2019 NHRA SONOMA NATIONALS - EVENT RESULTS
SUNDAY - HIGHT, B. TORRENCE, ANDERSON AND HINES PICK UP WINS AT NHRA SONOMA NATIONALS
Robert Hight finished off a standout weekend by racing to his 50th career Funny Car win on Sunday at the NHRA Sonoma Nationals at Sonoma Raceway.
Billy Torrence (Top Fuel), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were also winners in their respective categories at the 15th of 24 events during the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season.
Hight, the current points leader, qualified No. 1 in his Auto Club Chevrolet Camaro SS and earned his fifth win in 2019 by going 3.973-seconds at 325.45 mph in the final round against Matt Hagan’s 4.030 at 316.60. With the victory, Hight’s second straight at Sonoma, the two-time world champion became just the third driver in Funny Car history to reach 50 career wins.
To get there, he knocked off Blake Alexander and Tommy Johnson Jr., while Hagan picked up his 58th final-round berth with round wins against J.R. Todd, Jack Beckman and John Force. Hight and Johnson also clinched spots in the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship.
“The first national event I ever attended was right here, and I never honestly dreamed I would get to drive a Funny Car,” said Hight, who now has three wins in Sonoma. “I still have to pinch myself. It’s hard to believe I’m at 50 (wins). Matt Hagan had the best car out there in the second and third round, and we had to step up in the final. We didn’t want to get outrun, and we really pushed in the final and got the win.”
Top Fuel’s B. Torrence scored his second win this season and third in his career thanks to his final-round run of 3.804 at 320.20 in his Capco Contractors dragster to beat No. 1 qualifier Clay Millican’s 3.842 at 321.65. To reach the final round, B. Torrence beat Steve Faria, Austin Prock and his son, points leader and defending world champ Steve Torrence. It ended S. Torrence’s impressive string of nine straight final rounds in 2019, while Millican beat Brittany Force and Antron Brown to earn his 16th career finals appearance.
“We had a good car going into raceday and we were just steady,” B. Torrence said. “We had a really tough race against Steve, and we knew Clay had a good car. It took it all (to beat him). We have a good car and we’re capable of winning everywhere we go. I couldn’t do this without Steve’s team and it takes all of those guys. They make certain I have a very well-prepared car every time I show up, and they make me look good.”
Pro Stock’s Anderson kept his hope alive to sweep the Western Swing after winning his second straight race this season and 93rd of his career after going 6.602 at 208.71 to beat No. 1 qualifier Alex Laughlin in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro in the final round. Anderson, who is the only driver in Pro Stock history to sweep the Western Swing, will have a chance to follow his 2004 sweep next weekend in Seattle.
He reached the final round with victories against Kenny Delco, Jeg Coughlin Jr. and teammate Jason Line, while Laughlin beat Val Smeland, Erica Enders and points leader Bo Butner to reach his sixth career final round. Butner also earned his spot in the Countdown to the Championship.
“It’s been a long time since I won two races in a row and it’s more of a mind game than anything, and you’ve got a find a way to get that right,” said Anderson, who has a class-best six victories at Sonoma. “This is going to do a lot for me. Sonoma has always been one of my very favorite tracks on the circuit. I love the tracks where the cars run fast. As two races have shaken out, I’m the only guy standing with a chance to (sweep the Swing), and I’ll go into Seattle with a smile on my face, eager to race and see if the cards can fall the right way again.”
Pro Stock Motorcycle points leader Andrew Hines made it a double-win weekend by earning his seventh victory of 2019 and 55th in his career with a 6.790 at 198.00 on his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson FXDR in the final round to beat Matt Smith’s 6.822 at 197.36. It follows Hines’ win in the Mickey Thompson Pro Bike Battle on Saturday, and gives the winningest rider in class history the Pro Stock Motorcycle version of the Western Swing sweep. Hines won last weekend in Denver and the class doesn’t race next weekend in Seattle. The seven victories are also a career-best in a single season for Hines.
He beat Kelly Clontz, Scotty Pollacheck and Jerry Savoie en route to the final round, while defending world champ Smith beat Jianna Salinas, Ryan Oehler and Hector Arana to advance to his 53rd final round. Eddie Krawiec, Smith and Hector Arana Jr. all clinched berths in the Countdown to the Championship this weekend.
“It’s absolutely mind-boggling what we’ve been able to achieve this year,” said Hines, a three-time winner in Sonoma. “The confidence with my motorcycle and my team, and the level of performance and professionalism the guys bring to the starting line every single time, it’s unsurpassed right now. I can sit on that starting line with confidence and it’s just unreal. I feel I’m probably riding the best in my career and I just want it that much more.”
The Mello Yello Drag Racing Series continues Aug. 2-4 with the Magic Dry Organic Absorbent NHRA Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways. It is the final race of the NHRA Western Swing.
HINES WINS NHRA MICKEY THOMPSON PRO BIKE BATTLE; MILLICAN, HIGHT, LAUGHLIN AND M. SMITH CLINCH NO. 1 QUALIFIERS AT NHRA SONOMA NATIONALS
Andrew Hines added another impressive achievement to his dominant 2019 season, racing to his third NHRA Mickey Thompson Pro Bike Battle win during the 32nd annual NHRA Sonoma Nationals at Sonoma Raceway on Saturday. Hines earned a $25,000 payday in the all-star bonus race that featured eight top riders in Pro Stock Motorcycle.
In other racing, Clay Millican (Top Fuel), Robert Hight (Funny Car) Alex Laughlin (Pro Stock) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) qualified No. 1 in their respective categories at the 15th of 24 races during the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season. The event is also the second of three races during the NHRA’s famed Western Swing.
Hines, the current points leader and winner of six races this season, knocked off teammate Eddie Krawiec in the final round with a run of 6.912-seconds at 193.24 mph on his new Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson FXDR the team debuted a week ago in Denver. Hines, who also won last weekend, beat Hector Arana Jr. and Smith to reach the finals against Krawiec, and will now look to win in Sonoma for the third time.
“Racing through this year and racing here at the Mickey Thompson Pro Bike Battle, I had my focus,” Hines said. “We had a tune-up we could rely on. I’ve always been the guy to put too much pressure on myself, and you take the points out of the equation (for a bonus race), and it always seemed to work out for me and today was no different. Mickey Thompson supporting this for the past three years has been phenomenal. They’re a great partner for the entire class and do so much great promotion for us.”
Top Fuel’s Millican scored his third No. 1 qualifier of 2019, 23rd in his career and second straight at Sonoma Raceway, as his season-best pass of 3.698 at 330.96 from Friday held up held up in his Parts Plus/Laris Motorsports dragster. Points leader and defending world champ Steve Torrence, who has won eight of the past nine races in the 2019 season, is earned the second spot with a 3.717 at 325.85, while his father, Billy, qualified third after going 3.718 at 325.85.
“Today was more like what we’re going to race in,” Millican said. “It is awesome to be the No. 1 qualifier and I was really excited we made a good run in the final qualifying session. I am so proud of everybody on this team. They work their tails off and, to me, qualifying is just fun. I feel good about our chances tomorrow, I’m ready and I know we can do more.”
In Funny Car, points leader and defending event winner Hight secured his eighth No. 1 qualifier of 2019 and 68th career top spot thanks to his run of 3.858 at 334.65 on Friday in his Auto Club Chevrolet Camaro SS. Hight will look for his 50th career win and third at Sonoma on Sunday. Shawn Langdon’s 3.875 at 329.99 put him in second, and Jack Beckman will start eliminations from third after his run of 3.879 at 333.41.
“Being No. 1 is big,” Hight said. “It gives you some confidence and it shows we’re consistent. We’ve been in a lot of different conditions all year and to have eight No. 1 (qualifiers), it shows we have a combination for all different conditions. It was big for me today to make it down two runs because we’re going to be faced with the same conditions tomorrow. I’ve done well here, set a couple records and that all gives you confidence, and that’s big.”
Pro Stock’s Laughlin grabbed his second career top qualifier and first this season as his 6.520 at 210.80 from Friday in his Havoline Chevrolet Camaro stood up. Laughlin, whose NHRA Pro Stock career started at Sonoma in 2015, will face Val Smeland in the opening round of elimination. Deric Kramer qualified second with a 6.523 at 210.93 and Jeg Coughlin Jr. will start raceday from the third position after his 6.533 at 210.41.
“This is just a huge confidence-booster, not just for me but our whole team, especially coming back from Denver where we had our worst race of the season,” said Laughlin, who is looking for his first win of 2019. “All in all, the car is running great and I’m driving (well), and we really have a good shot at winning the whole thing tomorrow.”
Defending Pro Stock Motorcycle world champion M. Smith raced to the No. 1 position for the second straight race on his Denso/Stockseth/MSR EBR thanks to the 6.779 at a track record speed of 200.83 from Friday. It is his 34th career No. 1 qualifier and third this year, and he will take on Jianna Salinas in the first round on Sunday. Jerry Savoie qualified second with a 6.801 at 198.20, while Hines took third in qualifying thanks to his 6.829 at 197.74.
“We’re going to try to get two hats this weekend,” M. Smith said. “We got the green one (for qualifying No. 1), now we want to get the yellow one (for winning the race). We just have to go back and reset, and we’ll go back out there and see what we can do tomorrow. We’ll be ready.”
Eliminations at the NHRA Sonoma Nationals begin at 11 a.m. PT on Sunday. Live finals action starts at 2:30 p.m. ET on FS1 on Sunday before moving to a live, two-hour broadcast on the FOX national broadcast network starting at 5 p.m. There will also be a special hour-long Pro Stock episode at 10 p.m. ET on FS1 on Sunday.
Sunday's first-round pairings for eliminations for the 32nd annual NHRA Sonoma Nationals at Sonoma Raceway, the 15th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Pairings based on results in qualifying, which ended Saturday. DNQs listed below pairings.
Top Fuel -- 1. Clay Millican, 3.698 seconds, 330.96 mph vs. Bye; 2. Steve Torrence, 3.717, 325.85 vs. 15. Steven Chrisman, 18.759, 30.06; 3. Billy Torrence, 3.718, 325.85 vs. 14. Steve Faria, 5.210, 132.75; 4. Antron Brown, 3.721, 327.43 vs. 13. Cameron Ferre, 4.737, 157.59; 5. Doug Kalitta, 3.733, 325.69 vs. 12. Scott Palmer, 3.834, 306.67; 6. Austin Prock, 3.737, 327.90 vs. 11. Leah Pritchett, 3.800, 321.42; 7. Richie Crampton, 3.743, 325.14 vs. 10. Terry McMillen, 3.770, 325.69; 8. Brittany Force, 3.754, 322.65 vs. 9. Mike Salinas, 3.769, 325.77.
Funny Car -- 1. Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 3.858, 334.65 vs. Bye; 2. Shawn Langdon, Toyota Camry, 3.875, 329.99 vs. 15. Terry Haddock, Ford Mustang, 4.928, 155.79; 3. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger, 3.879, 333.41 vs. 14. Jeff Diehl, Camry, 4.747, 176.93; 4. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 3.879, 328.22 vs. 13. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.050, 311.34; 5. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.886, 324.59 vs. 12. Cruz Pedregon, Charger, 4.024, 315.64; 6. Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.910, 325.77 vs. 11. J.R. Todd, Camry, 3.992, 319.29; 7. John Force, Camaro, 3.918, 327.90 vs. 10. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 3.968, 319.60; 8. Blake Alexander, Mustang, 3.940, 297.35 vs. 9. Ron Capps, Charger, 3.960, 321.19.
Pro Stock -- 1. Alex Laughlin, Chevy Camaro, 6.520, 210.80 vs. 16. Val Smeland, Camaro, 6.637, 208.88; 2. Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.523, 210.93 vs. 15. Steve Graham, Camaro, 6.607, 207.02; 3. Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 6.533, 210.41 vs. 14. Fernando Cuadra Jr., Camaro, 6.583, 209.26; 4. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.534, 211.13 vs. 13. Steve Matusek, Ford Mustang, 6.581, 208.78; 5. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.541, 208.39 vs. 12. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.567, 209.72; 6. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.546, 208.55 vs. 11. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.563, 209.04; 7. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.551, 211.13 vs. 10. Richard Freeman, Camaro, 6.562, 210.31; 8. Fernando Cuadra, Camaro, 6.559, 210.57 vs. 9. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.561, 211.00.
Did Not Qualify: 17. Alan Prusiensky, 6.665, 208.04; 18. Joey Grose, 6.683, 207.43; 19. Tom Huggins, 6.706, 206.32; 20. Cristian Cuadra, 6.854, 198.09.
Pro Stock Motorcycle -- 1. Matt Smith, EBR, 6.779, 200.83 vs. 16. Jianna Salinas, Suzuki, 7.064, 189.87; 2. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.801, 198.20 vs. 15. Joey Gladstone, EBR, 7.046, 185.21; 3. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.829, 197.74 vs. 14. Kelly Clontz, Suzuki, 6.951, 193.65; 4. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.838, 199.85 vs. 13. Angelle Sampey, Harley-Davidson, 6.942, 184.47; 5. Angie Smith, EBR, 6.843, 199.23 vs. 12. Hector Arana, EBR, 6.910, 195.36; 6. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.844, 193.90 vs. 11. Scotty Pollacheck, EBR, 6.910, 196.07; 7. Hector Arana Jr, EBR, 6.856, 197.02 vs. 10. Katie Sullivan, Suzuki, 6.890, 194.24; 8. Ryan Oehler, EBR, 6.887, 196.87 vs. 9. Cory Reed, EBR, 6.890, 195.11.
Did Not Qualify: 17. Dylan Hendrix, 7.121, 188.99; 18. Scott Bottorff, 7.145, 189.10; 19. Michael Ray, 7.158, 187.31; 20. Melissa Surber, 7.217, 189.76; 21. James Surber, 7.267, 184.42.
Saturday's final results from the Mickey Thompson Pro Bike Battle from the 32nd annual NHRA Sonoma Nationals at Sonoma Raceway. The race is special race within a race.
Mickey Thompson Pro Bike Battle -- Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.912, 193.24 def. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 7.016, 191.19.
Final round-by-round results from the Mickey Thompson Pro Bike Battle from the 32nd annual NHRA Sonoma Nationals at Sonoma Raceway. The race is special race within a race.
ROUND ONE -- Matt Smith, 6.850, 198.82 def. Ryan Oehler, 6.887, 196.87; Angie Smith, 6.916, 196.70 def. Angelle Sampey, Harley-Davidson, 6.974, 188.17; Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.873, 197.05 def. Hector Arana, 6.910, 195.36; Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.829, 197.74 def. Hector Arana Jr, Broke;
SEMIFINALS -- Krawiec, 6.966, 192.85 def. A. Smith, Broke; Hines, 6.907, 193.60 def. M. Smith, 6.909, 195.73;
FINAL -- Hines, 6.912, 193.24 def. Krawiec, 7.016, 191.19.
FRIDAY - HIGHT, MILLICAN, LAUGHLIN AND M. SMITH GRAB PROVISIONAL NO. 1 SPOTS AT NHRA SONOMA NATIONALS
Defending Funny Car event winner Robert Hight kept his impressive pace going at Sonoma Raceway, powering to the No. 1 spot on Friday during the NHRA Sonoma Nationals.
Clay Millican (Top Fuel), Alex Laughlin (Pro Stock) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are also provisional No. 1 qualifiers in their respective categories at the 15th of 24 races during the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season. The event is also the second of three races during the NHRA’s famed Western Swing.
Hight, the current points leader and two-time Sonoma winner, went 3.858-seconds at 334.65 mph in his Auto Club Chevrolet Camaro SS. If it holds, Hight would rack up his eighth No. 1 qualifier of 2019 and 68th in his career. Shawn Langdon drove to the second spot with a 3.875 at 329.99, and Jack Beckman sits in third after a pass of 3.879 at 333.41.
“You know you’re always in for a treat when you come to Sonoma with the Friday night run,” said Hight, who also set the national speed record at the track in 2017. “It’s not like any other track we go to where the atmospheric conditions change so drastically. You know it’s going to be great conditions and this is a great race track. You just have to hit it right. I’ve attended every national event ever held here, first as a fan coming to the races, just dreaming to get to work on one of these cars, then a crew member and now a driver. I love coming here and it’s very special to me.”
Top Fuel’s Millican put up a season-best blast of 3.698 at 330.96 to go to No. 1 in his Parts Plus/Laris Motorsports dragster. It would be his third No. 1 qualifier of 2019 and 23rd in his career if it holds. Points leader and defending world champ Steve Torrence, who has won eight of the past nine races in the 2019 season, is second with a 3.717 at 325.85, and his father, Billy, is a spot behind in third after going 3.718 at 325.85.
In Pro Stock, Alex Laughlin went 6.520 at 210.80 in his Havoline Chevrolet Camaro to take the No. 1 spot on Friday. If it holds, it would give Laughlin, whose first career race in Pro Stock came at Sonoma in 2015, his second career No. 1 qualifier. Deric Kramer is right behind in second after his 6.523 at 210.93, while defending event winner Jeg Coughlin Jr. went 6.533 at 210.41 to sit third.
Defending Pro Stock Motorcycle world champ Matt Smith went to the top of the class on his Denso/Stockseth/MSR EBR thanks to his run of 6.779 at a track record speed of 200.83. Smith was the only rider to reach the 200 mph on Friday. Jerry Savoie is currently second after going 6.801 at 198.20, and Eddie Krawiec’s 6.838 at 199.85 currently puts him in third.
Qualifying continues Saturday at the NHRA Sonoma Nationals at 1:20 p.m. PT. The first round of the Mickey Thompson Pro Bike Battle begins at 1:15 p.m.