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NHRA: Crampton, Beckman, Gray, Krawiec take home Gatornationals wins

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Richie Crampton (Top Fuel), Jack Beckman (Funny Car), Tanner Gray (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were the winners of this weekend’s Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida.

The third race of the 24-race NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series national event series, the 49th Gatornationals saw significant surprises among the winners:

* Crampton earned his first Top Fuel win since October 2015 in Ennis, Texas.

* In a 20-plus year career, Beckman finally earned his first event win at Gainesville.

* Gray became a third-generation Pro Stock event winner at Gainesville, following in the footsteps of grandfather Johnny Gray and father Shane Gray.

* Krawiec opened the 2018 Pro Stock Motorcycle season (PSM runs at only 16 of the NHRA’s 24 national events) with his sixth career win at Gainesville.

MORE: NHRA: John Force-like motor explosions get contagious during Sunday’s Gatornationals

Here’s how the event played out:

* In Top Fuel, Crampton roared to the uncontested win when Shawn Reed shut off his dragster at the starting line before the start of the final round matchup.

Crampton earned his first win since joining Kalitta Motorsports with 7 races remaining last season with a pass of 3.854 seconds at 314.90 mph.

In addition, it was the 96th all-time win in 50-plus years for Kalitta Motorsports, and Crampton becomes the 10th different driver to earn at least one win for the Kalitta organization over the years.

“This is probably one of my most rewarding wins, ever,” Crampton said. “All I ever wanted to do was stand in the winner’s circle with (team owner) Connie Kalitta. Not a lot of people have had that luxury and I’m not taking this one lightly.”

In Funny Car, Beckman got the jump on Don Schumacher Racing teammate Matt Hagan at the starting line and sailed to a winning run of 4.035 seconds at 323.58 mph.

It’s Beckman’s first win since last fall in St. Louis.

“Winning this race was such a bucket-list thing,” Beckman said. “The Gatornationals came on the schedule in 1970, that year was a big year for our sport and it has been at this track ever since and I’ve never gotten close.”

In Pro Stock, Gray covered the dragstrip in 6.588 seconds at 210.18 mph, defeating defending world champ Bo Butner.

“We’ve been struggling since the beginning of the season,” Gray said. “Today was our first-round win of the season. It has definitely been a struggle, but I think it is starting to come around.”

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Krawiec won for the third consecutive year and sixth time overall at Gainesville.

Krawiec, who qualified No. 2, covered the track in 6.824 seconds at 198.44 mph.

“Right now, I’m riding with the confidence that no one can beat me,” Krawiec said. “I have a great motorcycle underneath me and a great team behind me. Anytime a rider or a driver has confidence it just makes them that much better.”

The next NHRA national event will be the DENSO Spark Plug NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway April 6-8 in Las Vegas.

It will be the first time The Strip will host a four-wide event, making it the second track in the NHRA to host a four-wide race. The other track is The Strip’s sister facility, zMax Dragway in Concord, North Carolina.

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FINAL FINISHING ORDER:

TOP FUEL: 1. Richie Crampton; 2. Shawn Reed; 3. Clay Millican; 4. Antron Brown; 5. Leah Pritchett; 6. Terry McMillen; 7. Tony Schumacher; 8. Mike Salinas; 9. Brittany Force; 10. Doug Kalitta; 11. Scott Palmer; 12. Pat Dakin; 13. Terry Haddock; 14. Terry Totten; 15. Audrey Worm; 16. Steve Torrence.

FUNNY CAR: 1. Jack Beckman; 2. Matt Hagan; 3. Ron Capps; 4. Shawn Langdon; 5. Del Worsham; 6. Robert Hight; 7. Tommy Johnson Jr.; 8. Courtney Force; 9. Bob Tasca III; 10. Cruz Pedregon; 11. Gary Densham; 12. Jim Campbell; 13. John Force; 14. Tim Wilkerson; 15. Dave Richards; 16. J.R. Todd.

PRO STOCK: 1. Tanner Gray; 2. Bo Butner; 3. Drew Skillman; 4. Vincent Nobile; 5. Chris McGaha; 6. Val Smeland; 7. Alan Prusiensky; 8. Greg Anderson; 9. Deric Kramer; 10. Jeg Coughlin; 11. Alex Laughlin; 12. John Gaydosh Jr; 13. Erica Enders; 14. Wally Stroupe; 15. Kenny Delco; 16. Jason Line.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1. Eddie Krawiec; 2. Andrew Hines; 3. Hector Arana; 4. Scotty Pollacheck; 5. Cory Reed; 6. Steve Johnson; 7.  Karen Stoffer; 8. Angelle Sampey; 9. Jerry Savoie; 10. Angie Smith; 11. Ryan Oehler; 12. Hector Arana Jr; 13. Jim Underdahl; 14. Joey Gladstone; 15. Mark Paquette; 16. LE Tonglet.

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FINAL RESULTS:

TOP FUEL: Richie Crampton, 3.854 seconds, 314.90 mph def. Shawn Reed, Broke.

FUNNY CAR: Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger, 4.035, 323.58 def. Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.034, 322.04.

PRO STOCK: Tanner Gray, Chevy Camaro, 6.588, 210.18 def. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.605, 210.34.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.824, 198.44 def. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.853, 197.19.

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FINAL ROUND-BY-ROUND RESULTS:

TOP FUEL: ROUND ONE — Shawn Reed, 3.830, 322.65 def. Pat Dakin, 3.892, 296.96; Terry McMillen, 3.763, 328.46 def. Scott Palmer, 3.777, 325.53; Leah Pritchett, 3.735, 321.50 def. Terry Haddock, 4.032, 284.75; Antron Brown, 5.162, 191.05 def. Audrey Worm, 8.482, 63.53; Mike Salinas, 3.793, 327.98 def. Steve Torrence, Foul – Centerline; Clay Millican, 3.792, 330.88 def. Terry Totten, 8.175, 78.08; Tony Schumacher, 3.717, 329.26 def. Brittany Force, 3.742, 329.10; Richie Crampton, 3.776, 317.49 def. Doug Kalitta, 3.769, 327.98; QUARTERFINALS — Crampton, 4.413, 258.81 def. Salinas, Foul – Centerline; Millican, 3.758, 331.28 def. McMillen, 3.831, 325.37; Reed, 4.027, 245.58 def. Schumacher, 4.604, 200.77; Brown, 3.793, 324.20 def. Pritchett, 3.779, 327.51; SEMIFINALS — Crampton, 5.097, 204.85 def. Brown, 6.132, 196.62; Reed, 4.030, 301.94 def. Millican, 4.934, 156.21; FINAL — Crampton, 3.854, 314.90 def. Reed, Broke.

FUNNY CAR: ROUND ONE — Tommy Johnson Jr., Dodge Charger, 3.995, 325.69 def. Cruz Pedregon, Toyota Camry, 4.083, 298.87; Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 3.894, 330.55 def. Dave Richards, Ford Mustang, 8.232, 85.43; Courtney Force, Camaro, 4.003, 277.20 def. John Force, Camaro, 4.218, 232.71; Jack Beckman, Charger, 3.934, 327.43 def. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.183, 305.29; Shawn Langdon, Camry, 3.943, 324.75 def. Gary Densham, Mustang, 4.145, 273.61; Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.976, 328.38 def. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 7.821, 131.27; Ron Capps, Charger, 3.959, 324.28 def. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 3.981, 325.30; Del Worsham, Camry, 4.013, 324.75 def. J.R. Todd, Camry, Broke; QUARTERFINALS — Capps, 4.060, 317.64 def. C. Force, 8.255, 88.83; Hagan, 4.027, 291.26 def. Hight, 4.067, 265.53; Beckman, 3.973, 318.54 def. Worsham, 4.032, 315.56; Langdon, 4.025, 313.37 def. Johnson Jr., 4.841, 172.10; SEMIFINALS — Hagan, 4.056, 310.91 def. Capps, 9.134, 81.86; Beckman, 4.478, 199.35 def. Langdon, 9.414, 81.39; FINAL — Beckman, 4.035, 323.58 def. Hagan, 4.034, 322.04.

PRO STOCK: ROUND ONE — Drew Skillman, Chevy Camaro, 6.571, 211.66 def. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.757, 208.39; Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.568, 210.14 def. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 11.537, 76.81; Tanner Gray, Camaro, 6.577, 210.77 def. Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.569, 210.24; Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.573, 210.54 def. Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 6.602, 207.34; Alan Prusiensky, Dodge Dart, 6.731, 206.64 def. Jason Line, Camaro, 25.114, 29.77; Val Smeland, Camaro, 6.733, 205.60 def. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, Foul – Red Light; Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.567, 210.41 def. Wally Stroupe, Camaro, 7.049, 196.93; Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.603, 210.93 def. John Gaydosh Jr., Chevrolet Camaro, 6.656, 207.88; QUARTERFINALS — Gray, 6.612, 209.69 def. McGaha, 6.621, 210.08; Butner, 6.593, 210.14 def. Prusiensky, 6.905, 169.38; Nobile, 6.614, 209.88 def. Smeland, 6.679, 207.18; Skillman, 6.613, 210.28 def. Anderson, 9.278, 106.32; SEMIFINALS — Gray, 8.315, 179.52 def. Nobile, 12.836, 81.64; Butner, 6.623, 209.39 def. Skillman, 6.642, 210.05; FINAL — Gray, 6.588, 210.18 def. Butner, 6.605, 210.34.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: ROUND ONE — Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.935, 194.69 def. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.880, 196.13; Angelle Sampey, 6.902, 194.94 def. Ryan Oehler, Buell, 6.943, 191.29; Cory Reed, 6.953, 191.95 def. Hector Arana Jr., Buell, 6.945, 198.38; Scotty Pollacheck, Suzuki, 8.303, 115.65 def. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, Foul – Red Light; Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.844, 197.86 def. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 9.070, 102.07; Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.809, 199.52 def. Mark Paquette, 7.008, 190.43; Hector Arana, Buell, 6.914, 195.70 def. Joey Gladstone, Suzuki, 7.005, 190.16; Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.920, 196.10 def. Angie Smith, Buell, Foul – Red Light; QUARTERFINALS — Pollacheck, 6.875, 196.44 def. Reed, 6.925, 192.30; Arana, 6.874, 197.88 def. Stoffer, 6.981, 192.36; Krawiec, 6.852, 197.80 def. Johnson, 6.929, 194.46; Hines, 6.857, 197.71 def. Sampey, 7.077, 165.46; SEMIFINALS — Hines, 6.868, 196.96 def. Pollacheck, 7.044, 193.54; Krawiec, 6.852, 197.68 def. Arana, 6.969, 197.25; FINAL — Krawiec, 6.824, 198.44 def. Hines, 6.853, 197.19.

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POINT STANDINGS:

TOP FUEL: 1. Steve Torrence, 217; 2. Antron Brown, 210; 3. Clay Millican, 204; 4. Tony Schumacher, 198; 5. Doug Kalitta, 182; 6. Richie Crampton, 163; 7. Scott Palmer, 161; 8. Leah Pritchett, 147; 9. Brittany Force, 117; 10. Terry McMillen, 116.

FUNNY CAR: 1. Matt Hagan, 268; 2. Jack Beckman, 247; 3. Courtney Force, 219; 4. Ron Capps, 218; 5. Robert Hight, 185; 6. Tommy Johnson Jr., 182; 7. Shawn Langdon, 174; 8. (tie) Jonnie Lindberg, 117; J.R. Todd, 117; 10. Del Worsham, 116.

PRO STOCK: 1. Bo Butner, 245; 2. Jason Line, 232; 3. Chris McGaha, 213; 4. (tie) Deric Kramer, 190; Drew Skillman, 190; 6. Greg Anderson, 186; 7. Tanner Gray, 176; 8. Alex Laughlin, 175; 9. Vincent Nobile, 170; 10. Erica Enders, 166.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1. Eddie Krawiec, 123; 2. Andrew Hines, 107; 3. Scotty Pollacheck, 76; 4. Hector Arana, 71; 5. (tie) Steve Johnson, 53; Angelle Sampey, 53; 7. Karen Stoffer, 52; 8. Cory Reed, 51; 9. Joey Gladstone, 39; 10. Hector Arana Jr, 38.

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Toyota No. 8 car wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for third consecutive year

24 Hours of Le Mans
JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images
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LE MANS, France — Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 car comfortably won the 24 Hours of Le Mans by five laps Sunday to secure a third straight victory in the prestigious endurance race.

It was also a third consecutive win for Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima driving. Brendon Hartley was the other driver, having replaced two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Buemi and Hartley sat on the side of the car as Nakajima drove toward the podium. Hartley won for a second time after tasting success with the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 before an unhappy season in Formula One.

The Swiss team’s Rebellion No. 1 featured American driver Gustavo Menezes and Brazilian Bruno Senna – the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna.

It finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7, with Rebellion’s No. 3 finishing in fourth place.

For much of the race it looked like Toyota’s No. 7 would win after leading comfortably from pole position. But late into the night the car encountered an engine problem and the 30-minute stop in the stands proved costly.

The race was first held in 1923. A total of 252,500 spectators attended in 2019, but there were none this year when the race started three months late because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We miss the fans,” New Zealander Hartley said. “I look forward to seeing all the fans again.”

In other divisions:

United Autosports won the LMP2 division with the entry of Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson.

–In LMGTE Pro, the victory was claimed by Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell (who drives for Mazda in the DPi division of IMSA).

–TF Sport won the LMGTE Am class.

The Toyota No. 7 took pole after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi narrowly edged out the Rebellion No. 1 team in qualifying.

In damp and humid conditions Mike Conway got away cleanly from the start, while Senna held off Buemi.

After nearly seven hours, Toyota’s No. 8 fell back after a 10-minute stop in the stands to fix a brake-cooling problem on Kazuki Nakajima’s car. Rebellion’s No. 1, driven by Frenchman Norman Nato, took advantage to move into second place behind Toyota’s No. 7.

Then came the decisive moment at 2:40 a.m. as the No. 7 – also featuring Argentine Jose Maria Lopez – encountered a turbo problem. When the car came back out it was back in fourth.

“We had a few problems early in the race,” Nakajima said. “Later they had a bigger issue than us.”

Rebellion’s No. 1 encountered a problem on the hood at around 9 a.m. and the change took six minutes, allowing the Rebellion No. 3 (Nathanael Berthon-Louis Deletraz-Romain Dumas) to close the gap.

It was becoming a tight battle between the two Rebellion cars behind Toyota’s No. 8.

At 12 p.m. Rebellion No. 3 with Dumas behind the wheel was only one second ahead of No. 1 driven by Menezes. Then both cars came in for a driver change with Deletraz swapping for Dumas on a lengthy stop, and Nato for Menezes as Rebellion No. 1 suddenly moved ahead of its team rival.

Dumas, a winner in 2016 with Porsche, appeared unhappy at the strategy decision to bring his car in first and the length of the stop. There were tense explanations in the team garage.

Colombian Tatiana Calderon, an F1 test driver with Alfa Romeo, was in the Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 category. She was joined by German Sophia Florsch – an F3 driver – and Dutchwoman Beitske Visser. They placed ninth out of 24 in their category.