CONCORD, N.C. -
Robert Hight (Funny Car), Tanner Gray (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were also victorious in their respective categories at the first of six playoff events during the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship.
Points leader Kalitta took down teammate Richie Crampton in the final round with a 3.775-second pass at 318.39 mph in his Mac Tools dragster to earn his first victory of the season. Kalitta now has 43 career victories and only two tracks on the NHRA circuit at which he hasn't won throughout his career.
"Getting this win gives us great momentum with only five races to go, but with the team I have with me I'm full of confidence," Kalitta said. "It's huge for me to get my first win at this great facility, because we have been coming here for a lot of years and I couldn't be happier with how it turned out."
Kalitta earned the top slot in qualifying and defeated Chris Karamesines, Tony Schumacher and Clay Millican before reaching his third final round of the season. Crampton qualified seventh and reached the final round in only his second event of the season, taking down Scott Palmer, Steve Torrence and Brittany Force on the day.
"We've had a great race car over the past 15 races in either hot or cold weather, getting low E.T. in several events throughout the year," Hight said. "It's almost impossible to have six great races in a row during the Countdown, but we had everything figured out today which we needed with the tough competition we faced today."
Hight qualified sixth and took down Matt Hagan, Tommy Johnson J.R. and J.R. Todd on his way to his sixth final round of 2017. Force was the top qualifier and defeated Bob Gilbertson, John Force and Alexis Dejoria on the way to her fourth final round of the season.
"If you would have told me I would be the points leader when I left the first race of the Countdown I would have said you were crazy," Gray said. "I have a great team who has helped me throughout the season and we are really happy with where we are at."
Gray qualified first and got past Val Smeland, Erica Enders and Jason Line before making it to his sixth final round of the year. Anderson has now reached eight final rounds this season, defeating Alan Prusiensky, Drew Skillman and Bo Butner after qualifying second.
"This is a huge race for me because I love this drag strip and this facility, and to come out of the first Countdown race with a win is huge for me and my team," Krawiec said. "Getting a win here is awesome, because it increases your chances to win a championship quite a bit so I'm really excited about this."
Krawiec qualified second and beat Charlie Sullivan, Chip Ellis and Hector Arana Jr. en route to the finals. Hines earned the No. 1 qualifier and knocked off Charlie Sullivan, Chip Ellis and Hector Arana Jr. as he earned his third runner-up finish on the year in three final round appearances.
The 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season continues with the Dodge NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway Sept. 21-24.
Top Fuel -- Doug Kalitta, 3.775 seconds, 318.39 mph def. Richie Crampton, 3.876 seconds, 306.40 mph.
Funny Car -- Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 3.943, 328.86 def. Courtney Force, Camaro, 3.980, 315.19.
Pro Stock -- Tanner Gray, Chevy Camaro, 6.614, 208.07 def. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.638, 207.82.
Pro Stock Motorcycle -- Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.850, 196.87 def. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.911, 195.11.
Pro Modified -- Jonathan Gray, Chevy Camaro, 5.809, 250.46 def. Steve Jackson, Camaro, 5.818, 248.39.
Top Alcohol Dragster -- Shawn Cowie, 5.295, 272.39 def. Corey Michalek, 5.399, 267.27.
Top Alcohol Funny Car -- Andy Bohl, Chevy Camaro, 5.556, 268.60 def. John Lombardo Jr., Camaro, 5.786, 267.91.
Competition Eliminator -- Frank Aragona, Roadster, 7.388, 171.31 def. David Rampy, Roadster, 7.354, 160.94.
Super Stock -- Nicholas Chiles, Chevy Cobalt, 9.082, 149.85 def. Byron Worner, Chevy Camaro, 9.808, 135.43.
Stock Eliminator -- Kenneth Stott, Chevy Camaro, 11.673, 105.92 def. Mickey Whaley, Camaro, 10.688, 122.41.
Super Comp -- John Labbous Jr, Dragster, 8.989, 145.41 def. Amanda Boicesco, Dragster, 7.974, 127.96.
Super Gas -- Dean Mathauser, Pontiac GTO, 9.895, 153.04 def. John Labbous Jr, Chevy Corvette, 9.882, 161.04.
Top Dragster presented by RacingRVs.com -- Todd Ewing, Dragster, 7.226, 177.74 def. Barry Brown, Dragster, 7.666, 164.87.
Top Sportsman presented by RacingRVs.com -- Jerry Albert, Chevy Camaro, 6.890, 199.82 def. Todd Ewing, Camaro, 6.799, 198.96.