Jay Cox secured his third No. 1 qualifier award of the season in Switzer Dynamics Pro Nitrous at the PDRA Red Line Oil Carolina Nationals at Darlington Dragway with a record-tying performance. Cox matched Jim Halsey's national class E.T. record by clocking a time of 3.613 seconds at 208.72 mph on Friday night.

Also setting the pace in the respective headlining divisions were Melanie Salemi (Pro Boost) and John DeFlorian (Pro Stock).

“I always want to run like that,” said Cox, who credited engine builder Pat Musi, teammate and sponsor Marcus Butner, and Smithfield Collision. “I've just struggled the last year or two to get the car happy. We tested a lot last year at the end of the year. This year, I feel like I've had the top one or two car all year. I hadn't won but, man, I've had a bad hot rod. We came out at the World Series of Pro Mod, and man, we hauled tail down there. I've been fast. It just takes luck here a little bit. All these guys are good, but it's good. That's the way I like to race. I race wide open. I don't know no other way.”

Salemi took the No. 1 spot in WS Construction Pro Boost presented by P2 Contracting and Ty-Drive  a 3.606 at 209.30 in the final qualifying session to qualify No. 1 for the second time this year. 

“We definitely put our heads together really, really well today and made some really good adjustments to the car,” said Salemi, who thanked her team, including husband Jon, brother-in-law Jim Salemi, car owner Eddie Whelan, and engine builder Mike Stawicki. “It made a couple of really, really nice runs. One of the qualifiers it actually went to the left and I had to abort, but we learned a lot on that run, believe it or not. We knew everyone was going to come swinging [in Q3] and we just kind of fell on the lucky side of that one, I think. These guys will continue to work and work and work, and I'll do my job behind the wheel like I did tonight, and hopefully we can end up in the winner’s circle tomorrow.”

DeFlorian claimed the top qualifier position in Liberty's Gears Extreme Pro Stock presented by AED Competition with a 4.047 at 176.26 also run in the final session. 

“We made one run – the first run we made in March – and we hadn’t been down the racetrack since,” said DeFlorian, who thanked his team, including crew chief Brian “Lump” Self, wife Liann, and Jeff Graber, as well as partners like Amsoil, Kevin and Karen Bealko, and Graber Concrete. “We developed this problem with the car. We've spent over five months trying to find it. We finally found the problem, came here, and knocked the tires off the first two runs. We made a bunch of changes, changed tires, and that did it. I felt like I won the race out there already just by that run. To roll out here at the PDRA race and be able to do that, I'm on top of the world. Absolutely awesome deal.”

Daryl Stewart led the way in M&M Transmission Pro 632, Chris Garner-Jones dominated in Drag 965 Pro Nitrous Motorcycle, and Derek Mota topped Afco Racing Super Street presented by Menscer Motorsports.

In the sportsman categories, Buddy Perkinson secured the No. 1 spot in MagnaFuel Elite Top Sportsman presented by PAR Racing Engines, Pete Maduri took the top honors in Laris Motorsports Insurance Elite Top Dragster, Vonnie Mills emerged as the leader in MagnaFuel Top Sportsman presented by Corbin's RV, and Brandon Page claimed the No. 1 position in Laris Motorsports Insurance Top Dragster.

In the Jr. Dragster classes, after two qualifying sessions, Justin Kerby leads the way in Coolshirt Systems Pro Jr. Dragster presented by PRP with a time of 7.901 seconds in his '19 Halfscale dragster. Lily Steding recorded a .004 reaction time in her P2 Contracting '18 Mike Bos dragster to top the qualifying order in Classic Graphix Top Jr. Dragster presented by PRP.