Photo: Ron Lewis/John Force Racing. Videos courtesy NHRA

NHRA: Brown, Hight, Line and Hines are No. 1 qualifiers for Sunday’s finals at Texas

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If conditions remain the same as Saturday’s final two rounds of qualifying, Sunday’s eliminations of the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals at Texas Motorplex could see one of the quickest race days this season.

And the end result at the track south of Dallas could also go a long way towards potentially determining some of this season’s eventual champions.

Defending and two-time champion Antron Brown qualified No. 1 in Top Fuel Saturday, along with Robert Hight (Funny Car), Jason Line (Pro Stock) and Jerry Savoie (Pro Stock Motorcycle).

In Top Fuel, Brown set a track record during Friday’s qualifying (3.682 seconds at 330.55 mph) that held up during Saturday’s two rounds. It’s the 47th time Brown has qualified No. 1, his third of the season and the first of his career at Texas Motorplex. He also remains No. 1 in the Top Fuel standings.

“We’ve been racing good in the Countdown but we haven’t been getting those qualifying points like we need to,” said Brown, who will face 84-year-old racer Chris Karamasines in the first round of eliminations Sunday.

“A lot of these teams have been racking up on us,” Brown said. “To come here and to qualify the way we have has been phenomenal. We just hope that can carry over to race day. That’s where all the points are at. Right now, I couldn’t be happier for my whole team.”

Leah Pritchett (3.698 seconds at 327.43 mph) qualified No. 2, while eight-time Top Fuel champ Tony Schumacher (3.705 at 326.71) qualified No. 3.

In Funny Car, Hight held on to the No. 1 qualifying spot and track record he recorded Friday night (3.839 seconds – the third-quickest pass in Funny Car history – at a stout 332.02 mph).

Hight will face Brandon Welch in Sunday’s first round.

“To come out here to Texas, my sponsor’s race, and make four runs in the 3.80s, that shows we’ve got it going on,” said Hight, a two-time past winner at Texas. “My teammates are running 3.80s and we’re right at the top. It’s exciting to have a qualifying like this, but tomorrow is a new day. We’ve been having problems with sealing the deal on Sunday. It’ll be a tough match tomorrow.”

Jack Beckman qualified No. 2 (3.483 seconds at a track record speed of 333.66 mph), while Tommy Johnson Jr. qualified No. 3 (3.847 at 325.06).

In Pro Stock, two-time world champion Line earned his No. 1 qualifying spot this season and 48th of his career with a Saturday run of 6.568 seconds at 210.34 mph.

Line comes into Sunday’s first round match against Alan Prusiensky seeking a ninth win (he also has five runner-up finishes).

“Everybody is close,” Line said. “It really comes down to just making the best decision. It’s like a big chess match. I think we had a good day using all three (Ken Black Racing) cars, and we used them wisely today. We learned some things and hopefully all three cars are good for tomorrow.”

Teammate Greg Anderson qualified No. 2 (6.579 at 210.11), while Alex Laughlin qualified No. 3.

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Savoie earned his first No. 1 spot of the season and sixth of the season with a run of 6.805 seconds at 197.31 mph.

It’s also the second time he’s qualified No. 1 in his career at Texas Motorplex, where he is the defending winner of this event last year. He’ll open Sunday’s eliminations facing Joe DeSantis.

“At this point in the game it is really important to get as many points as you can,” said Savoie, who makes his full-time living as an alligator farmer in Louisiana. “I don’t know if I’m more excited about being No. 1 or to win a race.

“It’s a good weekend and Dallas is my home track now since we don’t run in Houston. After our showing last year, hopefully we can repeat it and have some fun.”

Five-time and defending PSM champ Andrew Hines, who won at Texas in 2014, qualified No. 2 (6.811 at 195.90), while teammate Eddie Krawiec qualified No. 3.

Sunday’s eliminations begin at Noon ET.

SUNDAY’S FIRST ROUND OF ELIMINATIONS:

TOP FUEL: 1. Antron Brown, 3.682 seconds, 330.55 mph  vs. 16. Chris Karamesines, 4.213, 232.31; 2. Leah Pritchett, 3.698, 327.82  vs. 15. Scott Palmer, 3.929, 311.41; 3. Tony Schumacher, 3.705, 326.71  vs. 14. Kebin Kinsley, 3.921, 311.85; 4. J.R. Todd, 3.723, 324.90  vs. 13. Troy Buff, 3.911, 314.02; 5. Brittany Force, 3.727, 325.37  vs. 12. Terry McMillen, 3.835, 309.84; 6. Shawn Langdon, 3.729, 324.67  vs. 11. Larry Dixon, 3.767, 320.81; 7. Steve Torrence, 3.737, 327.43  vs. 10. Clay Millican, 3.746, 321.04; 8. Richie Crampton, 3.741, 322.42  vs. 9. Doug Kalitta, 3.745, 326.00.  Did Not Qualify: 17. Terry Haddock, 6.365, 184.98.

FUNNY CAR: 1. Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 3.839, 332.02  vs. 16. Brandon Welch, Chevy Monte Carlo, 5.040, 158.39; 2. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger, 3.843, 333.66  vs. 15. Dave Richards, Ford Mustang, 4.035, 298.54; 3. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.847, 325.06  vs. 14. John Hale, Charger, 4.032, 308.78; 4. Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.851, 331.85  vs. 13. John Bojec, Toyota Camry, 3.988, 315.49; 5. Courtney Force, Camaro, 3.854, 324.05  vs. 12. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 3.952, 284.99; 6. Del Worsham, Camry, 3.857, 327.98  vs. 11. Chad Head, Camry, 3.923, 328.06; 7. Ron Capps, Charger, 3.864, 323.81  vs. 10. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 3.919, 322.19; 8. John Force, Camaro, 3.867, 330.39 vs. 9. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 3.911, 322.65.  Did Not Qualify: 17. Todd Simpson, broke.

PRO STOCK: 1. Jason Line, Chevy Camaro, 6.568, 210.34  vs. 16. Alan Prusiensky, Dodge Dart, 6.775, 205.54; 2. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.579, 210.11  vs. 15. Erica Enders, Dart, 6.748, 207.75; 3. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.586, 210.73  vs. 14. Jeg Coughlin, Dart, 6.686, 207.24; 4. Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.591, 209.98  vs. 13. Aaron Strong, Camaro, 6.684, 207.72; 5. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.591, 209.39  vs. 12. Deric Kramer, Dart, 6.648, 207.98; 6. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.594, 210.34  vs. 11. Shane Tucker, Camaro, 6.641, 208.36; 7. Allen Johnson, Dart, 6.610, 209.49  vs. 10. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.631, 208.46; 8. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.612, 209.26  vs. 9. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.614, 210.67.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.805, 197.31  vs. 16. Joe DeSantis, Suzuki, 6.961, 192.69; 2. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.811, 195.90  vs. 15. Joey Gladstone, Suzuki, 6.947, 192.19; 3. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.821, 195.76  vs. 14. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.935, 194.35; 4. Angelle Sampey, Buell, 6.853, 195.39  vs. 13. Shawn Gann, Buell, 6.916, 194.91; 5. Chip Ellis, Buell, 6.863, 194.60  vs. 12. Melissa Surber, Buell, 6.914, 191.02; 6. Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.863, 195.79  vs. 11. Hector Arana, Buell, 6.905, 194.77; 7. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.868, 194.24  vs. 10. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.889, 193.99; 8. Cory Reed, Buell, 6.872, 192.96  vs. 9. Matt Smith, Victory, 6.879, 194.46.  Did Not Qualify: 17. Angie Smith, 6.986, 191.19; 18. John Hall, 7.011, 189.39; 19. Mike Berry, 7.044, 187.11; 20. David Hope, 7.113, 183.79; 21. Lance Bonham, 7.222, 183.49; 22. Gunner Courtney, 7.264, 184.95.

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‘One and Only’ Kyle Larson wins Outlaws opener at Knoxville Raceway

Kyle Larson wins Knoxville
Paul Arch/World of Outlaws
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The magic of dirt racing wins for Kyle Larson continued Thursday night at Knoxville Raceway, where he scored his third consecutive World of Outlaws victory at the famed half-mile track to open “The One and Only.”

After starting 10th, Larson sliced through the field and passed pole-sitter Logan Schuchart to lead the final eight laps in the No. 57 of car owner Paul Silva.

“Just an awesome race,” Larson said after earning $10,000 for his second consecutive NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series victory (after winning at Pevely, Missouri, last Saturday), his sixth Outlaws victory this season and 14th of his career.

LARSON ON NASCAR‘I’d love an opportunity if it came’

“I was able to track Logan down and hit the bottom really well in (turns) 1 and 2 and got a run on him.  It felt like I needed to take advantage of that before we got to heavier traffic and slid him and felt some contact. So, glad to see him not in the wall or anything like that. Just, hard work there. Heartbeat is up again.”

Kyle Larson wins Knoxville
Kyle Larson scored his sixth World of Outlaws victory Thursday (Trent Gower/World of Outlaws).

It was the fourth Knoxville victory this year for Larson, who swept a World of Outlaws doubleheader weekend June 12-13 at the Sprint Car Captial of the World. He has more than 30 victories this year in sprint cars and midgets.

The One and Only continues Friday night with another $10,000 feature race that will set the starting lineup for Saturday’s Brownells Capitani Classic, which pays $50,000 to win.

The event is the Outlaws’ richest purse of 2020 and subs in for the annual Knoxville Nationals, which was canceled for COVID-19 concerns. Larson, a two-time Knoxville Nationals runner-up, has said winning The One and Only would be on the same as Knoxville’s signature event because of its tough three-day format.

Through the first of three nights, Schuchart and Larson are tied for second in The One and Only points standings, which factor in qualifying, heats, dash and feature races. Aaron Reutzel, an All Star Circuit of Champions stalwart who finished third Thursday, leads with 430 points.

A crash in Thursday’s 25-lap feature eliminated past Outlaws champions Brad Sweet and Donny Schatz after Cory Eliason spun in front of Sweet in Turn 1 to start the wreck, which also collected Sweet’s teammate, James McFadden. Sweet and Schatz finished outside the top 20, which moved Schuchart into the points lead for the 2020 season.

Schuchart still seemed slightly miffed after finishing second to Larson.

“As the race went on, I felt like I wasn’t hitting my marks as good,” he said. “I would have liked to of had a little bit better of a race with Kyle there. I wish his slide job was a little better there, but he’s got a reputation to live up to. That’s where you let other people make the rules and maybe we’ll get him next time.”


RESULTS

NOS Energy Drink Feature (25 Laps) – 1. 57-Kyle Larson [10]; 2. 1S-Logan Schuchart [1]; 3. 87-Aaron Reutzel [2]; 4. 2-Carson Macedo [24]; 5. 41-David Gravel [6]; 6. 21-Brian Brown [7]; 7. 71-Spencer Bayston [3]; 8. 18-Gio Scelzi [15]; 9. 12N-Joey Saldana [5]; 10. 5-Ian Madsen [19]; 11. 17A-Austin McCarl [21]; 12. 1A-Jacob Allen [11]; 13. 7BC-Tyler Courtney [16]; 14. 7S-Jason Sides [20]; 15. 24-Rico Abreu [22]; 16. 4-Terry McCarl [13]; 17. 2KS-Brooke Tatnell [18]; 18. O9-Matt Juhl [23]; 19. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild [25]; 20. 83-Daryn Pittman [9]; 21. 11K-Kraig Kinser [17]; 22. 15-Donny Schatz [8]; 23. 26-Cory Eliason [4]; 24. 49-Brad Sweet [12]; 25. 9-James McFadden [14]; Lap Leaders: Logan Schuchart 1-17, Kyle Larson 18-25; KSE Hard Charger Award: 2-Carson Macedo[+20]

Kyle Larson wins Knoxville
Kyle Larson celebrated with his family and team after the first night of The One and Only (Trent Gower/World of Outlaws).