Sunday is 'Independents Day' at NGK Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals
Steve Torrence may not have a secret to winning four-wide drag races, but the independent driver could've fooled everyone after Sunday's NGK Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway. Torrence set a torrid pace in the final round of four-wide eliminations, posting a 3.813-second pass at 326.56 miles per hour - more than enough to clinch his second consecutive victory in the NGK Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals.
"It's pretty unbelievable," said Torrence, who also won the four-wide event at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on April 8. "The car performed flawlessly. It did everything it was supposed to. The team deserves the success. I just drive the race car and try not to do anything dumb. They cover my butt.
"If I honestly knew what the recipe (to winning four-wide races) was, I'd try to write it down so I wouldn't forget."
Another independent driver, Cruz Pedregon, lit up the win light in Funny Car competition. Pedregon edged out his longtime friend and rival, John Force, with a 310.84-mph pass in 4.059 seconds - a .039-second margin of victory - to claim the win and snap a 92-race winless streak dating back to 2014.
"Ninety-two is a good number because that's also the year I won my first championship," said Pedregon, who became the fifth different winner in six Funny Car races this season. "I didn't actually believe my ears when I heard we won. It was surreal. It's still a little bit surreal. I cannot believe we won this race. It's pretty cool.
"I thought at one point, 'Man, maybe I'm not destined to win anymore.' I don't want to do this if I don't feel like I'm competitive. This is a lot of stress. I have a daughter who's seven and this is a lot of travel. … This might be the best, sweetest victory of my career. I've been fortunate to drive some good cars and win a lot of races but this one's big. It meant a lot to me that our competitors, John Force and Courtney Force, came up and congratulated me."
Erica Enders posted her first Pro Stock victory of the season with a 212.73-mph pass in 6.535 seconds.
"I've never won a four-wide race so this is definitely significant to me," Enders said. "To be able to come back and win the four-wide is great. I have the best team of guys in all of motorsports."
Jerry Savoie prevailed in Pro Stock Motorcycle eliminations, following teammate LE Tonglet's No. 1 qualifier result with a first-place finish on Sunday. Savoie's 6.784-second pass at 195.73 mph edged out Scotty Pollacheck.
"We got after it and it showed," Savoie said after an emotional celebration. "It's pretty cool. I don't have the best reaction times on the bike, as everyone knows, but I cut a decent light.
"People ask me, 'Why do you cry when you win?' It takes a lot of dedication to do this - even to get to the finals. It's a tough gig. At my age, at 59, when you win one, you never know if it'll be your last one."
Jose Gonzalez grabbed Pro Mod glory with a 5.743-second, 254.09-mph pass in the final round, becoming the first Dominican Republic driver to win an NHRA national event.
"The whole crew gave me a tremendous car all week long," Gonzalez said. "Anywhere we land in this tough field is a win, that's how I look at it. I can't say enough about my team. They're a tremendous crew. The car has been amazing."
Megan Meyer piloted the NGK Spark Plugs-sponsored Top Alcohol dragster to victory with a 5.192-second, 276.29-mph pass that edged Dan Page by .058 seconds. D.J. Cox won the Top Alcohol Funny Car final.