Hector Jr. Takes all-EBR Maple Grove Final

Hector Arana Jr. earned his second Pro Stock Motorcycle victory of 2018 and 13th of his career at the 34th Dodge NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway.

Arana’s run of 6.842 at 197.74 on his Lucas Oil Racing TV EBR beat final-round opponent Matt Smith, who slowed to a 7.306 at 145.88 with a broken fuel line. Matt was also on an EBR-bodied bike and the slippery, $25,000 shell is starting to look worth the money.

Hector Arana Jr

Arana Jr.—who announced at the event that he will be a first-time father soon—jumped to second in points after his second career win at the track and trails Eddie Krawiec by just three points. “What matter are the wins in the Countdown and that’s what we’re working on,” said Arana Jr., who earned his second win at the facility. “We’re working on consistency and we’ve been working on that all year. We’ve got a strong championship contender with this bike and I can’t thank my team enough. They work super, super hard. We’re definitely working really hard for a championship.”

No. 1 qualifier Smith’s path to his 47th career final round included victories against Johnny “Balls” Hall, Steve Johnson and LE Tonglet, as he improved to third in the points standings. Arana Jr. picked up wins against Ron Tornow, Joey Gladstone and points leader Krawiec en route to the final.

JR Todd after this year’s US Nationals win

J.R. Todd moved into the Funny Car points lead with his second straight victory. Coming off his second consecutive Indy win, Todd stayed hot and went 3.972-seconds at 319.90 mph in his 10,000-horsepower DHL Toyota Camry to defeat Tim Wilkerson’s 4.196 at 249.95 in the final round, earning his fourth win of the season and 12th in his career. It also marked the 100th career win for Kalitta Motorsports and team owner Connie Kalitta.

“It’s awesome to keep the momentum going, but we’ve got a long road ahead of us,” said Todd, who also has a Top Fuel win at the track. “These guys know how to win. A lot of them were there for the 2015 championship with Del Worsham, and we just want to keep winning. It was nice to come out with a win and now we just have to keep it rolling. We had a really good car and they just go up there and race smart, and not beat ourselves. The consistency is really coming around.”

Todd beat Bob Tasca, Mike Smith and defending event winner Ron Capps to reach the final round. Wilkerson beat Terry Haddock, John Force and Hight to secure his 41st career final round and move to sixth in the points standings.

With the win, Todd now has a 23-point lead on defending world champion Robert Hight.

In Top Fuel, Steve Torrence maintained his points lead after going 3.819 at 325.45 to beat Tony Schumacher’s 4.196 at 234.82 and pick up his sixth victory in 2018 and 22nd of his career in his 10,000-horsepower Capco Contractors dragster. To reach his 36th career final round, Torrence knocked off Bill Litton, Mike Salinas and No. 1 qualifier Clay Millican, opening up a 50-point lead against Schumacher and Millican thanks to his first career victory at Maple Grove.

“We’re not here to be second-best,” Torrence said. “Winning the championship is fresh on our minds and we want to do everything we can to solidify that. I think this is a great way to start the Countdown. We’re here to win and that’s the only job we have. We’re going to have to do everything we can to win and just stay focused on what we’re doing. We’ve got a little bit of a lead and we need to maintain that, and keep going in that direction.”

Eight-time world champion Schumacher advanced to his seventh career final round at Maple Grove Raceway and 152nd in his career after defeating Dave Mercier, Scott Palmer and Antron Brown on Sunday, moving into a tie for second in points with Millican.

Pro Stock Car’s Vincent Nobile (Arana Jr’s brother-in-law) grabbed his third victory of the season and 13th in his career in his Mountain View Tire Chevrolet Camaro after going 6.586 at 210.01 in the final round to defeat Drew Skillman’s 6.580 at 211.53. Nobile, who knocked off Matt Hartford, Erica Enders and Greg Anderson to reach his 25th career final round, moved to second in the points standings with his second career win at the track.

“All in all, what a great way to start the Countdown,” Nobile said. “If you really look at it, every single team out here can win the race. It’s just a matter of who has their stuff together the best that weekend. You just have to do the best you can. I think we have a pretty good racecar and as long as we can be in the top six in qualifying, I think we can get the job done.”

Skillman was seeking his first victory of the 2018 season, but did climb to fifth in points after beating Fernando Cuadra, defending world champion and event winner Bo Butner, and points leader Tanner Gray on Sunday. Gray maintained his points lead and currently holds an 18-point advantage over Nobile.

Sunday’s final results from the 34th annual Dodge NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway. The race is the 19th of 24 in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series:

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 

ROUND ONE — Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.864, 193.88 def. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.937, 192.03; Angie Smith, Buell, 6.932, 191.48 def. Angelle Sampey, Buell, 6.957, 191.32; LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.841, 196.16 def. Mark Paquette, Buell, 6.941, 192.11; Joey Gladstone, 6.904, 192.03 def. Scotty Pollacheck, Suzuki, 6.933, 192.96; Hector Arana Jr, 6.905, 195.93 def. Ron Tornow, Buell, 7.001, 191.81; Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.881, 194.97 def. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 6.954, 193.49; Matt Smith, 6.842, 198.88 def. John Hall, Buell, 6.988, 191.10; Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.889, 194.13 def. Ryan Oehler, Buell, 6.973, 192.25;

QUARTERFINALS — Arana Jr, 6.885, 197.19 def. Gladstone, 6.949, 192.22; Krawiec, 6.853, 196.19 def. A. Smith, 6.979, 181.91; Tonglet, 6.841, 196.47 def. Hines, 6.887, 196.22; M. Smith, 6.860, 198.61 def. Johnson, 6.887, 193.74;

SEMIFINALS — Arana Jr, 6.880, 196.85 def. Krawiec, 6.905, 195.42; M. Smith, 6.814, 197.39 def. Tonglet, Foul – Red Light;

FINAL — Arana Jr, 6.842, 197.74 def. M. Smith, 7.306, 145.88.

Pro Stock Motorcycle points

  1. Eddie Krawiec, 2,184; 2. Hector Arana Jr, 2,181; 3. Matt Smith, 2,147; 4. LE Tonglet, 2,144; 5. Andrew Hines, 2,137; 6. Jerry Savoie, 2,082; 7. Steve Johnson, 2,073; 8. (tie) Scotty Pollacheck, 2,062; Angie Smith, 2,062; 10. Angelle Sampey, 2,033.

FUNNY CAR: 

ROUND ONE — Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 4.008, 313.95 def. Terry Haddock, Mustang, 5.726, 129.74; Tommy Johnson Jr., Dodge Charger, 3.950, 321.73 def. Jim Campbell, Charger, 6.714, 98.20; Mike Smith, Dodge Stratus, 4.398, 227.15 def. Courtney Force, Chevy Camaro, 5.069, 158.71; Cruz Pedregon, Toyota Camry, 4.214, 225.33 def. Jack Beckman, Charger, 5.135, 152.07; Ron Capps, Charger, 3.972, 324.28 def. Jonnie Lindberg, Mustang, 4.356, 243.63; Robert Hight, Camaro, 3.941, 325.53 def. Shawn Langdon, Camry, 4.015, 322.50; John Force, Camaro, 4.007, 326.87 def. Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.164, 257.97; J.R. Todd, Camry, 3.982, 321.50 def. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, Foul – Red Light;

QUARTERFINALS — Wilkerson, 4.005, 321.73 def. J. Force, 4.093, 317.49; Capps, 3.972, 319.07 def. Pedregon, 4.126, 289.51; Hight, 3.946, 325.77 def. Johnson Jr., 4.012, 318.24; Todd, 3.996, 316.82 def. Smith, 10.655, 75.64;

SEMIFINALS — Todd, 3.975, 320.28 def. Capps, 4.014, 315.12; Wilkerson, 4.046, 314.09 def. Hight, Foul – Red Light;

FINAL — Todd, 3.972, 319.90 def. Wilkerson, 4.196, 249.95.

Funny Car points

  1. J.R. Todd, 2,166; 2. Robert Hight, 2,143; 3. Courtney Force, 2,141; 4. Ron Capps, 2,137; 5.Matt Hagan, 2,112; 6. Tim Wilkerson, 2,101; 7. Tommy Johnson Jr., 2,090; 8. Jack Beckman, 2,080; 9. John Force, 2,064; 10. Shawn Langdon, 2,054.

TOP FUEL: 

ROUND ONE — Scott Palmer, 3.820, 327.11 def. Dom Lagana, 6.559, 90.21; Mike Salinas, 3.736, 331.04 def. Terry McMillen, 3.784, 325.85; Clay Millican, 3.769, 331.12 def. Jim Maroney, 4.530, 176.70; Tony Schumacher, 3.816, 326.40 def. Dan Mercier, 5.312, 133.18; Leah Pritchett, 3.786, 323.50 def. Audrey Worm, 4.004, 265.01; Steve Torrence, 3.783, 325.61 def. Bill Litton, 6.310, 104.54; Antron Brown, 3.800, 327.35 def. Brittany Force, 4.124, 288.27; Doug Kalitta, 3.805, 323.74 def. Richie Crampton, 6.883, 62.61;

QUARTERFINALS — Schumacher, 3.827, 323.19 def. Palmer, 3.833, 324.59; Brown, 3.840, 313.51 def. Pritchett, 4.300, 199.29; Millican, 3.810, 323.27 def. Kalitta, 4.475, 183.82; Torrence, 3.812, 326.32 def. Salinas, 3.850, 315.27;

SEMIFINALS — Schumacher, 3.939, 292.96 def. Brown, 4.206, 254.33; Torrence, 3.798, 327.19 def. Millican, 3.785, 327.19;

FINAL — Torrence, 3.819, 325.45 def. Schumacher, 4.196, 234.82.

Top Fuel points

  1. Steve Torrence, 2,219; 2. (tie) Clay Millican, 2,169; Tony Schumacher, 2,169; 4. Leah Pritchett, 2,118; 5. Antron Brown, 2,116; 6. Doug Kalitta, 2,103; 7. Mike Salinas, 2,067; 8. Terry McMillen, 2,062; 9. Scott Palmer, 2,053; 10. Brittany Force, 2,052.

PRO STOCK CAR: 

ROUND ONE — Jason Line, Chevy Camaro, 6.569, 209.98 def. Chris McGaha, Camaro, Foul – Red Light; Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.579, 209.69 def. Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.711, 208.07; Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.571, 209.69 def. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.590, 209.88; Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.587, 209.43 def. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.604, 209.20; Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.568, 210.64 def. Fernando Cuadra, Camaro, 6.715, 205.91; Tanner Gray, Camaro, 6.557, 210.87 def. Val Smeland, Camaro, 6.674, 207.82; Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 6.558, 210.31 def. John Gaydosh Jr, Camaro, 6.762, 203.09; Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.572, 210.24 def. Alan Prusiensky, Dodge Dart, 6.622, 207.62;

QUARTERFINALS — Nobile, 6.594, 209.92 def. Enders, 6.603, 209.72; Skillman, 6.590, 210.50 def. Butner, 6.573, 209.95; Anderson, 6.595, 209.49 def. Coughlin, 6.573, 209.43; Gray, 6.590, 209.79 def. Line, 6.587, 210.08;

SEMIFINALS — Nobile, 6.594, 209.10 def. Anderson, 6.614, 208.81; Skillman, 6.573, 211.06 def.Gray, 6.607, 208.94;

FINAL — Nobile, 6.586, 210.01 def. Skillman, 6.580, 211.53.

Pro Stock Car points

  1. Tanner Gray, 2,183; 2. Vincent Nobile, 2,165; 3. Greg Anderson, 2,153; 4. Erica Enders, 2,131; 5. Drew Skillman, 2,128; 6. Jeg Coughlin, 2,127; 7. Jason Line, 2,073; 8. Deric Kramer, 2,072; 9. Bo Butner, 2,064; 10. Chris McGaha, 2,032.

Top Alcohol Dragster — Troy Coughlin Jr., 5.328, 272.89 def. Josh Hart, 5.366, 273.66.

Top Alcohol Funny Car — Sean Bellemeur, Chevy Camaro, 5.489, 268.28 def. Phil Burkart, Camaro, 5.745, 261.52.

Competition Eliminator — Tom Martino, Chevy Cobalt, 8.652, 147.13 def. Jay Schonberger, Olds Cutlass, 8.184, 160.94.

Super Stock — Anthony Bertozzi, Pontiac Grand Am, 9.062, 135.46 def. Anthony Bongiovanni, Ford Mustang, 8.919, 153.30.

Stock Eliminator — Shane Oakes, Camaro, 11.144, 113.83 def. Anthony Fetch, Camaro, 10.075, 118.21.

Super Comp — Mike Robilotto, Dragster, 9.027, 174.96 def. Chris Garretson, Dragster, 8.893, 129.23.

Super Gas — Ray Sawyer, Chevy Camaro, 9.932, 175.62 def. Dale Koncen, Chevy Corvette, Foul – Red Light.

Story by NHRA with photos and additional text by Tim Hailey

 

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