NHRA - National Hot Rod Association


NGK NTK NHRA Four-Wide NHRA Nationals Sportsman highlights

Rachel Meyer collected her second Top Alcohol Dragster title of the season, and Sean Bellemeur scored for the third time in Top Alcohol Funny Car to lead the list of NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series winners at the NGK NTK NHRA Four-Wide NHRA Nationals in Charlotte.
26 May 2021
Kevin McKenna, NHRA National Dragster Senior Editor
Rachel Meyer

Rachel Meyer collected her second Top Alcohol Dragster title of the season, and Sean Bellemeur scored for the third time in Top Alcohol Funny Car to lead the list of NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series winners at the NGK NTK Four-Wide NHRA Nationals in Charlotte. The rest of the champions included David Barton, who went the distance in his first appearance in Comp, along with Pete D’Agnolo (Super Stock), Marion Stephenson (Stock), Billy Upton (Super Comp), Jim Perry (Super Gas), and Ronnie Proctor (Top Sportsman presented by Vortech Superchargers).

Meyer, who kicked off the season with a Top Alcohol Dragster win at the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals, mastered the four-wide format with a final-round win against Karen Stalba, Matt Cummings, and her own teammate, Julie Nataas. The final round was one of the greatest races in the history of the Top Alcohol Dragster class with Meyer’s 5.141 leading Stalba’s 5.19, Cummings’ 5.17, and Nataas’ 5.22 across the finish line. [video]

Bellemeur also had to defeat three very competitive drivers in Top Alcohol Funny Car to win his third event of the season. A 5.446 was enough to get the job done behind the wheel of Tony Bartone’s Hussey Performance Camaro, and world champ Doug Gordon was the runner-up with a 5.460. Kris Hool and D.J. Cox were semifinalists with runs of 5.52 and 5.52, respectively. [video]

Barton entered his COPO Camaro in the Comp class in Charlotte mainly to test ahead of next weekend’s Constant Aviation Factory Stock Showdown event in Houston. The test went even better than Barton could have imagined as he left zMax Dragway with his third national event Wally after defeating Joel Warren in the final. Barton was able to shut off in the final after Warren fouled. Earlier, Barton defeated David Billingsley and Ronald Preiser to reach the final. [video]

Six years after winning his first NHRA national event title in Charlotte, D’Agnolo returned for an encore in Super Stock. D’Agnolo was able to ease to a 9.90 in the final after opponent Steve Comella red-lighted in his Hemi-powered SS/AH Dodge Dart. D’Agnolo’s toughest round came early in eliminations when he stopped two-time world champion Anthony Bertozzi. [video]

The Stock title went to Stephenson, who won for the fifth time in his career. Stephenson, who also won last year’s St. Louis event, used a 10.30 on his 10.27 dial in his B/SA Camaro to stop Morgan Wilson, who was appearing in her first final round. Wilson, last year’s fifth-ranked Stock driver in the Southeast Division, reached the final after a semifinal win against Karl Martel, and Stephenson defeated Cody Phillips in the other half of the semi’s. [video]

A red-light decided the Super Comp final after Lauren Freer left .002-second too soon, but that may not have mattered because Upton put together one of the best packages of the event with a .012 light and an 8.906 for his fourth career win. Upton previously won in Reading in 2009 and back-to-back Atlanta titles in 2012-13. Upton’s worst light of eliminations was a .027, and Freer made four runs between 8.908 and 8.917 on race day, setting the stage for an extremely competitive final round. [video]

In addition to his NHRA world championship and Division 2 E.T. title, Perry is now a seven-time national event winner following his final-round win against Jeff Jensen in Super Gas. Perry gained a slight lead at the start, .017 to .026, and held on for a narrow holeshot win, 9.968 to 9.967 in a race decided by .008 at the finish line. Perry’s six previous wins include back-to-back Charlotte titles in 2015-16. [video]

Like Perry, Proctor is also a past world champion who continues to find his way to the winner’s circle. After qualifying in the No. 6 spot with a 6.618, Proctor made his way to the Top Sportsman presented by Vortech Superchargers final round, where he got a single run to his third career victory after scheduled opponent Lester Johnson was a no-show. Proctor elected to make a full run anyway and would have been tough to beat with a .020 light and a 6.625 on his 6.61 prediction. In the semifinal round, Proctor took out past Super Gas world champ David Tatum III, and Johnson stopped Jeff Brooks to earn a bye into the final. [video