As the 2018 NHRA Countdown to the Championship winds down to an end, one dominating driver has already driven away with his first Top Fuel world championship. After continuing on his impressive countdown pace, Steve Torrence and his hard-working race team wrapped up one of their most impressive seasons yet with a 10th victory at the NHRA Toyota Nationals as well as the team’s first ever Top Fuel Championship.
After a dream-come-true type of chase for a 2018 Top Fuel World Championship, Torrence Racing driver Steve Torrence accomplished a pretty impressive feat this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Much like last year’s Top Fuel champion Brittany Force, Torrence earned his first Top Fuel world championship after defeating Kalitta Motorsports driver Richie Crampton during the semifinals. Although it wasn’t required, Torrence and his team also followed up this major feat with his fifth consecutive playoff win when he bested Leah Pritchett with a run of 3.751-seconds at 326.32 MPH in his Capco Contractors dragster in Sunday’s final elimination round.
“This is a lifelong dream right here,” said Torrence. “All the glory goes to God, my mom and dad as well as all the boys on my Capco race team, because they put their all into making this possible. To all those people who said we couldn’t do it: We are finally here, and this is so unreal.”
Despite having one more race left in the season and not really needing to accomplish another win, it sure is going to be fun to see what else Steve Torrence and his team can do in Pomona.
While Torrence sealed the deal by defeating one Kalitta Motorsports driver, one of Crampton’s teammates found a reason to celebrate after skyrocketing to the top in Las Vegas. After racing to his fourth and final round in the Countdown to the Championship with victories against Robert Townsend, teammate Shawn Langdon and Jack Beckman, Kalitta Motorsports hard-charging Funny Car phenom J.R. Todd would move on to Sunday’s final elimination round against Matt Hagan. Thanks to a 3.921-second run at 318.39 MPH, Todd was able to power his way to his fifth win of the year in his DHL Toyota Camry, and in doing so has moved into the Funny Car points lead going into the final race of 2018 in Pomona.
“It is so awesome to drive a car like this when it is that consistent,” said Todd. “You do not have to worry about if you are going to have to go out there and pedal it or things like that. You can go up there and smack the tree as hard as you can and keep that thing stuck down the groove, which is a lot of fun. We still have some unfinished business in Pomona, so hopefully we can go there and come out of it with two trophies.”
Despite being in the points lead going into the final race of the year, Todd will have to defeat defending world champion Robert Hight, who sits only 74-points away from his second Funny Car world championship.
Despite Hight’s failing to go into the final race of the 2018 NHRA season with the Funny Car points lead, defending Pro Stock world champion Bo Butner found his way to the top of the podium after racing to his fifth final round at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the past four seasons. After announcing that he would be leaving the Pro Stock division in 2019, Butner would have to take on the queen of this division, Erica Enders, in Sunday’s final elimination round.
With a run of 6.657-seconds at 207.43 MPH in his Jim Butner’s Auto Chevrolet Camaro, Butner earned his second win of the year.
“We started off like gangbusters earlier this season with win in Pomona and a good run at Gainesville and although we started struggling a bit, I thought we had another repeat deal coming,” said Butner. “I kept telling my team that this was the perfect weekend and I was right. I am so happy that we finally got to win again, especially with this being my final season in a Pro Stock car.”
Although he didn’t race past a semifinal finish this weekend at Las Vegas, the Pro Stock young gun races into Pomona with a 140-point lead over Jeg Coughlin Jr. and Erica Enders in his final Pro Stock season.
Stay tuned to RacingJunk.com as the champions of the NHRA compete in the final race in the Countdown to the Championship at the Auto Club NHRA Finals at the Auto Club Raceway of Pomona, November 8-11, 2018.