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NTK NHRA Carolina Nationals Sportsman highlights

There is something to be said about taking matters into one’s own hands and Megan Meyer, Sean Bellemeur, and Frank Aragona Jr. certainly took that advice to heart during the NTK NHRA Carolina Nationals in Charlotte, winning the event and their season championships.
29 Oct 2019
Kevin McKenna, NHRA National Dragster Senior Editor

There is something to be said about taking matters into one’s own hands and Megan Meyer, Sean Bellemeur, and Frank Aragona Jr. certainly took that advice to heart during the NTK NHRA Carolina Nationals in Charlotte. Meyer won the Top Alcohol Dragster title while Bellemeur triumphed in Top Alcohol Funny Car, and Aragona won in Comp Eliminator. As a result, all three drivers have officially wrapped up the Lucas Oil Series national championships in their respective divisions. 

Meyer, Bellemeur, and Aragona were joined in the winner’s circle Jimmy Daniels, who enjoyed one of the best days of his career with a win in Stock and a runner-up finish in Super Stock. Other champions crowned included Robbie Draughon (Super Stock), Jonathan Anderson (Super Comp), John Labbous Jr. (Super Gas), and Kevin Brannon (Top Dragster). 

Meyer became just the fourth woman to win a Lucas Oil Series championship when she beat fellow title contender Troy Coughlin Jr. in the final round. In one of the most competitive battles in the history of Top Alcohol Dragster, Meyer drove to a 5.14 to top Coughlin’s 5.16. Coughlin needed to win the Charlotte final, and then win again in Dallas in order to claim the title. Meyer has won seven events this season in her injected nitro dragster, which is tuned by her father, Randy. Her path to the final round included wins against Mick Steele, title contender Shawn Cowie, and Dan Mercier. [video]

With his sixth victory of the season, Bellemeur has successfully defended his title in Top Alcohol Funny Car. Bellemeur clinched the title when he drove Tony Bartone’s Hussy Performance Camaro to a 5.40 in the final round to stop Dan Pomponio. Bellemeur was only seventh-quickest during qualifying but came to life in race day with victories against Phil Esz, Brian Hough, and former champ Shane Westerfield. Bellemeur’s win over Hough was the result of a 5.46 to 5.44 holeshot, and he ran low E.T. of the event with a 5.388 in his semifinal win against Westerfield.  [video]

Aragona is now a three-time champion in Comp Eliminator thanks to his final round win against New Jersey neighbor Elio Mannino, who fouled. After qualifying No. 1, Aragona drove his J/AA Bantam to win against Terry Smith, Randy Daniels, and Frank Affronti to make it to the final round. Aragona’s 2019 scorecard is almost perfect with seven wins in eight scored events including national event titles in Charlotte and Indy.  [video]

Daniels, who has won the Dodge Hemi Challenge at Indy for four-straight years, earned his first national event title in Charlotte and nearly added a second. Daniels, driving for the Barsky & MacMath team, won the Stock Eliminator title by beating Cody Phillips in the final. Daniels was almost perfect off the starting line with a .001 light and braked to an 11.380 on his 11.35 dial for the win while Phillips broke out by three-hundredths.  [video]

A few minutes after winning in Stock, Daniels returned for the Super Stock final but his chances for a double were dashed by Draughon, who wheeled his quick SS/AM ’66 Corvette to his first national event title. Draughon finished the job with an 8.796 on his 8.79 dial after earlier wins against Wendy Caliendo, Byron Worner, title contender Steve Comella, and David Chiles. Daniels was competitive in the final with a 10.278 on his 10.26 dial, but missed his shot for a double by three-thousandths of a second.  [video]

Anderson has now earned Super Comp wins in Charlotte for three-consecutive years including back-to-back titles at the spring event in 2017-18. A former Division 2 champ in Super Street, Anderson’s latest win came following an 8.933 to 8.924 holeshot win against Michelle Furr, who also has an impressive resume at zMax Dragway with back-to-back wins in 2011-12. Anderson, one of the leading contenders for the Super Comp national championship, also defeated three-time Pro Stock Motorcycle world champion Matt Smith, who went three rounds in his Super Comp debut. [video]

Another racer who has an affinity for zMax Dragway is Labbous, who has now won four times in Charlotte. The 2017 national champion, Labbous won the Super Gas final in a 9.92 to 9.89 showdown against two-time national champ Sherman Adcock Jr. Labbous, who is on track for another top ten finish, downed Lauren Freer, Jason Kenny, Skip Walls, and Steve Hoyt on his way to the final behind the wheel of Anthony Bertozzi’s Corvette. [video]

Brannon won the 2015 Super Comp championship without the benefit of a national event victory, but he’s got one now after driving past Brook Warren-Foley in the final round of Top Dragster presented by Racing RVs.com. Brannon got the best of a close double-breakout in the final, and also clocked wins against Pro Stock driver Aaron Stanfield and title contender Mike Coughlin.  [video]