In an all-Kalitta Motorsports final round, Shawn Langdon beat teammate J.R. Todd in the Funny Car finals on Sunday during the eighth annual AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at World Wide Technology Raceway.

Billy Torrence (Top Fuel), Erica Enders (Pro Stock) and Karen Stoffer (Pro Stock Motorcycle) all won in their respective categories at the second of six races in the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship playoffs. It is also the 20th of 24 events during the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season.

Langdon, a former Top Fuel world champ, became just the second driver in NHRA history to win in both nitro classes at St. Louis, going 4.068-seconds at 310.41 mph in his Global Electronic Technology Toyota Camry to beat Todd, the defending world champ. Langdon, who also beat Tommy Johnson Jr., Jim Campbell and Bob Tasca III on Sunday, earned his second career Funny Car win and 16th overall victory.

Todd, who is now fifth in points, picked up his 33rd final-round appearance with wins against Jack Beckman, No. 1 qualifier John Force and Robert Hight, who took over the points lead on Sunday. It was also the first all-Kalitta Motorsports final round in Funny Car since 2016, a matchup that included Del Worsham, who is the co-crew chief on Langdon’s car.

“What an incredible day,” said Langdon, who climbed to seventh in the Funny Car standings. “Going through qualifying, we had a consistent car. We’ve got such a great group of guys and it was a pretty good day. Anytime you can get a win in this class, it builds momentum. We had to make some big changes coming into St. Louis and the car was flawless for me to drive. I love racing for (team owner) Connie (Kalitta). He just has so much passion. He’s a great motivator and a great leader, and we just follow his vision. We all just work together.”

B. Torrence beat his son, Steve, in an all-Torrence final round, going 3.835 at 319.67 in his Capco Contractors dragster. It was the second time they have met in the finals, with Steve taking the first matchup, and just the third father-son final-round matchup in NHRA history. B. Torrence beat Kyle Wurtzel, points leader Doug Kalitta and Leah Pritchett to reach the final round before picking up his third win this season and fourth in his career.

S. Torrence reached the final round for the 52nd time in his career, as the defending world champ beat Scott Palmer, Pat Dakin and No. 1 qualifier Mike Salinas. The runner-up showing also pulled him to within two points of points leader Kalitta, but the final round belonged to his father, who moved to ninth in the standings with four playoff races remaining.

“To get to race Steve in the final was the goal,” B. Torrence said. “We watched how we qualified and we did a good job of staying on opposite sides of the ladder. It came out a little better for me in the end this time. It’s tough to come out here. You’re at the pinnacle of drag racing on this level, but I’ve got to have fun. It’s just a blessing to get to be out here with my family. We’ve raced everything and it’s just really fun. It’s a family sport and we’re right in the middle of it.”

Enders snapped a winless drought that stretched back to early last year by going 6.598 at 208.36 in her Melling Performance/Elite Motorsports Camaro to slip past Matt Hartford’s 6.621 at 207.30 in the final round. It gives Enders, who was also the No. 1 qualifier this weekend, her 24th career win, and first since the four-wide race at Charlotte last spring. She reached the final round with victories against Alan Prusiensky, Aaron Stanfield and Chris McGaha, jumping to second in points.

Hartford, who moved to fourth in points, beat Kenny Delco, points leader Jason Line and Bo Butner to reach his sixth career. final round. Both drivers had great reaction times in the final round, but Enders was able to chase down Hartford for her first victory of 2019. Stoffer and Enders’ win also marked the first time in NHRA history that females won in both Pro Stock classes at the same race. It also marked the 148th and 149th win for females in NHRA history.

“We just had to pick ourselves up and we redeemed ourselves after our poor performance in Reading,” Enders said. “I’m ready for the remaining four races. I put my money on us. It’s all come together at the right time. It feels like it’s been eternity since we last won in 2018. We just continue to keep our heads down and working hard, and this definitely means a lot to our entire program. I knew every time we fired that bad boy up, we were going to go out and make a really great pass.”

Stoffer picked up her first win in four years in Pro Stock Motorcycle after going 6.869 at 197.74 on her Stoffer Enterprises/Big St. Charles Suzuki to beat points leader Andrew Hines’ 6.871 at 196.59 in the finals. It is Stoffer’s ninth career win as she also jumped to second in points behind Hines.

Stoffer reached the final round with wins against Ryan Oehler, defending world champ and No. 1 qualifier Matt Smith and Eddie Krawiec. Hines beat Michael Ray, Angie Smith and Steve Johnson to advance to his 95th final round, as Stoffer and Hines matched up in the finals for the first time in nine years. Stoffer was quicker off the line and rode her way to her first win since 2015.

“I really don’t feel the pressure out there because every team is phenomenal,” Stoffer said. “I listened to the team and did what I had been doing. We had Matt, and then Eddie and then we had Andrew. Out of all the heavy hitters, those are it. We just went out and did our job. The Suzuki platform definitely went through some challenges and we’re not one of those high-budget teams, but we have fun. It’s been a long time (since her last win), and I wasn’t even scheduled to race this year, and here we are in the top 10 and winning a race in the Countdown.”

The Mello Yello Drag Racing Series continues Oct. 11-13 with the third of six races in the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship playoffs, the NTK NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Charlotte.


In front of a sellout crowd at World Wide Technology Raceway, championship contender John Force powered to the No. 1 spot in Funny Car on Saturday at the eighth annual AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals.

Mike Salinas (Top Fuel), Erica Enders (Pro Stock) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are also No. 1 qualifiers in their respective categories at the second of six races during the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship playoffs. It is the 20th of 24 events during the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season. NHRA and World Wide Technology officials announced a Saturday sellout crowd for a fourth straight year as well.

“The St. Louis racing community continues to show the world that they are a die-hard racing town,” said Chris Blair, World Wide Technology Raceway Executive Vice President and General Manager. “The AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals has firmly established itself as one of the must-attend events on the NHRA Mello Yello Championship Tour and our venue continues to show that we are the premier motorsports showplace in the Midwest.”

Force went to the top spot in Funny Car on his final qualifying run, going 3.842-seconds at 334.40 mph in his PEAK Chevrolet Camaro to earn his fourth No. 1 qualifier this season and 159th in his career. The 16-time world champ started the weekend second in points, going to the final round in three of the past four races, and will meet Terry Haddock to open eliminations on Sunday. Matt Hagan qualified second with a 3.854 at 333.08, while Bob Tasca III qualified third with a career-best pass of 3.855 at 327.51. Points leader Jack Beckman is ninth after going 3.894 at 326.16.

“It was a good night for me, and I do love this, I do love the fans and I love driving these racecars,” Force said. “We’ve got a real good team and we’re out there fighting the fight. I’m excited I get to drive a car that’s this good. I’m happy tonight and we gobbled up some points.”

Top Fuel’s Salinas went 3.687 at 330.55 in his Scrappers Racing dragster on Saturday, earning his fifth No. 1 qualifier this season and sixth overall. Salinas, who entered the weekend sixth in points, will meet Cameron Ferre to start eliminations as he seeks his third win in a breakout 2019 season. Billy Torrence, who was the provisional No. 1 qualifier on Friday, is second thanks to his run of 3.699 at 321.88, while rookie Austin Prock is third with his pass of 3.707 at 332.10. Points leader Doug Kalitta will start eliminations from 10th after going 3.741 at 327.59.

“The car is really smooth and really fast, and it has more in it,” Salinas said. “The guys are doing a great job, and we’re ready for the Countdown. We have a fast car and it’s really nice to be a part of it. I’m just happy to be with this group. I’m learning so much and (crew chief) Alan Johnson is teaching me so much. It was really, really fast, smooth and clean, and I think we’re going to have a really fast car for raceday.”

In Pro Stock, Enders maintained an impressive qualifying pace through the first two races of the Countdown to the Championship, earning her second straight No. 1 qualifier with a run of 6.552 at 209.85 in her Melling Performance/Elite Motorsports Camaro. It is Enders’ second straight No. 1 qualifier and 21st of her career, as the two-time world champ had the quickest runs in three of the four qualifying sessions. She will face off with Alan Prusiensky in the first round of eliminations. Her Elite Motorsports teammate Jeg Coughlin Jr. qualified second with a 6.558 at 208.01, while points leader Jason Line will start raceday from third after going 6.560 at 209.52.

“My guys just keep powering through all the hard stuff, and they have their confidence and swagger back,” Enders said. “In turn, that gives me mine and it’s just been fun to crawl our way back to the top. To go low three of the sessions and accumulate nine bonus points, I’m thrilled. I’ve got a great racecar underneath me and I’m ready for raceday. Every point matters and just having that confidence means everything. That’s what it’s all about, having that positive mental attitude.”

Defending Pro Stock Motorcycle event winner and world champ Matt Smith moved to the top spot in the class on Saturday, unleashing a 6.801 at 198.93 on his Denso Racing/Stockseth/MSR EBR. It is Smith’s fourth No. 1 qualifier this season and 35th in his career. He’ll face off with Jianna Salinas to open eliminations on Sunday. Steve Johnson, who was the provisional No. 1 qualifier on Friday, will start from second thanks to his 6.838 at 196.02. Andrew Hines is third with his 6.851 at 195.82, and points leader Jerry Savoie qualified fifth after a run of 6.869 at 196.13.

“Our confidence is really high,” Smith said. “We come into this race knowing this is one of our better tracks and we put our good motor in, and today we got it. Everything’s fine and we’ll be ready to go four rounds tomorrow. We need to win the race. We were 23 points out coming into this race, but our goal is to turn on four win lights tomorrow. Ever since I’ve been coming here I’ve been successful, and I just really like this place.”

In the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service, three-time world champ Rickie Smith joined his son, Matt, as a No. 1 qualifier with a run of 5.724 at 252.43 on Saturday in his nitrous-powered Camaro. It is his second No. 1 qualifier of the season and ninth in his career. Defending event winner and points leader Stevie “Fast” Jackson is a spot behind after going 5.734 at 251.49.

Eliminations at the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals begin at 11 a.m. CT on Sunday.

Sunday's first-round pairings for eliminations for the eighth annual AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at World Wide Technology Raceway, the 20th 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. Mike Salinas, 3.687 seconds, 330.55 mph  vs. 16. Cameron Ferre, 3.973, 301.20; 2. Billy Torrence, 3.699, 321.88  vs. 15. Kyle Wurtzel, 3.877, 309.42; 3. Austin Prock, 3.707, 332.10 vs. 14. T.J. Zizzo, 3.791, 323.43; 4. Brittany Force, 3.708, 331.12  vs. 13. Pat Dakin, 3.758, 328.22; 5. Steve Torrence, 3.708, 327.90  vs. 12. Scott Palmer, 3.753, 329.42; 6. Leah Pritchett, 3.709, 327.51  vs. 11. Antron Brown, 3.748, 326.32; 7. Richie Crampton, 3.710, 324.75  vs. 10. Doug Kalitta, 3.741, 327.59; 8. Clay Millican, 3.721, 325.06  vs. 9. Terry McMillen, 3.727, 329.10.

Did Not Qualify: 17. Luigi Novelli, 3.978, 293.98; 18. Lex Joon, 4.143, 212.16; 19. Chris Karamesines, 4.910, 147.68.

Funny Car -- 1. John Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.842, 334.40  vs. 16. Terry Haddock, Ford Mustang, 4.232, 285.11; 2. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 3.854, 333.08  vs. 15. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.038, 314.90; 3. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 3.855, 327.51  vs. 14. Cruz Pedregon, Charger, 4.014, 320.05; 4. Robert Hight, Camaro, 3.877, 334.90  vs. 13. Bob Bode, Mustang, 3.967, 322.96; 5. Ron Capps, Charger, 3.877, 332.84  vs. 12. Blake Alexander, Mustang, 3.960, 323.43; 6. Jonnie Lindberg, Mustang, 3.878, 328.46  vs. 11. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 3.949, 309.91; 7. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.889, 324.59  vs. 10. Shawn Langdon, Toyota Camry, 3.905, 330.72; 8. J.R. Todd, Camry, 3.890, 333.58  vs. 9. Jack Beckman, Charger, 3.894, 326.16.

Did Not Qualify: 17. Dale Creasy Jr., 4.258, 237.05; 18. Jack Wyatt, 7.335, 98.44.

Pro Stock -- 1. Erica Enders, Chevy Camaro, 6.552, 209.85  vs. 16. Alan Prusiensky, Dodge Dart, 6.649, 208.01; 2. Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 6.558, 208.01  vs. 15. Val Smeland, Camaro, 6.633, 207.30; 3. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.560, 209.52  vs. 14. Steve Graham, Camaro, 6.631, 207.98; 4. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.563, 211.10  vs. 13. Fernando Cuadra Jr., Camaro, 6.630, 208.17; 5. Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.572, 208.88  vs. 12. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.602, 208.97; 6. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.572, 208.26  vs. 11. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.601, 208.88; 7. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.575, 209.10  vs. 10. Fernando Cuadra, Camaro, 6.590, 208.39; 8. Aaron Stanfield, Camaro, 6.580, 207.66 vs. 9. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.586, 207.69.

Did Not Qualify: 17. Cristian Cuadra, 6.661, 205.04; 18. Wally Stroupe, 6.673, 205.94; 19. Robert River, 6.843, 202.73.

Pro Stock Motorcycle -- 1. Matt Smith, EBR, 6.801, 198.93  vs. 16. Jianna Salinas, Suzuki, 7.160, 186.23; 2. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.838, 196.02  vs. 15. Andie Rawlings, Suzuki, 7.140, 185.05; 3. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.851, 195.82  vs. 14. Michael Ray, Victory, 6.993, 191.51; 4. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.859, 194.97  vs. 13. Kelly Clontz, Suzuki, 6.941, 192.96; 5. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.869, 196.13  vs. 12. Hector Arana Jr, EBR, 6.939, 194.94; 6. Angie Smith, EBR, 6.874, 196.96  vs. 11. Hector Arana, EBR, 6.937, 195.36; 7. Angelle Sampey, Harley-Davidson, 6.874, 192.77  vs. 10. Scotty Pollacheck, EBR, 6.890, 195.14; 8. Ryan Oehler, EBR, 6.886, 196.44  vs. 9. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.886, 195.76.


Robert Hight put on a show during qualifying on Friday, racing to the provisional No. 1 spot in Funny Car during the eighth annual AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at Worldwide Technology Raceway.

Billy Torrence (Top Fuel), Erica Enders (Pro Stock) and Steve Johnson (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are also provisional No. 1 qualifiers in their respective categories at the second of six races during the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship playoffs. It is also the 20th of 24 events in during the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season.

Returning to the site where he broke his collarbone during a crash just past the finish line in the final round a year ago, Hight put together an outstanding run of 3.877-seconds at 334.90 mph in his AAA Missouri Chevrolet Camaro SS on Friday. Hight, the defending event champ, is racing for his ninth No. 1 qualifier of 2019 and 69th in his standout career as he looks to regain the points lead in St. Louis. Bob Tasca III is currently in the second spot thanks to his run of 3.904 at 324.98, while John Force is a spot back after going 3.911 at 329.18. Points leader Jack Beckman is in fourth with a run of 3.916 at 329.99.

“We had high hopes,” Hight said. “We made four really good runs testing, and (crew chief) Jimmy Prock was not going to let this thing slow down. That’s not how you’re going to win a championship and it’s not what you need in the Countdown. It was pretty exciting and to do it in AAA country and at my sponsor’s race, that’s a good way to shine and show off. We need to keep gathering up those little qualifying points. That’s going to put us back in the ballgame.”

Top Fuel’s Billy Torrence put together a blistering pass of 3.699 at 321.88 in his Capco Contractors dragster to move into the top spot. It would be Torrence’s second No. 1 qualifier this season and third in his career if it holds. A spot behind sits his son, Steve, who is the defending race winner and world champ. The younger Torrence, who won eight races in the regular season, went 3.711 at 325.85, while Top Fuel rookie Austin Prock’s 3.726 at 328.94 has him third. Points leader Doug Kalitta is fifth after his run of 3.743 at 323.58.

In Pro Stock, Enders continued her impressive performance in qualifying during the Countdown to the Championship, going 6.580 at 207.15 in her Melling Performance/Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro. Enders is aiming for her second straight No. 1 qualifier and 21st of her career. The two-time world champ is also after her first win of the year. Deric Kramer is second with a run of 6.585 at 209.20 and Bo Butner is third with his 6.586 at 208.17. Points leader Jason Line sits sixth after Friday’s two sessions with a 6.593 at 209.14.

Pro Stock Motorcycle veteran Johnson raced to the top spot on his Slick 50 Suzuki, going 6.838 at 196.02 to set a commanding statement to open the weekend. It would be Johnson’s first No. 1 qualifier since 2013 if it holds, and the fourth in his career. Johnson also put considerable distance between his next competitor, as Andrew Hines is currently qualified second with a 6.879 at 195.85. Eddie Krawiec is a spot back with a 6.884 at 196.70, while points leader Jerry Savoie is seventh after going 6.908 at 196.62.

Qualifying continues Saturday at the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at 1:45 p.m.

Friday's results after the first two of four rounds of qualifying for the eighth annual AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at World Wide Technology Raceway, 20th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.  Qualifying will continue Saturday for Sunday's final eliminations.

Top Fuel -- 1. Billy Torrence, 3.699 seconds, 321.88 mph; 2. Steve Torrence, 3.717, 325.85; 3. Austin Prock, 3.726, 328.94; 4. Mike Salinas, 3.728, 327.90; 5. Doug Kalitta, 3.743, 323.58; 6. Antron Brown, 3.764, 323.04; 7. Scott Palmer, 3.771, 322.73; 8. Pat Dakin, 3.785, 325.45; 9. Leah Pritchett, 3.794, 322.27; 10. Terry McMillen, 3.804, 315.93; 11. Richie Crampton, 3.867, 312.86; 12. T.J. Zizzo, 3.900, 261.07; 13. Kyle Wurtzel, 3.945, 296.31; 14. Clay Millican, 3.971, 247.47; 15. Cameron Ferre, 3.973, 301.20; 16. Brittany Force, 4.055, 228.11.

Not Qualified: 17. Luigi Novelli, 5.874, 103.27; 18. Chris Karamesines, 6.338, 92.86; 19. Lex Joon, 7.593, 90.60.

Funny Car -- 1. Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 3.877, 334.90; 2. Bob Tasca III, Ford Mustang, 3.904, 324.98; 3. John Force, Camaro, 3.911, 329.18; 4. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger, 3.916, 329.99; 5. Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.921, 327.66; 6. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.938, 326.63; 7. Jonnie Lindberg, Mustang, 3.939, 319.90; 8. J.R. Todd, Toyota Camry, 3.940, 329.83; 9. Shawn Langdon, Camry, 3.940, 328.62; 10. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 3.949, 309.91; 11. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.012, 323.50; 12. Blake Alexander, Mustang, 4.036, 310.98; 13. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.038, 314.90; 14. Cruz Pedregon, Charger, 4.047, 314.97; 15. Bob Bode, Mustang, 4.212, 275.11; 16. Terry Haddock,
Mustang, 4.232, 285.11. 

Not Qualified: 17. Dale Creasy Jr., 4.258, 237.05; 18. Jack Wyatt, 7.335, 98.44.

Pro Stock -- 1. Erica Enders, Chevy Camaro, 6.580, 207.15; 2. Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.585, 209.20; 3. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.586, 208.17; 4. Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 6.588, 207.82; 5. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.589, 207.62; 6. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.593, 209.14; 7. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.597, 206.76; 8. Aaron Stanfield, Camaro, 6.603, 208.10; 9. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.617, 208.88; 10. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.622, 208.10; 11. Fernando Cuadra, Camaro, 6.625, 208.78; 12. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.633, 208.42; 13. Alan Prusiensky, Dodge Dart, 6.654, 207.56; 14. Val Smeland, Camaro, 6.659, 207.50; 15. Cristian Cuadra, Ford Mustang, 6.661, 205.04; 16. Wally Stroupe, Camaro, 6.673,

Not Qualified: 17. Fernando Cuadra Jr., 6.684, 206.86; 18. Steve Graham, 6.686, 207.46; 19. Robert River, 6.843, 202.73.

Pro Stock Motorcycle -- 1. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.838, 196.02; 2. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.879, 195.85; 3. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.884, 196.70; 4. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.886, 195.76; 5. Angelle Sampey, Harley-Davidson, 6.897, 194.80; 6. Scotty Pollacheck, EBR, 6.908, 196.79; 7. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.908, 196.62; 8. Matt Smith, EBR, 6.910, 197.94; 9. Angie Smith, EBR, 6.955, 197.59; 10. Hector Arana, EBR, 6.961, 195.76; 11. Hector Arana Jr, EBR, 6.963, 195.93; 12. Kelly Clontz, Suzuki, 6.998, 192.71; 13. Ryan Oehler, EBR, 7.021, 195.25; 14. Andie Rawlings, Suzuki, 7.140, 185.05; 15. Jianna Salinas, Suzuki, 7.209, 185.92; 16. Michael Ray, Victory, 7.488, 146.48.