The 2018 NHRA fuel champions set the stage for their 2019 title runs during first-day testing at the PRO Winter Warm-up hosted by Wild Horse Motorsports Park outside of Phoenix, Az.
Steve Torrence, the Top Fuel champion who went undefeated in the Countdown to the Championship, laid down a pair of 3.7-second passes, ending the day with the quickest car on the property when he laid down a 3.725 elapsed time at 327.66 elapsed time.
Torrence might not have been looking to make a statement about the upcoming season, but his performance on the first day send a clear message.
“We had a really good car all last year, and an unbelievable car in the Countdown,” Torrence said. “We haven’t really changed a lot; we did tweak the fuel system some after the first run. Then we went a .79, shutting off early. Those were two pretty similar runs. The track cooled off, and we got what we needed today.
“We are going to come out here in the morning and see what we can do when the track is a bit cooler in the morning. We are going to try to throw down. I think this thing is ready to go and we are going to see if we can make a couple more good runs. Then we’ll be headed to Pomona, while I go back to Texas.”
J.R. Todd also served notice he’s ready to make another run at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing title.
The DHL-sponsored driver was the quickest of the Funny Cars with a 3.930-second elapsed time at 305.22 miles per hour.
“It’s the first day here at Wild Horse, and we are just trying to get a baseline on the DHL Toyota Camry,” Todd said “Then we can go to work on some of the other things. I’m sure some of the other teams are trying out new parts too.
“It’s testing, the numbers you put up don’t really mean anything until you get to Pomona. It’s nice to make some almost full runs down the track and put some three-second runs up on the scoreboard. That gets the team morale up for sure.”
Other first-day elapsed time bests included Billy Torrence (3.742), Mike Salinas (3.821), Doug Kalitta (3,821), Richie Crampton (3.843), Jordan Vandergriff (3.980) and Robert Hight (4.061).
Live streaming for Thursday’s testing can be viewed HERE starting at 11 am, EST.
WEDNESDAY BEST TIMES
Top Fuel Dragster
#1 – Steve Torrence – 3.725
#2 – Billy Torrence – 3.742
#3 – Mike Salinas – 3.821
#4 – Doug Kalitta – 3.821
#5 – Richie Crampton – 3.843
#6 – Jordan Vandergriff – 3.980
#7 – Brittany Force – 4.816
#8 – Clay Millican – 5.010
Nitro Funny Car
#1 – JR Todd – 3.930
#2 – Robert Hight – 4.061
#3 – John Force – 6.084
#4 – Jonnie Lindberg – 6.327
#5 – Bob Tasca III – 8.031
#6 – Shawn Langdon – 8.379
— Competition Plus (@competitionplus) January 4, 2019