NHRA: Beckman blazes to second Funny Car win of season at Kansas; Crampton, Enders-Stevens also win

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Despite issues with rain all weekend, the NHRA was finally able to get in all rounds of final eliminations in Sunday’s Kansas Nationals finals at Heartland Park in Topeka, Ks.

Winners were Jack Beckman (Funny Car), Richie Crampton (Top Fuel) and Erica Enders-Stevens (Pro Stock).

Beckman (3.984 seconds at 316.45 mph) defeated 16-time Funny Car champ John Force (4.002 seconds/324.51 mph) in the final round in an event that was spectacular when it came to speed.

As the NHRA said in its post-race media release, “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.”

“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.”

It was Beckman’s second win of the season, 17th of his career and second in Topeka.

Ironically, it was Force’s former crew chief, Jimmy Prock, that led Beckman to the win over the rest of the field, including his own boss.

“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 Jimmy Prock tune-up, (the car) is so much fun to drive.”

While Beckman moved into third place in the NHRA Funny Car standings, teammates Ron Capps and defending world champ Matt Hagan remain 1-2.

In the final round of Top Fuel, Crampton (3.738 seconds at 318.09 mph) earned his second win of the season and fourth career victory, beating Larry Dixon (3.787 seconds at 308.28 mph).

“It’s huge to get two wins so early in this sophomore season; it’s surreal,” said Crampton, who 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.”

There had been some concern that the race would not be held after the Topeka City Council rejected a bid to purchase Heartland Park two weeks ago.

But NHRA stepped in to oversee most activities and to assure a successful event would be held.

Antron Brown, who lost in the second round of eliminations to Dixon, remains atop the Top Fuel points standings with a 53-point lead over teammate and defending champ Tony Schumacher. With the win, Crampton moved into third place in the standings.

In Pro Stock, 2014 season champ Enders-Stevens (6.584 seconds at 209.33 mph) earned her third win of the season, defeating Greg Anderson (6.591 seconds at 209.14 mph).

“The last time we did this was Norwalk last year — low e.t. of every round of qualifying and eliminations,” Enders-Stevens said. “It’s definitely a feat, especially with Pro Stock being as competitive as it is.”

Enders-Stevens added a bit of good-natured talk about her rivalry with Anderson.

“I know he 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 win, Enders-Stevens takes over the top spot in the Pro Stock points standings. Former points leader Jason Line drops to second, while Anderson remains in third.

The next NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event – the ninth race on the 24-race national schedule – is in two weeks, June 4-7, with the Toyota Summernationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, N.J.

FINAL FINISHING ORDER:

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.

FINAL RESULTS:

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.

FINAL ROUND-BY-ROUND RESULTS: 

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.

UPDATED POINTS STANDINGS:

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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