Four Hot Days at the U.S. Nationals

Just like two of his qualifying passes, points leader Doug Vancil dropped a cylinder in the final and Tii Tharpe is the Top Fuel Harley champion, the first nitro motorcycle class winner at the NHRA U.S. Nationals since Sam Wills in 1984, and the first nitro Harley winner at The Big Go since Marion Owens in 1978.

The championship wasn’t decided until the final round—even Lucas Oil Raceway’s final 660 feet. There will be much more about the Top Fuel Harley race win at Indianapolis and championship soon on eatmyink.com

LE Tonglet (near lane) launching towards the U.S. Nationals win against Eddie Krawiec

LE Tonglet rode to the Pro Stock Motorcycle win with a 6.864 at 197.10 mph on his Nitro Fish Racing Suzuki to defeat four-time world champion Eddie Krawiec and his Mello Yello Vance & Hines Harley Davidson’s 6.884 pass at 197.02 in the final round. This is Tonglet’s second career victory at Indy, his third win on the season and 19th of his career. His first Indy victory led to a championship in his rookie season.

Tonglet took down Ryan Oehler, Chip Ellis, and Steve Johnson before racing Krawiec, who beat Tonglet’s teammate Jerry Savoie, his own teammate Andrew Hines, and Hector Arana Jr.

There will be much more about Pro Stock Motorcycle at Indianapolis soon on eatmyink.com

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Pro Mod winner Stevie “Fast” Jackson

Stevie ‘Fast’’ Jackson raced to his first U.S. Nationals Pro Mod victory. This weekend’s Pro Mod racing, presented by Al-Anabi Performance, is the eighth of 12 events this season. Jackson ran a 6.167 at 168.51 mph to the trailing run of Jose Gonzalez at 6.682 at 189.26.

“I want to thank all the people that have stood by us this season,” said Jackson. “After two DNQ’s, all my sponsors and especially Bahrain1 have had my back this whole time so to come out and win the U.S. Nationals is really special. I really couldn’t do this without my team. I know I’m the driver and drivers always get all the credit but I really got to give it to my guys. This is because of them.”

Jackson’s note of his Bahrain sponsorship is significant, as all four semifinalists had Gulf State affiliations. Khalid Al-Balooshi joins Jackson with support from Bahrain, José Gonzalez with Kuwait sponsorship, and Mike Castellana on the Qatar-based Al-Anabi Performance team.

Jackson defeated Sidnei Frigo, Bob Rahaim, and Castellana to advance to the finals. He is fifth in points.

J.R. Todd

Lawrenceburg, Indiana native J.R. Todd powered his DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car to victory for the second time in a row. Todd raced to a 4.062-second pass at 311.70 mph to defeat Matt Hagan’s pass of 4.141 at 300.60 in his Mopar Express Lane Dodge Hellcat SRT in the final round. He was the No. 1 qualifier for the event and was successful in securing his second consecutive victory at the prestigious Indianapolis race. He is the first Funny Car driver to win back-to-back Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals since Mike Neff in 2011 and 2012.

“This is by far a dream come true,” Todd stated. “You don’t know if you’re ever going to win Indy let alone go back-to-back. For whatever reason this year just felt different. It felt like we had a car that could come in here and win. Last year the confidence wasn’t there like it is this year.”

With the win Todd moves to fifth in points heading into the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship.

Hagan’s final round appearance was the second of his career at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals. He defeated Jonnie Lindberg, points leader Courtney Force and Shawn Langdon before entering his sixth final round of the season.

Terry McMillen

Terry McMillen powered past Doug Kalitta with a 4.037 pass at 300.66 in his AMALIE Motor Oil Xtermigator dragster to better Kalitta’s 4.067 at 303.57 in his Mac Tools dragster for the Top Fuel win. It is McMillen’s first career win at the U.S. Nationals.

“You know, it’s so surreal because it’s one of the most prestigious races out there,” McMillen said. “To have your name that you won Indy is one of the highest accomplishments you can have. I’ve always known that this year was going to be a good year, but I couldn’t have scripted that it was going to be this good.”

McMillen picked up wins against Scott Palmer, points leader Steve Torrence, and Blake Alexander before taking home the Wally. He’s secured the No. 7 spots heading into the Countdown to the Championship. Kalitta took out Leah Pritchett, three-time world champion Antron Brown and Billy Torrence en route to his third final round appearance at Indianapolis.

Tanner Gray

In Pro Stock, Tanner Gray ran a 6.641 pass at 208.42 in his Gray Motorsports Camaro to defeat Jeg Coughlin Jr.’s 6.639 at 206.80 in on a holeshot for his first U.S. Nationals victory, fifth win of the season and tenth of his career. He secured the No. 1 seed leading into the Countdown to the Championship during the semifinals when veteran Greg Anderson lost in the quarterfinals.

“I guess the main thing is that I want to strive to be the best driver that I can be,” Gray stated. “I continue to work and don’t really settle for what I am right now. I think every drivers dream is to win Indy at least once and it’s pretty cool for me to be able to do that.”

On the way to victory, Gray defeated John Gaydosh Jr., Jason Line, and Drew Skillman prior to entering the finals. Coughlin, a five-time world champion and three-time Chevrolet Performance U.S. National winner, raced Alex Laughlin, Greg Anderson and reigning world champion Bo Butner before reaching the finals.

The 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season continues Sept. 13-16 at Maple Grove Raceway with the 34th annual Dodge NHRA Nationals and the kickoff to the Countdown to the Championship.

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NHRA PERSONALITY PHOTOS

TOP FUEL HARLEY— Tii Tharpe, JTR, 6.442, 224.02 def. Doug Vancil, Weekend, 7.054, 155.45.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE:

ROUND ONE — Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.899, 195.08 def. Hector Arana, 7.011, 196.30; Mark Paquette, Buell, 6.968, 192.25 def. Joey Gladstone, 6.970, 192.80; LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.857, 196.59 def. Ryan Oehler, Buell, 7.031, 192.00; Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.880, 195.59 def. Angelle Sampey, Buell, 6.937, 193.49; Chip Ellis, Harley-Davidson, 6.857, 195.08 def. Scotty Pollacheck, Suzuki, 9.497, 91.74; Hector Arana Jr, 6.849, 199.29 def. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.975, 192.93; Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 6.966, 193.63 def. Matt Smith, 7.022, 196.07; Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.859, 196.24 def. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.915, 195.45; QUARTERFINALS — Johnson, 6.980, 193.57 def. Underdahl, 7.028, 193.63; Krawiec, 6.902, 195.87 def. Hines, 6.929, 194.58; Tonglet, 6.897, 196.44 def. Ellis, 7.014, 192.96; Arana Jr, 6.875, 198.12 def. Paquette, 7.083, 188.81; SEMIFINALS — Tonglet, 6.876, 196.13 def. Johnson, 6.934, 193.60; Krawiec, 6.876, 196.47 def. Arana Jr, 6.892, 198.70; FINAL — Tonglet, 6.864, 197.10 def. Krawiec, 6.884, 197.02.

PRO MODIFIED:

ROUND ONE — Mike Janis, Chevy Camaro, 5.827, 246.12 def. Chad Green, Chevy Corvette, 22.858, 73.05; Troy Coughlin, Ford Mustang, 5.803, 254.71 def. Michael Biehle, Mustang, 5.820, 255.19; Jose Gonzalez, Camaro, 5.797, 255.05 def. Erica Enders, Camaro, 5.871, 248.34; Mike Castellana, Camaro, 6.114, 193.02 def. Chip King, Dodge Daytona, 7.248, 135.08; Steve Jackson, Camaro, 5.843, 246.21 def. Sidnei Frigo, Camaro, Foul – Centerline; Khalid alBalooshi, Camaro, 5.857, 249.35 def. Marc Caruso, Camaro, 5.881, 244.16; Jeremy Ray, Corvette, 5.835, 245.94 def. Shane Molinari, Pontiac Firebird, Foul – Centerline; Bob Rahaim, Camaro, 5.826, 248.02 def. Rickie Smith, Camaro, 5.861, 249.35;

QUARTERFINALS — Castellana, 5.798, 251.30 def. Janis, 7.326, 136.33; Gonzalez, 5.819, 255.05 def. Ray, 5.838, 245.81; alBalooshi, 5.857, 248.98 def. Coughlin, 8.889, 83.08; Jackson, 5.835, 246.89 def. Rahaim, 5.895, 246.98;

SEMIFINALS — Gonzalez, 5.847, 253.42 def. alBalooshi, 5.917, 246.84; Jackson, 5.843, 246.84 def. Castellana, 5.856, 250.37;

FINAL — Jackson, 6.167, 168.51 def. Gonzalez, 6.682, 189.26.

TOP FUEL:

ROUND ONE — Blake Alexander, 3.900, 313.07 def. T.J. Zizzo, 4.141, 214.35; Billy Torrence, 3.831, 320.05 def. Tony Schumacher, 4.203, 256.55; Clay Millican, 3.821, 321.88 def. Richie Crampton, 4.486, 218.12; Mike Salinas, 4.222, 250.09 def. Wayne Newby, 4.471, 193.68; Antron Brown, 3.835,

324.12 def. Brittany Force, 4.693, 160.58; Terry McMillen, 4.414, 188.04 def. Scott Palmer, Broke; Steve Torrence, 3.838, 327.43 def. Pat Dakin, 7.237, 80.63; Doug Kalitta, 3.888, 273.44 def. Leah Pritchett, 5.580, 125.12;

QUARTERFINALS — Alexander, 3.894, 318.92 def. Salinas, 7.524, 95.23; B. Torrence, 4.406, 233.03 def. Millican, 4.450, 252.43; Kalitta, 4.089, 249.90 def. Brown, 6.903, 104.84; McMillen, 3.979, 315.78 def. S. Torrence, 4.097, 269.46;

SEMIFINALS — Kalitta, 3.947, 299.86 def. B. Torrence, 3.939, 307.02; McMillen, 3.961, 314.75 def. Alexander, 5.026, 144.77;

FINAL — McMillen, 4.037, 300.66 def. Kalitta, 4.067, 303.57.

FUNNY CAR:

ROUND ONE — Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 4.103, 309.77 def. Del Worsham, Toyota Camry, 4.105, 310.13; Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 4.401, 217.56 def. Jonnie Lindberg, Mustang, 9.208, 80.50; J.R. Todd, Camry, 3.996, 315.42 def. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.234, 259.71; Bob Bode, Charger, 4.171, 300.60 def. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 4.597, 185.74; Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.105, 255.58 def. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.894, 170.77; Courtney Force, Chevy Camaro, 4.095, 308.35 def. Jack Beckman, Charger, 5.089, 156.50; Shawn Langdon, Camry, 4.051, 314.31 def. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 25.188, 46.45; Robert Hight, Camaro, 3.985, 321.35 def. John Force, Camaro, 4.561, 189.26;

QUARTERFINALS — Hagan, 4.397, 219.58 def. C. Force, 4.557, 219.15; Langdon, 4.246, 249.72 def. Bode, 4.549, 196.27; Todd, 4.160, 286.32 def. Hight, 4.614, 212.53; Johnson Jr., 4.085, 295.34 def. Wilkerson, 4.115, 305.08;

SEMIFINALS — Hagan, 4.129, 298.60 def. Langdon, 4.148, 307.16; Todd, 4.045, 312.21 def. Johnson Jr., 4.130, 278.98;

FINAL — Todd, 4.062, 311.70 def. Hagan, 4.141, 300.60.

PRO STOCK:

ROUND ONE — Jason Line, Chevy Camaro, 6.648, 207.59 def. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.672, 207.30; Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 6.653, 206.01 def. Alex Laughlin, Dodge Dart, 6.657, 206.01; Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.649, 207.34 def. Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.650, 207.62; Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.645, 207.78 def. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.637, 208.62; Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.634, 207.62 def. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.671, 207.72; Tanner Gray, Camaro, 6.631, 207.94 def. John Gaydosh Jr, Camaro, 6.717, 206.04; Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.639, 207.98 def. Steve Graham, Camaro, 6.707, 205.98; Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.665, 207.50 def. Fernando Cuadra, Camaro, 6.666, 207.05;

QUARTERFINALS — Skillman, 6.646, 207.53 def. Enders, 6.666, 206.39; Coughlin, 6.645, 206.64 def. Anderson, 6.643, 207.37; Butner, 6.655, 208.17 def. Hartford, Foul – Red Light; Gray, 6.651, 208.52 def. Line, Foul – Red Light;

SEMIFINALS — Gray, 6.651, 208.42 def. Skillman, 6.658, 207.78; Coughlin, 6.651, 206.13 def. Butner, 6.662, 206.20;

FINAL — Gray, 6.641, 208.42 def. Coughlin, 6.639, 206.80.

HEMI Challenge — James Daniels, Dodge Dart, 8.662, 156.15 def. Gary Wolkwitz, Dart, 10.110, 97.63.

Top Alcohol Funny Car — Sean Bellemeur, Chevy Camaro, 5.821, 257.09 def. Chris Marshall, Camaro, 6.638, 154.02.

Top Alcohol Dragster — Josh Hart, 5.271, 274.89 def. Dan Page, 5.460, 261.62.

Competition Eliminator — David Rampy, Roadster, 7.386, 154.25 def. Greg Kamplain, Dragster, Foul

– Red Light.

Super Stock — Dennis Steward, Plymouth Savoy, 10.411, 100.76 def. Dale Hulquist, Pontiac Grand Am, Foul – Red Light.

Stock Eliminator — T.C. Morris, Pontiac GTO, 10.971, 121.11 def. Jerry Emmons, Chevy Camaro, Foul

– Red Light.

Super Comp — Joe Hessling, Dragster, 8.903, 189.90 def. Gary Stinnett, Dragster, 8.912, 179.18.

Super Gas — Devin Isenhower, Chevy Camaro, 9.907, 157.50 def. Steve Hoyt, Chevy Corvette, 10.271, 132.26.

Factory Stock Showdown — Leah Pritchett, Dodge Challenger, 8.108, 170.26 def. Mark Pawuk, Challenger, 8.191, 167.51.

Monday at the 64th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, the world’s biggest drag race, at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis

story and photos by Tim Hailey with help by NHRA

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