John Force upset in NHRA, Hagan takes Funny Car lead; Shoemacher (TF), Brogdan (PS), Krawiec (PSM) also win

1 Comment

What a difference a day makes.

Saturday, John Force and daughter Courtney appeared comfortably ranked first and second in the NHRA Funny Car standings heading into Sunday’s NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove (Pa.) Raceway.

But in a surprising turn of events, both Forces lost in the first round of eliminations, while 2011 Funny Car champ Matt Hagan went on to win Sunday to take over the points lead with two races remaining in the Countdown to the Championship.

Now, John Force’s bid for a record 17th Funny Car championship is in jeopardy.

Hagan sealed Sunday’s victory over Tommy Johnson Jr. with a bit of impromptu fireworks of his own, as his engine exploded when Hagan crossed the finish line.

It was Hagan’s third appearance in the final round of the Countdown and his second playoff win. With three wins in 2014 and 13 in his career, Hagan leaves Maple Grove with a 36-point edge in the standings over John Force.

“The points lead is huge but we showed up here to win a race,” Hagan said. “Points change, but the Wallys (event win trophies) you put on your shelf don’t.

“We did what we set out to do this morning and that was to turn the win light on four times (in Sunday’s four elimination rounds).”

Other winners Sunday were Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel), Rodger Brogdon (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle).

In Top Fuel, Schumacher continued to strengthen his bid for a record eighth championship, defeating John Force’s other drag racing daughter, Brittany.

Schumacher has now won three of the first four Countdown events and has a dominating 134-point lead in the Top Fuel standings over Doug Kalitta heading into the next-to-last race of the season, the Toyota NHRA Nationals Oct. 30 – Nov. 2 at Las Vegas.

“Luckily I don’t have the give up attitude,” Schumacher said. “I got back in it. I think I pedaled it twice and finally got it to hook up a little bit. I’ve been working on that a long time. That’s the first one of those I’ve won in a long time, I’ve been taken a beating. You’ve got to win those.”

It was Brittany Force’s fourth final round appearance of the season, and she continues in the quest for her first Top Fuel event win.

In Pro Stock, Brogdon earned his second career victory, defeating veteran driver and former champion Allen Johnson in the final round.

“I think that we can’t be taken for granted,” Brogdon said. “We’re working on hopefully a three-year deal with Owens Corning (as a sponsor) and this win definitely had to help.”

Jason Line left Maple Grove with a 35-point lead in the Pro Stock standings over No. 1 qualifier Erica Enders-Stevens.

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Krawiec earned his fourth win of 2014 and the 27th of his career, defeating Scotty Pollacheck in the final round. Krawiec closes to within 25 points of PSM standings leader and teammate Andrew Hines.

“We were joking around that it looks like it’s going to come down to a two hog race instead of a two horse race,” Krawiec laughed because he and Hines both ride Harley Davidson motorcycles. “I knew that this was an important day for me personally. If I wanted to stay in championship contention I have to make sure I can make up every round.”


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *



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

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


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


PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1. Eddie Krawiec; 2. Scotty Pollacheck; 3. Matt Smith; 4. Andrew Hines; 5. Chaz Kennedy; 6. Adam Arana; 7. Jerry Savoie; 8. Hector Arana Jr; 9. John Hall; 10. Steve Johnson; 11. Shawn Gann; 12. Hector Arana; 13. Angie Smith; 14. Joe DeSantis; 15. Angelle Sampey; 16. Brian Pretzel.




Top Fuel — Tony Schumacher, 4.440 seconds, 291.13 mph def. Brittany Force, 4.652 seconds, 269.94 mph.

Funny Car — Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 4.333, 215.00 def. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 5.456, 152.31.


Pro Stock — Rodger Brogdon, Chevy Camaro, 6.516, 212.13 def. Allen Johnson, Dodge Dart, 10.270, 90.64.


Pro Stock Motorcycle — Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.793, 197.13 def. Scotty Pollacheck, Buell, 6.853, 193.82.






ROUND ONE — Steve Torrence, 3.796, 322.73 def. Larry Dixon, 10.137, 81.09; Richie Crampton, 3.734, 325.06 def. Shawn Langdon, 10.488, 75.15; Spencer Massey, 3.765, 327.59 def. Leah Pritchett, 9.578, 83.46; Khalid alBalooshi, 3.777, 323.12 def. Antron Brown, 4.388, 180.74; J.R. Todd, 3.741, 323.50 def. Dom Lagana, 3.879, 315.12; Brittany Force, 3.886, 313.37 def. Terry McMillen, 8.158, 90.71; Tony Schumacher, 3.735, 327.35 def. Bob Vandergriff, 3.863, 286.68; Doug Kalitta, 3.759, 326.71 def. Clay Millican, broke;

QUARTERFINALS — Kalitta, 3.749, 326.08 def. alBalooshi, 3.751, 324.90; Massey, 3.757, 321.50 def. Todd, 3.767, 321.19; Schumacher, 3.752, 325.30 def. Torrence, 3.767, 326.40; Force, 3.972, 249.58 def. Crampton, 4.223, 305.56;

SEMIFINALS — Force, 3.733, 329.91 def. Massey, 8.867, 73.80; Schumacher, 3.739, 326.71 def. Kalitta, 3.718, 329.91;

FINAL — Schumacher, 4.440, 291.13 def. Force, 4.652, 269.94.



ROUND ONE — Tommy Johnson Jr., Dodge Charger, 4.040, 321.50 def. Ron Capps, Charger, 6.128, 114.19; Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.279, 306.19 def. Chad Head, Toyota Camry, 5.380, 210.28; Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 4.408, 203.80 def. Robert Hight, Mustang, 5.248, 145.56; Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 4.079, 313.15 def. John Force, Mustang, 4.210, 261.62; Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 4.057, 305.36 def. John Bojec, 12.535, 57.48; Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.035, 319.37 def. Tony Pedregon, Camry, broke; Jeff Arend, Charger, 4.598, 221.45 def. Courtney Force, Mustang, 9.146, 77.38; Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 4.676, 200.17 def. Del Worsham, Camry, 4.983, 201.67;

QUARTERFINALS — Arend, 4.096, 308.85 def. Wilkerson, 4.147, 292.96; Johnson Jr., 4.008, 316.52 def. C. Pedregon, 4.077, 312.35; DeJoria, 4.084, 309.34 def. Tasca III, 4.115, 301.13; Hagan, 4.039, 315.05 def. Beckman, 5.560, 128.52;

SEMIFINALS — Hagan, 4.043, 319.60 def. DeJoria, 4.032, 312.64; Johnson Jr., 8.610, 62.22 def. Arend, foul;

FINAL — Hagan, 4.333, 215.00 def. Johnson Jr., 5.456, 152.31.



ROUND ONE — V. Gaines, Dodge Avenger, 6.503, 213.37 def. Jonathan Gray, Chevy Camaro, 26.236, 27.63; Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.501, 213.60 def. Jeg Coughlin, Dodge Dart, 6.545, 212.23; Rodger Brogdon, Camaro, 6.496, 212.69 def. Richie Stevens, Camaro, 7.078, 174.12; Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.485, 213.16 def. Dave Connolly, Camaro, 6.524, 211.89; Allen Johnson, Dart, 6.512, 212.13 def. Larry Morgan, Ford Mustang, 6.594, 210.41; Jason Line, Camaro, 6.509, 213.33 def. John Gaydosh Jr, Pontiac GXP, foul; Erica Enders-Stevens, Camaro, 6.469, 213.30 def. Frank Gugliotta, Mustang, 6.579, 209.79; Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.506, 212.36 def. Kenny Delco, Chevy Cobalt, 7.629, 137.95;

QUARTERFINALS — Anderson, 6.515, 211.99 def. S. Gray, 6.499, 211.96; Brogdon, 6.505, 212.13 def. Line, 10.980, 83.26; Johnson, 6.498, 213.06 def. Nobile, 6.479, 213.27; Enders-Stevens, 6.484, 213.60 def. Gaines, 6.507, 212.69;

SEMIFINALS — Brogdon, 6.539, 211.59 def. Anderson, broke; Johnson, 6.499, 212.69 def. Enders-Stevens, 6.759, 210.87;

FINAL — Brogdon, 6.516, 212.13 def. Johnson, 10.270, 90.64.




ROUND ONE — Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.858, 194.77 def. John Hall, Buell, 6.862, 192.82; Matt Smith, Buell, 6.886, 192.99 def. Angelle Sampey, Buell, 7.129, 174.64; Chaz Kennedy, Buell, 6.834, 192.82 def. Angie Smith, Buell, 6.915, 190.78; Adam Arana, Buell, 6.857, 194.91 def. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, foul; Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.806, 197.59 def. Shawn Gann, Buell, 6.886, 193.77; Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.816, 197.48 def. Brian Pretzel, Suzuki, 7.172, 183.79; Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.849, 176.63 def. Joe DeSantis, Suzuki, 7.024, 188.83; Scotty Pollacheck, Buell, 6.978, 191.70 def. Hector Arana, Buell, 6.908, 195.70;

QUARTERFINALS — Pollacheck, 7.034, 190.30 def. Savoie, 7.354, 161.30; Hines, 6.770, 197.71 def. Kennedy, 6.862, 192.25; M. Smith, 7.564, 131.43 def. Arana Jr, foul; Krawiec, 6.806, 195.39 def. A. Arana, 6.935, 194.49;

SEMIFINALS — Krawiec, 6.809, 196.10 def. M. Smith, foul; Pollacheck, 6.840, 194.63 def. Hines, broke;

FINAL — Krawiec, 6.793, 197.13 def. Pollacheck, 6.853, 193.82.



Top Fuel: 1. Tony Schumacher, 2,462; 2. Doug Kalitta, 2,328; 3. Steve Torrence, 2,319; 4. Shawn Langdon, 2,314; 5. Antron Brown, 2,292; 6. J.R. Todd, 2,288; 7. Spencer Massey, 2,273; 8. Khalid alBalooshi, 2,240; 9. Brittany Force, 2,188; 10. Richie Crampton, 2,177.


Funny Car: 1. Matt Hagan, 2,423; 2. John Force, 2,387; 3. Courtney Force, 2,351; 4. Tommy Johnson Jr., 2,309; 5. Robert Hight, 2,288; 6. Alexis DeJoria, 2,268; 7. Ron Capps, 2,254; 8. Del Worsham, 2,227; 9. Tim Wilkerson, 2,207; 10. Cruz Pedregon, 2,196.

Pro Stock: 1. Jason Line, 2,421; 2. Erica Enders-Stevens, 2,386; 3. Dave Connolly, 2,370; 4. Shane Gray, 2,322; 5. Allen Johnson, 2,315; 6. Vincent Nobile, 2,295; 7. Jonathan Gray, 2,279; 8. Jeg Coughlin, 2,266; 9. V. Gaines, 2,207; 10. Chris McGaha, 2,104.

Pro Stock Motorcycle: 1. Andrew Hines, 2,485; 2. Eddie Krawiec, 2,460; 3. Hector Arana Jr, 2,317; 4. Steve Johnson, 2,285; 5. Matt Smith, 2,274; 6. Scotty Pollacheck, 2,268; 7. John Hall, 2,222; 8. Hector Arana, 2,210; 9. Angie Smith, 2,157; 10. Michael Ray, 2,071.


Follow me @JerryBonkowski

Lessons learned in three rounds of Extreme E pay huge dividends in the Copper X Prix for Tanner Foust

Foust Copper X Prix
McLaren Racing

To paraphrase the Grateful Dead, what a long, unique trip it’s been for Tanner Foust in his first season with the Extreme E series as he took his early season lessons to Chile to compete in the Copper X Prix. And he’s learned his lessons well.

In February, McLaren announced they would expand their motorsports program with an Extreme E entry. They signed two talented rally drivers in Foust and Emma Gilmour – and paired them for the opening round in Neom, Saudi Arabia with just a few days of testing under their belts. Baked by the Arabian desert sun, it was trial by fire.

The duo performed well in their debut, advancing into the final round and finishing fifth. As Extreme E headed to another desert halfway across the globe for Round 4, it was a good time to catch up with Foust and ask about McLaren’s progress. The Copper X Prix was held this past weekend in one of the most extreme regions in the world: the Atacama Desert.

MORE: McLaren considering Kyle Busch for Indy 500

“The shock going into the first race was the speed,” Foust told NBC Sports. “It was much higher than we had tested. We spent a lot of time around 100 miles per hour [in race trim] and our testing speeds were more in the 60 to 70-mile range. Then, once we sort of got around that, the car got updated so you can drive it even faster.”

In rally racing, some incidents are out of a driver’s control. Even peeking around another car can be dangerous because of potholes that have recently been gouged in the ground or large bushes that seem to sprout up between laps. A couple of rollovers brought Foust back to earth – but the pace was there and that was important.

“We had some challenges this season,” Foust said prior to the Copper X Prix. “We had a good start; made the final, which is a difficult thing to do in this series. I had two rolls in the first three events, but I have improved each time. Now we come into Round 4 in Chile in a pretty strong position. We have competitive times as a team. We are communicating really well and have our heads around this Odyssey vehicle.”

Foust’s words proved to be prophetic.

He won the Crazy Race – Extreme E’s version of a Last Chance Qualifier – and did so after passing the field. It was the same manner in which he qualified for Saudi Arabia’s finale, but this time things would be better. There were those hard-earned lessons on which to lean – and Foust had reps under his belt. He was not going to be caught off guard by any random obstacles.

Tanner Foust passed Sebastien Loeb heading to the Switch Zone in the Copper X Prix. (Photo by Sam Bagnall / LAT Images)

In the Copper X Prix finale, he pressured one of the best rally drivers in the history of the sport.

Pitching sideways through a tight left-hander late in his stint, Foust put his McLaren Extreme E Odyssey at the head of the pack in front of Sebastien Loeb as they headed to the Switch Zone. There, he would turn the car over to his co-driver Gilmour.

The Extreme E series pairs male and female drivers with both taking a turn behind the wheel.

After the driver change, Gilmour lost the lead momentarily to Loeb’s teammate Cristina Gutierrez, but as they charged toward the finish line, she surged ahead and crossed under the checkers first.

“What an improvement for the team over this year,” Foust said after the race. “We have struggled through some of the events, being in our first year in competition. We showed true pace this weekend; overtaking Sebastien Loeb was a highlight.

“Emma put in a great run in the Final. I was fortunate to go from last to first in the Crazy Race and then first in the Final but with some flag penalties, we had 20 seconds added to our time, which put us into fifth. It was a great feeling crossing the line first, I love this wide style track and the NEOM McLaren Odyssey was fantastic here.

“Hopefully we can continue that momentum into Uruguay.”

Loeb and Gutierrez were elevated to the top of the podium, but no one can take away the feeling of crossing under the checkers first.

Racing Responsibly

Since cars were first invented, racing has played a socially responsible role by improving safety. As Earth reaches a tipping point with climate change, racing needs to adapt to these new needs and requirements, which is where Extreme E’s unique strategy becomes increasingly important.

The Extreme E experience is more than simple racing. Each race is accompanied by a legacy program designed to offset damage done by climate change and to erase the footprint caused by the events.

Foust, a biology major from the University of Colorado, was given the chance to rekindle his interest and give back to the environment ahead of the Copper X Prix.

The Atacama is the oldest desert in the world at 150 million years. It is the driest place on earth and has the highest degree of ultraviolet light. And yet somehow life perseveres through underground rivers with oases dating back to Incan times. Foust participated in preparing a local habitat for the reintroduction of a critically endangered water frog to Chile’s longest river, the Loa, which snakes its way through the desert.

“I’m loving the experience,” Foust said. “I’m putting on a lot of Chapstick, a lot of sunscreen. What a fascinating part of the world. I never would have come here otherwise.

“I honestly am very honored to be a part of this sport. I am a huge believer in the fact that motorsports has done us good in the last 100 years. I think we benefit every single time we put our seatbelts on and drive down the road to the lessons learned in racing since the turn of the century. And I really hope motorsports continues that tradition.

“I think that motorsports like [Extreme E] does it in a responsible way, a gender-neutral way and a carbon-neutral way.”