CRAMPTON, HAGAN QUICKEST DURING CHEVROLET PERFORMANCE U.S. NATIONALS TESTING
BROWNSBURG, Ind. – Defending Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals Top Fuel winner Richie Crampton and defending Funny Car world champion Matt Hagan made the quickest runs in their respective categories Wednesday at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis during the opening day of testing for the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals.
NHRA teams utilized the first day of the two-day open test to prepare for the world's most prestigious drag race, which will be held Sept. 2-7 at the famed NHRA-owned multi-purpose motorsports facility that sits just west of downtown Indianapolis. The event, which will also feature the lucrative Traxxas Nitro Shootout for Top Fuel and Funny Car, is the final race in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series regular season and will be televised by ESPN and ESPN2 with expanded coverage during Labor Day weekend.
Tickets for the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals are available by calling (800) 884-NHRA (6472) or logging on to www.NHRA.com/tickets.
Crampton, who has won four races this season including the recent Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals in Brainerd, powered his Lucas Oil dragster to a performance of 3.725 seconds at 321.04 mph. The time is quicker than the current track record of 3.740 seconds held by Shawn Langdon.
Crampton, who enters the race third in points, says his team is sticking with their Indy tradition of introducing a brand new racecar at the Big Go.
“Just like last year we brought out a brand new racecar during this test session,” Crampton said. “We’ve got some new pipe out here and we are just refining what we have and making sure we have a good consistent car for the big race. I am still involved in building these racecars so I take a lot of pride in them. For me it’s really exciting to get in a new racecar finally after building it for a few months. It seems like a fresh racecar works better and we just proved that today by running a (3.72) and (3.75) here this afternoon.”
Antron Brown posted the day’s second-quickest time in Top Fuel, covering the distance in 3.733 seconds at 322.96 mph in his Matco Tools dragster. Last weekend at Brainerd Brown lowered the NHRA Top Fuel E.T. record to 3.680 seconds. That run also was a milestone performance, the first ever in the 3.6-second zone in Top Fuel.
Brown, who won Indy in Top Fuel in 2011, says his team is using the test to fine-tune for not only next weekend, but the six Countdown to the Championship playoff races as well.
“We are working on some new stuff and things that can make us better for the Countdown,” Brown said. “Tomorrow we will go with the setup that we’ll run during the race week. It’s supposed to be a little bit warmer tomorrow so that will be more like the conditions we’ll face during the event.”
Brown trails eight-time world champion Tony Schumacher by 53 points coming into the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals. However, with the return to the point-and-a-half system at Indy, Brown says that changes all the rules. He expects a lot of movement in the points standings, at the bottom and at the top.
“The U.S. Nationals race besides having the all-star race with the big money, it’s the last race to gain points and position in the Countdown,” Brown said. “With the extra points being added to it, it’s a very crucial race for us against Tony [Schumacher] for first place. He’s got 50 points on us, but it’s really like he’s only got 30 points on us. If we can go two more rounds than him without losing qualifying points we can find ourselves in first place. Indy is really crucial for us. Plus, it’s the U.S. Nationals, the race speaks for itself. When you have a race called the U.S. Nationals it’s like going to a Grand Slam or a Super Bowl and that’s how big it is in our sport and we definitely want to come out here and show out and do well.”
Schumacher, who has won Indy a record nine times in 11 final round appearances, posted a best run of 3.760 at 320.74 in his U.S. Army dragster. Other quick runs during the day were posted by Billy Torrence, who clocked a 3.738 at 321.58 in his Capco Contractors dragster, Spencer Massey ran a 3.747 at 326.63 in the Red Fuel dragster, Brittany Force powered her Monster Energy dragster to a 3.754 at 308.71 and Leah Pritchett posted a 3.828 at 272.28 in her Gumout/Dote Racing dragster.
In Funny Car there were many three-second runs during the day, topped by Hagan, who posted the quickest with a 3.934 at 324.67 in an all-black Dodge Charger. His time and speed were both better than the existing track records.
Last weekend in Brainerd Hagan joined Brown in the NHRA milestone performance department by racing to the first 3.8-second time in a Funny Car. His effort of 3.879 seconds is officially listed as the quickest time in history, but he did not back it up with another run within 1 percent as required by NHRA rules to make it a national record. Although he is a two-time world champ, Hagan is still looking for his first Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals victory.
Nearly every Funny Car racer participating in the test ran quicker than the current track record of 3.998 seconds set by Hagan last season. Some of the best runs of the day were made by 2005 Indy winner Del Worsham, who posted a 3.955 at 321.42 in his DHL Toyota, four-time U.S. Nationals winner John Force, who clocked a 3.957 at 323.04 in his Peak Antifreeze Chevy Camaro SS, and Chad Head, who sped to a 3.975 at 307.44 in his Head Racing Toyota.
Jack Beckman, who took over the Funny Car points lead at Brainerd and reset the national record to 3.901 seconds in his Jimmy Prock-tuned Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger, posted a testing-best of 3.979 at 316.30.
Defending world champion and 2012 U.S. Nationals winner Andrew Hines had the quickest Pro Stock Motorcycle during the first day of testing, powering his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson to a 6.914 at 188.31.
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Below is a listing of each Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock Motorcycle competitor’s best performance from Wednesday’s testing:
Richie Crampton 3.725 – 321.04
Antron Brown 3.733 – 322.96
Billy Torrence 3.738 – 321.58
Spencer Massey 3.747 – 326.63
Brittany Force 3.754 – 308.71
Tony Schumacher 3.760 – 320.74
Leah Pritchett 3.828 – 272.28
Matt Hagan 3.934 – 324.67
Del Worsham 3.955 – 321.42
John Force 3.957 – 323.04
Chad Head 3.975 – 307.44
Jack Beckman 3.979 – 316.30
Tommy Johnson Jr. 3.982 – 319.60
Robert Hight 3.990 – 311.56
Courtney Force 4.018 – 317.34
Pro Stock Motorcycle
Andrew Hines 6.914 – 188.31
Hector Arana Jr. 6.925 – 191.41
Chip Ellis 6.939 – 192.93