2019 NHRA READING NATIONALS - EVENT RESULTS
SUNDAY - BECKMAN, CRAMPTON, LINE, SAVOIE PICK UP WINS AT MOPAR EXPRESS LANE NHRA NATIONALS
t’s been over a year since Jack Beckman parked his Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car in an NHRA winner’s circle but on Sunday at the 35th annual Mopar Express Lane NHRA Nationals presented by Pennzoil he came out on top.
Not only did Beckman defeat John Force in the final round at Maple Grove Raceway, he also took over the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series points lead.
“Our Sunday, I think it was perfect,” Beckman said. “That car was consistent, and it was fast. It’s one thing to be consistent and be a 10th (of a second) off the field but to run numbers as good as any other car out here, up and down the race track all four runs on race day.”
Richie Crampton (Top Fuel), Jason Line (Pro Stock) and Jerry Savoie (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were victors in their respective divisions at the first race of the 2019 Countdown to the Championship playoffs.
Beckman has been the runner-up four times in 2019 but it was his 3.958-second pass at 330.07 that gave him the holeshot win over Force’s quicker 3.952. One of the runner-up finishes was just two weeks ago at the U.S. Nationals against Force.
“In NHRA, you have zero control over what the car and driver in the other lane are doing. Did I want to beat him? Of course. Did it sting that he beat us in the Indy final? Duh. But none of that was going to help me be any better. Some fans came over before the final and said, ‘Hey, we’ll go razz John.’ And I said, ‘Don’t poke the bear.’ That guy, always seems to find a way to get motivated and win more races.”
It was a battle of Kalitta Motorsports in the Top Fuel final round but it was Crampton who raised the Wally trophy when he defeated his teammate Doug Kalitta with his 3.738 pass at 329.10 in his DHL dragster. Crampton now ties team owner and NHRA legend Connie Kalitta with 10 career wins.
D. Kalitta snagged the Top Fuel points lead when previous leader and reigning champion Steve Torrence made an early exit in round one.
“It was definitely a great day for the whole team,” Crampton said. “All four cars are running good, particularly the dragsters, of course. But for Doug to take the points lead heading out of here, and we made a good jump in the points as well, that’s what we need to do. It’s that time of the year. It’s time to execute on race day and Connie and (crew chief) Kurt Elliott gave me the car to do it.”
Line earned his 50th Pro Stock title when he defeated Fernando Cuadra in the final round of eliminations thanks to his 6.553 pass at 210.60 in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro. Line also took over the points lead from his KB teammate Bo Butner. Cuadra, who was completing in his first career final round, is also a KB powered car.
“It was a big victory, for sure,” Line said. “Not one of my shiner moments, but big victory, nonetheless. I was a little tardy (leaving the starting line) so not what you want to do in the final round. But 50 wins just means I’ve had some great race cars to drive and some great people I’ve gotten to work with over the years. It’s been a fun ride.”
Savoie picked up his second consecutive win on his White Alligator Racing Suzuki. He took down Steve Johnson with his 6.774 lap at 198.55 in the final round and went on to claim the Pro Stock Motorcycle points lead.
“It was just a great, great day for everyone. My whole team. I don’t take any of this credit. (Crew chief) Tim (Kulungian) and everybody on the team worked their butts off and here we are. At my age, I can do it. I didn’t count on making the top 10 because I took three races off. And, bam! Here we are. No one, not even myself expected this.”
The Mello Yello Drag Racing Series continues Sept. 27-29 with the second race of the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship playoffs, the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at World Wide Technology Raceway in St. Louis.
Brittany Force and her team weren’t horsing around at Maple Grove Raceway in the heart of Amish country at the 35th annual Mopar Express Lane NHRA Nationals presented by Pennzoil when they set a new national Top Fuel elapsed time record on Saturday.
Ron Capps (Funny Car), Erica Enders (Pro Stock) and Angelle Sampey (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are also No. 1 qualifiers in their respective categories at the 19th event of the 2019 season.
This weekend was the first time in NHRA history to feature three women in the No. 1 qualifier position out of the four professional NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series categories.
Force has been on a hot streak all weekend with her impressive runs in her Advance Auto Parts dragster, but it was her 3.623-second pass at 331.61 mph that wowed fans, reset the NHRA Top Fuel record and seeded her No. 1 for race day.
“That run was just outstanding,” Force said. “I knew before I even got into the car, in the staging lanes (crew chief, David) Grubnic jumped in the tow car with me and had a conversation with me about what the plan was. What we were going to do and how we were going to set a record. He told me to hang on and get the car down there.
“That surprised me. I didn’t think a .62. I didn’t ask him for a number, but he said if we get down there, it’ll be an awesome run and we’d break some records.”
Force set a new track record on Friday night at Maple Grove and was low of three of the four qualifying sessions at the first event of the NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoffs. But it was her run from Saturday that will be featured in the NHRA history books.
In Funny Car, Capps reset the Maple Grove Raceway track record on Friday night with his 3.837 pass at 339.28. He picked up his 24th No. 1 qualifier of his professional career in his NAPA Filters Dodge Charger SRT.
“We feel great,” Capps said. “It allowed us to test a little bit first round today during Q3 and typical (crew chief) Rahn Tobler, we went back up there and the advantage of being the last to run, he’s looking at Mello Yello points. We were surveying what everybody ran because I’m sure he was looking to see what the quickest was in front of us.
“Sunday is going to be such a different day. Sunny, mid-80s and it’s going to be much like it has been the last two years here. Again, I brag about the NAPA Know How of Rahn Tobler and adapting to conditions and we’re going to need every bit of him tomorrow.”
In Pro Stock, Enders went 6.480 at 211.96 to take the No. 1 spot in her Melling Performance / Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro. The two-time Pro Stock champ picked up her first No. 1 of the season and 20th of her career.
“It’s definitely awesome (to be No. 1 with two other females). I was fortunate enough to be part of the first time two professional women won with Courtney Force and myself in Seattle in 2012,” Enders said. “I think all of us women drivers have been vocal about just wanting to be the best drivers we can be and forget the gender title.
“For our younger girl fans, I think it’s really cool to show them that there are no barriers and you can do anything you put your mind to. I think the two other girls that I’m fortunate enough to qualify No. 1 with speak that same message. I’m excited, that’s pretty cool.
“I feel really confident about our Melling Performance Chevy Camaro. It’s been running on mean for a few races now. I was super excited after Q1 here at Maple Grove when it translated from the U.S. Nationals to here. Every week you get antsy but my guys have worked tirelessly on this car and I’m so excited to have a good racecar underneath me.”
Pro Stock Motorcycle’s Sampey picked up her second consecutive No. 1 qualifier of 2019 and 51st of her career on her Screamin' Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson when she went 6.761 at 197.51.
“It was perfect motivation (to see two female drivers go No. 1) for me,” Sampey said. “I was nervous going into the second session because I didn’t know what I was going to do. I heard (NHRA announcer) Alan Reinhart talking about the two girls Erica and Brittany had No. 1 and he kept saying it’s, ‘ladies’ night at the Grove,’ and I said that’s right! It’s ladies’ night and I’m about to do this! It was perfect.
“I wasn’t real sure about the run. I was a little behind on my reaction time, I’m trying to learn to slow myself down a little. Then something funny happened in second or third gear and it wiggled a little and I really didn’t think it was going to be No. 1. But, Andrew (Hines) tunes it so I can’t take all the credit,” Sampey joked.
Race day eliminations will begin at 11:00 p.m. ET on Sunday at the Mopar Express Lane NHRA Nationals presented by Pennzoil.
Sunday's first-round pairings for eliminations for the 35th annual Mopar Express Lane NHRA Nationals presented by Pennzoil at Maple Grove Raceway, the 19th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Pairings based on results in qualifying, which ended Saturday. DNQs listed below pairings.
Top Fuel -- 1. Brittany Force, 3.623 seconds, 331.61 mph vs. 16. Todd Paton, 9.993, 66.59; 2. Leah Pritchett, 3.673, 332.92 vs. 15. Lex Joon, 4.804, 153.75; 3. Doug Kalitta, 3.688, 332.59 vs. 14. Smax Smith, 4.578, 197.68; 4. Richie Crampton, 3.689, 328.14 vs. 13. Dan Mercier, 4.001, 299.26; 5. Antron Brown, 3.689, 323.81 vs. 12. Terry McMillen, 3.792, 314.75; 6. Mike Salinas, 3.693, 328.78 vs. 11. Billy Torrence, 3.732, 327.03; 7. Austin Prock, 3.697, 328.94 vs. 10. Jordan Vandergriff, 3.712, 325.77; 8. Steve Torrence, 3.697, 328.62 vs. 9. Clay Millican, 3.702, 319.14.
Funny Car -- 1. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger, 3.837, 339.28 vs. 16. Mike McIntire, Toyota, 4.708, 176.21; 2. Bob Tasca III, Ford Mustang, 3.866, 332.67 vs. 15. John Smith, Charger, 4.197, 298.80; 3. Jack Beckman, Charger, 3.876, 331.77 vs. 14. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.103, 314.83; 4. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 3.879, 324.90 vs. 13. Terry Haddock, Mustang, 4.094, 303.37; 5. John Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.889, 334.40 vs. 12. Cruz Pedregon, Charger, 3.979, 328.22; 6. Robert Hight, Camaro, 3.895, 330.07 vs. 11. Jonnie Lindberg, Mustang, 3.937, 318.09; 7. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.905, 326.95 vs. 10. J.R. Todd, Toyota Camry, 3.916, 314.17; 8. Shawn Langdon, Camry, 3.910, 328.86 vs. 9. Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.913, 333.66.
Did Not Qualify: 17. Mike Smith, 7.192, 111.19.
Pro Stock -- 1. Erica Enders, Chevy Camaro, 6.480, 211.96 vs. 16. David Miller, Dodge Dart, 6.752, 201.52; 2. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.486, 212.19 vs. 15. Val Smeland, Camaro, 6.635, 209.49; 3. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.489, 212.49 vs. 14. Wally Stroupe, Camaro, 6.598, 209.62; 4. Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.491, 211.46 vs. 13. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.592, 209.95; 5. Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 6.499, 212.03 vs. 12. Bob Benza, Camaro, 6.584, 200.77; 6. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.511, 212.06 vs. 11. Aaron Stanfield, Camaro, 6.582, 210.41; 7. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.513, 210.87 vs. 10. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.535, 211.30; 8. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.525, 210.87 vs. 9. Fernando Cuadra, Camaro, 6.528, 211.59.
Did Not Qualify: 17. Alan Prusiensky, 7.417, 143.26.
Pro Stock Motorcycle -- 1. Angelle Sampey, Harley-Davidson, 6.761, 197.51 vs. 16. Jianna Salinas,Suzuki, 7.317, 186.07; 2. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.774, 198.64 vs. 15. Michael Ray,Victory, 7.215, 159.76; 3. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.790, 198.90 vs. 14. Ron Tornow, Buell, 7.041, 187.73; 4. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.810, 196.24 vs. 13. Kelly Clontz, Suzuki, 6.919, 193.65; 5. Hector Arana Jr, EBR, 6.812, 197.97 vs. 12. Ryan Oehler, EBR, 6.911, 194.38; 6. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.812, 197.88 vs. 11. Angie Smith, EBR, 6.857, 197.16; 7. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.813, 196.44 vs. 10. Hector Arana, EBR, 6.855, 197.62; 8. Matt Smith, EBR, 6.824, 199.52 vs. 9. Scotty Pollacheck, EBR, 6.843, 197.74.
FRIDAY - RECORD-BREAKING RUNS START MOPAR EXPRESS LANE NATIONALS ON A HIGH NOTE
Ron Capps powered to the top of the Funny Car category on Friday when he set both ends of the Maple Grove Raceway track record during the 35th annual Mopar Express Lane NHRA Nationals presented by Pennzoil.
Capps, who is chasing his second title at Maple Grove, ran a 3.837-second lap at 339.28 mph in his NAPA Filters Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat to go to the provisional No. 1 spot and set a new elapsed time and speed record at Maple Grove Raceway at the first race of the NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoffs.
If his top qualifying position holds, it will be Capps’ second No. 1 qualifier of the season and 24th of his NHRA career.
“We knew there was a lot there,” Capps said. “Then we saw an high .80 (run) by (Bob) Tasca and a couple 90s and it paid off being at the back of the pack. We have the new Hellcat body and we really trimmed it out. We really did a lot of things because we ran so good the first lap. It really gave us the chance to try to see what we could do, not just here, but at other Countdown races.”
Tasca III trails Capps in second, while Tommy Johnson Jr. rounds out the top three.
Brittany Force (Top Fuel), Erica Enders (Pro Stock) and Angelle Sampey (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are also provisional No. 1 qualifiers in their respective categories at the 19th event of the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season.
Top Fuel’s Force drove her Advance Auto Parts dragster to a 3.651 at 332.92 mph to set the track elapsed time record. If it holds up on Saturday, it will be Force’s seventh No. 1 of the season.
In Pro Stock, Enders went 6.480at 211.96 to take the provisional No. 1 spot in her Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro. Enders is aiming for her first top qualifier of 2019.
Pro Stock Motorcycle’s Sampey raced to the top spot on her Screamin' Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson, going 6.864 at 194.63. It would be Sampey’s second No. 1 qualifier of the season.
Qualifying continues Saturday at the Mopar Express Lane NHRA Nationals at 12:45 p.m. ET.
Friday's results after the first two of four rounds of qualifying for the 35th annual Mopar Express Lane NHRA Nationals presented by Pennzoil at Maple Grove Raceway, 19th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Qualifying will continue Saturday for Sunday's final eliminations.
Top Fuel -- 1. Brittany Force, 3.651 seconds, 332.92 mph; 2. Leah Pritchett, 3.673, 332.92; 3. Richie Crampton, 3.689, 328.14; 4. Antron Brown, 3.689, 323.81; 5. Doug Kalitta, 3.695, 331.45; 6. Austin Prock, 3.697, 328.94; 7. Mike Salinas, 3.698, 320.36; 8. Clay Millican, 3.702, 319.14; 9. Jordan Vandergriff, 3.712, 325.77; 10. Smax Smith, 4.578, 197.68; 11. Billy Torrence, 6.901, 88.67; 12. Terry McMillen, 7.476, 89.43; 13. Dan Mercier, 8.174, 86.46; 14. Lex Joon, 8.751, 77.78; 15. Steve Torrence, 9.301, 79.74; 16. Todd Paton, 9.993, 66.59.
Funny Car -- 1. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger, 3.837, 339.28; 2. Bob Tasca III, Ford Mustang, 3.898, 335.32; 3. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.905, 326.95; 4. J.R. Todd, Toyota Camry, 3.916, 314.17; 5. Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.940, 329.75; 6. Terry Haddock, Mustang, 4.094, 303.37; 7. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.427, 223.69; 8. Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 4.436, 285.65; 9. Mike McIntire, 4.708, 176.21; 10. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 5.070, 169.08; 11. Jack Beckman, Charger, 5.761, 133.10; 12. Mike Smith, Dodge Stratus, 7.192, 111.19; 13. Jonnie Lindberg, Mustang, 7.338, 89.29; 14. John Force, Camaro, 8.116, 79.95; 15. Cruz Pedregon, Charger, 8.263, 86.09; 16. John Smith, Charger, 8.690, 77.46.
Not Qualified: 17. Shawn Langdon, 12.067, 67.57.
Pro Stock -- 1. Erica Enders, Chevy Camaro, 6.480, 211.96; 2. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.486, 212.19; 3. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.489, 212.49; 4. Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.491, 211.46; 5. Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 6.499, 212.03; 6. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.511, 212.06; 7. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.513, 210.87; 8. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.525, 210.87; 9. Fernando Cuadra, Camaro, 6.528, 211.59; 10. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.535, 211.30; 11. Bob Benza, Camaro, 6.584, 200.77; 12. Wally Stroupe, Camaro, 6.598, 209.62; 13. Aaron Stanfield, Camaro, 7.365, 121.28; 14. Alan Prusiensky, Dodge Dart, 7.417, 143.26; 15. David Miller, Dart, 8.861, 108.51; 16. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 10.594, 84.97.
Not Qualified: 17. Val Smeland, 17.226, 102.84.
Pro Stock Motorcycle -- 1. Angelle Sampey, Harley-Davidson, 6.761, 197.51; 2. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.774, 198.64; 3. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.790, 198.90; 4. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.810, 196.24; 5. Hector Arana Jr, EBR, 6.812, 197.97; 6. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.812, 197.88; 7. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.813, 196.44; 8. Matt Smith, EBR, 6.824, 199.52; 9. Scotty Pollacheck, EBR, 6.848, 196.47; 10. Hector Arana, EBR, 6.855, 197.62; 11. Angie Smith, EBR, 6.857, 197.16; 12. Ryan Oehler, EBR, 6.911, 194.38; 13. Kelly Clontz, Suzuki, 6.919, 193.65; 14. Ron Tornow, Buell, 7.041, 187.73; 15. Michael Ray, Victory, 7.215, 159.76; 16. Jianna Salinas, Suzuki, 7.438, 181.08.