Crampton 100th different NHRA Top Fuel winner; Pedregon (FC), Coughlin (PS), Hines (PSM) also win at Englishtown

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Richie Crampton claimed his first career Top Fuel victory, becoming the 100th different winner in the category, at the 45th annual Toyota NHRA Summernationals on Sunday.

Cruz Pedregon (Funny Car), Jeg Coughlin (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were respective winners at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park.

Crampton powered his GEICO/Lucas Oil dragster to a 3.819-second pass at 320.51 mph to defeat Top Fuel points leader Doug Kalitta in the final round. The victory came during the Australian’s ninth career start after replacing Morgan Lucas in the offseason and only a week after Crampton and his girlfriend welcomed the birth of their first child.

“This is all surreal right now,” Crampton said. “I’m really just living the dream. I know that sounds cliché, but I’m just lucky to be in the position I’m at in my personal life and my career.”

Crampton was the No. 2 qualifier for the event, his career-best starting spot. The win was extra sweet given Crampton’s milestone achievement.

“I had no idea coming into this race that somebody could possibly be the 100th new winner in Top Fuel, but it’s pretty special to get that particular point on the list,” Crampton said. “You think about how many great drivers there are on that particular list, and it’s icing on the cake for me there.”

Kalitta was appearing in his fifth final of the season in his Mac Tools dragster. Despite the defeat, Kalitta increased his points lead over second place Antron Brown to 103 points.

Pedregon was the class of the Funny Car field all weekend, going from No. 1 qualifier to the race victory with a performance of 4.126 at 301.33 in his Snap-on Tools Toyota Camry over Del Worsham in his DHL Camry in the final. The win was a relief for Pedregon, whose team has struggled early this season.

“It was a tremendous points day,” said Pedregon. “To say I’m excited and happy would be an understatement, but I also feel relieved a little bit. We’ve dug ourselves a pretty good hole this year.”

The win was Pedregon’s 35th of his career and first of the season. With the victory, Pedregon tied NHRA legend Don Prudhomme for fourth on the all-time Funny Car wins list.

“Prudhomme is my hero, and it means a lot [to tie him],” Pedregon said. “I’ve been doing this a long time. I’ve had plenty of opportunities, but I think my biggest accomplishment is the fact that I have been doing it so long in different scenarios. To be able to do this at this level and maintain it 20 years later means everything to me.”

Coughlin secured his second Pro Stock win of the season and 58th of his career by defeating Greg Anderson in the final round with a 6.510 at 213.94 in his JEGS.com/Mopar Dodge Dart.

“We had the kind of conditions that Pro Stock cars love today with a great barometer and not a cloud in the sky but you had to work for it,” Coughlin said. “They gave us enough time to figure it out and we had a great day.”

Coughlin, the defending and five-time world champ, has reached the final in the last three events, also winning Atlanta and finishing runner-up in Topeka. He beat Anderson’s Summit Racing Chevy Camaro in both finals this season.

Erica Enders-Stevens had a great weekend performance-wise in her Elite Motorsports Chevy Camaro as she reset both ends of the Pro Stock national record with her 6.464 second ET and 215.55 mph speed.

Hines defeated Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson teammate Eddie Krawiec to take the Pro Stock Motorcycle victory. It was the second win for Hines at Raceway Park.

“We are back,” Hines said. “I think we put an exclamation point on that this weekend. We’ve been digging the last year and a half to get back to where we were. I’ve always said that racing gets in the way of our R&D and this winter we had a chance to get a lot of work done and we’re starting to reap the benefits.”

A three-time Pro Stock Motorcycle world champion, Hines recorded his second win of the season and 34th of his career. He leaves Englishtown having increased his points lead.

The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series continues in Bristol, Tenn., with the 14th annual Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway, June 13-15.

 

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Here are Sunday’s final results from the 45th Toyota NHRA Summernationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, the ninth of 24 races in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series:

Top Fuel — Richie Crampton, 3.819 seconds, 320.51 mph  def. Doug Kalitta, 3.848 seconds, 317.34 mph.

Funny Car — Cruz Pedregon, Toyota Camry, 4.126, 301.33  def. Del Worsham, Camry, 4.189, 296.70.

Pro Stock — Jeg Coughlin, Dodge Dart, 6.510, 213.94  def. Greg Anderson, Chevy Camaro, 10.314, 88.65.

Pro Stock Motorcycle — Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.828, 196.56  def. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.837, 196.30.

Pro Modified — Von Smith, Chevy Camaro, 5.966, 241.58  def. Jason Hamstra, Ford Mustang, 9.861, 91.12.

 

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Here’s the final finishing order (1-16) at the 45th Toyota NHRA Summernationals:

TOP FUEL: 1.  Richie Crampton; 2.  Doug Kalitta; 3.  Morgan Lucas; 4.  Shawn Langdon; 5.  Tony Schumacher; 6.  Bob Vandergriff; 7.  Brittany Force; 8.  J.R. Todd; 9.  Leah Pritchett; 10.  Dom Lagana; 11.  Antron Brown; 12.  Spencer Massey; 13.  Steve Torrence; 14.  Khalid alBalooshi; 15.  Clay Millican; 16.  Terry McMillen.

FUNNY CAR: 1.  Cruz Pedregon; 2.  Del Worsham; 3.  Robert Hight; 4.  Jack Beckman; 5.  Alexis DeJoria; 6.  Matt Hagan; 7.  Tim Wilkerson; 8.  Tommy Johnson Jr.; 9.  Courtney Force; 10.  Ron Capps; 11.  Chad Head; 12.  John Force; 13.  Tony Pedregon; 14.  Jeff Arend; 15.  Terry Haddock; 16.  Bob Tasca III.

PRO STOCK: 1.  Jeg Coughlin; 2.  Greg Anderson; 3.  Dave Connolly; 4.  Rodger Brogdon; 5.  Erica Enders-Stevens; 6.  Jason Line; 7.  Shane Gray; 8.  Chris McGaha; 9.  Vincent Nobile; 10.  John Gaydosh Jr; 11.  Allen Johnson; 12.  Val Smeland; 13.  Larry Morgan; 14.  V. Gaines; 15.  Kenny Delco; 16.  Jonathan Gray.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1.  Andrew Hines; 2.  Eddie Krawiec; 3.  Hector Arana Jr; 4.  Matt Smith; 5.  Michael Ray; 6.  John Hall; 7.  Jerry Savoie; 8.  Chaz Kennedy; 9.  Steve Johnson; 10.  Scotty Pollacheck; 11.  Angie Smith; 12.  LE Tonglet; 13.  Hector Arana; 14.  Shawn Gann; 15.  Jim Underdahl; 16.  Adam Arana.

 

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Here are the updated point standings (top 10) in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series:

Top Fuel: 1.  Doug Kalitta, 809; 2.  Antron Brown, 706; 3.  Shawn Langdon, 638; 4.  Spencer Massey, 598; 5.  Steve Torrence, 580; 6.  Khalid alBalooshi, 503; 7.  Tony Schumacher, 495; 8.  Brittany Force, 462; 9.  Richie Crampton, 433; 10.  J.R. Todd, 392.

Funny Car: 1.  Robert Hight, 847; 2.  John Force, 601; 3.  Alexis DeJoria, 564; 4.  Del Worsham, 535; 5.  Ron Capps, 534; 6.  Courtney Force, 527; 7.  Tommy Johnson Jr., 508; 8.  Cruz Pedregon, 506; 9.  Jack Beckman, 480; 10.  Matt Hagan, 454.

Pro Stock: 1.  Erica Enders-Stevens, 791; 2.  (tie) Jeg Coughlin, 668; Allen Johnson, 668; 4.  Jason Line, 623; 5.  Shane Gray, 582; 6.  Vincent Nobile, 563; 7.  Dave Connolly, 535; 8.  V. Gaines, 456; 9.  Chris McGaha, 427; 10.  Rodger Brogdon, 355.

Pro Stock Motorcycle: 1.  Andrew Hines, 406; 2.  Eddie Krawiec, 382; 3.  John Hall, 285; 4.  Hector Arana Jr, 263; 5.  Scotty Pollacheck, 252; 6.  Michael Ray, 235; 7.  Matt Smith, 206; 8.  Steve Johnson, 187; 9.  (tie) Hector Arana, 168; Chaz Kennedy, 168.

 

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Here are final round-by-round results from the 45th Toyota NHRA Summernationals:

TOP FUEL:

ROUND ONE — Bob Vandergriff, 4.476, 219.01 def. Khalid alBalooshi, 6.402, 130.57; Richie Crampton, 3.774, 316.82 def. Dom Lagana, 3.906, 312.71; Morgan Lucas, 3.834, 276.52 def. Steve Torrence, 5.438, 124.48; Shawn Langdon, 3.801, 320.58 def. Terry McMillen, 8.868, 85.83; Doug Kalitta, 3.785, 323.89 def. Clay Millican, 6.509, 97.26; Brittany Force, 3.789, 326.24 def. Spencer Massey, 4.130, 232.27; J.R. Todd, 3.820, 319.14 def. Leah Pritchett, 3.823, 320.51; Tony Schumacher, 3.782, 325.92 def. Antron Brown, 3.985, 270.37;

QUARTERFINALS — Langdon, 3.806, 322.27 def. Vandergriff, 3.880, 313.66; Lucas, 3.846, 311.99 def. Force, 4.107, 253.18; Kalitta, 3.822, 317.05 def. Schumacher, 3.827, 319.14; Crampton, 4.090, 261.07 def. Todd, 4.762, 209.04;

SEMIFINALS — Kalitta, 4.375, 249.12 def. Lucas, 6.032, 139.07; Crampton, 4.120, 293.92 def. Langdon, 6.356, 122.97;

FINAL — Crampton, 3.819, 320.51 def. Kalitta, 3.848, 317.34.

 

FUNNY CAR:

ROUND ONE — Robert Hight, Ford Mustang, 4.129, 307.79 def. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 8.909, 76.61; Del Worsham, Toyota Camry, 4.512, 227.08 def. Tony Pedregon, Camry, 4.602, 213.60; Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 4.524, 230.45 def. Terry Haddock, Chevy Impala, 5.466, 144.88; Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 4.120, 297.22 def. John Force, Mustang, 4.354, 281.60; Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.067, 306.33 def. Chad Head, Camry, 4.177, 283.61; Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 4.064, 311.56 def. Jeff Arend, Charger, 5.109, 164.47; Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.073, 301.33 def. Courtney Force, Mustang, 4.116, 312.78; Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.069, 313.58 def. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.153, 300.86;

QUARTERFINALS — C. Pedregon, 5.183, 216.41 def. Johnson Jr., 7.265, 113.14; Worsham, 4.168, 301.94 def. Wilkerson, 4.696, 188.36; Beckman, 4.133, 308.50 def. Hagan, 4.121, 300.60; Hight, 4.086, 306.33 def. DeJoria, 4.107, 308.07;

SEMIFINALS — C. Pedregon, 4.593, 234.33 def. Beckman, 6.381, 153.16; Worsham, 4.178, 298.73 def. Hight, 5.753, 129.65;

FINAL — C. Pedregon, 4.126, 301.33 def. Worsham, 4.189, 296.70.

 

PRO STOCK:

ROUND ONE — Greg Anderson, Chevy Camaro, 6.554, 213.43 def. Jonathan Gray, Camaro, 27.572, 25.50; Dave Connolly, Camaro, 7.097, 210.24 def. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 7.273, 205.88; Jeg Coughlin, Dodge Dart, 10.769, 144.91 def. Kenny Delco, Chevy Cobalt, 16.303, 58.06; Rodger Brogdon, Camaro, 7.788, 170.82 def. Larry Morgan, Ford Mustang, 9.916, 101.76; Jason Line, Camaro, 6.500, 214.45 def. John Gaydosh Jr, Pontiac GXP, 7.311, 202.42; Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.543, 214.01 def. V. Gaines, Dart, 12.730, 68.44; Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.519, 213.84 def. Allen Johnson, Dart, 7.808, 133.50; Erica Enders-Stevens, Camaro, 6.464, 214.89 def. Val Smeland, Cobalt, 8.972, 107.66;

QUARTERFINALS — Coughlin, 6.586, 213.91 def. S. Gray, 6.749, 212.66; Anderson, 7.906, 170.92 def. McGaha, 8.272, 189.26; Brogdon, 6.558, 214.04 def. Line, 6.599, 213.60; Connolly, 6.539, 213.91 def. Enders-Stevens, 6.509, 214.66;

SEMIFINALS — Anderson, 6.535, 214.25 def. Brogdon, 15.406, 54.34; Coughlin, 6.524, 213.60 def. Connolly, 6.535, 214.01;

FINAL — Coughlin, 6.510, 213.94 def. Anderson, 10.314, 88.65.

 

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE:

ROUND ONE — Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.826, 196.33 def. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.845, 195.39; Chaz Kennedy, Buell, 6.851, 194.16 def. Hector Arana, Buell, foul; Michael Ray, Buell, 6.831, 196.19 def. Scotty Pollacheck, Buell, 6.851, 191.48; John Hall, Buell, 6.800, 196.13 def. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.882, 194.49; Matt Smith, Buell, 6.834, 196.02 def. Shawn Gann, Buell, 16.139, 44.40; Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.774, 197.74 def. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, broke; Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.798, 197.91 def. Angie Smith, Buell, 6.867, 194.63; Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.770, 198.23 def. Adam Arana, Buell, broke;

QUARTERFINALS — M. Smith, 6.848, 195.99 def. Hall, 6.837, 194.77; Krawiec, 6.750, 198.90 def. Savoie, 6.860, 197.31; Arana Jr, 6.790, 198.47 def. Kennedy, 7.089, 190.35; Hines, 6.762, 197.65 def. Ray, 6.836, 195.11;

SEMIFINALS — Hines, 6.807, 195.62 def. Arana Jr, 6.827, 198.09; Krawiec, 6.801, 198.23 def. M. Smith, 7.225, 152.09;

FINAL — Hines, 6.828, 196.56 def. Krawiec, 6.837, 196.30.

Bottas joins F1’s Finnish stars with Russian GP win

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SOCHI, Russia (AP) Formula One has a new Finnish iceman on top of the podium.

Valtteri Bottas kept his cool under pressure in Sunday’s Russian Grand Prix to claim his first F1 victory, swooping past Sebastian Vettel for the lead on the first lap, and keeping the hard-charging German behind him on the final lap.

“When I drive, there’s not much emotion in there,” Bottas said after his win. “I’m just trying to get everything right and get every lap, every corner perfect.”

Bottas joins an illustrious list of Finnish winners, including Kimi Raikkonen who joined Bottas on the podium after finishing third. Raikkonen has long been nicknamed “The Iceman” for his cool demeanor, but Bottas showed he can be just as chilled. Long considered a potential winner, he’d made the podium 11 times before with Williams and Mercedes, but the top step was always just out of reach.

Bottas doesn’t go in for wild celebration, but he radiated calm satisfaction with a job well done.

“Hearing the Finnish national anthem is something quite special for me,” he said. “I always trust in my ability but it’s nice to get a confirmation.”

Just like Raikkonen, Bottas can occasionally get irritated by well-meaning advice from his team over the radio, and that happened Sunday.

“I had to ask for a bit more radio silence from the guys on the pit wall,” he said, “just for me to get on it and focus for it, and to feel a bit more like home. Nice and quiet, and that helped.”

A country of 5.5 million people, Finland has long punched far above its weight in international motorsport.

Just eight Finns have ever started a Formula One race. Of those, seven have made the podium at least once, five have won a race and three – Keke Rosberg, Mika Hakkinen and Raikkonen – became world champions.

Last year’s champion, Nico Rosberg, raced as a German but is the son of 1982 champion Keke.

It was his decision to retire in the winter that opened the door for Bottas to move to Mercedes from Williams. In his fifth Formula One season, Bottas now has a car capable of fighting for regular wins and hopes Sunday will prove “the first of many.”

Sitting third in the standings after four races, could a world championship be within Bottas’ grasp?

As he said on the podium, “for me that’s the only goal in my career.”

Red Bull GRC: Speed leads VW, Andretti 1-2 in Memphis opener

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The new Red Bull Global Rallycross season is underway but it’s the same driver who has ended the last two years on top, Scott Speed, who kicks off 2017 in victory lane.

The two-time defending series champion, driving the No. 41 Oberto Volkswagen Beetle GRC for Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross, led home his teammate Tanner Foust in GRC’s trip to Memphis to kick off the new season. The win is also Speed’s 12th in the series, most in Global Rallycross history. Speed and Foust also won their respective semifinals.

“(Being the winningest GRC driver in history) is a great stat, but those wins are all part of having a great team – starting with Tanner Foust, I have an incredible teammate. The whole Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross team just worked this offseason. We put in the work, and when we wanted to stop we worked some more. When you show up to the first race and you put this kind of performance down, it just makes all that work worthwhile. Big shout out to Circle K and Oberto for coming on this year, and obviously Rockstar – thanks so much, guys,” Speed said.

Foust was second in the No. 34 Rockstar Energy Beetle, starting his 2017 season one spot worse than he did last year. He swept the Phoenix doubleheader a year ago.

Steve Arpin, in his first race under the rebranded and phased Loenbro Motorsports effort, took the privateer No. 00 Jacob Companies Ford Fiesta ST onto the podium in third place. Arpin was the most consistent threat to the Volkswagen pair last year and has done well to carry that momentum into the start of 2017.

Rookies Mitchell DeJong and Oliver Eriksson finished fourth and fifth in superb efforts for Honda Red Bull Olsbergs MSE, taking their Nos. 24 and 16 Honda Civic Coupes to top-five finishes in their first weekend as teammates at the Supercars level for the Andreas Eriksson-led team.

Behind them, last year’s GRC Lites champion Cabot Bigham eighth in his first Supercars start for Bryan Herta Rallysport while Sebastian Eriksson limped to seventh in the third Honda with damage in the final. Chris Atkinson retired from the race with three laps to go in the first of two Subaru Rally Team USA WRX-STis, on what was a tough day for that team.

The final only saw eight cars take the start. Mechanical issues knocked Austin Dyne out of the weekend early in his first start with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, while damage on the initial start cost Patrik Sandell any hope of a result in his first final with Subaru.

In the 10-lap final around the 1.18-mile circuit which primarily utilized the Memphis International Raceway oval with a shorter dirt section, Speed and Foust both got the jump on a start, and were never headed the rest of the way.

The battle was for third between Arpin and DeJong, with Arpin taking the Joker on Lap 5 of 10 to move past the 2014 GRC Lites champion in his second Supercars weekend – DeJong debuted at Los Angeles last year.

GRC stays down south for its next race, Round 2 at Louisville, to be held on Sunday, May 21.

F1: Russian Grand Prix post-race interviews (VIDEO)

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The Russian Grand Prix is in the books, with Valtteri Bottas scoring his first career victory at Sochi.  Bottas had both a dynamic start and a dynamic defense for Mercedes against Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel to win in his 81st career start, and fourth with Mercedes since changing over from Williams.

NBCSN F1 pit reporter Will Buxton caught up with a number of drivers either during or after the race. Those interviews are below.

More videos will come in the fourth and final weekend installment of Paddock Pass, the NBC Sports Group original digital series. Stay tuned for that in the next day or so on NBCSports.com.

Anyway, Russia post-race interviews are below:

WIN. Valtteri Bottas

2. Sebastian Vettel

4. Lewis Hamilton

5. Max Verstappen

9. Felipe Massa

DNF. Daniel Ricciardo

DNS. Fernando Alonso

Hinchcliffe endures tough night in Phoenix to finish 12th

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James Hinchcliffe, off to one of the best starts he’s ever had in the Verizon IndyCar Series (certainly his best since his two wins in four races to start 2013) endured possibly the most frustrating race of his 2017 season Saturday night at Phoenix.

Down on pace to the Chevrolet cars, particularly those from Team Penske, Hinchcliffe had resigned himself to aim for “best in class,” and he had enough speed to run solidly in the top ten. However, as he explained, poor fuel mileage saw him be the first driver to pit during green flag pit stops, which elongated his final stint and forced him to make a late stop for fuel, dropping him to 12th at the end.

“Man, we just weren’t getting the mileage the other guys were. It’s too bad because the ARROW Electronics car was actually pretty strong,” he told NBC Sports. “We survived that first turn thing; it was unfortunate to see Mikhail (Aleshin) caught up in that.

“And we had decent pace, we were kind of hanging with Scott (Dixon) there in the first stint and ended up just having to pit way before anyone else. And five or six laps a stint compounding, we just never got the yellow at the right time to equalize the field and put us on the same page as everyone else. And at the end, we had to come in for that splash and go.”

Of course, the night could have been much worse, as he barely avoided the first turn pileup that collected five cars after teammate Mikhail Aleshin spun in Turn 2. “It was close, man. I saw Mikhail start to spin and come down, and then Marco (Andretti) hit the brakes and locked up and went around. I was lucky to avoid it, to be honest,” he said of the incident.

Despite finishing 12th, Hinchcliffe held onto fifth place in the standings, 39 points behind new championship leader Simon Pagenaud.

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