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The latest update as of September 23, 2022

Betway NHRA Carolina Nationals

Friday Report - Betway NHRA Carolina Nationals

For the third consecutive national event, there are 21 Top Alcohol Dragsters in the pits. The only other race this year that's seen that sort of participation was the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at Las Vegas in April. OOPS! It appears that one racer, Dan Page hasn't made a pass yet, and can only be presumed to not be in attendance. Still, it's a full field, and after the second of three qualifying sessions, the bump spot is a decent 5.548, with three usually strong runners sitting on the outside going into tomorrow's final qualifying session.

A note of interest, at least as far as the championship battles go, is that Joey Severance and Jasmine Salinas have both waived this event. Those waivers are a new feature of Pro Sportsman racing for 2022, which allows a racer to waive an event - before the first qualifying begins. With just three more national events on the schedule, it allows Severance a chance to claim points at more familiar race tracks. Although he went to the final round here in first appearance at ZMAX in 2018, he failed to get past the second round at his two races here last season.

Jasmine Salinas, on the other hand, was runnerup at the spring 4-wide race here in April, but she's down to just two more races before she runs out of points earning opporunities on the national event trail. She has two more chances to gain points in Lucas Oil Series regional events, and in her position, #4, she needs to maximize any points she can earn.

In the Top Alcohol Funny Car pits, there's quite a bit more elbow room, with just 12 cars on the grounds. And of those dozen cars, #10 on the list, seldom seen Melinda Green-King is in with a solid 5.714 - 254.52 on her first session effort. At the top of the field are four of the strongest cars in the category, with three of them fighting it out for the national championship. In the #1 spot is the Swedish team of the Leanders brothers, with Ulf driving. His first session 5.439 - 267.53 is just a few fractions ahead of Sean Bellemeur's very good 5.453 and D.J. Cox Jr.'s almost as good 5.458 pass.

The current points leader, Shane Westerfield ran well on his first attempt with a 5.498 - 268.65, but a blower backfire on his second shot left him in the #4 spot going into the final session. The other championship contender here, Bob McCosh Jr. sits in #6 with a good 5.512, but he's close to running out of chances to close the 139-point gap to first place in the standings. It's obviously a make-or-break weekend for McCosh and Bellemeur, who's run strong lately but has had a few hiccups through the season.