Dixon, Beckman, Anderson and Savoie lead qualifying at Midwest Nationals

Friday's results after the first two of four rounds of qualifying for the Fourth annual, 20th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.

Dixon, Beckman, Anderson and Savoie lead qualifying at Midwest Nationals
Larry Dixon and Doug Kalitta
Del Worsham
Larry Dixon
Del Worsham and Cruz Pedregon
Larry Dixon Jr.
Doug Kalitta and Richie Crampton
Greg Anderson
Jack Beckman
Doug Kalitta
Jack Beckman
Karen Stoffer
Andrew Hines
Andrew Hines
Erica Enders
J.R. Todd
Tommy Johnson Jr.
Del Worsham
Greg Anderson
Jack Beckman
Jack Beckman
Tim Wilkerson and Jack Beckman
Erica Enders-Stevens
Del Worsham

Madison, Ill. – Larry Dixon raced to the qualifying lead Friday at the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park near St. Louis.

Jack Beckman (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and Jerry Savoie (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were qualifying leaders at the 20th of 24 events in the 2015 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season and the second of six races in the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship.

Top Fuel

Dixon pushed his C&J Energy Services dragster to a performance of 3.756 seconds at 328.06 mph to reset the track speed record and earn the provisional lead. Dixon has five runner-up finishes this season and is currently third in the points standings.

“It was the best run of the day, so great job by (crew chief) Mike Guger and the team,” said Dixon, a three time world champion. “I’ve lost championships by two points before, so I’ll take three today. It’s kind of funny, not funny, but this is the first time I’ve ever been in this press room. I had to ask for directions to get here. I love racing here but don’t have any hardware or No. 1 qualifiers from this track. This is the first time I’ve been here in three years, so I’m grateful to be here wearing a firesuit.”

J.R. Todd, who posted a runner-up finish last weekend, powered his Jimi Hendrix Foundation dragster to the second spot with a 3.776 at 326.87. Doug Kalitta sits third with a 3.777 at 322.42 in his Mac Tools dragster while Antron Brown, who has won this event three years in a row, sits fourth.

Funny Car

In Funny Car, Beckman posted a 3.946 at 323.43 at the controls of his Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger R/T to earn the qualifying lead. Beckman has a category-best six victories this season along with five No. 1 qualifiers. Beckman, who won St. Louis in 2012 en route to his first world championship title, is currently third in points after entering the Countdown last weekend in the top spot.

“We couldn’t back our car down enough in Charlotte, but now we’re in the best conditions we’ve been in since Brainerd,” said Beckman. “I think this comes back into our wheelhouse. If the forecast is accurate, that’s not going to hold for low E.T. tomorrow.”

Del Worsham pushed his DHL Toyota Camry to the second spot with a 3.959 at 319.90. Worsham took over the points lead last weekend by racing to his first victory of the season at Charlotte. Tommy Johnson Jr. is in the provisional third spot with a 3.963 at 319.22 in his Make-A-Wish Foundation Dodge Charger R/T and is followed by Don Schumacher Racing teammate Matt Hagan and John Force.

Anderson, a four-time world champ, sprinted to the provisional No. 1 spot in Pro Stock with a track record 6.492 at 213.20 in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro. Anderson, who won at Gateway Motorsports Park in 2004, sits second in points with four wins in seven final round appearances this season. He has 78 career No. 1 qualifiers and is chasing his fourth of 2015.

“Today was a great day,” said Anderson. “This is a great racetrack. It seems to be right up the Pro Stock alley. We like to test here, and we really run good at this track. If this holds, it will be my third [No. 1] in a row. Our crew is doing a fantastic job with the car. It’s a dream to drive. It’s almost silly how good it is. I’m having a ball, but I have to parlay that into some-round wins. We’ve been dropping the ball on Sunday, and I can’t let that keep happening.”

Pro Stock

Pro Stock newcomer Drew Skillman sits second with a 6.510 at 212.23 in his Ray Skillman Chevrolet Camaro. Skillman’s teammate, defending Pro Stock world champion and two-time event winner Erica Enders powered her Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro to the provisional third qualifier with a 6.511 at 212.43. Jonathan Gray sits in the fourth spot and is followed by Bo Butner and Chris McGaha.

Pro Stock Motorcycle

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Savoie grabbed the qualifying lead with a 6.832 at 196.50 on his Savoie’s Alligator Farm Suzuki. Savoie, who raced to his first career victory at this event one year ago, currently sits third in points with two wins this season. The Louisiana alligator farmer is two sessions away from his second career No. 1 qualifier.

“All week I said that whatever you leave Charlotte with is what you’re going to have coming in here, and we have some good momentum,” said Savoie. “I’ve found that on these bikes, the fastest passes are the smoothest. After our first run, I told (crew chief) Tim Kulungian that we had more left because the bike was not graceful. On the second run, I hit third gear and I said to myself, ‘Boys, we’ve got us a motorcycle now.’”

Karen Stoffer sits second with a 6.885 at 194.21 on her Big St. Charles Motorsports/Suzuki Extended Protection Suzuki. Stoffer, who is sixth in the points standing, has two wins this season. Defending world champion Andrew Hines is third after two sessions with a 6.895 at 193.16 while Hector Arana is fourth with a 6.902 at 194.35.

Qualifying for the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals resumes Saturday at 1:45 p.m. with the final two sessions to set the fields for Sunday’s 11 a.m. eliminations.

Friday's results at Gateway Motorsports Park

Top Fuel — 1. Larry Dixon, 3.756 seconds, 328.06 mph; 2. J.R. Todd, 3.776, 326.87; 3. Doug Kalitta, 3.777, 322.42; 4. Antron Brown, 3.792, 321.50; 5. Brittany Force, 3.794, 324.28; 6. Shawn Langdon, 3.802, 324.83; 7. Tony Schumacher, 3.825, 320.13; 8. Wayne Newby, 3.832, 308.85; 9. Steve Torrence, 3.837, 319.45; 10. Dave Connolly, 3.843, 321.04; 11. Troy Buff, 3.866, 312.64; 12. Clay Millican, 3.903, 316.30. Not Qualified: 13. Kyle Wurtzel, 3.913, 309.13; 14. Terry McMillen, 3.966, 309.27; 15. Billy Torrence, 4.013, 238.60; 16. Luigi Novelli, 4.111, 283.73; 17. Richie Crampton, 4.634, 163.55; 18. Jenna Haddock, 8.344, 84.21.

Funny Car — 1. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger, 3.946, 323.43; 2. Del Worsham, Toyota Camry, 3.959, 319.90; 3. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.963, 319.22; 4. Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.970, 323.66; 5. John Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.985, 322.42; 6. Robert Hight, Camaro, 3.994, 313.22; 7. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 3.998, 318.02; 8. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.047, 308.50; 9. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 4.053, 305.22; 10. Courtney Force, Camaro, 4.058, 307.37; 11. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 4.073, 305.91; 12. John Hale, Charger, 4.095, 305.63. Not Qualified: 13. Chad Head, 4.154, 294.88; 14. Brian Stewart, 4.162, 293.03; 15. Tony Pedregon, 4.184, 290.44; 16. Dale Creasy Jr., 4.238, 295.92; 17. John Bojec, 7.144, 92.59.

Pro Stock — 1. Greg Anderson, Chevy Camaro, 6.492, 213.27; 2. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.510, 212.43; 3. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.511, 212.90; 4. Jonathan Gray, Camaro, 6.514, 212.19; 5. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.521, 212.83; 6. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.522, 211.83; 7. Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.527, 212.86; 8. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.528, 211.99; 9. Allen Johnson, Dodge Dart, 6.534, 211.73; 10. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.545, 211.46; 11. Larry Morgan, Camaro, 6.548, 212.39; 12. Deric Kramer, Dart, 6.574, 209.82. Not Qualified: 13. V. Gaines, 6.586, 211.20; 14. Aaron Strong, 6.592, 209.10; 15. Alex Laughlin, 6.629, 210.50; 16. Steve Schmidt, 6.677, 205.94; 17. Mark Hogan, 6.711, 206.32; 18. Dave River, 6.814, 203.06.

Pro Stock Motorcycle — 1. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.832, 196.50; 2. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.885, 194.80; 3. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.895, 193.16; 4. Hector Arana, Buell, 6.902, 194.35; 5. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.903, 194.16; 6. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 6.926, 195.48; 7. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.935, 193.07; 8. Chip Ellis, Buell, 6.936, 194.35; 9. Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.952, 193.68; 10. Mike Berry, Buell, 6.953, 191.54; 11. Adam Arana, Buell, 6.955, 193.05; 12. Matt Smith, Victory, 6.987, 192.55. Not Qualified: 13. Brian Pretzel, 6.991, 191.67; 14. Scotty Pollacheck, 7.011, 190.54; 15. Chaz Kennedy, 7.063, 189.18; 16. Angie Smith, 9.097, 94.46.


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