Photos: NHRA

NHRA: 86-year-old Chris Karamesines hits 305.01 mph in Brainerd qualifying

1 Comment

UPDATE: Unfortunately, Karamesines’ Cinderella story to potentially reach Sunday’s final round fell short, losing to Clay McMillen in the opening round of eliminations.

ORIGINAL STORY:

This weekend’s qualifying for the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd (Minnesota) International Raceway was one where some of the sport’s most veteran drivers really flexed their muscle — at over 10,000 horsepower.

The biggest and most pleasant surprise came Friday when veteran Top Fuel drag racer Chris Karamesines qualified No. 13 with a run of 4.003 seconds at 305.01 mph.

Now, that may not seem like a big deal until you realize Karamesines — colorfully nicknamed “the Golden Greek” because of his nationality — is 86 years old.

Chris Karamesines

At least that’s what the Karameines, who was inducted in 2006 into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of Amerca, and NHRA records say he is: reportedly born Nov. 11, 1931.

Others that know him say the Chicago native is actually 88 or even 89.

Karamesines, who is rumored to be retiring at the end of this season after nearly seven decades of racing, will face No. 4 qualifier Clay Millican (3.790 seconds at 323.04 mph) in Sunday’s first round of eliminations.

It’s the second time in five years that Karamesines — named to the 50 Greatest Drivers in NHRA history in 2001 — has exceeded 305 mph at Brainerd, having done so in 2014 (305.98 mph at 3.945 seconds).

His career-best speed, according to NHRA records, is 313.51 mph at the 2015 Gatornationals.

He also had a run of 3.979 seconds at 301.00 mph at St. Louis in 2016, and reached 300.06 mph this past June during eliminations at Norwalk, Ohio.

And then there’s Billy Torrence, the father of current Top Fuel points leader Steve Torrence. Having just turned 60 in April, Billy Torrence, earned the first No. 1 qualifying spot of his nearly three-decade drag racing career.

Billy Torrence

Billy Torrence ran 3.784 seconds at 326.32 mph to bump his son from the No. 1 qualifying spot in the final round of Saturday’s qualifying. Billy Torrence will face Terry Totten in Sunday’s first round of eliminations.

Steve Torrence, who is the current points leader, qualified second following his run of 3.786 at 325.37 and will race Bill Litton on Sunday.

Supercross: Tomac, Roczen square off in Arlington; Webb gives chase

Feld Entertainment Inc.
Leave a comment

The Monster Energy Supercross championship battle remains tight after Eli Tomac took the lead from Ken Roczen just last week at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. Now the series heads to Arlington, Texas, and the AT&T Stadium for Round 8. (Watch on NBCSN or stream live.)

Tomac’s third win of the 2020 season and Roczen’s third-place finish at Tampa gives Tomac a four-point advantage in what is essentially a wide-open title fight with three races on tap in Arlington.

And while it is still much too early to call this a two-man battle, Cooper Webb is 11 points back with Justin Barcia 20 points out and Adam Cianciarulo 27 points in arrears – and all three cannot afford to lose any ground this week.

Tomac has the momentum. He allowed the field to get a jump after finishing seventh at Anaheim in the season opener, but finished fourth or better in the remaining events.

Roczen also got off to a slow start in Anaheim 1 with a sixth-place finish. He seemed to have a firm grasp on the red plate with four consecutive podium finishes until he slipped to sixth for a second time at San Diego.

Webb is coming into his own with three consecutive podiums in the last three events. If not for a 12th at St. Louis, he would be in immediate contention for the red plate.

This week is the second Triple Crown race of the season and Roczen hopes he has the same success as he did at Glendale. He won all three Mains that weekend and easily walked away with the overall victory. Tomac finished 2-2-3 for second overall. It is going to be imperative that a rider takes the early lead.

Blake Baggett qualified for last week’s Main, but chose to sit it out after experiencing sever muscle spasms. He will ride in Arlington.

Henry Miller will return to riding at Arlington after breaking a scapula in Australia.

Subscribe to the Supercross Pass for complete qualification and race coverage of the 2020 season.

For the third time in his career, Shane McElrath started the season with a victory. He won the season-opener in 2017 and 2018 in the West division at Anaheim, but failed to lock down a 250 title. His seventh career win moved him to 25th on the chart, however, with Travis Pastrana, Trey Canard, and a host of others.

Chase Sexton got his title hunt off to a strong start last week as well. He finished second to earn his 10th podium in 19 starts, but he will be hungry for a win. Despite the fact that he won last year’s 250 West championship, he has only one race victory to his credit.

Last week, Jeremy Martin looked like he had not been off his bike for more than a year. Returning from a 2018 injury, Martin snagged a podium finish in his first race back.

Schedule:

Qualifying: 1 p.m. on NBC Sports Gold
Race: 8:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Gold and NBCSN

Last Week:

Eli Tomac beat Cooper Webb and Ken Roczen in the 450 class.
Shane McElrath beat Chase Sexton and Jeremy Martin in the 250 class.

Last Dallas race (February, 2019):

Cooper Webb beat Ken Roczen and Marvin Musquin in the 450 class.
Austin Forkner beat Justin Cooper and Chase Sexton in the 250 class.

Points Leaders

450s:
Eli Tomac (155)
Ken Roczen (151)
Cooper Webb (144)
Justin Barcia (135)
Adam Cianciarulo (128)

250 West:
Dylan Ferrandis (135)
Justin Cooper (128)
Austin Forkner (122)
Brandon Hartranft (110)
Alex Martin (98)

250 East:
Shane McElrath (26)
Chase Sexton (23)
Jeremy Martin (21)
Garrett Marchbanks (19)
Jordon Smith (18)

Wins

450

(3) Eli Tomac (Anaheim 2, Oakland and Tampa)
(2) Ken Roczen (St. Louis and Glendale)
(1) Justin Barcia (Anaheim 1)
(1) Cooper Webb (San Diego)

250 West

(3) Dylan Ferrandis (Anaheim 2, Oakland, and San Diego)
(2) Austin Forkner (St. Louis and Glendale)
(1) Justin Cooper (Anaheim 1)

250 East

(1) Shane McElrath (Tampa)

Top-5s

450

(6) Eli Tomac
(6) Cooper Webb
(5) Jason Anderson
(5) Ken Roczen
(5) Justin Barcia
(3) Adam Cianciarulo
(2) Zach Osborne
(2) Blake Baggett
(1) Justin Hill

250 West

(5) Dylan Ferrandis
(5) Austin Forkner
(5) Justin Cooper
(4) Michael Mosiman
(4) Brandon Hartranft
(3) Alex Martin
(1) Christian Craig
(1) Jett Lawrence
(1) Jacob Hayes
(1) Luke Clout

250 East

(1) Shane McElrath
(1) Chase Sexton
(1) Jeremy Martin
(1) Garrett Marchbanks
(1) Jordon Smith

Follow Dan Beaver on Twitter