by Bobby Bennett, Photos by NHRA Sun, 2023-09-24 20:05
NHRA Top Fuel's most successful driver to have never won a series championship moved closer with his second consecutive national event victory.
Doug Kalitta headlined the champions at the Betway NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMAX Dragway. He picked up win No. 52 by knocking off speed merchant Mike Salinas in the final round.
Joining Kalitta was Bob Tasca III (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock), and Gaige Herrera (Pro Stock Motorcycle).
Kalitta, who led the first day qualifying at the second stop on the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Series, started from third on the qualifying grid. He used wins over Steve Torrence, Shawn, Langdon, and Leah Pruett to reach the final round.
In the final round, he overcame a Salinas holeshot with a 3.696, 333.49 run to win and take over the championship point lead.
by Bobby Bennett Jr. Sun, 2023-09-24 14:39
NHRA’s Ned Walliser, Vice President of Competition, elaborated as much as the race series was willing to regarding the part that got motorsports icon Tony Stewart disqualified from the Betway Nationals at zMAX Dragway.
Essentially, the magneto is one of the parts that NHRA doesn’t allow any changes to the stock configuration without the series’ approval in advance.
“It has to be approved, manufacturer parts only,” Walliser confirmed, “And this had unapproved parts in the magneto.
by Larry Crum; Photos by Roger Richards; Ron Lewis; NHRA Sun, 2023-09-24 11:25
Talk about a tale of two wildly differing racing outcomes.
With the lights shining brightly on the big stage Friday night, Robert Hight’s weekend began with a bang when his 11,000-horsepower nitro-burning machine detonated on the starting line in a spectacular and destructive fireball. That incident left the three-time champion behind the eight ball in the second of six races that make up the NHRA’s Countdown to the Championship.
But after an all-night thrash session by his team, Hight rolled his Cornwell Tools/AAA Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car into the water box Saturday night and completely flipped the script, driving to the No. 1 spot by one-thousandth of a second to collect his fifth top qualifier award of the season at the betway NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMAX Dragway.
by Bobby Bennett Jr.; Photos by Roger Richards Sat, 2023-09-23 23:21
History was made on a rain-delayed Saturday Night at the Betway NHRA Carolina Nationals. Mike Salinas became the first Top Fuel driver to cover the first eighth mile of the 1000-foot racing course at over 300 miles per hour.
Salinas was joined by Robert Hight (Funny Car), Erica Enders (Pro Stock), and Gaige Hererra (Pro Stock Motorcycle).
The charter member of the Phillips Connect 300 to the Eighth Club, Salinas established a new zMAX Dragway track record as he scored the No. 1 qualifying effort with a 3.647 elapsed time at 338.00 miles per hour behind the wheel of his Valley Services/Scrappers Racing dragster. The monumental run on a rain-delayed Saturday evening session ranks as the fifth-fastest in Top Fuel history.
by Bobby Bennett Jr. Sat, 2023-09-23 18:50
NHRA has disqualified motorsports icon Tony Stewart from the Betway NHRA Carolina Nationals citing what they describe as unapproved ignition parts on the McPhilips Racing Top Alcohol Dragster he pilots. The infraction was discovered during a post-run inspection.
Because of the nature of parts found to be in violation, NHRA has only removed Stewart from competition. Zero points will be awarded, per the NHRA rulebook.
McPhillips issued a statement on Saturday afternoon.
by Bobby Bennett Jr. Sat, 2023-09-23 09:55
There's that moment when know-how and Mother Nature connect, and sparks fly. Matt Hagan was the beneficiary of that love affair as his Johnson's Horsepowered Garage-sponsored Dodge Hellcat thundered to a zMAX Dragway track record of 3.825 seconds at 333.49 miles per hour.
Hagan, credited with the first three-second Funny Car run during the 1000-foot era, put another feather in his cap with the quickest run of the season to this point.
"Obviously [crewchief] Dickie Venables is always pushing, and I think it was such a big confidence booster for us after making that run, knowing that, okay, we can go .82," Hagan said. "In testing, we were trying to run .88 and then .85 and now a .82. So the capability, the know-how, the parts, the pieces, the knowledge, everything is there. It's just having the track conditions and the weather to do so.
by Bobby Bennett; Photo by Roger Richards Sat, 2023-09-23 09:52
A back-up car has never looked so appealing.
At least, that is how Doug Kalitta could see it. After crashing his primary dragster at last weekend's Pep Boys NHRA Nationals, when a slick inexplicably exploded, taking the Mac Tools dragster out of competition, Kalitta returned to his backup dragster and went on to win the first round of the Countdown.
Last weekend, he won career race No. 50. Friday at the Betway NHRA Nationals hosted by zMAX Dragway, he scored the No. 1 qualifying spot, at least provisionally, with a standout performance of 3.665 at 331.61 miles per hour.
by Bobby Bennett Jr., Photos by Roger Richards Fri, 2023-09-22 22:16
The first day of the Betway NHRA Carolina Nationals was a record-setting affair as Matt Hagan laid down a new zMAX Dragway track elapsed time record. The event marks the 17th race on the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series and the second race in the Countdown to the Championship playoffs.
Also claiming top spots were Doug Kalitta (Top Fuel), Erica Enders (Pro Stock), and Gaige Herrera (Pro Stock Motorcycle).
Fri, 2023-09-22 20:25
Point standings (top 10) following the 15th annual betway NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMAX Dragway, the 17th of 21 events in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series -