NHRA Heartland Heroics  

Allen Johnson remained “white hot” in Pro Stock and Australian native David Grubnic ended a long drought in Top Fuel during NHRA’s annual touchdown at Heartland Park Topeka Kansas…. 

California’s “Fast Jack” Beckman also raced to his first Funny Car victory of the season during the Dollar General NHRA Summernationals event.  

Johnson raced to his second Pro Stock victory of the season and 11th of his career, powering past series points leader Greg Anderson in the final round. Johnson covered the distance in 6.587 at 210.54 in his Team Mopar Dodge Avenger to hold offAnderson’s Summit Racing Equipment Pontiac, which trailed at a 6.696 at 210.21. It was Johnson’s second victory atHeartlandPark(also 2009).

“The whole crew for the Mopar Dodge Avenger was just so strong and so consistent all weekend,” said Johnson, who outran Ronnie Humphrey, Ron Krisher and defending winner Shane Gray to advance to the final round.

Allen Johnson continued to have a very hot hand in NHRA Pro Stock

“Today our mission was to be consistent and maintain lane choice,” Johnson added. “We did that until the final round and it just so happened that in the final the right lane turned out to be better than the left, and Greg shook the tires a little bit. So it worked right into the palm of our hands.  We’ve been after them [theSummitcars] for the last few races and finally got the win and gave them a run for the money. This Pro Stock battle for the rest of the year will be a knock-down drag out.”

Beckman used a quicker reaction time to defeat teammate Ron Capps in the final round with a performance of 4.158 seconds at 303.09 mph in his Valvoline/NextGen Dodge Charger. Capps’ NAPA Auto Parts Charger posted a quicker, but losing performance of 4.107 at 304.39.

Popular driver Jack Beckman roared to an impressive win in Fuel FC

Following the Las Vegas event in early April, Beckman and Capps switched cars and crews within their Don Schumacher Racing organization. Since then Capps has been to four consecutive finals and Beckman has struggled a bit, posting one DNQ, a first round loss and two second round losses.

“It’s a big win for us,” Beckman said. “We’re right back in the hunt. So much has transpired sinceLas Vegas. We switched cars, we switched trailers, and we switched teams. It’s great to know that we have a car that we can win with again. That was my 13th win, and I try to appreciate every win because you never know when it can be your last.”

With new crew chief  Todd Smith making the tuning calls, Beckman drove past Alexis DeJoria, Mike Neff and Tim Wilkerson to advance to the final round. In the final, Beckman turned on both bulbs at once while staging against Capps. That put him in position to leave the starting line first, which he did with a near-perfect .004 reaction time.

“They [theNAPAteam] were clearly outrunning us,” Beckman said. “When we saw them run 4.12 in the semis, we knew we couldn’t run that without stepping too far that the risk of smoking the tires was too great. Our strategy was to put a 4.15 in it and hope something happened with their car. I think I dodged a bullet on the starting line. I had a hiccup in staging in the final round that could have bit us. The irony is that I don’t know if we could’ve won any other way.”

Robert Hight, who lost to Capps in the semifinals, maintained his series lead, 179 in front of Capps. Beckman improved to fourth overall with the victory.

In Top Fuel, Grubnic edged Spencer Massey at the finish line to take his first win since 2006. It was his third career victory and his second atHeartlandPark. Grubnic’s Candlewood Suites/Optima Batteries dragster posted a 3.893 at 319.07 while Massey’s FRAM machine trailed with a 3.910 at 309.98.

David Grubnic delivered in Top Fuel for team owner Connie Kalitta

The native Australian who now callsEnnis,Montanahome drove past Bob Vandergriff,Atlantawinner Steve Torrence and Brandon Bernstein to advance to the 16th final round of his career.

“My whole career has been ups and downs, but you have to go through these troughs to appreciate the peaks,” Grubnic said. “Today is one of those peaks. My first win came here in 2005, and it’s great to do it here again. Why we have success here in particular is beyond me, but we’ll take it where we can get it.

“It’s all about my crew guys, Conrad [team owner/tuner Connie Kalitta], and all the people who support Kalitta Motorsports. I’d be lying if I said going a long time without winning didn’t affect me. Seeing the win light in the final is like driving through a brick wall. You see all the bricks disappear, and then you just start smiling.”

With the runner-up finish, Massey regained the series lead, 12 points in front of seven-time world champ Tony Schumacher. Grubnic moved to eighth in the standings with the win.

The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series resumes May 31-June 3 with the Toyota NHRA SuperNationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park ,Englishtown, N.J. 

Posted by:  NHRA Media Relations 

 Event Essentials:  NHRA Dollar General Summernationals – May 18-20th, 2012

TOP FUEL Name ET MPH Career Win
Winner: David Grubnic 3.893 319.07 3rd
R/UP: Spencer Massey 3.910 309.98  
Low ET: Morgan Lucas 3.745    
Top Speed: Spencer Massey   329.10  
Bump Spot:   3.914    
FUNNY CAR Name ET MPH Career Win
Winner: Jack Beckman 4.158 303.09 13th
R/UP: Ron Capps 4.107 304.39  
Low ET: Cruz Pedregon 4.046    
Top Speed: Cruz Pedregon   315.56  
Bump Spot:   4.362    
PRO STOCK Name ET MPH Career Win
Winner: Allen Johnson 6.587 210.54 11th
R/UP: Greg Anderson 6.696 210.21  
Low ET: Jason Line 6.566    
Top Speed: Greg Anderson   211.30  
Bump Spot:   6.694    
LUCAS OIL        
Sportsman Winners: Name ET MPH  
Top Alcohol Dragster Rich McPhillips 5.337 264.55  
Top Alcohol Funny Car Tony Bartone 5.616 261.12  
Competition Bruno Massel 7.068 180.98  
Super Stock Eric Pearson 10.66 124.42  
Stock Kyle Ratcliff 10.54 121.98  
Super Comp Jeryka Lobner 8.930 160.37  
Super Gas Terry Sullivan 9.920 159.08  
Top Sportsman Dave Slatten 7.086 188.99  


Sportsman Racing Round-Up

Posted by: Eric Lotz

Rich McPhillips and Tony Bartone took home big wins this weekend at Heartland Park Topeka and the Dollar General NHRA Summernationals. 

McPhillips saved his quickest pass of the weekend for his final round match up with No. 1 qualifier Randy Meyer as he covered the quarter-mile in 5.337 seconds at 264.55 mph for the win in Top Alcohol Dragster.  The Phoenixville, Pa., racer qualified in the sixth position and took out James Thompson, Garrett Bateman, and Jim Whiteley on his way to the finals.  The win was his first national event win since 2005.  Meyer smoked the tires right off the starting line ending his hopes of a win. 

Rich McPhillips drove his injected nitro car to victory in TAD at Topeka

Bartone picked up his second win of the year in three final round appearances as he outran Shane Westerfield for the Top Alcohol Funny Car title.  Bartone, Long Island City, N.Y., drove his ’09 Mustang to a lap of 5.616 seconds at 261.12 mph for the win after taking out defending national champion Frank Manzo in the semifinals with the quickest and fastest time of the event at 5.577 seconds, 262.90 mph.  The win was Bartone’s 38th national event win. 

Jeryka Lobner won one for the home state out of Manhattan, Kan., taking her first ever NHRA national event win when she beat Billy Torrence in Super Comp running 8.930 at 160.37 mph. 

Two other racers grabbed their first NHRA National event wins with Eric Parsons, Stewartville, Minn., beating 22-time winner Gary Stinnett of Emporia, Kan., in Super Stock and Klye Ratcliff held on to beat Brett Speer in Stock.  Ratcliff, Denton, Texas, went 10.548, 121.98 in his ’98 Firebird to Speer’s who went 10.198, 126.79 mph out of Little Falls, Minn. 

Former Lucas Oil National Champion Bruno Massel, Woodridge, Ill., met up with another former champion and heavy hitter David Rampy in the final round of Comp Eliminator.  Massel got the best of Rampy taking the win in his ’10 Cobalt running 7.068 seconds at 180.98 mph. 

Dave Slatten and Terry Sullivan rounded out the winners as Slatten, Fort Collins, Colo., won his first in Top Sportsman with a lap of 7.086, 188.99 against J.J. Heber, Centenial, Colo., and the Richardson, Texas resident, Sullivan, went 9.920, 159.08 for the Super Gas win over Jeff Lopez.

Tony Bartone won for the 38th time in his great driving career - picking up the TAFC title