2022 NHRA MIDWEST NATS - EVENT RESULTS
SUNDAY - TORRENCE, HIGHT, ENDERS AND M. SMITH CLAIM KEY PLAYOFF WINS AT NHRA MIDWEST NATIONALS
Four-time defending Top Fuel world champion Steve Torrence is back in the title hunt, powering to his second straight win at World Wide Technology Raceway on Sunday at the 11th annual NHRA Midwest Nationals.
Robert Hight (Funny Car), Erica Enders (Pro Stock) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also picked up wins at the 19th event in the 2022 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season and the third of six races in the Countdown to the Championship playoffs.
Torrence put together a run of 3.741-seconds at 328.70 mph in the final round in his 11,000-horsepower Capco Contractors dragster, slipping past Josh Hart, who went 3.749 at 329.67. Torrence, who also knocked off Buddy Hull, Clay Millican and Doug Kalitta to reach the final round, picked up his second win this season and 53rd in his career, jumping three spots in the standings to move into second in the title chase. He trails Justin Ashley by just 14 points with three races remaining as the Texan seeks his fifth straight world title in Top Fuel.
Torrence also won for the fourth time in St. Louis, posting an excellent reaction time of .027 in the finals and hanging on for the victory.
“We’ve struggled all year, some of it self-inflicted, but this was a great weekend for us,” Torrence said. “We’re glad to be back in this Countdown to the Championship and it’s been a heck of a year. To come here and have success, it’s nothing short of a blessing. I tried to screw it up a couple times today and my guys saved me, and I was able to step up in the final round.
“We saw the main players go out early today and the door creaked open a little, and we were able to get our foot in it. But it’s tough and we’re doing the best we can and trying to remain focused on the main priority, which is trying to win a championship. This place has been unbelievable to us and we’re going to carry that confidence into Texas.”
Hart enjoyed an impressive weekend as well, defeating Scott Palmer, Mike Salinas, and Shawn Langdon to advance to his second final round this season and fourth in his career. He also moved to sixth in points.
In a thrilling Funny Car final round with major championship implications, points leader Hight took down defending world champ Ron Capps on a holeshot, as his run of 3.911 at 331.61 in his 11,000-horsepower Auto Club Chevrolet Camaro SS was enough to get past Capps’ quicker 3.908 at 330.47. It gives Hight, who was also the No. 1 qualifier, a 46-point lead over Capps at the halfway mark of the Countdown to the Championship and eight victories in what has been a tremendous season for the three-time world champ.
He advanced to the final round on the strength of wins against Tim Wilkerson and Matt Hagan, and then posted a reaction time of .041 to hold off Capps at the finish line and pick up his 61st career victory. It’s also the third victory at St. Louis for Hight, who already has two wins in the postseason.
“It doesn’t get any better than this. This was a 40-point swing in the finals, so it was a good job by my guys,” Hight said. “They keep digging every round and getting it done. You definitely can't be racing defensively. You've got to be on offense out here, even if you're the points leader and I knew I had to pull out a good reaction time in the final round.
"To say we've got eight wins, that makes me very proud, but here's the hard truth: if I don't have more than eight, I probably won't win the championship. So we've got to stay focused and work hard, and this team is up for it. We don't need to leave anything on the table."
Capps reached his second straight final round – and an 80th career matchup with Hight – by defeating Daniel Wilkerson, Cruz Pedregon and John Force. Capps has seven final-round appearances this season and 138 in his career.
Enders now has the most wins at World Wide Technology Raceway of any driver in NHRA history, claiming her sixth St. Louis win – and fourth in a row – by knocking off Dallas Glenn in the finals in her Melling Performance/Elite Motorsports Camaro. Glenn went red, while Enders put together a pass of 6.535 at 210.28, extending her points lead and winning for the eighth time in a magical 2022 season and also the 41st time in her career.
Like Hight, Enders now has wins at two of the first three playoff races, building a 120-point lead over Aaron Stanfield heading into the final stretch of the season. She reached the finals with victories against Chris McGaha, teammate Troy Coughlin Jr. and No. 1 qualifier Kyle Koretsky. By dispatching Glenn, Enders also moved a step closer to her fifth world championship.
“This track has definitely been great to us,” Enders said. “We’ve been coming here since we were 15 and we love St. Louis. We’ve had a ton of success here and we made up some ground today. I’m hopeful to keep the drive for five (world championships) alive. This has been a tremendous year for our team, and they’ve worked so hard. I’m so proud to have them.
"I super excited we've opened up a lead like that. I don't want to let it slip through my fingers and I want to showcase what my guys give me every weekend, and we were able to do that today."
Glenn beat Mike DePalma, Charlotte winner Aaron Stanfield and Matt Hartford to reach the finals for the third time this season and the eighth time in his young career.
Smith finished off a nearly-perfect weekend in Pro Stock Motorcycle, rolling to the win – and moving back into the points lead – on his Denso Auto Parts Buell with a run of 6.756 at 202.00 against Jerry Savoie in the championship round. Over the course of the weekend, Smith set both ends of the track record, made a career-best run, qualified No. 1, picked up his fourth win of the season – and 36th victory in his career – and took over the points lead as the top of the standings changed hands for the sixth straight race in the category.
Smith was spectacular throughout the weekend and reached the final round with wins against Kelly Clontz and Joey Gladstone, who came into the race with the points lead. Smith took it back and then led wire-to-wire against Savoie to win for the fifth time in St. Louis, which is the most in the class.
“It was a big weekend for this whole team,” Smith said. “Leaving here No. 1 and (Angie Smith) No. 3 in points was huge for the team. This whole class is tough and we’re looking forward to going to Dallas. I had my opportunity second round in Reading against Joey and messed up, so it was good to make up for that here today. What a weekend here. I love the track and the fans here, and I just love the atmosphere."
Savoie reached the final round for the second time this season and the 32nd time in his career, knocking off Ryan Oehler, Angelle Sampey and Eddie Krawiec. Smith’s points lead stands at 21 over Gladstone heading to Dallas as he seeks a sixth world championship.
The NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series returns to action Oct. 13-16 with the Texas NHRA FallNationals at the Texas Motorplex in Dallas.
SATURDAY - HIGHT, TORRENCE, KORETSKY AND M. SMITH QUALIFY NO. 1 IN FRONT OF SELLOUT CROWD AT NHRA MIDWEST NATIONALS
On the strength of the fastest Funny Car run since 2019, points leader Robert Hight held on to the No. 1 qualifiying position in front of a sellout crowd on Saturday at World Wide Technology Raceway during the 11th annual NHRA Midwest Nationals.
Steve Torrence (Top Fuel), Kyle Koretsky (Pro Stock) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) all qualified No. 1 at the third of six races in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship.
The NHRA and officials at World Wide Technology Raceway also announced a sellout crowd during Saturday’s racing action, as the passionate fanbase packed the track to close out qualifying in St. Louis. It is the seventh sellout crowd for the NHRA this season.
"Once again, our race fans in St. Louis and the Metro East delivered," said Chris Blair, World Wide Technology Raceway's Executive Vice President and General Manager.
"As we've demonstrated time and again, they love NHRA drag racing as well as the other major events we host at World Wide Technology Raceway. This weekend is magical because it has 10 years of date equity, perfect weather, and thousands of loyal enthusiasts. World Wide Technology Raceway is the greatest comeback story in the history of sports venues for one reason: We have the best racing fans on the planet."
Hight’s pass of 3.853-seconds at 336.32 mph from Friday in his 11,000-horsepower Chevrolet Camaro SS held up during the final two sessions on Saturday, giving the three-time world champ his fifth No. 1 spot this season and 76th in his career. It was also the fastest run in the class in three years as Hight aims for his eighth victory of the season on Sunday.
“That run last night, I’m glad it stuck and I’m really proud of the guys,” Hight said. “I love being here in St. Louis and there’s nothing like seeing the stands full. There’s not any better fans than here and we’re going to put on a great show for them tomorrow. That shows you NHRA drag racing is exciting and hopefully we’ll have a great crowd tomorrow. It’s been crunch time all year long and we’ve had big battles every weekend. You’ve got to be on our game on the starting line and your car has to be right.”
John Force qualified second with a 3.853 at 334.15 and defending world champ Ron Capps, who won last weekend in Charlotte, moved to third to close out the day with a 3.863 at 331.94.
Four-time Top Fuel defending world champ Torrence clinched his third No. 1 this season in his dragster, thanks to Friday’s run of 3.655 at 327.43 in his 11,000-horsepower Capco Contractors dragster. That was a season-best run for the defending event winner, who put together a pair of good runs on Saturday as well. That gave him plenty of bonus qualifying points heading into eliminations, where he'll open the day against Buddy Hull and will look to make up some major ground in the loaded category.
“I’m looking forward to going into race day tomorrow. We’ve got good momentum. The car is running well, and we will be excited to see what we can do,” Torrence said. “It’s an opportunity for us to capitalize. We need to be there to try to capitalize on things the best we can. We’ve been working pretty diligently to try to get this thing turned around and in the direction that we want it to go, and that is what we have been focused on.”
Josh Hart improved to the second spot on the final pass of the day, going 3.667 at 333.33 and Shawn Langdon took the third spot after a pass of 3.679 at 329.02. Points leader Justin Ashley qualified seventh with a 3.698.
Koretsky got pushed on Saturday in Pro Stock, but he was up for the challenge, improving to a 6.510 at 211.00 in his Lucas Oil Camaro to earn his second No. 1 qualifier during the 2022 campaign. His KB Racing teammate Greg Anderson, the defending world champion, ran an identical 6.510, but Koretsky was slightly faster to take the top spot into eliminations. Koretsky, who is currently fifth in points, will try to pick up his first win of the season and gain some ground on points leader Erica Enders.
“We’re in the Countdown and now’s the time to get your ducks in a row and make every run as clean as possible. I think that’s what we’ve done this weekend and we’ll be good for eliminations tomorrow,” Koretsky said. “This is where it counts and every point counts, and consistency also counts. Our guys are digging deep and we’re chasing them hard. We’re definitely not going to give up.”
Anderson qualified second, going 6.510 at 210.97, while last week’s winner Aaron Stanfield was right behind in third with a 6.511 at 211.33. Enders took fourth with her 6.511 at 210.34.
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Smith’s track-record run of 6.709 at 202.82 from Friday on his Denso Auto Parts Buell held up, giving the defending world champ his fourth top spot this year and the 51st in his career. It was also a career-best run for the five-time world champ, who takes plenty of momentum into eliminations. Smith will look to jump back in the points lead on Sunday after falling in the second round last weekend in Charlotte. Should that happen, it would mean the points lead would change for the sixth straight race in the class.
“I think we have the best bike out here,” Smith said. “All in all, this Denso bike is fast and mean, and if I can do my job on Sunday, we can turn on four win lights tomorrow. That’s our goal, but tomorrow is a big day and hopefully we can do our job.”
Eliminations for the NHRA Midwest Nationals begin at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday at World Wide Technology Raceway.
Sunday's first-round pairings for eliminations for the 11th annual NHRA Midwest Nationals at World Wide Technology Raceway, the 19th of 22 events in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series. Pairings based on results in qualifying, which ended Saturday. DNQs listed below pairings.
Top Fuel -- 1. Steve Torrence, 3.655 seconds, 327.43 mph vs. 16. Buddy Hull, 3.822, 315.78; 2. Josh Hart, 3.667, 333.33 vs. 15. Scott Palmer, 3.809, 323.74; 3. Shawn Langdon, 3.679, 329.02 vs. 14. Kyle Wurtzel, 3.804, 319.52; 4. Doug Kalitta, 3.684, 334.32 vs. 13. Doug Foley, 3.782, 315.64; 5. Brittany Force, 3.685, 335.48 vs. 12. Austin Prock, 3.748, 329.18; 6. Tony Schumacher, 3.694, 326.79 vs. 11. Leah Pruett, 3.729, 329.18; 7. Justin Ashley, 3.698, 331.94 vs. 10. Mike Salinas, 3.710, 330.72; 8. Clay Millican, 3.703, 334.24 vs. 9. Antron Brown, 3.707, 331.85.
Did Not Qualify: 17. Lex Joon, 3.878, 310.91; 18. Jacob Opatrny, 4.669, 162.78; 19. Cameron Ferre, 5.785, 117.18.
Funny Car -- 1. Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 3.853, 336.32 vs. Bye; 2. John Force, Camaro, 3.853, 334.15 vs. 15. Terry Haddock, Ford Mustang, 5.532, 128.84; 3. Ron Capps, Toyota Supra, 3.863, 331.94 vs. 14. Daniel Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.786, 149.30; 4. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 3.867, 335.48 vs. 13. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.358, 210.41; 5. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 3.890, 331.20 vs. 12. Bobby Bode, Mustang, 4.189, 228.85; 6. Cruz Pedregon, Charger, 3.897, 331.36 vs. 11. Dale Creasy Jr., Charger, 4.027, 290.32; 7. Alexis DeJoria, Supra, 3.914, 332.67 vs. 10. J.R. Todd, Supra, 3.989, 309.84; 8. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 3.928, 324.59 vs. 9. Blake Alexander, Mustang, 3.941, 323.66.
Pro Stock -- 1. Kyle Koretsky, Chevy Camaro, 6.510, 211.00 vs. Bye; 2. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.510, 210.97 vs. 15. Fernando Cuadra Jr., Ford Mustang, 6.589, 208.17; 3. Aaron Stanfield, Camaro, 6.511, 211.33 vs. 14. Fernando Cuadra, Mustang, 6.572, 209.75; 4. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.511, 210.34 vs. 13. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.572, 210.11; 5. Troy Coughlin Jr., Camaro, 6.522, 210.60 vs. 12. Mason McGaha, Camaro, 6.564, 210.80; 6. Dallas Glenn, Camaro, 6.523, 211.59 vs. 11. Mike DePalma, Mustang, 6.551, 210.60; 7. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.527, 211.26 vs. 10. Camrie Caruso, Camaro, 6.544, 207.37; 8. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.528, 210.87 vs. 9. Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.539, 210.60.
Pro Stock Motorcycle -- 1. Matt Smith, EBR, 6.709, 202.82 vs. Bye; 2. Angelle Sampey, Suzuki, 6.726, 201.67 vs. 15. Malcolm Phillips Jr., Suzuki, 9.557, 95.59; 3. Eddie Krawiec, Suzuki, 6.745, 199.88 vs. 14. Jianna Evaristo, Suzuki, 7.563, 131.60; 4. Angie Smith, EBR, 6.748, 201.19 vs. 13. Gaige Herrera, Suzuki, 7.113, 186.82; 5. Joey Gladstone, Suzuki, 6.777, 199.58 vs. 12. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.891, 195.76; 6. Marc Ingwersen, EBR, 6.785, 198.82 vs. 11. Ron Tornow, Victory, 6.872, 191.97; 7. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.791, 197.42 vs. 10. Ryan Oehler, EBR, 6.842, 198.29; 8. Kelly Clontz, Suzuki, 6.827, 197.88 vs. 9. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.835, 198.20.
FRIDAY - TORRENCE, HIGHT, KORETSKY AND M. SMITH TAKE PROVISIONAL NO. 1 SPOTS AT NHRA MIDWEST NATIONALS
Four-time defending Top Fuel world champion Steve Torrence made his best run of the season on Friday at World Wide Technology Raceway, taking the provisional No. 1 qualifier to open the race weekend at the 11th annual NHRA Midwest Nationals.
Robert Hight (Funny Car), Kyle Koretsky (Pro Stock) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are also provisional No. 1 qualifiers at the third of six races in the Countdown to the Championship during the 2022 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season.
Torrence powered to a run of 3.655-seconds at 327.43 in his 11,000-horsepower Capco Contractors dragster during the first qualifying session in St. Louis, looking to make up some ground in a hurry. If it holds, Torrence, who is currently fifth in Top Fuel points, would pick up his third top qualifier of the season and 34th in his career. Torrence, though, is trying to rack up victories in the Countdown to the Championship after falling in the second round at the first two playoff races. He’s had recent success in St. Louis as the defending event winner and will hope to add to that this weekend.
“That’s a year’s work that goes into a run like that,” Torrence said. “These guys have worked really hard to get the car where it’s at. We’re behind the eight-ball right now, but we’re going to do everything we can. We didn’t get to be the four-time champs by doing dumb stuff, but we have backed ourselves into a corner.
"The class has really stepped up and everyone is so quick and so fast right now. We needed to run well and we're trying to get ourselves back in there. That was great for us to do that tonight."
Doug Kalitta is currently in the second spot with a stout 3.684 at 334.32, while Clay Millican rounds out the top three after going 3.703 at 334.24. Points leader Justin Ashley is currently 16th.
Hight quickly bounced back from his surprising second-round exit last weekend, as the Funny Car points leader delivered a massive run of 3.853 at 336.32 in his 11,000-horsepower Auto Club Chevrolet Camaro SS. The three-time world champion is after his fifth No. 1 spot this season and 76th in his career, as well as his eighth victory this season, and he also made the fastest Funny Car run of the 2022 season on Friday. Hight won the playoff opener in Reading and looked strong to start the weekend in St. Louis as one of only four cars to make a three-second run to open qualifying.
“(Crew chiefs) Jimmy Prock and Chris Cunningham were a little perplexed because a lot of teams weren’t making it down. But they stuck with their gameplan because they know what this car can do,” Hight said. “We amassed a pretty good lead after Reading and we gave a lot of that back last weekend. We worked hard at the shop and to come out here and make a run like that, that was very impressive.”
Hight’s teammate, 16-time world champ John Force, ran an identical 3.853 but was slightly slower with a 334.15 to put him second. Matt Hagan, the defending event winner, went 3.896 at 334.98 to slot him in the third spot.
Looking to make his own late-season charge, Koretsky made a strong pass in the opening qualifying session in his Lucas Oil Chevrolet Camaro, taking the top spot with a run of 6.512 at 211.00. It puts Koretsky on track for his second No. 1 qualifier this season – and first since Phoenix in February – and third in his career. Koretsky is currently fifth in points and looking for his first win this season. Getting it at the halfway point of the Countdown to the Championship would be a huge boost to his title chances.
“That was a great first run off the trailer,” Koretsky said. “St. Louis has been pretty good to us, and the guys have been working hard on the engines. We’ve been struggling a little bit, but the guys at KB Racing have been working hard and we don’t give up. It’s cool to sit No. 1 after Friday night, but you never know out here. Everyone is tough and we’re going to give St. Louis a heck of a run.”
Defending world champ and KB Racing teammate Greg Anderson also dipped into the 6.51 range, going 6.517 at 210.44 to sit second, while two-time race winner Troy Coughlin is third after a 6.529 at 210.60. Points leader Erica Enders is currently fifth thanks to a 6.536.
After a year away from World Wide Technology raceway, the Pro Stock Motorcycle class returned with a vengeance on Friday, with defending world champ Matt Smith making an impressive run of 6.709 at 202.82 on his Denso Auto Parts Buell. That set both ends of the track record as the sun was setting in St. Louis, and the five-time world champ also made the quickest run in his standout career. Bumped back to second in points after Joey Gladstone won in Reading, Smith is determined to have a big weekend as the season hits crunch time.
“The motorcycles have evolved a lot in the last few years,” Smith said. “I’m excited to be back and it’s a fast track, and I’m looking forward to what happens tomorrow. If we have the same weather, we’re definitely going to go and swing for the 6.60s because we’ve never done that before, and we would love to do it.”
Angelle Sampey also impressed on Friday, going 6.726 at 201.67 and Angie Smith followed with a 6.748 at 201.19. Gladstone is currently seventh after his pass of 6.792.
Qualifying continues at 1:30 p.m. ET on Saturday at the NHRA Midwest Nationals at World Wide Technology Raceway.
Friday's results after the first of three rounds of qualifying for the 11th annual NHRA Midwest Nationals at World Wide Technology Raceway, 19th of 22 events in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series. Qualifying will continue Saturday for Sunday's final eliminations.
Top Fuel -- 1. Steve Torrence, 3.655 seconds, 327.43 mph; 2. Doug Kalitta, 3.684, 334.32; 3. Clay Millican, 3.703, 334.24; 4. Leah Pruett, 3.743, 325.45; 5. Shawn Langdon, 3.746, 327.74; 6. Buddy Hull, 3.822, 315.78; 7. Kyle Wurtzel, 3.824, 321.42; 8. Josh Hart, 4.035, 226.32; 9. Jacob Opatrny, 4.669, 157.96; 10. Tony Schumacher, 4.828, 147.34; 11. Mike Salinas, 5.139, 132.09; 12. Austin Prock, 6.111, 104.29; 13. Scott Palmer, 6.374, 102.34; 14. Doug Foley, 6.460, 105.22; 15. Antron Brown, 6.831, 94.74; 16. Justin Ashley, 6.984, 82.66.
Not Qualified: 17. Lex Joon, 7.362, 93.40; 18. Brittany Force, 8.879, 71.60.
Funny Car -- 1. Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 3.853, 336.32; 2. John Force, Camaro, 3.853, 334.15; 3. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 3.896, 334.98; 4. Cruz Pedregon, Charger, 3.897, 331.36; 5. Dale Creasy Jr., Charger, 4.027, 290.32; 6. Bobby Bode, Ford Mustang, 4.189, 228.85; 7. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.276, 214.79; 8. Daniel Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.786, 149.30; 9. Terry Haddock, Mustang, 5.532, 128.84; 10. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 5.713, 122.17; 11. J.R. Todd, Toyota Supra, 7.074, 89.19; 12. Alexis DeJoria, Supra, 7.076, 95.56; 13. Blake Alexander, Mustang, 7.770, 92.87; 14. Jim Campbell, Charger, 7.888, 73.81; 15. Ron Capps, Supra, 10.582, 67.72.
Pro Stock -- 1. Kyle Koretsky, Chevy Camaro, 6.512, 211.00; 2. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.517, 210.44; 3. Troy Coughlin Jr., Camaro, 6.529, 210.60; 4. Dallas Glenn, Camaro, 6.531, 210.77; 5. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.536, 211.49; 6. Aaron Stanfield, Camaro, 6.539, 211.16; 7. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.540, 211.96; 8. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.550, 210.24; 9. Mike DePalma, Ford Mustang, 6.551, 210.60; 10. Camrie Caruso, Camaro, 6.556, 210.64; 11. Mason McGaha, Camaro, 6.564, 210.80; 12. Fernando Cuadra, Mustang, 6.572, 209.75; 13. Fernando Cuadra Jr., Mustang, 6.589, 208.17; 14. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.590, 210.60; 15. Deric Kramer, Camaro, 24.608, 42.87.
Pro Stock Motorcycle -- 1. Matt Smith, EBR, 6.709, 202.82; 2. Angelle Sampey, Suzuki, 6.726, 201.67; 3. Angie Smith, EBR, 6.748, 201.19; 4. Eddie Krawiec, Suzuki, 6.759, 199.67; 5. Marc Ingwersen, EBR, 6.785, 198.82; 6. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.791, 197.42; 7. Joey Gladstone, Suzuki, 6.792, 199.32; 8. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.835, 198.20; 9. Kelly Clontz, Suzuki, 6.865, 196.93; 10. Ron Tornow, Victory, 6.886, 193.29; 11. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.906, 195.17.