NHRA - National Hot Rod Association


Nataas' domination, Esz's first win highlight Carolina Nationals Sportsman

Nine Sportsman drivers claimed huge victories in NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series action at the Betway NHRA Carolina Nationals, led by Julie Nataas' dominating win in Top Alcohol Dragster and Phil Esz's first win in Top Alcohol Funny Car.
26 Sep 2023
NHRA National Dragster staff
Julie Nataas

Nine Sportsman drivers claimed huge victories in NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series action at the Betway NHRA Carolina Nationals, led by Jule Nataas' dominating win in Top Alcohol Dragster.

Julie Nataas scored an impressive victory in Top Alcohol Dragster that began with a dazzling 5.12 No. 1 qualifying pass and concluded with her second win of the season and the sixth of her career when she defeated defending event champ Earl Nichols, 5.19 to 5.21 in the final round. [video]

Phil Esz pulled off a huge final-round upset to capture his first Top Alcohol Funny Car Wally, defeating past world champ and No. 1 qualifier Sean Bellemeur in a final round in which both drivers ran 5.495 with the victory being decided by Esz’s quicker starting-line move. [video]

Second-generation Comp racer Jared Kimbrough reversed the outcome of the Spring Charlotte event final by wheeling the family’s C/ED to a .011-initiated (-.59) 7.31 to defeat Division 2 champ David Eaton’s A/AP Bantam victory in all-Florida finale. Kimbrough’s father, Jim. won the 2019 Spring zMAX event, also in Comp. [video]

Two-time world champion Anthony Bertozzi won for the 31st time in his career and the fourth time in Charlotte when he drove his Pontiac past Troy Huntzberry in the Super Stock final. Bertozzi was able to cruise to the win after Huntzberry fouled out. [video]

Jeff Strickland followed his previous 2023 national event wins in Gainesville and Bristol with a third title in Stock in Charlotte. Strickland won the final after opponent Steve Foley slowed. [video]

Junior Houston, who scored his first career national event victory in Super Comp last year in St. Louis, added a second score almost a year later, combining a near-perfect package consisting of a .008 light and an 8.904 to force former Pro Stock Vicent Nobile into an 8.888 breakout loss. [video]

Dawson Pauley became the first driver of a Mazda to win an NHRA national event since Terry Hoard won the Fallnationals in 1980 when the homestate hero drove his Chevy-powered RX-7 to the Super Gas victory after Bob Prose, who won in Super Comp at last year’s race, broke out with a 9.895. [video]

Casey Spradlin, the 2009 JEGS Cajun SPORTSnationals winner, picked up his second national event title in Right Trailers Top Dragster when he defeated reigning world champ Jeremy Hancock in the final round. Spradlin left first and ran a 6.365 on his 6.35 dial for the win. [video]

David Cuadra, who has split his time this season between Pro Stock and Right Trailers Top Sportsman, scored his long-overdue first win by stopping Tyler Caheely in the final round. Cuadra had the quickest car in Charlotte and drove to a 6.207 on his 6.17 dial to secure the title. [video]