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NGK Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals Sportsman champion highlights

Female alcohol-racing stars Megan Meyer and Annie Whiteley shared the winner's stage to highlight the list of champions at the NGK Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals.
02 May 2018
Kevin McKenna, NHRA National Dragster Senior Editor
News
Charlotte

Among the many, many women who regularly compete in NHRA Mello Yello and Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series events, two that continually shine are Megan Meyer and Annie Whiteley. Meyer, the daughter of championship tuner Randy Meyer, collected her third national event win in the last three years, and Whiteley, the wife of Pro Mod racer Jim and the mother of Pro Stock Motorcycle racer Cory Reed, scored her fifth title in the tough Top Alcohol Funny Car class at zMax Dragway. 

The other sportsman champions crowned during the weekend included Frank Aragona Jr., Anthony Bertozzi, Thomas Fletcher, Jonathan Anderson, Ken Griffiths, Don O’Neal, and Holden Laris. 

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Meyer won her third event in the last three years by beating chassis builder Dan Page in the final round, 5.192 to 5.250. Meyer, who was also the low qualifier with an impressive 5.168, 283.73 blast was solidly in the 5.2s through the first three rounds in her wins against Krista Baldwin, Duane Shields, and first-year alcohol racer Troy Coughlin Jr. [Video]

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It’s difficult to win in Top Alcohol Funny Car without running in the 5.4s and that’s exactly what Whiteley did including a 5.467, 267.59 in the final round against D.J. Cox, who shook the tires and slowed. Whiteley also defeated Sweden’s Johan Lindberg, Dan Pomponio, and Andy Bohl to earn the title. [Video]

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Aragona Jr., the 2007 Comp national champ, claimed his 11th career win and second of the season when he stopped Al Ackerman in an all-Division 1 final. Aragona got the final round nearly unscathed with just .03-second of CIC penalties and sealed the win with a (-.582) 7.378 to easily cover Ackerman’s (-.417) 7.983. [Video

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Bertozzi has competed in six events this season in Super Stock and he’s already won three of them giving him the upper hand on what could be a second national championship. Bertozzi drove his SS/AS Grand Am to a final round win against Bryan Worner. Bertozzi defeated fellow national champ Mike Saye in the semifinals and then cruised to his 19th career national event win after Worner fouled by four-thousandths in the final round. [Video]

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Fletcher earned win No. 107 for the Fletcher family when he wheeled his father, Dan’s COPO Camaro to the Super Stock title. Fletcher, who also won the 2009 Reading event, had his work cut out for him with a tough ladder that included races against Aaron Allison, Ed Longhany Jr., Ken Miele, Dick Kincaid, and in the final, James Williamson. Fletcher won the final with a solid run after Williamson missed the Tree in his J/SA entry. [Video]

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For the last few years, Anderson has been among the best Super Street drivers in the Southeast Division but lately, he’s begun to master the tough Super Comp class. After winning the JEGS SPORTSnationals in Bowling Green last year, Anderson struck again at zMax Dragway with a final round win over two-time national champ Sherman Adcock Jr. In a double-breakout final round, Anderson drove to an 8.891 to hold off Adcock’s 8.880. [Video]

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The Super Gas winner’s circle featured a first-time champion in Griffiths, who also had a tough draw when he tangled with six-time national event winner Steven Furr in the final. On Sunday, Griffiths first had to get past national champion David Tatum III, which he did with a 9.912. Later, he stopped Top Dragster champ Holden Laris, who was looking for his first-career double. In the final, Griffiths got off the starting line with a .040 light but managed to win after Furr fouled by five-thousandths. [Video]

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Shortly after his semifinal loss in Super Gas, Laris returned to race in the final of Top Dragster presented by Racing RVs.com and he emerged with his second-career national event Wally after stopping Larry Roberts in the final round. Laris was able to cruise to the title after Roberts ran into problems on the starting line resulting in a late light. Earlier in the weekend, Laris stopped former national champ Jeff Strickland and Lindsay Barker, a multi-time national event winner and the wife of past Top Sportsman champ Jeffery Barker. [Video]

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Top Sportsman champ O’Neal won his first Lucas Oil Series title last year at the Division 3 event in Indianapolis. In Charlotte, O’Neal was solid throughout the four-round race with wins over Fredrick Perkins, Canadian Gerard Millette, and JEGS Allstars champ Mac McDonald before facing current points leader Sandy Wilkins in the final round. O’Neal gave up a hundredth at the starting line but made up the difference to win with a 6.903 on his 6.89 dial while Wilkins ran .03-over his dial. [Video]