Steve Torrence, Pedregon, Glenn and S. Johnson claim victories at Vegas Nationals

Las Vegas Motor Speedway hosted the 1,000th NHRA race in series history Sunday afternoon. Entering Vegas, the points situation was heating up with just two races left in the Countdown to the Championship.

There was also history made as well. Steve Torrence captured his 50th career Top Fuel victory, while Cruz Pedregon eliminated Funny Car points leader Ron Capps in the final. Dallas Glenn won in Pro Stock after eliminating Erica Enders and Steve Johnson fought his way back with a victory in the Pro Stock Motorcycle class.

Funny Car

Don Schumacher Racing driver Ron Capps entered the Las Vegas Nationals with a one-point lead over his teammate Matt Hagan. Capps was looking to extend his lead and was well on his way in doing so before being halted by fourth-place contender Cruz Pedregon. Pedregon defeated the NAPA Auto Parts driver after Capps engine exploded in the right lane, giving Pedregon his second win of the season.

“I dropped a couple of races due to holeshots and I feel like we had a better race car than what we’ve shown,” Pedregon said. “I drove well today and we were able to answer the bell today. The car was so steady today. We have a good car and this team has been plugging away. The car runs right with everyone and it’s an honor to win the 1,000th NHRA race. I’m just glad to be a part of it. After winning today, we’re back in (the championship hunt). We just had to keep our nose to the grindstone and things worked out for us.”

Pedregon qualified in the seventh position following the three rounds and set the California native up with a first-round match with Tony Jurado. Pedregon was successful in his first-round win going 3.950 seconds and 329.58 mph to a quarterfinal round with Chris Morel. Morel advanced to the second round with an upset victory over John Force. The Snap-On driver won again with a 3.903 second and 324.20 mph pass to face Bob Tasca in the semis.

Meanwhile, Capps, who qualified in the eighth position, had a picture-perfect day and kept the points lead with a Round 1 victory over Tim Wilkerson. He set the pace with a time of 3.915 seconds and 323.74 mph to advance. His closest competitor Matt Hagan was eliminated in the first round after being defeated by Chris Morel.

From there, Capps scored victories over the No. 1 qualifier, Alexis DeJoria, in the quarterfinals and defeated John Force Racing’s Robert Hight in the semis to set up the final round match with Cruz Pedregon.

When the two cars rocketed off the line, Capps kept up with Cruz, but his engine unfortunately exploded and he fell short of a victory. The runner-up finish was Capps’ third of the season and the 63rd of his career.

“Being the Dodge//SRT Nationals Presented by Pennzoil, we were motivated to put this Pennzoil Dodge SRT Hellcat into the final round and winner’s circle,” Capps said. “You look at qualifying and look around and we didn’t qualify as well as we’d liked. It was one of our worst positions all season and we still had lane choice. That tells you how good this NAPA team has been all season. Then you have Tim Wilkerson first round. And we’re the last pair of Funny Cars, the 16th pair of nitro cars and we’re sitting there waiting and listening to so many of the other contenders fighting for a championship, (Matt) Hagan, J.R. (Todd), (John) Force, go out.

“It’s Halloween, but you think ‘how strange of a day.’ And we had to wait and wait for our first-round match-up with Tim. He beat us in the final at Indy and that’s such a tough car and team. We got by a close one there in that first round and that was huge. Then we had Alexis (DeJoria), the No. 1 qualifier, then Robert Hight, a three-time world champion, and Cruz Pedregon, another champion. That’s a ‘murderer’s row’ on race day. We had to fight every round and this Pennzoil/NAPA car was just so fun to drive. We had a lot of friends and folks from NAPA headquarters in Atlanta and from GearWrench and family members here all weekend, and that was huge to go rounds in front of all of them.”

“We’ll take any amount of points and Pomona is such an outlier with the points-and-a-half deal. There’s so many points up for grabs. I’m not even thinking about winning this thing. We’ll keep doing what we’ve been doing and it was unfortunate in the final round, but it was two Dodges battling it out and that makes our friends in Auburn Hills, Mich. proud and I can’t wait for Pomona. Two weeks cannot come soon enough.”

Funny Car Results

  1. Cruz Pedregon
  2. Ron Capps
  3. Robert Hight
  4. Bob Tasca III
  5. Chad Green
  6. Alexis DeJoria
  7. Chris Morel
  8. Paul Lee
  9. Tim Wilkerson
  10. Tony Jurado
  11. Steven Densham
  12. Bobby Bode
  13. Matt Hagan
  14. Jeff Diehl
  15. J.R. Todd
  16. John Force

Funny Car Championship Points Standings

  1. Ron Capps, 2,585 points
  2. Matt Hagan, -58
  3. Cruz Pedregon, -83
  4. J.R. Todd, -138
  5. John Force, -155
  6. Bob Tasca III, -168
  7. Robert Hight, -173
  8. Alexis DeJoria, -205
  9. Tim Wilkerson, -303
  10. Blake Alexander, -461

Top Fuel

Steve Torrence and the CAPCO boys just keep on rolling. Torrence gained his 50th career Top Fuel victory by defeating Team Scrappers Mike Salinas in the finals. Torrence qualified in the No. 2 position and extended his points lead over second-place Brittany Force by 105 heading into the final race of the season at Pomona.

“We’re not gonna do anything different,” he said of his approach,” Torrence said. “We’re just gonna go out there and try to win the race.

“This is just awesome,” he said of Sunday’s success, which earned him a unique
version of the NHRA Wally trophy celebrating the organization’s 1,000th race. “All the glory goes to God and to my momma (Capco Racing boss ‘Momma Kay’ Torrence). To win the 1,000th NHRA race with these Capco boys is just unbelievable for a kid that had a dream to drive a Top Fuel car just one time.”

Torrence had a first-round match with Jim Maroney and won with a time of 3.751 seconds and 325.61 mph to face Tripp Tatum. Tatum had a major victory over Josh Hart in the first round. Meanwhile, Brittany Force faced Leah Pruett in the second and both drivers fouled on the tree but the win was given to Force as Pruett fouled first.

In the second round, the Kilgore, Texas native Torrence won over Tatum going 3.736 seconds and 328.62 mph to face No. 3 qualifier, Justin Ashley. Ashley had victories over Cameron Ferre and Alex Laughlin to set him up with Torrence in the semis. Torrence eliminated Ashley after laying down a time of 3.688 seconds and 329.58 mph to advance to the finals.

From there, Torrence was scheduled to face Mike Salinas, who was the previous Top Fuel winner back at Bristol a couple of weeks ago and it was at Bristol where both Torrence and Salinas faced each other as well. However, this time around, the victory went to the CAPCO driver for the 10th time in 2021.

Photo Courtesy of Mark Rebilas

The runner-up for Salinas was his third of the season and sixth of his Top Fuel career.

Top Fuel Results

  1. Steve Torrence
  2. Mike Salinas
  3. Brittany Force
  4. Justin Ashley
  5. Billy Torrence
  6. Alex laughlin
  7. Tripp Tatum
  8. Leah Pruett
  9. Doug Kalitta
  10. Shawn Langdon
  11. Josh Hart
  12. Clay Millican
  13. Troy Buff
  14. Jim Maroney
  15. Antron Brown
  16. Cameron Ferre

Top Fuel Championship Points Standings

  1. Steve Torrence, 2,694
  2. Brittany Force, -105
  3. Mike Salinas, -172
  4. Justin Ashley, -188
  5. Billy Torrence, -283
  6. Leah Pruett, -351
  7. Clay Millican, -392
  8. Antron Brown, -409
  9. Shawn Langdon, -434
  10. Doug Kalitta, -483

Pro Stock

Pro Stock returned to the races this weekend for a wild day of action. Dallas Glenn faced Erica Enders, who was second in points coming into Las Vegas. Glenn had a near-perfect reaction time of .001 compared to Enders’ .005 in the final round to claim the third win of his career, but the victory wasn’t easy.

First off, current Pro Stock points leader Greg Anderson kept the ball rolling by picking up the No. 1 qualifier in qualifying Saturday afternoon. The all-time winningest Pro Stock driver was paired in a first-round with Troy Coughlin Jr. Unfortunately for Anderson, his day was done early as Coughlin Jr. won by .001 to advance to the quarterfinals.

Glenn and Enders, eliminated Aaron Stanfield and Bo Butner, respectively, in the first round. In the second round, Glenn got a victory over Kenny Delco after Delco fouled which sent Glenn to face Mason McGaha in the semis. On Enders side of the coin, she got a victory over Matt Hartford and squared off with her teammate Troy Coughlin Jr. in the semis. Enders defeated Coughlin Jr. with a time of 6.680 seconds and a 203.61 mph pass.

“When I got by Aaron, I just relaxed and started clicking them off,” said Glenn, who posted a perfect .000 reaction time in a final round earlier this year. “I missed it a little in the semis against Mason and in the final, I was just trying to do everything I can. I had all the faith in this team and I knew the car was going to be good as long I did my job. I knew I was good on the tree, I hit all my shifts and I was just hoping the win light came on. It feels really good to go up there with a plan and then execute it.”

Pro Stock Results

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

Pro Stock Championship Standings

  1. Greg Anderson, 2,565 points
  2. Erica Enders, -32
  3. Dallas Glenn, -109
  4. Kyle Koretsky, -186
  5. Troy Coughlin Jr, -220
  6. Aaron Stanfield, -230
  7. Chris McGaha, -253
  8. Mason McGaha, -268
  9. Matt Hartford, -296
  10. Deric Kramer, -334

Pro Stock Motorcycle

After a disappointing first-round loss in Bristol to Ron Tornow, Johnson looked poised to bounce back at Vegas this weekend. He qualified in the second position with a time of 6.848 seconds and 196.24 mph for a first-round with No. 15 qualifier Charles Poskey.

Johnson won after going 6.874 seconds and 194.44 mph to claim his 251st Round 1 win. With the victory, he went on to face Angie Smith in the second round. Smith advanced by eliminating Scotty Pollacheck. In the semis, Johnson ended up facing Bristol winner Angelle Sampey and was once again a winner after laying down an ET of 6.877 seconds and 194.88 mph which saw him face Karen Stoffer in the finals.

During the final round match, Stoffer was able to leave first over Johnson but Stoffer went -.012 early and was eliminated in the finals, giving Johnson his third win of the year.

“It is very, very special to win this event, but it’s really about the championship,” Johnson said. “It took us 17 years to win our first national event and I’m a sucker for this sport. I really want to bring home a championship. I’d love to be a part of that championship fraternity and to be able to try to do it in our hometown is going to be really, really special.”

Stoffer had victories over Kelly Clontz, Jerry Savoie and the No. 1 qualifier Matt Smith.

The second-place finish was Stoffer’s 16th of her career and the second this year.

Pro Stock Motorcycle Results

  1. Steve Johnson
  2. Karen Stoffer
  3. Matt Smith
  4. Angelle Sampey
  5. Jerry Savoie
  6. Angie Smith
  7. Chris Bostick
  8. Eddie Krawiec
  9. Joey Gladstone
  10. Scotty Pollacheck
  11. Andrew Hines
  12. Kelly Clontz
  13. Ryan Oehler
  14. Freddie Camarena
  15. Charles Poskey
  16. Michael Phillips

Pro Stock Motorcycle Championship Standings

  1. Matt Smith, 2,536 points
  2. Steve Johnson, -20
  3. Angelle Sampey, -30
  4. Eddie Krawiec, -142
  5. Karen Stoffer, -189
  6. Scotty Pollacheck, -212
  7. Angie Smith, -259
  8. Joey Gladstone, -269
  9. Andrew Hines, -327
  10. Ryan Oehler, -355

Up Next: The NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series will take one week off before heading to the final race of the 2021 season at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, California November 11-14.



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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