Field Set At FallNationals

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Sunday, October 16 2016


Jason Line Is P1 in Pro Stock in Texas. (RacinToday HHP file photo by Garry Eller)

Jason Line is P1 in Pro Stock in Texas. (RacinToday HHP file photo by Garry Eller)

ENNIS, Texas – Antron Brown, Robert Hight and Jason Line locked-up pole positions in their respective professional classes Saturday afternoon at Texas Motorplex, where the starting fields were set for the 31st annual AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals.

The lone change atop a ladder from the Friday “Night of Fire” session was in Pro Stock Motorcycle, where Jerry Savoie displaced point-leader Andrew Hines in Round 3 of 4 down the Motorplex’s all-concrete surface. Brown (Top Fuel), Hight (Funny Car) and Line (Pro Stock) will lead their classes into the 22nd event of 24 on the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.

Eliminations are set to begin Sunday at 11 a.m. (CDT). The fourth race of the six-event Countdown to the Championship playoffs will be carried live for three hours on Fox Sports 1 (FS1) at 1 p.m. (CDT).

Brown’s Friday night 1,000-foot performance of 3.682-seconds at 330.55 mph in his Matco Tools dragster secured the No. 1 spot for the two-time/reigning world champion. Brown’s elapsed time is a Texas Motorplex track record. The Don Schumacher Racing superstar tallied his 47th career pole, third of the season and first at The Plex. Brown will race legendary independent  campaigner Chris “The Greek” Karamesines in the first round of eliminations.

Brown increased his point lead over Doug Kalitta of Kalitta Motorsports by 21 points to 90, or four-plus rounds of racing with 12 rounds to go in the Countdown.

“Friday and all day today we’ve been on the edge and our car’s been going (Point) A to B very aggressive,” Brown said. “We’re poised, we’re ready for the challenge and we’ve just got to go out there tomorrow and execute. We’ve been racing good in the Countdown but we haven’t been getting those qualifying points like we need to. A lot of these teams have been racking up on us. To come here and to qualify the way we have has been phenomenal. We just hope that can carry over to Race Day. That’s where all the points are at.

“We were third-quickest, then quickest, then second-quickest, then quickest again, so we gained some really good, quality bonus points and that’s the name of the game right now. I couldn’t be happier, so stoked and honored and blessed to be on this team. We’ve got an incredible group of guys.”

Leah Pritchett, Brown’s DSR teammate, qualified second at 3.698-seconds and 327.43 in her Papa John’s Pizza dragster. Pritchett won earlier this season at Avon, Ariz., near Phoenix and is competing in the Countdown for the first time. She is seventh in points and will face Scott Palmer Sunday morning.

Tony Schumacher, an eight-time world champ, is third after a pass in 3.705-seconds at 326.71 mph in his U.S. Army dragster. “The Sarge” is paired with Texan Kebin Kinsley. J.R. Todd is fourth and matched with Troy Buff while Brittany Force qualified fifth and 2013 world champion Shawn Langdon qualified sixth.

Hight pushed his AAA Texas Chevy Camaro SS into the No. 1 spot in Funny Car with a 1,000-foot pass in 3.839-seconds at 332.02 mph on Friday night. Hight’s elapsed time is the third-quickest Funny Car pass in NHRA history and a Motorplex track record. “It wasn’t a slouch,” Hight said. “That was a great run.”

Hight earned his 49th career pole, second of the season and fifth at The Plex. The 2009 world champion is eighth in points with one win this year, which came in Gainesville, Fla. Hight, of John Force Racing, will go heads-up with Brandon Welch in Round 1.

“Starting at St. Louis (Gateway Motorsports Park), we turned things around,” said Hight, a two-time winner here. “Tell you what, to come out here to Texas, my sponsor’s race, and make four runs in the 3.80s in a Funny Car, that shows we’ve got it going on. My teammates are running 3.80s and we’re right at the top. It’s exciting to have a qualifying like this, but tomorrow is a new day. What we’ve been having problems with is sealing the deal on Sunday. A lot of second-round losses, so it’s going to be a tough match.

“I hope we’re up for it. I really believe my team is on to something. I want one of those cowboy hats (presented to the class winners).”

“Fast” Jack Beckman, the 2012 world champion for DSR, sits in the No. 2 spot at 3.843-seconds at a track-record 333.66 mph in his Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger R/T. Beckman, third in points, won earlier this season in Joliet and Madison, Ill. He will battle Dave Richards in Round 1.

Tommy Johnson Jr. posted a 3.847-second pass at 325.06 mph in his Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T to qualify third. Johnson, also of DSR, will race Texan John Hale in the first round. Two-time world champion Matt Hagan of DSR qualified fourth while Houston-area winner Courtney Force of JFR is fifth.

In Pro Stock, Line used his Saturday quarter-mile performance of 6.568-seconds at 210.34 mph in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro to secure pole. A two-time world champ, Line earned his  seventh pole of the season and 48th of his career. Line won this event in 2011 as No. 1 qualifier and also sprinted to victory here in 2013. He leads the standings via eight victories and five runnerup results.

“Everybody is close,” said Line, who will race Alan Prusiensky Sunday morning. “It really comes down to just making the best decision. It’s like a big chess match. I think we had a good day using all three (Ken Black Racing) cars, and we used them wisely today. We learned some things and hopefully all three cars are good for tomorrow.”

KBR’s Greg Anderson qualified second at 6.579-seconds and 210.11 mph in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro. Anderson is a four-time world champion as well as a four-time Motorplex winner. He will face back-to-back/reigning world champion Erica Enders in the first round.

Granbury, Texas, resident Alex Laughlin _ who scored his first Pro Stock victory at Gateway _remained  third and will match up with five-time world champion Jeg Coughlin Jr.. Shane Gray is fourth and set to go up against Seattle winner Aaron Strong.


Sunday’s first-round elimination pairings for the 31st annual AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals at Texas Motorplex, the 22nd 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. Antron Brown, 3.682-seconds, 330.55 mph  vs. 16. Chris Karamesines, 4.213, 232.31; 2. Leah Pritchett, 3.698, 327.82  vs. 15. Scott Palmer, 3.929, 311.41; 3. Tony Schumacher, 3.705, 326.71  vs. 14. Kebin Kinsley, 3.921, 311.85; 4. J.R. Todd, 3.723, 324.90  vs. 13. Troy Buff, 3.911, 314.02; 5. Brittany Force, 3.727, 325.37  vs. 12. Terry McMillen, 3.835, 309.84; 6. Shawn Langdon, 3.729, 324.67  vs. 11. Larry Dixon, 3.767, 320.81; 7. Steve Torrence, 3.737, 327.43  vs. 10. Clay Millican, 3.746, 321.04; 8. Richie Crampton, 3.741, 322.42  vs. 9. Doug Kalitta, 3.745, 326.00.

Did Not Qualify _ 17. Terry Haddock, 6.365, 184.98.

Funny Car _ 1. Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 3.839, 332.02  vs. 16. Brandon Welch, Chevy Monte Carlo, 5.040, 158.39; 2. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger, 3.843, 333.66  vs. 15. Dave Richards, Ford Mustang, 4.035, 298.54; 3. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.847, 325.06  vs. 14. John Hale, Charger, 4.032, 308.78; 4. Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.851, 331.85  vs. 13. John Bojec, Toyota Camry, 3.988, 315.49; 5. Courtney Force, Camaro, 3.854, 324.05  vs. 12. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 3.952, 284.99; 6. Del Worsham, Camry, 3.857, 327.98  vs. 11. Chad Head, Camry, 3.923, 328.06; 7. Ron Capps, Charger, 3.864, 323.81  vs. 10. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 3.919, 322.19; 8. John Force, Camaro, 3.867, 330.39 vs. 9. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 3.911, 322.65.

Did Not Qualify _ 17. Todd Simpson, broke.

Pro Stock _ 1. Jason Line, Chevy Camaro, 6.568, 210.34  vs. 16. Alan Prusiensky, Dodge Dart, 6.775, 205.54; 2. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.579, 210.11  vs. 15. Erica Enders, Dart, 6.748, 207.75; 3. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.586, 210.73  vs. 14. Jeg Coughlin Jr., Dart, 6.686, 207.24; 4. Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.591, 209.98  vs. 13. Aaron Strong, Camaro, 6.684, 207.72; 5. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.591, 209.39  vs. 12. Deric Kramer, Dart, 6.648, 207.98; 6. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.594, 210.34  vs. 11. Shane Tucker, Camaro, 6.641, 208.36; 7. Allen Johnson, Dart, 6.610, 209.49  vs. 10. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.631, 208.46; 8. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.612, 209.26  vs. 9. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.614, 210.67.

Pro Stock Motorcycle _ 1. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.805, 197.31  vs. 16. Joe DeSantis, Suzuki, 6.961, 192.69; 2. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.811, 195.90  vs. 15. Joey Gladstone, Suzuki, 6.947, 192.19; 3. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.821, 195.76  vs. 14. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.935, 194.35; 4. Angelle Sampey, Buell, 6.853, 195.39  vs. 13. Shawn Gann, Buell, 6.916, 194.91; 5. Chip Ellis, Buell, 6.863, 194.60  vs. 12. Melissa Surber, Buell, 6.914, 191.02; 6. Hector Arana Jr., Buell, 6.863, 195.79  vs. 11. Hector Arana, Buell, 6.905, 194.77; 7. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.868, 194.24  vs. 10. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.889, 193.99; 8. Cory Reed, Buell, 6.872, 192.96  vs. 9. Matt Smith, Victory, 6.879, 194.46.

Did Not Qualify _ 17. Angie Smith, 6.986, 191.19; 18. John Hall, 7.011, 189.39; 19. Mike Berry, 7.044, 187.11; 20. David Hope, 7.113, 183.79; 21. Lance Bonham, 7.222, 183.49; 22. Gunner Courtney, 7.264, 184.95.

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Sunday, October 16 2016
One Comment

One Comment »

  • jim schmitt says:

    Mo par had better get their act together…Hemi/no Hemi their pro stock car need help…does MoPar management want to win? or do they want to motocycles.

    And on the 7th day God created the ” Hemi”