Thursday October 8th, 2015 11:14PM

John Force thunders to first Funny Car win at Norwalk

By Pete McCole
Related Articles
NORWALK, OH - Defending NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Funny Car World Champion John Force won his 140th-career victory with a win in the finals over his long-time rival Ron Capps in Sunday's Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park.<br /> <br /> Antron Brown won in the Top Fuel division to pick up his fifth win of the season, while Erica Enders-Stevens swept the weekend in the Pro Stocks. Andrew Hines won out in the Pro Stock Motorcycle bracket.<br /> <br /> Force bested Capps in a classic side-by-side battle that saw the NHRA's all-time wins leader just pull ahead in the closing moments to take the win by less than a car length, running 4.113 at 317.27 mph over Capp's 4.135/305.56.<br /> <br /> The victory was Force's second of the year and his first ever at Norwalk, which has been hosting NHRA events since 2007.<br /> <br /> "It was special to me," said Force, who beat out Tim Wilkerson, Chad Head and Cruz Pedregon to reach the finals. "I've come to this track for decades. I've won here at the Night of Fire races. Robert (Hight) and my daughter Ashley (Force Hood) have won here. I keep coming back here.<br /> <br /> "I've been real lucky in my career and you want to win them all, but I really wanted this win."<br /> <br /> With the win, Force jumps to second in the series points standings over Tommy Johnson, Jr., and now trails points leader Robert Hight by 178 points.<br /> <br /> In Top Fuel, defending World Champion Antron Brown kept himself in the hunt for the series points lead with a victory over top qualifier Shawn Langdon for his second victory in a row.<br /> <br /> Brown won out over Clay Millican, Steve Torrence and teammate Tony Schumacher to reach his second-straight final round and his third-career final-round match up against Langdon.<br /> <br /> In the final, Brown and Langdon hit nearly identical lights with Langdon taking a slight advantage until his tires went up in smoke just past the tree, giving Brown an easy run to the finish, posting a 3.797 at 318.84.<br /> <br /> The victory was Brown's 46th win overall and his 30th in Top Fuel competition.<br /> <br /> "It's been a true blessing to be out at this racetrack this weekend," said Brown. "The Bader family really put on a great show. The racetrack was great all weekend long. We got some cloud cover today. When four cars can run 3.75 in the first round with other cars across the board at .76, .77, that shows you how competitive the Top Fuel class is right now. It's crazy tough to win a round right now, let alone a race."<br /> <br /> Brown still trails Doug Kalitta in the Top Fuel points standings but shaved 54 points out of Kalitta lead and is now just 48 points back.<br /> <br /> In Pro Stock, Erica Enders-Stevens took the boys to school with a dominating performance capped with a win over Dave Connolly in the final round to collect her fourth Wally of the season and 10th of her career, and increase her points lead in the Pro Stock standings.<br /> <br /> Coming into Sunday's eliminations as the top qualifier after setting both the track speed and ET records, Enders-Stevens took down Travis Mazza, Jonathan Gray and Chris McGaha, posting the low ET in each of the first three rounds before moving on to face Connolly, who once served as Enders-Stevens crew chief.<br /> <br /> Facing each other in the finals for just the second time, Enders-Stevens was off the line first with a .015 light and never looked back, turning in a 6.632 at 210.14 mph over Connolly, who went 6.665/207.56.<br /> <br /> "You can't think about any of the negative things when you get into a 215-mph race car and I was able to do that today," Enders-Stevens said. "At the end of the day we came out on top and that's all that matters."<br /> <br /> Enders-Stevens added to her points lead by 51 points over Allen Johnson, who moved past Jeg Coughlin into second in the points standing, 241 points behind Enders-Stevens.<br /> <br /> Three-time Pro Stock Motorcycle champion Andrew Hines won his third event of the season in a thrilling back-and-forth race over Hector Arana to hold onto his lead in the series points standings.<br /> <br /> Hines, a three-time Norwalk winner, defeated John Hall, Jim Underdahl and Steve Johnson to face Arana for their fifth-career final-round showdown.<br /> <br /> At the start, Hines was out the gate first, but Arana pulled even and nosed ahead by mere inches before Hines powered back ahead of Arana and held on for the win by a bike-length, going 6.901/193.96 to Arana's 6.924/195.53 for his 35th-career victory.<br /> <br /> "It was a lot of little things that needed to fall into place to finally come around today," said Hines, who is now a perfect 4-0 in final rounds at Norwalk. "Without the help of everybody on the crew, we wouldn't been able to get where we are. We struggled in the semis. But I was able to outrun Hector and to get around him was big. The fourth win light was definitely the prettiest one of the day."<br /> <br /> Hines added 48 points to his advantage over teammate Eddie Krawiec, who now trails by 69 points.<br /> <br /> <strong>NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series</strong><br /> <strong> Summit Racing Equiptment Motorsports Park
© Copyright 2015
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
2014 Top 10: Looking back at the top sports stories of the year
It was another year for the record books in 2014, mostly for the right reasons -- state championships, new challenges and new stars taking their turn to shine. But there were also plenty of big stories that reminded us that sports -- like life -- isn
11:55PM ( 9 months ago )
NASCAR K&N Pro Series schedules set for 2015
DAYTONA BEACH, FL - NASCAR announced recently the 2015 schedules for its top developmental regional touring series, the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and NASCAR K&N Pro Series West.
2:00PM ( 9 months ago )
Lanierland boys final: Johnson makes history with win over Red Elephants <b> (VIDEO) </b>
Ever the aggressor on the court, Johnson
8:55AM ( 9 months ago )
Pits will be tight as Chili Bowl entry count hits 316
TULSA, OK - The 29th annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Midget Nationals presented by General Tire is on track to be a record smashing event, with the entry count climbing over the 300 mark for the first time to 316 entries confirming 303 drivers for the indoor spectacular happening Tuesday, January 13 through Saturday, January 17 at the Tulsa Expo Center in Tulsa, OK.
9:59AM ( 9 months ago )
Falcons fire Mike Smith after 2nd straight losing season
Mike Smith's status as the winningest coach in Falcons history wasn't enough to save his job. Owner Arthur Blank said he fired Smith on Monday because in his "heart of hearts" he didn't believe Smith could take the Falcons to the Super Bowl.
7:58PM ( 9 months ago )
New promoters in place for 2015 at Senoia Raceway
SENOIA, GA - Lease papers have been signed and a team of new promoters is in place for the upcoming stock car racing season at Senoia Raceway in Senoia, GA.
6:00AM ( 9 months ago )
Professional Sports
Garbo, Jr. to compete in NASCAR K&N East with Whelen sponsorship
CHARLOTTE, NC--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- When Marsh Racing and longtime team sponsor Whelen Engineering Company, Inc. got the opportunity to put together a race team for 2015, they looked closely at the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East.
12:00PM ( 9 months ago )
Former NASCAR racer pleads guilty in high-speed chase
12:51PM ( 9 months ago )
Chili Bowl entry list again nearing record 300 mark
TULSA, OK - For the past couple years, the entry list for the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals has flirted with the 300 mark. Once again, the number of teams registering for the indoor Midget event is nearing the three century mark with 285 entries received for the 29th annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals.
11:59AM ( 9 months ago )
Falcons' Roddy White upbeat after meeting with Quinn
Atlanta Falcons receiver Roddy White returned to the team Thursday and said he was encouraged about his role following a meeting with coach Dan Quinn.
10:32PM ( 42 minutes ago )
Surprising Tigers looking to take early lead in 7-AAA
Sid Maxwell admitted he wasn’t sure what he was getting into when he decided to take the Dawson County job back in the spring.
8:02PM ( 3 hours ago )
Falcons downplay White's complaints about lack of passes
Atlanta Falcons receiver Roddy White skipped practice Wednesday for an undisclosed personal matter, while the team addressed concerns that he's not happy with a diminished role in the offense.
By The Associated Press
8:42AM ( 14 hours ago )
VIDEO: Kevin Harvick, Regan Smith tame the 'Monster Mile'
If there's one thing the NASCAR world should know by now, it's that Kevin Harvick is hard to beat when he's in a must win situation.
8:00AM ( 15 hours ago )
Tennessee dismisses WR Pig Howard ahead of facing UGA
Tennessee wide receiver Alton "Pig" Howard has been dismissed from the team for a violation of unspecified team rules.
By The Associated Press
5:48AM ( 17 hours ago )