Kalitta scores third straight Top Fuel victory
Doug Kalitta’s victory roll continued at Heartland Park Topeka’s at the NHRA Kansas Nationals, as Matt Hagan conquered Funny Car for a second straight week and Jason Line took Pro Stock.
Kalitta’s Mac Tools dragster lost traction at the hit of the throttle and got sideways two times as he worked the steering wheel to cross the finish line in front of Don Schumacher Racing’s Antron Brown.
“It’s one of those deals you take what you can get as quick as you can do it,” said Kalitta, who extended his series points lead to 95 over second-place Brown with the victory. “I don’t think my car ever hooked up. It was exciting.
“These wins don’t come easy, that’s for sure. I am just real happy to do it here at Topeka.”
It was Kalitta’s second win at Topeka and 41st victory of his career. Kalitta finished with a performance of 5.452 seconds at 238.85 mph, while Brown’s Matco Tools dragster also lost traction and posted a 5.687 at 298.60.
Kalitta defeated Rob Passey, Clay Millican and Steve Torrence in earlier rounds to advance to the final. It was the ninth Top Fuel victory for the Kalitta Motorsports team at Topeka, including six for the late Scott Kalitta and one for Hillary Will. It is the first time in his career that Kalitta has earned three consecutive victories.
The flopper final was similarly messy, as Hagan’s Mopar Express Lane/Rocky Boots Dodge Charger lost traction early in the Funny Car final round. But he managed to get on and off the throttle just enough to finish in front of Jack Beckman in a rematch of the Atlanta final last weekend.
Hagan stopped the clocks in 5.724 at 179.04, while Beckman’s Infinite Hero Dodge Charger also smoked the tires on the run and trailed with a 6.560 at 146.75. ‘
It was Hagan’s second consecutive victory of the season, 20th career win and his first ever at Topeka. Hagan swerved very close to the center line two times during the final, and although it took only a little more than five seconds, the run must’ve seemed like an eternity in the car that on Friday covered the same distance in a national record time of 3.862 seconds.
“It was wild,” Hagan said. “It’s important to put everything in perspective. We set world records for E.T and speed and then to come back out here to win this race is a tribute to my guys and their hard work. My butt was puckered pretty good on that last run.”
“It was one of those deals where it was ‘oh no, oh no, oh no.’ I don’t know how many times I hit the fuel pedal but it was a lot,” Hagan said. “Sometimes you’re just thinking ‘don’t blow up’. To see the win lights come on all day, I’m just tickled about the job (crew chief) Dickie Venables and all our Mopar/Rocky guys are doing.”
Line captured his fifth win of the season in his eighth consecutive final round appearance, outrunning teammate Greg Anderson in the final round. Line finished in 6.664 at 207.85 in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro, while Anderson’s Summit Racing Camaro trailed with a 6.687 at 207.02. It was Line’s first Topeka victory and the 42nd win of his career.
“It was the perfect weekend,” said Line, who outran Mark Hogan, defending world champ Erica Enders and Shane Gray to advance to the final from the No. 1 qualifying spot. “It was an exciting weekend for me and we didn’t mess it up.
“It’s nice to win at someplace you’ve never done well. I really can’t stop smiling right now. There were times I had good cars here but didn’t drive well. This weekend everything came together.”
Final finish order (1-16) at the 28th annual NHRA Kansas Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka. (NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, round 8 of 24).
TOP FUEL: 1. Doug Kalitta; 2. Antron Brown; 3. Steve Torrence; 4. Richie Crampton; 5. Tony Schumacher; 6. Shawn Langdon; 7. Brittany Force; 8. Clay Millican; 9. J.R. Todd; 10. Scott Palmer; 11. Terry McMillen; 12. Rob Passey; 13. Luigi Novelli; 14. Terry Haddock; 15. Smax Smith.
Final: Doug Kalitta, 5.452 seconds, 238.85 mph def. Antron Brown, 5.687 seconds, 298.60 mph.
FUNNY CAR: 1. Matt Hagan; 2. Jack Beckman; 3. Courtney Force; 4. Tim Wilkerson; 5. Robert Hight; 6. Alexis DeJoria; 7. Tommy Johnson Jr.; 8. Del Worsham; 9. John Force; 10. Bob Tasca III; 11. Brian Stewart; 12. John Hale; 13. Chad Head; 14. Ron Capps; 15. Dale Creasy Jr.; 16. Cruz Pedregon.
Final: Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 5.724, 179.04 def. Jack Beckman, Charger, 6.560, 146.75.
PRO STOCK: 1. Jason Line; 2. Greg Anderson; 3. Allen Johnson; 4. Shane Gray; 5. Bo Butner; 6. Alex Laughlin; 7. Erica Enders; 8. Vincent Nobile; 9. Aaron Strong; 10. Chris McGaha; 11. Deric Kramer; 12. Drew Skillman; 13. Jeg Coughlin; 14. Dave River; 15. V. Gaines; 16. Mark Hogan.
Final: Jason Line, Chevy Camaro, 6.664, 207.85 def. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.687, 207.02.
Point standings after 8 of 24 events
Top Fuel: 1. Doug Kalitta, 710; 2. Antron Brown, 615; 3. Brittany Force, 580; 4. Steve Torrence, 557; 5. (tie) Clay Millican, 440; J.R. Todd, 440; 7. Richie Crampton, 418; 8. Tony Schumacher, 403; 9. Shawn Langdon, 346; 10. Terry McMillen, 310.
Funny Car: 1. Courtney Force, 601; 2. Jack Beckman, 589; 3. Tim Wilkerson, 554; 4. Matt Hagan, 511; 5. Robert Hight, 510; 6. Ron Capps, 504; 7. Del Worsham, 485; 8. Alexis DeJoria, 451; 9. John Force, 448; 10. Tommy Johnson Jr., 404.
Pro Stock: 1. Jason Line, 942; 2. Greg Anderson, 816; 3. Bo Butner, 614; 4. (tie) Allen Johnson, 465; Drew Skillman, 465; 6. Chris McGaha, 427; 7. Vincent Nobile, 346; 8. Erica Enders, 341; 9. Jeg Coughlin, 339; 10. Alex Laughlin, 327.
Pro Stock Motorcycle (not racing today): 1. Eddie Krawiec, 353; 2. Andrew Hines, 233; 3. Hector Arana, 207; 4. Jerry Savoie, 204; 5. Chip Ellis, 193; 6. Angelle Sampey, 179; 7. LE Tonglet, 143; 8. Matt Smith, 124; 9. Karen Stoffer, 118; 10. Scotty Pollacheck, 117.
Force, Hagan and Line Earn No. 1 qualifying positions at NHRA Kansas Nationals
Skillman moves from Elite to Gray Motorsports