At the seventh event of 24 on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing series schedule, two NHRA champions would drive their way back to Winner’s Circle.
After taking down the new Girl On Fire as well as eight-time season champion Tony Schumacher in last weekend’s Four-Wide Nationals, Top Fuel driver Steve Torrence would repeat his dominating performance at the 37th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway.
Torrence once again lined up his Capco Contractors Top Fuel dragster alongside Leah Pritchett. He took down the points leader with a 3.769-second pass at 289.26 MPH. This performance would earn the world champion and cancer survivor a chance to take on 8-time Top Fuel world champion Tony Schumacher in Sunday’s final elimination round. As Torrence lined up beside the hard-charging U.S. Army top fuel dragster of Schumacher, he knew he would do what it took to “prove his point” with an event winning pass of 3.745-seconds at 320.81 MPH.
“We’ve got a chip on our shoulder,” said Torrence. “My team has what it takes to win championships and the car that I have right now is the best that I have ever had in my life, and I am confident that my driving is showing this, which is the point that we want to prove to everyone.”
Along with Torrence, another world champion would race his NAPA Auto Parts Charger R/T to his third consecutive Funny Car victory at Atlanta Dragway on Sunday. After taking down Kalitta Motorsports driver J.R. Todd and 16-time world champion John Force, as well as the driver who set the track elapsed time record with his 3.880-second pass in the semifinals – Robert Hight – Capps would move on to face Tim Wilkerson in the finals.
With a final pass of 3.991-seconds at 317.79 MPH, Capps would pick-up his third consecutive Funny Car victory of the season and 52nd victory of his career.
“This is a pinch-me moment,” said Capps. “This was probably one of the more difficult racetracks to navigate, because you really had to be ready for two or three different sets of bumps. While it makes for an exciting run, you just keep hoping that your car stays in the groove.”
While both Torrence and Capps found repeat victories, Pro Stock driver Bo Butner would pick up his first Wally of the 2017 season at Atlanta dragway. After making his debut at this track two years ago, the Jim Butner Auto Chevy Camaro driver would defeat Wally Stroup, Vincent Nobile and Jeg Coughlin, Jr. before facing two-time world champion Erica Enders in the finals.
Though Enders put up a good fight, Butner took down her Elite Motorsports Chevy Camaro with a 6.569-second pass at 211.26 MPH to take home the win at his debut track.
“We have had the car to win with for the last year and a half,” said Butner. “Now, it’s all just coming together.”
The 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season continues at the 29th annual Menards NHRA Heartland Nationals, presented by Minties, May 19-21 at Heartland Park Topeka. Stay tuned to RacingJunk.com for all of your NHRA coverage!