LAS VEGAS, Nev. (October 29, 2017) Crystal clear, blue skies and excellent mid-eighties temperatures graced The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the third day in a row. With championships on the line in each class, most drivers and teams who are in the points fight brought their A-game each and every time they went down the track while others cracked under the pressure. This race is known for deciding championships even though there is still one race left in the season, but that wasn’t the case this year. All four professional World Championships will be settled in Pomona. Raceday was very eventful and the NHRA Toyota Nationals did not disappoint.
With the points battle that’s going on between the top three drivers in the class, it’s absolutely crucial to go rounds. Points leader, Steve Torrence has a few rounds on Brittany Force and Doug Kalitta isn’t far behind in third. All three managed to make it out of the first round, as expected. In the second round of eliminations, both Steve Torrence and Doug Kalitta failed to advance. Torrence blew an engine against Shawn Langdon while Kalitta’s car went nowhere when the tree came down, most likely a throttle cable issue. The No. 1 qualifier of the event, Tony Schumacher dropped a cylinder and the round win went to his teammate, Leah Pritchett. Brittany Force made her way to the final round but wasn’t an easy road getting there. Force got there by way of Shawn Reed, Doug Kalitta, and Leah Pritchett. Class veteran, Terry McMillen went to his third final of the season in search of his first win. McMillen bested Shawn Langdon, Clay Millican, and Richie Crampton. It was a day of firsts at Brittany Force went red and gave Terry McMillen his first career victory. Mcmullen ran 3.870 seconds at 253.99 mph while Force ran a slower 3.934 second lap at 239.27 mph. Brittany Force will go into Pomona one round behind the points leader, Steve Torrence. This is McMillen’s third final round of the season and he finally walked away with the Wally. “I don’t even know what to say, this is the stuff of dreams as a young kid. To have the opportunity to go and win a race against the teams that are best out there in the world. To have that opportunity is truly just an amazing feeling,” MicMillen told the media. “I wouldn’t be here without all the people that supported me over the years. Even the fans, the fans keep me going every day.” McMillen said simply, “We’re a small team with a big heart and passion.” This marks the first win of McMillen’s career.
Points leader, Ron Capps made a shocking round one exit after his Funny Car blew up around half track during his bout with John Force. Meanwhile, Capps’ points rival, Robert Hight advanced to the semifinals. Courtney Force, who is in a far away third position in the points, raced her way into the finals. Force defeated Jeff Arend, Alexis, Dejoria, and her teammate, Robert Hight earlier in the day. Don Schumacher Racing’s Matt Hagan advanced to final round after what’s been a difficult playoff season for the two-time world champ. Hagan drove past Gary Densham, Del Worsham, and his teammate Jack Beckman before taking on Force in the final round. Force made a 4.020 second effort at 320.05 mph but it wasn’t enough to get past Hagan’s 3.942 second run at 329.42 mph. “I just can’t say enough about Dickie [Venables], he’s one of the smartest crew chiefs out here. I’m just so blessed to have him in our corner,” Hagan said. “I’d pick him every day, even on our bad days,” he continued. “There’s no replacement for the feeling of winning. That’s a fix you can’t get nowhere else and sometimes it takes a little struggle to really put things back into perspective of how special it is. That way you don’t take it for granted.” This is Hagan’s third victory of the season and the twenty-sixth of his career.
KB Racing team owner, Ken Black walked away a very happy man this afternoon. All three of his cars made it to semi-final and two made it to the last round of racing, guaranteeing him a win at his home track. The points battle between Greg Anderson and Bo Butner got even closer as the two squared off in the final round for the trophy and twenty round-win points. Alan Prusiensky, Chris McGaha, and Anderson’s other teammate, Jason Line, were his victims from the first three sessions. Butner showed his strength by taking out three tough customers in Shane Tucker, Allen Johnson, and Drew Skillman. Butner was first off the starting line but suffered tire shake that took away his chances of getting the win; he coasted to the quarter-mile mark in 15.596 seconds at 36.72 mph. His teammate, Greg Anderson, who started the day from the pole position, drove right by him for the victory in 6.698 seconds at 204.70 mph. “A great weekend all along, we got bonus points this weekend, and did all we could do on Sunday, and to come out of here with the point lead, you can’t ask for any more than that. It put a smile on Ken Black’s face and a smile on the folks from Summit’s face. All the brass from Summit was here today to witness this. Just a great, great day, ” said Anderson. “Can’t thank everybody enough. Obviously, I love Vegas, got a lot of ties to Vegas, I love Vegas. What a turnout of people this weekend, just absolutely amazing to look up in them grandstands every time you roll out there just not finding an empty spot. It says so much about what’s going on out here and our sport and the people that are racing this sport, I feel fortunate to be a part of it. Great weekend, great day,” he finished. This is Anderson’s fourth win of the season and the ninetieth of his career. He has a forty point lead going into the last race of the season.
Pro Stock Motorcycle
It was business as usual in the two-wheel class as points leader, Eddie Krawiec made his way to yet another final round. Krawiec rode his way to the final by first taking out John Hall, Angelle Sampey, and Scotty Pollacheck. Hector Arana Jr. made it into the final to take on the points leader after he got Katie Sullivan, Mike Berry, and LE Tonglet out of his way first. It was a very close race between Krawiec and Arana, but, the points leader and No. 1 qualifier could not be stopped. Krawiec’s 6.924 second run at 192.91 mpg was more than Arana’s 6.949 second effort at 192.91 mph could handle. “My motorcycle’s been a pleasure to ride. I got a great group of guys behind me making some tuneup calls and make the bike just as good as it is. By no means is it just one person, I’m the one that’s getting all the accolades and high-fives and great job doing what I’m doing. Really it’s about the whole crew and what those guys do for me and give me the opportunity to go out there and have a bike that can win a race is really something special. There’s a lot of teamwork that happens out here and a lot of it happens behind closed doors where people can’t get a chance to see it,” Krawiec told the media. “I came here with the mentality of winning because if I could win here I could pretty much sew up all opportunities and roll into Pomona with no pressure,” said Krawiec. This is Krawiec’s seventh win of the season and the forty-third of his career. He has passed Angelle Sampey as the rider with the most wins who is currently competing in the sport. Krawiec further extends his point lead with the championship virtually wrapped up headed into the last race of the season.
The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series heads west to Pomona, California, November 10-12, for the final race of the 2017 season.