Eddie Krawiec, Aaron Stanfield, Tommy Johnson Jr. and Tony Schumacher victorious at Houston Nationals

The Houston Nationals at Houston Raceway Park marked the 33rd annual SpringNationals on Sunday afternoon, where the racetrack featured some thrilling and exciting action.

Eddie Krawiec, Aaron Stanfield, Tommy Johnson Jr. and Tony Schumacher were victorious in their respective classes following the completion of the second to last NHRA race of the season.

Top Fuel

In Top Fuel, No. 1 qualifier Steve Torrence looked to continue his dominant 2020 season success Sunday by being the No. 1 qualifier for the 27th time of his NHRA career. Torrence had a bye run in the first round, while he won against Shawn Langdon in Round 2 going 3.686 seconds and 328.46 mph, and then advanced to the semifinals with a victory over Don Schumacher Racing driver Antron Brown to get to the finals. Meanwhile, rival and competitor Tony Schumacher hadn’t been to victory lane in over two years with his last victory coming at Bristol in 2018.

Schumacher qualified second on Saturday afternoon after posting a time of 3.685 seconds and 330.07 mph, with a first-round opponent, the No. 15 qualifier Cameron Ferre. Schumacher would win over Ferre with a time of 3.712 seconds, and 319.37 mph, then won against Doug Foley in Round 2 and defeated Billy Torrence in the semis to help get Don Schumacher Racing in the finals against Steve Torrence.

It’s not too often you get a No. 1 qualifier and No. 2 qualifier to face each other in the final rounds, but that’s what occurred with Torrence and Schumacher. As fate would have it, Schumacher ousted Torrence in the final for his 85th career Top Fuel victory and his first win of the year. Schumacher went 3.669 seconds and 330.63 mph over Torrence’s 3.687 seconds and 330.07 mph.

“This is an incredible opportunity and I’m going to display this trophy proudly,” said Schumacher, who won for the first time since the 2018 Bristol race. “I’m super happy for the guys. This is our home track. My fiancé [Summer] and her family are from here and they’re all here today. Half of my neighbors in Austin have come out today and have never been here before. They just saw two of the best semifinal and final rounds you’re ever going to see. I don’t know what that came down to, but I’m guessing inches and thousandths of a second. That’s what it’s about. It’s about the people who showed up here in the stands, the people who worked so hard on this car. We just love the opportunity. We’ve got one more in Vegas and I’m looking forward to that, it’s one of my favorite tracks coming up. I want to win Vegas because you get the whole off-season to think about it.”

Tony Schumacher Celebrates 85th Career National Victory, Photo Courtesy of NHRA.

By finishing second, Torrence ended up with the 21st runner-up of his NHRA career and the second of the season.

“That was a helluva drag race,” admitted a disappointed Torrence. “To be honest, we did exactly what we wanted. In hindsight, I don’t think we’d change anything. They took a shot and made it work. That’s why they won all those championships. The bottom line is we know we’re taking a great car to Vegas. I can’t wait to get started. I wish we were racing tomorrow.”

Top Fuel Results

  1. Tony Schumacher
  2. Steve Torrence
  3. Billy Torrence
  4. Antron Brown
  5. Leah Pruett
  6. Doug Kalitta
  7. Doug Foley
  8. Shawn Langdon
  9. Clay Millican
  10. Joe Morrison
  11. Scott Palmer
  12. Justin Ashley
  13. Lee Callaway
  14. Kebin Kinsley
  15. Cameron Ferre

Funny Car

Following their 12th consecutive victory at the Texas Motorplex last Sunday, Don Schumacher Racing continues to carry momentum late in the season from when Tommy Johnson Jr. gave Schumacher their 13th consecutive win. Johnson Jr. ended up facing his teammate Ron Capps in the finals and won with an E.T. of 3.929 seconds and 321.04 mph to pick up his 22nd career Funny Car victory. The victory was Johnson’s third of the year.

“It was a must-win,” said Johnson, who is aiming to close out his seven-year Chandler family ‘giving car’ run by delivering his first Funny Car world title for Doug Chandler. “We get close and then we stumble, and we think we’re out of it, and here we come again. We just keep coming back. It’s like a heavyweight battle and when we get knocked down, we get back up and keep swinging. I’m just really proud of these guys. They never quit. I’m just super happy with the fight in these guys and this has got drama written all over it when we go to Vegas. You’ve got to keep digging and you knew the final round was going to be a great race. It’s definitely been different this year, but once you fire the engine it’s no different. (Crew chiefs) John Collins, Rip Reynolds, and the whole MD Anderson team has done a really good job under some tough circumstances.”

Tommy Johnson Jr Celebrates Winning the Houston Nationals, Photo Courtesy of NHRA.

Johnson Jr. claimed victories over Jim Campbell in Round 1, JR Todd in Round 2 and teammate Matt Hagan in the semis which ultimately set up the final round victory over Capps.

Capps on the other hand, will have to settle for his 59th career runner-up finish after falling a little bit short to Johnson Jr. The runner-up finish was his first of the year, despite being an upset to his teammate and No. 1 qualifier Jack Beckman in the first round.

“We were trying to implement some new parts and do some testing, and that’s hard to do with only two qualifying runs and you definitely don’t want to do that on Sunday,” Capps said. “That put us behind. But I say it time and time again, coming in Sunday morning, I’ve never thought we didn’t have a chance at winning the race no matter what position we start from. We sure had the FOX TV people scrambling to see when the last time someone won from the 16th spot.

“You hate to knock out a teammate in the championship, but it’s mano-a-mano up there, and Sunday morning you have one of the leading cars in the points race, and we knew we were capable. It’s just one of those ‘grind ‘em out’ days. These are the weekends where you look back at the end of the season and you sort of circle them and you remember that this is where most teams would have gone out early and we gutted out a lot of big round wins and 20 points here and there. When you’re running great and things don’t go wrong, it seems a little easier.

“Today was one of those knock-down, drag-out fights. In the semifinals, I stayed in the throttle and I didn’t see Alexis (DeJoria). In a nitro Funny Car, when you stay in the throttle bad things can happen and unfortunately, we hurt the beautiful Pennzoil body. But fortunately, we have great sponsors with Pennzoil and NAPA AUTO PARTS and we have plenty of parts at DSR and we have four days to get to (Las) Vegas and do it again.”

Capps got to the final with victories over Beckman in Round 1, Cruz Pedregon in the second round and Alexis Dejoria in the semis before losing to Johnson Jr. in the finals.

Funny Car Results

  1. Tommy Johnson JR
  2. Ron Capps
  3. Matt Hagan
  4. Alexis Dejoria
  5. Cruz Pedregon
  6. Bob Tasca III
  7. J.R. Todd
  8. Blake Alexander
  9. Bobby Bode
  10. Dave Richards
  11. Jack Beckman
  12. Chad Green
  13. Tim Wilkerson
  14. Paul Lee
  15. Jim Campbell
  16. Terry Haddock

Pro Stock

In the Pro Stock category, it was an emotional day for Aaron Stanfield and company, who picked up his first ever career NHRA Pro Stock victory. Stanfield came close to victory earlier this season at Gainesville when he was a runner-up to Alex Laughlin.

Stanfield qualified fourth after the two rounds of qualifying on Saturday to give him a first round matchup against No. 13 qualifier Kenny Delco. Stanfield won over Delco in the first round, Troy Coughlin Jr. in round two, and Kyle Korestky that helped him get to the final round facing Jeg Coughlin Jr.

Stanfield went 6.535 seconds and 211.03 mph over Coughlin Jr’s 6.611 seconds and 207.53 mph en route to an emotional victory on Sunday.

“I definitely can’t put this into words,” Stanfield said. “I remember listening to my dad race and I’ve dreamed of the day that I could hold up a Pro Stock Wally ever since I was a little guy watching my dad race. It’s always been at the top of my goals. I tried to stay as calm as I could, but I knew my guys had my best interests in mind. I stayed focused, we did our job and we got it done. To be honest, this whole day has been crazy, just accomplishing huge, huge dreams. I haven’t had time to soak it all in, but what my dad has taught me is to clear your head and focus on what you need to do. That’s what I was able to do today.”

Aaron Stanfield Claims 48th Career Win, Photo Courtesy of NHRA.

Jeg Coughlin Jr. would have to settle for the second runner-up of his NHRA career.

Pro Stock Results

  1. Aaron Stanfield
  2. Jeg Coughlin
  3. Kyle Koretsky
  4. Greg Anderson
  5. Alex Laughlin
  6. Erica Enders
  7. Chris McGaha
  8. Troy Coughlin Jr
  9. Jason Line
  10. Matt Hartford
  11. Deric Kramer
  12. Mason McGaha
  13. Kenny Delco
  14. Bo Butner
  15. Fernando Caudra
  16. Bruno Massel

Pro Stock Motorcycle

Eddie Krawiec was successful after beating Ryan Oehler in the final round. Krawiec had an E.T. of 6.801 seconds and 198.61 mph over Oehler’s 6.905 seconds and 181.37 mph to secure his first victory of the season and the 48th of his NHRA career.

Krawiec won over Michael Phillips in Round 1, Jerry Savoie in the second and a semi-final victory over Hector Arana Jr. that preceded the final round match up with Oehler. The Houston National win marked Krawiec’s first victory since Atlanta of 2018.

“I can tell you one thing; don’t take a Wally for granted because sometimes they don’t come,” said Krawiec, who had lost nine-straight final rounds following his Brainerd win, including five-straight against his teammate, Andrew Hines. “Sometimes it’s not what you because sometimes luck just rolls your way. With two plus years being out of it, it just feels good. I feel like I’ve accomplished everything I need to and don’t have to prove anyting. but  it’s nice just to get it done. There is a lot of great racers in the class and you can’t take anyting for granted. Take every win for what it is and enjoy it. We now have four or five bikes fighting for the championship so it’s great racing and it’s the way it should be.”

Eddie Kraweic Rockets to Houston Victory, Photo Courtesy of NHRA.

Pro Stock Motorcycle Results

  1. Eddie Krawiec
  2. Ryan Oehler
  3. Hector Arana Jr
  4. Matt Smith
  5. Andrew Hines
  6. Scotty Pollacheck
  7. David Barron
  8. Jerry Savoie
  9. John Hall
  10. Kelly Clontz
  11. Michael Phillips
  12. Chris Bostick
  13. Angelle Sampey
  14. Angie Smith
  15. Steve Johnson
  16. Marc Ingwersen

Updated Top Fuel Points Standings

  1. Steve Torrence. 868 points
  2. Doug Kalitta, -101
  3. Billy Torrence, -193
  4. Leah Pruett, -198
  5. Shawn Langdon, -324
  6. Antron Brown, -334
  7. Justin Ashley, -383
  8. Terry McMillen, -453
  9. Clay Millican, -454

Updated Funny Car Standings

  1. Matt Hagan, 842 points
  2. Tommy Johnson Jr, -42
  3. Jack Beckman, -43
  4. Ron Capps, -163
  5. Bob Tasca III, -247
  6. J.R. Todd, -258
  7. Tim Wilkerson, -272
  8. Alexis Dejoria, -353
  9. Cruz Pedregon, -454
  10. Paul Lee, -460

Updated Pro Stock Standings

  1. Erica Enders, 753 points
  2. Jeg Coughlin, -55
  3. Jason Line, -55
  4. Greg Anderson, -183
  5. Matt Hartford, -206
  6. Alex Laughlin, -222
  7. Aaron Stanfield, -270
  8. Chris McGaha, -319
  9. Deric Kramer, -348
  10. Bo Butner, -355

Updated Pro Stock Motorcycle Standings

  1. Matt Smith, 542 points
  2. Scotty Pollacheck, -58
  3. Andrew Hines, -66
  4. Angelle Sampey, -95
  5. Eddie Krawiec, -118
  6. Ryan Oehler, -203
  7. Angie Smith, -204
  8. Steve Johnson, -239
  9. Jerry Savoie, -239
  10. Hector Arana Jr, -258

Up Next: The NHRA Camping World Series will look to finish out the 2020 season schedule at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the Dodge World Finals, with qualifying on Saturday, Oct. 31 and the championship eliminations held on Sunday, Nov. 1.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com


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