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DeWalt NHRA Carolina Nationals Sportsman video highlights

A week after winning titles at the Mopar Express Lane NHRA Nationals Presented By Pennzoil in Reading, Matthew Cummings and Frank Aragona returned to the winner’s circle at the DeWalt NHRA Carolina Nationals in Charlotte.
23 Sep 2021
Kevin McKenna, NHRA National Dragster Senior Editor
Frank Aragona Jr.

A week after winning titles at the Mopar Express Lane NHRA Nationals Presented By Pennzoil in Reading, Matthew Cummings and Frank Aragona Jr. returned to the winner’s circle at the DeWalt NHRA Carolina Nationals in Charlotte with victories in Top Alcohol Dragster and Comp, respectively. Cummings and Aragona shared the spotlight with fellow Concord winners Sean Bellemeur (Top Alcohol Funny Car), Dan Fletcher (Super Stock), Timothy Stickles (Stock), Bob Prose (Super Comp), Craig Porter (Super Gas), Danny Nelson (Top Dragster presented by Vortech Superchargers), and Vince Hoda (Top Sportsman presented by Vortech Superchargers). 

Cummings has raced in just eight national events this season in the McPhillips family A/Fuel Dragster, and he’s now got three wins after defeating Karen Stalba in the Top Alcohol Dragster final round. Cummings, a winner in Reading and a runner-up in Indy, won with a 5.320 after Stalba smoked the tires in the final. Cummings ran a 5.13 in the quarterfinals and a 5.17 in the semi’s to get past Dan Dietrich, but he did not have low elapsed time of the event. That honor went to Julie Nataas, who ran a blistering 5.103, the third-quickest run in the history of the class on a semifinal red-light. [video]

Bellemeur’s odds of winning a third Top Alcohol Funny Car title got a huge boost when he turned on the win light in the final round against Nick Januik, 5.532 to 5.554. Bellemeur, who now has six combined national and regional victories this season, drove his Steve Boggs-tuned Hussey Performance Camaro past Bill Naves and Brian Gawlik to reach the final round. Bellemeur now has 24 national event wins to his credit, all of them as a member of Tony Bartone’s team. [video]

Aragona also helped himself by winning a second straight Comp title in his J/AA ’32 Bantam. Aragona, a winner a week ago in Reading, drove to a (-.400) 7.600 to beat Larry Pritchett’s slowing 8.733 in his A/SM Pontiac Sunfire. Aragona helped himself with wins against incoming points leader Pete D’Agnolo and John Frech during final eliminations. Pritchett was seeking his 12th win and his first since the 2004 season. [video]

It took much longer than he’d hoped, but Fletcher now has 105 NHRA national event wins, moving into a tie with Frank Manzo for second place behind John Force on NHRA’s all-time wins list. Fletcher drove his familiar Micro Strategies ’69 Camaro to the Super Stock victory after Herbie Null fouled in the final round. Fletcher now has five victories at zMax Dragway and has won at 23 different national event venues. [video]

Stickles had to face a tough challenge on his way to a first win in Stock eliminator when he took on Brad Plourd in the final round. Stickles saved his best run for last with a .004 light and a 12.194 on his 12.16 dial that was too much for Plourd to match, although he did make a competitive run with an 11.067 breakout on his 11.08 dial. [video]

Prose won his first national event in Super Comp after Michael Handras fouled in the final round. Prose ran an 8.920 to seal the win, and he nearly raced his daughter, Alison, in the final round after she lost a tough semifinal race against Handras. Prose also topped Steve Hoyt to earn a bye run into the final round. [video]

Porter won his second national event title and first since the 2016 Reading event when he topped world champ Iggie Boicesco in a double-breakout Super Gas final, 9.893 to 9.885. Porter got to the final after wins over Ricky Hall and David Morris, and Boicesco took out Steve Furr and John Taylor to advance. [video]

Nelson took over the points lead in Top Dragster presented by Vortech Superchargers following his final-round-win against JB Strassweg, who is also ranked in the Top 20. Nelson ran 6.149 on his 6.10 prediction to claim career win No. 7 and his second this season. Strassweg got to the final after a big win against Aaron Stanfield in round two. [video]

Hoda, the 2014 JEGS NHRA Cajun SPORTSnationals winner, added a second NHRA Wally to his collection after he downed world champion Sandy Wilkins in the Top Sportsman presented by Vortech Superchargers final round. Hoda wheeled his Camaro to a 6.549 on his 6.53 dial to take the victory by just four thousandths of a second. Hoda also scored wins against Craig Cain and Jeff Brooks to reach the final. [video]