Steve Torrence (Top Fuel), Ron Capps (Funny Car), Bo Butner (Pro Stock) and LE Tonglet (Pro Stock Motorcycle) picked up wins at Sunday’s Lucas Oil NHRA Southern Nationals in front of a sold-out crowd at Atlanta Dragway in Atlanta.
For Torrence and Tonglet, it marked their second straight win, while Capps won has now won the last three events in Funny Car. Butner didn’t win last weekend in Charlotte, but did win just two rounds ago in Houston. Butner and Tonglet are the first to take two wins this season in their respective classes.
In Top Fuel, Torrence’s second straight win came with a 3.745 ET against Tony Schumacher, who hazed the tires. Torrence also defeated Smax Smith, Shawn Langdon and Leah Pritchett en route to the final after taking the No. 2 qualifying spot. Schumacher was the No. 1 qualifier.
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“The race car I have right now is the best race car that I’ve ever had in my life,” said Torrence. “My driving is showing that I’m confident in it. The continuity of my team has what it takes to win championships. We’ve got a chip on our shoulder and a point to prove.”
Capps has now won the last three events in Funny Car, but Sunday’s one in Atlanta didn’t come easy. The No. 4 qualifier, Capps defeated J.R. Todd who hazed his tires in Round 1, and then just edged John Force out to advance out of Round 2. Hight hazed the tires against Capps in the Semi, but Hight was only able to take home the Wally after a holeshot win against Tim Wilkerson in the final.
“It’s a pinch me moment,” said Capps. “The car speaks for itself lately. This was probably one of the more difficult race tracks to navigate. You really had to be ready for two or three different sets of bumps. It makes for an exciting run but you’re just hoping, at the same time, that your car stays in the groove. Funny Car is just getting tougher and tougher.”
In Pro Stock, Butner became the first driver to win more than one race this season in the seventh round of the year. Butner was the No. 1 qualifier and defeated Wally Stroupe in Round 1 but only just edged Vincent Nobile for the win in Round 2. He then defeated the Elite Motorsports teammates of Jeg Coughlin Jr. and Erica Enders in the semi-final and the final respectively to take home the Wally.
“You have to have a lot of trust in your car,” said Butner. “I’m happy in this car and happy with this team. We’ve had the car to win with for the last year and a half. Now, it’s all just coming together and I’m doing my job.”
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Tonglet picked up his second win in just the third race of the year in an all-Suzuki final in which Jerry Savoie’s bike broke down at the start. Tonglet had entered the day as the No. 2 qualifier and defeated Cory Reed, Andrew Hines and Scotty Pollacheck en route to the final.
“I’ve got a great group of guys behind me who get the bike back to running in no time,” said Tonglet. “To be able to go to the third race of the season and get both of ‘em (bikes) in the final round; it is just unbelievable. This won’t be the last time both bikes are in the finals and we’re going to put on a good show.”
The Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock classes will be back in action in two weeks’ time from the Heartland Park Topkea in Topeka for the NHRA Kansas Nationals.