June 1-3, 2007

Topeka Kansas

Heartland Park

(Photos courtesy David Smith)

Eliminations wrap up

TOPEKA, Kan. --

(Photo gallery is here.)


TOPEKA, Kan.-Brandon Bernstein extended his recent dominance of the Top Fuel class Sunday at Heartland Park Topeka with his third win of the last four national events, surging into the POWERade points lead in the process.


Mike Ashley joined Bernstein in the winner's circle of the 19th annual O'Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals presented by Castrol GTX with his first Funny Car trophy, while Pro Stock kingpin Greg Anderson collected his fifth Wally of the year's first eight races.

Usually Bernstein and final-round opponent J.R. Todd are each other's biggest cheerleaders, but on this day they were rivals, if only for a few seconds, as they streaked down the quarter-mile for the race title. In the end, Bernstein's rock-steady rail was quick enough to turn on the win light as the 15-time national event winner crossed in 4.582 seconds at 320.51 mph to Todd's 4.667 at 299.86 mph attempt.

"It's tough to race J.R. because we're such great friends," Bernstein said. "Together with Eric [Medlen] we have spent a lot of time together and now with Eric being gone the bond I have with J.R. is even more special. Plus, he's a tough guy to race, so we're very happy to get the win."

Bernstein started the day 23 points in arrears to "Hot Rod" Fuller and leaves town 56 points ahead. Fuller lost to Doug Kalitta in the first round.


Ashley qualified as the happiest winner on the property as he took turns hugging everyone he could find after climbing from his Dodge Charger. The fast-talking New Yorker has had an excellent racecar lately, reeling off three No. 1 qualifying efforts in a row coming into this event. He finally punched through for his first win Sunday by beating Jim Head with a 4.896-second run at 310.70 mph.

"I'm so emotional right now but I'll try to keep it together," Ashley said. "This has been such a journey and it all started a few years ago when [sponsor] Evan Knoll came to me and said, 'Let's do it.' We've been working towards this goal since then and Evan stuck with us through it all. This win is for all the dreamers out there. This is proof you can do anything you set your mind to."

Semifinalist Robert Hight managed to trim his deficit to points leader Ron Capps from 121 to 53 points. Capps failed to qualify for this event, his first DNQ in 56 races.


Anderson is running so strong these days that his last three opponents all took shots at the Christmas Tree in an effort to gain some sort of edge on the three-time champion. It didn't help as all three men -- Tom Hammonds, Jeg Coughlin, and Connolly -- red-lighted by a few thousandths of a second.

"Dave and Jeggy had taken the momentum at the last race and it was important for us to answer back," Anderson said. "We've all worked extremely hard since St. Louis to swing it back this way and it appears we've got our hot rod back. I can't remember the last time three people red-lighted against me in the same day. It may not have ever happened. It's good to get in everyone's head a little bit."

Anderson has now won the last eight finals he's participated in dating back to last year's Indy win. He's 5-0 on the 2007 season and 48-21 in his career.

Cagnazzi Racing pro Connolly, who won the last race in St. Louis over teammate Coughlin, falls to 10-12 in his career but maintained second place in the standings.

TOPEKA, Kan. -- Sunday's final results from the 19th annual O'Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals presented by Castrol GTX at Heartland Park Topeka. The race is the eighth of 23 in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series:

Top Fuel -- Brandon Bernstein, 4.582 seconds, 320.51 mph def. J.R. Todd, 4.667 seconds, 299.86 mph.

Funny Car -- Mike Ashley, Dodge Charger, 4.896, 310.70 def. Jim Head, Toyota Solara, 4.928, 303.09.

Pro Stock -- Greg Anderson, Pontiac GTO, 6.704, 206.86 def. Dave Connolly, Chevy Cobalt, foul.

Pro RWD -- Brad Personett, Toyota Scion, 6.481, 216.83 def. Gary Lee White, Toyota Celica, foul.

Top Alcohol Dragster -- Jim Whiteley, 5.374, 265.22 def. Brandon Lewis, 5.655, 245.40.

Top Alcohol Funny Car -- Bob Newberry, Chevy Monte Carlo, 5.698, 254.09 def. Steve Harker, Monte Carlo, foul.

Competition Eliminator -- Todd Patterson, Chevy Roadster, 7.934, 167.07 def. Lou Ficco, Chevy Cavalier, 7.099, 192.52.

Stock Eliminator -- Gene Mosbek, Plymouth Savoy, 10.375, 126.62 def. Kevin Helms, Chevy Camaro, 10.634, 124.56.

Super Comp -- James Paul, Dodge Roadster, 8.905, 161.27 def. Jeff Solomon, Dragster, foul.

Super Gas -- Jim Hughes, Chevy Corvette, 9.926, 149.03 def. Dave Nelson, Chevy Camaro, 9.884, 146.11.

Final qualifying

Topeka, Kan. --


POWERade points leader Ron Capps failed to qualify for the 19th annual O'Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals presented by Castrol GTX, snapping the longest active qualifying streak in the Funny Car class at 55 races.
Capps' shocking result overshadowed the low qualifying efforts of Joe Hartley, Robert Hight, and Greg Anderson, who were all able to maintain the top rankings they attained Friday.

Entering the race with a 121-point lead in the standings, Capps could leave Heartland Park Topeka with the No. 1, but he knows his lead will probably be substantially trimmed.

"It's just like NASCAR when the points leader wrecks out early," Capps said. "We'll just have to deal with it lik2e [John] Force's guys did earlier this year when they missed Vegas. It happens."

The man closest to him in the points, Hight, grabbed his third consecutive No. 1 qualifying position at Heartland Park Topeka. Hight, who has gone out in the semi-finals the previous two years at Topeka, will try to cash in for his first Topeka win, while gaining as much ground as possible on the sidelined Capps. Hight could surpass Capps by winning the event and setting the E.T. record.

"We've got a great chance to make up a lot of points on Capps," Hight said. "I hate to see them DNQ; I really 8do. No one wants to make gains at someone else's expense like that, but we still need to do what we can to close the gap on him. I say that because I know they'll be back stronger than ever next weekend."

Mike Ashley's Torco Race Fuels Dodge Charger carried him to the No. 2 position with a 4.794 at 327.11 mph. John Force was next at 4.796 in his Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang to round out the 4.7-second cars.


No one was happier to see Saturday's sunny skies and hot conditions than Day 1 Top Fuel leader Hartley who managed to hold onto the No. 1 position through Saturday's two sessions. Hartley's career-best pass of 4.518 at 323.12 mph in his unsponsored car was more than enough to earn him his first low qualifier award.

"This is something I've always dreamt of but really didn't expect to ever happen," Hartley said. "This is special. Hopefully we can keep up the performance tomorrow and realize our other dream of winning one of these things."

The rest of the top five remained the same as it was at the close of Friday's action. Four-time NHRA POWERade Series champion Tony Schumacher was second in the U.S. Army dragster with a 4.529 at 303.09 mph. Teammates Whit Bazemore and "Hot Rod" Fuller followed with Bazemore running a 4.534 in the Matco rail and Fuller a 4.566 in his refrigerator-white car. They were followed by surging UPS pro Bob Vandergriff Jr., who had a 4.576.


Anderson's quick 6.703 at 205.91 mph in the final session earned him low qualifier honors for the third consecutive race and fifth time this season. The elapsed time, along with Friday night's 206.48 mph top speed, earned the Summit Racing Pontiac GTO driver both ends of the HPT track record.

"I have to commend NHRA and the people from Heartland Park for getting the starting line in better shape for today's run," Anderson said. "It was so slick in the burnout box that the tires were just spinning with no friction at all. There wasn't even smoke coming off of them and consequently they weren't getting hot enough. They scuffed it up and I think we're all catching up with it now. It was just something none of us had seen before."

St. Louis winner Dave Connolly is second on the grid with his Torco Race Fuels Cobalt posting a best of 6.719, while Allen Johnson has the quickest Dodge Stratus on the property after a third-best 6.724 at 204.82 mph.

FC

1 2 Robert Hight, Yorba Linda CA, '05 Mustang 4.754 320.66 320.66
2 180 Mike Ashley, Melville NY, '07 Charger 4.794 &327.11 327.11
3 1 John Force, Yorba Linda CA, '05 Mustang 4.796 302.28 302.28
4 782 Gary Densham, Bellflower CA, '07 Impala 4.820 314.97 314.97
5 347 Tim Wilkerson, Springfield IL, '07 Impala 4.832 325.85 325.85
6 503 Tommy Johnson Jr., Avon IN, '07 Impala 4.843 310.55 310.55
7 7321 Ashley Force, Anaheim Hills CA, '06 Mustang 4.857 285.77 293.73
8 170 Jeff Arend, San Dimas CA, '07 Impala 4.873 316.90 316.90
9 319 Scott Kalitta, Ypsilanti MI, '07 Solara 4.874 316.45 316.45
10 404 Kenny Bernstein, Lake Forest CA, '07 Charger 4.877 310.20 313.15
11 711 Jack Beckman, Brownsburg IN, '07 Charger 4.891 309.56 313.88
12 729 Jerry Toliver, Temecula CA, '07 Solara 4.903 317.05 317.05
13 388 Jim Head, Galena OH, '07 Solara 4.919 310.27 310.27
14 7 Gary Scelzi, Fresno CA, '06 Charger 4.921 307.93 309.98
15 750 Del Worsham, Chino Hills CA, '07 Impala 4.943 305.84 305.84
16 10 Cruz Pedregon, Camarillo CA, '07 Impala 4.946 303.71 303.71

------------ Not Qualified ------------

17 427 Tony Bartone, Long Island City NY, '05 Monte C 5.010 301.60 301.60
18 5 Tony Pedregon, Brownsburg IN, '07 Impala 5.026 257.78 288.52
19 28 Ron Capps, Carlsbad CA, '07 Charger 5.461 247.97 247.97
20 763 Steve Macklyn, Bountiful UT, '02 Camaro 12.648 85.17 85.17

TF

1 524 Joe Hartley, Portland OR, McKinney-BAE 4.518 323.12 323.12
2 1 Tony Schumacher, Long Grove IL, Hadman-TFX 4.529 303.09 303.09
3 73 Whit Bazemore, Eugene OR, Hadman-TFX 4.534 324.75 324.75
4 5 Rod Fuller, Las Vegas NV, Hadman-TFX 4.566 321.42 324.51
5 12 Bob Vandergriff, Alpharetta GA, McKinney-BAE 4.576 316.75 316.75
6 3 Brandon Bernstein, Lake Forest CA, McKinney-TFX 4.591 317.72 319.29
7 255 Clay Millican, Drummonds TN, Hadman-BAE 4.597 318.54 318.54
8 743 Morgan Lucas, Brownsburg IN, Hadman-TFX 4.619 323.04 323.04
9 6 David Grubnic, Ypsilanti MI, Attac-TFX 4.636 315.19 315.19
10 91 Larry Dixon, Indianapolis IN, McKinney-TFX 4.640 313.51 313.51
11 10 Hillary Will, Ypsilanti MI, Attac-TFX 4.644 313.22 313.22
12 8 J.R. Todd, Avon IN, Hadman-TFX 4.645 307.79 307.79
13 2 Doug Kalitta, Ypsilanti MI, Attac-TFX 4.657 301.27 301.27
14 4 Melanie Troxel, Avon IN, Hadman-TFX 4.671 296.37 317.79
15 5050 Scott Palmer, Branson MO, McKinney-BAE 4.687 296.24 304.94
16 9 Cory McClenathan, Lake Havasu City AZ, Hadman- 4.712 286.13 286.13

------------ Not Qualified ------------

17 530 Alan Bradshaw, Odessa TX, Don Long-BAE 4.733 265.17 274.33
18 72 Mike Strasburg, Lindon UT, Hadman-TFX 4.775 294.18 294.18
19 141 Bobby Lagana Jr., Scarsdale NY, McKinney-BAE 4.839 279.56 279.56
20 11 Doug Herbert, Lincolnton NC, McKinney-BAE 6.984 117.36 117.36

PS

1 2 Greg Anderson, Mooresville NC, '06 GTO 6.703@ 205.91& 206.48
2 3 Dave Connolly, Elyria OH, '07 Cobalt 6.719 204.66 204.66
3 6 Allen Johnson, Greeneville TN, '07 Stratus 6.724 204.82 204.88
4 25 Jeg Coughlin, Delaware OH, '07 Cobalt 6.726 205.01 205.01
5 10 V. Gaines, Lakewood CO, '07 Stratus 6.726 204.66 205.13
6 1 Jason Line, Mooresville NC, '06 GTO 6.728 205.98 205.98
7 5 Kurt Johnson, Sugar Hill GA, '07 Cobalt 6.740 204.91 204.91
8 9 Richie Stevens, Metairie LA, '07 Stratus 6.741 204.20 204.51
9 20 Tom Hammonds, Crestview FL, '07 Cobalt 6.742 205.01 205.01
10 4 Mike Edwards, Coweta OK, '06 GTO 6.748 204.70 204.70
11 357 Larry Morgan, Newark OH, '07 Stratus 6.749 204.94 204.94
12 107 Kenny Koretsky, Richboro PA, '07 Cobalt 6.759 204.23 204.23
13 208 Warren Johnson, Sugar Hill GA, '06 GTO 6.763 204.76 204.76
14 1568 Justin Humphreys, Monrovia MD, '06 GTO 6.768 203.95 203.95
15 8 Greg Stanfield, Bossier City LA, '06 GTO 6.768 203.71 204.01
16 103 Max Naylor, New Buffalo PA, '07 Stratus 6.773 204.14 204.14

------------ Not Qualified ------------

17 7 Jim Yates, Occoquan VA, '06 GTO 6.773 202.97 204.51
18 351 Ron Krisher, Warren OH, '07 Cobalt 6.785 203.46 203.46
19 7111 Bill Windham, Eldorado Hills CA, '07 Cobalt 6.792 204.08 204.08
20 334 Craig Hankinson, Newark OH, '06 GTO 6.798 202.94 202.94
21 430 Erica Enders, Houston TX, '07 Stratus 6.803 203.65 203.65

TAD

1 3 A/FD Spencer Massey, Fort Worth TX, Bowen-TFX 5.372 269.62 269.62
2 74 B/AD Jim Whiteley, Grand Junction CO, Neilson 5.405 263.51 263.51
3 7942 B/AD Thomas Bayer, Fontana CA, Uyehara-BAE 5.453 260.56 260.76
4 71 B/AD Chris Demke, Sunland CA, Uyehara-BAE 5.458 263.20 263.20
5 2151 A/FD Lindsey Wood, McAlpin FL, McKinney-BAE 5.471 259.56 259.56
6 35 A/FD Dave Hirata, Lowell IN, McKinney-TFX 5.472 261.57 261.57
7 54 B/AD Edwin Schmeeckle, Gothenburg NE, Hadman- 5.488 262.13 262.13
8 499 A/FD Brandon Lewis, Broken Arrow OK, Monden-B 5.504 257.33 257.87
9 7000 A/FD Darryl Hitchman, Celeste TX, Swindahl-BAE 5.511 254.57 254.57
10 44 A/FD Brandon Pierce, Moore OK, Monden-TFX 5.528 249.12 249.12
11 596 A/FD Randy Meyer, Spring Hill KS, Meyer-BAE 5.528 237.84 248.39
12 33 B/AD Marty Thacker, Robinson IL, Spitzer-RTR 5.534 257.87 257.87
13 55 B/AD Jared Dreher, Clinton IN, Burgan-BAE 5.557 255.00 255.00
14 56 A/FD Robin Samsel, Marion IN, Uyehara-TFX 5.582 251.91 251.91
15 440 A/FD Kate Harker, Gainesville GA, Monden-CRE 5.693 244.56 244.56
16 513 A/FD Robert Badgett, Foristell MO, Uyehara-BAE 7.570 192.69 192.69

TAFC

1 2 Jay Payne, Claremont CA, '07 Mustang 5.619 259.21 259.21
2 7 Steve Harker, Gainesville GA, '05 Monte Carlo 5.658 252.43 252.43
3 5 Cy Chesterman, Sioux City IA, '07 Mustang 5.665 255.05 255.05
4 347 Daniel Wilkerson, Springfield IL, '05 Monte Ca 5.670 254.86 254.86
5 4 Bob Newberry, Morriston FL, '05 Monte Carlo 5.695 254.90 254.90
6 7384 Sean O'Bannon, Fontana CA, '07 Charger 5.720 251.49 251.58
7 54 Vern Moats, Des Moines IA, '02 Camaro 5.724 253.99 253.99
8 765 Bernie Harrington, Apple Valley CA, '02 Camaro 5.765 246.57 246.57
9 237 Von Smith, Oak Ridge TN, '02 Camaro 5.789 250.04 250.04
10 777 John Patton, Peoria AZ, '02 Firebird 5.796 250.69 250.69
11 4238 Shayne Lawson, Broken Arrow OK, '05 Monte Carlo 5.825 250.64 250.64
12 6 Mick Snyder, Demotte IN, '02 Firebird 5.835 246.80 246.80
13 56 Bruce Carlson, Prior Lake MN, '97 Firebird 5.851 244.03 244.03
14 3608 Wayne Butler, Forest City IL, '02 Firebird 5.905 241.80 241.80
15 510 Shawn(Casey) Beal, Basehor KS, '99 Camaro 5.938 241.11 241.11
16 556 Lance Van Hauen, Reinbeck IA, '04 Firebird 6.017 244.83 244.83

------------ Not Qualified ------------

17 710D Alexis De Joria, Venice CA, '07 Charger 6.162 243.81 243.81
18 593 Mike Newkirk, Great Bend KS, '02 Avenger 6.367 229.31 229.31
19 738 Mike Bell, Fulton MO, '05 Monte Carlo DQ

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