NHRA: Millican, Hagan, Nobile, Savoie all No. 1 after 2nd day of U.S. Nationals qualifying

(Photos/videos courtesy NHRA)

BROWNSBURG, INDIANA – There’s one more day to go to determine who will get to dance in Monday’s final eliminations of the “Big Go.”

The “Big Go” is the nickname for the biggest race of the NHRA season, the 62nd Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway.

After the first three qualifying rounds (one on Friday, two on Saturday), here’s how each class stacks up heading into Sunday’s final two rounds of qualifying:

TOP FUEL: Clay Millican (with a track record 3.692 elapsed time), Steve Torrence, Brittany Force, Tony Schumacher, Antron Brown, Doug Kalitta, Shawn Langdon, Morgan Lucas, J.R. Todd, Leah Pritchett, Richie Crampton and TJ Zizzo.

FUNNY CAR: Matt Hagan, Jack Beckman (with a track speed record of 333.08 mph), Ron Capps, Courtney Force, Tommy Johnson Jr., John Force, Del Worsham, Robert Hight, Tim Wilkerson, Alexis DeJoria, John Hale and Jim Campbell.

Of note: two-time champion Cruz Pedregon has struggled during qualifying and sits 18th on the grid after Saturday.

PRO STOCK: Vincent Nobile, Shane Gray, Greg Anderson, Bo Butner, Alex Laughlin, Jason Line, Allen Johnson, Aaron Strong, Matt Hartford, Chris McGaha, Deric Kramer and Erica Enders.

Sitting below the qualifying cutoff line includes Jeg Coughlin and Drew Skillman.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: Jerry Savoie, Angelle Sampey, Eddie Krawiec, Andrew Hines, Cory Reed, LE Tonglet, Hector Arana Jr., Chip Ellis, Matt Smith, Jim Underdahl, Hector Arana and Michael Ray.

Below the qualifying cutoff line include Steve Johnson, Karen Stoffer, Scotty Pollacheck and Angie Smith.


Top Fuel — 1. Clay Millican, 3.692 seconds, 318.77 mph; 2. Steve Torrence, 3.702, 328.54; 3. Brittany Force, 3.706, 326.00; 4. Tony Schumacher, 3.717, 330.31; 5. Antron Brown, 3.725, 326.00; 6. Doug Kalitta, 3.726, 324.67; 7. Shawn Langdon, 3.731, 327.11; 8. Morgan Lucas, 3.732, 326.63; 9. J.R. Todd, 3.734, 319.37; 10. Leah Pritchett, 3.738, 329.75; 11. Richie Crampton, 3.772, 319.52; 12. T.J. Zizzo, 3.772, 319.82.  Not Qualified: 13. Tripp Tatum, 3.785, 326.00; 14. Terry McMillen, 3.796, 316.45; 15. Wayne Newby, 3.819, 300.00; 16. Bruce Litton, 3.824, 319.14; 17. Luigi Novelli, 3.898, 305.29; 18. Pat Dakin, 4.091, 218.30; 19. Terry Haddock, 4.587, 171.40; 20. Chris Karamesines, 13.701, 56.24.

Funny Car — 1. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 3.858, 330.80; 2. Jack Beckman, Charger, 3.859, 333.08; 3. Ron Capps, Charger, 3.861, 325.30; 4. Courtney Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.867, 327.11; 5. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.868, 329.99; 6. John Force, Camaro, 3.872, 329.58; 7. Del Worsham, Toyota Camry, 3.874, 328.86; 8. Robert Hight, Camaro, 3.881, 330.31; 9. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 3.934, 328.46; 10. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 3.951, 323.89; 11. John Hale, Charger, 3.969, 318.24; 12. Jim Campbell, Charger, 3.977, 315.56.  Not Qualified: 13. John Bojec, 4.007, 299.86; 14. Bob Bode, 4.143, 271.57; 15. Dave Richards, 4.242, 237.67; 16. Justin Schriefer, 4.381, 276.58; 17. Chad Head, 4.449, 194.02; 18. Cruz Pedregon, 7.720, 84.09; 19. Tim Gibbons, 8.594, 84.94.

Pro Stock — 1. Vincent Nobile, Chevy Camaro, 6.582, 210.05; 2. Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.589, 209.52; 3. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.593, 209.72; 4. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.596, 209.69; 5. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.606, 209.20; 6. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.611, 209.52; 7. Allen Johnson, Dodge Dart, 6.611, 208.71; 8. Aaron Strong, Camaro, 6.634, 208.01; 9. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.636, 208.14; 10. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.637, 208.59; 11. Deric Kramer, Dart, 6.640, 207.56; 12. Erica Enders, Dart, 6.648, 208.14.  Not Qualified: 13. Jeg Coughlin, 6.666, 207.05; 14. Drew Skillman, 6.667, 207.94; 15. Kenny Delco, 6.670, 207.34; 16. Shane Tucker, 6.701, 206.80; 17. Curt Steinbach, 6.711, 204.94; 18. Alan Prusiensky, 6.713, 205.94; 19. John Gaydosh Jr, 6.731, 205.07.

Pro Stock Motorcycle — 1. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.841, 195.28; 2. Angelle Sampey, Buell, 6.851, 194.52; 3. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.852, 194.77; 4. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.867, 193.85; 5. Cory Reed, Buell, 6.870, 193.63; 6. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.873, 194.52; 7. Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.874, 194.10; 8. Chip Ellis, Buell, 6.876, 194.46; 9. Matt Smith, Victory, 6.876, 193.52; 10. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 6.912, 194.16; 11. Hector Arana, Buell, 6.918, 194.04; 12. Michael Ray, Buell, 6.929, 193.99.  Not Qualified: 13. Steve Johnson, 6.929, 193.40; 14. Karen Stoffer, 6.942, 193.52; 15. Joey Gladstone, 6.950, 191.73; 16. Mark Paquette, 6.959, 192.38; 17. Scotty Pollacheck, 6.969, 192.30; 18. Joe DeSantis, 6.987, 190.40; 19. Melissa Surber, 6.997, 191.92; 20. Angie Smith, 7.050, 188.57; 21. Lance Bonham, 7.279, 180.40; 22. Kristen Ashby, 7.338, 181.11; 23. Anthony Vanetti, 7.653, 186.33.


In the conclusion of the Pro Stock final round from the weather-postponed race at Seattle a month ago, Aaron Strong pulled one of the biggest upsets in the class in a long time, defeating heavily favored Vincent Nobile.

Nobile fouled at the starting line, giving Strong an unfettered route to victory.

Appearing in only his ninth career Pro Stock race and his first final in the class, Strong became the 62nd different winner in the history of the class.

“I can’t even believe it,” Strong told NHRA.com. “Pro Stock has been around for 40-plus years and to be one of the very few like that, it’s unbelievable.

“With all my years of bracket racing, I did look at the scoreboard– even though I shouldn’t in a Pro Stock car — and saw my win light on. I was like, ‘Is my win light on or is that just the sun on it?’ but it was lit up.”

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Justin Grant prevails over Kyle Larson in the Turkey Night Grand Prix

Grant Larson Turkey Night
USACRacing.com / DB3 Inc.

On the heels of his Hangtown 100 victory, Justin Grant worked his way from 13th in the Turkey Night Grand Prix to beat three-time event winner Kyle Larson by 1.367 seconds. The 81st annual event was run at Ventura (Calif.) Raceway for the sixth time.

“My dad used to take me to Irwindale Speedway, and we’d watch Turkey Night there every year,” Grant said in a series press release. “This is one of the races I fell in love with. I didn’t think I’d ever get a chance to run in it, never thought I’d make a show and certainly never thought I’d be able to win one.”

With its genesis in 1934 at Gilmore Stadium, a quarter-mile dirt track in Los Angeles, the race is steeped in history with winners that include AJ Foyt, Parnelli Jones, Gary Bettenhausen and Johnnie Parsons. Tony Stewart won it in 2000. Kyle Larson won his first of three Turkey Night Grands Prix in 2012. Christopher Bell earned his first of three in 2014, so Grant’s enthusiasm was well deserved.

So was the skepticism that he would win. He failed to crack the top five in three previous attempts, although he came close last year with a sixth-place result. When he lined up for the feature 13th in the crowded 28-car field, winning seemed like a longshot.

Grant watched as serious challengers fell by the wayside. Mitchel Moles flipped on Lap 10 of the feature. Michael “Buddy” Kofoid took a tumble on Lap 68 and World of Outlaws Sprint car driver Carson Macedo flipped on Lap 79. Grant saw the carnage ahead of him and held a steady wheel as he passed Tanner Thorson for the lead with 15 laps remaining and stayed out of trouble for the remainder of the event.

“It’s a dream come true to win the Turkey Night Grand Prix,” Grant said.

Kyle Larson follows Justin Grant to the front on Turkey Night

The 2012, 2016 and 2019 winner, Larson was not scheduled to run the event. His wife Katelyn is expecting their third child shortly, but after a couple of glasses of wine with Thanksgiving dinner and while watching some replays of the event, Larson texted car owner Chad Boat to see if he had a spare car lying around. He did.

“We weren’t great but just hung around and it seemed like anybody who got to the lead crashed and collected some people,” Larson said. “We made some passes throughout; in the mid-portion, we weren’t very good but then we got better at the end.

“I just ran really, really hard there, and knew I was running out of time, so I had to go. I made some pretty crazy and dumb moves, but I got to second and was hoping we could get a caution to get racing with Justin there. He was sliding himself at both ends and thought that maybe we could get a run and just out-angle him into [Turn] 1 and get clear off [Turn] 2 if we got a caution, but it just didn’t work out.”

Larson padded one of the most impressive stats in the history of this race, however. In 10 starts, he’s won three times, finished second four times, was third once and fourth twice.

Bryant Wiedeman took the final spot on the podium.

As Grant and Larson began to pick their way through the field, Kofoid took the lead early from the outside of the front row and led the first 44 laps of the race before handing it over to Cannon McIntosh, who bicycled on Lap 71 before landing on all fours. While Macedo and Thorson tussled for the lead with McIntosh, Grant closed in.

Thorson finished 19th with McIntosh 20th. Macedo recovered from his incident to finish ninth. Kofoid’s hard tumble relegated him to 23rd.

Jake Andreotti in fourth and Kevin Thomas, Jr. rounded out the top five.

1. Justin Grant (started 13)
2. Kyle Larson (22)
3. Bryant Wiedeman (4)
4. Jake Andreotti (9)
5. Kevin Thomas Jr. (1)
6. Logan Seavey (8)
7. Alex Bright (27)
8. Emerson Axsom (24)
9. Carson Macedo (7)
10. Jason McDougal (18)
11. Jake Swanson (16)
12. Chase Johnson (6)
13. Jacob Denney (26)
14. Ryan Timms (23)
15. Chance Crum (28)
16. Brenham Crouch (17)
17. Jonathan Beason (19)
18. Cade Lewis (14)
19. Tanner Thorson (11)
20. Cannon McIntosh (3)
21. Thomas Meseraull (15)
22. Tyler Courtney (21)
23. Buddy Kofoid (2)
24. Brody Fuson (5)
25. Mitchel Moles (20)
26. Daniel Whitley (10)
27. Kaylee Bryson (12)
28. Spencer Bayston (25)