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Sunday news and notes from the NHRA Sonoma Nationals

The 2021 NHRA Sonoma Nationals begins the second race of the 2021 NHRA Western Swing, and we look forward to success coming in pairs (and then triples) for racers and fans alike.
25 Jul 2021
David Kennedy
Race coverage
NHRA Sonoma Nationals Steve Torrence Top Fuel

All weekend NHRA race fans have been celebrating the return of the Camping World Drag Racing Series to its home state. As the first motorsport event Sonoma Raceway has hosted without attendance restrictions, the fans within the facility were overjoyed to return to the sport they love

Funny Car first-round matchups:

Robert Hight vs. Steven Densham

The speed of Hight's crew was evident right at the line as the time from burnout to stage was significantly quicker than Densham's. Both cars stagged and launched but Densham got crossed-up at 300 feet and he had to dump the parachute when the car wouldn't straighten up. 

Blake Alexander vs. Terry Haddock

Haddock's car wouldn't go into reverse after the burnout and the crew had to push the car back. Haddock worked to stage the car while Alexander pulled forward. Haddock's car popped after making it off the starting line and Haddock had to punt the run. 

 Jim Head said, "It's been a while since we've taken the win light, it's good to be back." 

Tim Wilkerson vs. Jim Campbell

Cars staged and launched well. Campbell's car got in trouble early and then Wilkerson's car spun the rear tires, lost cylinders, and then blew the body up with an engine explosion. 

Tim Wilkerson vs. Jim Campbell in round one and the cars staged and launched well. Campbell's car got in trouble early and then Wilkerson's car spun the rear tires, lost cylinders, and then blew the body up with an engine explosion. 

"It started spinning and when I got back into it, and then the car just exploded. The crew is back there getting busy on fixing the car. But it's kinda sad, we don't have a lot of those Mustang bodies."—Tim Wilkerson

 

Bob Tasca III vs. Paul Lee

Paul Lee takes down the Funny Car points leader and makes Tasca a spectator in round one when Tasca's car got in trouble and lost traction. 

Pro Stock Car first-round matchups:

Aaron Strong  vs. Mason McGaha

Mason McGaha advances with an identical reaction time to Strong

Dallas Glenn vs. Val Smeland

Glenn made a solo run when Smeland failed to make it to the line. 

"In Q3 we hurt the motor and couldn't make the call this morning. We'll have the parts here for Pomona, but we weren't able to get them here in time." —Val Smeland

Troy Coughlin Jr vs.Kenny Delco

Troy Coughlin Jr took the win when Kenny Delco's two-step rev-limiter failed to function correctly and Delco had to abort the run

Aaron Stanfield vs. Chris McGaha

McGaha was late-late on the starting line and there was no catching Aaron Stanfield

Kyle Koretsky vs. Alan Prusiensky

Prusiensky had issues with the burnout and had to redo it. 

Kyle Koretsky has had a strong weekend, the worst run he made in qualifying would have qualified him number five. Prusiensky leaned on the Tree too hard and gave the red-light win to Koretsky. 

Matt Hartford vs. Alex Laughlin

In a KB vs Elite race, the marquee matchup went to Hartford with an .011 reaction time from Hartford. 

Greg Anderson vs. Steve Graham

Graham's reaction time jump wasn't enough to overcome the KB power

Erica Enders vs. Deric Kramer

Enders's run .006 with a 6.52 run moves her to the quickest e.t. of the round. 

 

Pro Stock Motorcycle first-round matchups:

Angie Smith vs. bye

A 200-mph run that began with a bog. 

Scotty Pollacheck vs. Joey Gladstone

It wasn't that long ago that Gladstone was recovering from a wreck. Like Angie Smith's bike, Pollacheck's bike bogged off the line and Gladstone seizes the advantage. 

Karen Stoffer vs. Scott Bottorff

Stoffer with a .001 reaction time and quicker time

Steve Johnson vs. Angelle Sampey

Steve Johnson has been having a renaissance while Angelle Sampey has been struggling. 

Two veterans of the category, Johnson leaves a little late and Sampey got out of the groove and allowed Johnson to take the win after hitting what sounded like the engine's rev-limiter. 

Matt Smith vs. Jimmy Underdahl

Matt Smith takes the win with a possible bog off the line too. Underdahl makes his best run of the weekend, but it wasn't enough against the 2020 champ. 

Andrew Hines vs. Ryan Oehler

Andrew Hines with a 6.722 runs the lowest e.t. of race day by a huge margin. Oehler left first, but it wasn't enough. 

 

Round 2 Top Fuel

Shawn Langdon vs. Antron Brown

Both drivers left on time, but by the 1/8th mile Langdon was coasting 

Brian Corradi said, "I'm not going to say we're testing—but we're learning." 

Doug Kalitta vs Steve Torrence

Steve Torrence has locked himself into the Countdown to the Championship. His 3.730 surpases Kalitta's run even though they have similar reaction times. 

 

Brittany Force vs Leah Pruett

The winner is going to the final. Pruett has a huge win when Force's car hazes the tires and is unable to recover. Pruett hazes the tires too, but brings it back under control for the win. 

Funny Car Round 2: 

Tim Wilkerson vs. Alexis DeJoria

Wilkerson is back with an all-new car. Toyota vs. Ford with a number of TRD folks on hand in California. 

Wilkerson's new car waivers at mid-track, and can't recover becoming a normal occurrence to see DeJoria in the semifinals

"I'm just glad we won the round, it was a bit messy, but I am so glad to be here."—Alexis DeJoria

Ron Capps vs. Paul Lee

Pau Lee took out the points leader (Tasca)  in round one. 

Great race, but Ron Capps makes it happen. The number one qualifier advances to next round. 

Blake Alexander vs Matt Hagan

Blake Alexander gets close to the wall up near the top end, and Hagan moves on to the semis to rematch DeJoria as they did in Denver.

"It takes some time to work things out, but we're getting there." —Dean Antonelli

"It's my daughter Taylor's 25th birthday today."—Ron Capps 

Round 2 Pro Stock 

Matt Hartford vs. Aaron Stanfield

A few thousandths of an advantage at the start but by the time they got to the finish line Stanfield had eaten all of that up and took the win.

Greg Anderson vs. Mason McGaha

Mason McGaha needed a reaction time advantage at the starting line but he didn't get enough as Anderson created a .004-second margin of victory.

Kyle Koretsky vs. Dallas Glenn

Two KB-powered team cars setup to run as close as they can. Dallas Glenn gets away first by a couple of hundredths of a second and wins by a couple of hundredths of a second.

Troy Coughlin Jr. vs Erica Enders

Now two Elite Motorsports-powered team cars setup to run as close as they can.

Troy goes in first to stage and beats Erica with .007 reaction time (.044 for Erica) makes it happen on a holeshot. 

Pro Stock Motorcycle round 2: 

Angie Smith vs. Cory Reed

Angie leaves with .05-second advantage but her bike goes silent and Cory Reed passes Smith for the win. 

Karen Stoffer vs. Joey Gladstone

Gladstone with a .01-second advantage off the line, but Stoffer has the motorcycle to dispatch Gladstone. 

Steve Johnson vs. Jerry Savoie

Two Suzukis, 

Steve's bike chews up the first half of the track, but again his bike seems to hit the rev-limiter and Savoie's win ensures a White Aligator Racing bike will be in the final. 

Andrew Hines vs. Matt Smith

Two rivals from two multi-bike teams. They are both the last standing form their respective teams in the race. Hines bike has the advantage on the front half of the track and Smith's bike begins to wind in Hines lead before losing power and ensuring Hines gets the win. 

Top Fuel Round 3: 

Leah Pruett on a bye run chooses the left lane. Makes a solid run at 3.726 at 325.53 for her best run of the weekend without even a wisp of tire smoke. Was it enough to get lane choice? 

Steve Torrence vs Antron Brown 

Solid run for Torrence but not enough to take lane choice from Pruett. "Hats off to those guys [Leah Pruett's team]. They Made a great run." —Bobby Lagana of Torrence Racing

"As a driver lane choice doesn't matter to me. We've been in the left lane all day." —Steve Torrence

Funny Car Round 3: 

Matt Hagan vs Alexis DeJoria

Two strong runs but Hagan's is stronger. Hagan looks to have the second race of the Swing within his grasp. 

Robert Hight vs. Ron Capps

Super close race, but it goes Robert Hight's way.

"We came up here and made a good run the last run. We made an adjustment for the track getting a little warmer a little loser."  —Jimmy Prock

Pro Stock Round 3

Dallas Glenn 

Greg Anderson vs. Aaron Stanfield

Anderson solid all year, Stanfield defeated him in the final in Epping. 

Stanfield moved first, Anderson made that up by 330. Something happened to Anderson's car and it moved to the centerline and Anderson had to lift. 

Pro Stock Motorcycle Round 3

Karen Stoffer vs. Jerry Savoie

There was an issue on Jerry's side of the racetrack. Karen will wait until her bike runs out of fuel because Savoie owns the team and both bikes. They addressed the problem, but the bike wasn't fixed because it didn't make it past the 100-foot mark under its own power. 

It turns out the gas cap wasn't in the proper position and they weren't going to run without addressing it. 

Corey Reed vs. Andrew Hines

Andrew Hines gets the jump and Reed couldn't make up the difference and darted over toward the wall. 

Pro Stock Motorcycle Final

Andrew Hines vs Karen Stoffer

Hines has tremendous respect for Karen Stoffer.  They launched and  were .003 apart, advantage Karen. She was ahead of Hines but the Buell was gaining on her but couldn't get there. Stoffer wins by .005 of a second. 

This is Karen's 10th Wally, 

TIm K. and Jerry put a great package together. That WAR motorcycle is truly amazing, but I grew up going to this track and this win goes to the Seipel Family

Pro Stock Final

Aaron Stanfield vs Dallas Glenn

One of these men was going to win their second Pro Stock Wally.

These two have only raced each other one time, and it was not in a final round.

.004 difference in reaction time, advantage Dallas Glenn, but it wasn't enough to keep him from being beat by Stanfield.

"Every run is very important, and everything has to come together for a win—and today it all came together."—Aaron Stanfield

Funny Car Final

Robert Hight vs. Matt Hagan

Great race. They were locked together side-by-side. Reaction time advantage to Hagan, .054 to .036

By the finish line, it was Hight by .002 of a second for the win.  

Top Fuel Final

Leah Pruett vs Steve Torrence

Torrence wins

Reaction times .106 for Pruett  vs .115 for Torrence 

The winners of the 2021 NHRA Sonoma Nationals are: 

Top Fuel: Steve Torrence

Funny Car: Robert Hight

Pro Stock: Aaron Stanfield

Pro Stock Motorcycle: Karen Stoffer

LUCAS OIL SERIES RESULTS

Competition Eliminator -- Ralph Van Paepeghem, Bamtam, 7.345, 158.33 def. Tony Mandella, Chevy Camaro, Broke - No Show. 

Super Stock -- Mike Loge, Plymouth Barracuda, 11.154, 114.60 def. Dennis Paz, Chevy El Camino, 11.432, 114.48. 

Stock Eliminator -- Shelby Williams, Chevy Camaro, 10.580, 123.45 def. Justin Lamb, Camaro, 9.827, 133.41. 

Super Comp -- Marko Perivolaris, Dragster, 8.896, 188.20 def. Phil Nagel, Dragster, 8.863, 161.54. 

Super Gas -- Kevin Griffiths, T Ford, 9.899, 144.94 def. Ryan Giacone, Thunderbird, 9.890, 153.44. 

Top Sportsman presented by Vortech Superchargers -- Dan Borg, Chevy Monte Carlo, 6.813, 196.47 def. Ed Olpin, Chevy Camaro, 6.878, 200.29. 

Top Dragster presented by Vortech Superchargers -- John Richardson, Dragster, 6.119, 209.62 def. Paul Nero, Dragster, 7.016, 189.76.