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NHRA 2020 Season Closes Out At Dodge Finals
It was Matt Hagan, at left, claiming the Funny Car championship for the season, along with taking the event win over Ron Capps at the NHRA finals in Las Vegas. Photo By Mike Burghardt

Steve Torrence and his Capco team came into the recent NHRA championship event with one simple plan. He needed to qualify well and get through at least two rounds of eliminations to clinch the 2020 Camping World Top Fuel Championship. He qualified second (3.331 at 330.29 mph) behind his father, Billy Torrence (3.728 at 325.3 mph). The elder Torrence made it to the semi-finals, where he was taken out by Antron Brown and the Matco Tools team. Steve Torrence got by Kebin Kinsley in the opening round (3.736 at 325.45 mph to 3.937 at 295.95 mph). The championship was then sealed, as moments earlier 2020 “Rookie of the Year” Justin Ashley had taken out nearest contender Doug Kalitta (3.700 at 325.61 mph to 3.733 at 322.73 mph). Torrence then got around Justin Ashley, getting a holeshot (0-037 to 0.078 reaction time) for a 3.752 at 326.24 mph to (quicker) 3.728 at 325.77 mph win. The final round featured three-time champion Antron Brown vs. newly crowned three-time champion Steve Torrence. Brown left first (0.042 to 0.128) and held on for a 3.749 at 315.34 mph to 3.740 at 322.19 mph victory.

In Funny Car, it had basically come down to a three-car Don Schumacher Racing battle. Matt Hagan came in as the points leader followed by Tommy Johnson and Jack Beckman. This race would be the last race for the two (independently funded) charity recognition cars (MD University of Texas Cancer Center and Infinite Heroes, as the deal was to end at the end of the season). Jack Beckman was taken out of contention in the opening round by Paul Lee (3.933 at 327.82 mph to 3.975 at 317.05 mph). Ron Capps, who had qualified in the #1 spot with a strong 3.902 at 327.98 mph, took out Tommy Johnson in the semi-final round (3.906 at 329.83 mph to 3.943 at 324.20 mph) to seal in the 2020 Camping World Funny Car Championship for Matt Hagan. It was Hagan’s third Funny Car season championship. In the final round, Hagan closed out the deal taking out Capps (3.914 at 326.40 mph to 4.46 at 173.70 mph).

In Pro Stock, there was the main story. Who would take the 2020 Camping World Championship – Erica Enders, Jeg Coughlin, Jr. or Jason Line? And how would Coughlin and Line perform in their last event prior to retirement from full-time racing? Line qualified second (6.632) behind his teammate, Greg Anderson (6.601). Coughlin qualified ninth (6.647), while Enders qualified 12th (6.652). Coughlin’s day ended at the hands of teammate Aaron Stanfield in the opening round on a 0.012 to 0.053 reaction time holeshot (6.687 at 205.82 to 6.667 at 205.29). Enders advanced over Alex Laughlin (6.662 at 205.47 mph to 6.680 at 117.12 mph). Then, Line was taken out by Cristian Cuadra on a holeshot (0.002, 6.692 at 204.98 mph to 0.082, 6.653 at 205.51 mph) handing the season championship to Enders. This was Enders’ fourth career Pro Stock Championship. Enders then closed out the season by taking out Kyle Koretsky in the final round for the event title.

Matt Smith secured the 2020 Camping World Pro Stock Motorcycle championship (fourth career season championship) in the second round when Eddie Krawiec was taken out by Hector Arana, Jr.

Smith had a dominating bike, setting low elapse time (6.872) and top speed (196.27 mph) of the event. During the season, if his bike ran, it was nearly unbeatable. But, its Achilles heel was stalling. In the semi-finals against Steve Johnson, it did exactly that. But his wife, Angie Smith brought home the event win over Johnson (6.917 at 194.83 mph to 6.990 at 187.07 mph). It was her second career event win.

capco pic
Steve Torrence and the Capco team captured the series championship in Top Fuel, while the event win at the NHRA finals went to Antron Brown and the Matco Tools team. Photo By Jeff Burghardt