Photo courtesy NHRA

NHRA: Millican, Beckman, Anderson, Krawiec 1st day top qualifiers in Gainesville

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (NHRA media release) – Clay Millican (Top Fuel), Jack Beckman (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are provisional leaders after the first of two days of qualifying at the third of 24 events on the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.

In Top Fuel, Millican’s pass of 3.708 at 324.98 in his Parts Plus / Great Clips dragster during the second round of qualifying put him at the top of the Top Fuel category. He is striving for his first No. 1 qualifier of the season and 11th of his career.

”I was getting giddy because I saw David Grubnic (crew chief) twisting knobs and he was just changing all kinds of things,” Millican stated. “He later came over to tell me that he actually slowed it down. To be up here as the No. 1 qualifier is surprising. I had the mindset we were going to slow the car down.”

 

Coming off his win at the NHRA Arizona Nationals, Steve Torrence piloted his Capco Contractors dragster to the No. 2 spot and defending Top Fuel champion Brittany Force currently sits 10th.

In Funny Car, Beckman powered his way to the top of the field during the first qualifying session, but his pass of 3.911 at 332.18 in his Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger R/T during the second qualifying session secured his spot. He seeks his first No. 1 qualifier of the season and 24th of his career.

“We were just tiptoeing to make sure we didn’t over power the race track,” Beckman said. “I’m frankly just surprised that Funny Cars didn’t run quicker today.”

 

Phoenix event winner, Courtney Force, is currently in the No. 2 spot with her pass of 3.914 at 327.66 in her Advance Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro SS.

In Pro Stock, veteran Anderson currently holds the top spot after driving to a 6.552 at 212.29 run in his Summit Racing Chevrolet Camaro during his second qualifying pass of the day. He is seeking his fifth career No. 1 qualifier at Gainesville and 94th overall.

“There’s a lot of fast cars out there this year,” Anderson said. “We’ve gone home early the last two Sunday’s and I need to make amends for that. I need to make up some lost ground and I can’t think of a better place to do it than here.”

 

Reigning Pro Stock world champion Bo Butner is currently seeded fourth overall, as he looks to extend his No. 1 points position over the class.

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, defending world champion Krawiec currently sits in the No. 1 qualifier position with a 6.785 pass at 199.67 on his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson.

“It’s good to be back out racing,” Krawiec stated. “We pretty much started right where we left off and that’s our motive heading into these next couple races. We really didn’t change anything from Pomona on our motorcycles so we could come here to be fresh and ready.

Qualifying continues at the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals at 12 p.m. ET on Saturday.

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FRIDAY’S RESULTS:
Top Fuel — 1. Clay Millican, 3.708 seconds, 324.98 mph; 2. Steve Torrence, 3.739, 323.19; 3. Antron Brown, 3.751, 327.74; 4. Tony Schumacher, 3.785, 329.67; 5. Leah Pritchett, 3.811, 325.77; 6. Terry Haddock, 4.038, 252.90; 7. Richie Crampton, 4.228, 198.64; 8. Doug Kalitta, 4.736, 162.22; 9. Terry McMillen, 4.918, 148.49; 10. Brittany Force, 5.021, 138.17; 11. Mike Salinas, 5.557, 117.91; 12. Pat Dakin, 5.570, 115.90; 13. Scott Palmer, 5.702, 124.21; 14. Audrey Worm, 5.773, 113.55; 15. Terry Totten, 7.106, 96.49; 16. Shawn Reed, 7.531, 78.85.
Funny Car — 1. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger, 3.911, 332.18; 2. Courtney Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.914, 327.66; 3. Robert Hight, Camaro, 3.917, 333.66; 4. Shawn Langdon, Toyota Camry, 3.926, 327.03; 5. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.933, 327.27; 6. Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.941, 328.22; 7. J.R. Todd, Camry, 3.962, 326.40; 8. Ron Capps, Charger, 3.972, 322.73; 9. Del Worsham, Camry, 3.979, 325.14; 10. Bob Tasca III, Ford Mustang, 3.989, 317.79; 11. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.004, 315.05; 12. Dave Richards, Mustang, 4.133, 300.93; 13. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 4.241, 215.62; 14. John Force, Camaro, 4.315, 194.27; 15. Jim Campbell, Charger, 5.693, 125.75; 16. Gary Densham, Mustang, 6.051, 136.93.
Not Qualified: 17. Jonnie Lindberg, 9.393, 80.65.
Pro Stock — 1. Greg Anderson, Chevy Camaro, 6.522, 213.00; 2. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.525, 212.59; 3. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.529, 213.27; 4. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.534, 213.03; 5. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.534, 212.93; 6. Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.541, 212.59; 7. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.544, 212.83; 8. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.545, 212.69; 9. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.554, 212.06; 10. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.570, 211.53; 11. Tanner Gray, Camaro, 6.598, 212.83; 12. Alan Prusiensky, Dodge Dart, 6.633, 210.05; 13. John Gaydosh Jr, Chevrolet Camaro, 6.645, 211.03; 14. Val Smeland, Camaro, 6.664, 209.36; 15. Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 6.892, 208.65; 16. Wally Stroupe, Camaro, 7.102, 196.22.
Pro Stock Motorcycle — 1. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.785, 199.67; 2. Joey Gladstone, Suzuki, 6.793, 196.93; 3. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.807, 199.05; 4. Scotty Pollacheck, Suzuki, 6.826, 196.93; 5. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.841, 195.03; 6. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.855, 197.65; 7. Angelle Sampey, Victory, 6.856, 196.07; 8. Ryan Oehler, Buell, 6.881, 195.22; 9. Angie Smith, Buell, 6.889, 196.10; 10. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.889, 194.49; 11. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 6.902, 195.59; 12. Cory Reed, Victory, 6.921, 189.39; 13. Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.937, 200.23; 14. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.940, 196.64; 15. Hector Arana, Buell, 6.970, 198.64; 16. Matt Smith, Suzuki, 7.008, 195.87. Not Qualified: 17. Kelly Clontz, 7.109, 182.23; 18. Andie Rawlings, 7.228, 182.45; 19. Lance Bonham, 7.298, 694.44; 20. Mark Paquette, 7.498, 151.48.

Could Scott Dixon someday break Foyt, Andretti wins and championships records?

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With five races left in the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season, Scott Dixon is in the driver’s seat to potentially earn a fifth career IndyCar championship.

After winning Sunday at Toronto, Dixon now has a 62-point edge over second-ranked and defending series champ Josef Newgarden and a 70-point lead over third-ranked Alexander Rossi.

The triumph north of the border was Dixon’s third there, as well as his 44th career IndyCar win, third-highest in IndyCar annals.

Add in the four IndyCar championships and those are stellar numbers indeed.

What makes things all the more amazing is Dixon has done all that in under 18 full seasons on the IndyCar circuit. Heck, he’s only 37 years old, too (although he turns 38 on July 22).

Dixon’s championships have come in 2003 (his first full season in IndyCar after two prior seasons in CART/Champ Car), 2008, 2013 and most recently in 2015.

The quiet, unassuming New Zealander has been one of the most successful drivers ever not just in IndyCar, but in all forms of motorsports.

When his name is mentioned, it’s typically included with the only two drivers who have more career wins than he does: A.J. Foyt (67 wins and seven championships, both records) and Mario Andretti (52 wins and four titles).

That’s a pretty lofty pair to be part of.

One might think that after all the success he’s had, Dixon could easily walk away from IndyCar and Chip Ganassi Racing and enjoy an early retirement.

But competing in and winning races isn’t really a job for Dixon. He enjoys what he’s doing so much that he easily could keep doing what he’s doing – and at a high level – for another seven or more years, at least.

So, can Dixon catch Mario and A.J.? The former would be easier than the latter, for sure.

Numerically, it’s possible – at least part of it:

* Dixon can easily be competitive into his mid-40s.

* He’s averaged three-plus wins every season since 2007 (37 wins from then through Sunday). That means if he can keep that average going, he could reach 24 more wins – to overtake Foyt – by 2026. Yes, that may be a stretch to even imagine, but if there’s any current driver who potentially could overtake Foyt, it’s Dixon.

* Dixon already has three wins this season, and with five more races still to go, he could easily win another one, two or maybe even three more in 2018 as he continues his road to the championship. And let’s not forget that with each additional win, that’s one win closer to overtaking Andretti and Foyt.

In his usual modest and humble manner, Dixon downplays not just talk comparing him with Andretti and Foyt, but also overtaking one or both.

“I think A.J. is pretty safe,” he said. “He’s a long ways ahead. … Eight (championships) is an infinity away. Takes a long time to get eight.”

But that doesn’t mean Dixon can’t keep working at approaching Foyt’s mark.

“I think for us, we take it race by race,” he said. “We’re in the business of winning races. If we’re not doing that, I won’t have a job for too long. That’s the focus for right now.”

If he wins the championship this year, he’ll pass Andretti’s championship mark. That would be one record down, three to go.

And if he can win nine more races over the next few seasons, he’ll pass Andretti’s 52 career wins, making it two records down and two more to go.

“Right now with 44 wins, next on the list is Mario I think at 52 or something,” Dixon said after Sunday’s win. “We’ll see how it goes. Right now, we’re just trying to get the job done for the team.”

And he’s doing a darn good job at that indeed – with likely even more success still to come.

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