Brittany Force, JR Todd, Matt Hartford & Jim Whiteley Victorious At NHRA Spring Nationals

Story By: SCOTT SMITH / NHRA – BAYTOWN, TX – J.R. Todd captured his first career back-to-back Funny Car victory Sunday afternoon at the 31st annual NHRA SpringNationals at Royal Purple Raceway.

Brittany Force (Top Fuel) and Matt Hartford (Pro Stock) were also victorious in their respective categories at the fifth of 24 events on the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.

Todd powered his DHL Toyota Camry to a pass of 3.955-seconds at 313.29 mph to defeat defending world champion Robert Hight in the final round. He is the third driver in Royal Purple Raceway history to have won in both Top Fuel and Funny Car. This is his second win of the season and 13th of his career.

“It’s nice to have this much momentum early in the season,” Todd stated. “We struggled really bad last season and didn’t really turn around till probably the Western Swing. It’s nice as Kalitta Motorsports to come out swinging at these races this year.”

Todd defeated Tommy Johnson Jr., Jeff Diehl and Tim Wilkerson before entering the final round. Hight drove past Todd Simpson, Jonnie Lindberg and Jack Beckman before entering his second final round of the season and 66th career final round.

Force, the defending Top Fuel world champion, piloted her Monster Energy dragster to a pass of 3.762 at 299.46 to defeat Terry McMillen in the final round. She is the seventh different John Force Racing driver to win at Royal Purple Raceway and she completes the cycle of all Force family members have one at the facility. This is her first victory of the season and eighth of her career.
“We kind of struggled a little bit today,” Force said. “The tires were spinning and I’m trying to drive the thing down there and try to get it to the finish line. I didn’t know where the guy was next to me, but it was just about getting down there first. Saw our win lights come on in the final round and that was the most important one.”

Force drove past Terry Haddock, Doug Kalitta and Tony Schumacher to reach her first final round of the season 18th of her career. McMillen defeated Antron Brown, Billy Torrence and No. 1 qualifier Leah Pritchett before entering his fourth career final round.

In Pro Stock, Matt Hartford drove to his first career winner’s circle after taking down the hometown hero Erica Enders. His pass of 6.552 at 211.36 in his Total Seal Chevrolet Camaro was enough to make him the 66th different Pro Stock driver to win in NHRA history.

“We started in the back half of the field today and had to work our way through,” Hartford stated. “We earned this. We did a better job with our car today than the other teams. My driving is not why we won today and that is a fact. My crew tuned the car enough for us to be able to drive around her [Enders] at the end.”

Hartford faced Chris McGaha, Tanner Gray and Jeg Coughlin Jr. to enter the first final round of his career. Enders took down Vincent Nobile, Rodger Brogdon and No. 1 qualifier Greg Anderson.

Jim Whiteley drove to victory on Sunday during the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service portion of the NHRA SpringNationals at Royal Purple Raceway. This weekend’s Pro Mod racing, presented by Tige Boats, is the second of 12 events this season.

Whiteley ran a 5.834-second pass at 239.14 mph in his J&A Services 1969 Yenko Camaro to take down Rick Hord in the final round and earn his first victory since Houston 2016 and second of his career. He defeated Mike Castellana, Khalid AlBalooshi and Steve Jackson on his way to the win.

“This is very special,” Whiteley stated. “We’ve tested and worked our butt off here the last two months. We’ve definitely got a hot rod here. Beating Stevie was just icing on the cake today.”

Whiteley finished the 2017 season 15th in the points standings and leaves the event in the No. 2 spot in pursuit of his first championship.

The E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service continues at the NGK Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals in Charlotte, N.C. on April 27-29.

The Mello Yello Drag Racing Series continues April 27-29 at the NGK Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Charlotte, N.C.

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BAYTOWN, Texas — Final finish order (1-16) at the 31st annual NHRA SpringNationals at Royal Purple Raceway. The race is the fifth of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.

TOP FUEL:
1. Brittany Force; 2. Terry McMillen; 3. Tony Schumacher; 4. Leah Pritchett; 5. Billy Torrence; 6. Steve Torrence; 7. Doug Kalitta; 8. Clay Millican; 9. Scott Palmer; 10. Bill Litton; 11. Terry Brian; 12. Antron Brown; 13. Kebin Kinsley; 14. Mike Salinas; 15. Terry Haddock; 16. Richie Crampton.

FUNNY CAR:
1. J.R. Todd; 2. Robert Hight; 3. Jack Beckman; 4. Tim Wilkerson; 5. Jonnie Lindberg; 6. Matt Hagan; 7. Del Worsham; 8. Jeff Diehl; 9. Tommy Johnson Jr.; 10. Ron Capps; 11. Richard Townsend; 12. Bob Tasca III; 13. Courtney Force; 14. Cruz Pedregon; 15. Shawn Langdon; 16.
Todd Simpson.

PRO STOCK:
1. Matt Hartford; 2. Erica Enders; 3. Greg Anderson; 4. Jeg Coughlin; 5. Bo Butner; 6. Tanner Gray; 7. Alex Laughlin; 8. Rodger Brogdon; 9. Vincent Nobile; 10. Drew Skillman; 11. Chris McGaha; 12. Alan Prusiensky; 13. John Gaydosh Jr; 14. Steve Graham; 15. Deric Kramer; 16.
Jason Line.

BAYTOWN, Texas — Sunday’s final results from the 31st annual NHRA SpringNationals at Royal Purple Raceway. The race is the fifth of 24 in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series:

Top Fuel — Brittany Force, 3.762 seconds, 299.46 mph def. Terry McMillen, 3.818 seconds, 311.56 mph.

Funny Car — J.R. Todd, Toyota Camry, 3.955, 313.29 def. Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 3.993, 308.14.

Pro Stock — Matt Hartford, Chevy Camaro, 6.522, 211.36 def. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.570, 210.50.

Pro Modified — Jim Whiteley, Chevy Camaro, 5.834, 239.14 def. Rick Hord, Chevy Corvette, 5.818, 252.43.

Top Fuel Harley — Doug Vancil, Weekend, 6.300, 230.76 def. Randal Andras, JTR, 12.128, 80.94.

Super Stock — Brenda Grubbs, Chevy Camaro, 9.284, 138.47 def. Craig Gualtiere, Chevy Nova, 9.691, 132.43.

Stock Eliminator — Tim Snively, Chevy Camaro, 11.745, 110.84 def. Brandon Bakies, Olds Cutlass, 11.091, 114.30.

Super Comp — Lyndon Rutland, Dragster, 8.901, 180.07 def. Austin Williams, Dragster, 8.902, 156.99.

Super Gas — Koy Collier, Chevy Camaro, 9.902, 156.75 def. Steve Collier, Chevy Vega, 9.890, 163.06.

BAYTOWN, Texas — Final round-by-round results from the 31st annual NHRA SpringNationals at Royal Purple Raceway, the fifth of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series:

TOP FUEL:

ROUND ONE — Billy Torrence, 3.753, 318.32 def. Kebin Kinsley, 6.589, 96.12; Steve Torrence, 3.741,
309.06 def. Scott Palmer, 3.771, 314.09; Terry McMillen, 3.777, 317.79 def. Antron Brown, 4.771, 163.79; Leah Pritchett, 3.697, 327.43 def. Terry Brian, 4.233, 258.37; Brittany Force, 3.755,
316.67 def. Terry Haddock, 8.779, 73.92; Tony Schumacher, 3.703, 325.85 def. Bill Litton, 4.228, 216.31; Clay Millican, 4.662, 206.04 def. Mike Salinas, 8.614, 70.10; Doug Kalitta, 3.738, 329.02 def. Richie Crampton, Foul – Red Light; QUARTERFINALS — McMillen, 3.766, 301.81 def. B. Torrence, 3.775, 311.49; Force, 3.739, 302.08 def.
Kalitta, 3.819, 309.27; Schumacher, 3.737, 317.64 def. Millican, 6.473, 89.64; Pritchett, 3.740,
320.36 def. S. Torrence, 3.778, 312.64; SEMIFINALS — McMillen, 5.124, 213.64 def. Pritchett, 10.490, 73.72; Force, 3.766, 299.80 def. Schumacher, 5.074, 148.97;
FINAL — Force, 3.762, 299.46 def. McMillen, 3.818, 311.56.

FUNNY CAR:

ROUND ONE — Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 3.951, 311.49 def. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.152, 245.81; Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 3.878, 322.42 def. Todd Simpson, Charger, Broke; Jeff Diehl, Toyota Camry, 4.133, 293.35 def. Courtney Force, Camaro, 5.944, 131.25; Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.125,
317.12 def. Richard Townsend, Camry, 4.186, 298.93; Del Worsham, Camry, 4.009, 310.20 def. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 6.032, 116.63; Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 4.351, 283.85 def. Shawn Langdon, Camry, 7.418, 93.67; J.R. Todd, Camry, 3.955, 321.73 def. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.989, 309.49; Jonnie Lindberg, Camry, 3.958, 313.22 def. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 4.449, 248.71; QUARTERFINALS — Beckman, 5.286, 233.72 def. Worsham, 5.563, 215.62; Hight, 3.950, 310.84 def. Lindberg, 4.002, 305.56; Wilkerson, 3.972, 308.71 def. Hagan, 4.190, 240.08; Todd, 3.985, 309.70 def. Diehl, 9.175, 48.27; SEMIFINALS — Todd, 4.017, 309.06 def. Wilkerson, 6.604, 145.45; Hight, 3.959, 312.50 def. Beckman, 4.113, 293.35; FINAL — Todd, 3.955, 313.29 def. Hight, 3.993, 308.14.

PRO STOCK:

ROUND ONE — Alex Laughlin, Chevy Camaro, 7.496, 118.16 def. Deric Kramer, Camaro, 13.143, 64.83; Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.569, 210.77 def. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.543, 210.60; Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.537, 211.13 def. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.545, 211.39; Rodger Brogdon, Camaro, 6.560, 209.46 def.
Jason Line, Camaro, 40.752, 26.02; Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.537, 211.13 def. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.534, 210.93; Tanner Gray, Camaro, 6.539, 210.54 def. John Gaydosh Jr, Chevrolet Camaro, 6.708, 208.91; Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.531, 210.31 def. Steve Graham, Camaro, 12.327, 71.16; Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 6.533, 210.70 def. Alan Prusiensky, Dodge Dart, Foul – Red Light; QUARTERFINALS — Enders, 6.529, 211.03 def. Brogdon, 19.247, 40.33; Hartford, 6.530, 211.26 def. Gray, Foul – Red Light; Coughlin, 6.512, 211.03 def. Butner, 6.550, 210.90; Anderson, 6.514, 211.46 def. Laughlin, 14.034, 59.80; SEMIFINALS — Enders, 6.561, 209.95 def. Anderson, 6.572, 212.23; Hartford, 6.564, 210.83 def.
Coughlin, 10.727, 98.44;
FINAL — Hartford, 6.522, 211.36 def. Enders, 6.570, 210.50.

PRO MODIFIED:

1. Jim Whiteley; 2. Rick Hord; 3. Steve Jackson; 4. Bob Rahaim; 5. Mike Janis; 6. Rickie Smith; 7. Jose Gonzalez; 8. Khalid alBalooshi; 9. Todd Tutterow; 10. Shane Molinari; 11.
Michael Biehle; 12. Chad Green; 13. Mike Castellana; 14. Steven Whiteley; 15. Jeremy Ray; 16.
Danny Rowe.

PRO MODIFIED:

ROUND ONE — Bob Rahaim, Chevy Camaro, 5.748, 250.46 def. Jeremy Ray, Chevy Corvette, Broke; Khalid alBalooshi, Camaro, 5.729, 250.78 def. Shane Molinari, Pontiac Firebird, 5.818, 247.79; Jim Whiteley, Camaro, 5.749, 247.43 def. Mike Castellana, Camaro, 8.555, 105.93; Jose Gonzalez, Camaro, 6.495, 134.98 def. Danny Rowe, Corvette, Foul – Red Light; Steve Jackson, Camaro, 5.723, 248.71 def. Michael Biehle, Ford Mustang, 5.834, 250.74; Mike Janis, Camaro, 5.789, 245.85 def. Steven Whiteley, Cadillac CTS-V, 12.134, 68.74; Rickie Smith, Camaro, 5.725, 251.86 def. Todd Tutterow, Camaro, 5.759, 247.61; Rick Hord, Corvette, 5.749, 254.62 def. Chad Green, Corvette, 6.057, 245.85;

QUARTERFINALS — Hord, 5.742, 258.02 def. Janis, 5.785, 248.39; Rahaim, 6.715, 207.46 def.
Gonzalez, 13.773, 58.39; Jackson, 5.766, 248.16 def. Smith, 8.327, 112.62; J. Whiteley, 5.778,
247.52 def. alBalooshi, Broke;
SEMIFINALS — J. Whiteley, 5.777, 246.98 def. Jackson, 5.759, 248.98; Hord, 5.776, 255.29 def.
Rahaim, 5.915, 218.27;
FINAL — J. Whiteley, 5.834, 239.14 def. Hord, 5.818, 252.43.

BAYTOWN, Texas — Point standings (top 10) following the 31st annual NHRA SpringNationals at Royal Purple Raceway, the fifth of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series –

Top Fuel

1. (tie) Tony Schumacher, 385; Steve Torrence, 385; 3. Antron Brown, 324; 4. Clay Millican, 309; 5. Doug Kalitta, 304; 6. Leah Pritchett, 284; 7. Brittany Force, 270; 8. Richie Crampton, 247; 9. Terry McMillen, 240; 10. Scott Palmer, 214.

Funny Car

1. Jack Beckman, 415; 2. Matt Hagan, 363; 3. J.R. Todd, 347; 4. Courtney Force, 342; 5. Robert Hight, 326; 6. Tommy Johnson Jr., 298; 7. Ron Capps, 289; 8. Shawn Langdon, 237; 9. Jonnie Lindberg, 221; 10. Del Worsham, 219.

Pro Stock

1. Bo Butner, 374; 2. Greg Anderson, 337; 3. Chris McGaha, 330; 4. Deric Kramer, 322; 5.
Vincent Nobile, 319; 6. Jason Line, 303; 7. Erica Enders, 292; 8. Tanner Gray, 287; 9. Drew Skillman, 277; 10. Alex Laughlin, 264.

Pro Modified

1. Rickie Smith, 168; 2. Jim Whiteley, 163; 3. Mike Janis, 149; 4. Steve Jackson, 134; 5. Mike Castellana, 114; 6. Bob Rahaim, 103; 7. Chad Green, 102; 8. Rick Hord, 97; 9. Khalid alBalooshi, 86; 10. Todd Tutterow, 85.

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