CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Funny Car driver Cruz Pedregon is rounding into championship form as he raced to his fourth No. 1 qualifying position of the season at the Carlyle Tools NHRA Carolina Nationals presented by NAPA Auto Parts.
Morgan Lucas (Top Fuel), Jason Line (Pro Stock) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) all will lead their categories as the No. 1 qualifiers at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event. Eliminations begin Sunday at noon for the first of six races in the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship, NHRA’s playoffs.
Pedregon retained the No. 1 qualifying position in his Toyota Camry Funny Car with his run of 3.980 seconds at 319.22 he posted Friday. Pedregon can certify the run from Friday as a national record on Sunday if he posts a run of 4.020 or quicker. The two-time Funny Car world champion will face Bob Gilbertson in the first round of eliminations.
“We’re still excited that we were able to run that 3.98,” Pedregon said. “We feel great to run the second quickest run in Funny Car. To be at 278 mph at halftrack is great. In the big picture tomorrow is going to be the day that we all forget about that 3.98 and hopefully have a good day and have the race round wins and points to show our efforts for the weekend.”
Matt Hagan, the No. 1 seed in the Countdown to the Championship will enter eliminations qualified second in the field and his Magneti Marelli/Rocky Boots Dodge Charger will face Grime Boss / Jim Dunn Racing Dodge Charger driver Jeff Arend.
In Top Fuel, no one bettered Lucas’s performance of 3.749 at 324.51 in his GEICO / Lucas Oil dragster from Friday. Lucas earned his 10th No. 1 of his career and second of the season in his new in-house constructed dragster. He faces Terry McMillen when eliminations begin on Sunday.