BAYTOWN, Texas -- Eight-time Top Fuel world champion Tony Schumacher picked up his first victory of the season, powering to the win in a thrilling side-by-side duel with Steve Torrence in the final round of Sunday's 33rd annual Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals presented by Pennzoil at Houston Raceway Park.
"I'm super proud and I'm so happy for my guys," said Schumacher, who returned to the sport in July after not racing in 2019. "I've done this and lived these moments, and been part of some cool stuff, and these guys were able to dig deep. That final round, those are epic battles. I've been on both sides of that. I beat Torrence in Indy by .0006 and lost the same way to him. You've got two badass teams battling it out and that was the best race we've seen all year. It was a team effort and everybody did a great job."
Torrence, the No. 1 qualifier, stayed on paced as he chases his third straight Top Fuel world championship by advancing to his sixth final round this year and 61st in his career. He picked up round wins against Shawn Langdon and Antron Brown, making six passes in the 3.60s this weekend. Torrence will take a 101-point lead over Doug Kalitta to the 2020 finale in Las Vegas.
"It was a must-win," Johnson said. "We get close and then we stumble and we think we're out of it, and here we come again. We just keep coming back. It's like a heavyweight battle and when we get knocked down, we get back up and keep swinging. I'm just really proud of these guys. They never quit. I'm just super happy with the fight in these guys and this has got drama written all over it when we go to Vegas. You've got to keep digging and you knew the final round was going to be a great race. It's definitely been different this year, but once you fire the engine it's no different. These guys have done a really good job under some tough circumstances."
Capps reached the final round for the 125th time in his career with victories against Beckman, who was the No. 1 qualifier, Cruz Pedregon and Alexis DeJoria.
After advancing to his first final round in Gainesville, Stanfield finished the job in Houston, capping off an incredible day for the young standout. He won the race in the SAMTech.edu Factory Stock Showdown Drag Racing Series, also clinching the world championship in that class. Add in the Pro Stock victory and Stanfield took home a remarkable three Wallys on Sunday.
"I definitely can't put this into words," Stanfield said. "I remember listening to my dad race and I've dreamed of the day that I could hold up a Pro Stock Wally ever since I was a little guy watching my dad race. It's always been at the top of my goals. I tried to stay as calm as I could, but I knew my guys had my best interests in mind. I stayed focused, we did our job and we got it done. To be honest, this whole day has been crazy, just accomplishing huge, huge dreams. I haven't had time to soak it all in, but what my dad has taught me is to clear your head and focus on what you need to do. That's what I was able to do today." Despite falling in the second round, Enders stretched her points lead as she tries to win back-to-back world titles and her fourth overall. She leads Jason Line and Coughlin by 55 points heading to Las Vegas.
"It just feels good to win again," Krawiec said. "I feel like I've accomplished all that I've needed to and I don't have to prove anything, but it's nice just to get it done. There's a lot of great racers in the class and you can't take anything for granted. You have to appreciate every win, even more so right now with the competition level in the class. We've got 4-5 motorcycles all fighting for the championship. It's great racing and that's the way it should be. You have to be on your game at all times. It's a big team effort and that's what I really attribute this to."
Matt Smith kept the points lead and is 58 points ahead of Scotty Pollacheck with one race remaining. Defending world champ Hines trails Pollacheck by just eight points as he remains in title contention as well.
The NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series finishes its 2020 season Oct. 30-Nov. 1 with the Dodge NHRA Finals presented by Pennzoil at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Sunday's final results from the 33rd annual Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals presented by Pennzoil at Houston Raceway Park powered by Pennzoil. The race is the 10th of 11 in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series:
Top Fuel -- Tony Schumacher, 3.669 seconds, 330.63 mph def. Steve Torrence, 3.687 seconds, 330.07 mph.
Funny Car -- Tommy Johnson Jr., Dodge Charger, 3.929, 321.04 def. Ron Capps, Charger, 3.952, 325.14.
Pro Stock -- Aaron Stanfield, Chevy Camaro, 6.535, 211.03 def. Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 6.611, 207.53.
Pro Stock Motorcycle -- Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.801, 198.61 def. Ryan Oehler, EBR, 6.905, 181.37.
Pro Modified -- Justin Bond, Chevy Camaro, 5.707, 249.35 def. Brandon Pesz, Camaro, 7.504, 127.58.
Top Alcohol Dragster -- Shawn Cowie, 5.207, 276.13 def. Julie Nataas, 5.259, 274.16.
Top Alcohol Funny Car -- Brian Hough, Chevy Camaro, 5.900, 187.16 def. Chris Marshall, Camaro, Foul - Red Light.
Competition Eliminator -- Craig Bourgeois, Dragster, 6.816, 181.89 def. Frank Aragona, Bantam, 7.444, 170.36.
Super Stock -- Gary Emmons, Chevy Cavalier, 10.113, 101.99 def. Jeff Miller, Chevy Camaro, 12.698, 70.31.
Stock Eliminator -- Woody Gary, Dodge Challenger, 10.228, 128.08 def. Wes Neely, Pontiac Firebird, 11.552, 113.51.
Super Comp -- Shannon Brinkley, Dragster, 8.905, 177.35 def. Dylan Hough, Dragster, 8.895, 176.74.
Super Gas -- Charlie Stewart, Chevy Corvette, 9.914, 169.44 def. Vernon Rowland, Olds Calais, 9.946, 161.42.
Top Sportsman presented by Vortech Superchargers -- Mark Buehring, Chevy Cobalt, 7.237, 158.58 def. David Cuadra, Pontiac GTO, Foul - Red Light.
Factory Stock Showdown -- Aaron Stanfield, Chevy Camaro, 7.875, 174.05 def. David Barton, Camaro, 7.901, 175.11.