Motorsports

NHRA Wrap-Up: Alexander Becomes 1st-Time Top Fuel Winner; Hagan, Gray & Krawiec Also Win

SMP winners circle norwalk 2018

Tanner Gray (Pro Stock), Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle), Blake Alexander (Top Fuel), and Matt Hagan (Funny Car) celebrate winning the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, OH. (Image/NHRA)

Blake Alexander became the 105th different Top Fuel winner in NHRA history Sunday afternoon at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, OH.

Matt Hagan in Funny Car, Tanner Gray in Pro Stock, and Eddie Krawiec in Pro Stock Motorcycle were also winners Sunday at the 12th of 24 events on the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.

Alexander put together a 4.011-second pass at 297.81 miles per hour in his dragster to take down Terry McMillen and secure his first career Top Fuel victory.

This was the first national NHRA event at the Norwalk dragstrip since track officials completed a $1.6 million track reconstruction this past spring, which created an entirely new all-concrete racing surface.

“It felt really good,” Alexander said after his first win. “I got a little emotional because I’ve tried to do this my whole life. I’ve come close but have lost sponsors, thought I was never going to drive the car again and basically we have gone through everything to climb back to the top.”

Alexander qualified 12th for the event and defeated Antron Brown, Tony Schumacher, and Leah Pritchett before entering his second career final round.

Hagan Wins Second Race of 2018

Hagan powered to the Funny Car win with a run of 4.094 at 288.21 in his Dodge Charger R/T to take down points leader Courtney Force in the finals.

The two-time Funny Car champ locked-in his second victory of the season, and first since the season-opening event in Pomona.

“We just had a good, solid car all weekend,” Hagan said. “We qualified well and went down the race track pretty much every lap. It’s been a while since we turned on four win lights, but it’s a nitro funny car—you never know what you’re going to get.”

Hagan qualified third for the event and defeated teammates Tommy Johnson Jr. and Jack Beckman, along with J.R. Todd en route to victory.

Force secured her first runner-up finish of the season after qualifying in the #1 position. She defeated John Smith, Shawn Langdon, and her father John Force on her way to the finals.

Young T. Gray Claims 8th-Career Pro Stock Wally

Gray defeated two-time Pro Stock champion Erica Enders in the final round for his eighth-career victory and third of the season.

His 6.615 at 209.62 in his Valvoline Chevrolet Camaro made him the only Pro Stock competitor to reach the winner’s circle three times in 2018. The win moved him atop the Pro Stock point standings.

“This was definitely a huge accomplishment,” Gray said. “We struggled a lot at the beginning of the season. We did a lot of testing and couldn’t really see where that hard work was because the results weren’t showing. It feels good to have finally turned a corner and see where all of the hard work has paid off.”

He took down Chris McGaha, Matt Hartford, and Drew Skillman to bring home the win.

Enders now has four runner-up finishes on the year to go along with her victory in Charlotte, NC. Her five Pro Stock final rounds are the most in the class in 2018.

Krawiec Leads Pro Stock Motorcycle Points After Norwalk Victory

Krawiec secured his third career win at Summit Motorsports Park with his pass of 6.923 at 195.05 on his Harley-Davidson to defeat alligator farmer and 2016 Pro Stock Motorcycle champion Jerry Savoie.

“It was a good one for me,” Krawiec said. “It’s been a good weekend for us. It was a struggle early on trying to dance through the rain drops. We were trying to get a handle on a new track and understand what it is we need to do. We were able to get it done and get our bike in the winner’s circle.”

Savoie has two final round appearances on the season with a victory at Charlotte earlier in the year.

The 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season continues at New England Dragway in Epping, NH July 6-8.

NHRA Pro Stock Point Standings

  1.  Greg Anderson             823
  2.  Tanner Gray               768
  3.  Vincent Nobile            758
  4.  Erica Enders              738
  5.  Drew Skillman             679

NHRA Funny Car Point Standings

  1.  Courtney Force            937
  2.  Jack Beckman              736
  3.  Robert Hight              717
  4.  J.R. Todd                 694
  5.  Ron Capps                 693

NHRA Top Fuel Point Standings

  1.  Steve Torrence            896
  2.  Clay Millican             786
  3.  Tony Schumacher           760 
  4.  Doug Kalitta              717
  5.  Leah Pritchett            663

NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle Point Standings

  1.  Andrew Hines              454 
  2.  Eddie Krawiec             401
  3.  LE Tonglet                367 
  4.  Scotty Pollacheck         332
  5.  Hector Arana Jr.          317
Drag Race Central and NHRA contributed to this report.
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