Steve Torrence, Ron Capps Launch 2016 With Victories In The Circle K NHRA Winternationalsby Hunter Thomas February 14, 2016 0 comments
PONOMA, Calif. – During the Circle K NHRA Winternationals on Sunday afternoon at Auto Club Raceway, Del Worsham kicked off the 2016 season by winning in Funny Car, and Steve Torrence took the victory in Top Fuel.
Ron Capps’ win on Sunday marked the 46th of his career. The win is only his third Winternationals victory. Capps’ NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T was the only car out of the Don Schumacher Racing stable to make it to the second round of eliminations on Sunday afternoon in California.
“I have the best team in the business, and they gave me a great racecar,” Capps said. “All four runs in the 3s in qualifying, I don’t think anyone else did that. I knew we had a good racecar. Tobler (crew chief, Rahn) and I have grown so much together. It’s like a marriage. He really keeps me in line on race day. We had a heckuva day.”
Capps defeated Jeff Diehl in Round 1 and Chad Head in the Quaterfinals. He was able to get the victory over John Force Racing’s Robert Hight in the Semifinals. Ron Capps was paired up against Del Worsham in the Finals. Worsham defeated 16-time NHRA Funny Car champion, John Force to make it to the final round. Once in the Finals, Don Schumacher Racing’s Ron Capps topped defending series champion, Del Worsham with a pass of 3.981 seconds at 324.28 mph. Worsham ran a 3.962 second pass at 324.36 mph.
Rounding out the top-five on Sunday was Robert Hight, John Force and Jack Beckman, who lost to Force, his team owner in the Quarterfinals.
“This Auto Club Camaro is running really good whether it is cool or hot,” High said. “This car is right there at the top. I am bummed this race car quit quite a bit before the finish line. We lost a blower belt. I think we let one get away there. Those guys are a tough team to race and they definitely threw on at it today. We are going on to Phoenix with some confidence and momentum.”
Steve Torrence rocketed his way to his sixth career Top Fuel victory on Sunday. The win marked his first career win in the Winternationals.
“Alan (tuning consultant, Johnson) and Richard (crew chief, Hogan) have worked really well together,” Torrence said. “Alan is that thorn who keeps poking Richard to tune it just a little bit farther. My crew guys have done a great job. I am just the guy that sits in there and gets to drive it. It feels good. I wish the season was over already. We are going to do what we can to keep the momentum going and go on to Phoenix and try to write a story just like this one.”
Torrence took the victory over Steve Faria in Round 1, followed by a win over Morgan Lucas in the Quarterfinals. To make it to the final round of eliminations, Steve Torrencee outran Richie Crampton in the Semifinals. During the finals, Torrence in the Capco Contractors dragster was paired up against Doug Kalitta in the Mac Tools dragster. Kalitta defeated J.R. Todd to reach the Semifinals. Steve Torrence was able to outrun Kalitta and claim the victory with a pass of 3.735 seconds at 326.48 mph. Kalitta was just barely edged to the line after running a pass of 3.753 seconds at 324.36 mph.
Richie Crampton rounded out the top-three on Sunday. J.R. Todd finished fourth, and Clay Millican finished fifth.
“Drivers always want to be better,” Crampton said. “The first race of the season is a bit of a crapshoot for drivers on reaction times. I’m happy but I want to continue to improve. That’s definitely my focus this year because that’s what makes a good driver a great driver. I’m realistic that that’s what it’s going to take to win more races.”
Up next on the schedule for the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series is the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Phoenix, Arizona on February 26-28. Finals for the event will broadcast live on FOX Sports 1 (FS1) at 5 p.m. ET on Sunday, February 28.
Funny Car Point Standings:
1.) Ron Capps | NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger | 119
2.) Del Worsham | DHL Toyota Camry | 97
3.) Robert Hight | Auto Club Chevy Camaro | 80
4.) John Force | Peak Anti-Freeze and Coolant Chevy Camaro | 69
5.) Jack Beckman | Infinite Hero Dodge Charger | 65
6.) Courtney Force | Traxxas Chevy Camaro | 59
7.) Alexis DeJoria | Tequila Patron Toyota Camry | 55
8.) Chad Head | WSM Auctioneers Toyota Camry | 54
9.) Tim Wilkerson | Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford Mustang | 33
10t.) Gary Densham | Densham Motorsports Dodge Charger | 32
10t.) Matt Hagan | Mopar Express/Rocky Boots Dodge Charger | 32
10t. ) Cruz Pedregon | Snap-on/Wix Filters Toyota Camry | 32
Top Fuel Point Standings:
1.) Steve Torrence | Capco Contactors dragster | 126
2.) Doug Kalitta | Mac Tools dragster | 94
3.) Richie Crampton | Lucas Oil dragster | 77
4.) J.R. Todd | SealMaster dragster | 72
5.) Clay Millican | Parts Plus/Great Clips dragster | 57
6.) Morgan Lucas | Lucas Oil Racing TV dragster | 52
7.) Antron Brown | Matco Tools dragster | 48
8.) Terry McMillen | Amalie Motor Oil dragster | 46
9.) Tony Schumacher | U.S. Army dragster | 42
10.) Brittany Force | Monster Energy dragster | 37
Photo Credit: NHRA Communications Department