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Force Gets First Victory of 2011

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Sunday, July 24 2011

John Force won the Mopar Mile High Nationals Sunday. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Harold Hinson)

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John Force got his first Funny Car victory of the season Sunday when he won the Mopar Mile High NHRA Nationals in Morrison, Colo.

Also winning at Bandimere Speedway were Spencer Massey in Top Fuel, Mike Edwards in Pro Stock and Karen Stoffer in Pro Stock Motorcycles.

Force, the defending Funny Car champion, beat Matt Hagan, who red-lit in the finals.

Massey beat Don Schumacher Racing teammate Tony Schumacher, who was looking for his first victory of the season.

The 28-year-old Fort Worth native took home his third Wally of the 2011 season and solidified his hold on second place in the Top Fuel championship standings.

It was the third time this season (against one loss) and the sixth time in his two-season career (against two losses) Massey has defeated the seven-time world champion.

“Beating someone like “The Sarge” is obviously very big,” he said. “He’s Tony Schumacher, “The Sarge,” the man – as the saying goes, to be the best, you have to beat the best. I’m not there yet; I have a long way to go, but these are the kind of wins you have to have to get to the top of the pack.

“And I don’t do anything differently whether I’m driving against Tony Schumacher or Larry Dixon or any other Top Fuel driver. I just get in my race car and do my job – get a good light, then stab the throttle and steer.”

Both drivers experienced mechanical and traction issues in the final round, necessitating pedaling and decisions.

“I felt the tires slipping, and then I had to decide whether to keep my foot in it, and chance throwing the blower belt, or back off,” he explained. “I decided to keep going and the Gates belt held; I actually think we picked it up again down the track.”

It was Massey’s fifth win in nine career final rounds (3-1 in 2011), his 58th round win against 32 losses (26-9 in 2011). He qualified fourth on a 4.010-second lap at 303.64 miles per hour to gain a first-round match with Brandon Bernstein.

Schumacher dropped a cylinder right at the hit of the throttle against Massey and the latter took advantage with a 4.150-second run at 269.67 mph versus Schumacher’s 4.255-second jaunt at 266.95 mph.

“That’s the way it goes,” said Schumacher. “We ran so well right up to that point, but just when you least expect it the car decides to have a mind of its own. I’m confident we were just trying to duplicate our three previous runs.”

In Funny Car, Force finished in 4.361 at 285.23 in his Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang to claim his sixth win in nine career finals at the scenic mile-high dragstrip.

In the first three rounds Force raced past Tony Pedregon, series leader and teammate Mike Neff and Jeff Arend to advance to a record 214th career final round.

“Like the military, it’s all about teamwork, and we have great guys,” Force said. “(Crew chiefs) Dean Antonelli and Ron Douglas have been struggling, and Mike Neff and Jimmy Prock stepped in to help them. Robert Hight, the president of the company, even spoke up and told me, ‘It’s you. You have to get back in the game. Your head is hopscotching to the air show and the Indy 500 and every place you’re going. You taught me that you need to live it.’ He was right. I’m back in the game today.”

Neff, who became the first Funny Car driver to secure a Countdown playoff berth during the weekend, maintained his series lead, 192 points ahead of teammate Robert Hight. Force climbed from eighth to seventh in the standings with his victory.

Edwards scored his third win of the season and 31st of his career by holding off Bandimere Pro Stock dominator Allen Johnson in the final round. Edwards ran 6.970 at 197.56 in his Penhall/Interstate Batteries Pontiac GXP in the final but ultimately wouldn’t need the strong performance as Johnson turned on a rare red-light at the start in his Team Mopar/J&J Racing Dodge Avenger.

“We got the Wally, but I believe that Allen Johnson is still ‘King of the Mountain’,” said Edwards, who beat Warren Johnson, Jason Line and Larry Morgan to advance to the final round.

“It’s so sweet to come up here because the Bandimere family does such an awesome job, and the fans are great,” Edwards continued. “It’s such a privilege to come up here and race because it is such a unique place. We have to change everything from one end of the car to the other [to adjust for the increased] altitude, and it’s a game to see which team can make the best guesses and best choices, and who can be ‘King of the Mountain’ for one year. I just give praise to God because this team is all about Him.”

With the win, Edwards trimmed Jason Line’s series lead to six points.

Stoffer ended a four-year winless drought in Pro Stock Motorcycle as she sped to her sixth career victory with a 7.283 at 182.58 on her GEICO/Powersports Suzuki and held off fellow Suzuki rider Michael Phillips, who trailed with a 7.394 at 182.01 on his Racers Edge sponsored bike.

“Our main goal this season was consistency and to go as many rounds as available at each racing event,” said Stoffer, who beat Shawn Gann, Jerry Savoie and Eddie Krawiec in the first three rounds. “If you do that and do it right, you’re going to get the win lights and you’re going to get the Wallys. We had to wait and be patient. We went to three final rounds this year and had to wait until about mid-season before we could bring it home, but we finally made it happen.”

With the victory, Stoffer regained the series lead and moves 33 points ahead of Krawiec with three bike races remaining until the playoffs.

“We got the double whammy here by taking home the Wally and also getting in front of the points,” Stoffer said. “We’re now in control of our own destiny.”

The NHRA Full Throttle Series continues July 29-31 with the FRAM / Autolite NHRA Nationals at Infineon Raceway, Sonoma, Calif. The race is the second stop in the three-race NHRA Western Swing.

Final finish order (1-16) for professional categories at the 32nd annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway.  The race is the 12th of 22 events in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series.

TOP FUEL:

1.  Spencer Massey; 2.  Tony Schumacher; 3.  Rod Fuller; 4.  Antron Brown; 5.  Bob Vandergriff; 6. Doug Kalitta; 7.  Shawn Langdon; 8.  Del Worsham; 9.  Larry Dixon; 10.  Steven Chrisman; 11. Brandon Bernstein; 12.  David Grubnic; 13.  Morgan Lucas; 14.  Terry McMillen; 15.  Scott Palmer; 16.  Dom Lagana.

FUNNY CAR:

1.  John Force; 2.  Matt Hagan; 3.  Robert Hight; 4.  Jeff Arend; 5.  Ron Capps; 6.  Tim Wilkerson; 7.  Mike Neff; 8.  Cruz Pedregon; 9.  Melanie Troxel; 10.  Tony Pedregon; 11.  Todd Simpson; 12. Johnny Gray; 13.  Jeff Diehl; 14.  Paul Lee; 15.  Jack Beckman; 16.  Bob Tasca III.

PRO STOCK:

1.  Mike Edwards; 2.  Allen Johnson; 3.  Kurt Johnson; 4.  Larry Morgan; 5.  V. Gaines; 6.  Jason Line; 7.  Greg Anderson; 8.  Erica Enders; 9.  Vincent Nobile; 10.  Ron Krisher; 11.  Greg Stanfield; 12.  Warren Johnson; 13.  Rodger Brogdon; 14.  Ronnie Humphrey; 15.  Steve Kalkowski; 16.  Shane Gray.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE:

1.  Karen Stoffer; 2.  Michael Phillips; 3.  Hector Arana; 4.  Eddie Krawiec; 5.  David Hope; 6. LE Tonglet; 7.  Jerry Savoie; 8.  Mike Berry; 9.  Hector Arana Jr; 10.  Chip Ellis; 11.  Steve Johnson; 12.  Jim Underdahl; 13.  Andrew Hines; 14.  Matt Smith; 15.  Justin Finley; 16.  Shawn Gann.

Sunday’s final results from the 32nd annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway. The race is the 12th of 22 in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series:

Top Fuel — Spencer Massey, 4.150 seconds, 269.67 mph  def. Tony Schumacher, 4.255 seconds, 266.95 mph.

Funny Car — John Force, Ford Mustang, 4.361, 285.23  def. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, foul.

Pro Stock — Mike Edwards, Pontiac GXP, 6.970, 197.65  def. Allen Johnson, Dodge Avenger, foul.

Pro Stock Motorcycle — Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 7.283, 182.58  def. Michael Phillips, Suzuki, 7.394, 182.01.

Competition Eliminator — Clint Neff, ‘23-T Ford, 8.320, 157.21  def. Jirka Kaplan, ‘23-T Ford, 6.640, 184.55.

Super Stock — Jackie Alley, Chevy Camaro, 10.215, 129.40  def. David Bogner, Dodge Daytona, 10.311, 127.16.

Stock Eliminator — Scott Burton, Pontiac Firebird, 11.068, 119.17  def. Dwight Machael, Plymouth Fury, 11.283, 118.36.

Super Comp — Dave Crawford, Dragster, 9.527, 159.91  def. Michael Miller, Dragster, 9.489, 165.07.

Super Gas — Mike Wiblishouser, Chevy Corvette, 10.504, 145.28  def. Wayde Samuel, Chevy Chevelle, 10.468, 129.21.

Final round-by-round results from the 32nd annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway, the 12th of 22 events in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series:

TOP FUEL:

ROUND ONE — Antron Brown, 4.126, 299.46 def. Terry McMillen, 4.636, 193.07; Rod Fuller, 4.059, 300.53 def. Dom Lagana, no time, no Speed ; Shawn Langdon, 4.242, 259.96 def. David Grubnic, 4.459, 243.28; Bob Vandergriff, 4.050, 301.81 def. Scott Palmer, 8.827, 101.29; Doug Kalitta, 4.018, 302.35 def. Morgan Lucas, 4.610, 192.33; Del Worsham, 4.029, 304.19 def. Steven Chrisman, 4.207, 275.56; Spencer Massey, 4.007, 307.16 def. Brandon Bernstein, 4.235, 143.26; Tony Schumacher, 4.006, 308.50 def. Larry Dixon, 4.116, 290.76;

QUARTERFINALS — Brown, 3.961, 310.20 def. Worsham, no time, no speed; Fuller, 4.116, 288.03 def. Kalitta, 4.158, 285.23; Massey, 3.988, 310.48 def. Langdon, foul; Schumacher, 4.013, 309.27 def. Vandergriff, 4.059, 294.50;

SEMIFINALS — Schumacher, 4.015, 305.98 def. Fuller, 4.032, 296.70; Massey, 4.068, 298.47 def. Brown, 4.650, 180.96;

FINAL — Massey, 4.150, 269.67 def. Schumacher, 4.255, 266.95.

FUNNY CAR:

ROUND ONE — Ron Capps, Dodge Charger, 4.326, 291.57 def. Bob Tasca III, Ford Mustang, 5.539, 131.96; Mike Neff, Mustang, 4.336, 274.00 def. Paul Lee, Chevy Impala SS, 4.749, 186.77; Robert Hight, Mustang, 4.286, 286.62 def. Todd Simpson, Chevy Camaro, 4.611, 245.90; Cruz Pedregon, Toyota Solara, 4.570, 196.79 def. Jeff Diehl, Chevy Monte Carlo, 4.680, 232.07; Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.373, 273.94 def. Melanie Troxel, Solara, 4.392, 282.84; John Force, Mustang, 4.335, 286.56 def. Tony Pedregon, Impala SS, 4.399, 288.39; Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.390, 270.48 def. Johnny Gray, Charger, 4.625, 222.22; Jeff Arend, Solara, 4.399, 275.45 def. Jack Beckman, Charger, 5.144, 157.03;

QUARTERFINALS — Hagan, 4.299, 291.70 def. Capps, 4.319, 294.43; Arend, 4.596, 248.39 def. C. Pedregon, 5.432, 147.88; Hight, 4.289, 284.81 def. Wilkerson, 4.356, 282.78; Force, 4.290, 293.47 def. Neff, 4.499, 224.06;

SEMIFINALS — Force, 4.294, 289.01 def. Arend, 5.154, 188.12; Hagan, 4.285, 292.08 def. Hight, 4.311, 278.12;

FINAL — Force, 4.361, 285.23 def. Hagan, foul.

PRO STOCK:

ROUND ONE — Greg Anderson, Pontiac GXP, 7.021, 195.73 def. Rodger Brogdon, GXP, 7.044, 195.76; Larry Morgan, Ford Mustang, 7.012, 196.62 def. Ron Krisher, GXP, 7.001, 196.50; V. Gaines, Dodge Avenger, 9.000, 96.24 def. Ronnie Humphrey, GXP, foul; Erica Enders, Chevy Cobalt, 6.978, 196.85 def. Shane Gray, GXP, 7.376, 150.00; Kurt Johnson, GXP, 7.038, 195.42 def. Vincent Nobile, Avenger, foul; Allen Johnson, Avenger, 6.962, 198.06 def. Steve Kalkowski, Pontiac GTO, 7.239, 189.23; Mike Edwards, GXP, 6.974, 196.19 def. Warren Johnson, GXP, 7.035, 195.76; Jason Line, GXP, 6.991, 196.30 def. Greg Stanfield, GXP, 7.018, 196.13;

QUARTERFINALS — Morgan, 7.058, 195.08 def. Gaines, 6.975, 197.42; K. Johnson, 7.032, 195.59 def. Enders, foul; Edwards, 6.966, 197.31 def. Line, 6.984, 196.16; A. Johnson, 6.955, 198.15 def. Anderson, 6.986, 195.70;

SEMIFINALS — Edwards, 6.974, 197.08 def. Morgan, 7.048, 195.96; A. Johnson, 6.988, 197.48 def. K. Johnson, 7.044, 195.31;

FINAL — Edwards, 6.970, 197.65 def. A. Johnson, foul.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE:

ROUND ONE — David Hope, Buell, 7.276, 182.28 def. Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 7.275, 182.65; Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 7.272, 179.73 def. Matt Smith, Buell, 7.360, 179.71; LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 7.285, 181.11 def. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 7.316, 181.91; Mike Berry, Buell, 7.316, 181.64 def. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 7.308, 181.76; Michael Phillips, Suzuki, 7.268, 185.00 def. Chip Ellis, Buell, 7.285, 181.94; Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 7.276, 183.94 def. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 7.314, 182.08; Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 7.244, 184.27 def. Shawn Gann, Buell, 7.397, 180.50; Hector Arana, Buell, 7.243, 184.07 def. Justin Finley, Suzuki, foul;

QUARTERFINALS — Krawiec, 7.324, 180.74 def. L. Tonglet, foul; Phillips, 7.295, 183.54 def. Berry, foul; Stoffer, 7.271, 182.01 def. Savoie, foul; Arana, 7.266, 183.10 def. Hope, 7.315, 179.73;

SEMIFINALS — Stoffer, 7.338, 180.50 def. Krawiec, 7.325, 180.98; Phillips, 7.357, 181.81 def. Arana, 7.313, 181.72;

FINAL — Stoffer, 7.283, 182.58 def. Phillips, 7.394, 182.01.

MORRISON, Colo. — Point standings (top 10) for NHRA professional categories following the 32nd annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway, the 12th of 22 events in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series -

Top Fuel

1.  Del Worsham, 1,057; 2.  Spencer Massey, 989; 3.  Larry Dixon, 900; 4.  Antron Brown, 883; 5. Tony Schumacher, 860; 6.  Doug Kalitta, 651; 7.  Brandon Bernstein, 601; 8.  Shawn Langdon, 577; 9. Morgan Lucas, 563; 10.  David Grubnic, 461.

Funny Car

1.  Mike Neff, 1,062; 2.  Robert Hight, 870; 3.  Jack Beckman, 865; 4.  Cruz Pedregon, 803; 5. Matt Hagan, 745; 6.  Jeff Arend, 686; 7.  John Force, 678; 8.  Ron Capps, 653; 9.  Bob Tasca III, 582; 10.  Tim Wilkerson, 503.

Pro Stock

1.  Jason Line, 912; 2.  Mike Edwards, 906; 3.  Greg Anderson, 857; 4.  Vincent Nobile, 801; 5. Greg Stanfield, 753; 6.  Allen Johnson, 749; 7.  Erica Enders, 717; 8.  Rodger Brogdon, 716; 9. Shane Gray, 575; 10.  Ron Krisher, 533.

Pro Stock Motorcycle

1.  Karen Stoffer, 599; 2.  Eddie Krawiec, 566; 3.  Matt Smith, 456; 4.  LE Tonglet, 453; 5. Andrew Hines, 436; 6.  Hector Arana, 428; 7.  Jerry Savoie, 362; 8.  Michael Phillips, 353; 9.  Jim Underdahl, 340; 10.  Hector Arana Jr, 290.

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Sunday, July 24 2011
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