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NHRA Brainerd: Antron Brown, Robert Hight, Erica Enders, Matt Smith early No. 1 qualifiers

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NHRA Media Release

BRAINERD, Minn. – Antron Brown is the preliminary No. 1 qualifier in Top Fuel at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway and is shaping into a contender for his fourth Top Fuel world championship.

Robert Hight (Funny Car), Erica Enders (Pro Stock), and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are also preliminary No. 1 qualifiers in their respective categories at the 17th of 24 events on the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.

Brown won the most recent event in Seattle for his first win of the season and his surging Matco Tools dragster took the No. 1 position during the second qualifying session with his run of 3.789-seconds at 325.45 mph.

Brown has yet to record a No. 1 qualifying position this season but has 49 in his career. Brown also secured his position in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship following the first qualifying session.

“We have been working hard for this,” said Brown. “It is no secret, we have been through our bumps and bruises but the thing about it is that is why you go through the struggles so you have days like this and what we had in Seattle.”

Clay Millican was the leader after the first qualifying session and ends up second with a run of 3.790 at 323.04 and points leader Steve Torrence is 12th with his run of 4.445 at 180.91.

Hight is the current leader in the Funny Car category with his run of 3.971 at 326.95 in his Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet Camaro SS. Hight has one No. 1 qualifying position this season, two wins, three runner-up finishes and is currently third in the points standings.

“Good day, six bonus points, and see if we can get more tomorrow,” said Hight. “The goal tomorrow is to be ahead of everybody but keep going down the track. If we get six more points tomorrow that is big.”

Matt Hagan is qualified second with his run of 3.990 at 324.51 and points leader Courtney Force is 15th following her run of 4.097 at 313.15. Jack Beckman, the 2012 Funny Car world champion, earned his berth into the Countdown to the Championship after the opening qualifying session.

Enders, who is currently third in Pro Stock points, aims for her first No. 1 qualifying position of the season after driving to a 6.609 at 207.53 in her Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro during the second session of the day. Enders has yet to record a No. 1 qualifying position this season but has one win this season and five runner-up finishes.

“We are really excited to be No. 1 even if it is for just Friday night, we will try to hold onto it Saturday,” Enders said. “Our car is running awesome, I’m definitely driving better so that is encouraging. It was great to go to the No. 1 spot, I have a good hot rod and I’m excited.”

Chris McGaha is second with a pass of 6.613 at 208.33 and points leader Greg Anderson is eighth following his run of 6.626 at 208.52.

Smith, who has one win on the season and one No. 1 qualifying position this year, is the current Pro Stock Motorcycle leader with his run of 6.852 at a track record-setting 198.47 on his Elite Motorsports/Denso EBR. His last No. 1 qualifying position came in Norwalk, Ohio, and he has one No. 1 qualifying position at the facility.

“We debuted a new body and we were low both sessions,” said Smith. “All and all can’t say enough about Richard Freeman from Elite Performance, Mark Stockseth, Lucas Oil, Denso, and everybody that helps me. I couldn’t do this without them.”

Hector Arana Jr. is second at 6.877 at 197.08, Eddie Krawiec is third with his run of 6.886 at 195.45 and points leader Andrew Hines is fourth following his pass of 6.899 at 195.05.

Qualifying continues at 12:45 p.m. on Saturday at Brainerd International Raceway.

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BRAINERD, Minn. — Friday’s results after the first two of four rounds of qualifying for the 37th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway, 17th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Qualifying will continue Saturday for Sunday’s final eliminations.

Top Fuel — 1. Antron Brown, 3.789 seconds, 325.45 mph; 2. Clay Millican, 3.790, 323.04; 3. Mike Salinas, 3.797, 322.19; 4. Billy Torrence, 3.823, 326.48; 5. Scott Palmer, 3.834, 318.17; 6. Leah Pritchett, 3.841, 324.83; 7. Terry McMillen, 3.846, 319.60; 8. Tony Schumacher, 3.946, 308.92; 9. Doug Kalitta, 3.947, 257.43; 10. Chris Karamesines, 4.003, 305.01; 11. Brittany Force, 4.187, 210.44; 12. Steve Torrence, 4.445, 180.91; 13. Richie Crampton, 5.024, 141.59; 14. Luigi Novelli, 5.234, 140.63; 15. Terry Totten, 12.286, 72.31.

Funny Car — 1. Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 3.971, 326.95; 2. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 3.990, 324.51; 3. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 3.996, 316.67; 4. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.014, 313.15; 5. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.017, 317.42; 6. Shawn Langdon, Toyota Camry, 4.024, 318.39; 7. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 4.026, 318.09; 8. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.039, 311.99; 9. Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.067, 314.75; 10. J.R. Todd, Camry, 4.070, 316.67; 11. Jonnie Lindberg, Mustang, 4.081, 314.53; 12. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 4.081, 305.84; 13. John Force, Camaro, 4.082, 321.42; 14. Courtney Force, Camaro, 4.097, 313.15; 15. Bob Bode, Charger, 4.113, 307.72; 16. Del Worsham, Camry, 4.495, 214.93. Not Qualified: 17. Dale Creasy Jr., 4.529, 175.87; 18. Gary Densham, 5.222, 157.91.

Pro Stock — 1. Erica Enders, Chevy Camaro, 6.609, 207.53; 2. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.613, 208.33; 3. Alex Laughlin, Dodge Dart, 6.613, 207.59; 4. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.614, 208.78; 5. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.622, 207.88; 6. Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 6.623, 208.23; 7. Tanner Gray, Camaro, 6.624, 208.71; 8. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.626, 208.52; 9. Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.632, 208.01; 10. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.640, 207.72; 11. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.648, 207.08; 12. Dave Connolly, Camaro, 6.659, 207.53; 13. Fernando Cuadra, Camaro, 6.683, 207.08; 14. Alan Prusiensky, Dart, 6.771, 203.80; 15. Mark Hogan, Pontiac GXP, 6.854, 200.59; 16. Dave River, Chevy Cobalt, 7.002, 197.33.

Pro Stock Motorcycle — 1. Matt Smith, Victory, 6.852, 198.47; 2. Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.877, 197.22; 3. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.886, 195.45; 4. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.899, 195.76; 5. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.909, 193.07; 6. Mark Paquette, Buell, 6.917, 193.32; 7. Joey Gladstone, Suzuki, 6.924, 193.27; 8. Angelle Sampey, Buell, 6.960, 192.58; 9. Hector Arana, Buell, 6.965, 193.90; 10. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.969, 193.16; 11. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.979, 191.00; 12. Ryan Oehler, Buell, 6.985, 192.03; 13. Scotty Pollacheck, Suzuki, 6.985, 191.76; 14. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 6.997, 191.21; 15. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 7.002, 191.19; 16. Angie Smith, Buell, 7.033, 189.87. Not Qualified: 17. Kelly Clontz, 7.072, 190.35; 18. Cory Reed, 7.146, 185.36.

‘One and Only’ Kyle Larson wins Outlaws opener at Knoxville Raceway

Kyle Larson wins Knoxville
Paul Arch/World of Outlaws
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The magic of dirt racing wins for Kyle Larson continued Thursday night at Knoxville Raceway, where he scored his third consecutive World of Outlaws victory at the famed half-mile track to open “The One and Only.”

After starting 10th, Larson sliced through the field and passed pole-sitter Logan Schuchart to lead the final eight laps in the No. 57 of car owner Paul Silva.

“Just an awesome race,” Larson said after earning $10,000 for his second consecutive NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series victory (after winning at Pevely, Missouri, last Saturday), his sixth Outlaws victory this season and 14th of his career.

LARSON ON NASCAR‘I’d love an opportunity if it came’

“I was able to track Logan down and hit the bottom really well in (turns) 1 and 2 and got a run on him.  It felt like I needed to take advantage of that before we got to heavier traffic and slid him and felt some contact. So, glad to see him not in the wall or anything like that. Just, hard work there. Heartbeat is up again.”

Kyle Larson wins Knoxville
Kyle Larson scored his sixth World of Outlaws victory Thursday (Trent Gower/World of Outlaws).

It was the fourth Knoxville victory this year for Larson, who swept a World of Outlaws doubleheader weekend June 12-13 at the Sprint Car Captial of the World. He has more than 30 victories this year in sprint cars and midgets.

The One and Only continues Friday night with another $10,000 feature race that will set the starting lineup for Saturday’s Brownells Capitani Classic, which pays $50,000 to win.

The event is the Outlaws’ richest purse of 2020 and subs in for the annual Knoxville Nationals, which was canceled for COVID-19 concerns. Larson, a two-time Knoxville Nationals runner-up, has said winning The One and Only would be on the same as Knoxville’s signature event because of its tough three-day format.

Through the first of three nights, Schuchart and Larson are tied for second in The One and Only points standings, which factor in qualifying, heats, dash and feature races. Aaron Reutzel, an All Star Circuit of Champions stalwart who finished third Thursday, leads with 430 points.

A crash in Thursday’s 25-lap feature eliminated past Outlaws champions Brad Sweet and Donny Schatz after Cory Eliason spun in front of Sweet in Turn 1 to start the wreck, which also collected Sweet’s teammate, James McFadden. Sweet and Schatz finished outside the top 20, which moved Schuchart into the points lead for the 2020 season.

Schuchart still seemed slightly miffed after finishing second to Larson.

“As the race went on, I felt like I wasn’t hitting my marks as good,” he said. “I would have liked to of had a little bit better of a race with Kyle there. I wish his slide job was a little better there, but he’s got a reputation to live up to. That’s where you let other people make the rules and maybe we’ll get him next time.”


RESULTS

NOS Energy Drink Feature (25 Laps) – 1. 57-Kyle Larson [10]; 2. 1S-Logan Schuchart [1]; 3. 87-Aaron Reutzel [2]; 4. 2-Carson Macedo [24]; 5. 41-David Gravel [6]; 6. 21-Brian Brown [7]; 7. 71-Spencer Bayston [3]; 8. 18-Gio Scelzi [15]; 9. 12N-Joey Saldana [5]; 10. 5-Ian Madsen [19]; 11. 17A-Austin McCarl [21]; 12. 1A-Jacob Allen [11]; 13. 7BC-Tyler Courtney [16]; 14. 7S-Jason Sides [20]; 15. 24-Rico Abreu [22]; 16. 4-Terry McCarl [13]; 17. 2KS-Brooke Tatnell [18]; 18. O9-Matt Juhl [23]; 19. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild [25]; 20. 83-Daryn Pittman [9]; 21. 11K-Kraig Kinser [17]; 22. 15-Donny Schatz [8]; 23. 26-Cory Eliason [4]; 24. 49-Brad Sweet [12]; 25. 9-James McFadden [14]; Lap Leaders: Logan Schuchart 1-17, Kyle Larson 18-25; KSE Hard Charger Award: 2-Carson Macedo[+20]

Kyle Larson wins Knoxville
Kyle Larson celebrated with his family and team after the first night of The One and Only (Trent Gower/World of Outlaws).