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NHRA Point Standings
Through Las Vegas

Pos Driver Points
1 Steve Torrence 2718
2 Clay Millican 2487
3 Tony Schumacher 2454
4 Leah Pritchett 2394
5 Brittany Force 2302
6 Antron Brown 2291
7 Mike Salinas 2259
8 Doug Kalitta 2259
9 Terry McMillen 2253
10 Scott Palmer 2182

1 JR Todd 2553
2 Robert Hight 2479
3 Ron Capps 2388
4 Tim Wilkerson 2367
5 Tommy Johnson 2362
6 Courtney Force 2324
7 Matt Hagan 2321
8 Jack Beckman 2283
9 John Force 2277
10 Shawn Langdon 2204

1 Tanner Gray 2583
2 Jeg Coughlin 2443
3 Erica Enders 2434
4 Drew Skillman 2413
5 Vincent Nobile 2404
6 Jason Line 2350
7 Greg Anderson 2334
8 Bo Butner 2300
9 Deric Kramer 2220
10 Chris McGaha 2135

1 Matt Smith 2479
2 Eddie Krawiec 2475
3 LE Tonglet 2418
4 Hector Arana Jr. 2415
5 Jerry Savoie 2378
6 Andrew Hines 2366
7 Angelle Sampey 2268
8 Angie Smith 2255
9 Steve Johnson 2242
10 Scotty Pollacheck 2209
Torrence, Force, Brogdon Top Thunder Valley Nationals

by Pete McCole
Monday, June 17, 2013


John Force
Rhonda McCole/
John Force received a perfect Father’s Day gift on Sunday, ending a 31-race winless streak with a victory in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway in Bristol, Tenn.

The seemingly ageless 15-time Funny Car champion picked up his fourth Bristol victory and 135th-career NHRA victory with a win over long-time rival Cruz Pedregon in the final to secure his first win since the 2012 season-opening event at Pomona.

Joining Force in the Winner’s Circle was Rodger Brogdon - who was a first-time winner in the Pro Stock division - and Steve Torrence, who tallied his first Wally of the year in Top Fuel.

John Force vs. daughter Courtney
Rhonda McCole/
Force’s march to the final round began with a little Father’s Day family bonding, as he faced his daughter Courtney in the opening round of eliminations, defeating her for just the second time in his career. Force then went on to take down series points leader Matt Hagan and young rookie Blake Alexander to advance to his first final round of the season.

In their 24th-career final round meeting, Force and Pedregon hit nearly identical lights to leave the line side by side before Pedregon began to fall out just before the finish line, leaving Force to cruise to his first victory of the season, going 4.148 seconds at 305.29 mph.

“I really thought Courtney was going to take me out first round,” Force said. “Her car has been flyin’ all year. It’s all in the teamwork. We haven’t won the championship, we haven’t won the Countdown, but we have a race car. That’s what I’m excited about. It’s a great day.

“This is great to come back here and win. So many fans wanted me to win on Father’s Day. It’s just a great day for the Force family and to do it on Father’s Day is just awesome.”

Steve Torrence scored his first win of the season in Top Fuel, taking down top qualifier Spencer Massey for his fourth career victory and his first with new crew chief, Lee Beard.

Steve Torrence
Rhonda McCole/
Torrence led his family-owned team to their first final round since last August at Seattle with round wins over Leah Pruett, Shawn Langdon and Clay Millican to meet Massey in the final for just their second-career money round matchup.

At the start, it was Massey with a slight starting-line advantage before Torrence powered past to beat out Massey by about seven feet at the finish line, going 3.871 at 320.13mph over Massey’s 3.894, 317.19.

“Today’s been unbelievable,” Torrence said. “I didn’t expect the car to turn around nearly as quickly as it did. My guys worked their tails off with 14- and 15-hour days to get the car setup like we wanted it. I am happy with the way the car is running and it’s real consistent right now. I am happy with the decision we made (to hire crew chief Lee Beard) and it is paying off now.”

In Pro Stock, Rodger Brogdon became the first first-time winner since Erica Enders-Stevens in July of last year, besting Enders-Stevens in a close finish for his first victory in 110 career starts.

Brogdon, who came into Sunday’s eliminations as the eighth qualifier, knocked out V. Gaines in the opening round, then watched as top qualifier and defending event winner Mike Edwards broke in the quarter-finals and former Bristol winner Jason Line went up in smoke in the semi’s to advance to just his second-career final round.

In the final, Ender-Stevens was first out of the gate with a 0.040 light, but Brogdon was able to roar back and track down Enders-Stevens at the finish, taking the win but less than a foot, going 6.745 second at 205.38 mph over Enders-Stevens 6.752, 205.66.

“Erica (Enders-Stevens) is like a daughter to me,” Brogdon said. “I’ve known her dad for a long time and we used to race against each other years ago. But when you go up against each other in the final, you have to put all that behind you.

“We made nine runs in two days of testing here, and it sure paid off. We were so much better at the end of our testing than we were when we got here. I have to give my guys a lot of credit to my guys for coming up here and doing such great work.”

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