NHRA: Pedregon, Langdon, McGaha and Smith all No. 1 for Gatornationals final eliminations on Sunday

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Even though he hails from Southern California, Auto-Plus Raceway in Gainesville, Fla., has become Cruz Pedregon’s home away from home.

For the fourth consecutive year and sixth time overall, Pedregon will go into Sunday’s final eliminations of the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals as the No. 1 qualifier in Funny Car.

Pedregon set a track record with a 4.022 second run at 312.13 mph Saturday to earn the No. 1 spot. The two-time Funny Car world champion is looking for his second career win at Gainesville, having won there in 1998.

“Conditions were very similar to when we ran Friday,” said Pedregon, who was the provisional No. 1 after Friday’s qualifying, as well. “We were trying to be steady today and not really try to improve the time. We figured if it was there, it was there.”

Del Worsham qualified second (4.057 seconds at 312.57 mph), while John Force qualified third (4.068 seconds at 315.19 mph).

In Top Fuel, Shawn Langdon knocked Tony Schumacher off the pole with a run of 3.765 seconds at 325.45 mph in his Alan Johnson Racing dragster.

Langdon, who won the 2013 Top Fuel championship, is seeking his second win of 2015, having won the season-opener at Pomona. He also reached the semifinals two weeks ago at Phoenix.

“We wanted to come out and make a strong run in that early session,” said Langdon, who has never won the Gatornationals. “We knew it was going to heat up for the later session today. We really felt that was the run to go after. Luckily it held and it was basically what we were trying to run.”

Spencer Massey qualified No. 2 (3.793 seconds) and set track speed record of 329.02 mph. Doug Kalitta, who won this event last year, qualified third (3.796 seconds at 323.58 mph).

Of note in Saturday’s Top Fuel sessions, three-time world champion Larry Dixon was uninjured in a spectacular crash. However, because his dragster is unable to be repaired, he will not race in Sunday’s eliminations.

In Pro Stock, Chris McGaha held on to his No. 1 run from Friday (6.507 seconds, 213.73 mph) to take the pole for Sunday’s eliminations. It was his first career pole at Gainesville and the third in his career.

But more importantly, McGaha hopes to earn the first national event win of his Pro Stock career.

“The No. 1 position is good,” McGaha said, but added, “I’ve still got to win a race, I can’t lose focus here. It’s one round at a time.”

Two-time world champ Jason Line qualified No. 2 (6.522 seconds, 212.69 mph) at 212.69 and is seeking his fifth career win at Gainesville.

Points leader Rodger Brogdon qualified No. 3 (6.526 seconds, 212.93 mph).

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, two-time world champ Matt Smith overtook Angelle Sampey, who was the provisional pole winner on Friday, with a strong run on Saturday (6.793 seconds, 197.74 mph) to go into Sunday’s eliminations as No. 1.

It was Smith’s third No. 1 at Gainesville and the 23rd of his career. In an interesting twist, Matt Smith will face fellow racer and wife Angie Smith in Sunday’s first round.

Angie beat Matt in their only prior meeting last year in New Hampshire for her first career NHRA win.

Sampey qualified No. 2 (6.872 seconds, 194.74 mph), while Eddie Krawiec was No. 3 (6.873 seconds, 195.48 mph).

Final eliminations begin Sunday at 11 am ET.

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Sunday’s first round pairings:

Top Fuel — 1. Shawn Langdon, 3.765 seconds, 325.45 mph  vs. 16. Morgan Lucas, 3.963, 300.40; 2. Spencer Massey, 3.793, 329.02  vs. 15. Chris Karamesines, 3.904, 313.51; 3. Doug Kalitta, 3.796, 323.58  vs. 14. J.R. Todd, 3.891, 312.86; 4. Tony Schumacher, 3.796, 323.43  vs. 13. Terry McMillen, 3.874, 319.29; 5. Leah Pritchett, 3.809, 321.81  vs. 12. Clay Millican, 3.867, 310.34; 6. Antron Brown, 3.811, 314.09  vs. 11. Larry Dixon, 3.851, 319.52; 7. Brittany Force, 3.817, 318.09  vs. 10. Dave Connolly, 3.850, 316.38; 8. Richie Crampton, 3.829, 319.14  vs. 9. Steve Torrence, 3.843, 320.81. Did Not Qualify: 17. Pat Dakin, 3.967, 298.54; 18. Shawn Reed, 4.015, 311.05; 19. Ike Maier, 4.137, 243.06; 20. Cory McClenathan, 4.666, 162.06.

Funny Car — 1. Cruz Pedregon, Toyota Camry, 4.022, 312.13  vs. 16. Dave Richards, Toyota Solara, 4.464, 227.84; 2. Del Worsham, Camry, 4.057, 312.57  vs. 15. Blake Alexander, Dodge Charger, 4.349, 223.69; 3. John Force, Chevy Camaro, 4.068, 315.19  vs. 14. John Hale, Charger, 4.304, 234.04; 4. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 4.080, 312.64  vs. 13. Tony Pedregon, Camry, 4.194, 297.88; 5. Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.081, 309.56  vs. 12. Chad Head, Camry, 4.126, 303.30; 6. Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.083, 314.17  vs. 11. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 4.116, 308.14; 7. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.088, 311.63  vs. 10. Robert Hight, Chevrolet Camaro, 4.113, 310.05; 8. Courtney Force, Camaro, 4.104, 312.13  vs. 9. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.108, 313.29. Did Not Qualify: 17. Jeff Diehl, 10.394, 85.32.

Pro Stock — 1. Chris McGaha, Chevy Camaro, 6.507, 212.76  vs. Bye; 2. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.522, 213.13  vs. 15. Alan Prusiensky, Dodge Avenger, 6.662, 208.94; 3. Rodger Brogdon, Camaro, 6.526, 213.10  vs. 14. John Gaydosh Jr, Pontiac GXP, 6.636, 209.52; 4. Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.526, 212.93  vs. 13. V. Gaines, Dodge Dart, 6.603, 211.36; 5. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.529, 213.03  vs. 12. Larry Morgan, Camaro, 6.583, 212.53; 6. Allen Johnson, Dart, 6.530, 212.90  vs. 11. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.562, 212.19; 7. Erica Enders-Stevens, Camaro, 6.551, 212.36  vs. 10. Jimmy Alund, GXP, 6.561, 212.06; 8. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.553, 212.26  vs. 9. Jonathan Gray, Camaro, 6.555, 211.76.

Pro Stock Motorcycle — 1. Matt Smith, Victory, 6.867, 194.02  vs. 16. Angie Smith, Victory, 6.992, 189.20; 2. Angelle Sampey, Buell, 6.872, 194.74  vs. 15. Chaz Kennedy, Buell, 6.985, 190.27; 3. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.873, 195.48  vs. 14. Mike Berry, Buell, 6.984, 190.62; 4. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.877, 195.11  vs. 13. Scotty Pollacheck, Buell, 6.976, 190.40; 5. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 6.883, 196.76  vs. 12. Shawn Gann, Buell, 6.965, 191.92; 6. Hector Arana, Buell, 6.887, 196.10  vs. 11. Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.957, 191.59; 7. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.891, 194.88  vs. 10. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6. Did Not Qualify: 17. Fredrik Fredlund, 7.015, 191.08; 18. Eddie Reed, 7.015, 190.27; 19. Brian Pretzel, 7.047, 188.81; 20. Redell Harris, 7.178, 190.92; 21. Joe DeSantis, 7.391, 142.26; 22. Roy Olsen, 7.541, 180.02; 23. Lance Bonham, 8.358, 177.25.

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2023 SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Houston: Eli Tomac retakes 450 lead, Hunter Lawrence tops 250s

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After his Anaheim 2 crash, Eli Tomac was surprised he was not injured, but despite getting knocked down momentarily, he picked himself up, rode to last week’s win and reascended to the top of the SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Houston. This is the third time in three weeks Tomac has topped the rankings.

SuperMotocross Power Rankings Houston
Jason Anderson has back-to-back podiums to his credit and sits second in the Power Rankings. – Feld Motor Sports/MX Sports Pro Racing/Align Media

Last week, Tomac finished second in his heat before winning the Main – and that translated to near-perfect points in the Power Rankings, which award 100 for a win in the feature and 90 for a heat victory. Tomac’s average was marred by the Houston accident when he finished 13th in that heat before settling just outside the top five in overall standings. Racing is about bouncing back and last year’s Supercross and Motocross champion Tomac did just that as he chases a third consecutive title.

Jason Anderson earned his second consecutive podium finish with a third at Houston. He momentarily rolled past Aaron Plessinger into second during a restart following an accident involving Dylan Ferrandis and held that position for four trips around the track until he was tracked down by Chase Sexton. Afterward Anderson faded and finished 12 seconds off the pace, but along with a heat win, he easily leapfrogged Ken Roczen and Cooper Webb, who struggled in the fourth race of the season.

MORE: Eli Tomac rebounds from Anaheim 2 crash with Houston win

Webb held his position by passing Roczen in NBC’s SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Houston. Webb has been solid in 2023 with a worst moto result of seventh in the first Triple Crown race at Anaheim 2, but in order to be considered a solid challenger to Tomac he needs to win either a heat or main this week in Tampa.

Roczen was involved in the incident that sidelined Ferrandis in Houston. Racing for eighth at the time, his bike may have sustained some damage when Ferrandis landed on his back tire, but he was not overly impressive in his heat either with a fifth-place finish. That was enough to drop him three positions in the standings, but he still has Tomac in sight.

After his disappointing heat in San Diego when he crashed and sustained enough damage to place him last, Sexton has roared back. He won the overall in Anaheim 2’s Triple Crown format and narrowed the points’ gap slightly on Tomac. Last week he yarded the field in his heat race and won by a wide margin. A modest start in the Main kept him from getting to Tomac’s back wheel early in the Houston round, and he lost a little ground in the championship.

450 Rankings

This
Week
Rider Power
Avg.
Last
Week
Diff.
1 Eli Tomac
[3 Main; 3 Heats Wins]
85.20 2 1
2 Jason Anderson
[2 Heat Wins]
82.60 4 2
3 Cooper Webb 82.10 3 0
4 Ken Roczen 81.70 1 -3
5 Chase Sexton
[1 Main; 3 Heat Wins]
80.70 6 1
6 Dylan Ferrandis 71.60 5 -1
7 Aaron Plessinger 71.30 8 1
8 Justin Barcia 70.10 7 -1
9 Justin Cooper 68.00 NA
10 Adam Cianciarulo 67.40 9 -1
11 Joey Savatgy 61.20 10 -1
12 Marvin Musquin 61.00 10 -2
13 Malcolm Stewart
[1 Heat Win]
58.75 11 -2
14 Christian Craig 57.20 13 -1
15 Colt Nichols 56.50 14 -1
16 Dean Wilson 49.30 15 -1
17 Justin Hill 39.67 18 1
18 Shane McElrath 36.33 22 4
19 Brandon Scharer 34.00 21 2
20 Logan Karnow 33.33 19 -1

Supercross 450 Points


The 250 East division debuted in Houston and with only one race – and therefore no chance yet to stumble – three of their riders jumped to the top of the chart.

Hunter Lawrence had a perfect week with wins in both his main and heat. It wasn’t without drama, however, as he was forced to jump wide early in the feature to avoid contact with Tom Vialle, who was making his Supercross debut. Without a former 250 champion in the field, it is guaranteed someone new will grace the top of the box at Salt Lake City after the season-ender and it looks like it’s going to be Lawrence’s to lose.

SuperMotocross Power Rankings Houston
Jordon Smith’s last podium before Houston came four years ago in Detroit. – Feld Motor Sports/MX Sports Pro Racing/Align Media

It was more than four years ago that Jordon Smith scored his last Supercross podium in Detroit. Despite finishing second that afternoon, he was battling a wrist injury that eventually sidelined him. More injuries have followed, but Smith was a favorite to win the title in 2019 and he’s shown how well he can ride when he’s healthy.

Debuting third in the Houston SuperMotocross Power Rankings, Max Anstie moved from the 450 class last year to 250s in 2023 and the change has gone better than he anticipated. Finishing second in both his heat and main, Anstie was edged by Smith because he finished second behind that rider in their heat. That is Anstie’s first top-10 since finishing sixth at Southwick, Massachusetts last year on his 450. In that race, he scored fifth-place results in both motos.

Supercross 250 Points

Haiden Deegan proved the hype surrounding his graduation into the 250 class was well deserved and he landed fourth in his division and fifth overall in the SuperMotocross Power Rankings. In his first professional Supercross race, he finished fourth in his heat. In a field with twice the talent, he finished fourth again in the main. At Houston, he balanced aggression with patience. Now that he has a taste of that success, everyone will be watching him closely at Tampa to see if he can continue tiptoeing on the line.

Michael Mosiman, Jeremy Martin, and Vialle are tied for fifth in the 250 East division and seventh overall.

Vialle is the most notable of these three because he challenged for a podium position during the Main before making a mistake and falling in a turn. Significantly, this was not only his 250 debut, but his first time in Supercross. As with Deegan, he has generated a lot of attention for the coming weeks.

250 Rankings

This
Week
Rider Power
Avg.
Last
Week
Diff.
1 Hunter Lawrence – E
[1 Main; 1 Heat Win]
95.00 NA
2 Jordon Smith – E
[1 Heat Win]
90.50 NA
2 Max Anstie – E 90.50 NA
4 Jett Lawrence – W
[2 Main; 2 Heat Wins]
89.13 1 -3
5 Haiden Deegan – E 81.50 NA
6 Cameron McAdoo – W
[1 Heat Win]
77.63 2 -4
7 Mitchell Oldenburg – W 77.00 3 -4
7 Michael Mosiman – E 77.00 NA
7 Jeremy Martin – E 77.00 NA
7 Tom Vialle – E 77.00 NA
11 Stilez Robertson – W
[1 Heat Win]
76.75 4 -7
12 Chance Hymas – E 74.50 -12
13 Levi Kitchen – W
[1 Main Win]
73.75 5 -8
14 RJ Hampshire – W
[3 Heat Wins]
70.00 6 -8
15 Max Vohland – W 69.29 7 -8
16 Cullin Park – E 66.00 NA
17 Chris Blose – E 65.50 NA
18 Derek Kelley – W 63.75 8 -10
19 Enzo Lopes – W 63.25 9 -10
20 Pierce Brown – W 61.29 10 -10

* The NBC Power Rankings assign 100 points to a Main event winner and 90 points for each Heat and Triple Crown win, (Triple Crown wins are included with heat wins below the rider’s name). The points decrement by a percentage equal to the number of riders in the field until the last place rider in each event receives five points. The Power Ranking is the average of these percentage points over the past 45 days.

POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 3 AT ANAHEIM 2: Consistency makes Ken Roczen king
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 2 AT SAN DIEGO: Roczen moves up, Chase Sexton falls
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 1 AT ANAHEIM 1: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence gain an early advantage