The NHRA’s Western Swing will swing no more after Sunday, as Pacific Raceways plays host to the third and final event of the excursion with the CatSpot NHRA Northwest Nationals. As the six-round Countdown to the Championship continues to close in, it’s now or never for fringe playoff teams to punch their tickets into the postseason by punching out the sport’s top drivers on the elimination ladder.
With an off weekend in their sights next weekend, the sport’s Top Fuel, Funny Car, and Pro Stock teams will be aiming to go into a well-deserved break on a high note today, while the Pro Stock Motorcycle teams get ready to compete at every remaining round after this one. As you’re watching today’s action, here are some of the top storylines to focus on:
Can John Force Racing sweep the Western Swing in Funny Car?
John Force himself returned to victory lane for the 149th time in his illustrious career in the first of three races out west when he triumphed in the Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals, while teammate Robert Hight was the winner in last weekend’s Toyota NHRA Sonoma Nationals. JFR cars qualified second and third for Sunday’s eliminations with Hight and Courtney Force, while John Force is 10th on the ladder. Courtney, who leads the Funny Car points, could be one of top qualifier Matt Hagan’s top challengers.
Will anyone get a hot streak going for more than a couple of weeks in Pro Stock?
Last weekend’s Pro Stock winner, Jeg Coughlin Jr., became just the second driver in the class to win three times this season when he took down Deric Kramer in Sonoma. But in by far the tightest class of the NHRA’s top four this season, Coughlin is still just fifth in points, only 75 back of second place Tanner Gray but just 99 ahead of teammate Jason Line in eighth. Only points leader Greg Anderson’s nine top qualifiers have been a standout stat, and even then, he’s only won once all year (in Colorado).
Is Steve Torrence’s sixth win of the season on the horizon in Seattle?
We seem to talk about Torrence a lot, but the truth is that he’s the top driver in Top Fuel right now by a wide margin, both on the points table and in the eye test. Up 137 points on second-place Tony Schumacher, Torrence earned his second top qualifier of the season as he pursues six victories in the season’s first 16 races. It’s an impressive clip, made even more remarkable by the fact that he’s on pace right now to equal his 2017 record of eight wins in 24 starts, or a victory in every three races.