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

Photo courtesy NHRA
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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.

Houston Supercross by the numbers: Five riders begin to gap the field

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Chase Sexton stumbled in San Diego and Eli Tomac had a hard fall in Anaheim 2, but the Monster Energy Supercross numbers for Houston suggest they will continue to be the ones to beat in Houston. To do so, they will have to turn back challenges from another pair of riders who have swept the top five in the first three rounds and another with a worst finish of sixth.

Houston Supercross numbers
Cooper Webb’s ability to close races makes him a Houston favorite. – Feld Motor Sports

Despite an accident in his heat in San Diego that sent him to the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ), Sexton recovered to score a top-five that weekend. His podium finish in Anaheim 1 and overall win last week in Anaheim 2 makes him one of the three riders with a perfect top-five record. He is joined by Cooper Webb, who finished second in the first two rounds and fourth last week, and Ken Roczen, whose consistency in the first three races contributed to him grabbing the top spot in this week’s NBC Supercross Power Rankings.

There are reasons to believe Webb and Roczen can keep those streaks alive.

Webb is the only multiple winner at Supercross’ current Houston stadium. His pair of wins came in 2019 and 2021, the same year he won his two 450 championships.

Clinton Fowler points out this week, that Webb has carried that strength into 2023. Webb had a late surge in Anaheim 1, advancing from fifth to second in the final six laps. In San Diego, he set his ninth fastest lap with two to go and his eighth fastest on the final lap. He posted his fastest lap of Anaheim 2 on Lap 12 while the rest of the field did so on Lap 6 on average.

By comparison, Tomac set his 14th fastest lap on the final circuit in route to winning the Main at San Diego while he was trying to keep Webb at bay.

With a sixth at San Diego, Dylan Ferrandis barely missed sweeping the top five in his first three races as did Tomac with a sixth last week at Anaheim 2.

This will be the 46th year Supercross has visited Houston and with 55 races the city is tied for the second-most with Detroit.

Jim Pomeroy won the first race in the Astrodome during the inaugural season of 1974 on a 250, which was the premiere class at the time. Houston was one of three races held that year along with events at Daytona International Speedway and the Los Angeles Coliseum. All three venues return in 2023 with the first SuperMotocross championship finale returning to the famed LA Coliseum in September.

Webb won most recently in 2021 in the final race of three held there that year as the series executed a strategy of racing in residencies to limit travel during height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tomac and Justin Barcia also won in Houston in 2021.

Two privateers have started the season on a high note.

Joshua Cartwright and Joshua Varize have each made the last two Mains. Cartwright finished 18th in San Diego and 21st last week in Anaheim 2 – all while working fulltime as a Business Intelligence Analyst at the University of Texas, Dallas. Varize earned a top-15 (12th) in San Diego and was 21st in Anaheim 2 in his third season on a 450.

Michael Mosiman scored his first 250 win last year in San Diego. – Feld Motor Sports

The numbers show none of the active 250 Supercross East riders have won in Houston, so no matter who steps on top of the box, there is going to be a fresh face. That is not surprising since most of the top competitors have not raced at this venue yet.

Michael Mosiman has a pair of top-fives there, however. His best finish was a second in the second 2021 race. Garrett Marchbanks scored a top-10 in his rookie season of 2019 in Houston.

In the 250 East division, Hunter Lawrence is one of the favorites to win the title now that Christian Craig has moved to 450s. Last year he had four wins and nine podiums, but failed to set a fast lap in a race.

The other 250 riders with 2022 wins this week are Mosiman, who earned his first Supercross win last year in San Diego, and Nate Thrasher, who became the fifth new class winner at Daytona.

Jeremy Martin will attempt to extend a record this week in Houston. His division leading SuperMotocross podiums number 65. He has 26 wins in the combined sessions, which ranks fourth all time.

Last Five Houston Winners

450s
2022, no race
2021, Race 3: Cooper Webb
2021, Race 2: Eli Tomac
2021, Race 1: Justin Barcia
2020, no race
2019, Cooper Webb
2018, Jason Anderson

250s
2022, no race
2021, Race 3: Colt Nichols
2021, Race 2: Jett Lawrence
2021, Race 1: Christian Craig
2020, no race
2019, Dylan Ferrandis
2018, Aaron Plessinger

By the Numbers

Anaheim 2
San Diego

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