Robert Hight (Funny Car), Deric Kramer (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) all won in their respective categories at the third of six races in the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship playoffs. It is also the 21st of 24 events during the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season.
Kalitta beat Antron Brown, Leah Pritchett and Brittany Force on his side of the ladder before facing Torrence. The runner-up showing puts him second in the points race.
"To race Doug Kalitta, that guy is a legend," said Torrence. "I look up to him as a driver. So when you go up against him and to have the backlog of what led us to that point, coming in behind him in the points, making up some points in qualifying and then coming all the way down to the final round... a few years ago I probably would've gone up there and choked, letting that affect me and get into my head. With the success that we've had you build confidence in yourself. You trust in the team and the good Lord and you just go do the best you can. I knew that we had a car that could run with him and if I did my job, we could be right there with him on the tree. You can't let what or who is in the other lane influence you and that's what I was able to do today because you've got one of the best ever right there beside you."
Beckman, the No. 1 qualifier this weekend, got round wins against Dale Creasy, Tommy Johnson Jr. and Ron Capps before meeting Hight in the final round.
"The Auto Club Chevy team really pulled together and did a good job," said Hight. "We've changed some things over the last few races. We've been struggling, but we went down the track every run this weekend. Great job to Jimmy Prock and Chris Cunningham (Crew Chiefs), and all the Auto Club guys."
Hartford competed in his second consecutive final round after defeating Fernando Cuadra Jr., Chris McGaha and No. 1 qualifier Erica Enders.
"Our motto around the pit is, 'Just don't screw up. Make them beat you,'" said Kramer. "And that's what a lot of today was. Nothing was super stellar; nothing was super fast. But I was able to hold on just long enough and got to 1320 first and that's all she wrote."
Stoffer raced to her third final round of the season after defeating Kelly Clontz, Eddie Krawiec and No. 1 qualifier Steve Johnson.
"It was a tough day," said Hines. "We were sitting around during the rain delay yesterday talking about this Pro Stock Motorcycle class and how stacked it is right now. If you look at the top ten in qualifying, any one of those people could be number one at any given time. You just never know when that's going to happen, so these races right now are hard fought and hard earned."
The Mello Yello Drag Racing Series continues Oct. 17-20 with the fourth of six races in the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship playoffs, the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals at Texas Motorplex in Dallas.
Monday's final results from the 12th annual NTK NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMax Dragway. The race is the 21st of 24 in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.
Top Fuel -- Steve Torrence, 3.772 seconds, 323.19 mph def. Doug Kalitta, 4.090 seconds, 274.27 mph.
Funny Car -- Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 3.917, 329.02 def. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger, Foul - Red Light.
Pro Stock -- Deric Kramer, Chevy Camaro, 6.541, 211.33 def. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.558, 211.00.
Pro Stock Motorcycle -- Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.805, 199.37 def. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.804, 199.20.
Pro Modified -- Steve Jackson, Chevy Camaro, 5.731, 252.10 def. Steven Whiteley, Camaro, 5.762, 251.20.
Top Alcohol Dragster -- Megan Meyer, 5.149, 280.60 def. Troy Coughlin Jr., 5.169, 281.48.
Top Alcohol Funny Car -- Sean Bellemeur, Chevy Camaro, 5.405, 273.11 def. Dan Pomponio, Chevy Monte Carlo, 6.124, 183.37.
Competition Eliminator -- Frank Aragona, Bantam, 7.460, 172.63 def. Elio Mannino, Escort, Foul - Red Light.
Super Stock -- Robbie Draughon, Corvette, 8.796, 142.40 def. James Daniels, Camaro, 10.278, 128.95.
Stock Eliminator -- James Daniels, Camaro, 11.380, 115.30 def. Cody Phillips, Corvette, 10.504, 122.76.
Super Comp -- Jonathan Anderson, Dragster, 8.933, 171.21 def. Michelle Furr, Dragster, 8.924, 166.29.
Super Gas -- John Labbous Jr., Chevy Corvette, 9.927, 163.37 def. Sherman Adcock, Trans Am, 9.898, 159.91.
Top Dragster presented by RacingRVs.com -- Kevin Brannon, Dragster, 7.059, 184.90 def. Brook Warren-Foley, Dragster, 7.460, 176.12.