Surprise winners in NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway
Shawn Langdon (Top Fuel), Jack Beckman (Funny Car), Alex Laughlin (Pro Stock) and Jerry Savoie (Pro Stock Motorcycle) won at Gateway Motorsports Park in the second of the six-race Countdown to the Championship playoffs.
Langdon powered his Red Fuel / Sandvik Coromant dragster to a 3.798-second pass at 323.66 mph to defeat eight-time world champion Tony Schumacher’s 3.783 at 317.49 in his U.S. Army dragster on a holeshot.
Langdon’s 14th career win moved him up to fourth in the points, having beaten champion and points leader Antron Brown, Doug Kalitta and Richie Crampton en route to the final round.
The 2013 Top Fuel champion said: “We didn’t really have a dominant car in qualifying, but we just kept picking away at it. The car has just responded well. All in all, this was a great team effort. The whole team did a great job and gave me a great racecar today.”
Brown held his grip on the points lead despite the early exit and is followed by Kalitta in second and Schumacher in third.
Beckman posted a 3.928 at 324.51 in his Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger R/T to better Tommy Johnson Jr.’s Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T during the Funny Car final round. It was the 24th victory for Beckman, the 2012 Funny Car world champion, and he moved to third in the points standing, having beaten 16-time champ John Force and points leader Ron Capps on the way to the final.
“Our team was in a slump and we did what was incredibly difficult with the way our car was acting unpredictably,” said Beckman, who won earlier this year in Chicago. “I’m not quite sure what changed, but I think I had a good outing as a driver today, the guys tuned smart and we turned on the win-light every time.”
Laughlin sprinted to his first career final round appearance and victory by powering his Gas Monkey Garage Chevy Camaro to a 6.611 at 208.68 to outlast Bo Butner’s similar Camaro. Laughlin, competing in only his second year in Pro Stock, did not qualify for the Countdown to the Championship but the took down some big names on his way to the final, including Vincent Nobile and Shane Gray.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” said Laughlin. “It’s not even real at this point. This has got to be a dream. The whole day has been a blur. Took it one round at a time and ended up coming up to the final. I was a little nervous but took a couple deep breaths and told myself, ‘It’s just like any other round, just go up there and do your deal.’ As soon as I let the clutch out, I knew my crew chief gave me a good car.”
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE
Jerry Savoie rode to his first victory of 2016 with a 6.933 at 189.36 on his White Alligator Racing Suzuki, defeating Angelle Sampey’s 6.852 at 195.85 on her Star Racing / Precision Service Equipment Buell in an all-Louisiana final.
Sampey left the starting line early and red-lighted, giving Savoie the go-ahead victory. Savoie, who had not won a race since 2015 in Dallas, chalked his fifth career win and second at St. Louis.
“You go to the finals four times and win one, but out here the competition is so strong and it takes a little bit of luck,” said Savoie, who outlasted veteran Steve Johnson, Matt Smith and rookie Cory Reed in the earlier rounds. “We got some luck in the finals. Losing hurts so bad, but winning feels so good. My team is a great team. Our bike is really consistent and we’ve had some issues, but today was our day.”
Final finish order at fifth annual AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park
TOP FUEL: 1. Shawn Langdon; 2. Tony Schumacher; 3. J.R. Todd; 4. Richie Crampton; 5. Pat Dakin; 6. Doug Kalitta; 7. Leah Pritchett; 8. Brittany Force; 9. Clay Millican; 10. Antron Brown; 11. Kebin Kinsley; 12. Steve Torrence; 13. Wayne Newby; 14. Kyle Wurtzel; 15. Terry McMillen; 16. Chris Karamesines.
Final: Shawn Langdon, 3.798 seconds, 323.66 mph def. Tony Schumacher, 3.783 seconds, 317.49 mph.
FUNNY CAR: 1. Jack Beckman; 2. Tommy Johnson Jr.; 3. Tim Wilkerson; 4. Ron Capps; 5. Robert Hight; 6. Matt Hagan; 7. John Force; 8. Courtney Force; 9. Alexis DeJoria; 10. Del Worsham; 11. Brian Stewart; 12. Dale Creasy Jr.; 13. Chad Head; 14. Cruz Pedregon; 15. John Hale; 16. John Bojec.
Final: Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger, 3.928, 324.51 def. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.185, 231.40.
PRO STOCK: 1. Alex Laughlin; 2. Bo Butner; 3. Shane Gray; 4. Jason Line; 5. Greg Anderson; 6. Vincent Nobile; 7. Chris McGaha; 8. Drew Skillman; 9. Allen Johnson; 10. Jeg Coughlin; 11. Aaron Strong; 12. Deric Kramer; 13. Erica Enders; 14. Alan Prusiensky; 15. Mark Hogan; 16. Dave River.
Final: Alex Laughlin, Chevy Camaro, 6.611, 208.68 def. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.637, 209.26.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1. Jerry Savoie; 2. Angelle Sampey; 3. Chip Ellis; 4. Cory Reed; 5. Matt Smith; 6. Hector Arana; 7. Eddie Krawiec; 8. Andrew Hines; 9. Hector Arana Jr; 10. LE Tonglet; 11. Steve Johnson; 12. Jim Underdahl; 13. Angie Smith; 14. Karen Stoffer; 15. Melissa Surber; 16. Joe DeSantis.
Final: Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.933, 189.36 def. Angelle Sampey, Buell, Foul - Red Light.
Point standings after 20 of 24 events in 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series
TOP FUEL: 1. Antron Brown, 2,258; 2. Doug Kalitta, 2,245; 3. Tony Schumacher, 2,204; 4. Shawn Langdon, 2,181; 5. Brittany Force, 2,167; 6. Steve Torrence, 2,161; 7. J.R. Todd, 2,152; 8. Richie Crampton, 2,127; 9. Leah Pritchett, 2,107; 10. Clay Millican, 2,084.
FUNNY CAR: 1. Ron Capps, 2,273; 2. Tommy Johnson Jr., 2,225; 3. Jack Beckman, 2,203; 4. John Force, 2,199; 5. Del Worsham, 2,189; 6. Matt Hagan, 2,177; 7. Robert Hight, 2,159; 8. Courtney Force, 2,149; 9. Tim Wilkerson, 2,144; 10. Alexis DeJoria, 2,068.
PRO STOCK:1. Jason Line, 2,310; 2. Greg Anderson, 2,247; 3. Bo Butner, 2,223; 4. Vincent Nobile, 2,185; 5. Shane Gray, 2,167; 6. Chris McGaha, 2,135; 7. Allen Johnson, 2,127; 8. Drew Skillman, 2,126; 9. Jeg Coughlin, 2,084; 10. Erica Enders, 2,052.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE:1. Andrew Hines, 2,260; 2. Angelle Sampey, 2,258; 3. Chip Ellis, 2,243; 4. Jerry Savoie, 2,218; 5. Eddie Krawiec, 2,184; 6. LE Tonglet, 2,138; 7. Hector Arana Jr, 2,115; 8. Hector Arana, 2,107; 9. Cory Reed, 2,105; 10. Matt Smith, 2,096.
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