Jimmy Alund became the first European ever to win an NHRA event Sunday at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Concord, N.C.
The Swede is substituting for four-time Pro Stock world champ Greg Anderson and ran a 6.562 pass at 211.59 miles-per-hour in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro. This is only the fourth time a non-American has won in the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Alund took out runner-up Shane Gray, Vincent Nobile and recent Las Vegas winner Erica Enders-Stevens in the final.
Alund is filling in for Summit Racing Pro Stock driver Greg Anderson while Anderson recovers from heart surgery.
“To be able to outrun nine cars in one day—and against drivers and teams that I’ve been looking up to [while] racing in Europe is pretty awesome,” Alund said. “Greg told me in Pomona to ‘drive like I stole it,’ and I’m actually thinking about stealing it right now.”
He will race for Anderson one more time at the Houston event in two weeks before handing the reins back to the four-time world champ.
“This means a lot,” said Alund. “It really hasn’t sunk in yet; let’s put it that way. I have a lot of wins in Europe, but this is something special. It will be hard to climb out of the seat. We have a really great group of people in Pro Stock, and I’ve had a great time. The Summit Racing guys are awesome, and everyone is laughing and having a good time. I think that’s a very key ingredient.”
In Funny Car, Robert Hight became the first two-time winner.
Antron Brown in Top Fuel and Andrew Hines in Pro Stock Motorcycle also took home victories during the fifth event on the 2014 Mello Yello Series schedule.
Hight took the 2012 NHRA Four-Wide Nationals and returned in style to Charlotte once again. The 2009 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Funny Car world champ was the winner of the fall Charlotte race last season and won his second consecutive event with his 4.074 second pass at 311.34 miles per hour in his Ford Mustang.
“This has been a great weekend,” Hight said. “We love coming to zMAX Dragway. What a better place to bring potential sponsors than this facility. John and I getting to the final made it that much more special. It’s my fourth final in a row and we’ve only missed two rounds in Pomona to start the season.”
Coming into the final, Hight was 0-4 against Alexis DeJoria, one of the other three final round drivers, including losses to her in the finals at both Phoenix and Las Vegas this season.
“You would think three Ford Funny Cars in the final would be pretty good odds,” Hight said. With the way she’s been running and winning races, it’s no gimme. That was a big one.”
John Force finished as runner-up in his Ford Mustang while DeJoria and Tim Wilkerson were credited with semifinal finishes.
It was Hight’s second win of the season in four final round appearances, with both wins coming over Force. With the win, Hight increases his points lead over Force to 53.
Brown secured his first career victory at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, piloting his dragster to a 3.800-second pass at 317.42 miles-per-hour. The 2012 Top Fuel world champ took out runner-up and top qualifier Shawn Langdon, J.R. Todd and Doug Kalitta to secure his second win of the season.
“My guys gave me an incredible race car,” Brown said. “Everybody’s competing on such a high level right now, and you just want to be on time because I know for sure that—us as drivers—all we can do is screw it up once we get up to the starting line. You just want to be on point. You want to be on time, and you just want to give it all you have.”
Brown, a member of the Don Schumacher Racing stable, went up in the final against two Kalitta Motorsports entries and an Al-Anabi Racing entry, a juggernaut team final in Top Fuel.
Brown leaves Charlotte second in points, 25 points behind Kalitta.
Hines, a three-time Pro Stock Motorcycle world champ, won his second straight race in Charlotte with a 6.859 run at 196.10. The three-time Charlotte winner secured his first win of the season and 33rd of his career with the win over Eddie Krawiec, John Hall and Scotty Pollacheck on a Harley-Davidson.
“This does a lot for my confidence because I’ve never had a round win here [at the Four-Wide],” Hines said. “In fact, Charlotte was bad to me. It took four races before I broke through for a win at the two-wide race in the fall. At this race there is so much going on that you never know what’s going to happen. Some guys take a long time to stage and some guys want to get up there as quickly as they can. You have to be prepared for anything.”
The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series heads on to Baytown, TX for the NHRA SpringNationals at Royal Purple Raceway, April 25-27. Sunday’s race was the fifth of 24 in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.
Pro Stock Championship Point Standings
1. Erica Enders-Stevens 426 2. Jason Line 384 3. Allen Johnson 370 4. Vincent Nobile 339 5. Shane Gray 334
Funny Car Championship Point Standings
1. Robert Hight 488 2. John Force 453 3. Alexis DeJoria 375 3. Ron Capps 282 5. Del Worsham 277
Top Fuel Championship Point Standings
1. Doug Kalitta 485 2. Antron Brown 460 3. Steve Torrence 347 4. Shawn Langdon 330 5. Tony Schumacher 316