Cream Rises to the Top at the NHRA Carolina Nationals
Steve Torrence and Robert Hight remained unaffected by Sunday's rain delay and returned to zMAX Raceway on Monday to claim the top Nitro event wins in Top Fuel and Funny Car. Moreover, both drivers took over their respective points lead at the 12th annual NTK NHRA Carolina Nationals for the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship for 2019. Pro Stock driver Deric Kramer and Pro Stock Motorcycle rider Andrew Hines also won in their divisions at the third of six races deemed as playoffs to the NHRA World Championship.
Funny Car legend Robert Hight posted his 500th round win, when the John Force Racing Team driver posted a 3.917 ET at 329.02 mph in his Automobile Club of Southern California to defeat Fast Jack Beckman. Beckman was the number one qualifier in the purple Infinite Hero Chevrolet Camaro SS but went red in the final run after he left the tree early. Hight defeated Mike McIntire Jr., Tim Wilkerson and Matt Hagan enroute to the final round against Beckman. On the other side of the ladder, Beckman eliminated Dale Creasy, Tommy Johnson Jr. and Ron Capps before losing to Hight.
For the defending Top Fuel World Champion, it was the second year in a row that Steve Torrence put his CAPCO Contractors dragster a top the podium. He picked up wins against Lex Joon, Clay Millican and Justin Ashley on the way to a final round pass of 3.722 seconds at 323.19 mph against longtime rival Doug Kalitta. It was the ninth win of the 2019 NHRA drag racing season and the 36th Wally of his Top Fuel career. Kalitta defeated Antron Brown, Leah Pritchett and Brittany Force on his side of the brackets before losing the race and the championship points lead to Torrence.
The 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series continues Oct. 17-20 with the fourth of six races in the Countdown to the Championship playoffs, the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals at Texas Motorplex in Dallas.
Photo of Robert Hight courtesy of shutterstock.com