Beckman, B. Torrence, Kramer, Krawiec win at Brainerd
Jack Beckman won the Funny Car class at Brainerd’s Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, while Billy Torrence picked up his first career Top Fuel victory, Deric Kramer conquered Pro Stock and Eddie Krawiec ruled in Pro Stock Motorcycle.
Jack Beckman secured his second victory of the season and 28th of his career in his Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger R/T with a run of 3.961 at 325.69 against Don Schumacher Racing teammate Tommy Johnson Jr. in the final round. Beckman defeated Matt Hagan, Shawn Langdon and points leader Courtney Force on his way to the Final.
“We have struggled, it’s no secret we haven’t had the car we had early in the season,” said Beckman, who moved to fourth in Funny Car points. “We weren’t exactly stellar Friday and Saturday and we didn’t have lane choice all weekend long.
“But I feel a heck of a lot better today than I did yesterday. To put it back in the winner’s circle again, it just reaffirms we have a contending car. I like the way we picked away at things and we got significantly better every time down the racetrack today.”
Johnson clinched his spot in the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship on Sunday, advancing to his second final round of the season with victories over Del Worsham, Tim Wilkerson and J.R. Todd, who also secured his spot in the playoffs.
Torrence, whose son Steve is the points leader in the class, went 3.756 at 329.99 mph in his Capco Contractors dragster to defeat three-time champion Antron Brown on a holeshot in the final round. Making only his 27th career start, Billy Torrence, who was also the No. 1 qualifier for the first time in his career this weekend, beat Terry Totten, Scott Palmer and Mike Salinas to face off with Brown in his first career final round appearance.
Torrence commented: “To be able to win an event and give back something to those guys who give me a good operation, that’s just a blessing. At this level, there’s pressure on everyone to win. I just wanted to win and Antron is a tremendous racer, and you just have to be on your game. We prepare well and we have a great team put together, and a great car. We have all the right parts and pieces.”
Steve Torrence maintained his points lead in the class despite falling to Brown in a tight semifinal race. Brown, who won the previous race in Seattle, is now one point out of fifth place, beating Luigi Novelli, defending champion Brittany Force and S. Torrence.
Deric Kramer grabbed his second career victory in his American Ethanol Chevrolet Camaro after going 6.652 at 207.56 in the final round to defeat Tanner Gray. Reaching the final required him to beat Vincent Nobile, Alex Laughlin and Jason Line. Kramer clinched his spot in the Countdown to the Championship on Sunday as well.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” said Kramer, who made his third straight finals appearance this season. “I know how good you have to be to win in this class. You just have to be ready every time you go to the starting line. There’s no free shots. You have to be competitive, and if you’re not competitive on the tree and you’re not competitive on the track, you’re not going to win, you’re going to go home. We just continue to do that and hopefully it works out for us more than it doesn’t.”
Gray, who remained second in points, advanced to his second straight finals at Brainerd with victories over Dave Connolly, Fernando Cuadra and points leader Greg Anderson. Line, Chris McGaha and Drew Skillman all secured their spots in the Countdown to the Championship.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE
In an all-Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson final round, defending PSM champion Krawiec earned his fourth victory of 2018 and 47th of his career with a run of 6.897 at 195.14 to beat teammate Andrew Hines. Krawiec moved within 11 points of Hines for the points lead with his fourth career Brainerd victory, one that also included round wins against Ryan Oehler, Mark Paquette and Hector Arana Jr.
“It’s about building momentum right now,” Krawiec said. “We know where we are and we’re in a great position. I think as long as you have that great drive and have that upbeat spirit, you have everybody all excited and that’s what it’s about right now. I have a good motorcycle under me. I know if it’s not winning, it’s most likely because of me. It’s just great to come out and run well. We had a consistent motorcycle and that’s what you need to win races.”
Hines’ path to his fifth final round this season included wins against Karen Stoffer, Jerry Savoie and Angie Smith. No. 1 qualifier Matt Smith also clinched his spot in the Countdown to the Championship.
Final order at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway
FUNNY CAR: 1. Jack Beckman; 2. Tommy Johnson Jr.; 3. J.R. Todd; 4. Courtney Force; 5. Shawn Langdon; 6. Jonnie Lindberg; 7. Tim Wilkerson; 8. Robert Hight; 9. Bob Tasca III; 10. Matt Hagan; 11. Ron Capps; 12. Bob Bode; 13. Del Worsham; 14. Cruz Pedregon; 15. John Force; 16. Jim Campbell.
Final: Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger, 3.961, 325.69 def. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.031, 319.67
TOP FUEL: 1. Billy Torrence; 2. Antron Brown; 3. Steve Torrence; 4. Mike Salinas; 5. Brittany Force; 6. Tony Schumacher; 7. Scott Palmer; 8. Clay Millican; 9. Terry McMillen; 10. Chris Karamesines; 11. Leah Pritchett; 12. Richie Crampton; 13. Terry Totten; 14. Luigi Novelli; 15. Bill Litton; 16. Doug Kalitta.
Final: Billy Torrence, 3.756 seconds, 329.99 mph def. Antron Brown, 3.751 seconds, 329.10 mph.
PRO STOCK: 1. Deric Kramer; 2. Tanner Gray; 3. Greg Anderson; 4. Jason Line; 5. Erica Enders; 6. Alex Laughlin; 7. Fernando Cuadra; 8. Mark Hogan; 9. Bo Butner; 10. Vincent Nobile; 11. Dave Connolly; 12. Drew Skillman; 13. Alan Prusiensky; 14. Jeg Coughlin; 15. Dave River; 16. Chris McGaha.
Final: Deric Kramer, Chevy Camaro, 6.652, 207.56 def. Tanner Gray, Camaro, Foul - Red Light.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1. Eddie Krawiec; 2. Andrew Hines; 3. Hector Arana Jr; 4. Angie Smith; 5. Jerry Savoie; 6. Angelle Sampey; 7. Matt Smith; 8. Mark Paquette; 9. LE Tonglet; 10. Steve Johnson; 11. Hector Arana; 12. Joey Gladstone; 13. Scotty Pollacheck; 14. Karen Stoffer; 15. Jim Underdahl; 16. Ryan Oehler.
Final: Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.897, 195.14 def. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.903, 193.99.
Point standings after 17 of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series
TOP FUEL: 1. Steve Torrence, 1,332*; 2. Tony Schumacher, 1,145*; 3. Clay Millican, 1,144*; 4. Leah Pritchett, 1,118*; 5. Doug Kalitta, 1,027*; 6. Antron Brown, 1,026*; 7. Terry McMillen, 791; 8. Brittany Force, 787; 9. Scott Palmer, 701; 10. Mike Salinas, 694; 11. Richie Crampton, 692; 12. Blake Alexander, 522.
FUNNY CAR: 1. Courtney Force, 1,372*; 2. Ron Capps, 1,177*; 3. Robert Hight, 1,154*; 4. Jack Beckman, 1,110*; 5. Matt Hagan, 1,102*; 6. (tie) Tommy Johnson Jr., 987*; J.R. Todd, 987*; 8. John Force, 855; 9. Shawn Langdon, 791; 10. Tim Wilkerson, 747; 11. Bob Tasca III, 723; 12. Cruz Pedregon, 672; 13. Jonnie Lindberg, 649.
PRO STOCK: 1. Greg Anderson, 1,262; 2. Tanner Gray, 1,242; 3. Erica Enders, 1,146; 4. Vincent Nobile, 1,084; 5. Jeg Coughlin, 1,055; 6. Deric Kramer, 1,045; 7. Jason Line, 986; 8. Chris McGaha, 983; 9. Drew Skillman, 959; 10. Bo Butner, 930; 11. Alex Laughlin, 741.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1. Andrew Hines, 784*; 2. Eddie Krawiec, 773*; 3. Hector Arana Jr, 646*; 4. LE Tonglet, 641*; 5. Jerry Savoie, 588*; 6. Matt Smith, 540*; 7. Scotty Pollacheck, 480; 8. Angie Smith, 409; 9. Angelle Sampey, 372; 10. Hector Arana, 353; 11. Jim Underdahl, 343; 12. Steve Johnson, 334; 13. Joey Gladstone, 317; 14. Cory Reed, 310; 15. Ryan Oehler, 300; 16. Karen Stoffer, 277; 17. Mark Paquette, 178.
Brown scores 50th Top Fuel win and first of 2018
Todd, McMillen, T. Gray, Tonglet win at U.S. Nationals
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