The finals of the Nitro Mello Yello NHRA Drag Racing Series competiors had big storylines. The Pro Stock finals had two North Carolina natives. Being this is in Charlotte, the winner didn’t have far to go home with the Wally.
The Funny Car and Top Fuels finals were contested between teammates.
In Top Fuel, it was an all Team Kalitta final between Richie Crampton and his teammate Doug Kalitta. Crampton, was back in the car for the first time after replacing rookie Troy Coughlin Jr. and he quickly showed why he’s deserving of this opportunity.
Crampton, defeated Scott Palmer in the opening round, then took out No. 2 qualifier and current points leader Steve Torrence in Round 2. That left him with a semifinal matchup with No. 6 qualifier Brittany Force in which he narrowly won and advanced to the final round of the NHRA Carolina Nationals.
Kalitta, was the top qualifier and easily advanced to the second round by topping Chris Karamesines. He then barely beat Tony Schumacher to advance to a semifinal against Clay Millican.
Millican, defeated Antron Brown to get there, as both Schumacher and Brown had rough weekends for a second straight event.
Brown, had five straight final round appearances heading to Indy two weeks ago and now he’s been defeated in the second round in two straight races.
Schumacher, has nine first or second round defeats in his last 11 tries.
Kalitta, knocked off Millican to advance to the final against Crampton.
In that final round, Kalitta stormed to the victory for his first victory of the season and 43rd of his NHRA career. It was just his second final round appearance since losing in the finals in the season opener.
In Funny Car action, it was an all John Force Racing final. Top qualifier Courtney Force took on her teammate Robert Hight.
Force, took out Bob Gilbetson and her dad John Force en route to the semifinals where she took out Alexis Dejoria. Dejoria, just won two races ago in Brainerd and she took out Jonnie Lindberg and Jim Campbell on her road to face Force.
Campbell, was the No. 13 qualifier as he upset Jack Beckman in the first round.
For Force, it was her first final round since Epping where she lost to Matt Hagan.
On the bottom half of the ladder, Hight was the No. 6 qualifier as he took out Hagan, Tommy Johnson Jr. and JR Todd.
In the finals, Hight easily cruised to his third win of the season and 40th of his Funny Car career.
In Pro Stock, top qualifier Tanner Gray defeated Greg Anderson en route to his fifth career win, all this season.
Gray, eliminated Val Smeland, Erica Enders and Jason Line en route to his final while Anderson took out Alan Prusiensky, Drew Skillman and Bo Butner.