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Crampton To Enter Gateway As Top Seed In Top Fuel

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, September 25 2016
Richie Crampton will start from the Top Fuel pole at Gateway on Sunday.

Richie Crampton will start from the Top Fuel pole at Gateway on Sunday.

RacinToday.com

Richie Crampton powered to pole position in Top Fuel Saturday as qualifications wrapped up at the fifth annual AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Ill., outside St. Louis.

Robert Hight (Funny Car), Shane Gray (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were No. 1 qualifiers in their respective categories at the 20th event of 24 on the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule. The Midwest Nats is the second event of the six-race NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship playoffs.

Crampton used his Friday night 1,000-foot performance of 3.733-seconds at 323.50 mph in his Lucas Oil dragster to earn his second pole of the season and fifth of his career. Crampton, from Adelaide, South Australia, posted a runnerup finish earlier this year in Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway, but has not yet won an event in 2016. He will look to improve on his 10th-place point standing when he opens eliminations against Kebin Kinsley Sunday morning.

“We were trying to get down the racetrack today and it just didn’t work out, but to get a good run on the board Friday night is really important,” said Crampton, a seven-time event winner. “It was a good run (Friday) and I’m sure we left a little bit on the table today. We were just a little underpowered in both sessions and maybe just treaded a little bit too lightly.”

Tony Schumacher, an eight-time Top Fuel world champion, qualified second with a 3.740-second pass at 325.30 mph in his U.S. Army dragster. “The Sarge,” a two-time Midwest winner from Don Schumacher Racing, will open eliminations against veteran independent campaigner Chris “The Greek” Karamesines.

Sonoma Raceway winner J.R. Todd sits in the No. 3 spot at 3.750-seconds and 321.58 mph in his SealMaster dragster. Todd is paired with Kyle Wurtzel in the first round. Three-time Gateway/2016 event-winner Doug Kalitta is fourth and matched with Terry McMillen. Shawn Langdon, the 2013 world champion, is fifth and will battle two-time/reigning champ and current Top Fuel point-leader Antron Brown Sunday morning.

In Funny Car, Hight also used his Friday night 1,000-foot performance to head into Sunday’s eliminations as the category’s No. 1 qualifier. Hight’s 3.893-second pass at 328.38 mph in his Auto Club Chevrolet Camaro SS during Friday’s second session was enough to earn his first pole of the season and 48th of his career. The Gainesville (Fla.) Raceway event-winner will go up against John Hale to open eliminations.

“Saturday is more conducive to what you’re going to race in on Sunday,” said Hight, the 2009 world champion from John Force Racing. “Basically, three of the four runs we were low-E.T. and that gives you a lot of confidence. That third run, we were still pushing hard. Sometimes it’s nice to know your limit so you don’t find that limit on Sunday. It’s been a great weekend and I’m excited about tomorrow. I’m more excited about tomorrow’s race-day than I have been in a long time.”

DSR’s Jack Beckman, the 2012 world champion, qualified second in his Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger R/T with a 3.907-second pass at 325.22 mph. The 2012 event-winner and 2015 season runnerup will race Dale Creasy Jr. in the first round.

Point-leader Ron Capps, also of DSR, is third with a 3.910-second pass at 322.81 mph in his NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger R/T and will battle John Bojec on Sunday. Tim Wilkerson is fourth and will meet Brian Stewart while two-time world champion Matt Hagan of DSR is fifth and paired against two-time world champ Cruz Pedregon.

Shane Gray earned his second pole of the season in Pro Stock with a quarter-mile pass in 6.604-seconds at 209.42 mph in his Gray Motorsports Chevy Camaro. Gray, who raced to the top spot at Route 66 Raceway, has seven No. 1 qualifiers in his career and is seventh in points. He will race David River in the opening round.

“I’m real confident with the car for tomorrow,” said Gray, who never has won at Gateway. “The way I see it now is the only person that can screw this up is me. We’ve got a good car and it’s making good runs.”

Rookie Bo Butner, who has four runnerup finishes this season in his Jim Butner Auto Camaro, is second with a 6.605-second pass at 209.17 mph. Butner, fourth in points, will meet Mark Hogan Sunday morning.

Four-time world champion Greg Anderson qualified third at 6.605-seconds and 209.07 mph in his Summit Racing Equipment Camaro. The seven-time 2016 event-winner will go heads-up with Alan Prusiensky in the first round. Vincent Nobile, looking for his first win of the season, is fourth and paired with Deric Kramer while Alex Laughlin is fifth and matched against Pacific Raceways event-winner Aaran Strong.

Pro Stock point-leader Jason Line, a two-time world champion, is qualified sixth and will go against back-to-back/reigning world champion Erica Enders in a Camaro vs. Dodge Dart matchup.

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, three-time world champion Krawiec rode his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson to a quarter-mile pass of 6.819-seconds at 197.02 mph to earn his sixth pole of the season and 33rd of his career. The two-time Gateway winner currently is fourth in points after a first round loss last weekend at zMAX Dragway. Krawiec will open eliminations against Joe DeSantis.

“We didn’t think we were going to run that number but we were picking away at it a little bit at a time,” said Krawiec, who has two career poles at GMP. “This last session, it was drying out a little more. That definitely helped aspirate the motorcycle. We didn’t think it was going to run that fast, but all the stars aligned. We know we have a great motorcycle, it’s just up to us to tune it right _ and it’s easier said than done.”

Angelle Sampey, another three-time world champ, qualified second at 6.831-seconds at 197.02 mph aboard her Precision Service Equipment/Star Racing Buell. Sampey, who claimed her first victory since 2007 earlier this season in Englishtown, N.J., leads the category with three career wins at Gateway and currently is third in points. She will race Angie Smith in the first round.

Chip Ellis, winner of the Countdown opener at zMAX Dragway last Sunday, is slotted third with a 6.850-second pass at 196.53 mph aboard his PiranaZ/Pippin Motorsports Buell. Ellis is paired with Jim Underdahl to open eliminations. Jerry Savoie is fourth and will race veteran Steve Johnson while two-time world champion Matt Smith is fifth aboard his Victory and will battle rookie Melissa Surber Sunday.

Point-leader Andrew Hines, the five-time/reigning world champion, qualified sixth aboard his H-D V-Rod and will race defending event-winner Hector Arana Jr. and his Buell in the first round.

Eliminations are set to being at 11 a.m. on Sunday. Fox Sports 1 will televise three hours of live finals coverage starting at 2 p.m. (EDT).

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Sunday’s first-round elimination pairings for the fifth annual AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park, the 20th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.  Pairings based on results in qualifying, which ended Saturday. DNQs listed below pairings:

Top Fuel _ 1. Richie Crampton, 3.733-seconds, 323.50 mph  vs. 16. Kebin Kinsley, 4.000, 307.16; 2. Tony Schumacher, 3.740, 325.30  vs. 15. Chris Karamesines, 3.979, 301.00; 3. J.R. Todd, 3.750, 322.04  vs. 14. Kyle Wurtzel, 3.896, 315.19; 4. Doug Kalitta, 3.752, 325.92  vs. 13. Terry McMillen, 3.895, 310.41; 5. Shawn Langdon, 3.766, 325.61  vs. 12. Antron Brown, 3.808, 316.97; 6. Steve Torrence, 3.768, 323.19  vs. 11. Pat Dakin, 3.805, 309.06; 7. Leah Pritchett, 3.770, 325.92 vs. 10. Wayne Newby, 3.801, 318.69; 8. Brittany Force, 3.778, 323.35  vs. 9. Clay Millican, 3.798, 323.35.

Did Not Qualify _ 17. Luigi Novelli, 4.168, 263.92; 18. Scott Palmer, 5.305, 198.67; 19. Troy Buff, 6.737, 95.96.

Funny Car _ 1. Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 3.893, 328.38  vs. 16. John Hale, Dodge Charger, 4.156, 279.56; 2. Jack Beckman, Charger, 3.907, 325.22  vs. 15. Dale Creasy Jr., Chevy Impala, 4.118, 294.56; 3. Ron Capps, Charger, 3.910, 322.81  vs. 14. John Bojec, Toyota Solara, 4.037, 293.22; 4. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 3.912, 325.61  vs. 13. Brian Stewart, Mustang, 4.009, 295.79; 5. Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.914, 327.51  vs. 12. Cruz Pedregon, Toyota Camry, 4.009, 314.68; 6. Courtney Force, Camaro, 3.918, 324.36  vs. 11. Chad Head, Camry, 3.994, 321.42; 7. Del Worsham, Camry, 3.929, 324.75  vs. 10. John Force, Camaro, 3.958, 323.19; 8. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.944, 324.12  vs. 9. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 3.945, 323.27.

Did Not Qualify: 17. Jack Wyatt, 4.274, 283.91; 18. Brandon Welch, 4.289, 290.07.

Pro Stock _ 1. Shane Gray, Chevy Camaro, 6.604, 209.65  vs. 16. Dave River, Chevy Cobalt, 6.904, 198.93; 2. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.605, 209.36  vs. 15. Mark Hogan, Pontiac GXP, 6.797, 203.09; 3. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.605, 209.92  vs. 14. Alan Prusiensky, Dodge Dart, 6.750, 205.26; 4. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.606, 209.43  vs. 13. Deric Kramer, Dart, 6.679, 206.57; 5. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.610, 209.14  vs. 12. Aaron Strong, Camaro, 6.674, 207.15; 6. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.611, 209.43  vs. 11. Erica Enders, Dart, 6.663, 207.21; 7. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.621, 209.07  vs. 10. Jeg Coughlin Jr., Dart, 6.648, 207.46; 8. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.625, 209.04  vs. 9. Allen Johnson, Dart, 6.625, 208.46.

Pro Stock Motorcycle _ 1. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.819, 197.02  vs. 16. Joe DeSantis, Suzuki, 7.271, 188.49; 2. Angelle Sampey, Buell, 6.831, 197.02  vs. 15. Angie Smith, Victory, 6.968, 191.35; 3. Chip Ellis, Buell, 6.850, 196.53  vs. 14. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 6.955, 195.73; 4. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.852, 196.27  vs. 13. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.929, 193.57; 5. Matt Smith, Victory, 6.860, 195.36  vs. 12. Melissa Surber, Buell, 6.914, 193.74; 6. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.867, 194.58  vs. 11. Hector Arana Jr., Buell, 6.910, 195.68; 7. Hector Arana, Buell, 6.880, 195.53  vs. 10. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.904, 195.14; 8. Cory Reed, Buell, 6.884, 194.13  vs. 9. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.899, 195.22.

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, September 25 2016
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