Austin Prock, Robert Hight, Deric Kramer and Gaige Herrera were all winners at the Circle K NHRA Four-Wide Carolina Nationals at zMax Dragway in Concord (Charlotte), North Carolina. The event was hosted over the final weekend in April.
In Top Fuel, Austin Prock ran low elapse time of eliminations (3.684 at 330.88 mph), winning every quad he was in, including the final round quad, to collect his fourth career win and first win of the season. Leah Pruett finished as runner-up (second in the final round quad), followed by Josh Hart and Steve Torrence, who fouled out in the final round. Brittany Force looked to be the favorite to get her first win of the season, as she took the top qualifying spot with a 3.651 (low elapse time of the event) at 336.32 mph (top speed of the, event) but went out early, as her car faltered in performance. Force’s Monster/Flav-r-Pac team is still the quickest and faster car in the class, but cannot find that consistency.
The Top Fuel championship battle is still led by Steve Torrence, followed by Justin Ashley (-35), Leah Pruett (-53), Austin Prock (-55) and Brittany Force (-56) after five events.
In Funny Car, Robert Hight marched from his number three qualifying position, winning all three quads, to collect his 63rd career win and second win of the season. Hight used a better reaction time (0.053 and 3.888 at 328.30 mph) to take out Alexis DeJoria (0.082 and 3.872 at 333.41 mph), Ron Capps (0.037and 3.923 at 331.85 mph) and John Force (0.055 and 3.924 at 329.26 mph) to claim the win. The Funny Car championship standings after five events shows Matt Hagan followed by Alexis DeJoria (-58), Robert Hight (-69), Ron Capps (-72) and Chad Green (-129).
In Pro Stock, Matt Hartford collected his second consecutive number one qualifier and third of his career. Once again, he would not be able to close out the event with a win, finishing third in the final round quad against Deric Kramer, Dallas Glen and Fernando Cuadra Jr. Kramer took the win for his first victory since he won at this same track in the fall of 2019. It was Kramer’s fifth career win and first in the four-wide format. Kramer (6.555 at 208.88 mph) defeated Dallas Glen (6.581 at 208.81 mph), Matt Hartford (9.252 at 101.74 mph) and (red lighting; -0.0047) Fernando Cuadra Jr (6.579 at 208.88 mph) in the final round quad. Dallas Glen leads Matt Hartford (-81), Troy Coughlin Jr (-119), Deric Kramer (-154) and Camrie Caruso (-164) in the Pro Stock championship battle.
Gaige Herrera utilized his on-track performance – low elapse time of eliminations at 6.71 seconds and top speed of eliminations at 202.00 mph – with his riding skills to capture his second win in two races. Pro Stock motorcycle has only contested at two events this season, Gator Nationals in Gainesville, Florida and this event and he has won them both. It should also be noted that this is his first season contesting in the Pro Stock Motorcycle class. In the final round quad, he defeated Matt Smith, Steve Johnson and Eddie Krawiec with a 6.710 at 202.00 mph, capping it off with a tremendous 0.013 reaction time. Herrera leads the championship battle over Matt Smith (-102), Eddie Krawiec (-120), Angie Smith (-129) and Steve Johnson (-133.)
Tony Stewart has become a force to be reckoned with in the Top Alcohol Dragster category in NHRA. He has been to three final rounds, two in the four-wide format. In his first event, last season, he lost (runner-upped) at the Las Vegas fall event by 0.0002 seconds (just under 1-inch). He then won his first four-wide event two weeks ago by a mere .0003 seconds, about one inch. At his second four-wide event, he runner-upped to his teammate Mike Coughlin by just 0.004 seconds. Coughlin had the slowest elapse time of the quad (5.302 at 275.67 mph) and won on a triple hole-shot. Stewart was quickest, 5.260 at 272.61 mph.