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NHRA: Four-Wide Nationals – Brittany Force wins again; Wilkerson and Line too

 Held in Charlotte, finishing first or second is enough to advance in this contest featuring four cars moving down the strip at the same time. Alexis DeJoria, Funny Car winner at the last event in Las Vegas, was the top qualifier for the 4-Wide competition. Brittany Force was the Top Fuel leader coming in, 38 points up on defending champion Antron Brown and 40 up on Doug Kalitta. Steve Torrence was the #1 Top Fuel qualifier for the third time this season.

Kalitta and Clay Millican were the first two across the line in Heat 1. Brown and Force advanced from the second heat, Brown posting a .052-sec reaction time but Force making it down the track faster (3.734 sec), the quickest pass of the weekend, to take the win. J.R. Todd and Richie Crampton topped Heat 3. Torrence posted a .048 reaction time to advance with Tony Schumacher in the fourth heat.

Robert Hight came into the weekend the Funny Car points leader, followed by John Force (-47) and Ron Capps (-52). Matt Hagan posted a 3.938 to take Heat 1, with Capps advancing as well. Force had a .043 reaction time in the Heat 2 win, Tommy Johnson Jr. joining him in moving forward. Tim Wilkerson’s 3.934 topped the third heat. Jeff Diehl also advanced, the first round win of his career. Courtney Force and Cruz Pedregon topped the final heat.

Greg Anderson was the top Pro Stock qualifier. Anderson was second in the points standing coming in, 48 points behind Jason Line with Bo Butner 132 back. Deric Kramer’s .038 RT double hole shot allowed him to advance behind Butner’s 6.570 ET. Line posted a 6.555, the fastest time posted this season, to take Heat 2, Kenny Delco also advancing. Drew Skillman and defending series champion Erica Enders-Stevens posted dual .027s to move on in the third heat. Anderson had a .023 reaction time to top Heat 4 and advance with Chris McGaha.

Brittany Force raced to her second victory of the season. Wilkerson (Funny Car) and Line (Pro Stock) also won. Force held off the two-time defending winner of the race, Antron Brown, along with class veterans Doug Kalitta and Clay Millican to become the first female 4-Wide winner, powering her dragster to a final-round performance of 3.764 sec at 319.98 mph while defending world champ Brown finished second in 3.779 at 316.75.

“People say winning the first one is the toughest, and it came in my fourth season,” Force said. “The second one came easier, but I wouldn’t say easy. Every single guy on this team is the hardest worker I know, and I was so happy that we were able to pull it off. It’s insane. I am proud to be teamed up with [tuning consultant Alan Johnson and crew chief Brian Husen] and having a car that’s so consistent builds my confidence going into the season. The season is still getting started, but we are definitely off to a great start.”

Force, who advanced to seven finals before winning her first race last month in Gainesville, said she’s now ready to go for a third win next weekend in Houston. But she admits that winning two of three finals in five races this season and leading the points for more consecutive weeks than any other female in a nitro class is beyond her wildest dreams.

Wilkerson powered to his second Funny Car victory of the season and 20th of his career with a final-round performance of 3.967 at 315.56. He was followed across the finish line by Pedregon with a 3.995 at 313.37. “I had a very good car,” Wilkerson said. “We don’t come here to chase girls and drink beer; we are here to kick some butts and go home. Me and [assistant crew chief] Richard Hartman are of the same philosophy, and that’s why we communicate so well with each other. He has been a great addition to our team, and he did a great job up there [on the starting line] today.”

Line won his third race of the season in his fifth consecutive final round, posting a winning time of 6.565 at 211.33 in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro and finishing in front of teammate Bo Butner, who trailed with a 6.591 at 210.77 in his Jim Butner Auto Camaro. It was Line’s first Four-Wide Nationals win and the 40th victory of his career.

“We are taking a lot of pride in [our points lead],” said Line. “We had more engine changes than anybody else. It’s tough to win at home, and I’ve never won the Four-Wide. I consider myself a middle of the road driver, so this race has always been tough for me. So to win this race is pretty gratifying.”

The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series continues April 29-May 1 with the NHRA SpringNationals at Royal Purple Raceway near Houston.


 

2016 NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES STANDINGS

Updated 4/24/2016 (Following the fifth of 24 events; Season victories in parentheses)

 

TOP FUEL

Place

Driver

Points

1.

Brittany Force, Yorba Linda, Calif., Monster Energy dragster (2)

428

2.

Antron Brown, Indianapolis, Matco Tools dragster (1)

365

3.

Doug Kalitta, Ypsilanti, Mich., Mac Tools dragster

344

4.

Clay Millican, Drummonds, Tenn., Denso/Great Clips dragster

318

5.

Steve Torrence, Kilgore, Texas, Capco Contactors dragster (1)

310

6.

J.R. Todd, Indianapolis, SealMaster dragster

289

7t.

Terry McMillen, Elkhart, Ind., Amalie Motor Oil dragster

242

7t.

Tony Schumacher, Austin, Texas, U.S. Army dragster

242

9.

Richie Crampton, Indianapolis, Lucas Oil dragster

240

10.

Leah Pritchett, Danville, Ind., FireAde dragster (1)

220

 

FUNNY CAR

1.

Robert Hight, Yorba Linda, Calif., Auto Club Chevy Camaro (1)

369

2.

Ron Capps, Carlsbad, Calif., NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger (1)

361

3.

John Force, Yorba Linda, Calif., Peak Anti-Freeze and Coolant Chevy Camaro

352

4.

Tim Wilkerson, Springfield, Ill., Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford Mustang (2)

334

5.

Courtney Force, Yorba Linda, Calif., Traxxas Chevy Camaro

322

6.

Del Worsham, Villa Park, Calif., DHL Toyota Camry

318

7.

Jack Beckman, Norco, Calif., Infinite Hero Dodge Charger

307

8.

Alexis DeJoria, Austin, Texas, Tequila Patron Toyota Camry (1)

277

9.

Chad Head, Columbus, Ohio, Head Inc. Toyota Camry

270

10.

Cruz Pedregon, Brownsburg, Ind., Snap-on/Wix Filters Toyota Camry

238

 

PRO STOCK

1.

Jason Line, Mooresville, N.C., Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro (3)

583

2.

Greg Anderson, Mooresville, N.C., Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro (2)

481

3.

Bo Butner, Floyd Knobs, Ind., Jim Butner Auto Chevy Camaro

429

4.

Drew Skillman, Bargersville, Ind., Ray Skillman Chevy Chevy Camaro

343

5.

Chris McGaha, Odessa, Texas, Harlow Sammons of Odessa Chevy Camaro

287

6.

Allen Johnson, Greeneville, Tenn., Marathon Petroleum Dodge Dart

244

7t.

Jeg Coughlin Jr., Delaware, Ohio, Magnetimarelli/JEGS Dodge Dart

223

7t.

Erica Enders, New Orleans, Elite Motorsports Dodge Dart

223

9.

Vincent Nobile, Dix Hills, N.Y., Mountain View Tire Chevy Camaro

209

10.

Alex Laughlin, Granbury, Texas, Gas Monkey Garage/360 Wraps Chevy Camaro

187

 

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE (following the second of 16 events)

1.

Eddie Krawiec, Brownsburg, Ind., Screamin' Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson (1)

232

2.

Andrew Hines, Brownsburg, Ind., Screamin' Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson (1)

197

3.

Hector Arana Sr., Milltown, Ind., Lucas Oil Buell

154

4.

Chip Ellis, Brownsburg, Ind., PiranaZ Buell

135

5.

Jerry Savoie, Cut Off, La., Savoie's Alligator Farm Suzuki

108

6.

LE Tonglet, Metairie, La., Nitro Fish Suzuki

107

7.

Michael Ray, New Braunfels, Texas, UPI Buell

104

8.

Matt Smith, King, N.C., Nitro Fish Victory

93

9.

Angelle Sampey, Mathews, La., JoinTeamAngelle.com Buell

92

10.

Jim Underdahl, North Branch, Minn., Bad Boy Buggies Suzuki

84

 

 

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