Johnson Jr., Kalitta, Line and Savoie and Qualifying at the NHRA Carolina Nationals

CONCORD, NC – September 17, 2016 – (Motor Sports Newswire) –  Tommy Johnson Jr. sprinted to the qualifying lead in Funny Car on Friday at the NHRA Carolina Nationals, the first race of the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship, at zMAX Dragway in Concord, N.C.

Doug Kalitta (Top Fuel), Jason Line (Pro Stock) and Jerry Savoie (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were also provisional leaders in their respective categories at the 19th event of 24 on the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.

Johnson Jr. pushed his Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car to a track elapsed time record of 3.876 seconds at 323.43 mph. Johnson, who has a win in Bristol, Tenn., is competing for his first No. 1 qualifier of the season, and 14th of his career.

“It just shows how determined they are how much we want this and the Countdown and how on top of it they are,” said Johnson Jr. “You have to be aggressive and take the championship, you can’t wait for it to come your way. Really happy with the performance and still shocked. We ran an .87 and I thought the low would be about an. 85.”

Countdown to the championship No. 1 seed Ron Capps currently holds the second spot and 16-time world champion John Force is third. Reigning world champion Del Worsham is currently 12th.

Kalitta piloted his Mac Tools dragster to a 3.721 at 325.77 for the Top Fuel qualifying lead. Doug has three No. 1 qualifiers this season and three wins. The facility is one of two tracks on the NHRA circuit that Kalitta has yet to record a No. 1 qualifier.

“The conditions are definitely good out there,” said Kalitta. “The track is in great shape so they are doing a great job with it. With the cooling off and then watching everyone in front of us with a bunch of .73s and .74s. I was going down there hoping we were going to be in front of those guys. Hats off to my guys. It was a great set-up for the conditions.”

Brittany Force, a three time winner this season, is second heading into day two of qualifying and eight-time champion Tony Schumacher is third. No. 1 seed and reigning world champion Antron Brown is sitting in the No. 7 spot.

Line holds the qualifying lead in Pro Stock with a 6.581 at 210.41 in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro. Line, the No. 1 seed heading into the Countdown to the Championship, has six No. 1 qualifiers this season, and 47 in his career.

“It was a good run for us,” said Line. “I think there was probably a little more left. That’s the good news. I’m very happy. I can sleep well tonight. All-in-all a very good day.

“This race really is a must win, it really is. I think it’s huge. You have to have a good showing here no matter what. Maybe you don’t have to win, but you at least have to make it to the final round. I think it’s a huge deal and obviously starting off in a good qualifying position is the way to start that.”

Vincent Nobile sits in the second position with Shane Gray in third. Line’s teammate and the No. 2 seed, Greg Anderson, is currently in seventh.

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Savoie raced his White Alligator Racing Suzuki to the top spot with a 6.850 at 195.19. Savoie, an alligator farmer from Louisiana, has five No. 1 qualifiers in his career and is looking for his first of the season, as well as his first victory at zMAX Dragway.

“We should be really good this weekend,” said Savoie. “Tomorrow’s another day. Take it day by day and don’t put yourself under a lot of pressure. The main thing is to go have fun and try to win.”

Angelle Sampey, Englishtown winner, is currently qualified second and Chip Ellis sits in the third spot. Top seed and defending world champion Andrew Hines is in fifth.

Qualifying at the ninth annual NHRA Carolina Nationals continues on Saturday at 12:45 p.m. and the fourth and final session at approximately 3 p.m.


CONCORD, NC — Friday’s results after the first two of four rounds of qualifying for the ninth annual NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMax Dragway, 19th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.  Qualifying will continue Saturday for Sunday’s final eliminations.

Top Fuel — 1. Doug Kalitta, 3.721 seconds, 325.77 mph; 2. Brittany Force, 3.729, 324.67; 3. Tony Schumacher, 3.730, 325.14; 4. Steve Torrence, 3.732, 323.27; 5. Shawn Langdon, 3.741, 328.14; 6. J.R. Todd, 3.741, 325.37; 7. Antron Brown, 3.742, 317.94; 8. Richie Crampton, 3.744, 320.51; 9. Clay Millican, 3.767, 319.82; 10. Pat Dakin, 3.791, 320.89; 11. Leah Pritchett, 3.809, 317.27; 12. Wayne Newby, 3.815, 318.39.  Not Qualified: 13. Scott Palmer, 3.895, 315.78; 14. Ike Maier, 4.102, 277.43; 15. Paul Noakes, 4.461, 209.69; 16. Cameron Ferre, 4.873, 150.15; 17. Terry McMillen, 5.037, 146.77.

Funny Car — 1. Tommy Johnson Jr., Dodge Charger, 3.876, 323.43; 2. Ron Capps, Charger, 3.878, 324.20; 3. John Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.881, 331.04; 4. Alexis DeJoria, Toyota Camry, 3.887, 324.67; 5. Jack Beckman, Charger, 3.904, 327.82; 6. Robert Hight, Camaro, 3.912, 323.66; 7. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 3.921, 321.50; 8. Courtney Force, Camaro, 3.939, 321.50; 9. Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.940, 323.81; 10. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 3.940, 318.54; 11. Chad Head, Camry, 3.956, 311.77; 12. Del Worsham, Camry, 3.963, 318.99.  Not Qualified: 13. Dave Richards, 4.093, 309.56; 14. John Bojec, 4.179, 234.57; 15. John Hale, 4.599, 194.30.

Pro Stock — 1. Jason Line, Chevy Camaro, 6.581, 210.41; 2. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.593, 210.28; 3. Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.595, 210.18; 4. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.597, 210.44; 5. Allen Johnson, Dodge Dart, 6.603, 209.01; 6. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.606, 209.88; 7. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.609, 210.50; 8. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.641, 209.10; 9. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.641, 208.36; 10. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.646, 209.79; 11. Jeg Coughlin, Dart, 6.651, 208.17; 12. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.659, 207.24.  Not Qualified: 13. Erica Enders, 6.678, 207.56; 14. Curt Steinbach, 6.699, 206.04; 15. Shane Tucker, 6.777, 206.64; 16. Alan Prusiensky, 6.801, 203.89; 17. John Gaydosh Jr, 7.362, 168.01.

Pro Stock Motorcycle — 1. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.850, 195.19; 2. Angelle Sampey, Buell, 6.861, 195.82; 3. Chip Ellis, Buell, 6.864, 195.03; 4. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.867, 195.96; 5. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.869, 194.02; 6. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 6.871, 194.83; 7. Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.876, 194.86; 8. Matt Smith, Victory, 6.884, 194.21; 9. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.892, 192.82; 10. Hector Arana, Buell, 6.894, 195.73; 11. Melissa Surber, Buell, 6.905, 192.58; 12. Cory Reed, Buell, 6.937, 192.66.  Not Qualified: 13. Karen Stoffer, 6.959, 192.17; 14. Mike Berry, 6.980, 191.10; 15. Angie Smith, 6.986, 189.07; 16. Mark Paquette, 7.014, 190.03; 17. Shawn Gann, 7.027, 191.92; 18. Steve Johnson, 7.076, 191.08; 19. David Hope, 7.203, 186.02; 20. Lance Bonham, 7.227, 180.07; 21. Brian Bognuda, 7.261, 180.50; 22. Chaz Kennedy, 7.351, 185.03.

About National Hot Rod Association

Headquartered in Glendora, Calif., NHRA is the primary sanctioning body for the sport of drag racing in the United States. NHRA presents 23 national events featuring the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series and NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series. NHRA provides competition opportunities for drivers of all levels in the NHRA Summit Racing Series and the NHRA Drags: Street Legal Style presented by AAA. NHRA also offers NHRA Jr. Street for teens and the Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League for youth ages 5 to 17. In addition, NHRA owns and operates five racing facilities: Atlanta Dragway in Georgia; Auto-Plus Raceway at Gainesville in Florida; National Trail Raceway in Ohio; Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis; and Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in Southern California. For more information, log on to, or visit the official NHRA pages on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

Source: National Hot Rod Association