Veteran Pro Stock campaigner Larry Morgan scored a very relieving victory during NHRA’s unique format Four-Wide Nationals held at ZMax Dragway Concord NC…..
Jack Beckman (Funny Car), Antron Brown (Top Fuel) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also claimed professional class victories.
After switching brands from Ford to Chevrolet this season, Morgan drove his FireAde-sponsored Camaro to the winner’s circle for the first time since October 2009 in Las Vegas.
“I couldn’t be happier,” Morgan said. “I’ve won a lot of races, but this has to be one of the best ones I’ve ever won.”
The victory was Morgan’s 11th in Pro Stock but his first since aligning with Gray Motorsports and partnering with Fire Service Plus and FireAde. Gray Motorsports supplies engines and technical support to Larry Morgan Racing, and FireAde and President/CEO Ron Thames supply the resources for Morgan to go fast.
Morgan had some lean years since his last win. His most recent final-round appearance came in 2011 as he struggled with his underfunded, independent team, but his driving was still as good as anyone in Pro Stock, even if he couldn’t always show it.
“I knew I could drive,” Morgan said. “I’m still good enough that I can still let the clutch out. The only thing I was worried about was getting the funding to do it. I knew I was capable and I knew getting into a Camaro, getting hooked up with Johnny (Gray), and getting all the support I get from FireAde was going to be good.”
The alliance with Gray has allowed Morgan to shift his focus from worrying about whether he had enough horsepower to worrying about driving his race car.
“I’ve just got to drive the car,” Morgan said. “If there’s something I don’t see that I don’t like, I can overrule what they decide to do. But those guys are really good at what they do, and they do a fabulous job. It showed today.”
Morgan and his FireAde Chevrolet were terrific on Sunday. In the first round, Morgan had the best reaction time in his quad, leaving with a .006-second light. His pass of 6.501 seconds at 214.42 mph was quick enough to finish second and advance to the second round.
In round two he had another stellar light, .022, and then made the best run of the round, 6.477 at 214.25 mph, to charge into the final round.
Lining up against Greg Anderson, Jonathan Gray, and Vincent Nobile, the 60-year-old Morgan was quickest on the Christmas Tree (.006) and quickest on the track (6.464 at 214.52 mph) to win the race.
“When it comes to racing on Sunday, you better get after it or you won’t be here,” Morgan said. “I told them, ‘This is what we’re going to do.’ We made the changes and it picked up to a .47 the next run. Everything turned out perfect for us.”
In Funny Car, Jack Beckman ended a long winless streak (54 races) too.
Driving for Don Schumacher Racing, Beckman powered his machine to the quickest run of the weekend to take the victory over rival finalists Del Worsham, Chad Head and Tommy Johnson Jr. Beckman pulled away from the pack with a final round performance of 3.983 seconds at 308.78 mph at the controls of his Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T.
Beckman’s last victory came in St. Louis in 2012. It was his second win at this event, third win at this track and 16th career victory.
“I can’t guarantee we’ll win another race this season,” said Beckman, the 2012 Funny Car world champion. “I think we will, but I can’t say for 100 percent. But, I know for sure we’ll be better than we were today. Jimmy [Prock, crew chief] and the team will be even better the rest of the year because they’re getting better every race. All the little things are coming together and now the car is doing what they hope it will.”
Beckman moved to seventh in points with the win. He also won in earlier quads, beating Ron Capps, Johnson Jr. and Paul Lee in the opening round and then defeating Johnson Jr., John Force and Robert Hight in the second round.
Worsham moved into the series points lead with his second runner-up finish of the season.
In Top Fuel, Brown claimed his second consecutive victory at this event when he defeated Steve Torrence, Richie Crampton and Clay Millican. Brown crossed the finish line first in his Matco Tools dragster with a 3.749 at 319.90, to take his 48th career victory. By joining Beckman in the winner’s circle the duo gave team owner Don Schumacher his 44th multiple-title event.
“It’s been an incredible run at this race,” Brown said. “You have to dig deep to win races like this. We’ve had a long road with a new combination. We’ve had some gremlins, but in the final we laid down the gauntlet to bring the win home. It was also huge for the bossman [Don Schumacher] to double up. I hope we can keep that streak going for him.”
Brown won his opening round quad against Dave Connolly, J.R. Todd and Shawn Langdon with a 3.771 second run and then earned a wild pedal-fest victory in the second round over Torrence, Doug Kalitta and Connolly.
Brown moved into the series points lead with the victory, ahead of reigning world champ Tony Schumacher and third-place Langdon.
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, reigning world champ Hines claimed his first win of the season and 39th of his career by outrunning Eddie Krawiec, Scotty Pollacheck and Hector Arana Jr. Hines claimed his second Four-Wide victory and his fourth at this track with a winning performance of 6.805 at 196.30 on his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson.
“We got on the dyno last week and tried a few things,” Hines said. “We followed through and my V-Rod got us to the final round. We just went out and did what our team does best.”
Hines won his first round quad over Mike Berry, Brian Pretzel and Karen Stoffer and also finished first in the second round quad by outrunning Scotty Pollacheck, Berry and Matt Smith.
Krawiec moved into the series lead with his second consecutive runner-up finish of the season and Hines is second overall in the series standings.
Posted with files from Rob Geiger and NHRA Communications
Photos courtesy of NHRA
The Lucas Oil Lowdown
Jonnie Lindberg set the national record for both elapsed time and mph on his way to winning the Top Alcohol Funny Car title while Mia Tedesco out ran the field to take home her first national event win in Top Alcohol Dragster at this weekend’s NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway.
Lindberg, who won the season opener at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona and set the mph national record in doing so, dominated the field and knocked out reigning NHRA Lucas Oil National Champion Steve Harker in the final round. Lindberg reset both national records in qualifying with a pass of 5.361 seconds at 272.01 mph for the number one spot.
Lindberg clocked in at 5.406, 269.94 in the final round to easily defeat Harker, Gainesville, Ga., who shook the tires hard and had to shut his car off. In round two, the Swedish driver backed up his record run defeating Brian Hough with a pass of 5.381, 270.64. NHRA requires an additional run within one percent during the same event to establish a record. The e.t. record was previously held by Frank Manzo at 5.411 seconds set back in 2011 at Maple Grove Raceway, Reading, Pa. Lindberg held the previous mph record of 268.71 set earlier this year.
Tedesco, Murrysville, Pa., qualified No. 1 setting low e.t. and top mph of the event with a 5.229 second, 277.77 mph pass, then took her Hirata owned and tuned dragster to a final round match up with Jake Allen out of Jacksonville, Fla. Allen was out first but Tedesco had the power to drive around posting a 5.503 second run at 263.26 mph to Allen’s 5.663, 227.94. The win was the first for Tedesco and the first final round for both drivers.
Tedesco took out Mike Lewis, Marty Thacker and Randy Meyer on her way to the final round.
In Super Stock it was two of the best drivers in the history of the NHRA Drag Racing as David Rampy faced off with Dan Fletcher. The two have combined for 178 NHRA national event wins between them. Rampy, Piedmont, Ala., took home the trophy this weekend picking up his 88th national win and his 6th in Super Stock with a run of 10.879 seconds in his ’87 Camaro.
Tedesco was not the only first time winner as Joel Warren and Andre Nunez won in Stock and Super Comp respectively. Warren, Clinton, N.C., beat Russell Linke, Old Bridge, N.J., in a double breakout final round while Nunez, Guaynabo, P.R., ran dead-on the index at 8.900 seconds to defeat George Caheely, La Fayette, Ga.
Jim Perry, Niota, Tenn., matched Nunez with a dead-on run of his own in Super Gas wheeling his ’00 S-10 to a 9.900 second pass to down John Labbous, White House, Tenn., and his ’63 Corvette.
Lynn Ellison had to run down Jeff Burns who was out first in the Top Dragster final. Ellison, Central City, Ky., covered the quarter-mile in 6.361, 212.43 to Burns’ 6.670, 199.97 out of Mount Juliet, Tenn. The win was Ellison’s sixth and first in Top Dragster.
Posted by: Eric Lotz
DragRaceCanada File Photos