Blake Alexander became the 105th different Top Fuel winner in NHRA history when he claimed victory in Norwalk, while Matt Hagan, Tanner Gray and Eddie Krawiec clinched Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle honors.
Alexander’s 4.011-second pass at 297.81 mph in his Pronto Auto Service dragster was enough to take down Terry McMillen and secure his first Top Fuel career victory.
“It felt really good,” Alexander stated. “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 but defeated Don Schumacher Racing superstars Antron Brown, Tony Schumacher and Leah Pritchett to reach only his second career final round.
Hagan powered to the Funny Car win with a run of 4.094 at 288.21 in his Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T to take down points leader Courtney Force in the finals. The two-time FC champion’s second victory of the season was his 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 defeated John Smith, Shawn Langdon and her father John Force on her way to the finals.
Gray was able to defeat two-time PS 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 Gray Motorsports Valvoline Chevrolet Camaro made him the first Pro Stock competitor to reach the winner’s circle three times in 2018.
“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 the hard work has paid off.”
He took down Chris McGaha, Matt Hartford and Drew Skillman to reach the final, while Enders has now posted four runner-up finishes and a victory in 2018, and likes third in the championship.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE
Krawiec secured his third PSM victory at Summit Motorsports Park with a pass of 6.923 at 195.05mph on his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson to defeat Jerry Savoie.
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.
Finish order at Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park
TOP FUEL: 1. Blake Alexander; 2. Terry McMillen; 3. Steve Torrence; 4. Leah Pritchett; 5. Tony Schumacher; 6. Richie Crampton; 7. Clay Millican; 8. Mike Salinas; 9. Doug Kalitta; 10. Antron Brown; 11. Pat Dakin; 12. Dom Lagana; 13. Kyle Wurtzel; 14. Chris Karamesines; 15. Brittany Force; 16. Luigi Novelli.
Final: Blake Alexander, 4.011 seconds, 297.81 mph def. Terry McMillen, 4.155 seconds, 289.20 mph.
FUNNY CAR: 1. Matt Hagan; 2. Courtney Force; 3. J.R. Todd; 4. John Force; 5. Jack Beckman; 6. Shawn Langdon; 7. Robert Hight; 8. Ron Capps; 9. Tommy Johnson Jr.; 10. Jim Campbell; 11. Dale Creasy Jr.; 12. John Smith; 13. Del Worsham; 14. Bob Tasca III; 15. Jeff Diehl; 16. Tim Wilkerson.
Final: Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 4.094, 288.21 def. Courtney Force, Chevy Camaro, 4.220, 227.54.
PRO STOCK: 1. Tanner Gray; 2. Erica Enders; 3. Drew Skillman; 4. Bo Butner; 5. Jason Line; 6. Jeg Coughlin; 7. Vincent Nobile; 8. Matt Hartford; 9. Greg Anderson; 10. Alex Laughlin; 11. Deric Kramer; 12. Chris McGaha; 13. John Gaydosh Jr; 14. Wally Stroupe; 15. Charlie Westcott Jr.; 16. Kenny Delco.
Final: Tanner Gray, Chevy Camaro, 6.615, 209.62 def. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.608, 208.30.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1. Eddie Krawiec; 2. Jerry Savoie; 3. LE Tonglet; 4. Angie Smith; 5. Hector Arana Jr; 6. Angelle Sampey; 7. Andrew Hines; 8. Jim Underdahl; 9. Matt Smith; 10. Mark Paquette; 11. Scotty Pollacheck; 12. Cory Reed; 13. Ryan Oehler; 14. Steve Johnson; 15. Hector Arana; 16. Joey Gladstone.
Final: Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.923, 195.05 def. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 7.071, 175.39.
Point standings after 12 of 24 rounds in the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series
Top Fuel: 1. Steve Torrence, 964; 2. Clay Millican, 847; 3. Tony Schumacher, 817; 4. Doug Kalitta, 749; 5. Leah Pritchett, 736; 6. Terry McMillen, 643; 7. Antron Brown, 622; 8. Brittany Force, 594; 9. Mike Salinas, 475; 10. Scott Palmer, 471.
Funny Car: 1. Courtney Force, 1,038; 2. (tie) Jack Beckman, 788; Matt Hagan, 788; 4. Robert Hight, 771; 5. J.R. Todd, 767; 6. Ron Capps, 755; 7. Tommy Johnson Jr., 637; 8. John Force, 577; 9. Shawn Langdon, 537; 10. Bob Tasca III, 532.
Pro Stock: 1. Tanner Gray, 882; 2. Greg Anderson, 856; 3. Erica Enders, 830; 4. Vincent Nobile, 812; 5. Drew Skillman, 751; 6. Jeg Coughlin, 732; 7. Bo Butner, 717; 8. Chris McGaha, 691; 9. Deric Kramer, 659; 10. Jason Line, 628.
Pro Stock Motorcycle: 1. Eddie Krawiec, 515; 2. Andrew Hines, 510; 3. LE Tonglet, 440; 4. Jerry Savoie, 389; 5. Hector Arana Jr, 377; 6. Scotty Pollacheck, 363; 7. Matt Smith, 355; 8. Angie Smith, 272; 9. Angelle Sampey, 257; 10. Hector Arana, 255.
Capps, Schumacher score their first wins of 2018
Hagan, Torrence, McGaha emerge victorious at Epping