Tasca Goes Back-To-Back At Norwalk, Torrence Wins Sixth of 2019

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Tasca Goes Back-To-Back At Norwalk, Torrence Wins Sixth of 2019


Bob Tasca III picked up back-to-back Funny Car wins for the first time in his career, knocking off Jack Beckman in the final round on Sunday at the 13th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park.

Steve Torrence (Top Fuel), Chris McGaha (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were also winners at the 12th of 24 events during the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season.

Words and photos courtesy NHRA/National Dragster

Tasca, who won for the first time in nearly seven years last weekend in Bristol, waited just seven days to pick up his next victory, making it two in a row by going 4.383-seconds at 245.09 mph in the final round in his Motorcraft/Tasca Parts Ford Shelby Mustang. It is the sixth career win for Tasca, who reached his 14th career final round on Sunday with wins against Matt Hagan, Paul Lee and John Force.

Beckman, who slowed to an 11.764 at 77.85 in the finals, knocked off Jonnie Lindberg, Shawn Langdon and Tommy Johnson Jr. to reach his 59th final round.

“I worked a lot of years to get to this place and there were days I never thought I would get back here, but I never gave up and I thank the people that never gave up on me,” Tasca said. “I always knew if I could get the right car under me we could do great things. I woke up this morning and was as confident as I ever was, and when you make four runs in the threes in very challenging conditions, there was no reason why we couldn’t have won. I’m glad we got it done.”

In Top Fuel, defending world champ and current points leader Torrence continued his dominant stretch, powering to his sixth win in the last seven races and 33rd in his career with a run of 3.832 at 323.27 in his Capco Contractors dragster to beat Pat Dakin’s 3.909 at 301.40. Torrence, who was nominated last week for Best Driver at the 2019 ESPY Awards, reached his seventh straight final round by beating Jordan Vandergriff, Doug Kalitta and Brittany Force, with the semifinal win giving Torrence his 300th career round win.

Dakin, who advanced to his first final round since 1998 and was looking for his first Top Fuel victory since 1973, reached the finals after beating Mike Salinas, Terry McMillen and Leah Pritchett.

“Some days you come out here and you just feel really on top of your game and some days you’re a little slower and today was one of those slow days,” said Torrence, who won for the second time in Norwalk. “But my guys had my back and we went down the track four laps in a row. This is completely a team sport and without those guys working on the car, it’s nothing. I’m just proud to drive it.”

Pro Stock’s McGaha picked up his first win of 2019 and eighth in his career with his winning run of 6.620 at 210.11 in his Harlow Sammons Chevrolet Camaro to beat Alex Laughlin’s 6.668 at 208.75. McGaha reached his 11th final round thanks to wins against Wally Stroupe, Greg Anderson and points leader Bo Butner.

Laughlin earned a berth in his fifth final round by topping Rodger Brogdon, Jason Line and Jeg Coughlin.

“We just kept taking the same car up there all four rounds,” McGaha said. “I had a bad light in the first round and in the second round, I was a little better on the tree. I botched the burnout really bad in the semifinals and I’m sure everybody thought we were done, but next thing you now we let it rip and won that round.”

Five-time Pro Stock Motorcycle world champ and points leader Hines rolled to his fifth win of 2019 and class-best 53rd in his career, going 6.895 at 196.99 in the final round on his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson to beat teammate Eddie Krawiec’s 6.967 at 196.64. It was the 26th time the standout teammates have met in the final round, with Hines winning for the 12th time.

Hines’ day started with round wins against Marc Ingwersen, Angelle Sampey and defending world champion Matt Smith. Krawiec reached the final round for the 83rd time by knocking off Michael Ray, John Hall and Scotty Pollacheck.

“We had different conditions today than the rest of the week, but for some reason my bike tends to work well on a greasy track,” said Hines, who won for the fifth time in Norwalk. “The competition is tough and you have to earn it each round. Our guys do a great job making sure we have phenomenal motorcycles. (Racing Krawiec) has brought out the best in both of us. That’s probably why we have as many wins as we have. We push each other to be that much better.”

Former world champion Khalid alBalooshi raced to his first victory of the 2019 season during E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service action on Sunday at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park. The series was presented by Plochman’s Mustard in Norwalk, and it marked the eighth of 12 races during the 2019 season.

In the final round against Jose Gonzalez, who won last weekend in Bristol, alBalooshi powered to a run of 5.765-seconds at 259.01 mph in his turbocharged Bahrain 1 Racing Camaro to beat Gonzalez’s 5.801 at 258.81. It marks the second win in Norwalk for alBalooshi, with his first coming in Top Fuel. The victory is also the fifth in alBalooshi’s standout Pro Mod career.

“The big thing for me today was when I won the first round,” alBalooshi said. “When I got to the second round, I thought the door was open for us. We’ve been struggling a lot, but I feel like we’re heading in the right direction now. When I got to the final round, I just kept telling myself I needed to win a race. This was a way different feeling for me, but I’m just happy I got the win.”

alBalooshi picked up wins against Todd Tutterow, No. 1 qualifier Mike Castellana and three-time world champion Rickie Smith to reach the final round. Gonzalez beat Doug Winters, Brandon Snider and points leader Stevie “Fast” Jackson to reach his second straight final round and fifth in his career.

The Mello Yello Drag Racing series continues at the NHRA New England Nationals, July 5-7 at New England Dragway in Epping, N.H.

Sunday’s final results from the 13th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park. The race is the 12th of 24 in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series: 

Top Fuel — Steve Torrence, 3.832 seconds, 323.27 mph def. Pat Dakin, 3.909 seconds, 301.40 mph.

Funny Car — Bob Tasca III, Ford Mustang, 4.383, 245.09 def. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger, 11.764, 77.85.

Pro Stock — Chris McGaha, Chevy Camaro, 6.620, 210.11 def. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.668, 208.75.

Pro Stock Motorcycle — Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.895, 196.99 def. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.967, 196.64.

Pro Modified — Khalid alBalooshi, Chevy Camaro, 5.765, 259.01 def. Jose Gonzalez, Camaro, 5.801, 258.81.

Top Alcohol Dragster — Troy Coughlin Jr., 5.266, 278.40 def. Will Smith, 5.564, 275.51.

Top Alcohol Funny Car — Sean Bellemeur, Chevy Camaro, 5.476, 270.92 def. Ray Drew, Ford Mustang, 5.600, 262.79.

Factory Stock Showdown — Drew Skillman, Ford Mustang, 7.921, 173.34 def. Bill Skillman, Mustang, 7.931, 173.25.

ScottRods AA Gassers — Mike Kalinowski, Austin, 5.785, 101.76 def. Ed Beaumont, Chevy Corvette, 6.103, 116.90.



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