Sunday news and notes from the Menards NHRA Nationals in Topeka

The race was scheduled to start at 10:00 AM local time this morning, but Mother Nature had other plans. After a long delay, we’re running with our first pair of Top Fuel Dragsters.

Brittany Force and Sean Langdon are on track to prove that this racing deck is ready to rock and roll. Force scored a 3.78 at 321 to win over Langdon, whom she defeated in each of the three elimination rounds they entered this season. Langdon did well on the Caleta Air Rail, 3.85, 314.

“It sure is a challenge to get out here, it’s a sprint, you get pumped, and then you have to sit around for six hours and hope the rain stops,” said Force. “But the clouds cleared, the rain went away, and we had a great ride. It was a relief to be able to step it up.”

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Justin Ashley lets everyone know what the racetrack is capable of as he does the fastest, fastest race of the weekend, ramping up the power of his Phillips Connect dragster to 3.75, 329 in defeating the tire-smoking Josh Hart. To Hart’s credit, he was up for the challenge as he put up a killer 0.13 second reaction time.

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After all but one car in this round it makes it down the track with fairly clean passes 4s long this is the first side by side pedal fest we’ve seen today Austin Brock #14 seed gets to the finish line ahead of Third place finisher Doug Caleta. For Prock, being able to emerge victorious in a tough battle with one of the sport’s most prolific competitors is just right.

“There is no better feeling for a driver than winning a pedal fest or winning a heavy stroke,” said Brock. “I’ve wanted to do it my whole life. Doug Caleta is the greatest thing I’ve ever done, so to get it done, I’m so proud.”

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The Upset of the Round award was awarded to Scott Palmer, who produced the highest-paid Top Fuel driver in the history of the sport, eight-time world champion Tony Schumacher. Schumacher’s SCAG dragster was silent as he neared the finish line, Palmer flying a 3.92 straight.

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Five of Top Fuel’s eight Round 1 winners improved on their qualifying times in conditions that were cooler than any race we’ve participated in so far this weekend. However, the temperature rises and the air is thick. stay tuned; This could get interesting.

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Top Fuel Pairs, Round 2 (Password Pick First): Steve Torrence vs. Brittany Force; Clay Millikan vs. Scott Palmer. Justin Ashley vs. Leah Pruitt. Antron Brown vs. Austin Brock

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Alexis DeJoria couldn’t get the ridiculous Bandero Tequila Toyota to back it up twice through the playoffs and sacrificed two of the three available runs, so here, when she’s able to complete a burnout alongside John Force and then come back up, stage, and make a complete pass, she’s already ahead of the game. When Force smokes tires, DeJoria is able to pass the winning light with a 4.02 and advance to round two for the first time in three races.

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“I thought I was going to have to burn some sage,” joked DeJoria at the top end, who went on to explain that a clutch pedal problem was her demon in the first qualifying session, and left her with trouble with the reverse. pending finalists. “I’m so glad it happened during the qualifiers,” she said. “We really needed to win the first round.”

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The track temperature rises quickly, and the fun car brigade feels the heat. Only three cars improve on their qualifying times, J.R. Todd and #1 qualifier Robert Height tied for the round’s lowest by a pair of 3.96 seconds.

Todd’s reunion with Chad Green was steamy as Green was steadily gaining strength and Todd was fresh off his Sonoma win in his DHL Funny Car. The last time these two met in the last round was just two weeks ago in Sonoma, and the result is the same here: Todd’s 3.96 beats 4.11 and he’ll advance.

“That was a really tough match – but none of these matches here are tough these days,” said Todt, a two-time World Cup finalist who was looking for his first win in Topeka. “The 3.96 is very sporty in the conditions. It’s been a long day so far with rain waiting, but we’re hoping for a very long day at Hartland Park.”

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In Sonoma, Paul Lee takes his first round win of the year, and here again in Topeka, he leads from round one. Lee scored a 4.05 alongside traction-troubled Cruz Pedragon. Today would have been the 50th birthday of the late funny car racer Eric Midlin, and his father John Midlin was here this weekend with me—as he was in Sonoma—to give advice.

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Funny Car Pairs, Round 2 (choose lane first): Robert Haight vs. Paul Lee. Alexis DeJoria vs. Bob Tasca III; JR Todd vs. Ron Capps; Tim Wilkerson vs. Matt Hagan

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Defending event champion Troy Coughlin Jr. and Elite Motorsports teammate Aaron Stanfield are the only two Pro Stock drivers to improve on their qualifying times here as the weather continues to turn and turn. Coughlin doesn’t need to build up and advance unchallenged as Kyle Koretsky turns red, and Stanfield pairs his effective run with a nice .018 reaction time to make sure he gets the job done on Cristian Cuadra, who also falls under the Elite umbrella.

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KB Titan Racing teammates Greg Anderson and Dallas Glen tied each other for the 1,000th place in their starts, just as they ran identically during a qualifying run. It was Glenn who bumped the coach up a bit in the closing moments of the playoffs to claim first place (as well as the #2 Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge title), but these two are evenly matched and on opposite sides of the ladder.

Pushing a 6.649 out of Fernando Quadra Sr., Glenn has an interesting start to his victorious run as David Quadra stops in the Chevrolet stalls and won’t judge him after exhausting, then his crew hastily piles into the car and finally catches fire. Quadra takes the starting line advantage and makes his fastest pass of the weekend (6.723), but Anderson’s HendrickCars.com Chevy is straight, true, and quicker to take the win.

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Denver winner Matt Hartford continues his winning streak with a Round 1 victory over Fernando Cuadra Jr., who left the starting line first by 0.023 seconds—a potentially dangerous margin in this category. Hartford quickly made up the difference.

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Pro Stock Pairs, Round 2 (Pick Lane First): Dallas Glen vs. Camry Caruso. Aaron Stanfield vs. Erica Enders; Greg Anderson vs. Troy Coughlin Jr.; Derek Kramer vs. Matt Hartford

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Turnaround is fast here, because we’re rushing to keep up with the weather. The skies are turning dark and cloud cover is moving as the Top Fuel Dragsters arrive for round two. In the first pair, Antron Brown took his Matco Tools to a 3.81 to send Austin Brock home on a 4.00 with a whisper of tire smoke. With the win, Brown moved into fourth place in the Top Fuel standings.

“The track just got a little tighter there,” Brown said. “It was hot and sweaty and tough, and that’s where the crew chiefs throw a curveball. As the sun goes down, it’s going to be better conditions to run harder – you’ll have to swing into the mid-70s. Next round, and everyone here is fighting tooth and nail. We’re all here to win.” .

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The partnership of Justin Ashley and Jim Epler is highlighted here at Heartland Motorsports Park as this is where Epler did his first Top Fuel race to 300 mph, earning himself the title of Mr. Do it with a big investment. Ashley’s low of 3.75 to Leah Pruett’s 3.79 marked another step in the right direction for the team.

“I’ve always said there’s some unfinished business here,” said Eppler.

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Top Fuel Pairs, Semi-Final (Choose Lane First): Justin Ashley vs. Antron Brown. Brittany Force vs. Clay Millikan

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When Tim Wilkerson can’t get back to the starting line after exhausting, Wilk runs out to push him back. Meanwhile, Matt Hagan has exhausted him, backed him up, and he lingers in wait. Wilk quickly completes the staging so as not to lift Hagan too high, and the two rocket side by side down the racetrack to an almost identical time record. 3,987 Hagan defeats 3,988.

“You just hope you don’t run out of fuel and go off on the top end,” Hagan said. “But I have a lot of respect for Wilkie, and I know it’s something that happens mechanically. I was glad I got to race him, though. We don’t want one. It was a tough race, very tough, and I’m glad we got the win – but we’ve got some opponents in front of us.” Strong too.”

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Low qualifier and three-time Topeka winner Robert Height is coming very close to another win at Heartland Motorsports Park as he clocks a 3.95 — the fastest of the round — to beat Paul Lee’s 4.24. JR Todd will be a worthy challenge in the next round as he defeats tire-smoking Ron Capps with a smooth 3.96 straight.

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Funny Car Pairs, Semi-Finals (Pick Lane First): J.R. Todd vs. Matt Hagan; Robert Height vs. Bob Tasca III

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After a rather short delay that required the use of car covers, the clouds change again, and Pro Stock is on the right track. In the first pair of rounds, both Matt Hartford and Derek Kramer left early, but Hartford’s -052 reaction time signaled the winning light in Kramer’s lane. Kramer was -.009 and quickly moving down the path to 6.654.

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The next couple represent precisely why this class is popular for ultra-close racing. Erica Enders knocks out teammate Aaron Stanfield with just .008, and Dallas Glenn knocks out teammate Camry Caruso in a .007 holeshot.

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Greg Anderson continues to show that he has his best car in a long time as he records the low elapsed time from the Tour, 6.640, in a great match with Troy Coughlin Jr. Coughlin’s 6.647.

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Pro Stock Pairs, Semi-Finals (Pick Lane First): Greg Anderson vs. Derek Kramer; Dallas Glen vs. Erica Enders

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amazing! Brittany Force watches record low elapsed time from the event with an impressive 3.71 in a stellar race with Clay Millikan, Justin Ashley defeating Antron Brown in a 0.005 second holeshot. It’s hard to believe, but this is Force’s final round of the year in their championship defense.

Force won that race in 2021 and is on pace for her 17th career win, while Ashley heads to her seventh final of the season and aims for her sixth win of the season (and his first at Topeka). It should also be noted that Ashley’s father, Mike Ashley, won this Funny Car event in 2007.

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Upper fuel coupling, final (passage first choice): Brittany Force vs. Justin Ashley

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The defending event champion will go on to the final round again! Bob Tasca III goes 3.933 to finish Robert Height’s day, while Matt Hagan matches his time to the thousand in defeating JR Todd.

This will be Tasca’s second final of the year after Epping and Hagan won their sixth final of the season. Hagan has reached the final round here in Topeka twice before and has only one previous win.

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Fun car coupling, ultimate (choose lane first): Matt Hagan vs. Bob Tasca III

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Greg Anderson made a great pass and threw a 6.61 to defeat 6.63 Derek Kramer. Anderson advances to his first final of the year and the 173rd of his career. He has four Topeka wins and desperately wants a fifth.

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Reigning world champion Erica Enders takes nothing for granted against the Dallas Glenn, dropping her 009 reaction time on his .027 to score a heavy win over the points leader. Her 6.637 beats her 6.629. This will be Enders’ second final of the season and the 76th of her career.

Pro Stock Pairing, Final (lane-first pick): Greg Anderson vs. Erica Enders

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