CONCORD, N.C. (AP) Doug Kalitta won the Top Fuel final Sunday in the Countdown to the Championship-opening NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMAX Dragway.
The points leader won for the first time at the track, beating teammate Richie Crampton in the final round with a 3.775-second pass at 318.39 mph. Kalitta has 43 career victories.
“Getting this win gives us great momentum with only five races to go,” Kalitta said. “With the team I have with me, I’m full of confidence. 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.”
Robert Hight won in Funny Car, Tanner Gray in Pro Stock, and Eddie Krawiec in Pro Stock Motorcycle.
Hight raced to his third victory of the season, beating Courtney Force with a 3.943 at 328.86 in a Chevrolet Camaro SS. He has 40 career victories, five at zMAX Dragway.
Gray, from nearby Mooresville, won for the fifth time in his rookie season, topping Greg Anderson with a 6.614 at 208.07 in a Chevrolet Camaro. Krawiec beat teammate Andrew Hines with a 6.850 at 196.87 on a Harley-Davidson for his fourth victory of the season and 40th overall.
Takuma Sato isn’t the only major Japanese athlete to take home top honors at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this year. Countryman Yoshihide Muroya joined him in that on Sunday after winning Red Bull Air Race at IMS, and the Red Bull Air Race World Championship in the process.
Fittingly, the 101st Indianapolis 500 champion was there on site to join him in the celebration.
Muroya flew with a track-record run in the final and erased the four-point deficit to points leader Martin Sonka. The record run came after a disappointing qualifying effort of 11th in the 14-pilot field in the Master Class.
A day after the win, Muroya joined Sato in heading to Sato’s new Verizon IndyCar Series team, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s, Indianapolis-based shop.
A few social posts from Muroya’s victory and the subsequent celebration are below.
Muroya wasn’t alone among big winners at the Speedway. In the Challenger Class, Melanie Astles of France became the first woman to win a major race at IMS, and is the first female winner in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship.
Nine women have competed in the Indianapolis 500 (Janet Guthrie, Lyn St. James, Sarah Fisher, Danica Patrick, Milka Duno, Simona de Silvestro, Pippa Mann, Ana Beatriz, Katherine Legge) and Mann is the first woman to have been on the pole position at IMS, having done so for the Freedom 100 in 2010 in Indy Lights.