Topeka: Ben Harper wrapup

Harper scores quarterfinal finish with new sponsor Integra Golf TOPEKA, Kan. - Steady progress was the goal coming into this weekend, and it was mission accomplished for Ben Harper and the Integra Golf/Brad McWilliams Racing NHRA Top Alcohol...

Harper scores quarterfinal finish with new sponsor Integra Golf

TOPEKA, Kan. - Steady progress was the goal coming into this weekend, and it was mission accomplished for Ben Harper and the Integra Golf/Brad McWilliams Racing NHRA Top Alcohol Funny Car team. In just their second national event as a team, rookie driver Harper reached the quarterfinal round of this weekend's O'Reilly Summer Nationals at Heartland Park in Topeka, Kan.

Harper qualified the Steve Smith tuned Integra Golf Firebird eleventh with a 5.922 second elapsed time at 240.42 mph. In round one he took out former IHRA heavy hitter Dale Brand with a 6.011 at 241.89 mph. Harper and McWilliams then fired a shot that signaled the team is ready to do business in their quarterfinal matchup against last year's No. 2 man in the world, Steve Gasparrelli. Harper stepped up to a career best 5.735 at 250.04 mph that was only narrowly outdone by Gasparrelli's 5.711 at 254.33 mph.

"We're really pleased with the progress we've made this weekend," said Harper. "Of course we would have liked to have won, but to run that close to the leaders of the class in only our second national event, we're pretty stoked. The crew did a great job all weekend, and Steve and Brad gave me a bad hot rod to drive. Hopefully the next time out we can put this Integra Golf machine in the winner's circle."

This weekend's event marks the second national event for the team with new sponsor Integra Golf. Integra manufactures a complete line of competition golf clubs. Despite being new to drag racing, Integra is no stranger to performance based competition. Their clubs are a common site at long drive competitions, with one of their clubs winning the World Long Drive Championship with Viktor Johansson in 2001.

"Integra is a performance golf company, and we want to extend that performance image into NHRA Drag Racing," said Harper. "NHRA racers and fans alike are all about high performance, and that's what Integra's line of golf clubs bring to the table. As racers, we all want more horsepower in our hot rods, and Integra will put more horsepower into your golf game, especially your drives."

"We also have associate sponsors ShapeItUp.com, GuSports.com and Regal Advisory Services on board this year to show what NHRA can offer," added Harper.

-bmr-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Steve Smith , Dale Brand
Teams Williams