BECKMAN, CRAMPTON AND ENDERS RACE TO VICTORIES AT NHRA KANSAS NATIONALS

Erica Enders
Erica Enders

Funny Car racer Jack Beckman finished off a record-setting weekend of racing at Heartland Park Topeka Sunday by claiming a victory over category icon John Force at the NHRA Kansas Nationals.

Richie Crampton (Top Fuel) and Erica Enders (Pro Stock) also were winners of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event.

Beckman used a pair of 3.9-second runs to outrun Courtney Force and John Hale in earlier rounds and then beat Del Worsham in a close semifinal before speeding to another three-second run to oust the 16-time world champ in the final round. Prior to that, Beckman clocked three-second runs in two of the three rounds of qualifying on Friday and Saturday.

Jack Beckman
Jack Beckman

Just how quick were the Funny Cars at Topeka? There were 19 three-second runs in the entire 2014 season and just this weekend there were a total of 15. Beckman accounted for five of those.

“We had an outstanding week of racing,” said Beckman, who set the record for the most three-second Funny Car runs by a driver in a race weekend. “That’s a function of the (crew chief) Jimmy Prock tune-up, (the car) is so much fun to drive.”

In the final, Beckman held off Force with a 3.984 second run at 316.45 mph in his Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger, while Force trailed with a 4.002 at 324.51 in his PEAK Antifreeze Chevy Camaro. It was Beckman’s second win of the season, 17th of his career and second at HPT.

Richie Crampton
Richie Crampton

“I have all the respect in the world for John Force,” Beckman said. “It makes a difference when you race him. You’re getting a chance to play against Babe Ruth. It’s so unique in our sport, that a guy [who is] the best there has ever been in this sport, can still mix it up with us. I’ve said this before, I can’t wait to tell my grandkids I got to compete against John Force. This trophy will be extra special because it was John Force we beat in the final.”

Beckman credited NHRA’s Safety Safari for their outstanding work all weekend to keep the track race-ready throughout numerous weather delays.

“It was an odd deal, as I’ve had very few weekends like this,” said Beckman, who moved to third in the points standings, “where there are so many weather delays and you still get the entire event done on Sunday.”

A pair of Beckman teammates are still first and second in points as Ron Capps holds the series lead and defending world champ Matt Hagan is second.

In Top Fuel, Crampton drove his Lucas Oil Racing dragster to his second Top Fuel victory of the season with a 3.738 at 318.09 to hold off Larry Dixon, who trailed with a 3.787 at 308.28 in his C&J Energy Services dragster. It was Crampton’s fourth career victory and first ever at Topeka.

Antron Brown
Antron Brown

“It’s huge to get two wins so early in this sophomore season; it’s surreal,” said Crampton, who also won in Las Vegas in April. “Being undefeated in finals is pretty special. It says a lot about crew chief Aaron Brooks and the team. I am glad this event went ahead and I am glad we were able to put our Lucas Oil dragster in the winner’s circle.”

Crampton defeated Kyle Wurtzel, Spencer Massey and Brittany Force in the first three rounds before holding off a surging Larry Dixon in the final. It was Dixon’s second final round appearance of the season.

“I’m on top of the moon right now,” Crampton said. “There were great conditions, good enough to try to set national records. Hats off to everyone who made this happen and the Safety Safari that did a fantastic job once again. I can’t believe how many fans hung tough through this bad weather we had and enjoyed the racing with us.”

Antron Brown, who lost in the second round to Dixon, remained in the series lead, 53 ahead of defending world champ Tony Schumacher. Crampton moved into third place with the win, and trails Brown by 81.

In Pro Stock, Enders claimed her third victory of the season and 15th of her career by clocking a 6.584 at 209.33 in her Racing In Red Chevy Camaro to race past Greg Anderson, who finished in 6.591 at 209.14 in his Summit Racing Camaro.

“My guys are really incredible and it speaks volumes of what they’re capable of when they’re given the tools that they need,” Enders said. “The last time we did this was Norwalk last year; [running] low e.t. of every round of qualifying and eliminations. It’s definitely a feat, especially with Pro Stock being as competitive as it is.”

Defending world champ Enders won the race from the No. 1 qualifying position and beat Mark Hogan, Jonathan Gray and Larry Morgan in earlier rounds before holding off rival Anderson, a four-time world champ and four-time Topeka winner, in the final.

“I know [Greg Anderson] doesn’t like to lose to me,” she said with a smile. “He doesn’t like to lose to anybody; he has a very competitive spirit. He got us last weekend in Atlanta, so I was happy to pay him back a little bit – but all in good fun.”

With the victory, Enders took the series points lead away from Jason Line and leads by 58 markers. Anderson remained in third place.

The NHRA Mello Yello Series continues June 4-7 with the Toyota NHRA Summernationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, N.J.

* * *

Final finish order (1-16) at the 27th annual NHRA Kansas Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka. The race is the eighth of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.

TOP FUEL:
1. Richie Crampton; 2. Larry Dixon; 3. Brittany Force; 4. Doug Kalitta; 5. Spencer Massey; 6. Tony Schumacher; 7. J.R. Todd; 8. Antron Brown; 9. Steve Torrence; 10. Shawn Langdon; 11. Leah Pritchett; 12. Clay Millican; 13. Kyle Wurtzel; 14. Kebin Kinsley; 15. Luigi Novelli; 16. Dave Connolly.

FUNNY CAR:
1. Jack Beckman; 2. John Force; 3. Matt Hagan; 4. Del Worsham; 5. Tim Wilkerson; 6. Ron Capps; 7. Chad Head; 8. John Hale; 9. Courtney Force; 10. Tommy Johnson Jr.; 11. Alexis DeJoria; 12. Tony Pedregon; 13. Cruz Pedregon; 14. Brian Stewart; 15. Robert Hight; 16. Todd Simpson.

PRO STOCK:
1. Erica Enders; 2. Greg Anderson; 3. Larry Morgan; 4. Chris McGaha; 5. Jonathan Gray; 6. Vincent Nobile; 7. Shane Gray; 8. V. Gaines; 9. Drew Skillman; 10. Rodger Brogdon; 11. Bo Butner; 12. Allen Johnson; 13. Deric Kramer; 14. Dave River; 15. Mark Hogan; 16. Jason Line.

Sunday’s final results from the 27th annual NHRA Kansas Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka. The race is the eighth of 24 in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series:

Top Fuel — Richie Crampton, 3.738 seconds, 318.09 mph def. Larry Dixon, 3.787 seconds, 308.28 mph.

Funny Car — Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger, 3.984, 316.45 def. John Force, Chevy Camaro, 4.002, 324.51.

Pro Stock — Erica Enders, Chevy Camaro, 6.584, 209.33 def. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.591, 209.14.

Top Alcohol Dragster — Joey Severance, 5.334, 269.35 def. Dean Dubbin, 5.578, 252.57.

Top Alcohol Funny Car — Brian Hough, Chevy Camaro, 5.531, 259.76 def. Doug Gordon, Camaro, 5.563, 262.69.

Top Fuel Harley — Tommy Grimes, Harley, 6.265, 230.57 def. Rickey House, Harley, 6.397, 211.00.

Final round-by-round results from the 27th annual NHRA Kansas Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka, the eighth of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series:

TOP FUEL:
ROUND ONE — Larry Dixon, 3.767, no speed def. Leah Pritchett, 3.787, 321.73; Spencer Massey, 3.751, 326.56 def. Clay Millican, 3.865, no speed; Brittany Force, 3.780, 325.53 def. Steve Torrence, 3.773, no speed; Tony Schumacher, 3.719, 325.45 def. Kebin Kinsley, 4.059, no speed; Antron Brown, 4.081, 232.11 def. Luigi Novelli, 4.126, no speed; Richie Crampton, 3.762, 316.52 def. Kyle Wurtzel, 3.909, no speed; J.R. Todd, 3.739, 326.24 def. Dave Connolly, 5.870, no speed; Doug Kalitta, 3.751, 28.71 def. Shawn Langdon, 3.781, 317.49;

QUARTERFINALS — Crampton, 3.710, no speed def. Massey, 3.731, 327.82; Kalitta, 3.761, no speed def. Todd, 3.764, 322.04; Force, 3.772, no speed def. Schumacher, 3.748, 325.92; Dixon, 3.771,
329.91 def. Brown, 3.795, no speed;

SEMIFINALS — Dixon, 3.736, 329.18 def. Kalitta, 5.476, 97.90; Crampton, 3.720, 327.59 def. Force, 3.806, 322.58;

FINAL — Crampton, 3.738, 318.09 def. Dixon, 3.787, 308.28.

FUNNY CAR:
ROUND ONE — Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 3.984, 318.24 def. Tony Pedregon, Toyota Camry, 4.124, no speed; Chad Head, Camry, 4.057, 313.51 def. Todd Simpson, Chevy Camaro, 12.319, no speed; Ron Capps, Dodge Charger, 4.042, 320.13 def. Brian Stewart, Mustang, 5.598, no speed; John Hale, Charger, 4.083, no speed def. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 4.434, 198.52; John Force, Camaro, 4.034, 324.12 def. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.039, no speed; Jack Beckman, Charger, 3.984, 321.58 def. Courtney Force, Camaro, 4.035, no speed; Del Worsham, Camry, 3.988, no speed def. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 4.040, 308.35; Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.027, 321.58 def. Robert Hight, Chevrolet Camaro, 6.000, no speed;

QUARTERFINALS — Worsham, 3.984, no speed def. Wilkerson, 4.005, 315.42; Hagan, 4.014, 315.93 def. Head, 4.783, no speed; Beckman, 3.972, 322.04 def. Hale, broke; J. Force, 4.023, 320.66 def. Capps, 4.340, no speed;

SEMIFINALS — J. Force, 3.997, 324.83 def. Hagan, 4.255, 310.48; Beckman, 4.169, 319.45 def. Worsham, 4.331, 216.03;

FINAL — Beckman, 3.984, 316.45 def. J. Force, 4.002, 324.51.

PRO STOCK:
ROUND ONE — Jonathan Gray, Chevy Camaro, 6.606, 208.71 def. Rodger Brogdon, Camaro, foul; Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.669, 207.88 def. Drew Skillman, Camaro, foul; Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.616, 208.75 def. Allen Johnson, Dodge Dart, 6.651, 207.46; V. Gaines, Dart, 6.632, 206.73 def. Jason Line, Camaro, 7.334, 143.05; Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.605, 208.46 def. Deric Kramer, Dodge Avenger, 6.673, 207.37; Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.588, 209.04 def. Dave River, Chevy Cobalt, 6.830, 195.34; Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.579, 209.10 def. Mark Hogan, Pontiac GXP, 6.855, 201.58; Larry Morgan, Camaro, 6.605, 208.62 def. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.616, 207.75;

QUARTERFINALS — McGaha, 6.591, 208.59 def. Nobile, 6.622, 208.01; Morgan, 6.610, 208.55 def. Gaines, foul; Anderson, 6.609, 208.68 def. S. Gray, 6.642, 207.88; Enders, 6.586, 208.78 def. J. Gray, 6.607, 208.68;

SEMIFINALS — Anderson, 6.598, 209.04 def. McGaha, foul; Enders, 6.579, 208.94 def. Morgan, 6.609, 208.68;

FINAL — Enders, 6.584, 209.33 def. Anderson, 6.591, 209.14.

Point standings (top 10) following the 27th annual NHRA Kansas Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka, the eighth of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series –

Top Fuel
1. Antron Brown, 628; 2. Tony Schumacher, 575; 3. Richie Crampton, 547; 4. Spencer Massey, 530; 5. Doug Kalitta, 502; 6. Larry Dixon, 476; 7. Shawn Langdon, 473; 8. J.R. Todd, 411; 9. Clay Millican, 395; 10. Steve Torrence, 392.

Funny Car
1. Ron Capps, 580; 2. Matt Hagan, 575; 3. Jack Beckman, 531; 4. Del Worsham, 507; 5. John Force, 502; 6. Robert Hight, 460; 7. Tommy Johnson Jr., 456; 8. Tim Wilkerson, 447; 9. (tie) Alexis DeJoria, 395; Cruz Pedregon, 395.

Pro Stock
1. Erica Enders, 719; 2. Jason Line, 661; 3. Greg Anderson, 654; 4. Chris McGaha, 542; 5. Rodger Brogdon, 493; 6. Larry Morgan, 452; 7. Drew Skillman, 424; 8. Vincent Nobile, 421; 9. Shane Gray, 401; 10. Allen Johnson, 369.

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