Story By: SCOTT SMITH / NHRA – TOPEKA, KS – Defending Top Fuel and Funny Car world champions Steve Torrence and J.R. Todd claimed the top spot in each of their respective categories Saturday afternoon at the 31st annual Menard’s NHRA Heartland Nationals presented by Minities at Heartland Motorsports Park for the 10th of 24 events on the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season.
Top Fuel points leader S. Torrence’s second qualifying run of 3.760-seconds at 325.45 mph stood strong through Saturday’s qualifying efforts. He will start from the No. 1 position for the 21st time in his career as he looks for his fifth consecutive victory this season in his Capco Contractors dragster. S. Torrence will line up against Terry Totten for the first round of eliminations.
“I tell you what, probably all of the odds are against us,” S. Torrence said. “Richard Hogan (crew chief) and Bobby Lagana (crew chief) and that whole Capco group over there are doing awesome. My dad has come out and done really well. We’ve got a lot of pipeliners back home working really hard to keep us out here and, ‘thank you’ to them. It’s Topeka and I’ve never won here in Top Fuel and I’m hoping that we can get the monkey off our back and do some good here tomorrow.”
Billy Torrence’s pass of 3.765 at 323.58 landed him the No. 2 spot in Capco Contractors dragster and rookie Austin Prock is seeded No. 3.
Todd secured his first No. 1 qualifier of the season and 100th for Kalitta Motorsports with his pass of 3.924 at 318.99 Friday evening in his DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car. He is chasing his second win on the season and first career victory at Heartland Motorsports Park.
“That’s pretty awesome because I don’t have too many No. 1 qualifiers under my belt,” Todd stated, regarding clinching the 100th No. 1 for his team. “I’d say most of those came from Dougie (Kalitta, Mac Tools driver) who is the leader over there. That was a good run Friday night which we knew that Q2 was going to be your best round of the weekend. We have a really good car heading into race day tomorrow and no reason that we can’t turn on four win lights. That’s the plan for tomorrow.”
Tim Wilkerson’s run of 3.931 at 318.54 locked-in the No. 2 position for Sunday and 16-time world champion John Force is third.
Eliminations for the Menard’s NHRA Heartland Nationals begin at 11 a.m. CT Sunday at Heartland Motorsports Park.
TOPEKA, Kan. — Sunday’s first-round pairings for eliminations for the 31st annual Menards NHRA Heartland Nationals presented by Minties at Heartland Motorsports Park, the 10th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Pairings based on results in qualifying, which ended Saturday. DNQs listed below pairings.
Top Fuel — 1. Steve Torrence, 3.760 seconds, 325.45 mph vs. 14. Terry Totten, 6.942, 84.66; 2.
Billy Torrence, 3.765, 323.58 vs. 13. Lex Joon, 4.848, 156.01; 3. Austin Prock, 3.783, 315.42 vs.
12. Cameron Ferre, 4.145, 229.90; 4. Antron Brown, 3.798, 292.33 vs. 11. Scott Palmer, 3.890, 310.55; 5. Doug Kalitta, 3.800, 325.22 vs. 10. Leah Pritchett, 3.883, 318.47; 6. Clay Millican, 3.813, 302.89 vs. 9. Brittany Force, 3.877, 316.15; 7. Richie Crampton, 3.822, 314.75 vs. 8.
Terry McMillen, 3.858, 311.85.
Funny Car — 1. J.R. Todd, Toyota Camry, 3.924, 318.99 vs. Bye; 2. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 3.931, 318.54 vs. 15. Jack Wyatt, Dodge Charger, 7.466, 94.15; 3. John Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.938,
323.27 vs. 14. Dale Creasy Jr., Charger, 4.490, 194.60; 4. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.948,
316.60 vs. 13. Terry Haddock, Mustang, 4.169, 291.26; 5. Ron Capps, Charger, 3.952, 317.19 vs.
12. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.163, 298.67; 6. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 3.953, 310.27 vs. 11. Cruz Pedregon, Charger, 4.028, 312.50; 7. Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.987, 319.60 vs. 10. Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.018, 319.14; 8. Shawn Langdon, Camry, 3.994, 318.02 vs. 9. Robert Hight, Camaro, 4.015, 318.32.