NASCAR & Auto Racing

NHRA field set for Sunday’s final eliminations in Topeka

Defending champion J.R. Todd qualified first for Sunday’s Funny Car final eliminations at Heartland Park Topeka
Defending champion J.R. Todd qualified first for Sunday’s Funny Car final eliminations at Heartland Park Topeka AP photo

Qualifying wrapped up Saturday for the NHRA Heartland Nationals in Topeka, and some familiar names took the top positions.

Defending Funny Car champion J.R. Todd set the fastest time over four qualifying runs with a run of 3.924 seconds Friday night. It was Todd’s second top spot this season, and it earned him a bye in Sunday’s first round of eliminations.

“That’s pretty awesome because I don’t have too many No. 1 qualifiers under my belt,” Todd said after clinching the 100th No. 1 for his team. “... We have a really good car heading into race day tomorrow and no reason that we can’t turn on four win lights. That’s the plan for tomorrow.”

Robert Hight ran the fastest time in Funny Car on Saturday (4.015 seconds), but it was only good enough for ninth. Friday’s qualifying session took place in the evening, in cooler conditions. Saturday’s qualifying was held in the heat of the day.

Steve Torrence, who is attempting to win his fifth straight race, aided that effort by notching the fastest time in Top Fuel qualifying. His run of 3.760 seconds, also set on Friday night, earned Torrence his 21st career No. 1 seed. It is Torrence’s second top qualifying spot this year. Should Torrence win his first-round matchup, he will earn a bye into the semifinals due to the 14-car field in Top Fuel.

Sunday’s final eliminations are set to begin at 11 a.m.

NHRA Pairings

In Topeka; at Heartland Motorsports Park

Sunday’s first-round pairings for eliminations

Top Fuel

1. Steve Torrence, 3.760 seconds, 325.45 mph vs. 14. Terry Totten, 6.942, 84.66;2. Billy Torrence, 3.765, 323.58 vs. 13. Lex Joon, 4.848, 156.01;3. Austin Prock, 3.783, 315.42 vs. 12. Cameron Ferre, 4.145, 229.90;4. Antron Brown, 3.798, 292.33 vs. 11. Scott Palmer, 3.890, 310.55;5. Doug Kalitta, 3.800, 325.22 vs. 10. Leah Pritchett, 3.883, 318.47;6. Clay Millican, 3.813, 302.89 vs. 9. Brittany Force, 3.877, 316.15;7. Richie Crampton, 3.822, 314.75 vs. 8. Terry McMillen, 3.858, 311.85.

Funny Car

1. J.R. Todd, Toyota Camry, 3.924, 318.99 vs. Bye;2. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 3.931, 318.54 vs. 15. Jack Wyatt, Dodge Charger, 7.466, 94.15;3. John Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.938, 323.27 vs. 14. Dale Creasy Jr., Charger, 4.490, 194.60;4. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.948, 316.60 vs. 13. Terry Haddock, Mustang, 4.169, 291.26;5. Ron Capps, Charger, 3.952, 317.19 vs. 12. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.163, 298.67;6. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 3.953, 310.27 vs. 11. Cruz Pedregon, Charger, 4.028, 312.50;7. Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.987, 319.60 vs. 10. Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.018, 319.14;8. Shawn Langdon, Camry, 3.994, 318.02 vs. 9. Robert Hight, Camaro, 4.015, 318.32.