Richie Crampton scored his first NHRA Top Fuel win for Connie Kalitta and his first victory since 2015 at Gainesville Raceway, as Jack Beckman, Tanner Gray, and Eddie Krawiec conquered Funny Car, Pro Stock and PS Motorcycle categories.
Crampton got the uncontested win when he piloted his Kalitta Air/DHL dragster to the winning run of 3.854 seconds at 314.90 mph after Shawn Reed had to shut off his dragster on the starting line. This was Crampton’s eighth career Wally but his first since Dallas in 2015.
“This is probably one of my most rewarding wins, ever,” said the Aussie. “All I ever wanted to do was stand in the winner’s circle with (team owner) Connie Kalitta. Not a lot of people have had that luxury and I’m not taking this one lightly.”
Reed, who raced to his first career final round, took down Pat Dakin, Tony Schumacher, and No. 1 qualifier Clay Millican before the final.
Beckman defeated Don Schumacher Racing teammate Matt Hagan claimed his first Funny Car victory at Gainesville with a hole-shot win of 4.035 at 323.58 in his Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T against teammate Matt Hagan. After earning the No. 1 qualifier on Saturday, Beckman secured his first victory since St. Louis 2017.
“Winning this race was such a bucket-list thing,” Beckman said, “The Gatornationals came on the schedule in 1970, that year was a big year for our sport and it has been at this track ever since and I’ve never gotten close.”
Beckman raced against Jim Campbell, Del Worsham, and Shawn Langdon before entering his first final round of the season.
Hagan and Robert Hight experienced side-by-side explosions during the quarterfinals destroying the Funny Car bodies of both competitors. Hagan brought out a back-up car to defeat teammate Ron Capps in the semi-finals to advance to his second final round of the season.
Gray powered his Gray Motorsports Valvoline Chevrolet Camaro to victory with a run of 6.588 at 210.18 to defeat defending champion Bo Butner in the final round. This is his first career win at Gainesville and is a third-generation event winner.
“We’ve been struggling since the beginning of the season,” Gray said. “Today was our first round win of the season. It has definitely been a struggle, but I think it is starting to come around.”
Gray was the first driver since 2015 to win from the No. 11 qualifier position and defeated Deric Kramer, Chris McGaha, and Vincent Nobile. Butner qualified in the fifth position and bested Jeg Coughlin Jr., Alan Prusiensky, and Drew Skillman before facing Gray.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE
Defending event and world champion Eddie Krawiec rode his bike to winner’s circle with a pass of 6.824 at 198.44 on his Screamin’ Eagles Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson. This is his sixth event victory and third consecutive win at Gainesville.
“Right now, I’m riding with the confidence that no one can beat me,” Krawiec stated. “I have a great motorcycle underneath me and a great team behind me. Anytime a rider or a driver has confidence it just makes them that much better.”
Krawiec was the No. 2 qualifier and was victorious against LE Tonglet, Steve Johnson, Hector Arana, the No. 1 qualifier, and teammate Andrew Hines in the final round.
Final finish order at the 49th annual Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway
TOP FUEL: 1. Richie Crampton; 2. Shawn Reed; 3. Clay Millican; 4. Antron Brown; 5. Leah Pritchett; 6. Terry McMillen; 7. Tony Schumacher; 8. Mike Salinas; 9. Brittany Force; 10. Doug Kalitta; 11. Scott Palmer; 12. Pat Dakin; 13. Terry Haddock; 14. Terry Totten; 15. Audrey Worm; 16. Steve Torrence.
Final: Richie Crampton, 3.854 seconds, 314.90 mph def. Shawn Reed, Broke.
FUNNY CAR: 1. Jack Beckman; 2. Matt Hagan; 3. Ron Capps; 4. Shawn Langdon; 5. Del Worsham; 6. Robert Hight; 7. Tommy Johnson Jr.; 8. Courtney Force; 9. Bob Tasca III; 10. Cruz Pedregon; 11. Gary Densham; 12. Jim Campbell; 13. John Force; 14. Tim Wilkerson; 15. Dave Richards; 16. J.R. Todd.
Final: Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger, 4.035, 323.58 def. Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.034, 322.04.
PRO STOCK: 1. Tanner Gray; 2. Bo Butner; 3. Drew Skillman; 4. Vincent Nobile; 5. Chris McGaha; 6. Val Smeland; 7. Alan Prusiensky; 8. Greg Anderson; 9. Deric Kramer; 10. Jeg Coughlin; 11. Alex Laughlin; 12. John Gaydosh Jr; 13. Erica Enders; 14. Wally Stroupe; 15. Kenny Delco; 16. Jason Line.
Final: Tanner Gray, Chevy Camaro, 6.588, 210.18 def. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.605, 210.34
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1. Eddie Krawiec; 2. Andrew Hines; 3. Hector Arana; 4. Scotty Pollacheck; 5. Cory Reed; 6. Steve Johnson; 7. Karen Stoffer; 8. Angelle Sampey; 9. Jerry Savoie; 10. Angie Smith; 11. Ryan Oehler; 12. Hector Arana Jr; 13. Jim Underdahl; 14. Joey Gladstone; 15. Mark Paquette; 16. LE Tonglet.
Final: Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.824, 198.44 def. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.853, 197.19.
Point standings after 3 of 24 events in 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series
TOP FUEL: 1. Steve Torrence, 217; 2. Antron Brown, 210; 3. Clay Millican, 204; 4. Tony Schumacher, 198; 5. Doug Kalitta, 182; 6. Richie Crampton, 163; 7. Scott Palmer, 161; 8. Leah Pritchett, 147; 9.
Brittany Force, 117; 10. Terry McMillen, 116.
FUNNY CAR: 1. Matt Hagan, 268; 2. Jack Beckman, 247; 3. Courtney Force, 219; 4. Ron Capps, 218; 5. Robert Hight, 185; 6. Tommy Johnson Jr., 182; 7. Shawn Langdon, 174; 8. (tie) Jonnie Lindberg, 117; J.R. Todd, 117; 10. Del Worsham, 116.
PRO STOCK: 1. Bo Butner, 245; 2. Jason Line, 232; 3. Chris McGaha, 213; 4. (tie) Deric Kramer, 190; Drew Skillman, 190; 6. Greg Anderson, 186; 7. Tanner Gray, 176; 8. Alex Laughlin, 175; 9. Vincent Nobile, 170; 10. Erica Enders, 166.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1. Eddie Krawiec, 123; 2. Andrew Hines, 107; 3. Scotty Pollacheck, 76; 4. Hector Arana, 71; 5.
(tie) Steve Johnson, 53; Angelle Sampey, 53; 7. Karen Stoffer, 52; 8. Cory Reed, 51; 9. Joey Gladstone, 39; 10. Hector Arana Jr, 38.