Field is set for Sunday’s finals at Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals

Robert Hight raced to his second No. 1 qualifying position of the season and the 59th of his career Saturday at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway, setting the stage for Sunday’s finals.

Matt Smith – No. 1 qualifier Pro Stock Motorcycle

Billy Torrence (Top Fuel), Erica Enders (Pro Stock) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are No. 1 qualifiers in their respective categories.

Hight was able to better his run from Friday in the third qualifying session by posting a time of 3.959 seconds at 324.67 mph in his Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car. Hight has one win at BIR, and is a two-time and defending Funny Car world champion. He has two wins this season and will face Cruz Pedregon in the first round of eliminations.

“I’m pretty jazzed,” Hight said. “This is the time of the year you better have your act together and it is starting to come together for us. We were number one here last year but didn’t get the win so we need to do one better this year and get the win.”

Qualifying second was Ron Capps with his pass of 3.969 seconds at 319.67 mph. He will face Jonnie Lindberg. Points leader Courtney Force qualified 10th and will face Jim Campbell.

Billy Torrence – No. 1 qualifier Top Fuel

In Top Fuel, Billy Torrence in his Capco Contractors dragster raced to the first No. 1 qualifying position of his 27-race career, coming in the final session with a run of 3.784 seconds at 326.32 mph. He bumped his son Steve from the top spot and will face Terry Totten when racing begins.

“It felt good, it is a big deal for that Capco team to be No. one and two, that is Capco strong right there,” said Torrence. “We intend to do that same deal tomorrow and have two Capco cars in the finals.”

Steve Torrence, who is the current points leader, qualified second with a run of 3.786 seconds at 325.37 mph and will race Bill Litton on Sunday.

In Pro Stock, Enders secured her first No. 1 qualifying position since the Las Vegas 2 event in 2015 with her run of 6.609 seconds at 207.53 mph in her Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro. Enders has 19 top qualifying positions in her career and will face David River Sunday during eliminations.

Robert Hight – No. 1 qualifier Funny Car

“It has been a long road for us since our back-to-back championships,” Enders said. “2016 was a huge struggle and ’17 we got our feet wet again. It is more like a well-oiled machine now and things are going great for our entire program.”

Chris McGaha qualified second with his run of 6.609 seconds at 205.73 mph and will face Mark Hogan, while points leader Greg Anderson is ninth and will face Jeg Coughlin, who qualified eighth.

Smith recorded his second Pro Stock Motorcycle No. 1 qualifying position of the season during his run of 6.852 seconds at 198.47 mph during the first qualifying session on Friday and was able to hold onto the top spot. This is his second No. 1 qualifying position at Brainerd on his Elite Motorsports/Denso EBR and he will face Jim Underdahl in the first round of eliminations.

Erica Enders – No. 1 qualifier Pro Stock

“The bike is working good,” Smith said. “We tried something today first round and it bogged down real bad but we went back and adjusted that and were low E.T. again in Q4. All in all, this new EBR bodywork we have is pretty fast and we have a good package right now.”

Hector Arana Jr. remained second with a 6.877-second run at 197.08 mph and will face Scotty Pollacheck and points leader Andrew Hines qualified fourth and will race Karen Stoffer in eliminations.

Eliminations begin at 11 a.m. Sunday.

***

Sunday’s first-round pairings for eliminations for the 37th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway based on results in qualifying, which ended Saturday. DNQs listed below pairings.

Top Fuel – 1. Billy Torrence, 3.784 seconds, 326.48 mph vs. 16. Terry Totten, 12.286, 72.31; 2. Steve Torrence, 3.786, 328.14 vs. 15. Bill Litton, 7.177, 78.39; 3. Antron Brown, 3.789, 325.45 vs. 14. Luigi Novelli, 4.646, 167.95; 4. Clay Millican, 3.790, 323.04 vs. 13. Chris Karamesines, 4.003, 305.01; 5. Mike Salinas, 3.797, 322.19 vs. 12. Doug Kalitta, 3.947, 257.43; 6. Brittany Force, 3.803, 325.53 vs. 11. Richie Crampton, 3.878, 310.55; 7. Tony Schumacher, 3.818, 326.87 vs. 10. Terry McMillen, 3.846, 319.60; 8. Leah Pritchett, 3.818, 324.83 vs. 9. Scott Palmer, 3.834, 323.04.

Funny Car – 1. Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 3.959, 326.95 vs. 16. Cruz Pedregon, Toyota Camry, 4.081, 305.84; 2. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger, 3.969, 319.67 vs. 15. Jonnie Lindberg, Ford Mustang, 4.081, 314.53; 3. Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.990, 324.51 vs. 14. Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.029, 317.05; 4. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 3.991, 318.32 vs. 13. John Force, Camaro, 4.029, 322.04; 5. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.003, 317.42 vs. 12. Del Worsham, Camry, 4.028, 321.04; 6. Shawn Langdon, Camry, 4.013, 321.04 vs. 11. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 4.026, 318.09; 7. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.014, 313.15 vs. 10. Courtney Force, Camaro, 4.025, 318.02; 8. J.R. Todd, Camry, 4.018, 318.17 vs. 9. Bob Bode, Charger, 4.018, 316.01.

Did Not Qualify: 17. Gary Densham, 4.107, 315.64; 18. Dale Creasy Jr., 4.141, 267.59.

Pro Stock – 1. Erica Enders, Chevy Camaro, 6.609, 207.72 vs. 16. Dave River, Chevy Cobalt, 7.002, 197.33; 2. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.613, 208.36 vs. 15. Mark Hogan, Pontiac GXP, 6.854, 200.59; 3. Alex Laughlin, Dodge Dart, 6.613, 207.59 vs. 14. Alan Prusiensky, Dart, 6.737, 204.45; 4. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.614, 208.78 vs. 13. Fernando Cuadra, Camaro, 6.677, 207.08; 5. Tanner Gray, Camaro, 6.615, 208.71 vs. 12. Dave Connolly, Camaro, 6.659, 207.53; 6. Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.615, 208.10 vs. 11. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.642, 207.72; 7. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.622, 207.91 vs. 10. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.640, 208.04; 8. Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 6.623, 208.23 vs. 9. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.626, 208.52.

Pro Stock Motorcycle – 1. Matt Smith, Victory, 6.852, 198.47 vs. 16. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 6.997, 191.21; 2. Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.877, 197.22 vs. 15. Scotty Pollacheck, Suzuki, 6.985, 192.06; 3. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.886, 195.45 vs. 14. Ryan Oehler, Buell, 6.983, 192.49; 4. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.899, 195.76 vs. 13. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.979, 191.00; 5. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.909, 193.07 vs. 12. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.972, 192.03; 6. Mark Paquette, Buell, 6.917, 193.32 vs. 11. Hector Arana, Buell, 6.965, 193.90; 7. Joey Gladstone, Suzuki, 6.924, 193.27 vs. 10. Angelle Sampey, Buell, 6.960, 192.80; 8. Angie Smith, Buell, 6.924, 192.82 vs. 9. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.946, 193.74.

Did Not Qualify: 17. Cory Reed, 7.040, 191.35; 18. Kelly Clontz, 7.072, 190.35.