Kalitta, Johnson Jr., Anderson and Sampey Secure No.1 Qualifiers Saturday at NHRA Carolina Nationals

CONCORD, NC – September 17, 2016 – (Motor Sports Newswire) –  Doug Kalitta secured the Top Fuel No. 1 qualifier Saturday at the ninth annual NHRA Carolina Nationals, the first race of the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship, at zMAX Dragway just outside of Charlotte, N.C.

Tommy Johnson Jr. (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and Angelle Sampey (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also secured No. 1 qualifiers in their respective categories at the 19th event of 24 on the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.

Kalitta piloted his Mac Tools dragster to a 3.721-second pass at 325.77 mph on Friday night that held up through Saturday’s two rounds for his fourth No. 1 qualifying position of the season, 47th of his career and first at zMAX Dragway. His first opponent in Sunday’s eliminations will be Ike Maier.

“Anytime you can start from pole position is great in my book,” Kalitta said. “We’ve won from there before. Some people wonder if it’s a jinx but my team, we’re good with low qualifier. Getting the green hats are great and just build momentum and excitement for when we get here tomorrow.”

Brittany Force raced herself into the No. 2 position and will face Chris Karamesines in round one. In third is eight time world champion Tony Schumacher, his opponent will be Cameron Ferre. Reigning champ and Countdown to the Championship No. 1 seed Antron Brown qualified seventh.

Johnson Jr.’s Funny Car track elapsed time record run of 3.876 at 323.43 in his Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T held up from Friday’s qualifying. It is his first No. 1 qualifier of the season and 14th of his career. In the first round of eliminations Johnson Jr. will line up against Bob Gilbertson.

“Whenever you go out and run a good run on Friday night it allows you to play and kind of experiment on Saturday,” Johnson Jr. said. “The conditions are usually so much different. It’s kind of what we’ll see on race day so you have a chance to play a little bit while some of the other guys are still trying to move up in the field or get qualified. So it’s definitely an advantage to make a good run Friday night.”

No. 1 Countdown to the Championship seed Ron Capps qualified in second and will line up against John Hale. Sixteen-time world champion John Force found himself in the No. 3 spot and his opponent will be Dave Richards. Defending world champion Del Worsham qualified 12th.

Anderson secured his sixth Pro Stock No. 1 qualifier of the season, 86th of his career, with a 6.578 pass at 210.50 in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro during the third round of qualifying. Anderson will be racing for his second Carolina Nationals win. In the first round of eliminations Anderson will face Alan Prusiensky.

“It’s been a great season so far but this is a new season,” Anderson said. “This is the Countdown, it’s a whole new season to us and it doesn’t matter what we’ve done up until now. You’re going to have to earn your keep or go home. We don’t want to have a magical year like we’ve had so far go up in smoke so we want to do the best job we can and hopefully walk away with a title at the end of the year. Tomorrow is going to be a great day of racing. You can’t win the Countdown in the first race out but you can lose it.”

Anderson’s Summit Racing Equipment teammate, Jason Line, qualified second and will see Shane Tucker in round one. Qualified third is Vincent Nobile who will race Curt Steinbach in the first round of eliminations.

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Sampey raced her Star Racing / Precision Service Equipment Buell to a 6.815 pass at 196.02 in the third round of qualifying on Saturday to secure the No. 1 qualifying position. This is Sampey’s third consecutive No. 1 qualifier, fourth this season and 49th of her career. She will face off against Mark Paquette in the first round of eliminations.

“Its perfect timing. We definitely want to be the best we can on every run,” Sampey said. “I want to be the best every run. I want to be the best on Friday, the best on Saturday and the best on Sunday. That’s the way to do it. I think we’re in the groove now. The bike is running really well, the crew is working really well, I’m driving much better, so it’s all coming together. We’re having a good time.”

Eddie Krawiec qualified No. 2 and will face Karen Stoffer and Jerry Savoie, who qualified third, will match up against veteran Steve Johnson. No. 1 seed and reigning world champion Andrew Hines secured the No. 6 position.

Eliminations at the NHRA Carolina Nationals will begin at noon at zMAX Dragway.


CONCORD, NC — Sunday’s first-round pairings for eliminations for the ninth annual NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMax Dragway, the 19th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.

Pairings based on results in qualifying, which ended Saturday. DNQs listed below pairings.

Top Fuel — 1. Doug Kalitta, 3.721 seconds, 327.11 mph  vs. 16. Ike Maier, 3.988, 291.63; 2. Brittany Force, 3.729, 324.67  vs. 15. Chris Karamesines, 3.985, 297.29; 3. Tony Schumacher, 3.730, 325.14  vs. 14. Cameron Ferre, 3.932, 313.37; 4. Steve Torrence, 3.732, 323.27  vs. 13. Scott Palmer, 3.929, 315.78; 5. Shawn Langdon, 3.741, 328.14  vs. 12. Wayne Newby, 3.802, 322.04; 6. J.R. Todd, 3.741, 325.37  vs. 11. Pat Dakin, 3.791, 320.89; 7. Antron Brown, 3.742, 320.89  vs. 10. Clay Millican, 3.767, 319.82; 8. Richie Crampton, 3.744, 320.51  vs. 9. Leah Pritchett, 3.765, 323.74. Did Not Qualify: 17. Terry McMillen, 3.994, 267.59; 18. Paul Noakes, 4.403, 210.57.

Funny Car — 1. Tommy Johnson Jr., Dodge Charger, 3.876, 323.43  vs. 16. Bob Gilbertson, Chevy Monte Carlo, 6.592, 104.19; 2. Ron Capps, Charger, 3.878, 324.20  vs. 15. John Hale, Charger, 6.010, 194.30; 3. John Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.881, 331.04  vs. 14. Dave Richards, Ford Mustang, 4.115, 309.56; 4. Alexis DeJoria, Toyota Camry, 3.887, 324.67  vs. 13. John Bojec, Toyota Solara, 4.016, 292.58; 5. Jack Beckman, Charger, 3.904, 327.82  vs. 12. Del Worsham, Camry, 3.963, 318.99; 6. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 3.911, 323.97  vs. 11. Chad Head, Camry, 3.956, 320.05; 7. Robert Hight, Camaro, 3.912, 323.66  vs. 10. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 3.940, 318.54; 8. Courtney Force, Camaro, 3.934, 322.81  vs. 9. Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.940, 323.81.

Pro Stock — 1. Greg Anderson, Chevy Camaro, 6.578, 210.50  vs. 16. Alan Prusiensky, Dodge Dart, 6.751, 204.88; 2. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.581, 210.44  vs. 15. Shane Tucker, Camaro, 6.732, 207.30; 3. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.593, 210.28  vs. 14. Curt Steinbach, Camaro, 6.723, 206.04; 4. Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.595, 210.37  vs. 13. John Gaydosh Jr, Chevrolet Camaro, 6.699, 206.83; 5. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.597, 210.47  vs. 12. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.657, 208.42; 6. Allen Johnson, Dart, 6.603, 209.04  vs. 11. Jeg Coughlin, Dart, 6.651, 208.17; 7. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.606, 210.11 vs. 10. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.641, 208.36; 8. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.614, 209.79  vs. 9. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.641, 209.10.
Did Not Qualify: 17. Erica Enders, 14.169, 207.56.

Pro Stock Motorcycle — 1. Angelle Sampey, Buell, 6.815, 196.02  vs. 16. Mark Paquette, Buell, 6.993, 191.13; 2. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.843, 194.60  vs. 15. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.973, 193.57; 3. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.850, 195.39  vs. 14. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.968, 192.49; 4. Chip Ellis, Buell, 6.855, 195.03  vs. 13. Shawn Gann, Buell, 6.967, 192.08; 5. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.867, 195.96  vs. 12. Cory Reed, Buell, 6.913, 192.66; 6. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.869, 194.02  vs. 11. Melissa Surber, Buell, 6.905, 192.58; 7. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 6.871, 195.65  vs. 10. Matt Smith, Victory, 6.878, 194.21; 8. Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.876, 194.86  vs. 9. Hector Arana, Buell, 6.877, 195.73.
Did Not Qualify: 17. Mike Berry, 7.014, 191.10; 18. Angie Smith, 7.022, 189.07; 19. Chaz Kennedy, 7.069, 187.31; 20. David Hope, 7.170, 186.02; 21. Lance Bonham, 7.246, 182.11; 22. Brian Bognuda, 7.255, 182.26.

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 NHRA.com, or visit the official NHRA pages on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

Source: National Hot Rod Association