Home Torrence, Anderson, Hight, Sampey take top spots in Thunder Valley qualifying

Torrence, Anderson, Hight, Sampey take top spots in Thunder Valley qualifying

Rod Mullins

By Rod Mullins | Augusta Free Press

nhraLooking for his first win of the season, four-time defending Top Fuel world champ Steve Torrence started his weekend at Bristol Dragway on the right note, taking the provisional No. 1 qualifier on Friday at the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals.

Torrence put together a run of 3.791-seconds at 317.79 mph in his 11,000-horsepower Capco Contractors dragster, which has him on track for his second straight No. 1 spot this year and 34th in his career. But the Texan is more focused on victories, especially after a stunning upset in the first round at the most recent race in Epping, where he also qualified No. 1.

“To come here and make a good run right off the trailer, that was a good run to get the ball rolling and give us some momentum heading into raceday,” Torrence said. “Tomorrow will be a totally different day, so we’ll see where we go from there, but that was a good, stout pass to go to the No. 1 spot.”

Josh Hart matched Torrence on time and was just slightly behind on speed, going 316.60 to put him second after Friday. Antron Brown, looking for his first victory of the season, is third with a run of 3.802 at 323.35.

Robert Hight (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and Angelle Sampey (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are also the provisional No. 1 qualifiers at the ninth of 22 races during the 2022 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season.

Hight was the lone driver to make a three-second run in Funny Car on Friday, powering to the top with a run of 3.971 at 310.98 in his 11,000-horsepower Auto Club Chevrolet Camaro SS. It continues an impressive stretch for Hight, who has three victories this season and is seeking his second No. 1 qualifier of the season. It would also be the 73rd top spot for Hight, who continues to battle it out with points leader Matt Hagan. Each driver has three wins this season and Hight starred out of the gates on Friday.

“(Crew chief) Jimmy (Prock) made a lot of adjustments right before we ran. We thought it was going to run a little better than that and I had to drive it a lot,” Hight said. “The 3.97 is not going to hold, no matter what tomorrow. By the time we run tomorrow, I think we could run low 3.90s. That’s what it’s going to take to be No. 1. It’s mission accomplished today and we’ll take No. 1 today.”

Jim Campbell is currently in the second spot with a run of 4.080 at 306.19, while Hagan went 4.172 at 235.23 during Friday’s lone qualifying session.

Looking for his 100th career win, Pro Stock’s Anderson started out on the right note, going 6.686 at 202.21 in his HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro to take the provisional No. 1 spot. If it holds, it would be the first top position this year for the defending world champ. More importantly, it puts him on track for a great weekend, which Anderson hopes ends with a monumental 100th victory at a track where he picked up his first career win. It’s also Pro Stock’s first appearance in Bristol since 2018.

“You have to get that data and you can’t lose runs out here,” Anderson said. “That was a quality run and it’s encouraging. We’ve been working very hard. Yes, we’ve gotten off to a slow start, but we’re coming, and I think we’re very close to finding our way to the winner’s circle again. I feel like we’re getting closer, and we’ve got a legitimate shot at getting the win. We’ve got that first piece of the puzzle and it’s a great start, and I love racing at Bristol.”

Aaron Stanfield is currently second with a 6.701 at 204.08, and Kyle Koretsky is third after going 6.701 at 201.70. Points leader Erica Enders, who has won three straight races, is currently 10th.

Sampey picked up where she left a year ago in Bristol in Pro Stock Motorcycle, going straight to No. 1 with her run of 6.966 at 185.38 on her Vance & Hines/Mission Foods Suzuki. Sampey won the event in Thunder Valley a year ago and again looked strong on Friday as she looks to stay perfect in Bristol. Last year’s Pro Stock Motorcycle race was the first for the category at the picturesque facility.

“I’m very excited to come back to this track,” Sampey said. “Last year, winning here taught me a lesson to not really worry about things. I realize that I have to stop and enjoy the ride. I so excited to get to this track because I won last year, and I want to win it again. I know we’ve a bike that can win and it’s fun to get the No. 1 spot. We’ll see what we’ve got tomorrow, but I’m very confident and comfortable on the bike.”

Teammate Eddie Krawiec took the second spot thanks to his pass of 6.968 at 191.97 and Angie Smith took third on Friday with her run of 193.49.

Qualifying continues at 1:30 p.m. ET on Saturday at the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway.


BRISTOL, Tenn. — Friday’s results after the first one of three rounds of qualifying for the 21st annual NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway, ninth of 22 events in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series. Qualifying will continue Saturday for Sunday’s final eliminations.

Top Fuel1. Steve Torrence, 3.791 seconds, 317.79 mph; 2. Josh Hart, 3.791, 316.60; 3. Antron Brown, 3.802, 323.35; 4. Clay Millican, 3.808, 321.73; 5. Spencer Massey, 3.861, 319.60; 6. Brittany Force, 3.900, 254.57; 7. Lex Joon, 4.253, 212.19; 8. Doug Kalitta, 4.579, 178.90; 9. Doug Foley, 4.899, 149.27; 10. Tony Schumacher, 5.876, 110.42; 11. Mike Salinas, 6.659, 87.92; 12. Justin Ashley, 6.818, 85.03; 13. Shawn Langdon, 7.014, 97.38; 14. Austin Prock, 7.341, 85.42; 15. Leah Pruett, 12.415, 65.23.

Funny Car1. Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 3.971, 310.98; 2. Jim Campbell, Dodge Charger, 4.080, 306.19; 3. Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.172, 235.23; 4. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 4.198, 244.38; 5. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 4.546, 188.44; 6. John Force, Camaro, 4.723, 256.36; 7. Cruz Pedregon, Charger, 5.468, 132.02; 8. J.R. Todd, Toyota Supra, 5.501, 130.35; 9. Alexis DeJoria, Supra, 5.645, 117.97; 10. Ron Capps, Supra, 6.005, 119.91; 11. Jack Wyatt, Charger, 6.519, 106.21; 12. Terry Haddock, Mustang, 6.923, 105.59; 13. Chad Green, Mustang, 7.699, 64.76.

Pro Stock1. Greg Anderson, Chevy Camaro, 6.686, 202.21; 2. Aaron Stanfield, Camaro, 6.701, 204.08; 3. Kyle Koretsky, Camaro, 6.701, 201.70; 4. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.706, 204.17; 5. Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.712, 205.04; 6. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.713, 203.80; 7. Camrie Caruso, Camaro, 6.713, 202.48; 8. Dallas Glenn, Camaro, 6.716, 202.33; 9. Mason McGaha, Camaro, 6.731, 204.35; 10. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.733, 203.77; 11. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.738, 203.71; 12. Troy Coughlin Jr., Camaro, 6.741, 203.86; 13. Cristian Cuadra, Ford Mustang, 6.749, 191.13; 14. Alan Prusiensky, Dodge Dart, 6.783, 200.47; 15. Fernando Cuadra Jr., Mustang, 6.924, 158.99; 16. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 7.139, 183.32. Not Qualified: 17. Fernando Cuadra, 7.394, 143.40; 18. Wally Stroupe, 7.534, 137.00; 19. Larry Morgan, 7.826, 151.09; 20. Shane Tucker, 7.911, 120.24.

Pro Stock Motorcycle1. Angelle Sampey, Suzuki, 6.966, 185.38; 2. Eddie Krawiec, Suzuki, 6.968, 191.97; 3. Angie Smith, EBR, 6.980, 193.49; 4. Marc Ingwersen, EBR, 6.991, 189.23; 5. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 7.008, 190.73; 6. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 7.015, 191.95; 7. Malcolm Phillips Jr., 7.023, 188.33; 8. Joey Gladstone, Suzuki, 7.028, 189.84; 9. Matt Smith, Suzuki, 7.039, 192.36; 10. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 7.097, 188.15; 11. Ryan Oehler, EBR, 7.126, 188.23; 12. Ron Tornow, Victory, 7.190, 186.20; 13. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 7.228, 185.36; 14. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 7.262, 185.82; 15. Jianna Evaristo, Suzuki, 7.823, 133.83; 16. Wesley Wells, Suzuki, 10.539, 131.43. Not Qualified: 17. Chris Bostick, 27.552, 182.13.

Rod Mullins

Rod Mullins

Rod Mullins covers NASCAR for AFP, and co-hosts the mid-week “Street Knowledge” focusing on NASCAR with AFP editor Chris Graham. A graduate of UVA-Wise, Rod began his career in journalism as a reporter for The Cumberland Times, later became the program director/news director/on-air morning show host for WNVA in Norton, Va., and in the early 1990s served as the sports information director at UVA-Wise and was the radio “Voice of the Highland Cavaliers” for football and basketball for seven seasons. In 1995, Rod transitioned to public education, where he has worked as a high school English, literature, and creative writing teacher and now serves as a school program coordinator in addition to serving as a mentor for the robotics team.