David Rampy and Austin Williams chase the double as Lucas Oil sportsman racers head into final eliminations on Sunday at the Heartland Nationals.
TOPEKA – After a day of qualifying and time trials on Friday, Lucas Oil sportsman competitors moved into race mode Saturday morning. Sportsman eliminations kicked off Saturday’s racing action at the NHRA Heartland Nationals.
With a full day of racing and some final qualifying sessions for a few classes, racers had a full day on Saturday.
DragChamp has full coverage from all of Saturday’s sportsman racing.
With each NHRA national event, DragChamp includes their picks to win each class in the event preview. Click here to view our picks for the NHRA Heartland Nationals.
NHRA Heartland Nationals Saturday Sportsman Results
Clark Smiley grabbed the top spot in qualifying with his cool blown small block BB/A ’05 GXP. His -.648 under 7.282 held off Chase Williams for the pole.
DragChamp pick Bruno Massel was fifth in his I/D dragster. After three rounds of eliminations on Saturday, Massel is down to the final four.
After taking out Kevin Self and Troy Galbraith in the opening rounds, Massel defeated a red-lighting Clark Smiley in round three. Massel is joined by David Rampy, Shaun Vincent, and Brian Browell in the semifinals.
Semifinal pairings include Rampy vs. Vincent and Massel vs. Browell.
With three rounds of competition in the books, seven Super Stockers head to the Big Show on Sunday at the Heartland Nationals. Route 66 winner Vic Penrod is making another run at the championship as he heads into round four on Sunday. Penrod will face Division 5 champ Wyatt Wagner on Sunday.
Sportsman great David Rampy heads into Sunday looking for the double as he’s still in competition in Comp and Super Stock. He will face Stephanie Diekema in the quarterfinals.
NHRA Spring Nationals Stock champ Jacob Pitt is looking for his second national win of the season. He will face Gene Mosbek on Sunday.
2018 event champion Michael Mans reached Sunday’s eliminations for the second-straight year. After third round opponent Bill Jenkins broke, Mans will move to Sunday where he will have a bye run to the semifinals.
Drew Skillman’s streak ends at three. After winning his first three nationals of the season, Skillman will not be in contention on Sunday for the first time this season.
With three rounds of competition in the books on Saturday, only six racers remain.
DragChamp pick Austin Williams leads the class into Sunday as he looks to add yet another Topeka win to his impressive resume. Williams has been stellar at the tree with lights of .017, .018, and .024. He’ll meet the COPO of Scott Libersher in the quarterfinals.
It looks like we picked Chris Chaney to win the wrong class. He was a pre-race pick to win in Super Stock but fell early. Chaney didn’t let the early loss slow him down in Stock as he’s made his way into the Big Show on Sunday. Chris faces Logan Wernet in the quarterfinals.
The final pairing on Sunday includes Chris Stephenson against Darrel Goheen.
And then there were eight. Three rounds of competition on Saturday reduced the Super Comp field to just eight competitors. DragChamp pre-race pick to win Austin Williams is looking for the double as he heads to Sunday in both Stock and Super Comp.
Williams will face Spring Nationals winner Vernon Rowland on Sunday.
Jeremy Smith has endured a tough road to reach the quarterfinals. In round two, he tangled with multi-time world champ Gary Stinnett. Both were .00 at the tree with Smith taking the win after Stinnett was -.009 under the index.
In round three, Smith paired against Division 4 star Koy Collier. With both driver’s posting identical 8.934 ET’s, the race fell to Smith after his .018 light was slightly better than Collier’s .020. Smith will face Mike Nahan on Sunday.
Mark Grame, #4 in the world last season, has been superb at the starting line through three rounds with lights of .016, .003, and .013. He’ll face Kyle Fickler in round four.
After a round three bye run, Jay Bunce rolls into Sunday’s eliminations where he will meet Peyton Januik.
Craig Maddox, the DragChamp pre-race pick to win Super Gas, moves into Sunday with a shot at glory. Maddox won a close double-breakout race in round three against Travis Salter to punch his ticket to Sunday. Steve Collier will be his opponent in round four.
Shawn Carter will take his 175 MPH Cavalier into Sunday’s eliminations. Carter opened eliminations by racing his dad, Larry Carter, in round one. He will face George Meyer in round four.
Jason McClure has been all over the 9.90 index at the Heartland Nationals. He’s posted three-straight 9.90 passes to advance to the quarterfinals. McClure will race Collin Becker in the fourth round. Becker on the other hand hasn’t been close to the index posting two 9.86’s and a 9.88 in the first three rounds.
Shannon Brinkley, a two-time national event finalist in 2019, earned a fourth round bye run after defeating Roger Warren in a near dead-heat. Brinkley let go first, .016 to .025, and took the narrow win after both driver’s posted identical 9.888 ET’s. Brinkley will be looking for his first national event win on Sunday.
Only five Super Street racers remain as eliminations move into Sunday at Topeka. Super class star Trevor Larson leads the class into the quarterfinals on Sunday afternoon.
Like Chris Chaney in Stock, we picked Larson to win the event but in the wrong class. Trevor was one of our Super Comp picks which didn’t work out that well. On the other hand, Larson looks poised to take down the Super Street field. After a bye in round three, Larson will meet Andrew Withers on Sunday.
Bob Schmidt has been outstanding at the starting line. With lights of .010, .009, and .014, he looks like a favorite on Sunday. Schmidt will face Mike Campbell in round four.
Jason Hennessey earned a fourth round bye run after dropping Greg Pfeffer in round three. Pfeffer carried the advantage off the line but lost a close 10.893 to 10.895 double-breakout race against Hennessey.
Factory Stock Showdown
The Factory Stock cars were back in action this week at the NHRA Heartland Nationals in Topeka. At the end of three rounds of qualifying, Chris Holbrook stood at the top of the mountain in his ’19 Mustang Cobra Jet. Holbrook’s 8.024 lap was led the field. DragChamp pick to win Bo Butner was second with a 8.045 best.
FSS Rules Changes and Diversity
Of note, three Mopar Dragpak’s qualified for the field. Leah Prichett, Mark Pawuk, and Joe Welch carried the Mopar banner into eliminations. There’s been some talk about the lack of diversity in the class but Topeka disproved this. There were eight COPO’s, five Cobra Jet’s, and three Dragpak’s that made the 16 car field.
The NHRA Tech Department has worked hard to insure the Big Three auto-makers are fairly represented in the class. Although this has generated plenty of criticism, it looks like the changes are for the better.
Once qualifying was complete, racers moved into final eliminations on Saturday afternoon. With track temps soaring on Saturday afternoon, drivers and crew chiefs found it challenging to hook up the nine-inch slicks.
FSS Eliminations prove Challenging
Only a handful of racers were able to successfully navigate the Heartland Motorsports Park quarter mile in round one.
The best race of round one was between Bo Butner and David Janac. In the only race of the round where both racers made full passes, Butner pulled out the close win. Butner left first, .051 to .068, and finished it up on the big end when his 8.074 was just enough to outrun Janac’s 8.080.
The excitement peaked when Jesse Alexandra tagged the wall well after the finish line. Alexandra spun the tires at the hit in a loss to Arthur Kohn. After tripping the finish line with a 9.438 at 153 MPH, things took a turn for the worst. His ’19 COPO Camaro made a had left and tagged the wall after it looked as though his rear wheels locked up. Jesse was not injured in the crash.
For the first time this season, a Skillman will not be standing in the Factory Stock winners circle on Sunday. After winning the first three events of the 2019 season, both Drew and Bill fell in round one. Neither driver was able to get their Cobra Jet Mustang’s hooked up in round one.
Second round pairings include Butner vs. Kevin Skinner, Ryan Priddy vs. Randy Taylor, Holbrook vs Arthur Kohn, and Steven Bell vs. Joe Welch.
Look for more NHRA Lucas Oil Sportsman coverage from the Heartland Nationals on DragChamp. We will post final race results from Topeka as they are available.
DragChamp is your source for sportsman drag racing news and drag race results.