Photo courtesy NHRA

NHRA Topeka: C. Force wins 3rd of year; Millican (TF), Kramer (PS) also win

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John Force isn’t the only member of the family that can make news in the NHRA Funny Car ranks.

Youngest daughter Courtney Force won her third race of the season in Monday’s rain-delayed Menards NHRA Heartland Nationals in Topeka, Kansas.

Force has now back-to-back races and three of the first eight races of the 24-race 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.

Final eliminations were originally scheduled for 12 Noon ET on Sunday, but weather forced an eight-hour delay before racing resumed.

With the lateness of the evening, as well as additional bad weather approaching, NHRA and Heartland Park Topeka officials were forced to complete elimination rounds on Monday.

Other victorious drivers included Clay Millican, who earned his second career Top Fuel win, and Deric Kramer earned his first career Pro Stock national event triumph.

Millican, Kramer and Force all were No. 1 qualifiers going into final eliminations. It was also Force’s fifth No. 1 qualifier this season.

Here’s how the final round of eliminations played out:

IN FUNNY CAR: Force defeated reigning NHRA Funny Car champion and John Force Racing teammate, Robert Hight, in Monday’s final round.

Force covered the 1,000-foot drag strip in 3.928 seconds at 329.83 mph to earn the 11th win of her Funny Car career. This has been a turnaround season for Force, who did not win any races in 2017.

“Coming off a back-to-back win is just insane,” Force said. “I got on the radio and told my guys that they’re unbelievable and that it’s so much fun to drive this race car.

“Coming out to a track where the conditions have changed a lot, I have to give credit to my crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Dan Hood.”

IN TOP FUEL: Millican was not to be denied of his second career Top Fuel win, defeating Terry McMillen in the final round.

Millican won the race with an ET of 3.727 seconds at a stout 332.59 mph. It was only the second time in 10 final rounds in NHRA Top Fuel competition that he emerged victorious.

“The car has been really good,” Millican said. “Pretty much didn’t matter what I did because that car was going to win today.

“It’s just awesome with all of the work [crew chief] David Grubnic has put in. He found some consistency which is what I’ve been saying all along.”

IN PRO STOCK: Kramer captured his first Pro Stock win with a pass of 6.615 seconds at 209.36 mph, defeating two-time Pro Stock world champ Erica Enders in the final round.

Kramer becomes the 67th different driver to earn a NHRA Pro Stock national event win.

“I’ve been working a long time for this,” Kramer stated. “The first win leaves me a little speechless but I’m already looking for the next one.

“Always great as a driver to do your part and I’ve certainly been doing that all weekend.”

The NHRA national event tour enjoys the Memorial Day weekend off before resuming May 31st to June 3rd at the JEGS Route 66 NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Illinois (about 50 miles southwest of downtown Chicago).

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FINAL FINISHING ORDER:

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

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

PRO STOCK: 1. Deric Kramer; 2. Erica Enders; 3. Jason Line; 4. Greg Anderson; 5. Tanner Gray; 6. Drew Skillman; 7. Matt Hartford; 8. Richard Freeman; 9. Vincent Nobile; 10. Mark Hogan; 11. Chris McGaha; 12. Will Hatcher; 13. Alex Laughlin; 14. Jeg Coughlin; 15. Bo Butner; 16. Alan Prusiensky.

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FINAL RESULTS:

 TOP FUEL: Clay Millican, 3.727 seconds, 332.59 mph def. Terry McMillen, 6.169 seconds, 104.47 mph.

FUNNY CAR: Courtney Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.928, 329.83 def. Robert Hight, Camaro, 4.087, 265.90.

PRO STOCK: Deric Kramer, Chevy Camaro, 6.615, 209.36 def. Erica Enders, Camaro, 7.409, 143.58.

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FINAL ROUND-BY-ROUND RESULTS:

TOP FUEL: ROUND ONE — Brittany Force, 3.723, 328.06 def. Richie Crampton, 4.264, 303.98; Terry McMillen, 3.934, 313.22 def. Mike Salinas, 4.674, 165.11; Leah Pritchett, 4.060, 304.39 def. Antron Brown, 4.254, 301.07; Clay Millican, 3.780, 331.36 def. Terry Totten, 5.452, 136.62; Steve Torrence, 3.734, 333.25 def. Terry Haddock, 9.583, 72.99; Billy Torrence, 3.734, 329.75 def. Kebin Kinsley, 4.333, 196.59; Tony Schumacher, 3.781, 326.24 def. Bill Litton, 3.950, 270.48; Doug Kalitta, 3.774, 326.24 def. Scott Palmer, 3.798, 327.90;

QUARTERFINALS — Schumacher, 3.931, 231.71 def. Pritchett, 9.302, 87.02; S. Torrence, 3.684, 334.24 def. Force, 8.715, 78.72; McMillen, 3.781, 319.14 def. B. Torrence, 4.714, 175.64; Millican, 3.724, 334.90 def. Kalitta, 7.301, 72.09;

SEMIFINALS — Millican, 3.676, 331.20 def. Schumacher, 5.198, 139.31; McMillen, 3.758, 326.48 def. S. Torrence, 3.784, 320.51;

FINAL — Millican, 3.727, 332.59 def. McMillen, 6.169, 104.47.

FUNNY CAR: ROUND ONE — Jonnie Lindberg, Ford Mustang, 8.883, 84.25 def. Jim Campbell, Dodge Charger, Foul – Red Light; Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 4.766, 262.18 def. Cruz Pedregon, Toyota Camry, 6.291, 103.95; Courtney Force, Camaro, 5.323, 176.70 def. Richard Townsend, Camry, 5.929, 138.39; J.R. Todd, Camry, 4.385, 237.17 def. Dale Creasy Jr., Dodge Stratus, 5.347, 155.06; Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.776, 186.77 def. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, Broke; Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.950, 325.06 def. John Force, Camaro, 4.391, 284.03; Shawn Langdon, Camry, 4.021, 322.19 def. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.322, 315.64; Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.942, 326.79 def. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.024, 314.31;

QUARTERFINALS — Todd, 3.949, 323.12 def. Beckman, 4.058, 310.20; Hight, 3.924, 330.23 def. Johnson Jr., 3.986, 327.98; Langdon, 4.011, 324.12 def. Lindberg, 12.378, 75.64; C. Force, 3.934, 328.54 def. Hagan, 3.936, 328.94;

SEMIFINALS — C. Force, 3.895, 330.39 def. Todd, 4.495, 188.81; Hight, 3.911, 330.55 def. Langdon, 7.038, 97.06;

FINAL — C. Force, 3.928, 329.83 def. Hight, 4.087, 265.90.

PRO STOCK: ROUND ONE — Matt Hartford, Chevy Camaro, 7.378, 135.81 def. Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, Foul – Red Light; Tanner Gray, Camaro, 6.645, 206.61 def. Bo Butner, Camaro, Broke; Drew Skillman, Camaro, 11.581, 77.19 def. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, Foul – Red Light; Jason Line, Camaro, 6.611, 208.97 def. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 7.736, 125.65; Deric Kramer, Camaro, 7.594, 135.40 def. Will Hatcher, Dodge Dart, 7.616, 145.20; Richard Freeman, Camaro, 6.650, 207.53 def. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 7.060, 158.20; Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.612, 208.39 def. Mark Hogan, Pontiac GXP, 6.935, 197.54; Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.596, 209.79 def. Alan Prusiensky, Dart, Foul – Red Light;

QUARTERFINALS — Kramer, 6.621, 208.91 def. Hartford, 6.604, 208.65; Enders, 6.550, 209.65 def. Gray, 6.574, 209.33; Line, 6.583, 210.05 def. Freeman, 6.635, 207.69; Anderson, 6.567, 210.93 def. Skillman, 6.594, 209.04;

SEMIFINALS — Kramer, 6.600, 209.49 def. Line, 6.580, 210.11; Enders, 6.603, 209.36 def. Anderson, 6.581, 210.60;

FINAL — Kramer, 6.615, 209.36 def. Enders, 7.409, 143.58.

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UPDATED POINT STANDINGS:

TOP FUEL: 1. Steve Torrence, 664; 2. Clay Millican, 569; 3. Tony Schumacher, 539; 4. Doug Kalitta, 497; 5. Leah Pritchett, 489; 6. Terry McMillen, 432; 7. Brittany Force, 428; 8. Antron Brown, 423; 9. Richie Crampton, 312; 10. Mike Salinas, 308.

FUNNY CAR: 1. Courtney Force, 670; 2. Jack Beckman, 590; 3. Matt Hagan, 540; 4. Robert Hight, 512; 5. J.R. Todd, 504; 6. Tommy Johnson Jr., 490; 7. Ron Capps, 440; 8. Cruz Pedregon, 399; 9. Shawn Langdon, 373; 10. Jonnie Lindberg, 351.

PRO STOCK: 1. Vincent Nobile, 573; 2. Greg Anderson, 543; 3. Erica Enders, 541; 4. Deric Kramer, 539; 5. Bo Butner, 518; 6. Drew Skillman, 496; 7. Chris McGaha, 495; 8. Tanner Gray, 493; 9. Jason Line, 442; 10. Alex Laughlin, 381.

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NHRA Norwalk winners: Blake Alexander, Hagan, Gray, Krawiec

Norwalk winners, from left, Tanner Gray, Eddie Krawiec, Blake Alexander and Matt Hagan. Photo and videos courtesy NHRA
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Blake Alexander captured his first career NHRA Top Fuel win, winning Sunday at the Summit Racing Equipment Nationals at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio.

Alexander becomes the 105th different winner in NHRA Top Fuel history.

Alexander won the race with a 4.011-second pass at 297.81 mph, defeating Terry McMillen.

“It felt really good,” Alexander said afterward. “I got a little emotional because I’ve tried to do this my whole life. I’ve come close but have lost sponsors, thought I was never going to drive the car again and basically we have gone through everything to climb back to the top.”

Alexander qualified 12th for the event and defeated three of the sport’s heavyweight drivers – Don Schumacher Racing pilots Antron Brown, Tony Schumacher and Leah Pritchett – before entering his second career final round.

In Funny Car, Matt Hagan earned his second event of the season with a run of 4.094 seconds at 288.21 mph over points leader Courtney Force.

It was Hagan’s first win since the season-opening race at Pomona, California.

“We just had a good solid car all weekend,” Hagan said. “We qualified well and went down the race track pretty much every lap.

“It’s been a while since we turned on four win lights but it’s a nitro Funny Car; you never know what you’re going to get.”

Hagan was the No. 3 qualifier and defeated fellow DSR teammates Tommy Johnson Jr. and Jack Beckman, followed by Kalitta Motorsports’ J.R. Todd in the semifinals en route to meeting Force – who had qualified No. 1 – in the final round.

Courtney Force defeated John Smith, Shawn Langdon and her father, 16-time Funny Car champion John Force.

In Pro Stock, young Tanner Gray earned his third win of the season and eighth of his career. Gray covered the quarter-mile in 6.615 seconds at 209.62 mph, defeating two-time Pro Stock champion Erica Enders in the final round.

Gray becomes the only Pro Stock driver to reach the winner’s circle three different times this season.

“This was definitely a huge accomplishment,” Gray said. “We struggled a lot at the beginning of the season.

“We did a lot of testing and couldn’t really see where that hard work was because the results weren’t showing. It feels good to have finally turned a corner and see where all of the hard work has paid off.”

Gray defeated Chris McGaha, Matt Hartford and Drew Skillman prior to his final round win over Enders, who now has one win and four runner-up finishes in the first 12 races of 2018.

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Eddie Krawiec won for the third time in his career at Norwalk with a pass of 6.923 seconds at 195.05 mph, defeating 2016 PSM champ Jerry “The Alligator Farmer” Savoie.

“It was a good one for me,” Krawiec said. “It’s been a good weekend for us. It was a struggle early on trying to dance through the rain drops.

“We were trying to get a handle on a new track and understand what it is we need to do. We were able to get it done and get our bike in the winner’s circle.”

Savoie is now 1-1 in final round appearances, with a win at Charlotte and runner-up Sunday.

The next NHRA national event, which kicks off the second half of the 24-race Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule, takes place July 6-8 at New England Dragway in Epping, N.H.

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FINAL FINISHING ORDER:

TOP FUEL: 1. Blake Alexander; 2. Terry McMillen; 3. Steve Torrence; 4. Leah Pritchett; 5. Tony Schumacher; 6. Richie Crampton; 7. Clay Millican; 8. Mike Salinas; 9. Doug Kalitta; 10. Antron Brown; 11. Pat Dakin; 12. Dom Lagana; 13. Kyle Wurtzel; 14. Chris Karamesines; 15. Brittany Force; 16. Luigi Novelli.

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

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

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

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FINAL RESULTS:

TOP FUEL: Blake Alexander, 4.011 seconds, 297.81 mph def. Terry McMillen, 4.155 seconds, 289.20 mph.

FUNNY CAR: Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 4.094, 288.21 def. Courtney Force, Chevy Camaro, 4.220, 227.54.

PRO STOCK: Tanner Gray, Chevy Camaro, 6.615, 209.62 def. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.608, 208.30.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.923, 195.05 def. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 7.071, 175.39.

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FINAL ROUND-BY-ROUND RESULTS:

TOP FUEL: ROUND ONE — Richie Crampton, 3.802, 321.81 def. Pat Dakin, 3.834, 318.24; Mike Salinas, 3.884, 268.38 def. Luigi Novelli, 14.101, 30.94; Terry McMillen, 3.816, 324.98 def. Brittany Force, 9.389, 79.86; Clay Millican, 3.759, 332.26 def. Dom Lagana, 3.837, 323.89; Steve Torrence, 3.800, 329.99 def. Chris Karamesines, 4.052, 300.06; Tony Schumacher, 3.807, 327.66 def. Kyle Wurtzel, 3.902, 306.74; Blake Alexander, 3.802, 319.75 def. Antron Brown, 3.808, 326.71; Leah Pritchett, 3.794, 328.94 def. Doug Kalitta, 3.805, 321.73; QUARTERFINALS — Alexander, 3.798, 330.15 def. Schumacher, 3.779, 330.31; McMillen, 3.793, 327.11 def. Crampton, 3.810, 320.51; Pritchett, 3.788, 327.74 def. Millican, 3.817, 327.03; Torrence, 4.027, 269.89 def. Salinas, 4.001, 232.07; SEMIFINALS — McMillen, 3.854, 317.57 def. Torrence, 3.929, 302.96; Alexander, 3.799, 329.91 def. Pritchett, 4.185, 254.28; FINAL — Alexander, 4.011, 297.81 def. McMillen, 4.155, 289.20.

FUNNY CAR: ROUND ONE — Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 3.998, 322.58 def. Dale Creasy Jr., Dodge Stratus, 4.338, 224.21; Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 3.994, 327.19 def. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.990, 323.27; Courtney Force, Camaro, 3.994, 324.51 def. John Smith, Toyota Camry, 4.373, 248.52; Ron Capps, Charger, 4.034, 315.05 def. Jeff Diehl, Camry, Foul – Red Light; John Force, Camaro, 4.066, 320.13 def. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.140, 311.49; Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.047, 319.07 def. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 9.812, 93.13; J.R. Todd, Camry, 4.016, 316.01 def. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 5.438, 142.39; Shawn Langdon, Camry, 4.045, 318.77 def. Del Worsham, Camry, 4.847, 202.00; QUARTERFINALS — Todd, 4.004, 321.27 def. Capps, 9.588, 81.56; J. Force, 4.085, 319.75 def. Hight, 4.116, 308.07; Hagan, 4.010, 322.27 def. Beckman, 4.022, 321.73; C. Force, 3.971, 325.37 def. Langdon, 4.025, 315.19; SEMIFINALS — Hagan, 3.981, 320.58 def. Todd, 4.031, 321.50; C. Force, 4.007, 323.58 def. J. Force, 4.053, 321.27; FINAL — Hagan, 4.094, 288.21 def. C. Force, 4.220, 227.54.

PRO STOCK: ROUND ONE — Erica Enders, Chevy Camaro, 6.632, 208.26 def. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.614, 208.78; Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.607, 209.65 def. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.603, 209.07; Tanner Gray, Camaro, 6.608, 209.04 def. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.648, 208.55; Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.616, 208.23 def. Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.632, 208.23; Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.626, 208.42 def. John Gaydosh Jr, Chevrolet Camaro, 6.765, 205.66; Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.751, 207.40 def. Wally Stroupe, Camaro, 6.802, 203.52; Jason Line, Camaro, 6.599, 208.94 def. Kenny Delco, Camaro, Foul – Red Light; Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 6.588, 208.88 def. Charlie Westcott Jr., Ford Mustang, 6.848, 201.85; QUARTERFINALS — Butner, 6.671, 207.85 def. Nobile, 7.216, 141.86; Gray, 6.600, 209.04 def. Hartford, 15.697, 42.27; Skillman, 6.614, 209.14 def. Line, 6.625, 208.59; Enders, 6.634, 207.56 def. Coughlin, 6.737, 207.50; SEMIFINALS — Enders, 6.636, 207.59 def. Butner, 6.651, 208.42; Gray, 6.610, 209.30 def. Skillman, Foul – Red Light; FINAL — Gray, 6.615, 209.62 def. Enders, 6.608, 208.30.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: ROUND ONE — Angie Smith, Buell, 6.932, 192.17 def. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.993, 190.19; LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.907, 195.56 def. Mark Paquette, Buell, 6.932, 189.60; Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.906, 193.85 def. Cory Reed, Buell, 6.959, 192.11; Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.896, 194.60 def. Hector Arana, Buell, Foul – Red Light; Angelle Sampey, Buell, 6.903, 193.29 def. Joey Gladstone, Suzuki, 7.066, 189.71; Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.866, 195.39 def. Ryan Oehler, Buell, 6.964, 193.71; Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 6.926, 193.32 def. Matt Smith, 6.899, 195.48; Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.953, 192.69 def. Scotty Pollacheck, Suzuki, Foul – Red Light; QUARTERFINALS — A. Smith, 6.972, 191.10 def. Underdahl, 7.080, 188.73; Krawiec, 6.889, 193.46 def. Sampey, 6.922, 193.35; Savoie, 6.916, 193.13 def. Hines, 6.991, 192.25; Tonglet, 6.940, 194.58 def. Arana Jr, Foul – Red Light; SEMIFINALS — Savoie, 7.187, 155.10 def. A. Smith, 7.627, 128.07; Krawiec, 6.865, 194.24 def. Tonglet, 6.898, 195.11; FINAL — Krawiec, 6.923, 195.05 def. Savoie, 7.071, 175.39.

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UPDATED POINT STANDINGS:

TOP FUEL: 1. Steve Torrence, 964; 2. Clay Millican, 847; 3. Tony Schumacher, 817; 4. Doug Kalitta, 749; 5. Leah Pritchett, 736; 6. Terry McMillen, 643; 7. Antron Brown, 622; 8. Brittany Force, 594; 9. Mike Salinas, 475; 10. Scott Palmer, 471.

FUNNY CAR: 1. Courtney Force, 1,038; 2. (tie) Jack Beckman, 788; Matt Hagan, 788; 4. Robert Hight, 771; 5. J.R. Todd, 767; 6. Ron Capps, 755; 7. Tommy Johnson Jr., 637; 8. John Force, 577; 9. Shawn Langdon, 537; 10. Bob Tasca III, 532.

PRO STOCK: 1. Tanner Gray, 882; 2. Greg Anderson, 856; 3. Erica Enders, 830; 4. Vincent Nobile, 812; 5. Drew Skillman, 751; 6. Jeg Coughlin, 732; 7. Bo Butner, 717; 8. Chris McGaha, 691; 9. Deric Kramer, 659; 10. Jason Line, 628.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1. Eddie Krawiec, 515; 2. Andrew Hines, 510; 3. LE Tonglet, 440; 4. Jerry Savoie, 389; 5. Hector Arana Jr, 377; 6. Scotty Pollacheck, 363; 7. Matt Smith, 355; 8. Angie Smith, 272; 9. Angelle Sampey, 257; 10. Hector Arana, 255.

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