Statement from Curtis Francois, Owner and President of Gateway Motorsports Park

 

It’s hard to imagine that we could have topped the success we had last year. This year has been the best yet.  The cool weather and track conditions have been spectacular, and the national records that were set this weekend are proof positive that the investments we’ve made in this facility have really paid off for motorsport, for the fans and for this community.

 

I’m in this to win, and the NHRA AAA Insurance Midwest Nationals is just an example of the great things that are happening here at Gateway Motorsports Park. I want to send a clear message to the St. Louis region that we have some really phenomenal events planned in the coming years.  Major sanctioning bodies have taken notice of the incredible fan support we have in this region, and they are interested in making St. Louis a part of their schedules.  We have more great racing on the way at Gateway Motorsports Park.

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

 

BROWN, WORSHAM, SKILLMAN, ARANA JR. RACE TO VICTORIES AT THE AAA INSURANCE NHRA MIDWEST NATIONALS

 

MADISON, Ill. – Antron Brown extended his mastery of Gateway Motorsports Park by racing to his fourth consecutive Top Fuel victory at the facility Sunday during the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals.

 

Del Worsham (Funny Car), Drew Skillman (Pro Stock), and Hector Arana Jr. (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were winners in their respective categories at the second of six playoff races in the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship event near St. Louis.

 

Brown defeated Dave Connolly in the final round to take his 53rd career victory and his fifth win overall at the track with a performance of 3.721 seconds at 325.92 mph in his Matco Tools dragster to Connolly’s trailing run of 3.753 at 328.94 in the C&J Energy Services dragster.

 

“There are two words: truly blessed,” said Brown. “When [track owner] Curt Francois and [general manager] Chris Blair brought this track back [in 2011], they brought it back better than ever. You can put a slew of runs together that are quick and fast, because you’re not worried about the track not being there. The class is so competitive right now that you’re going home if you throw out a high-.70.”

 

The win, his sixth of the season, extended his points lead over teammate Tony Schumacher by 77 points. Larry Dixon suffered a first round loss to Billy Torrence and is 159 points behind Brown.

 

“We have to keep marching right now,” said Brown, who beat Terry McMillen, Shawn Langdon and Billy Torrence in the first three rounds. “We had a 200-point lead in 2012 and almost lost the championship at the end. We’re off to an incredible start. Charlotte is usually our kryptonite, but we were able to get through there this year with a good start.”

 

In Funny Car, Worsham continued his hot streak when he defeated Matt Hagan to earn his second consecutive victory in the playoffs. Worsham defeated No. 1 qualifier Hagan in his with a pass of 3.964 at 320.13 in his DHL Toyota Camry to the defending world champ’s losing run of 3.983 at 324.20 in his Mopar Express Lane/Rocky Boots Dodge Charger R/T. Worsham took the win in spectacular fashion as the engine on his yellow Toyota exploded as he crossed the finish line.

 

“It made a hard dart to the right, I had full input on the wheel to the left, and it went ‘ka-boom!’ right before I got to the finish line,” said Worsham. “It blew up, the dash came up, and fire went back there. Luckily, in today’s racing, the chutes deployed themselves and slowed it down right away. In my 25 years of racing, I don’t know if I’ve ever driven a Funny Car that made that many good runs. The team assembling it, the tune-up, and what [team owner] Connie Kalitta has given us here has been unreal. When I came back to Funny Car racing [in 2012], this is the dream I had.”

 

Worsham also earned a 20-bonus points during the event when he set a national elapsed time record of 3.899 seconds during qualifying. He now has a 90 point lead over Hagan, the two-time and defending Funny Car world champion. Jack Beckman, who entered the Countdown as the No. 1 seed carrying a ton of momentum, fell to fourth following his second round loss to Cruz Pedregon. Tommy Johnson is third in the points standings.

 

Pro Stock rookie Skillman raced his Ray Skillman Chevy Camaro to his first career victory when he defeated his teammate Erica Enders. It was a rematch from the final in Indianapolis, which Enders won. In this matchup, Skillman powered past Ender’s Elite Motorsports Camaro, which lost traction early in the run, with his winning pass of 6.529 at 211.63.

 

“This is my fourth time to the finals and I knew that Erica has been insane on the Tree,” said Skillman. “A little luck came our way and we got it done this weekend. I lost the first three finals but I don’t know how you can get frustrated when you get to a pro category for the first time and have the kind of year we’re having. This is not normal. I’m just very excited to win this today. I have a great team.”

 

Enders, who was in her fourth consecutive final round, increased her series lead to 113 markers over Greg Anderson.

 

Arana Jr. raced to his second Pro Stock Motorcycle win of the season when he defeated his father Hector Arana in the finals. Arana Jr. raced his Lucas Oil Buell to a winning pass of 6.860 at 196.50 to his father’s trailing run of 6.932 at 195.03, also on a Lucas Oil Buell. This is the first career win in St. Louis for Arana Jr. The win moves him to 34 points behind Andrew Hines and caps a significant week for the racer.

 

“This has been a great week; I don’t know if I could ask for anything more,” said Arana Jr. “On Monday, I pulled the trigger and asked my beautiful girlfriend [Nicole Nobile] to marry me and to get this win is just icing on the cake. I tell you what, that is a bittersweet win. I watched my dad win in the semis and I said to myself, ‘I have to win’ so we can see which one of us can take home the Wally. I want to see him win and of course he wants to see me win, but at the same time I want to beat him. We also needed this to move forward in the points.”

 

The third of six rounds of the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship playoffs is next weekend at the NHRA Keystone Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway near Reading, Pa.

 

***

 

MADISON, Ill. — Final finish order (1-16) at the Fourth annual AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park.  The race is the 20th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.

 

TOP FUEL:

  1. Antron Brown; 2.  Dave Connolly; 3.  Billy Torrence; 4.  Brittany Force; 5.  Steve Torrence; 6.  Shawn Langdon; 7.  Doug Kalitta; 8.  Tony Schumacher; 9.  Larry Dixon; 10.  Clay Millican; 11.  Wayne Newby; 12.  Terry McMillen; 13.  Kyle Wurtzel; 14.  J.R. Todd; 15.  Richie Crampton; 16.  Troy Buff.

 

FUNNY CAR:

  1. Del Worsham; 2.  Matt Hagan; 3.  Cruz Pedregon; 4.  Ron Capps; 5.  Tim Wilkerson; 6.  John Force; 7.  Alexis DeJoria; 8.  Jack Beckman; 9.  Brian Stewart; 10.  John Hale; 11.  Tommy Johnson Jr.; 12.  Tony Pedregon; 13.  Courtney Force; 14.  John Bojec; 15.  Robert Hight; 16.  Chad Head.

 

PRO STOCK:

  1. Drew Skillman; 2.  Erica Enders; 3.  Bo Butner; 4.  Allen Johnson; 5.  Greg Anderson; 6.  Vincent Nobile; 7.  Deric Kramer; 8.  Larry Morgan; 9.  Jason Line; 10.  Shane Gray; 11.  V. Gaines; 12.  Mark Hogan; 13.  Alex Laughlin; 14.  Jonathan Gray; 15.  Aaron Strong; 16.  Chris McGaha.

 

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE:

  1. Hector Arana Jr; 2.  Hector Arana; 3.  Steve Johnson; 4.  Chip Ellis; 5.  Jerry Savoie; 6.  Andrew Hines; 7.  Karen Stoffer; 8.  Chaz Kennedy; 9.  Mike Berry; 10.  Matt Smith; 11.  Eddie Krawiec; 12.  Adam Arana; 13.  Angie Smith; 14.  Brian Pretzel; 15.  Jim Underdahl; 16.  Scotty Pollacheck.

 

MADISON, Ill. — Sunday’s final results from the Fourth annual AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park. The race is the 20th of 24 in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series:

Top Fuel — Antron Brown, 3.721 seconds, 325.92 mph  def. Dave Connolly, 3.753 seconds, 328.94 mph.

 

Funny Car — Del Worsham, Toyota Camry, 3.964, 320.13  def. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 3.983, 324.20.

 

Pro Stock — Drew Skillman, Chevy Camaro, 6.529, 211.63  def. Erica Enders, Camaro, 17.947, 46.65.

 

Pro Stock Motorcycle — Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.860, 196.50  def. Hector Arana, Buell, 6.932, 195.03.

 

Pro Modified — Mike Knowles, Ford Mustang, 5.901, 242.71  def. Rickie Smith, Chevy Camaro, 5.953, 244.52.

 

Competition Eliminator — Craig Bourgeois, Dragster, 7.033, 173.54  def. Tony Pontillo, Spitzer, 6.841, 193.57.

 

Super Stock — Brina Splingaire, Chevy Cobalt, 9.493, 122.83  def. Tommy Phillips, Chevy Cavalier, foul.

 

Stock Eliminator — Britt Cummings, Chevy Corvette, 10.800, 107.81  def. Fred Suiter, Chevy Camaro, foul.

 

Super Comp — Luke Bogacki, Dragster, 8.890, 175.89  def. Jeremy Demers, Dragster, 8.889, 182.92.

 

Super Gas — Jacob Elrod, Chevy Corvette, 10.683, 109.98  def. Mark Hackett, Chevy Camaro, broke.

 

Top Dragster — Marco Abruzzi, Dragster, 7.025, 133.20  def. Andy Johnson, Dragster, foul.

 

Top Sportsman — Lester Johnson, Chevy Bel Air, 6.474, 208.62  def. Glenn Butcher, Chevy Camaro, 6.432, 219.54.

 

MADISON, Ill. — Final round-by-round results from the Fourth annual AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park, the 20th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series:

 

TOP FUEL: 

ROUND ONE — Dave Connolly, 3.739, 329.34 def. J.R. Todd, 3.952, 250.00; Tony Schumacher, 3.762, 326.56 def. Clay Millican, 3.763, 321.27; Brittany Force, 3.746, 327.11 def. Troy Buff, 5.899, 107.73; Steve Torrence, 3.756, 324.67 def. Kyle Wurtzel, 3.870, 308.21; Antron Brown, 3.767, 322.19 def. Terry McMillen, 3.846, 322.58; Billy Torrence, 3.746, 329.91 def. Larry Dixon, 3.753, 329.02; Doug Kalitta, 3.777, 328.06 def. Wayne Newby, 3.777, 323.43; Shawn Langdon, 3.753, 329.26 def. Richie Crampton, 4.228, 226.92;

QUARTERFINALS — Brown, 3.727, 324.28 def. Langdon, 3.759, 326.87; Force, 3.773, 325.85 def. Kalitta, 3.762, 323.58; Connolly, 3.724, 329.75 def. S. Torrence, 3.741, 329.42; B. Torrence, 3.739, 328.86 def. Schumacher, 3.762, 321.12;

SEMIFINALS — Brown, 3.733, 322.88 def. B. Torrence, 3.761, 327.11; Connolly, 3.764, 329.99 def. Force, 4.309, 219.15;

FINAL — Brown, 3.721, 325.92 def. Connolly, 3.753, 328.94.

 

FUNNY CAR: 

ROUND ONE — Ron Capps, Dodge Charger, 4.002, 320.74 def. John Hale, Charger, 4.199, 300.26; Jack Beckman, Charger, 5.308, 135.96 def. John Bojec, Toyota Solara, foul; Del Worsham, Toyota Camry, 3.945, 325.69 def. Tony Pedregon, Camry, 4.884, 184.19; Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.955, 325.22 def. Brian Stewart, Ford Mustang, 4.132, 303.71; Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 3.966, 292.77 def. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.332, 211.49; Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 4.025, 267.32 def. Chad Head, Camry, 6.863, 90.67; Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 3.983, 323.12 def. Courtney Force, Chevy Camaro, 5.263, 187.23; John Force, Camaro, 4.670, 172.85 def. Robert Hight, Camaro, 6.440, 103.15;

QUARTERFINALS — C. Pedregon, 3.992, 311.13 def. Beckman, 11.469, 77.16; Hagan, 3.979, 323.97 def. J. Force, 4.014, 323.43; Worsham, 3.956, 324.36 def. Wilkerson, 3.974, 323.04; Capps, 3.949, 324.67 def. DeJoria, 7.810, 87.23;

SEMIFINALS — Worsham, 3.952, 326.40 def. C. Pedregon, 13.070, 60.74; Hagan, no time def. Capps, DQ;

FINAL — Worsham, 3.964, 320.13 def. Hagan, 3.983, 324.20.

 

PRO STOCK: 

ROUND ONE — Allen Johnson, Dodge Dart, 6.559, 211.00 def. Shane Gray, Chevy Camaro, foul; Larry Morgan, Camaro, 6.554, 211.59 def. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.526, 211.63; Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.577, 210.24 def. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 8.654, 109.87; Deric Kramer, Dart, 6.569, 207.69 def. Jonathan Gray, Camaro, 6.822, 168.60; Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.543, 211.39 def. Aaron Strong, Camaro, 7.014, 155.87; Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.530, 211.43 def. V. Gaines, Dart, 6.664, 185.05; Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.528, 212.03 def. Mark Hogan, Pontiac GXP, 6.681, 206.92; Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.586, 210.87 def. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.819, 200.23;

QUARTERFINALS — Enders, 6.520, 211.66 def. Nobile, 6.561, 210.31; Butner, 6.543, 210.67 def. Morgan, 6.604, 209.39; Skillman, 6.525, 211.39 def. Kramer, foul; Johnson, 6.558, 211.26 def. Anderson, 6.533, 211.49;

SEMIFINALS — Skillman, 6.528, 211.79 def. Johnson, foul; Enders, 6.524, 212.06 def. Butner, 6.520, 212.43;

FINAL — Skillman, 6.529, 211.63 def. Enders, 17.947, 46.65.

 

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 

ROUND ONE — Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.980, 193.82 def. Scotty Pollacheck, Buell, 7.136, 185.64; Chip Ellis, Buell, 6.897, 193.54 def. Angie Smith, foul; Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.919, 194.41 def. Adam Arana, Buell, 7.009, 191.59; Hector Arana, Buell, 6.907, 194.38 def. Mike Berry, Buell, 6.915, 192.00; Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.858, 195.19 def. Brian Pretzel, Buell, foul; Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.867, 194.21 def. Matt Smith, foul; Chaz Kennedy, Buell, 6.974, 191.89 def. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.938, 193.99; Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.870, 196.42 def. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 7.098, 174.28;

QUARTERFINALS — H. Arana, 6.876, 195.22 def. Savoie, 6.866, 194.30; Ellis, 6.886, 193.49 def. Kennedy, 6.966, 190.97; Johnson, 6.919, 194.58 def. Stoffer, foul; Arana Jr, 6.872, 195.73 def. Hines, 6.882, 194.91;

SEMIFINALS — H. Arana, 6.889, 195.00 def. Ellis, 6.925, 193.16; Arana Jr, 6.881, 196.30 def. Johnson, 6.902, 195.42;

FINAL — Arana Jr, 6.860, 196.50 def. H. Arana, 6.932, 195.03.

 

MADISON, Ill. — Point standings (top 10) following the Fourth annual AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park, the 20th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series –

Top Fuel

  1. Antron Brown, 2,320; 2.  Tony Schumacher, 2,243; 3.  Larry Dixon, 2,161; 4.  Brittany Force, 2,157; 5.  J.R. Todd, 2,149; 6.  Doug Kalitta, 2,139; 7.  Richie Crampton, 2,133; 8.  (tie) Dave Connolly, 2,127; Steve Torrence, 2,127; 10.  Shawn Langdon, 2,126.

 

Funny Car

  1. Del Worsham, 2,327; 2.  Matt Hagan, 2,237; 3.  Tommy Johnson Jr., 2,211; 4.  Jack Beckman, 2,208; 5.  John Force, 2,178; 6.  Ron Capps, 2,177; 7.  Alexis DeJoria, 2,123; 8.  Cruz Pedregon, 2,116; 9.  Tim Wilkerson, 2,107; 10.  Robert Hight, 2,099.

 

Pro Stock

  1. Erica Enders, 2,331; 2.  Greg Anderson, 2,218; 3.  Allen Johnson, 2,195; 4.  Drew Skillman, 2,171; 5.  Larry Morgan, 2,167; 6.  Chris McGaha, 2,162; 7.  Vincent Nobile, 2,155; 8.  Jason Line, 2,125; 9.  Shane Gray, 2,117; 10.  Jonathan Gray, 2,066.

 

Pro Stock Motorcycle

  1. Andrew Hines, 2,259; 2.  Hector Arana Jr, 2,225; 3.  Eddie Krawiec, 2,208; 4.  Jerry Savoie, 2,205; 5.  Matt Smith, 2,167; 6.  Karen Stoffer, 2,146; 7.  Hector Arana, 2,135; 8.  Chip Ellis, 2,131; 9.  Jim Underdahl, 2,094; 10.  Scotty Pollacheck, 2,041.

 

– Susan C. Ryan