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.

Miguel Oliveira wins MotoGP Thai Grand Prix, Bagnaia closes to two points in championship

MotoGP Thai Grand Prix
Mirco Lazzari / Getty Images
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Miguel Oliveira mastered mixed conditions on the Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand to win the MotoGP Thai Grand Prix. Oliveira showed the adaptability as he navigated a race that began in wet conditions and turned dry over the course of the race. Oliveira won the Indonesian GP in similar conditions.

“It was a long race, but I can’t complain,” Oliveira said on CNBC. “Every time we get to ride in the wet, I’m always super-fast. When it started raining, I had flashbacks of Indonesia. I tried to keep my feet on the ground, make a good start and not make mistakes and carry the bike to the end.”

All eyes were on the championship, however. Francesco Bagnaia got a great start to slot into second in Turn 1.

Meanwhile Fabio Quartararo had a disastrous first lap. He lost five positions in the first couple of turns and then rode over the rumble strips and fell back to 17th. At the end of the first lap, Bagnaia had the points’ lead by two. A win would have added to the gain and for a moment, it appeared Bagnaia might assume the lead.

Early leader Marco Bezzecchi was penalized for exceeding track limits, but before that happened, Jack Miller got around Bagnaia and pushed him back to third. Oliveira was not far behind.

After throwing away ninth-place and seven points on the last lap of the Japanese GP last week, Bagnaia did not allow the competition to press him into a mistake. He fell back as far as fourth before retaking the final position on the podium.

“It’s like a win for me, this podium,” Bagnaia. “My first podium in the wet and then there was a mix of conditions, so I’m very happy. I want to thank Jack Miller. Before the race, he gave me a motivational chat.”

Miller led the first half of the Thai Grand Prix before giving up the top spot to Oliveira and then held on to finish second. Coupled with his Japanese GP win, Miller is now fully in the MotoGP championship battle with a 40-point deficit, but he will need a string of results like Bagnaia has put together in recent weeks – and he needs Bagnaia to lose momentum.

Miller’s home Grand Prix in Australia is next up on the calendar in two weeks.

Bagnaia entered the race 18 points behind Quartararo after he failed to score any in Japan. The balance of power has rapidly shifted, however, with Quartararo now failing to earn points in two of the last three rounds. Bagnaia won four consecutive races and finished second in the five races leading up to Japan. His third-place finish in Thailand is now his sixth MotoGP podium in the last seven rounds.

Aleix Espargaro entered the race third in the standings with a 25-point deficit to Quartararo, but was able to close the gap by only five after getting hit with a long-lap penalty for aggressive riding when he pushed Darryn Binder off course during a pass for position. Espargaro finished 11th.

Rain mixed up the Moto2 running order in the MotoGP Thai Grand Prix as well. Starting on a wet track, Somkiat Chantra led the opening lap in his home Grand Prix. He could not hold onto it and crashed one circuit later, but still gave his countrymen a moment of pride by winning the pole.

Half points were awarded as the race went only eight laps before Tony Arbolino crossed under the checkers first with Filip Salac and Aron Canet rounding out the podium.

American Joe Roberts earned another top-10 in eighth with Sean Dylan Kelly finishing just outside the top 10 in 11th.