NHRA - National Hot Rod Association


Sunday News and Notes from the Betway NHRA Carolina Nationals

News, notes, quotes, photos, and videos from final eliminations at the Betway NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMAX Dragway. Updated throughout the day.
25 Sep 2022
Phil Burgess, NHRA National Dragster Editor
Race coverage



Round one of Top Fuel started with a bit of drama as Bs R+L Carrier teams had a problem with the idler pulley that keeps the supercharger belt tight. Tony Schumacher’s Scag Power Equipment team graciously waited for them to complete their repairs, then watched as Hart powered to a 3.708 victory. Hart's win moved him from sixth to seventh place after Austin Prock was defeated later in the round,


Spencer Massey and Pat Dakin’s Commercial Metal team battled a balky clutch cannon through their first two qualifying runs, but got it fixed in time for a 3.79 in the final session, They improved even further in round one to a 3.75 but that wasn’t enough to get around Brittany Force’s 3.67.


After seeing Force win, Justin Ashley kept his tentative points lead alive by beating Alex Laughlin. the No. 1 qualifier had to ride a tight rope next to the guardwall to collect the win with a 3,68  and Mike Salinas, sitting in third, kept the pressure on, too, with a 3.69 victory over Leah Pruett. Ashley's lead is 12 over Force and 14 over Salinas.,


Kalitta Motorsports, along with marketing partner DHL, began a four-race stretch supporting Feeding America. For every win light the teammates turn on Sunday in eliminations in Charlotte, St. Louis, Dallas, and Las Vegas,  Kalitta Motorsports will donate 10,000 meals to Feeding America and DHL will match that donation with another 10,000 meals. It was a given that the first donation would be made when Doug Kalitta and Shawn Langdon got paired on the ladder for round one. Langdon got the holeshot, but Kalitta powered past on the top end for the win, 3.71 to 3.73.

Kalitta has a long history of success at Charlotte. In addition to his 2017 win, he has runner-up finishes in 2019 and 2016 and also recorded a runner-up at the Four-Wide Nationals in 2018 and 2010. 


The much-anticipated first-round race between reigning world champ Steve Torrence and his father Billy turned into a solo when Billy didn;t make it to the line to face his son, who soloed to a 3.690 victory.


Second-round Top Fuel pairings (lane choice first): Justin Ashley vs. Steve Torrence; Mik Salinas vs. Doug Kalitta; Brittany Force vs. Antron Brown; Josh Hart vs. Clay Millican


Alexis DeJoria, who celebrated her birthday Saturday ran 3.878 at a career-best speed of 334.73 to beat Toyota teammate J.R. Todd, It was DeJoria's 150th career round win,

“We were trying to make that run last night, but we really needed it today,” she said. “That’s a tough team over there.”

As good as the Bandido Tequila Supra ran, it won’t be good enough to get second-round lane choice against points leader Robert Hight, who cruised to a 3.86 in besting Jim Campbell.


Right in the tire tracks of teammate Robert Hight's 3.86, John Force inexplicably shook the tires and had to lift and coast to a seven-second elapsed time, Fortunately for the sport's GOAT, he was on a solo pass due to the short field. The aborted pass will cost him second-round lane choice against Chad Green.


With a second-round bye run awaiting the winner, Matt Hagan defeated John Smith with a pedestrian 3.92 that wouldn't;t have beaten any other first-round winner other than Force. Hagan faces a semifinal duel with either points leader Robert Hight or Alexis DeJoria.


Top Fuel fans didn’t get the father vs. son match with the Torrences, but Funny Car fans did as Tim Wilkerson squared off against his son, Daniel, who is tuning Chad Green. Green, hot off of a career-best 3.88 last night, got the win with a solid 3.90 while Wilk crossed the centerline.

“This car would be nothing without Tim and Richard Hartman,” said Daniel. “We hate racing them in the first round, but we had a job to do and got it done.”


The Funny Car championship battle didn't get any more clear in round one as all of the top five -- Robert Hight, Matt Hagan, Ron Capps, John Force, and Bob Tasca III all advanced to round two,

Second-round Funny Car pairings (lane choice first): Chad Green vs. John Force; Bob Tasca III vs. Ron Capps; Matt Hagan vs. bye; Robert Hight vs. Alexis DeJoria


Cristian Cuadra, who wowed everyone with a runner-up finish at the Four-Wide Nationals in Las Vegas earlier this season and also notched a semifinal finish in Denver, ended a skid of five first-round losses since that Denver day, beating hometown favorite rookie Camrie Caruso, who shook hard just off the line.


“Double-O Dallas” Glenn fired off another of his trademark starting line lights with a .003 that helped power him to a 6.57 win over Fernando Cuadra Jr. but he won’t have lane choice in round two against Mart Hartford, who was .006 himself in scoring a 6.56 to 6.55 holeshot win over Bo Butner. The win gives Hartford an 9-8 edge over Butner in head-to-head meetings and his first first-round win in three tries this season against Butner.


Points leader Erica Enders had low e.t. of the first round with a 6.550, .008-second quicker than Greg Anderson in their respective wins over Larry Morgan and Chris McGaha, Enders also had the quickest run in all three qualifying sessions.


As it was in Funny Car, the favorites almost all won in round one of Pro Stock as the top seven points earners all moved on.

Second-round Pro Stock pairings (lane choice first): Erica Enders vs. Cristian Cuadra; Matt Hartford vs. Dallas Glenn; Kyle Koretsky vs. Troy Coughlin Jr.; Greg Anderson vs. Aaron Stanfield


Even in slightly deteriorating atmospheric conditions, Jim Oberhofer tuned Clay Millican and the Rick Ware Racing/Parts Plus dragster to its best run of the meet, 3.681, better than his 3.687 qualifier, to defeat tire-smoking Josh Hart

“Josh Hart and Ron Douglas have been whupping our ass this year,’ said Jim O. “To be able to run that good is awesome. We can’t thank Rick Ware and Robbie Benton enough for their support.”


Right behind Hart’s tire smoker, Brittany Force also lost traction, giving Antron Brown a 3.73 stroll to an important win. It was Force’s second straight second-round loss, putting another dent in her championship hopes.

“It’s heartbreaking for this team,” she said. “We’ve done well all season long and we’re really struggling when it matters, but I have the best group of guys and we will regroup and figure this out before we go to the next one.”


Points leader Ashley put a little more distance between himself and Force with a 3.697 to dispatch Steve Torrence, and even more when Doug Kalitta upset Mike Salinas with a 3.696, low e.t. of the round. Kalitta earned semifinal lane choice over Ashley by just .001-second and moved from eighth place to sixth.

Semifinal Top Fuel pairings (lane choice first): Doug Kalitta vs. Justin Ashley; Clay Millican vs. Antron Brown


Alexis DeJoria drew a cheer from the Funny Car pits as a whole when she defeated points leader Robert Hight in their second-round clash. DeJoria got a little edge at the Tree and expanded it to win by exactly a hundredth of a second. The win moved her from ninth place to seventh in the standings.


Like John Force on his bye run in round one, Matt Hagan also blazed the hides just off the line in his second-round bye pass, coasting to a 10-second e.t. that will cost him semifinal lane choice against DeJoria. Second-place Hagan and third-place Ron Capps both made up ground on the points leader Hight, closing the gap to 60 and 67 points, respectively.


Funny Car semifinal pairings (lane choice first): Ron Capps vs. John Force; Alexis DeJoria vs. Matt Hagan


It was a good second round of Pro Stock for the Elite Motorsports team and a terrible one for the hometown KB Racing squad as not only did points leader Erica Enders win, but so did teammate Aaron Stanfield, who took out second-place Greg Anderson on a holeshot, and Troy Coughlin Jr., who beat Anderson’s KB Racing teammate Kyle Koretsky.

The third KB Racing juggernaut, Dallas Glenn, also was sent to the trailer, losing to suddenly resurgent Matt Hartford, who is looking for his second win of the season.

“We’re behind the 8 ball now,” admitted Anderson, who slipped to third place behind Enders and Coughlin. “We can make no more mistakes the rest of the way. It’s disappointing in [team owner Rick] Hendrick country, but we’ll move on to the next one and try to recover and forget all about this weekend.”


Semifinal Pro Stock pairings (lane choice first): Erica Enders vs. Matt Hartford; Troy Coughlin Jr. vs. Aaron Stanfield.


Justin Ashley kept adding to his points lead and has reached his second straight final round after besting tire-smoking Doug Kalitta.  Ashley had to tightrope down the centerline but kept the hammer down for a second straight 3.69 pass to go with the 3.68 in laid down in round one. Ashley’s lead over Brittany Force now stands at 52.

Indy winner Antron Brown will face off against his technical alliance partner Ashley after a narrow 3.68 to 3.69 victory over Clay Millican. If Brown can win the final, he’ll pass both Force and Mike Salinas to take over second place in the standings.

Final-round lance choice belongs to Brown.


Alexis DeJoria moved from ninth place to sixth and will get the chance for her first win since last year’s Bristol event. DeJoria defeated Matt Hagan by just .002-second in a 3.88 to 3.89 clash to reach the final, the 12th of her career.


It will be an all-Toyota GR Supra final round after Indy winner Ron Capps defeated John Force in the other semifinal, 3.89 to 3.91. the round win moved Capps past Matt Hagan and into second place, just 47 points behind leader Robert Hight.

"Any race with Force is all-time every time," said Capps. "I'm excited to have two Supras in the final round. We're just trying to be consistent and I'm really looking forward to racing Alexis in the final, [Toyota's] Slugger [Labbe] is going to have to stand between both of our lanes."

DeJoria owns lane choice.


In a third-generation battle between two drivers with second place in the standings on the line, Aaron Stanfield continued to pile up wins against Troy Coughlin Jr., notching the win on a 6.571 to 6.578 count. Stanfield has two wins already this season, in Phoenix and Bristol.

Matt Hartford dropped jaws around the world when he defeated points leader Erica Enders in the other semifinal after Enders’ vaunted red Camaro shook the tires hard. Hartford will have final-round lane choice against Stanfield.

"That was totally unexpected," said Enders. "We had been low of the round for the last 11 runs." Regardless of what Stanfield does in the final, Enders will still leave the event with the points lead.


With his final-round victory over Michael Kight in Stock, Dan Fletcher took over sole possession of second place on NHRA’s all-time wins list, scoring career win No. 106 to break his tie with Frank Manzo. The win came exactly after a year after Fletcher notched No. 105, also at zMAX Dragway.

Only John Force, with 155 wins is ahead of him.


Brown, Capps, Stanfield take championship-crucial wins at Betway Carolina Nationals


Top Alcohol Dragster -- Earl Nichols Jr., 5.289, 273.61 def. Jasmine Salinas, 5.291, 275.96.

Top Alcohol Funny Car -- Sean Bellemeur, Chevy Camaro, 8.302, 109.29 def. Shane Westerfield, Camaro, Foul - Red Light.

Competition Eliminator -- Joe Carnasciale, Chevy Cavalier, 8.946, 152.16 def. David Eaton, Roadster, 6.743, 169.08.

Super Stock -- Troy Huntzberry, Chevy Cobalt, 10.040, 131.77 def. Peter D'Agnolo, Chevy Camaro, 9.508, 134.69.

Stock Eliminator -- Dan Fletcher, Chevy Camaro, 11.449, 105.03 def. Mitch Kight, Plymouth Barracuda, Foul - Red Light.

Super Comp -- Robert Houston, Dragster, 9.736, 122.40 def. Dan Foley, Dragster, Foul - Red Light.

Super Gas -- Billy Upton, Chevy Corvette, 9.899, 162.90 def. Ernie Knight, Chevy Nova, 9.895, 138.83.

Top Dragster presented by Vortech Superchargers -- Jeremy Hancock, Dragster, 8.956, 99.02 def. Clint Riley, Dragster, Foul - Red Light.

Top Sportsman presented by Vortech Superchargers -- Jerry Albert, Chevy Camaro, 6.611, 208.52 def. Larry Willard, Chevy Bel Air, 7.328, 182.23.