Torrrence, Wilkerson, Coughlin earn top qualifying spots at Thunder Valley

NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals Top Fuel torrence

BRISTOL, TN – June 17, 2017 – (Motor Sports Newswire) –  Steve Torrence claimed the No. 1 qualifying position in Top Fuel Saturday evening at the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway.

Tim Wilkerson (Funny Car) and Jeg Coughlin Jr. (Pro Stock) were also No. 1 qualifiers in their respective categories at the 11th event of 24 on the 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.

Torrence’s pass of 3.772-seconds at 319.29 mph in his Capco Contractors dragster during the fourth qualifying session secured his second No. 1 qualifier of the season and 15th of his career.

“It’s been a really tricky weekend,” Torrence stated. “I think it will be a driver’s race tomorrow. I feel like we’re going to have to go out and earn the round wins and if you make it to the final you’re going to have to work hard. These 11,000 horsepower beasts don’t want to go down hot tracks and it takes a lot of finesse from crew chiefs and drivers have to be on their job.”

Torrence will square up against Chris Karamesines in the first round of eliminations Sunday afternoon.

Doug Kalitta is second after a pass of 3.781 at 326.71 in his Mac Tools dragster and Leah Pritchett is third in her Papa Johns dragster with a run of 3.795 at 288.03.

Wilkerson sits atop the Funny Car class with his pass of 3.895 at 328.22 from Friday night in his Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford Shelby Mustang. This is his first No. 1 qualifier of the season and 19th of his career.

“It’ll be an interesting day tomorrow,” Wilkerson said. “This place is really trying. Don’t think you’ve heard one crew chief say, ‘Wow. This is the easiest thing in the world.’ I’m very optimistic of how we can run tomorrow. I told my guys I hope I’ve got them worn out by the time four o’clock rolls around tomorrow.”

Wilkerson will face Bob Bode at the starting line in the first round.

Robert Hight qualified second in his Auto Club of Southern California Chevy Camaro SS with a pass of 3.918 at 324.28. Matt Hagan ran a time of 3.925 at 326.00 in his Sandvik Coromant Dodge Charger R/T to qualify third.

In Pro Stock, Coughlin’s pass of 6.694 at 204.85 in his / Elite Performance Chevy Camaro from Friday stood strong through Saturday to clench his third No. 1 qualifier of the season and 23rd of his career.

“It feels great to stay on the pole after Friday night’s run,” Coughlin said. “Couldn’t be more proud of the entire team; they’ve been really thrashing. We’d love nothing more than to turn this green hat into a yellow hat with our first race win this season.”

Bo Butner is seeded second with a pass of 6.697 at 205.72 in his Jim Butner’s Auto Chevy Camaro. Two-time world champion Erica Enders ran a 6.704 at 205.66 to qualify third in her Elite Performance Chevy Camaro.

First round of eliminations are slated to begin at noon on Sunday at Bristol Dragway. Catch the action at 6:30 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1 (FS1).

NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals

BRISTOL, TN — Sunday’s first-round pairings for eliminations for the 17th annual NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway, the 11th 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. Steve Torrence, 3.772 seconds, 319.29 mph vs. 16. Chris Karamesines, 4.263, 236.13; 2. Doug Kalitta, 3.781, 326.71 vs. 15. Shawn Langdon, 4.023, 244.07; 3. Leah Pritchett, 3.795,309.34 vs. 14. Troy Coughlin Jr., 4.014, 236.75; 4. Clay Millican, 3.810, 321.12 vs. 13. Kyle Wurtzel, 3.955, 265.48; 5. Brittany Force, 3.818, 318.69 vs. 12. Terry McMillen, 3.901, 315.42; 6.Tony Schumacher, 3.825, 322.27 vs. 11. Scott Palmer, 3.883, 321.88; 7. Antron Brown, 3.834, 318.62 vs. 10. Pat Dakin, 3.869, 301.60; 8. Kebin Kinsley, 3.835, 311.27 vs. 9. Mike Salinas, 3.856, 316.75.
Did Not Qualify: 17. Terry Haddock, 4.586, 183.02.

Funny Car — 1. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 3.895, 328.22 vs. 16. Bob Bode, Dodge Charger, 8.365, 86.82; 2. Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 3.918, 324.28 vs. 15. Jeff Diehl, Toyota Solara, 7.634, 89.65; 3. Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.925, 326.00 vs. 14. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.996, 162.49; 4.
Courtney Force, Camaro, 3.952, 324.90 vs. 13. J.R. Todd, Toyota Camry, 4.067, 308.00; 5. Jack Beckman, Charger, 3.959, 322.96 vs. 12. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 4.048, 310.77; 6. John Force, Camaro, 3.983, 322.96 vs. 11. Del Worsham, Camry, 4.043, 311.27; 7. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 3.998,
295.08 vs. 10. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.032, 316.15; 8. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.000, 315.93 vs. 9. Jonnie Lindberg, Camry, 4.024, 303.98.

Pro Stock — 1. Jeg Coughlin, Chevy Camaro, 6.694, 205.79 vs. Bye; 2. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.697,206.51 vs. 13. Wally Stroupe, Camaro, 7.300, 187.78; 3. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.704, 205.82 vs.12. Alan Prusiensky, Dodge Dart, 6.786, 202.97; 4. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.711, 205.47 vs. 11.Tanner Gray, Camaro, 6.778, 205.38; 5. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.721, 205.22 vs. 10. Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.757, 205.54; 6. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.725, 205.91 vs. 9. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.757, 204.79; 7. Allen Johnson, Dart, 6.730, 205.60 vs. 8. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.740, 204.54.

About National Hot Rod Association

Headquartered in Glendora, Calif., NHRA is the primary sanctioning body for the sport of drag racing in the United States. NHRA presents 24 national events featuring the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series and NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series. NHRA provides competition opportunities for drivers of all levels in the NHRA Summit Racing Series and the NHRA Drags: Street Legal Style presented by AAA. NHRA also offers NHRA Jr. Street program for teens and the Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League for youth ages 5 to 17. In addition, NHRA owns and operates five racing facilities: Atlanta Dragway in Georgia; Gainesville Raceway in Florida; National Trail Raceway in Ohio; Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis; and Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in Southern California. For more information, log on to, or visit the official NHRA pages on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

Source: National Hot Rod Association