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Toyota Drivers Sweep Nitro At Toyota Summernationals As Pedregon Wins Funny Car, Crampton Takes Top Fuel


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Cruz Pedregon took home the victory in Funny Car, while rookie Richie Crampton earned his first Top Fuel win as Toyota drivers swept the Nitro classes at the Toyota Summernationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, Sunday.

Pedregon earned his first win of the season and the 35th of his Funny Car career to move into a tie for fourth on the all-time win list with Don Prudhomme. The Snap-on Tools Toyota Camry driver won three straight pedal-fests over Terry Haddock, Tommy Johnson and Jack Beckman before out-dueling fellow Camry driver Del Worsham in a classic final with a 4.12-second pass. Just two days earlier, Pedregon ran the quickest pass in Funny Car history with a 3.959 in qualifying.

“I was relieved,” said Pedregon after struggling early in the day. “I didn’t want to win it by ‘putzing’ around running a 4.50. We had some really difficult track conditions today, but we were able to corral it in the final and run a 4.12. It was a tremendous points day for us after struggling early in the season. Don Prudhomme was my hero growing up. To tie him, this really means a lot. I’ve been driving for so long and been surrounded by a lot of great people, just to maintain it for this long means everything to me.”

While Pedregon is one of the sport’s all-time greats, Crampton’s triumph came in just his ninth career Top Fuel race. After qualifying second, he ran the fastest Top Fuel pass of the day with a 3.774-second run to defeat Dom Lagana. He then earned back-to-back pedal-fest victories over J.R. Todd and Shawn Langdon before setting up a final-round match-up against point leader Doug Kalitta. The Australian rookie edged Kalitta, 3.819-3.848, to earn his first win.

“It’s all such a surreal feeling,” relayed Crampton. “I’m just super lucky to be in this position right now. The Lucas family is like my family here in the United States. We had a lot of luck and I’ll be the first to admit, I’m still learning right now. I know it was only our ninth race, but the car I’m driving is a top-five car. A Toyota-sponsored car winning at the Toyota Summernationals, it’s a great feeling.”

Worsham just missed out on his first win of the season in the DHL Toyota Camry. He had defeated Tony Pedregon, Tim Wilkerson and Robert Hight to reach the final to set up a final round match-up between the top two qualifiers.

Alexis DeJoria also won a round on Sunday, beating Jeff Arend with the fastest Funny Car pass of the day (4.064-seconds). She then lost a tight match-up with Hight, despite running a 4.107 as the second quickest of the round. Both Chad Head and Tony Pedregon lost in their opening runs.

Two Toyota drivers joined Crampton in the Top Fuel semi-finals. Crampton’s teammate Morgan Lucas, running a limited schedule, knocked off Steve Torrence and Brittany Force before losing to Kalitta. Langdon also advanced to the semis, defeating Terry McMillen and Bob Vandergriff before being eliminated by Crampton. Antron Brown and Khalid alBalooshi each fell in their opening run of the day.

After an off-week, NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series heads to Bristol, Tenn., for the Thunder Valley Nationals, June 14-16.

Toyota Drivers NHRA Toyota Summernationals Results
Top Fuel Car Qual/Fin.
Richie Crampton GEICO/Lucas Oil Toyota Top Fuel Dragster 2/Winner
Shawn Langdon Al-Anabi Racing Toyota Top Fuel Dragster 3/Semis
Morgan Lucas Lucas Oil/GEICO Toyota Top Fuel Dragster 13/Semis
Khalid alBalooshi Al-Anabi Racing Toyota Top Fuel Dragster 6/Rd. 1
Funny Car Car Qual./Fin.
Cruz Pedregon Snap-on Tools Toyota Camry Funny Car 1/Winner
Del Worsham DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car 2/Finals
Alexis DeJoria Patr?n XO Café Toyota Camry Funny Car 6/Rd. 2
Chad Head Head Racing Toyota Camry Funny Car 12/Rd. 1
Tony Pedregon NitroFish Toyota Camry Funny Car 15/Rd. 1

Notes:

– Today’s victory is the first of the season for Cruz Pedregon and the 35th of his career – tying him with Don “The Snake” Prudhomme for fourth on the all-time Funny Car win list.

– Cruz Pedregon notched his 500th career Funny Car round win today in beating Terry Haddock in the opening round. He becomes just the fourth driver in NHRA history to reach that milestone, joining John Force, brother Tony Pedregon and Ron Capps.

– Cruz Pedregon has now advanced to two straight finals. He has claimed back up into eighth in points after falling outside of the top 10.

– Rookie Richie Crampton won his first career Top Fuel event today in just his ninth start in the series. The win qualifies him for the Traxxas Shootout and moves him up to ninth in points.

– Del Worsham advanced to his first final of the season today. He also has advanced to two semi-finals and currently sits fourth in points. Kalitta Motorsports two Camry Funny Cars are now both in the top four as Alexis DeJoria is third.

– Shawn Langdon has now advanced to two finals and two semi-finals in the past five races. He has climbed up to third in points, just 68 points behind second-place Antron Brown.

– Competing in just his second race of the year, Morgan Lucas advanced to his second semi-final. Lucas also advanced to the semi-finals at Gainesville. The Morgan Lucas Racing team had two cars in today’s semis.

2014 Toyota NHRA Winners (8):
Top Fuel (5): alBalooshi, Pomona1; Brown, Phoenix, Charlotte, Houston; Crampton, Englishtown
Funny Car (3): DeJoria, Phoenix, Las Vegas; C. Pedregon, Englishtown
2014 Toyota Number One Qualifiers (7):
Top Fuel (3): Langdon, Gainesville, Charlotte; Brown, Las Vegas
Funny Car (4): Pedregon, Gainesville, Englishtown; Worsham, Houston; DeJoria, Atlanta

Quotes:
Cruz Pedregon, Snap-on Tools Toyota Camry Funny Car: “I was relieved. I didn’t want to win it by ‘putzing’ around running a 4.50. We had some really difficult track conditions today, but we were able to corral it in the final and run a 4.12. It was a tremendous points day for us after struggling early in the season.” (On tying Don Prudhomme for FC wins): Don Prudhomme was my hero growing up. This really means a lot to me. I’ve been driving for so long and been surrounded by a lot of great people, just to maintain it for this long means everything to me. (On FC round win #500) When I saw that I was in the top four with my brother Tony and Ron Capps, my first thought was I want to try to get past those guys. Seriously, I’m just happy to be up there in that group.”

Richie Crampton, Geico/Lucas Oil Toyota Top Fuel dragster: “It’s all such a surreal feeling. I’m just super lucky to be in this position right now. The Lucas family is like my family here in the United States. We had a lot of luck and I’ll be the first to admit, I’m still learning right now. I know it was only our ninth race, but the car I’m driving is a top-five car. A Toyota-sponsored car winning at the Toyota Summernationals, it’s a great feeling.”

Shawn Langdon, Al-Anabi Racing Toyota Top Fuel dragster: “It was a little disappointing to blow the tires off like that in the semifinals. The Al-Anabi car was great this weekend. We qualified well; we’ve been turning the corner with this tune-up and having a great, competitive car. It’s tough when you come to a track like this when the air is so good, and you make so much power. As soon as the track heats up a little bit, it can get a little tricky. We just didn’t compensate enough for that track temperature. Just like the last couple of weeks, we’re close. We just need a little race day luck. We’ll get there eventually.”

Alexis DeJoria, Patron XO Café Toyota Camry Funny Car: “Overall, we had a pretty good outing here at the Toyota NHRA Summernationals. We qualified well, and ran some good numbers. Today we definitely fought that hot track, but we did excellent in the first round with top ET of the session.”

Top Fuel Drivers Championship POINTS POINTS BEHIND LEADER
2. Antron Brown 706 -103
3. Shawn Langdon 638 -171
6. Khalid alBalooshi 503 -306
9. Richie Crampton 433 -376
Funny Car Drivers Championship
3. Alexis DeJoria 564 -283
4. Del Worsham 535 -312
8. Cruz Pedregon 506 -341
13. Chad Head 351 -513
15. Tony Pedregon 303 -561

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