CONCORD, NC — Two-time Funny Car world champion Robert Hight and the Automobile Club of Southern California Chevrolet Camaro SS team handled their way to the provisional No. 2 qualifying spot Friday night at the NTK NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMAX Dragway. Teammate and mentor, John Force is in the No. 4 position with the PEAK Coolant and Motor Oil / BlueDEF team, and in Top Fuel, Brittany Force and Advance Auto Parts are ninth and Austin Prock with his Montana Brand / Rocky Mountain Twist dragster are 14th.
On the hunt for his third Funny Car championship title, points leader and regular season champion Robert Hight opened the first day of qualifying with a clean 3.945-second pass at 327.51 mph in his Auto Club Chevy to be third quickest of the group and pick up one bonus point. In the night session, with headers ablaze, Hight continued the momentum powering his 11,000-horsepower machine to a solid 3.878-second pass at 334.07 mph to end the day in the No. 2 spot.
“We ran good today. Had a .94 in Q1 and I knew coming into the night session we’d put up a competitive number and we did, ran a .87 and this Auto Club Chevy is now second. I’m hoping we can get in two solid passes tomorrow and gather some good information for race day,” said Hight. “You know, every pass really counts from here on out. We’re in the Countdown and you have to put on your best effort out there. I’m proud of my guys for all their hard work and we’ll see what we can do tomorrow.”
CONCORD, NC – Jack Beckman flew into Charlotte with one goal in mind – pick up as many points as possible and reclaim the Funny Car point lead he enjoyed after winning the first race of the NHRA Countdown to the Championship in Reading, Pa. last month. Beckman entered the NTK NHRA Carolina Nationals sitting 24 points behind current point leader Robert Hight, and after rocketing to the provisional No. 1 spot during day one of qualifying, he is one step closer to accomplishing that goal.
Under the zMAX Dragway lights, Beckman laid down an impressive Q2 blast of 3.873 seconds at 334.07 mph to snag the provisional No. 1 spot behind the wheel of the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car. The run allowed him to bank three valuable bonus points and put the Dean Antonelli/John Medlen-led Infinite Hero team in position to throw down and race for more qualifying bonus points on Saturday.
“There are ten cars capable of winning the Funny Car championship,” explained Beckman, the 2012 NHRA Funny Car world champion. “I don’t see anyone running away with (the championship) right now, so it’s probably going to come down to those three, four, five points at the season-finale in Pomona.
BECKMAN, TORRENCE, ENDERS AND SAVOIE RISE TO PROVISIONAL TOP SPOTS FRIDAY AT NTK NHRA CAROLINA NATIONALS
CONCORD, NC – Jack Beckman wowed the crowd during NHRA Prime Time qualifying on Friday, powering his way to the provisional No. 1 qualifying position in Funny Car during the 12th annual NTK NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMAX Dragway.
Steve Torrence (Top Fuel), Erica Enders (Pro Stock) and Jerry Savoie (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are also provisional No. 1 qualifiers in their respective categories at the third of six races in the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship playoffs.
Beckman went 3.873-seconds at 334.07 mph in his Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat. If his pass holds, he’ll snag his second No. 1 qualifier of 2019 and 26th of his career. In the provisional second qualifying spot is Robert Hight with a run of 3.878 at 334.07. Beckman’s teammate Ron Capps is in the No. 3 spot after running 3.882 at 330.55.
“I was a little surprised at the E.T.,” said Beckman. “We did a lot of things at the last minute there. (John) Medlen (Crew Chief) will get on the radio and say, ‘Here’s the deal. There’s a couple bald spots; we are going to put you over on the right side of the lane.’ He says, ‘You can’t let the car get to the right anymore. You’ve got to drive it back over toward the middle.’ The point is, I just didn’t get to enjoy any part of that run. It just didn’t feel that fast to me because I was thinking so much about the things that I needed to do right. And when the 87 came up there it was awesome. We were in and we were in solid. There’s no way I thought that was going to hold simply because you had six more pairs of cars behind us that just saw what the race track was capable of.”
DALLAS, TX – Since its very first race in 1986, Texas Motorplex in Ennis, Texas, has been bringing high speed and exciting motorsports action to North Texas. As the longest running major motorsports venue in the Metroplex Texas Motorplex continues to raise the bar on fan-friendly events as well as record setting performances. Racing action will begin on Friday October 17 and run through Sunday October 20 but prior to and during the event fans will be treated to additional festivities both on and off the track.
“We look at the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals as one of the premiere motorsports events in the state. We have the quickest and fastest race cars and no one can compete with our fan access,” said Andy Carter, Texas Motorplex general manager. “Also with the Thursday night free FanFest in downtown Ennis featuring over 20 drivers and riders, including 16-time Funny Car champion John Force, two-time champion Robert Hight and reigning Funny Car champion J.R. Todd as well as our pit access you will not get a better fan experience.”
Featured Race Week Events Include:
Pre-Stage FanFest, October 17 – The City of Ennis and Texas Motorplex are partnering for the sixth annual Pre-Stage FanFest between 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. in Downtown Ennis. Main Street and Knox Street (200 NW Main Street) will be blocked off for fans to wander between NHRA pro and sportsman cars, food trucks, music and more. Professional racers will be available for autographs during the event from 7 p.m. – 8 p.m.
STEVIE “FAST” JACKSON CLOSES IN ON FIRST WORLD TITLE AS E3 SPARK PLUGS NHRA PRO MOD ACTION HEADS TO CHARLOTTE
CONCORD, NC – If he wanted, Stevie “Fast” Jackson could take a minute and figure out the points scenarios necessary to win his first world title in the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service as part of this weekend’s NTK NHRA Carolina Nationals at state-of-the-art zMAX Dragway. Instead, Jackson would rather just win and clinch it that way.
A Charlotte victory would assuredly give Jackson the championship in his blown Bahrain1 Racing Camaro and also removes any guesswork out of the equation. He’s already had an incredible season in the loaded class, winning twice and advancing to six final rounds as he leads Todd Tutterow and defending world champ Mike Janis by 156 and 167 points, respectively, but Jackson knows the job isn’t done yet, which has him motivated to take care of business in Charlotte.
“My goal is to just crush everybody and the championship will take care of itself,” said Jackson, who has seven wins and 13 final rounds in just 35 NHRA Pro Mod races. “There’s about 40 different scenarios, but I feel more pressure just wanting to win this race. We’ve struggled at this race, so it’s one I really want to win. Every race is nerve-wracking because I want to win. There’s no more or less pressure because of the championship.”
CHARLOTTE – The wait for a victory might be over, but it’s hardly made Erica Enders content. The two-time Pro Stock world champ broke through for her first win of 2019 in St. Louis, putting her in prime position to compete for another world title.
The victory also has Enders and her Elite Motorsports team even more fired up heading into this weekend’s NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Charlotte, which marks the halfway point of the six-race NHRA Countdown to the Championship.
“I’m more determined than I’ve ever been, my team is confident and it’s all coming together at the right time,” said Enders, who has 24 career Pro Stock wins. “Winning definitely encourages us to keep going. Not that the fire is ever gone, but (a win) just reignites it. I’m very excited about the four remaining races. We have every intention of going to the next four and trying to win them.”
Enders is certainly energized after the St. Louis triumph in her Melling Performance/Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro, a race that included her 50th career final round and her second straight No. 1 qualifier.
IT’S WIN OR BUST AT NTK NHRA CAROLINA NATIONALS FOR DEFENDING PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE WORLD CHAMP MATT SMITH
CONCORD, NC – With four races remaining in the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship, Matt Smith is 61 points out of first in Pro Stock Motorcycle, leaving him right in the mix of the title hunt. But the defending world champion will be racing with an extreme sense of urgency at this weekend’s NTK NHRA Carolina Nationals at state-of-the-art zMAX Dragway.
It’s a win-or-bust approach for Smith, the defending winner of the event on his Denso/Stockseth/Matt Smith Racing EBR. It puts extra pressure on the three-time world NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series champ heading into the race at his home track, but after falling just short in St. Louis, Smith wants to race with a sense of urgency in Charlotte.
“I looked at everything and I told our team that we have to win this race, and if we win this race we can win the championship,” Smith said. “If we don’t win this race, we’re going to battling for second and third. But I really think we can go win this race. We won it last year, we had a fast bike in St. Louis and we’re going to do better job in (Charlotte).”