Kalitta, Force, Laughlin, Savoie Win US Nationals

CLERMONT, Ind – For the first three days of the 65th annual Chevrolet Performance US Nationals, the Mello Yello NHRA Drag Racing Series drivers raced the clock – not another peer. See, while they lined up against a fellow competitor on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, making five combined runs each, it didn’t do anything to make it to the top end first on those respective days . Being first to the end on those days didn’t net them any prize money, points or give them a shiny new trophy to display at home. The first three days were all about speed and only speed. It was about being able to position yourself for a shot at the Big Go on Monday afternoon from Lucas Oil Raceway.

On Monday though, the entire mindset changed. No longer were these talented drivers racing the clock, they were finally racing each other.

When it was all said and done, the final rounds couldn’t have been more popular. The fans were cheering and the drivers crying tears of joy. That’s just how much Indy means. After all, they don’t call it the “Big Go” for nothing.

In Top Fuel, Doug Kalitta earned his 46th career victory in the series but first in the US Nationals. The former USAC driver bested Billy Torrence in the final round en route to his second win of the season.

Kalitta, was the eighth qualifier in Top Fuel this weekend as he knocked off Clay Millican, Brittany Force and Austin Prock on his march to his fourth career Indy final. The driver of the Mac Tools Dragster ran a 4.144 ET compared to Torrence’s 4.220 en route to becoming the 30th Top Fuel race winner in US Nationals history.

In Funny Car competition, John Force backed up his 150th career win that he notched a few weeks ago in Seattle and won No. 151 in emotional fashion on Monday. Force, knocked off top qualifier Jack Beckman in narrow fashion en route to his fifth career Indy win but first in 17 years. That’s why the emotion was high.

Force, beat Jonnie Lindberg in the first round then his friend and teammate Robert Hight in Round 2. In the semifinals, Matt Hagan was next on the chopping block as Force netted his 254th final round appearance.

For Beckman, this was his 32nd career runner-up and fourth final round try in 2019. He beat Justin Schriefer, Bob Tasca III and JR Todd on his march to the final round.

For his win against Todd, it was the first time that Todd had been beaten in Funny Car’s in Indy. He was a perfect 10-0 heading into that semifinal matchup including two straight Big Go wins. But, Beckman was just a little bit better when it was all said and done.

In Pro Stock, Alex Laughlin beat his teammate Erica Enders for his first win of the season and third of his NHRA career. He’s the 25th different Pro Stock winner in the Big Go.

Laughlin, was the No. 5 qualifier as he beat Steve Graham, Val Smeland and Deric Kramer on his march to the finals.

Enders, started off as the No. 3 seed as she topped Richard Freeman, Greg Anderson and Jason Line to make her third final round appearance of the season. She actually beat Laughlin off the line (0.007 to his .120) but he had the speed in the end to earn the win.

For Pro Stock Motorcycles, Jerry Savoie joined an emotional media center too following his first win of the season and second of his Indy career. Savoie, gave Andrew Hines his first loss of the final round this season as he was a perfect 7-0 heading into Monday’s final round matchup.

Savoie, gives Suzuki their first win of the season too.

 

 

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