NHRA: Jack Beckman (54 races), Larry Morgan (120 races) snap lengthy winless streaks in 4-Wide Nationals

2 Comments

Two veteran drag racers snapped lengthy winless streaks in Sunday’s final round of the NHRA 4-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Concord, N.C.

Funny Car driver Jack Beckman snapped a 54-race winless drought, while Larry Morgan snapped an even longer streak of 120 races without a win.

Beckman claimed victory with a run of 3.983 seconds at 308.78 mph over Del Worsham (who takes over the Funny Car points lead), Chad Head and Tommy Johnson Jr.

It was Beckman’s first win since St. Louis, nearly 2 ½ years ago, also the same season he won the NHRA Funny Car world championship.

It was also Beckman’s 16th career national event win, his third at zMAX Dragway and second in the six-year history of the unique 4-Wide event.

“I can’t guarantee we’ll win another race this season,” Beckman said in an NHRA media release. “I think we will, but I can’t say for 100 percent. But, I know for sure we’ll be better than we were today.

“Jimmy [Prock, crew chief] and the team will be even better the rest of the year because they’re getting better every race. All the little things are coming together and now the car is doing what they hope it will.”

In Pro Stock, Morgan held off Greg Anderson, Vincent Nobile and Jonathan Gray in the final round. Morgan won with a career-best 6.464 at 214.52 mph.

“I knew I could still drive,” Morgan said of his 11th career victory, and his first win since Las Vegas in October 2009. “I just needed to get the right financial backing and hook up with Johnny Gray to get some horsepower.

“Jerry Haas built me a new car in 30 days, and a lot of other great people helped me get to the winner’s circle today. I’ve surrounded myself with good people, and that’s how you win. It wasn’t just one guy who won today, it was a team effort.”

Even though he fell short of reaching the final round, Jason Line took over the points lead in Pro Stock.

In Top Fuel, Antron Brown earned his second consecutive 4-Wide victory with a winning pass of 3.749 seconds at 319.90 mph, defeating Steve Torrence, Richie Crampton and Clay Millican.

Brown is now just two wins away from 50 in his NHRA career as both a Top Fuel driver and Pro Stock Motorcycle rider.

It was also the 44th time that two Don Schumacher Racing teammates have won their respective classes in the same NHRA national event.

“It’s been an incredible run at this race,” Brown said. “You have to dig deep to win races like this.

“We’ve had a long road with a new combination. We’ve had some gremlins, but in the final we laid down the gauntlet to bring the win home. It was also huge for the bossman [Don Schumacher] to double up. I hope we can keep that streak going for him.”

In addition to the win, Brown also takes over the Top Fuel points lead after the first four races of the season.

Lastly, in Pro Stock Motorcycle, defending series champ Andrew Hines (6.805 seconds at 196.30 mph) won his first race of the season and 39th of his career, defeating Eddie Krawiec (who takes over the lead in the standings), Scotty Pollacheck and Hector Arana Jr. in the final round.

It was also Hines’ second 4-Wide triumph and fourth in total at zMAX Dragway.

“We got on the dyno last week and tried a few things,” Hines said. “We followed through and my V-Rod got us to the final round. We just went out and did what our team does best.”

The next NHRA national event will be the Summit.com Nationals, April 10-12 at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

FINAL ROUND RESULTS:
Top Fuel — Antron Brown, 3.749 seconds, 319.90 mph def. Steve Torrence, 3.847 seconds, 317.57 mph and Richie Crampton, 4.030 seconds, 277.15 mph and Clay Millican, 5.526 seconds, 128.02 mph.
Funny Car — Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger, 3.983, 308.78 def. Del Worsham, Toyota Camry, 4.012, 314.24 and Chad Head, Camry, 7.455, 92.95 and Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 12.177, 40.68.
Pro Stock — Larry Morgan, Chevy Camaro, 6.464, 214.52 def. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.475, 214.93 and Jonathan Gray, Camaro, 6.498, 214.72 and Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.508, 214.25.
Pro Stock Motorcycle — Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.805, 196.30 def. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.812, 195.19 and Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.804, 199.88 and Scotty Pollacheck, Buell, foul.

FINAL FINISHING ORDER
TOP FUEL: 1.  Antron Brown; 2.  Steve Torrence; 3.  Richie Crampton; 4.  Clay Millican; 5.  Tony Schumacher; 6.  Doug Kalitta; 7.  Brittany Force; 8.  Dave Connolly; 9.  Spencer Massey; 10.  Pat Dakin; 11. J.R. Todd; 12.  Larry Dixon; 13.  Ike Maier; 14.  Shawn Langdon; 15.  Leah Pritchett; 16.  Chris Karamesines.
FUNNY CAR: 1.  Jack Beckman; 2.  Del Worsham; 3.  Chad Head; 4.  Tommy Johnson Jr.; 5.  John Force; 6.  Robert Hight; 7.  Cruz Pedregon; 8.  John Hale; 9.  Tony Pedregon; 10.  Ron Capps; 11.  Dale Creasy Jr.; 12.  Courtney Force; 13.  Alexis DeJoria; 14.  Paul Lee; 15.  Tim Wilkerson; 16.  Matt Hagan.
PRO STOCK: 1.  Larry Morgan; 2.  Greg Anderson; 3.  Jonathan Gray; 4.  Vincent Nobile; 5.  Jimmy Alund; 6. Chris McGaha; 7.  Jason Line; 8.  Erica Enders-Stevens; 9.  Allen Johnson; 10.  Drew Skillman; 11. Shane Gray; 12.  Rodger Brogdon; 13.  Buddy Perkinson; 14.  V. Gaines; 15.  John Gaydosh Jr; 16. Mark Hogan.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1.  Andrew Hines; 2.  Eddie Krawiec; 3.  Hector Arana Jr; 4.  Scotty Pollacheck; 5.  Chaz Kennedy; 6.  Mike Berry; 7.  Matt Smith; 8.  LE Tonglet; 9.  Freddie Camarena; 10.  Katie Sullivan; 11. Angelle Sampey; 12.  Brian Pretzel; 13.  Hector Arana; 14.  Karen Stoffer; 15.  Shawn Gann; 16. Jim Underdahl.

FINAL ROUND-BY-ROUND RESULTS:
TOP FUEL: ROUND ONE — Steve Torrence, 3.799, 314.24 and Doug Kalitta, 3.912, 252.52 def. Spencer Massey, 4.101, 313.29 and Ike Maier, 6.797, 169.25; Brittany Force, 5.041, 184.85 and Richie Crampton, 7.020, 111.34 def. Pat Dakin, 7.188, 88.47 and Chris Karamesines, 10.782, 54.11; Tony Schumacher, 3.720, 319.37 and Clay Millican, 3.755, 318.09 def. Larry Dixon, 8.328, 87.10 and Leah Pritchett, 9.436, 92.86; Antron Brown, 3.771, 313.58 and Dave Connolly, 3.944, 301.07 def. J.R. Todd, 7.389, 84.37 and Shawn Langdon, 8.257, 85.87.
SEMIFINALS — Brown, 5.817, 185.00 and Torrence, 6.019, 200.95 def. Kalitta, 7.786, 100.73 and Crampton, 3.741, 324.12 and Millican, 3.801, 310.77 def. Schumacher, 4.109, 242.98 and Force, 8.096, 98.46.
FINAL — Brown, 3.749, 319.90 def. Torrence, 3.847, 317.57, Crampton, 4.030, 277.15 and Millican, 5.526, 128.02.

FUNNY CAR: ROUND ONE — Del Worsham, Toyota Camry, 4.040, 306.26 and Chad Head, Camry, 4.464, 227.96 def. Dale Creasy Jr., Chevy Impala, 7.691, 89.70 and Courtney Force, Chevy Camaro, 8.579, 80.65; Robert Hight, Chevrolet Camaro, 4.027, 304.05 and John Force, Camaro, 4.250, 278.69 def. Tony Pedregon, Camry, 5.386, 142.85 and Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 10.200, 80.97; Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger, 4.051, 304.05 and Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 7.803, 92.73 def. Paul Lee, Charger, 11.704, 77.05 and Ron Capps, Charger, DQ; Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 4.167, 299.46 and John Hale, Charger, 4.219, 244.56 def. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 12.157, 99.80 and Matt Hagan, Charger, DQ.
SEMIFINALS — Beckman, 4.000, 309.34 and Johnson Jr., 4.132, 301.20 def. J. Force, 9.267, 81.00 and Hight, 8.104, 81.89; Worsham, 4.067, 288.64 and Head, 4.080, 303.09 def. Hale, 16.578, 50.85 and C. Pedregon, broke.
FINAL — Beckman, 3.983, 308.78 def. Worsham, 4.012, 314.24, Head, 7.455, 92.95 and Johnson Jr., 12.177, 40.68.

PRO STOCK: ROUND ONE — Jonathan Gray, Chevy Camaro, 6.465, 214.11 and Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.467, 215.13 def. Allen Johnson, Dodge Dart, 6.463, 214.42 and V. Gaines, Dart, 6.626, 209.17; Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.479, 213.74 and Jimmy Alund, Pontiac GXP, 6.536, 213.27 def. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.491, 214.04 and Mark Hogan, GXP, broke; Jason Line, Camaro, 6.455, 214.48 and Larry Morgan, Camaro, 6.501, 214.42 def. Rodger Brogdon, Camaro, 7.919, 125.44 and John Gaydosh Jr, GXP, 12.365, 71.09; Erica Enders-Stevens, Camaro, 6.521, 214.42 and Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.481, 214.28 def. Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.524, 213.37 and Buddy Perkinson, Dodge Avenger, 6.550, 212.19.
SEMIFINALS — J. Gray, 6.488, 214.18 and Anderson, 6.478, 215.48 def. McGaha, 21.771, 28.79 and Enders-Stevens, 22.958, 26.43; Morgan, 6.477, 214.25 and Nobile, 6.480, 213.77 def. Alund, 6.525, 214.01 and Line, 9.255, 100.14.
FINAL — Morgan, 6.464, 214.52 def. Anderson, 6.475, 214.93, J. Gray, 6.498, 214.72 and Nobile, 6.508, 214.25.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: ROUND ONE — Eddie Krawiec, Harley V-Rod, 6.818, 193.07 and LE Tonglet, Suzuki GSXR, 6.849, 195.76 def. Freddie Camarena, GSXR, 6.842, 197.16 and Shawn Gann, Buell XB9R, 7.057, 172.10; Matt Smith, Victory Gunner, 6.865, 191.38 and Scotty Pollacheck, Buell XB12R, 6.895, 192.44 def. Angelle Sampey, 6.938, 191.97 and Hector Arana, XB9R, 6.948, 191.59; Andrew Hines, V-Rod, 6.815, 194.77 and Mike Berry, XB9R, 6.887, 192.03 def. Brian Pretzel, Buell GSXR, 6.940, 187.86 and Karen Stoffer, Suzuki TL1000R, 6.963, 184.17; Hector Arana Jr, XB9R, 6.860, 198.12 and Chaz Kennedy, XB9R, 6.823, 194.66 def. Katie Sullivan, TL1000, 6.911, 195.42 and Jim Underdahl, GSXR, 7.490, 147.10.
SEMIFINALS — Krawiec, 6.839, 193.54 and Arana Jr, 6.795, 199.26 def. Kennedy, 6.889, 193.24 and Tonglet, 6.970, 191.21; Hines, 6.816, 195.34 and Pollacheck, 6.869, 192.28 def. Berry, 6.906, 193.43 and M. Smith, 6.899, 191.67.
FINAL — Hines, 6.805, 196.30 def. Krawiec, 6.812, 195.19, Arana Jr, 6.804, 199.88 and Pollacheck, foul.

POINTS STANDINGS:
Top Fuel: 1. Antron Brown, 354; 2. Tony Schumacher, 328; 3. Shawn Langdon, 312; 4. Spencer Massey, 286; 5. Doug Kalitta, 238; 6. Richie Crampton, 232; 7. Steve Torrence, 213; 8. Brittany Force, 192; 9. Clay Millican, 189; 10. J.R. Todd, 180.
Funny Car: 1. Del Worsham, 305; 2.  Matt Hagan, 303; 3.  Ron Capps, 279; 4.  Tommy Johnson Jr., 239; 5. Robert Hight, 230; 6.  John Hale, 224; 7.  Jack Beckman, 208; 8. Cruz Pedregon, 206; 9. Courtney Force, 198; 10. Alexis DeJoria, 193.
Pro Stock: 1.  Jason Line, 359; 2.  Rodger Brogdon, 316; 3.  Greg Anderson, 299; 4. Chris McGaha, 283; 5. Erica Enders-Stevens, 268; 6. Drew Skillman, 266; 7. Larry Morgan, 234; 8. Shane Gray, 199; 9. Vincent Nobile, 193; 10.  Allen Johnson, 176.
Pro Stock Motorcycle: 1.  Eddie Krawiec, 192; 2. Andrew Hines, 180; 3.  Karen Stoffer, 148; 4. LE Tonglet, 128; 5. Hector Arana Jr., 116; 6. (tie) Shawn Gann, 103; Angelle Sampey, 103; Scotty Pollacheck, 103; 9.  Matt Smith, 94; 10.  Hector Arana, 88.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Toyota No. 8 car wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for third consecutive year

24 Hours of Le Mans
JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images
3 Comments

LE MANS, France — Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 car comfortably won the 24 Hours of Le Mans by five laps Sunday to secure a third straight victory in the prestigious endurance race.

It was also a third consecutive win for Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima driving. Brendon Hartley was the other driver, having replaced two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Buemi and Hartley sat on the side of the car as Nakajima drove toward the podium. Hartley won for a second time after tasting success with the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 before an unhappy season in Formula One.

The Swiss team’s Rebellion No. 1 featured American driver Gustavo Menezes and Brazilian Bruno Senna – the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna.

It finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7, with Rebellion’s No. 3 finishing in fourth place.

For much of the race it looked like Toyota’s No. 7 would win after leading comfortably from pole position. But late into the night the car encountered an engine problem and the 30-minute stop in the stands proved costly.

The race was first held in 1923. A total of 252,500 spectators attended in 2019, but there were none this year when the race started three months late because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We miss the fans,” New Zealander Hartley said. “I look forward to seeing all the fans again.”

In other divisions:

United Autosports won the LMP2 division with the entry of Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson.

–In LMGTE Pro, the victory was claimed by Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell (who drives for Mazda in the DPi division of IMSA).

–TF Sport won the LMGTE Am class.

The Toyota No. 7 took pole after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi narrowly edged out the Rebellion No. 1 team in qualifying.

In damp and humid conditions Mike Conway got away cleanly from the start, while Senna held off Buemi.

After nearly seven hours, Toyota’s No. 8 fell back after a 10-minute stop in the stands to fix a brake-cooling problem on Kazuki Nakajima’s car. Rebellion’s No. 1, driven by Frenchman Norman Nato, took advantage to move into second place behind Toyota’s No. 7.

Then came the decisive moment at 2:40 a.m. as the No. 7 – also featuring Argentine Jose Maria Lopez – encountered a turbo problem. When the car came back out it was back in fourth.

“We had a few problems early in the race,” Nakajima said. “Later they had a bigger issue than us.”

Rebellion’s No. 1 encountered a problem on the hood at around 9 a.m. and the change took six minutes, allowing the Rebellion No. 3 (Nathanael Berthon-Louis Deletraz-Romain Dumas) to close the gap.

It was becoming a tight battle between the two Rebellion cars behind Toyota’s No. 8.

At 12 p.m. Rebellion No. 3 with Dumas behind the wheel was only one second ahead of No. 1 driven by Menezes. Then both cars came in for a driver change with Deletraz swapping for Dumas on a lengthy stop, and Nato for Menezes as Rebellion No. 1 suddenly moved ahead of its team rival.

Dumas, a winner in 2016 with Porsche, appeared unhappy at the strategy decision to bring his car in first and the length of the stop. There were tense explanations in the team garage.

Colombian Tatiana Calderon, an F1 test driver with Alfa Romeo, was in the Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 category. She was joined by German Sophia Florsch – an F3 driver – and Dutchwoman Beitske Visser. They placed ninth out of 24 in their category.