Crampton, Beckman, Line, Savoie all victorious at Maple Grove

In what marked the first race of the Countdown to the Championship in 2019, Maple Grove Raceway provided unique twist and many challenges to drivers who are competing in the championship. Not only did fans see an entertaining race weekend in Reading, Pennsylvania, but they also saw history being made as well.

During the first time in NHRA history, it was an all women front row who held the No. 1 qualifying spot. Angelle Sampey, Erica Ennders and Brittany Force all made history by qualifying in the No. 1 spot. However, they would also face difficulties as all three drivers ended up being eliminated throughout the rounds.

It was an entertaining afternoon in all division classes. In the final for Top Fuel, it was Doug Kalitta vs Richie Crampton. Kalitta defeated names like Smax Smith, Mike Salinas and Austin Prock in order to move on to the final rounds. In Crampton’s category, it was Dan Mercier, Antron Brown and Brittany Force. With Kalitta and Crampton facing each other, Crampton edged out his boss man Kalitta for the win in the Top Fuel division at Maple Grove.

American Muscle

“It’s huge,” Crampton said to Fox Sports 1. “I’m lucky to be apart of this team and I hate to race Doug in the final to win. Great day for the whole team. For DHL Toyota, WIX Global, Readline Oil, everyone that’s behind us, this is big. Busiest time of the year, we keep talking about it to get round wins and try to run for the championship, so that’s what we’re going to do.”

In the Funny Car division, it was legendary drag racer John Force vs Jack Beckman. Force had a rough weekend to began with, as he moved over the center line during one of the qualifying rounds and was docked a couple of points in the standings.

However, it was a brand new day for Force as he was making his rounds and almost going all the way through. Force won against Cruz Pedegron and Tim Wilkerson in the first two rounds. Then in the semi-final, we saw a classic match up between Force and Ron Capps. Force defeated Capps in order to move on to the finals in search of his eighth Reading win.

Jack Beckman won against Jim Campbell, John Force’s teammate Robert Hight in the first two rounds as well. In the semi-finals, the Infinite Hero Foundation driver defeated J.R. Todd to move on to the final round and set the match up between him and Force.

In the end, it was Beckman who was victorious and moved up the ladder in the points championship.

“For Mopar and Pennzoil, I’m just so happy for them,” Beckman excitedly told Fox Sports 1. “For Infinite Hero, I’m elated for them, for Don Schumacher Racing. This race team, for nine other guys that work on this car and really got it handled. Our warm up in the semi-finals, pretty much nothing went right. I stayed in the cockpit and bit my fingernails, and these guys went to work and got it fixed. Changed engines before the final round.”

“John (Force) has kind of owned me lately. To beat him in the finals, I’d be lying if I didn’t say it was extra special. But just to get one win, I told you guys six runner ups in the Countdown would be fine for me. I lied, we needed a win. I’ll take five more runner ups if needed. Just so happy for the team!”

Two other classes were also in play at Maple Grove. Those were Pro Stock and the Motorcycle classes.

In the Pro Stock class, we almost saw an upset as Fernando Caudra was making his way through and made it looked easy round after round. Caudra even eliminated Countdown To The Championship competitor, Erica Enders. However, the upset came up short as Jason Line wound up defeating Caudra to get the win. Still, it was a valiant effort by Caudra.

The Motorcycle class saw an interesting twist. After being apart of history earlier, Angelle Sampey was eliminated by Matt Smith in round two. However, it was Steve Johnson and Jerry Savoie who faced each other in the finals. It was Johnson’s first final round since Dallas in 2014. Johnson got a victory in the semi’s facing Matt Smith.

Savoie got through the semi finals by getting a victory against Karren Stoffer after Stoffer fouled. After all was said and done, it was Jerry Savoie who was victorious in the finals. The win was Savoie’s second consecutive in the Motorcycle division.

Up Next: The NHRA returns on-track in two weeks in St. Louis at World Wide Technology Raceway from September 27-29.

Updated Countdown to the Championship Standings

Top Fuel

  1. Doug Kalitta
  2. Brittany Force, -33
  3. Steve Torrence, -47
  4. Antron Brown, -53
  5. Richie Crampton, -54
  6. Mike Salinas, -76
  7. Austin Prock, -86
  8. Leah Pritchett, -87
  9. Clay Millican, -88
  10. Billy Torrence, -148

Funny Car

  1. Jack Beckman
  2. John Force, -19
  3. Robert Hight, -24
  4. Ron Capps, -43
  5. Tommy Johnson Jr, -74
  6. Matt Hagan, -97
  7. J.R. Todd, -100
  8. Bob Tasca III, -117
  9. Tim Wilkerson, -132
  10. Shawn Langdon, -146

Pro Stock

  1. Jason Line
  2. Bo Butner, -39
  3. Alex Laughlin, -60
  4. Erica Enders, -78
  5. Matt Hartford, -81
  6. Jeg Coughlin Jr, -95
  7. Deric Kramer, -99
  8. Greg Anderson, -101
  9. Chris McGaha, -153
  10. Val Smeland, -163

Pro Stock Motorcycle

  1. Jerry Savoie
  2. Andrew Hines, -6
  3. Matt Smith, -23
  4. Eddie Krawiec, -32
  5. Karen Stoffer, -46
  6. Hector Arana Jr, -49
  7. Angelle Sampey, -83
  8. Angie Smith, -104
  9. Ryan Oehler, -124
  10. Hector Arana, -134

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of


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