorcycle

Finally, Pro Stock Motorcycle took to the track for their qualifying sessions. Matt Smith, the King, North Carolina native, won his 43rd career No. 1 qualifier after going 6.729 seconds and 199.88 mph. The top spot was Smith’s fifth of the season. The DENSO Auto Parts/Stockseth/MSR EBR driver will face No. 16 Marc Ingwersen who broke in qualifying.

 1. Matt Smith, EBR, 6.729, 199.88 vs. 16. Marc Ingwersen, EBR, broke; 2. Angelle Sampey, Harley-Davidson, 6.789, 198.88 vs. 15. David Barron, EBR, 15.035, 48.32; 3. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.799, 197.48 vs. 14. Michael Phillips, Suzuki, 7.655, 189.52; 4. Ryan Oehler, EBR, 6.808, 197.08 vs. 13. Kelly Clontz, Suzuki, 6.967, 191.43; 5. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.811, 197.65 vs. 12. Chris Bostick, Suzuki, 6.958, 192.22; 6. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.836, 193.71 vs. 11. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.935, 190.46; 7. Angie Smith, EBR, 6.842, 199.17 vs. 10. Hector Arana Jr, EBR, 6.919, 195.82; 8. John Hall, Suzuki, 6.875, 193.05 vs. 9. Scotty Pollacheck, EBR, 6.900, 197.36. 

NHRA eliminations are scheduled to take place Sunday morning at 10 a.m. local time for the 33rd annual Houston Spring Nationals, with coverage on FOX Sports 1 beginning at 2 p.m. ET.

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