By Lee Elder
CONCORD, NC (Oct. 12, 2018) – Eddie Krawiec led Pro Stock Motorcycle qualifying after Friday’s first two rounds and pulled closer to leader LE Tonglet in the PSM Countdown as the chances to get points begin to dwindle.
Krawiec, Erica Enders (Pro Stock), Ron Capps (Funny Car) and Steve Torrence (Top Fuel) topped their categories in the NHRA’s Mello Yello Drag Racing Series’ Carolina Nationals at ZMAX Dragway. Including the North Carolina event, three races remain in the 2018 season. That means 10 more qualifying sessions and a dozen rounds of eliminations stand between someone and four NHRA World Championships.
“It was a good lap and a good run for the session,” said Krawiec. “Going into tomorrow, potentially cooler weather, earlier run, things like that, it could mean that run isn’t going to stand like that as No. 1 qualifier. You look at five or six motorcycles that could definitely take the pole from me at any given time.”
Krawiec’s best pass, 6.806 seconds and 197.83 mph, came in the second round Friday. He jumped from 12th place after Q1 to the top of the list.
Enders grabbed the top spot in Pro Stock away from her teammate, Jeg Coughlin, in the second round with a 6.518-second, 211.69 mph pass.
Capps topped the Funny Car charts at 3.875 seconds and 329.42 mph.
Steve Torrence finished the day atop the Top Fuel category with a lap of 3.704 seconds and 331.53 mph.
Friday’s qualifying sessions created changes in the Countdown standings. Unofficially, Tonglet leads Krawiec 2,358-2,312.
Jeg Coughlin Jr. passed Vincent Nobile for second place in the Pro Stock Countdown standings by scoring four points Friday. Tanner Gray still holds a commanding 87-point advantage over Coughlin.
Tim Wilkerson, Tommy Johnson Jr. and Courtney Force are having a great race for third, fourth and fifth place in Funny Car. Wilkerson scored two qualifying point but Johnson Jr. scored three, pulling within 2,256-2,254 of Wilkerson. Force did not score a qualifying point Friday but remains close with 2,232.
Steve Torrence, who remains undefeated in this year’s Countdown eliminations rounds, scored three points Friday. He leads second-place Clay Millican by 106 points.
NOTES: The NHRA Safety Safari crew that prepares the racing surface for national events typically works for three days prior to the event making everything ready. The crew could not reach ZMAX in time to begin work until Thursday, but the track was fast Friday. … … Two of the top four drivers in Pro Stock will not be racing full time in Pro Stock next season, Tanner Gray and Drew Skillman. … The leaders in all four Mello Yello categories each gained a point or more in qualifying Friday. … Leah Pritchett has already won one NHRA championship this season. She wrapped up the Factory Showdown Challenge last weekend. Prichett was fifth in the Top Fuel Countdown standings when the race at ZMAX started.