Torrence, Pedregon, Glenn, And Johnson Win NHRA’s 1000th Race

Steve Torrence’s 50th career Top Fuel win, Dallas Glenn’s win on a wild day in Pro Stock, and Steve Johnson’s title push in Pro Stock Motorcycle headlined a thrilling Sunday at the Dodge//SRT NHRA Nationals presented by Pennzoil at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Cruz Pedregon (Funny Car), Dallas Glenn (Pro Stock) and Steve Johnson (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also won at the 19th of 20 races during the 2021 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season and the sixth race in the Countdown to the Championship playoffs. The race was also the 1,000 race in NHRA history.

Torrence drove his 11,000-horsepower Capco Contractors dragster to a 10th win in his impressive 2021 season, powering to a run of 3.717-seconds at 329.50 mph in the final round against Mike Salinas, who went 3.737 at 314.24 and was after his second straight victory. To reach the final round, the points leader took out Jim Maroney, Tripp Tatum and Justin Ashley and then posted a wire-to-wire win against Salinas. Torrence was impressive on the starting line in the championship round and it led to another victory in his dominant 2021 campaign, as the Texan will now take a 105-point lead into the final race of the season.

“It’s truly unbelievable,” Torrence said. “It was just a great weekend for us and we just had to do our job. They told me to go and do my job and when they stand behind you like that, it’s truly the definition of a team. We’ll go to Pomona and see if we can get it done. I’ve really tried to focus on doing my job and not letting things get into my head. You hear all the stuff and you know what’s going on, but you have to tune that out. At the end of the day, we’re racing ourselves, so you have to be comfortable in that. Today, I was able to do my job and it’s a huge confidence-booster going into Pomona.”

Salinas reached his second straight final round and ninth in his career thanks to victories against Doug Kalitta, Billy Torrence and Brittany Force in a thrilling semifinal round. Salinas moved to third in points, while Force stayed in second heading to the finale in Pomona.

Pedregon stayed in the championship hunt in Funny Car, taking out points leader Ron Capps in the final round with a run of 4.257 at 225.03 in his 11,000-horsepower Snap-On Tools Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat. Capps ran into trouble almost immediately in the championship round, as Pedregon cruised to his second victory this season and 38th in his career. To reach the final round, Pedregon got by Tony Jurado, Chris Morel and Bob Tasca III, enjoying another memorable moment in his bounce-back season. Pedregon will go to Pomona third overall and 83 points out of first with a shot at his third career world championship in Funny Car.

“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.”

Capps jumped back into the points lead in eliminations, knocking off Tim Wilkerson, No. 1 qualifier Alexis DeJoria and Robert Hight to reach the finals for the fifth time this season and 131st time in his career. He left Las Vegas with a 58-point lead over Matt Hagan as he seeks his second world title.

In Pro Stock, Glenn was nearly perfect on the starting line again in the final round, holding off defending world champ Erica Enders with a run of 6.660 at 204.60 in his RAD Torque Systems Chevrolet Camaro. It was another stellar moment in Glenn’s impressive rookie season, as he picked up his third victory this season. He reached the final round with victories against Aaron Stanfield, Kenny Delco and Mason McGaha and had to be almost flawless in the championship round against Enders. She posted a remarkable .005 reaction time with her run of 6.684 at 203.74, but Glenn was even better, going .001 on the starting line to pick up the meaningful victory.

“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.”

Enders reached the final round for the sixth time this year and 61st time in her career thanks to wins against Bo Butner, Matt Hartford and Troy Coughlin Jr. She also made up major ground on points leader Greg Anderson, who fell in the first round on Sunday. With both Anderson and Enders aiming for their fifth world title, Anderson will take a 32-point lead into Pomona, with Glenn 109 points back in third.

Johnson had a huge turnaround this weekend in Las Vegas, staying alive in the championship hunt with a run of 6.869 at 195.11 on his USA Electric Mac Rak Suzuki in his final round against Karen Stoffer, who left too early. After a miserable first-round loss at the most recent race in Bristol, Johnson bounced back in a major way, reaching the final round after defeating Charles Poskey, Angie Smith and Angelle Sampey. He then pulled off the win in the finals, picking up his third victory this season and ninth in the veteran’s career. Johnson also pulled within 20 points of Matt Smith with one race remaining in the 2021 campaign.

“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 reached the final round for the second straight race and 26th time in her career thanks to victories against Kelly Clontz, Jerry Savoie and M. Smith. Sampey also remains in championship contention, sitting 30 points behind Smith.

Lyle Barnett capped off his rookie season in the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service in impressive fashion, taking his second victory in three races as part of this weekend’s Dodge//SRT NHRA Nationals presented by Pennzoil at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

The event was the last of 11 events during the 2021 E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series season.

Barnett finished off a stellar season in his first year in the class, knocking off fellow first-year driver J.R. Gray in the final round with a run of 5.814-seconds at 253.56 mph in his turbocharger-powered Elite HP Camaro. That gave Barnett the holeshot victory over Gray, who ran 5.796 at 248.66 in a matchup of what was the previous two event winners.

Barnett won his first career race in Dallas earlier this month, while Gray came through with his first victory in the class at the most recent event in Bristol. Barnett had the advantage on Sunday thanks to a .011 reaction time, capping off a memorable day that also included round wins against Justin Bond and Dmitry Samorukov.

“We stuck with it all year, through all the struggles and trials and tribulations, and got it done,” Barnett said. “We decided to bring the turbo car out late in the year, and the first race we stuck it in the winner’s circle. We came back in Vegas and got another one and the team just worked hard. It was a big weekend for us to close it out with a win and I can’t thank everybody enough. We won two out of the last three races to close out my rookie season and that’s a heck of a way to end the year.”

Gray reached his second straight final round with victories against Khalid AlBalooshi, No. 1 qualifier Mike Castellana and Mike Salinas. Gray finishes the season fifth in points, while Barnett took sixth in his rookie year.

Sunday’s final results from the 21st Annual Dodge//SRT NHRA Nationals presented by Pennzoil at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The race is the 19th of 20 in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series: 

Top Fuel — Steve Torrence, 3.717 seconds, 329.50 mph def. Mike Salinas, 3.737 seconds, 314.24 mph.

Funny Car — Cruz Pedregon, Dodge Charger, 4.257, 225.03 def. Ron Capps, Charger, 6.854, 80.86.

Pro Stock — Dallas Glenn, Chevy Camaro, 6.660, 204.60 def. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.684, 203.74.

Pro Stock Motorcycle — Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.869, 195.11 def. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, Foul – Red Light.

Top Alcohol Dragster — Rachel Meyer, 5.191, 281.01 def. Jackie Fricke, 5.260, 270.16.

Top Alcohol Funny Car — Sean Bellemeur, Chevy Camaro, 5.535, 265.17 def. Brian Hough, Camaro, 5.973, 161.34.

Competition Eliminator — Bruno Massel, Cobalt, 7.099, 182.92 def. Dean Carter, Dragster, 6.994, 167.43.

Super Stock — Chris Hall, Chevy Camaro, 8.990, 150.46 def. Larry Zavala, Camaro, 9.899, 134.15.

Stock Eliminator — Justin Lamb, Chevy Camaro, 9.918, 131.14 def. Todd Hoven, Dodge Coronet, 9.986, 130.59.

Super Comp — Steve Williams, Dragster, 9.052, 184.57 def. Cody Webber, Dragster, 9.031, 177.65.

Super Gas — Evan Kowalski, Chevy Corvette, 10.038, 154.17 def. Mike Ferderer, Pontiac Grand Am, 10.034, 161.83.

Super Street — Nick Alejandre, Chevy Chevelle, 11.029, 139.17 def. Kenny Snow, Chevelle, 11.029, 142.19.

Pro Modified — Lyle Barnett, Chevy Camaro, 5.814, 253.56 def. JR Gray, Camaro, 5.796, 248.66.

Factory Stock Showdown — Aaron Stanfield, Chevy Camaro, 7.903, 173.49 def. Leah Pruett, Dodge Challenger, 7.944, 174.30.

Summit Super Pro — Nick Smith, KLRC, 7.256, 182.50 def. Joseph Bagwell, 7.943, 170.95.

Summit Pro ET — Dan Cassie, Mercury Capri, 9.460, 140.37 def. Brandon Schmall, Chevy Beretta, 9.530, 133.78.

Summit Sportsman — Derrick Jackson, Chevy El Camino, 12.182, 105.82 def. Gary Hairfield, Chevy Corvette, 12.213, 108.44.

Summit ET Motorcycle — Garreth Sheppeard, Suzuki Hayabusa, 8.221, 177.30 def. Erik Crosby, Kawasaki Ninja, 9.418, 139.40.

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