2022 NHRA TOPEKA NATIONALS - EVENT RESULTS
SUNDAY - BROWN, TASCA III, COUGHLIN JR. AND GLADSTONE RACE TO WINS AT MENARDS NHRA NATIONALS
Three-time Top Fuel world champion Antron Brown enjoyed a monumental day at Heartland Motorsports Park, picking up his first win as a team owner with his memorable triumph on Sunday at the 33rd annual Menards NHRA Nationals presented by PetArmor.
Bob Tasca III (Funny Car), Troy Coughlin Jr. (Pro Stock) and Joey Gladstone (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also won the 14th of 22 races during the 2022 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season.
Facing off with four-time defending world champion Steve Torrence in the final round, Brown powered to a run of 3.902-seconds at 309.49 mph in his 11,000-horsepower Matco Tools dragster to earn his 69th career victory and first since the third race of the 2021 season, snapping a 30-race winless streak in the process. It’s also his first since he became a team owner this year, as Brown put together a strong day that started with round wins against points leader Brittany Force in a first-round thriller, Josh Hart, and Justin Ashley, setting up the marquee matchup with Torrence. Brown had the starting-line advantage and enjoyed a wire-to-wire win, setting off a huge celebration for the longtime star.
“We kept our heads down,” Brown said. “We faced a lot of resistance, but this AB Motorsports team, we’re all one unit. I wouldn’t want to do this with anybody else. All the people that have been behind us and supported us, this means so much. We’re doing this together and this is a very special day. It felt so good to get this win. I love it and here we come, baby.”
Torrence reached the final round for the third time this season and the 79th time in his career thanks to wins against Kyle Wurtzel, Seattle winner Tony Schumacher and No. 1 qualifier Mike Salinas. Force maintained the points lead but saw it shrink to 31 points over Salinas with her first-round defeat to Brown.
Tasca put together another incredible performance, staying red-hot in his 11,000-horsepower BG Products Ford Mustang and edging out the legendary John Force in the final round with a run of 3.999 at 316.82. It gave Tasca his second victory in the past three races – and his fourth final round in the past five events – and the 11th win in his career. He put together round victories against Jack Wyatt and Matt Hagan to reach the final round, improving to 4-0 in championship rounds against the 16-time world champion. It also wrapped up yet another dominant weekend for Tasca, who won for the first time in Topeka and continued to strengthen his championship hopes at the perfect time of the year.
“The guys worked so hard, and we’ve been working a long time for this,” said Tasca, who is fifth in points. “It was challenging conditions for our team, but these guys are awesome, and we got it done. Getting ready for the Countdown is what it’s all about right now. To get four finals in the last five races, and win two races in the last three races, I think we’ve got things in gear. These were really tough conditions and to see this Mustang go up and down the track like it did, it was great.”
Force reached the final round for the second straight year in Topeka, knocking off Cruz Pedregon, defending world champion Ron Capps and teammate Robert Hight to get there. It’s also Force’s third final this year and 264th in his career. Hight maintained the points lead, which now stands at 237 points over Hagan.
Coughlin Jr. didn’t have to wait long for his second career Pro Stock win, making it two victories in a row with a phenomenal weekend in Topeka, including a final-round run of 6.680 at 206.54 in his JEGS.com/Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro to knock off defending world champion Greg Anderson. Not only did Coughlin win his second straight race, but the rising star also denied Anderson, the No. 1 qualifier, his 100th career win. He reached the finals with victories against Chris McGaha and Fernando Cuadra Jr., and then knocked off points leader and teammate Erica Enders for a second straight race. Coughlin was first off the line against Anderson in the finals and held off the five-time champ to throw his name in the championship mix in the process.
“It’s extremely meaningful,” said Coughlin, whose father, Troy Sr., won in Topeka in 2002 in Pro Stock. “Anytime you can win at the same track as your father, it’s extremely memorable. I remember when I was in sixth grade, and he’s in the final round, and I’ll just never forget this elation. It’s a lot of work with these Pro Stock cars. When you struggle with one, it’s like struggling two times. But that’s kudos to everyone at Elite Motorsports. Everyone there, every car, and they rally around it.”
Anderson reached his 169th career final round – and second this season – by knocking off Bo Butner and teammate Kyle Koretsky. Enders keeps a healthy points lead and a 126-point advantage over teammate Aaron Stanfield.
Gladstone wrapped up a perfect weekend in Pro Stock Motorcycle, going 6.876 at 195.59 on his J&A Service Suzuki Hayabusa to knock off Eddie Krawiec in the championship round. It gave Gladstone his second straight – and second career – victory in the class as the young standout made the quickest run of every single session in both qualifying and eliminations. After a dominant performance in qualifying, Gladstone didn’t let up on raceday, knocking off David Barron and Angie Smith to set up the final with Krawiec. He denied Krawiec his 50th career win, making his seventh straight run in the 6.80s to finish off a remarkable weekend in style. He also took over the points lead on Saturday and pushed it to a 64-point lead over Angelle Sampey with his stellar showing in eliminations as Pro Stock Motorcycle appeared in Topeka for the first time since 1997.
“This is what dreams are made of,” Gladstone said. “I’m just so thankful and so proud of this team. They’re so awesome and this is unbelievable right now. Our guys gave me a perfect bike this weekend and we kind of lucked up into a tuneup. We put something that we thought would be close and we nailed it. We just had to make small adjustments to it, and I just had to keep doing my thing. It’s taken quite some time to do this, and these are extremely difficult to ride correctly. My tuner is doing a terrific job and to be doing it in this style, it's so cool.”
Krawiec came up short against Gladstone in the final round for the second straight race, but he did move to third in points by defeating Ryan Oehler, defending world champ Matt Smith and Jerry Savoie. It’s also his 91st career final round.
The NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series returns to action Aug. 18-21 with the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway in Brainerd, Minn.
SATURDAY - TASCA III, SALINAS, ANDERSON AND GLADSTONE PICK UP NO. 1 QUALIFIERS AT MENARDS NHRA NATIONALS
Bob Tasca III powered to the No. 1 qualifying spot for the second straight race on Saturday at Heartland Motorsports Park, securing the top position in Funny Car at the 33rd annual Menards NHRA Nationals presented by PetArmor.
Mike Salinas (Top Fuel), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and Joey Gladstone (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also qualified No. 1 at the 14th of 22 races during the 2022 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season.
Tasca’s run of 3.930-seconds at 323.81 mph in his 11,000-horsepower BG Products Ford Mustang held up from Friday, giving the veteran his ninth career No. 1 qualifier in the process. He’ll look for his second win in three races on Sunday, as well as his first career victory in Topeka, entering eliminations with plenty of momentum. In addition to Friday’s run, Tasca made the best run of Saturday’s two sessions to close out qualifying, going a stout 3.940 at 322.96 to end the day on another huge positive.
“That track is so good out there and this air is so hard to make power, but this BG Mustang showed them we’re out here making some real horsepower,” Tasca said. “Hats off to the guys, but I’ll tell you one thing, we got a yellow (No. 1 qualifier) hat in Seattle, and we didn’t get to trade it in for a blue (winner’s) hat. Tomorrow, we want to trade this thing in for a blue hat.”
Points leader Robert Hight, who is looking for his seventh win this season, qualified second thanks to his 3.931 at 323.81 from Friday, while defending event winner John Force’s 3.932 at 312.71 secured the third spot for the 16-time world champion.
On the strength of his standout run of 3.754 at 323.19 from Friday, Salinas clinched his third No. 1 qualifier of the season in his 11,000-horsepower Pep Boys/Scrappers Racing dragster. It’s also the 11th career top spot for Salinas, who will open eliminations against Terry Totten. He made a solid run to close out qualifying on Saturday, giving the veteran confidence as Salinas, who is second in points, heads into raceday looking for his fifth win of the season and his first victory in Topeka.
“This year will be the best year in Top Fuel racing that I’ve ever seen,” Salinas said. “The competition is almost like a bracket car. It’s so close and you can’t make any mistakes. You have to be on your ‘A’ game every run and all the people we’re racing against, you can’t take any of them lightly because everybody is doing such a great job. Look at how close the fields are. It’s just amazing and I’m happy to be a part of this thing, and I’m happy to beat up on them, too.”
Two-time winner this year Justin Ashley qualified second with a 3.765 at 320.43 and Josh Hart took the third spot after his pass of 3.766 at 310.41 from Friday. Points leader Brittany Force qualified sixth.
Anderson picked up his second straight No. 1 qualifier with his run of 6.623 at 205.44 from Friday in his HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro. It gives the defending world champ his 120th career No. 1 spot, putting Anderson on a great path to claim his 100th career victory on Sunday. He made a pair of quality runs in the heat on Saturday at Topeka’s House of Speed, adding to his confidence level heading into eliminations, where Anderson will also try to grab his fifth career victory in Topeka, which would tie Warren Johnson for the most in Pro Stock history at the track.
“We’ve been working hard to catch up, trying to find horsepower,” Anderson said. “We’ve been able to improve the last couple weeks and we’re a legitimate player again, and we’ve got a chance to win again. We can absolutely contend for wins again and that’s great and all you can ask for when you show up to race. It’s been a bit of a long season, but it’s turning around and just in time for the playoffs. We’ve still got a chance to finish big.”
Seattle winner Troy Coughlin Jr. qualified second with his 6.632 at 208.04 from Friday, also making the quickest runs in each of the two qualifying sessions on Saturday. Points leader Erica Enders, who has six wins this year, took third thanks to her 6.632 at 207.62.
Gladstone earned his first career No. 1 qualifier in Pro Stock Motorcycle, as his outstanding run of 6.831 at 195.08 on his J&A Service Suzuki Hayabusa easily held up through two rounds of qualifying on Saturday. But Gladstone also impressed in those two sessions on Saturday, dipping into the 6.80s each time and making the quickest run in each qualifying session. Coming off his first career victory in the class, three impressive runs in qualifying gives him plenty of momentum heading into eliminations. He’ll also start raceday as the points leader, slipping past Angelle Sampey with his standout performance over the past two days.
“I hope this wave never crashes,” Gladstone said. “I’m enjoying this ride while it lasts and I’m so happy. I’ve been waiting my whole life for moments like this and I can’t say enough about my team and how much fun we’re having. They’re so great and I’m so thankful for all they do and allowing us to come out here.”
Sampey, who won at Topeka in 1997 in Pro Stock Motorcycle’s last race at the track, took second with a 6.882 at 195.14, also running well to close out qualifying, and is just four points back of Gladstone. Eddie Krawiec improved to a 6.913 at 194.16 to take third.
In the FuelTech NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by D-Wagon, Khalid AlBalooshi qualified No. 1 with a run of 5.840, but the former world champ fell in the first round to J.R. Gray, who went 5.892 at 245.85 to win the opening round of eliminations. Points leader Kris Thorne, who already has three victories this year, also won in the first round with the best run of the opening stanza, going 5.854 at 247.79. Eliminations for the Pro Mod race, which is powered by M&M Transmission in Topeka, will continue Sunday.
Eliminations for the Menards NHRA Nationals presented by PetArmor begin at 10:30 a.m. CT on Sunday at Heartland Motorsports Park.
Sunday's first-round pairings for eliminations for the 33rd annual Menards NHRA Heartland Nationals presented by PetArmor at Heartland Motorsports Park, the 14th of 22 events in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series. Pairings based on results in qualifying, which ended Saturday. DNQs listed below pairings.
Top Fuel -- 1. Mike Salinas, 3.754 seconds, 323.19 mph vs. 16. Terry Totten, 4.026, 253.56; 2. Justin Ashley, 3.765, 320.43 vs. 15. Buddy Hull, 3.959, 275.90; 3. Josh Hart, 3.766, 310.41 vs. 14. Austin Prock, 3.930, 298.93; 4. Steve Torrence, 3.772, 316.38 vs. 13. Kyle Wurtzel, 3.907, 308.64; 5. Doug Kalitta, 3.795, 318.69 vs. 12. Tony Schumacher, 3.827, 302.82; 6. Brittany Force, 3.800, 324.59 vs. 11. Antron Brown, 3.818, 281.89; 7. Leah Pruett, 3.804, 316.97 vs. 10. Doug Foley, 3.818, 299.13; 8. Clay Millican, 3.810, 297.61 vs. 9. Shawn Langdon, 3.817, 313.22.
Funny Car -- 1. Bob Tasca III, Ford Mustang, 3.930, 323.81 vs. 14. Jack Wyatt, Dodge Charger, 4.392, 212.23; 2. Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 3.931, 323.81 vs. 13. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.064, 312.28; 3. John Force, Camaro, 3.932, 312.71 vs. 12. Cruz Pedregon, Charger, 4.043, 284.62; 4. Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.943, 320.58 vs. 11. Chad Green, Mustang, 4.031, 311.99; 5. Blake Alexander, Mustang, 3.949, 318.99 vs. 10. Paul Lee, Charger, 4.024, 315.42; 6. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 3.977, 318.17 vs. 9. Ron Capps, Toyota Supra, 4.003, 313.66; 7. Alexis DeJoria, Supra, 3.983, 295.66 vs. 8. J.R. Todd, Supra, 3.986, 323.50.
Pro Stock -- 1. Greg Anderson, Chevy Camaro, 6.623, 205.44 vs. Bye; 2. Troy Coughlin Jr., Camaro, 6.632, 208.04 vs. 15. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.810, 203.95; 3. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.632, 207.62 vs. 14. Fernando Cuadra, Ford Mustang, 6.753, 204.79; 4. Aaron Stanfield, Camaro, 6.634, 207.66 vs. 13. Camrie Caruso, Camaro, 6.691, 204.76; 5. Kyle Koretsky, Camaro, 6.655, 205.91 vs. 12. Mason McGaha, Camaro, 6.687, 206.95; 6. Dallas Glenn, Camaro, 6.655, 205.04 vs. 11. Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.684, 205.13; 7. Cristian Cuadra, Mustang, 6.665, 206.92 vs. 10. Fernando Cuadra Jr., Mustang, 6.679, 206.51; 8. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.672, 206.32 vs. 9. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.678, 206.35.
Pro Stock Motorcycle -- 1. Joey Gladstone, Suzuki, 6.831, 195.08 vs. 14. David Barron, EBR, broke; 2. Angelle Sampey, Suzuki, 6.882, 195.14 vs. 13. Jianna Evaristo, Suzuki, 7.080, 187.91; 3. Eddie Krawiec, Suzuki, 6.913, 194.16 vs. 12. Ryan Oehler, EBR, 7.060, 191.21; 4. Angie Smith, EBR, 6.926, 197.28 vs. 11. Chris Bostick, Suzuki, 7.001, 191.35; 5. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.927, 194.88 vs. 10. Marc Ingwersen, EBR, 6.997, 191.59; 6. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.935, 194.60 vs. 9. Matt Smith, Suzuki, 6.995, 196.59; 7. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.946, 194.24 vs. 8. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.962, 194.44.
Top Fuel standout Mike Salinas closed out Friday at Heartland Motorsports Park with the top run of the night, racing to the provisional No. 1 spot at the 33rd annual Menards NHRA Nationals presented by PetArmor.
Bob Tasca III (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and Joey Gladstone (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are also the provisional No. 1 qualifiers at the 14th of 22 races during the 2022 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season.
Racing next to points leader Brittany Force on the final run of the evening, it was Salinas who had the top performance of the opening round of qualifying, delivering a strong pass of 3.754-seconds at 323.19 mph in his 11,000-horsepower Pep Boys dragster. If it holds, it would give Salinas, who has four wins this season, his third No. 1 qualifier in 2022 and 11th in his career. Salinas led the points for a two-race stretch earlier this summer before Force jumped back in the lead, and the veteran is trying to close the gap again this weekend in Topeka.
“The way we’re doing this, we’re taking it one round at a time and not getting too far ahead of ourselves,” Salinas said. “There’s a lot of racing ahead of us and a lot of great teams. You can just see the cars getting closer and closer. Tomorrow is going to be awesome. Our cars love the heat and we’re getting ready for Sunday. It’s going to be a dogfight and it's anybody’s race out there. All the Top Fuel cars are so close here.”
Justin Ashley, who has a pair of wins this season, is second with a 3.765 at 320.43 and Josh Hart is third after going 3.766 at 310.41. Force is currently sixth.
In a thrilling round of Funny Car on Friday, Tasca edged out the John Force Racing tandem of Robert Hight and John Force with an impressive run of 3.930 at 323.81 in his 11,000-horsepower BG Products Ford Mustang to take the provisional No. 1 spot. After advancing to back-to-back final rounds on the Western Swing, winning in Sonoma, Tasca qualified No. 1 in Seattle and will now look for his second straight top spot and the ninth in his career. Tasca’s strengthened his championship resume in recent weeks and started his weekend in Topeka strong as he looks for his first career win at Heartland Motorsports Park.
“It’s nice to start off from the No. 1 position,” Tasca said. “This is big because it’s going to get hot out. Look how competitive the class is. It just shows you how tough it is out here.”
Hight, the current points leader and six-time winner in 2022, is right on Tasca’s heels with a 3.931 at 323.81 and Force, the defending event winner, is third after his pass of 3.932 at 312.71.
Anderson put himself in position to qualify No. 1 for the second straight race, going right to the top of the Pro Stock field at Topeka’s House of Speed on Friday with a run of 6.623 at 205.44 in his HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro. It would also be the defending world champ’s 120th career top spot, but the veteran is chasing a bigger goal right now and that is his 100th victory. He has run significantly better as of late, qualifying No. 1 in Seattle and advancing to the final round in Sonoma, and the five-time world champ hopes to finish the job this weekend and pick up his first victory of the year.
“I need (a win) bad. It’s been a long year so far and we’ve not performed like we’ve needed to,” Anderson said. “But these last 3 three races, we’ve gained each race and we’re coming along just in time for the playoffs. We’re coming and we’re definitely a threat to win again. That 100th win is still around the corner and I’m confident we’re going to get it. We’re just going to keep doing what we’ve been doing and we’re knocking on the door.”
Troy Coughlin Jr., who picked up his first career Pro Stock win at the most recent race in Seattle, sits second with his 6.632 at 208.04, while teammate and points leader Erica Enders is right behind with an identical 6.632 at a slightly slower 207.62.
A race after picking up his first career Pro Stock Motorcycle win, Gladstone is now on track to pick up his first career No. 1 qualifier in the class thanks to a stellar run of 6.831 at 195.08 on his J&A Service Suzuki Hayabusa. That run gave Gladstone a significant advantage over the rest of the field, including points leader Angelle Sampey, who went 6.882 at 195.14 in the pairing with Gladstone. Beyond that, no other rider reached the 6.80s, as Gladstone put on an impressive show on Friday. It is his first appearance at Heartland Motorsports Park in Pro Stock Motorcycle – and the first for the class since 1997 – and Gladstone showed no let-up following his Sonoma win.
“The run felt really good, and this is a new track for most people in the class,” Gladstone said. “I didn’t really know what to expect, but it was good down low to put a (good) number down. We made a call as a team and it worked out, and that feels pretty good. (The win) proved to me that I could do it, but now it gives you some nerves being up high in the points. This whole facility is so cool and it’s awesome. It’s a unique place and I really like it so far.”
Sampey, who won the race in Topeka in 1997, currently sits in second, while her Vance & Hines teammate Eddie Krawiec is a spot behind after his run of 6.929 at 195.99.
Qualifying continues at 2:00 p.m. CT on Saturday at the Menards NHRA Nationals presented by PetArmor at Heartland Motorsports Park.
Friday's results after the first one of three rounds of qualifying for the 33rd annual Menards NHRA Heartland Nationals presented by PetArmor at Heartland Motorsports Park, 14th of 22 events in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series. Qualifying will continue Saturday for Sunday's final eliminations.
Top Fuel -- 1. Mike Salinas, 3.754 seconds, 323.19 mph; 2. Justin Ashley, 3.765, 320.43; 3. Josh Hart, 3.766, 310.41; 4. Steve Torrence, 3.772, 316.38; 5. Doug Kalitta, 3.795, 318.69; 6. Brittany Force, 3.800, 324.59; 7. Leah Pruett, 3.804, 316.97; 8. Shawn Langdon, 3.817, 313.22; 9. Doug Foley, 3.818, 299.13; 10. Antron Brown, 3.818, 281.89; 11. Clay Millican, 3.842, 279.96; 12. Tony Schumacher, 3.872, 287.72; 13. Buddy Hull, 3.959, 275.90; 14. Kyle Wurtzel, 3.999, 303.84; 15. Terry Totten, 4.026, 253.56; 16. Austin Prock, 7.556, 55.96.
Funny Car -- 1. Bob Tasca III, Ford Mustang, 3.930, 323.81; 2. Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 3.931, 323.81; 3. John Force, Camaro, 3.932, 312.71; 4. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 3.943, 320.58; 5. Blake Alexander, Mustang, 3.949, 318.99; 6. Alexis DeJoria, Toyota Supra, 3.983, 295.66; 7. J.R. Todd, Supra, 3.986, 323.50; 8. Ron Capps, Supra, 4.003, 313.66; 9. Paul Lee, Charger, 4.024, 315.42; 10. Chad Green, Mustang, 4.031, 311.99; 11. Cruz Pedregon, Charger, 4.043, 284.62; 12. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.064, 312.28; 13. Jack Wyatt, Charger, 4.392, 212.23; 14. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 7.016, 97.18.
Pro Stock -- 1. Greg Anderson, Chevy Camaro, 6.623, 205.44; 2. Troy Coughlin Jr., Camaro, 6.632, 208.04; 3. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.632, 207.62; 4. Aaron Stanfield, Camaro, 6.634, 207.66; 5. Kyle Koretsky, Camaro, 6.655, 205.91; 6. Dallas Glenn, Camaro, 6.655, 205.04; 7. Cristian Cuadra, Ford Mustang, 6.665, 206.92; 8. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.672, 206.32; 9. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.678, 206.35; 10. Fernando Cuadra Jr., Mustang, 6.679, 206.51; 11. Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.684, 205.13; 12. Mason McGaha, Camaro, 6.687, 206.95; 13. Camrie Caruso, Camaro, 6.691, 204.76; 14. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 7.118, 204.94.
Pro Stock Motorcycle -- 1. Joey Gladstone, Suzuki, 6.831, 195.08; 2. Angelle Sampey, Suzuki, 6.882, 195.14; 3. Eddie Krawiec, Suzuki, 6.929, 195.99; 4. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.941, 195.42; 5. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.942, 193.71; 6. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.962, 194.44; 7. Angie Smith, EBR, 6.981, 196.47; 8. Matt Smith, Suzuki, 6.995, 196.59; 9. Chris Bostick, Suzuki, 7.001, 191.35; 10. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 7.007, 193.57; 11. Jianna Evaristo, Suzuki, 7.081, 191.57; 12. Marc Ingwersen, EBR, 7.221, 187.94; 13. Ryan Oehler, EBR, 7.672, 137.98; 14. David Barron, EBR, broke.