John Labbous Jr. became just the 22nd driver to double up when he earned the Super Comp and Super Gas titles at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals. In addition to Labbous’ double, Shawn Cowie and Johan Lindberg bagged the alcohol titles in Charlotte, and they were joined in the winner’s circle by Bruno Massel Jr. (Comp), Peter Biondo (Super Stock), Kyle Kohr (Stock), and Ivey Brannon (Top Dragster presented by Racing RVs).
Labbous, who was already a championship contender in both categories after a quick start to the 2017 season, defeated Franklin DiBartolomeo in the Super Comp final, 8.906 to 8.916. [Watch video]
After winning Super Comp, Labbous returned a few moments later to stop Matt Tankersley in a double-breakout Super Gas final, 9.895 to 9.883. Both of the cars that Labbous drives are owned by former Super Stock national champion Anthony Bertozzi. [Watch video]
Labbous’ two victories mark the 35th time a driver has doubled up at an NHRA event and the second time this season. In Pomona, Ed Olpin won in Top Sportsman and Super Gas. A week before the Charlotte race, Kevin Helms earned a win in Stock and a runner-up finish in Super Stock in Houston.
Cowie won his seventh career national event title in Top Alcohol Dragster following a close 5.328 to 5.362 final round win over Justin Ashley. Cowie also ran a 5.331 in the second round to defeat Rich McPhillips and then caught a break in the semifinals when Megan Meyer fouled. It was Cowie’s second win of 2017 following his victory earlier this season at the Division 7 regional event in Phoenix. [Watch video]
Sweden-based Lindberg, the older brother of two-time and reigning Top Alcohol Funny Car champ Jonnie drove the family-owned Landmeco Camaro to a thrilling 5.551 to 5.602 victory over Steve Gasparrelli. Lindberg topped Josh Haskett and Dan Pomponio during eliminations. He also survived a bizarre race in the semifinals against Andy Bohl. Lindberg shook the tires and slowed, but he advanced after Bohl fouled. Gasparrelli’s semifinal battle against Kris Hool was decided in a similar fashion. It was the first NHRA win for Lindberg, who has FIA championships in Pro Mod and Top Alcohol (Methanol) Funny Car. [Watch video]
Massel is one of the hosts of the NHRA television broadcasts on the FOX networks and a two-time Comp national champion. Driving his turbocharged DD/AT Cobalt, Massel lost a tenth of a second in Competition Index Control penalties before his final-round battle with Pat Ross, but he still had enough muscle to get the job done. Ross got the jump on the starting line, but Massel drove by him to win by a scant .002-second at the finish line. For Massel, it was his 11th national event win and 10th in Comp. [Watch video]
Biondo, a seven-time national champion, scored his 51st career win when he took care of business in the Super Stock class. Driving partner Phil Monteith’s Hatari Firebird, Biondo closed the deal when he topped fellow Division 1 racer Joe Lisa in the final. Off the mark first with a .005 light, Biondo closed the deal with a 9.680 on his 9.65 dial. Biondo had two previous wins at zMAX Dragway, both of them at the fall event in September. Biondo has also won at least one national event in 12 of the last 13 years and 27 of his 51 wins have come in Super Stock. [Watch video]
Kohr, 21, became NHRA’s latest first-time winner when he drove to the Stock title over defending event winner Jeff Hairrington. Kohr, in his manually shifted D/Stock ’68 Camaro, was solid in the final with a .036 light and a 10.737 on his 10.70 dial for the victory over Hairrington’s Cobra Jet Mustang. Kohr scored a big win in round three after Dan Fletcher fouled, and he also defeated Jeff Longhany in the semifinals. [Watch video]
Winning the Top Dragster presented by Racing RVs title in Charlotte might only be the second-best thing that has happened to Brannon in the last six months that’s because the former Ivey Hutto was recently married to 2015 Super Comp national champ Kevin Brannon. Weddings and honeymoons aside, Ivey Brannon was plenty excited to claim her first NHRA title after downing another former national champ, Al Kenny, in the final round. Kenny picked up .007-second at the start, but Brannon made up the difference and won with a 7.148 on her 7.13 dial, while Kenny trailed with a 6.243 on his 6.20 prediction. [Watch video]