CHANDLER, Ariz. – Courtney Force put an end to a lengthy winless drought on Sunday by capturing the Funny Car victory during the 34th annual NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park.
Steve Torrence (Top Fuel) and Chris McGaha (Pro Stock) were also winners in their respective categories Sunday afternoon.
Force emerged victorious with a run of 3.834 seconds at 337.16 mph in her Advance Auto Parts Chevy Camaro to take down Tommy Johnson Jr. in the final round.
After earning the No. 1 qualifier on Saturday, Force secured her first victory since Houston in 2016.
“Having [crew chief] Brian Corradi on my team and working with Dan Hood has been a great connection for our entire team,” Force said. “I had the utmost confidence to get in the car today because of the job my team does on it, so to get a victory at this race and take home a Wally at the end of the weekend is pretty incredible.”
After setting both ends of the track record on Saturday, Force took down Del Worsham and Matt Hagan before taking a solo pass in the semifinals as she raced to her first win in 2018.
She was scheduled to face her father, John Force, in the semifinals, but he was taken to a local hospital for observation after a violent crash just past the finish line. He was released from the hospital later Sunday evening.
Tommy Johnson Jr. overcame defending Funny Car world champion Robert Hight, Richard Townsend and Shawn Langdon en route to his first final round of the year.
Torrence powered his Capco Contractors/Torrence Racing dragster to the Top Fuel victory with a run of 3.729 seconds at 330.72 mph to take down Scott Palmer in the final round.
After locking down a career-best eight victories in 2017, Torrence recorded a victory in Phoenix for the first time in his career.
“There is no easy round in this Top Fuel class anymore; you can’t take anybody lightly, but it was a heck of a day with some pretty great races,” Torrence said. “The round against my dad is one that ranks up there. That’s something you remember as a high note that you remember (from) your career.”
Torrence qualified second on the weekend and defeated Steve Chrisman, Blake Alexander and his father, Billy Torrence, on his path to victory.
Palmer secured the No. 12 qualifying spot and took down Richie Crampton, Leah Pritchett and Greg Carrillo as he reached the first final round of his career in Top Fuel.
In Pro Stock, McGaha drove to the winner’s circle with a 6.529-second pass at 211.59 mph run in his Harlow Sammons Chevrolet Camaro to defeat Jason Line in the final round.
McGaha secured his sixth career victory and first since winning the Four-Wide Nationals last season in Charlotte.
“We picked up some power this offseason that we’ve been looking for but when we went No. 1 in the first round of qualifying we knew we had something that could compete,” McGaha said. “It’s really satisfying to do this as a one car team, and it’s really special to get our first win of the year.”
McGaha was the No. 7 qualifier and was victorious against Tanner Gray, Erica Enders and Alex Laughlin en route to his first victory of the season.
Line qualified fifth on the weekend and beat Vincent Nobile, teammate Greg Anderson and No. 1 qualifier Deric Kramer, notching his second consecutive runner-up finish to open the year.
CREDIT: NHRA Communications