NHRA: Torrence, Tasca, and Enders beat the heat to lead Friday in Seattle

Steve Torrence, Bob Tasca III, and Erica Enders raced to the No. 1 qualifying spots Friday as the thunder and fury of the Camping World Drag Racing Series returned to Pacific Raceways for the first time since 2019 at the Flav-R-Pac NHRA Northwest Nationals.

Temperatures in the mid-90s, last seen by the teams two months ago in Richmond, Va., descended on the Great Northwest, proving plenty of challenges to the drivers and crew chiefs after a three-year absence.

Top Fuel

Torrence, mired in one of the longest droughts of his amazing career, is halfway to the third No. 1 qualifying spot of the season after booting the Capco Contractors machine to a 3.819 to lead the Friday field after watching a number of the other teams have to abort their passes.

“Just seeing what was going on [with the cars before us], I was just happy to go A to B,” said Torrence. “That’s the focus that Richard [Hogan] and Bobby [Lagana Jr., tuners] had. “I didn’t expect our run to stay and I don’t think it will stick tomorrow, but it’s a good place to start. It’s hot here, characterizable hot.

“I think that we’re getting there [with the new tune-up]; I’m starting to see the consistency. I know what he’s trying to do and I see it aligning with the plan. We need to take advantage of these hot weather setup and adapt that to the tune-up. We’ve had some glimmers when the car can run good under good conditions, but we’re picking away at it.

Torrence’s run in nearly three-hundredths quicker than his closest pursuer, Denver runner-up Shawn Langdon, whose DHL dragster clocked a 3.848 for the No. 2 spot. Former world champ Tony Schumacher, whose car is under the new ownership of the Maynard family, sits third with a 3.850

Behind the leading trio and rounding out the quick eight are Josh Hart (3.865), Clay Millican (3.868), Alex Laughlin (3.955), Scott Palmer (3.981), and track record holder Antron Brown (4.037).

Funny Car

Tasca, hot off of his first win of the season last weekend in Sonoma, continued his success in the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford, racing to a 3.965 to grab the provisional No. 1 spot.

Bob Tasca III

“It was a great call by the guys,” said Tasca. “The guys predicted the run — they said it would run a mid-.90 and it ran a .96. When you get to that level of confidence with your setup and the team you became a pretty dangerous car out there. I still think we can run faster in the same conditions tomorrow.

“That’s only about the 10th run on our new setup and there’s still more to come. We worked really hard on this car to run good early numbers, and I had to ask the guys if they knew how to slow it down, too, with these hot conditions.”

Alexis DeJoria, whose crew chief, former driver Del Worsham, still holds the track e.t. record (3.832, set in 2016), powered her Bandero Tequila Toyota into the No. 2 spot with a 3.994, just ahead of defending event champ John Force’s 4.001 in the Peak Chevrolet.

Reigning world champ Ron Capps sits in the No. 4 spot with a 4.024 with Tim Wilkerson (4.030), J.R. Todd (4.034), points leader Robert Hight (4.053), and Cruz Pedregon (4.070) nipping at his heels.

Pro Stock

The Pro Stock teams especially struggled with the horsepower-stifling heat and a lack of data for a hot-weather tune-up for this track as Enders’ low qualifying spot of 6.608 was more than a tenth slower than her field-leading pass last weekend in Sonoma.

Erica Enders

“We’re not known for being on the pole very often because we race differently,” she said. “We don’t throw things at the wall and hope they’ll stick; we steadily throughout qualifying and try to have the best car we can compare to raceday we can.

“That run definitely could have been better, just looking at our 60-foot time compared to Greg Anderson — he was .978 and we were .993 — so we gave up some in the first 60 feet. It was still a great run out of the box. We had to make wholesale changes from Sonoma because we’re down about 40 hp, so you have to run the car completely different, but mph is always a great telltale of horsepower, so there’s definitely more in that racecar.”

Enders’ run earned the points leader the top spot over the identical clocking of reigning world champ Greg Anderson as her 209.26-mph speed was better than his 207.11-mph pace. Speed also settled the third-place tie between Enders’ Elite Motorsports teammate, Aaron Stanfield, and Anderson’s KB Racing squadmate, Kyle Koretsky. Both ran 6.630 but Stanfield’s 208.62-mph trap speed was slightly faster than Koretsky’s 208.17.

The top eight is rounded out by Troy Coughlin Jr. (6.632), Dallas Glenn (6.633), Cristian Cuadra (6.652), and Deric Kramer (6.668)

The Pro Stock track record is 6.488, set by Chris McGaha way back in 2015.


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