CONCORD, N.C. — Tanner Gray (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) scored big wins to open the playoffs during final eliminations Sunday at the 10th annual NHRA Carolina Nationals.
As a result of their performances, both drivers took over the points lead in their respective classes following the first of six races in NHRA’s Countdown to the Championship playoffs.
Gray, the No. 1 qualifier, powered his Valvoline Chevrolet Camaro to a pass of 6.614 seconds at 208.07 mph in defeating Anderson, whose red Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro trailed with a 6.638 at 207.82.
The win for the 18-year-old rookie was his class-leading fifth of the season, coming just 40 minutes down the road from his family’s race shop in Denver, N.C.
“If you had told me here that I would be the points leader when I first started, I would have told you were crazy. I definitely thought we were going to win a little bit, but this season has gone better than I think anybody expected,” said Gray. “The guys have such a good handle on the car and they make my job so much easier.”
As a result of his win, Gray assumes the Pro Stock points lead by 25 points over Bo Butner.
Gray knocked off Val Smeland, Erica Enders and defending Pro Stock champion Jason Line to reach the final round; while Anderson defeated Alan Prusiensky, Drew Skillman and KB Racing teammate Butner before losing to Gray.
A battle of Harley-Davidson Street Rods saw Krawiec defeat fast qualifier Andrew Hines, in the 20th all-time meeting between the pair of teammates.
Krawiec turned in a 6.850 at 196.87 mph to defeat Hines’ losing 6.911 at 195.11, scoring his fourth win of the season, second in a row and 40th of his career.
“This is a huge race, coming here to Charlotte,” said Krawiec. “This being the first race of the Countdown is huge. To come out of here with the points lead, I think statistics have shown, most of the time the person that came out of here as the leader has gone on to win the championship. Hopefully that stays true.”
Krawiec leaves Charlotte with a 48-point lead over L.E. Tonglet, who entered Charlotte as the No. 1 seed but fell to his teammate, defending champion Jerry Savoie, in the second round.
On his way to the final, Krawiec went through Mark Parquette, Matt Smith and Savoie.
Hines, the No. 1 qualifier, defeated Charlie Sullivan, defending event winner Chip Ellis and Hector Arana Jr. prior to his loss to Krawiec.
Doug Kalitta (Top Fuel) and Robert Hight (Funny Car) were winners in the nitro classes Sunday at zMAX Dragway.
For more on those races, click here.
About the Writer
Jacob Seelman is the Managing Editor of Race Chaser Online and creator of the Motorsports Madness radio show, airing at 7 p.m. Eastern every Monday on the Performance Motorsports Network.
Seelman grew up in the sport, watching his grandparents co-own the RaDiUs Motorsports NASCAR Cup Series team in the 1990s.
The 23-year-old is currently studying Broadcast Journalism at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C., and is also serving as the full-time tour announcer for the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series.
Email Jacob at: [email protected]
Email Race Chaser Online: [email protected]
Follow RCO on Twitter: @RaceChaserNews