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Johnson, S. Torrence, Line and Krawiec Grab No. 1 Spots As NHRA Returns To Action In Indy

The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series returned to action for the first time since February, and Funny Car’s Tommy Johnson Jr. picked up where he left off, powering to the No. 1 spot on Saturday at the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.

Steve Torrence (Top Fuel), Jason Line (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are also No. 1 qualifiers in their respective categories at the third race of the 2020 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season.

Johnson, who won the last race more than four months ago before NHRA suspended competition due to the COVID-19 pandemic, earned his 19th No. 1 qualifier on Saturday, going 3.983-seconds at 317.72 mph in his 11,000-horsepower MD Anderson Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat. He will meet Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron Capps in the first round of eliminations. Jonnie Lindberg, who is filling in for Bob Tasca after Tasca was diagnosed with COVID-19, qualified second with a 3.987 at 318.24 and was the only other driver in the class to make a 3-second run. Points leader Jack Beckman, who has advanced to the final round at the first two races in 2020, qualified third with a run of 4.050 at 298.47.

“It’s just a great start after such a long layoff and all the uncertainty,” said Johnson, who is second in points. “It’s great to be able to carry the momentum from Phoenix right into this race and not miss a beat. The guys worked hard those four months so to be able to give them a No.1 qualifier right out of the box and just carry that momentum is really good. I have a really good race car and it shows that Phoenix wasn’t a fluke. It was a good race car and is continuing to be. Testing on Friday before the event was so valuable. To find issues on Friday and be able to run so well on Saturday, it just shows you that we needed a couple of runs to work everything out after being off for four months.”

Torrence, the defending and back-to-back Top Fuel world champ, also won in Phoenix and looked just as impressive months later on Saturday, picking up his 25th career No. 1 qualifier with a run of 3.779 at 321.19 in his 11,000-horsepower Capco Contractors dragster. He’ll start eliminations against Luigi Novelli and will be seeking his 38th career win. Torrence was also the only driver to reach the 3.70s on Saturday, as Doug Kalitta, who won the opening race of the year in Pomona, qualified second with a 3.804 at 316.30. Terry McMillen will start from third after going 3.812 at 316.75 during the final qualifying session.

In Pro Stock, Jason Line’s retirement tour resumed in strong fashion, as he drove his Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro to the top spot with a 6.626 at 206.10. Line, who is currently third in points, grabbed his 56th career No. 1 qualifier and will taken on Alan Prusiesnky to open eliminations, looking for his first win of 2020. Jeg Coughlin Jr., who is also retiring from full-time competition in the class after the season, is second with a 6.635 at 206.89. Coughlin won the opening race of the year, and his Elite Motorsports teammate and defending world champ Erica Enders, who won in Phoenix, is third after going 6.637 at 206.86.

Serving as the season opener in the Pro Stock Motorcycle class, Krawiec jumped to the top spot on his Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson FXDR with an impressive run of 6.897 at 196.24. In earning his 47th career No. 1 qualifier, Krawiec was the first rider to reach the 6.80s on Saturday, going to the top during the first qualifying session. Krawiec will meet David Barron in the opening round of eliminations. Matt Smith qualified second thanks to his 6.899 at 196.04, while Krawiec’s teammate and reigning world champion Andrew Hines will start third after a run of 6.904 at 194.24.

Eliminations for the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Nationals begin at 9 a.m. ET on Sunday. Television coverage includes live action on the FOX national broadcast network starting at 12 p.m.


BROWNSBURG, Ind. — Sunday’s first-round pairings for eliminations for the Inaugural E3 Spark PlugsNHRA Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, the third of 18 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Pairings based on results in qualifying, which ended Saturday. DNQs listed below pairings.

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Top Fuel — 1. Steve Torrence, 3.779 seconds, 321.19 mph vs. 16. Luigi Novelli, 8.836, 91.78; 2. Doug Kalitta, 3.804, 316.30 vs. 15. Lex Joon, 5.221, 135.63; 3. Terry McMillen, 3.812, 316.75 vs. 14. Antron Brown, 4.397, 185.82; 4. Billy Torrence, 3.859, 316.08 vs. 13. Terry Totten, 4.286, 203.12; 5. T.J. Zizzo, 3.862, 310.41 vs. 12. Cory McClenathan, 4.120, 228.58; 6. Clay Millican, 3.866, 314.02 vs. 11. Doug Foley, 3.999, 268.28; 7. Tony Schumacher, 3.877, 292.90 vs. 10. Leah Pruett, 3.934, 306.33; 8. Shawn Langdon, 3.919, 314.02 vs. 9. Justin Ashley, 3.922, 270.64.
Did Not Qualify: 17. Kyle Wurtzel, broke.

Funny Car — 1. Tommy Johnson Jr., Dodge Charger, 3.983, 317.72 vs. 16. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.555, 184.70; 2. Jonnie Lindberg, Ford Mustang, 3.987, 318.24 vs. 15. Bob Bode, Mustang, 4.436, 221.74; 3. Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.050, 298.47 vs. 14. Mike McIntire, Toyota Camry, 4.425, 199.11; 4. J.R. Todd, Camry, 4.056, 282.95 vs. 13. Alex Miladinovich, Camry, 4.382, 246.53; 5. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 4.083, 310.48 vs. 12. Dale Creasy Jr., Charger, 4.317, 235.43; 6. Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.090, 289.07 vs. 11. Daniel Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.194, 256.80; 7. Cruz Pedregon, Charger, 4.097, 304.53 vs. 10. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.168, 254.47; 8. Paul Lee, Charger, 4.110, 267.80 vs. 9. Blake Alexander, Mustang, 4.146, 259.36.
Did Not Qualify: 17. Jim Campbell, 4.905, 167.72; 18. Terry Haddock, 5.073, 153.51.

Pro Stock — 1. Jason Line, Chevy Camaro, 6.626, 206.10 vs. 16. Alan Prusiensky, Dodge Dart, 6.700, 205.10; 2. Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 6.635, 206.89 vs. 15. Bruno Massel, Camaro, 6.692, 206.64; 3. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.637, 206.86 vs. 14. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.684, 205.72; 4. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.638, 206.70 vs. 13. Troy Coughlin Jr., Ford Mustang, 6.678, 206.16; 5. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.642, 206.29 vs. 12. Val Smeland, Camaro, 6.677, 206.51; 6. Aaron Stanfield, Camaro, 6.653, 206.61 vs. 11. Kyle Koretsky, Camaro, 6.662, 205.60; 7. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.654, 206.95 vs. 10. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.661, 206.92; 8. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.658, 205.94 vs. 9. Deric
Kramer, Camaro, 6.660, 207.05.
Did Not Qualify: 17. Mason McGaha, 6.706, 206.39; 18. Fernando Cuadra Jr., 6.721, 204.32; 19. Cristian Cuadra, 6.728, 204.60; 20. John Gaydosh Jr, 6.737, 205.01; 21. Fernando Cuadra, 7.888, 130.00.

Pro Stock Motorcycle — 1. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.897, 196.24 vs. 16. David Barron, EBR, 7.482, 175.00; 2. Matt Smith, EBR, 6.899, 196.04 vs. 15. Chris Bostick, Suzuki, 7.304, 183.10; 3. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.904, 194.24 vs. 14. Ron Tornow, Victory, 7.171, 186.59; 4. Scotty Pollacheck, EBR, 6.913, 195.73 vs. 13. Kelly Clontz, Suzuki, 7.084, 188.67; 5. Ryan Oehler, EBR, 6.931, 195.59 vs. 12. Marc Ingwersen, EBR, 7.074, 190.70; 6. Angie Smith, EBR, 6.948, 194.35 vs. 11. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 7.054, 189.98; 7. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.959, 189.58 vs. 10. Angelle Sampey, Harley-Davidson, 6.966, 192.58; 8. Hector Arana Jr, EBR, 6.964, 193.40 vs.
9. John Hall, Suzuki, 6.964, 192.47.

This story was originally published on July 11, 2020. Drag Illustrated

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