Tricky Tipster: Current points leaders Torrence, Force, and Janis favored in Norwalk

Steve Torrence, Courtney Force, and Mike Janis, the points leaders in Top Fuel, Funny Car, and Pro Mod, respectively, are the favorites for this weekend’s Norwalk event along with Jeg Coughlin Jr. and LE Tonglet.
21 Jun 2018
NHRA National Dragster staff

Tricky Tipster, NHRA National Dragster's own wizard of odds, doesn’t get points for near misses so the recently completed Bristol race resulted in a disappointing  0-4 blowout. Quickly, turning our attention to Norwalk, look for Steve Torrence, Courtney Force, Jeg Coughlin Jr., LE Tonglet, and Mike Janis as the favorites.



S_Torrence.jpgSteve Torrence
Capco Contractors

The Capco crew made it to the semifinals on a hot day in Bristol but clearly they expected more. That’s how you’re supposed to feel when you’ve won four of the first ten events.
Odds: 3-1

T_Schumacher.JPGTony Schumacher
U.S. Army

Looked like the Sarge of old with his remarkable Bristol performance. After a brief adjustment period, the combination of Mike Neff and Phil Shuler appears to be a nice fit for the eight-time champ
Odds: 4-1

C_Millican.JPGClay Millican
Parts Plus/Great Clips

He loves racing at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park and the Norwalk fans love him back. So far, it’s been an amazing season for one of the sport’s most popular drivers and a win here would only make it better.
Odds: 6-1

D_Kalitta.JPGDoug Kalitta
Mac Tools

Anyone else think that Bristol was his race to win after the first round? It certainly seemed to be even though he eventually lost in the quarterfinals. Norwalk is practically home for the Kalitta crew, so a win here would be huge.
Odds: 7-1

B_Force.JPGBrittany Force
Monster Energy/Advance Auto Parts

The Force dragster does not have a round win in the first three legs of this four-in-a-row summer swing which is very odd considering the world champ has qualified No. 2, No. 2, and No. 5 in those three events. Better days ahead.
Odds: 9-1

L_Pritchett.JPGLeah Pritchett
Papa John’s Pizza/Pennzoil

Up and down season that had one of its low points last week in Bristol with a first-round loss. Norwalk should be a better showing for both the Top Fuel and Factory Stock teams.
Odds: 10-1

T_McMillen.jpgTerry McMillen
Amalie Motor Oil

Remember the days when this guy had to scratch and claw just to have a whiff of the top ten? They’re pretty much over at this point. This is a sold Countdown contender that might even do some damage once he gets there.
Odds: 12-1

B_Alexander.JPGBlake Alexander
Pronto Service Center/BVR

The Vandergriff Motorsports entry has only been to three races so far this season but has tallied six round wins including a final in Atlanta and a semi in Chicago. Kind of makes you wonder what might happen if they had full season funding.
Odds: 14-1


C_Force.JPGCourtney Force
Advance Auto Parts Chevy

Didn’t win in Bristol but another strong qualifying performance and a semifinal finish is not half-bad. This will likely be the top-ranked car in the class until someone says otherwise and it’s likely she’ll enter the Countdown as the No. 1 seed.
Odds: 3-1

R_Capps.JPGRon Capps
NAPA Dodge

Last week’s Bristol win might have been one of his most impressive because it was likely the most challenging conditions the fuel teams will encounter this season. If crew chief Rahn Tobler and the NAPA crew can win there, they can pretty much win anywhere.
Odds: 7-2

R_Hight.JPGRobert Hight
Auto Club Chevy

Bristol results were actually better than they showed since he gave Capps all he could handle when they raced in round two. The Auto Club team should be able to thrive during Norwalk’s nighttime qualifying rounds.
Odds: 5-1

J_Todd.JPGJ.R. Todd
DHL Toyota

Had a 4.2-second bracket car in Bristol and as odd as that may sound, it was good enough for a semifinal finish for the second-straight race. He also had a .034 light which can often steal a round in Funny Car racing.
Odds: 6-1

B_Tasca.jpgBob Tasca III
Motorcraft Quick Lane Ford

With a new car and new crew, this first half of the season has been all about building momentum and so far, they’ve built a lot of it. Got to think the best is yet to come for the Blue Oval crew.
Odds: 7-1

J_Beckman.JPGJack Beckman
Infinite Hero Dodge

Made four runs between 4.060 and 4.078 to win last year’s Summit Racing Equipment Nationals and it’s not at all out of the question to think he can do just that one more time this year.
Odds: 9-1

M_Hagan.JPGMatt Hagan
Mopar Dodge

The Schumacher team appears to have slipped out of their early-season funk with Capps most recent win in Bristol but it’s important to remember that this guy was their star at the beginning of the season.
Odds: 10-1

T_Johnson.JPGTommy Johnson Jr.
Make-A-Wish Dodge

During his Bristol interviews, noted that the Make-A-Wish team had turned the corner and were a lot more confident in their set-up. There is no reason to think that isn’t the case.
Odds: 13-1


J_Coughlin.JPGJeg Coughlin Jr. Camaro

So who found the time machine and turned the clock back to 2000? Three wins in three weeks (including the Richmond Super Comp title) is remarkable and it would not be wise to bet against a fourth-straight win for the yellow and black.
Odds: 2-1

G_Anderson.JPGGreg Anderson
Summit Racing Camaro

Are you the glass half-full or a glass half empty type? Zero wins on the season is bad, but don’t forget he’s the points leader and he’s been the low qualifier at seven of the first 11 races. Being winless is troublesome, but things could be a lot worse for the Summit flagship.
Odds: 4-1

T_Gray.JPGTanner Gray
Gray Manufacturing Technologies Camaro

Holeshot loss in Bristol probably didn’t sit well with him so thankfully he’ll have another shot to make things right in just a few days. He wasn’t exactly napping but expect him to be better than .030 on the Tree the next time.
Odds: 6-1

D_Skillman.JPGDrew Skillman
Skillman Auto Group Camaro

The Gray Motorsports team appears to have found a bit more power since the beginning of the season and this guy is happy to have it. Semifinal showing in Bristol was solid and could easily have been a final if not for a red-light.
Odds: 7-1

V_Nobile.JPGVincent Nobile
Mountain View Camaro

Things change quickly in Pro Stock. A month ago, he was the hottest driver in the class. He’s cooled off a bit but remains a big threat. Also has a great history in Norwalk with a double-win.
Odds: 8-1

E_Enders.JPGErica Enders
Melling/Elite Camaro

While she’s got the ability to win any race via a holeshot, that isn’t always the preferred method. Sometimes, it’s wise to have the best car and that hasn’t been the case for the past few events for the two-time world champ.
Odds: 10-1

C_McGaha.JPGChris McGaha
Harlow Sammons Camaro

Had a chance to stop Coughlin in Bristol but couldn’t get down the track in round two. Any one of a dozen Pro Stock drivers could win this event, including this guy.
Odds: 12-1

B_Butner.JPGBo Butner
Butner Auto Camaro

They say defending a championship is harder than winning one. After the first 11 events of the season, he’d likely agree. Almost time for the KB crew to find another gear if they’ve got one.
Odds: 14-1


L_Tonglet.jpgLE Tonglet
Nitro Fish Suzuki

Hard to find fault with someone who is arguably the best rider in the class on what is arguably the best bike in the class. It makes for a dangerous combination. He might not match last year’s six-win total, but then again, he just might.
Odds: 3-1

E_Krawiec.jpgEddie Krawiec
Screamin’ Eagle Harley-Davidson

The last couple of events have not been kind to the reigning champion but one of his strengths is that he rarely struggles for long. He’s also done well at this track historically with two wins in three finals.
Odds: 4-1

M_Smith.jpgMatt Smith
Smith Racing Victory

Won here in 2013 and was a runner-up last year and its probably safe to say that his bike wasn’t as fast in those years as it is right now. He also appears to have cured some of the reliability woes that have been around for the last year or two.
Odds: 6-1

A_Hines.jpgAndrew Hines
Screamin’ Eagle Harley-Davidson

So far this year, he’s done everything but win a race. An 11-5 record is nothing to be ashamed of and he’s qualified in the top four at every event. Got to think a win is coming soon, especially since he’s got four of them at this track.
Odds: 6-1

J_Savoie.jpgJerry Savoie
White Alligator Suzuki

Historically, the White Alligator team is at their best from mid-season on and guess what? The Norwalk event marks the mid-season point in the NHRA Mello Yello Series.
Odds: 8-1

H_Arana_Jr.jpgHector Arana Jr.
Lucas Oil EBR

Qualified No. 1 at two of the last three races and remains the only rider in the class to officially crack the 200-mph mark. Might not get another 200-mph time slip until the weather cools off, but that shouldn’t prevent him from getting his first win of the season, which appears imminent.
Odds: 10-1

S_Pollacheck.jpgScotty Pollacheck
Suzuki Extended Protection Suzuki

Qualifying performances have suffered a bit lately but he’s still the No. 4 ranked rider in the class. The Suzuki teams have encountered a few reliability issues lately and once they’re addressed it’s fair to expect better results.
Odds: 11-1

A_Smith.jpgAngie Smith
Denso Spark Plugs Buell

This bike is quick but qualifying in the middle of the pack is tough because it often means a quarterfinal race against the top qualifiers. Picking up just one or two more qualifying spots could make a big difference come race day.
Odds: 14-1


M_Janis.JPGMike Janis
Janis Suprchargers Camaro

Not sure how many folks saw this coming but he’s the new points leader following his impressive Bristol victory. Now the challenge is to hold on to the lead which won’t be easy with 32-cars entered this week.
Odds: 3-1

R_Smith.jpgRickie Smith
Bahrain1 Camaro

“Trickie Rickie” doesn’t red-light often but he gave one away in Bristol which means he’s bound to show up in Norwalk with a giant chip on his shoulder. He won’t rest until he gets the points lead back.
Odds: 4-1

M_Castellana.JPGMike Castellana
AAP Camaro

At the halfway point of the 2018 season the AAP team is ranked fifth in the standings, 139-points out of the lead. They can still win the championship but it’s going to take a couple of wins (at least) to do it. A final round here would be a huge help.
Odds: 5-1

T_Coughlin_Sr.jpgTroy Coughlin Mustang

He only missed four races during his “retirement” but there still figures to be a bit of rust and a learning curve with a new car. He’s been to the final here in four of the last eight years.
Odds: 7-1

K_alBalooshi.jpgKhalid alBalooshi
Bahrain1 Camaro

His driving performance in Bristol was masterful and he’s now ranked third in the E3 Pro Mod standings which means a second championship is well within reach. Can’t afford a letdown after huge victory, though.
Odds: 8-1

D_Rowe.JPGDanny Rowe
Danny Rowe Racing Camaro

Enjoyed his best race of the season in Bristol with a semifinal finish and was rewarded with a spot in the top ten. With a little luck, that semifinal could easily have turned into a victory.
Odds: 10-1

T_Tutterow.jpgTodd Tutterow
WYO Motorsports Camaro

Quickly recovered from Richmond DNQ with a solid runner-up finish in Bristol. Three-races in three weeks will test every Pro Mod team but this crew figures to be on the upswing.
Odds: 12-1

C_Green.jpgChad Green
Bond-Coat Camaro

If nothing else, got to love his heart and desire. Had his second crash of the season in Bristol but he’ll be back this week with the car he drove to the semi’s in Gainesville, which has since been repaired.
Odds: 14-1