Todd, Salinas, Gray & M. Smith All Top Qualifiers For NHRA US Nationals At Indy

Story By: SCOTT SMITH / NHRA – BROWNSBURG, IN – Defending Funny Car event champion J.R. Todd secured his first No. 1 qualifying position of the season Sunday evening at the 64th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.

Mike Salinas (Top Fuel), Tanner Gray (Pro Stock), and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) secured the No. 1 qualifying position in their respective categories at the 18th of 24 events on the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.

Todd powered his DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car to a 3.910-second pass at 325.45 mph on Friday evening for his first career Funny Car No. 1 qualifier. He is the 19th individual in NHRA history to have a No. 1 qualifier in Top Fuel and Funny Car; first since 2011.

“Today was a productive day on getting our setup for tomorrow,” Todd stated. “I was confident coming into here after the way we tested out here last week. It picked right up Friday night qualifying and had a little hiccup during Q2 on Saturday but other than that the car is competitive.”

Todd will race Jim Campbell in the first round. In the No. 2 spot is Bob Tasca III who ran a 3.928 at 322.65 to square off with Bob Bode in round one. 16-time world champion John Force clinched his spot in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship and will face teammate Robert Hight.

Salinas piloted his Scrappers Metal Racing dragster to his first career Top Fuel No. 1 qualifier with his pass of 3.756 at 321.04 that held strong from Friday evening.

“This is my first race at Indy and it is amazing,” Salinas said. “Its surreal to be No. 1 qualifier but we have a game plan to do this more often. All the guys out there are great and there are a lot of fast cars. Being a part of Indy, which is a throw down race, is awesome.”

Salinas will lineup against Wayne Newby for first round eliminations. Following Salinas is Clay Millican who qualified second with a 3.762 at 323.81. He will see Richie Crampton in the first round. Top Fuel points leader Steve Torrence is fifth and races Pat Dakin in round one.

Gray secured his fifth No. 1 qualifier of his career with his pass of 6.603 at 208.68 in his Gray Motorsports / Valvoline Chevrolet Camaro from Friday.

“I feel like we’ve struggled with qualifying all year,” Gray stated. “So, it’s pretty cool to come out to Indy of all places and be able to unload off the trailer like that and have a pretty fast car. I’m looking forward to racing tomorrow and it’s going to be a tough day.”

Tanner Gray faces John Gaydosh Jr. in the first round. Veteran Greg Anderson is in second with his 6.619 pass at 207.15 in his Summit Racing Chevrolet Camaro. He will race Steve Graham while defending world champion Bo Butner is third and will see Kenny Delco in eliminations.

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Smith secured his third No. 1 qualifier of the season, 29th of his career and fourth at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals with his 6.814 pass at 199.14 on his Victory Magnum during the final round of qualifying.

“I’ve got a lot of confidence in our motorcycle,” Smith stated. “Ever since we debuted this bike it has been the fastest thing on the property and it showed it again today. I’ve just got to do my job and we must have no failures of any kind.”

Smith will face-off against Jim Underdahl in the first round of eliminations. Hector Arana Jr. qualified second with his 6.817 pass at 198.58 on Sunday, he will race Karen Stoffer in the first round. Scotty Pollacheck secured his spot in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship and will face Chip Ellis first round.

Eliminations at the 64th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals will begin at 11 a.m.
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BROWNSBURG, Ind. — Monday’s first-round pairings for eliminations for the 64th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, the 18th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Pairings based on results in qualifying, which ended Sunday. DNQs listed below pairings.

Top Fuel — 1. Mike Salinas, 3.756 seconds, 321.04 mph vs. 16. Wayne Newby, 3.887, 310.27; 2. Clay Millican, 3.762, 323.81 vs. 15. Richie Crampton, 3.840, 320.74; 3. Antron Brown, 3.772, 325.22 vs. 14. Brittany Force, 3.836, 318.62; 4. Scott Palmer, 3.791, 327.90 vs. 13. Terry McMillen, 3.836, 323.35; 5. Steve Torrence, 3.791, 326.63 vs. 12. Pat Dakin, 3.835, 323.04; 6. Leah Pritchett, 3.797, 323.50 vs. 11. Doug Kalitta, 3.824, 305.77; 7. Tony Schumacher, 3.801, 328.14 vs. 10. Billy Torrence, 3.818, 322.81; 8. T.J. Zizzo, 3.812, 321.27 vs. 9. Blake Alexander, 3.815, 311.41.
Did Not Qualify: 17. Kebin Kinsley, 3.964, 271.57; 18. Lex Joon, 4.069, 232.99; 19. Chris Karamesines, 4.198, 228.61.

Funny Car — 1. J.R. Todd, Toyota Camry, 3.910, 325.45 vs. 16. Jim Campbell, Dodge Charger, 5.068, 151.85; 2. Bob Tasca III, Ford Mustang, 3.928, 322.65 vs. 15. Bob Bode, Charger, 4.663, 180.28; 3. Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.943, 324.05 vs. 14. Jonnie Lindberg, Mustang, 4.112, 306.74; 4. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.948, 320.36 vs. 13. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.095, 305.98; 5. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 3.952, 319.60 vs. 12. Del Worsham, Camry, 4.076, 308.00; 6. Courtney Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.959, 325.69 vs. 11. Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.018, 313.88; 7. Shawn Langdon, Camry, 3.961, 325.22 vs. 10. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 4.006, 316.08; 8. Robert Hight, Camaro, 4.000, 320.66 vs. 9. John Force, Camaro, 4.003, 320.89.
Did Not Qualify: 17. Terry Haddock, 5.311, 151.60; 18. Justin Schriefer, 5.363, 152.12.

Pro Stock — 1. Tanner Gray, Chevy Camaro, 6.603, 208.68 vs. 16. John Gaydosh Jr, Camaro, 6.707, 206.13; 2. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.619, 207.15 vs. 15. Steve Graham, Camaro, 6.684, 206.76; 3. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.621, 208.17 vs. 14. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.682, 207.37; 4. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.623, 206.99 vs. 13. Fernando Cuadra, Camaro, 6.655, 206.80; 5. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.624, 208.94 vs. 12. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.647, 207.43; 6. Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.627, 208.26 vs. 11. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.645, 207.46; 7. Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 6.627, 207.56 vs. 10. Alex Laughlin, Dodge Dart, 6.629, 207.62; 8. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.628, 208.04 vs. 9. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.629, 208.91.
Did Not Qualify: 17. Alan Prusiensky, 6.725, 204.01; 18. Val Smeland, 6.763, 205.22; 19. Shane Tucker, 6.775, 203.34; 20. Charlie Westcott Jr., 6.832, 202.15.

Pro Stock Motorcycle — 1. Matt Smith, 6.814, 199.14 vs. 16. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 6.949, 193.27; 2. Hector Arana Jr, 6.817, 198.58 vs. 15. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.941, 192.74; 3. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.825, 197.02 vs. 14. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.941, 195.22; 4. Chip Ellis, Harley-Davidson, 6.831, 197.48 vs. 13. Scotty Pollacheck, Suzuki, 6.940, 193.02; 5. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.847, 196.73 vs. 12. Ryan Oehler, Buell, 6.940, 193.93; 6. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.852, 196.04 vs. 11. Angelle Sampey, Buell, 6.940, 195.11; 7. Mark Paquette, Buell, 6.893, 194.13 vs. 10. Joey Gladstone, Victory, 6.937, 194.07; 8. Hector Arana, 6.926, 195.62 vs. 9. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.932, 193.54.
Did Not Qualify: 17. Angie Smith, 6.952, 191.02; 18. Kelly Clontz, 6.992, 191.43; 19. Ron Tornow, 6.994, 190.06; 20. Odolph Daniels, 7.182, 186.48; 21. Andie Rawlings, 7.501, 171.18; 22. Wendell Daniels, 8.019, 170.77.

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