By Lee Elder
The NHRA Carolina Nationals at Z-Max Dragway mark the 22nd race on the 24-race NHRA schedule for 2018. … At mid-week, the entry list on the NHRA website shows 18 entries in both Top Fuel and Funny Car, 14 in Pro Stock and 23 in Pro Stock Motorcycle. … The 2017 winners in this event were Doug Kalitta (Top Fuel), Robert Hight (Funny Car), Tanner Gray (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle).
Top Fuel – Doug Kalitta has claimed the #1 qualifier ballcap the last two fall events at Z-Max Dragway. …
Funny Car – Robert Hight raced last week with a protective device that was pioneered by Pro Stock star Greg Anderson. Anderson used a type of chest protector after heart surgery a few seasons ago and Hight used something similar last week in Texas, a few days after surgery to repair his clavicle. Hight’s surgery was to repair an injury was suffered a week earlier. Drivers are strapped very tightly in their cars prior to making a pass and the pressure from the belts can be very difficult for a driver who is already beaten and sore. … The Countdown standings are interesting. Robert Hight is just 50 points ahead of second-place JR Todd. Todd is 83 ahead of Tim Wilkerson, the veteran who has been both the surprise and the delight of the Funny Car Countdown. … Wilkerson, in a press release this week: “I really enjoy needling the people I’m not supposed to needle.”
Pro Stock – Tanner Gray leads the standings with an 89-point advantage over second-place Vincent Nobile and a 90-point edge on Jeg Coughlin in third.
Pro Stock Motorcycle – Points leader LE Tonglet holds a 47-point advantage over second-place Eddie Krawiec. Matt Smith is third, just a point behind Tonglet. If Krawiec or Smith out-perform Tonglet in qualifying, either or both could be the leader after two rounds of eliminations Sunday.