INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (September 4, 2017) The final day of the most anticipated event of the regular season did not cease to amaze. The previous three days have been jam-packed with five qualifying sessions, two speciality races, and round-by-round burnout battles. With all of that in the rearview mirror, drivers set their sights on securing their spot in the upcoming playoffs and winning the most prestigious race in all of drag racing. Side-by-side runs and major upsets were all a part of today’s exciting race.
Kebin Kinsley shocked the world in round one by taking out the No. 1 qualifier, Clay Millican. Prior to that round, Kinsley had only won one other round of competition. He then went on to run against Shawn Langdon in the second round to advance to the semifinals. There, he faced 10-time Indy winner, Tony Schumacher, only to make his way past “The Sarge” to race for the Wally in the final round. Kinsley had a tough order by the name of Steve. After defeating Antron Brown and Leah Pritchett earlier in the day, Torrence took ahold of the points lead. Torrence was first off of the starting line and first to the finish line in 3.757 seconds at 322.96 mph. Kinsley smoked the tires right at hit of the throttle and coasted to the thousand-foot mark in 10.820 seconds at 48.47 mph. This is Torrence’s second U.S. Nationals win. Previously, Torrence won it in the Top Alcohol Dragster category, but this is his first Indy win as a professional. “This is what we race our careers for is to try and win Indy,” Torrence said. He continued, “you can win a bunch of championships but if you ain’t won Indy, you ain’t [expletive.]” Torrence not only won the national event but also the Traxxas Nitro Shootout on Saturday. This is Torrence’s seventh win of the season.
Just like Top Fuel’s Clay Millican, Funny Car’s No. 1 qualifier, Matt Hagan saw a very early exit as he was ousted in round one by the No. 16 qualifier, Jim Campbell. Hagan’s Funny Car went up in tire shake right off of the starting line and Campbell was able to easily drive around for the win. In the final round, two first-time U.S. Nationals finalists battled it out for their first Indy win. Funny Car points leader, Ron Capps made his way to the final round by driving around Alexis Dejoria, Jim Campbell, and Jack Beckman. Funny Car rookie, J.R. Todd outrun Brian Stewart, Cruz Pedregon, Tim Wilkerson to make it to the final. In a close side-by-side race, J.R. Todd picked up his first U.S. Nationals victory by defeating Ron Capps. Todd made a 3.932 second pass at a quick 325.61 mph. Capps gave a 3.949 second effort at 325.53 mph but wasn’t enough to get to the stripe first. “This was where it all started for me. I grew up racing here when the junior drag racing league got started. We got a junior dragster at the end of 1992 and 1993 was my first season. We would pit behind the Top Eliminator stands, all the junior dragsters did. I grew up racing here, won the track championship, that’s probably the last time I ever won here,” Todd recalled. “To come here as a kid and watch these guys…I remember watching Capps as a kid and now I’m racing against him in the final round at Indy. It’s too surreal.” This is Todd’s second Funny Car victory of his career.
It was business as usual in Pro Stock as two conglomerates of the class went head-to-head in the final round. No. 1 qualifier and KB Racing driver, Greg Anderson raced his way into the final with by defeating Kenny Delco, Jason Line, and Alex Laughlin. Gray Motorsports pilot, Drew Skillman picked off Jet Coughlin, Chris McGaha, and Tanner Gray before racing Greg Anderson for the grand prize. Skillman was first off of the starting line and got to the 1,320 foot mark before Anderson with a time of 6.676 seconds at 206.61 mph. Anderson had a quicker car but his left foot didn’t come off the clutch pedal fast enough for it to matter. Anderson sped down the track in 6.660 seconds at 208.01 mph. “Cannot speak high enough of everyone at Gray Motorsports, my team has been killing it. Consistency is super hard in this sport and we have a car for some reason that keeps repeating,” Skillman told the media. “This has been a long time coming and we’ve worked very hard to finally get something like this to happen. There’s a very small list of things I’d like to do in life and this [win] was one of them so this is huge…this is something I really wanted to do that’s finally done. But we’re not done chasing yet.” This is Skillman’s first U.S. Nationals win and fourth victory of the season.
Pro Stock Motorcycle
The two-wheel class started off without a hitch. Each of the higher-qualified bikes in each pair won their opening round of competition. No. 1 qualifier, Eddie Krawiec rode his way to the final round and was low ET of each round he raced in with the exception of the semifinals. Krawiec made it past Jim Underdahl, LE Tonglet, and Matt Smith. Lucas Oil rider, Hector Arana Jr. made his sponsor proud by making to the final at the racetrack they hold the naming rights to. Arana bested Cory Reed, Scotty Pollacheck, and Jerry Savoie on his way to finals. Krawiec came in as the first seed and left the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals champion. Krawiec went 6.858 seconds in the quarter-mile at 196.90 mph while Arana put up a 6.886 second lap at 195.48 mph. Krawiec said, “I couldn’t be any prouder in my crew than I got right now [and] everybody that puts forth the effort in our program. It’s been nonstop the last two weeks at our shop and for it all to come together and to celebrate here with having half of our shop here, it’s something special.”This is Krawiec’s third win of the 2017 season.