CONCORD, N.C. (Sept. 18, 2016) The first race of the Countdown to the championship is officially in the books. The NHRA Carolina Nationals at ZMax Dragway gave us some foresight into the last five races of the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello season.
Antron Brown picked up his 43rd career Wally after defeating Doug Kalitta. The Matco Tools driver had a winning time of 3.763 at 319.29 mph over the Mac Tools driver’s 3.811 at 320.28 mph run. Brown will retain the points lead and Kalitta will keep his second position in the points. The major upset of the day came during the first round when Tony Schumacher lost to Cameron Ferre, who made his Top Fuel debut this weekend. Australian driver, Wayne Newby, made his way to the semifinals after taking out powerhouses Shawn Langdon and Steve Torrence.
John Force added Wally number 146 to his trophy case. Force bested Don Schumacher Racing driver, Tommy Johnson Jr. The winningest driver of all time is off to a great start in the Countdown and is looking to add a 17th championship to his already illustrious name. Force’s 3.946 made for a great racing against Johnson Jr.’s 3.987 run. The top five drivers in the points; Ron Capps, Del Worsham, Matt Hagan, Courtney Force, and Jack Beckman all saw their raceday come to an end earlier in the event.
It was an all KB Racing final but Jason Line emerged victorious over his teammate, Greg Anderson. Jason left the starting line first and stayed there once they got to the finish line. Greg’s 6.639 couldn’t top Jason’s 6.621. Line had the points lead going into the Countdown and still does. Anderson is sitting close behind in second place. Jason Line also becomes the first driver to have repeat wins in the nine year history of the Carolina Nationals.
Pro Stock Motorcycle
Chip Ellis pulled a major upset over points leader, Andrew Hines. Ellis, who is current riding Jr. Pippins’ Buell, made a very impressive run with 6.879 at 194.88 mph in the final round for the win. This is Ellis’ first win since Englishtown 2008. Hines tried his best but the Harley-Davidson rider couldn’t get the job done with a 6.908 at 193.49. Hines will stay the points leader going into the next event. Earlier in the day there were quite a few upsets in the two-wheel class with usual front runners Eddie Krawiec, Matt Smith, and Jerry Savoie losing first round.