Steve Torrence tops qualifying at NHRA season finale


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POMONA, Calif. (AP) — Points leader Steve Torrence jumped to the No. 1 spot in the final Top Fuel qualifying session Saturday at the season-ending Auto Club NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway.

The defending season champion Torrence powered to a 3.686-second run at 329.99 mph.

“It’s a little bit disturbing how relaxed I’ve been coming into this weekend,” Torrence said. “I’ve been in this situation before and come here with the lead, and it didn’t pan out the way we wanted it to. We came here last year and were already the champs, but you just have to step back and look at what we’re doing here. It’s the final race of the year and you need to go four rounds.”

Matt Hagan took the top spot in Funny Car, Jeg Coughlin Jr. in Pro Stock and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle in the last of six races in the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship playoffs.

Hagan had a 3.872 at 333.58 on Friday in a Dodge SRT Hellcat, and Coughlin ran a 6.533 at 210.70 on Friday in a Chevrolet Camaro. Smith had a 6.815 at 197.33 on an EBR, also from Friday.

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