Topeka: Final eliminations report

WILL BECOMES 11TH WOMAN TO WIN A NATIONAL EVENT; FORCE, KRISHER ALSO WINNERS AT HEARTLAND PARK TOPEKA TOPEKA, Kan. -- Hillary Will became the 11th woman in NHRA history to win a national event when she raced to the win in the Top Fuel...

WILL BECOMES 11TH WOMAN TO WIN A NATIONAL EVENT; FORCE, KRISHER ALSO WINNERS AT HEARTLAND PARK TOPEKA

TOPEKA, Kan. -- Hillary Will became the 11th woman in NHRA history to win a national event when she raced to the win in the Top Fuel category at the O'Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals.

John Force and Ron Krisher also won in their respective categories at Heartland Park Topeka in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event.

Will drove her KB dragster to a 4.744-second run at 304.53 mph, which was just enough to get past No. 1 qualifier Larry Dixon and pick up her first win.

"There are so many emotions because there were times when I thought I can't do this, maybe I shouldn't be racing, maybe I don't belong in Top Fuel," said Will. "But it's what I love to do and through everything you just can never, never, never give up."

Defending POWERade Series world champion Tony Schumacher strengthened his points lead with a first round win over Alan Bradshaw. The five-time world champion has a 109-point cushion over second place Antron Brown.

In Funny Car, 14-time POWERade Series world champion Force picked up his first win of the season, driving his Castrol GTX High-Mileage Ford Mustang to a 4.996 at 299.66 past runner-up Tim Wilkerson. It was Force's 126th career win and 9th at Heartland Park Topeka. It was also Force's first since his wreck in Dallas last year that sidelined the Funny Car legend for nearly five months.

"I didn't want to go winless, not after that wreck and I didn't want to get mental where I thought I had to quit," said Force. "If you can't do the job, then you've got to get out, and I didn't want to get mental. I just told Wilkerson, 'thank you, I needed this more than you needed the points or the money, I needed this mentally.' Winning is what it's all about."

Wilkerson kept his points lead with his runner up finish and built a 81-point cushion over second-place Ashley Force after Ashley lost in the first round to her father John.

In Pro Stock, Ron Krisher drove his Valvoline Chevy Cobalt past Larry Morgan for his first win of the season. Krisher's run of 6.758 at 204.70 was enough to put him in winner's circle and give him his first win in over five years.

"I got my driving back, or more confidence in my driving and that's what I needed," said Krisher. "I lost confidence in my driving but we've got it back. We drove good today, nobody beat us up out there. We took every round."

Kurt Johnson's second-round win was strong enough to push him to the top of the Pro Stock point standings and give him a 20-point lead over second-place and defending world champion Jeg Coughlin.

The NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series continues with the 11th annual Torco Racing Fuels NHRA Route 66 Nationals, June 5-8 at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill.

-credit: nhra

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Series NHRA
Drivers Antron Brown , Jeg Coughlin , Larry Dixon , Kurt Johnson , John Force , Tony Schumacher , Ron Krisher , Larry Morgan , Ashley Force , Alan Bradshaw , Hillary Will