DeJoria (FC), Enders-Stevens (PS), Todd (TF) and Krawiec (PSM) are the ones to beat in NHRA race in Charlotte


It was Lady’s Day at zMAX Dragway Saturday, as Alexis DeJoria and Erica Enders-Stevens claimed the No. 1 qualifying positions in Funny Car and Pro Stock, respectively.

It marks the fourth time this season and seventh time in NHRA history that at least two female drivers have earned the No. 1 qualifying spot in a race. DeJoria and Enders-Stevens were also No. 1 the same race earlier this year in Atlanta.

They joined J.R. Todd (Top Fuel) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) to round out the overall No. 1 qualifier field for Sunday’s Pep Boys NHRA Carolina Nationals in Concord, N.C. (suburban Charlotte), the first event of the six-race Countdown to the Championship.

DeJoria’s No. 1 qualifying spot (4.090 seconds at 300.53 mph) was the second of her career, but more importantly, she comes into Sunday’s race looking to continue the momentum that saw her win two weeks ago in the prestigious Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals in suburban Indianapolis.

It was DeJoria’s third win of 2014.

“It’s only our second No. 1 so it’s really exciting for our team,” DeJoria said in an NHRA media release. “(Crew chief) Tommy (DeLago) and the guys have got a real good handle on the race car and they’ve managed to get us down the track more often than not.

“The consistency has helped us get round wins and get better. I am really excited about our chances at this race.”

Enders-Stevens earned her third No. 1 qualifying spot this season with a strong effort of 6.568 seconds at 210.37 mph. She’s in the hunt for her fifth win this season.

“We picked up 10 points on Jason (Line, points leader) which is so crucial with only 24 rounds of racing left,” Enders-Stevens said. “Hat’s off to my team for giving me such a consistent race car. The track was pretty tricky this afternoon being as hot as it was and they nailed the tune-up. I’m really excited going into Sunday.”

As for Top Fuel, Todd earned the No. 1 spot in Friday’s qualifying, and then bettered that mark Saturday (3.804 seconds/317.64 mph) to earn his first No. 1 of 2014 and fourth of his career. He’s now in pursuit of his second win of the season.

“It’s been a fun weekend,” Todd said. “We can go nowhere but up from 10th (in the Countdown playoffs), so now it’s up to me to do my job tomorrow and I think we’ve got a horse for them.”

As for Pro Stock Motorcycle, Krawiec wrestled the No. 1 spot away from Friday’s top qualifier, Hector Arana Jr. Krawiec earned his seventh No. 1 of the season and 21st of his career.

Like DeJoria, Krawiec is seeking his second straight win, having also won PSM at Indianapolis two weeks ago.

“We just need to build on what we’ve done in qualifying,” Krawiec said. “We’ve had a great bike all year but we don’t have as many wins as I feel we should.

“We’ve learned that even if you’ve got the fastest bike, you won’t always win. As a rider, I need to do my job and keep the bike performing well.”


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Sunday’s first-round pairings for eliminations:

Top Fuel — 1. J.R. Todd, 3.804 seconds, 317.64 mph vs. 16. Clay Millican, 3.902, 286.44; 2. Steve Torrence, 3.810, 320.58 vs. 15. Richie Crampton, 3.891, 311.05; 3. Doug Kalitta, 3.831, 318.62 vs. 14. Morgan Lucas, 3.887, 278.46; 4. Billy Torrence, 3.832, 319.75 vs. 13. Pat Dakin, 3.887, 311.77; 5. Tony Schumacher, 3.833, 320.43 vs. 12. Bob Vandergriff, 3.868, 316.08; 6. Shawn Langdon, 3.840, 317.05 vs. 11. Khalid alBalooshi, 3.867, 315.27; 7. Brittany Force, 3.841, 312.42 vs. 10. Leah Pritchett, 3.857, 307.65; 8. Spencer Massey, 3.851, 319.37 vs. 9. Antron Brown, 3.853, 311.99. Did Not Qualify: 17. Terry McMillen, 3.909, 315.64; 18. Chris Karamesines, 3.951, 307.09; 19. Ike Maier, 3.965, 301.94.

Funny Car — 1. Alexis DeJoria, Toyota Camry, 4.090, 300.53 vs. 16. Dave Richards, Toyota Solara, 5.167, 157.26; 2. Robert Hight, Ford Mustang, 4.108, 308.14 vs. 15. Chad Head, Camry, 4.598, 189.39; 3. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 4.114, 304.25 vs. 14. Tony Pedregon, Camry, 4.338, 261.17; 4. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 4.123, 300.60 vs. 13. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 4.204, 297.29; 5. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.123, 302.55 vs. 12. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.185, 292.77; 6. Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.124, 305.22 vs. 11. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.162, 305.84; 7. Del Worsham, Camry, 4.126, 306.46 vs. 10. Jeff Arend, Charger, 4.161, 303.03; 8. Courtney Force, Mustang, 4.126, 300.33 vs. 9. John Force, Mustang, 4.141, 287.66. Did Not Qualify: 17. Bob Gilbertson, 6.117, 113.34.

Pro Stock — 1. Erica Enders-Stevens, Chevy Camaro, 6.568, 210.37 vs. 16. John Gaydosh Jr, Pontiac GXP, 6.697, 207.24; 2. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.579, 209.88 vs. 15. Larry Morgan, Ford Mustang, 6.671, 207.72; 3. Dave Connolly, Camaro, 6.582, 209.39 vs. 14. Shane Tucker, Camaro, 6.644, 209.26; 4. Jonathan Gray, Camaro, 6.592, 209.72 vs. 13. Rodger Brogdon, Camaro, 6.637, 208.49; 5. Allen Johnson, Dodge Dart, 6.595, 209.79 vs. 12. V. Gaines, Dart, 6.632, 209.20; 6. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.596, 210.24 vs. 11. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.622, 208.01; 7. Jeg Coughlin, Dart, 6.602, 209.33 vs. 10. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.618, 209.85; 8. Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.605, 209.52 vs. 9. Richie Stevens, Camaro, 6.606, 209.23.

Pro Stock Motorcycle — 1. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.849, 194.30 vs. 16. Brian Pretzel, Suzuki, 7.254, 185.43; 2. Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.876, 195.48 vs. 15. Shawn Gann, Buell, 7.066, 190.11; 3. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.893, 193.77 vs. 14. Michael Ray, Suzuki, 7.013, 192.17; 4. Matt Smith, Buell, 6.925, 192.17 vs. 13. Hector Arana, Buell, 6.996, 192.60; 5. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.937, 192.38 vs. 12. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.982, 192.36; 6. John Hall, Buell, 6.940, 192.44 vs. 11. Angie Smith, Buell, 6.968, 191.08; 7. Chaz Kennedy, Buell, 6.945, 192.85 vs. 10. Adam Arana, Buell, 6.956, 192.44; 8. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 6.952, 192.69 vs. 9. Scotty Pollacheck, Buell, 6.956, 192.11.

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IndyCar Power Rankings: Alex Palou still first as Newgarden, Ferrucci make Indy 500 jumps

NBC IndyCar power rankings
Kristin Enzor/For IndyStar/USA TODAY Sports Images Network

The biggest race of the NTT IndyCar Series season (and in the world) is over, and NBC Sports’ power rankings look very similar to the finishing results in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

Pole-sitter Alex Palou entered the Indy 500 at the top and remains there after his impressive rebound to a fourth after a midway crash in the pits. Top two Indianapolis 500 finishers Josef Newgarden and Marcus Ericsson also improved multiple spots in the power rankings just as they gained ground during the course of the 500-mile race on the 2.5-mile oval. Though Alexander Rossi dropped a position, he still shined at the Brickyard with a fifth place finish.

Santino Ferrucci, the other driver in the top five at Indy, made his first appearance in the 2023 power rankings this year and now will be tasked with keeping his A.J. Foyt Racing team toward the front as the IndyCar circuit makes its debut on a new layout..

Heading into the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix on the streets of downtown, here’s NBC Sports’ assessment of the current top 10 drivers through six of 17 races this year (with previous ranking in parenthesis):

  1. Alex Palou (1): Three consecutive top 10 finishes at the Indy 500, and yet the 2021 IndyCar champion still seems slightly snake-bitten at the Brickyard. A few different circumstances and a dash of experience, and Palou could have three Indy 500 wins. But he at least has the points lead.
  2. Marcus Ericsson (4): Some want to say the Indy 500 runner-up’s unhappiness with IndyCar race control was sour grapes, but the Swede had a legitimate gripe about the consistency of red flag protocols. Still a magnificent May for Ericsson, especially while the questions swirl about his future.
  3. Josef Newgarden (7): Strategist Tim Cindric and team did a fantastic job catapulting Newgarden from 17th into contention, and the two-time series champion did the rest. Particularly on a late three-wide pass for the lead, it can’t be overstated how brilliant the Team Penske driver was in his finest hour.
  4. Alexander Rossi (3): He winds up being the best Arrow McLaren finisher in a mostly disappointing Indy 500 for a team that seemed poised to become dominant. With a third in the GMR GP and a fifth in the Indy 500, this easily was Rossi’s best May since his second place in 2019.
  5. Pato O’Ward (2): Unlike last year, the Arrow McLaren star sent it this time against Ericsson and came out on the wrong side (and with lingering bitterness toward his Chip Ganassi Racing rival). The lead mostly was the wrong place to be at Indy, but O’Ward managed to be in first for a race-high 39 laps.
  6. Scott Dixon (5): He overcame brutal handling issues from a wicked set of tires during his first stint, and then the team struggled with a clutch problem while posting a typical Dixon-esque finish on “a very tough day.” The six-time champion hopes things are cleaner the rest of the season after the first three months.
  7. Santino Ferrucci (NR): Pound for pound, he and A.J. Foyt Racing had the best two weeks at Indianapolis. Ferrucci said Wednesday he still believes he had “by far the best car at the end” and if not for the timing of the final yellow and red, he would have won the Indy 500. Now the goal is maintaining into Detroit.
  8. Colton Herta (NR): He was the best in a mostly forgettable month for Andretti Autosport and now is facing a pivotal weekend. Andretti has reigned on street courses so far this season, and few have been better on new circuits than Herta. A major chance for his first victory since last year’s big-money extension.
  9. Scott McLaughlin (6): Ran in the top 10 at Indy after a strong opening stint but then lost positions while getting caught out on several restarts. A penalty for unintentionally rear-ending Simon Pagenaud in O’Ward’s crash then sent him to the rear, but McLaughlin still rallied for 14th. Detroit will be a fresh start.
  10. Rinus VeeKay (10): Crashing into Palou in the pits was less than ideal. But a front row start and 10th-place finish in the Indy 500 still were 2023 highlights for VeeKay in what’s been the toughest season of his career. The Ed Carpenter Racing cars have been slow on road and street courses, so Detroit is another test.

Falling out: Will Power (8), Felix Rosenqvist (9), Romain Grosjean (10)


PRESEASON: Josef Newgarden is a favorite to win third championship

RACE 1: Pato O’Ward to first; Newgarden drops out after St. Pete

RACE 2: O’Ward stays firmly on top of standings after Texas

RACE 3: Marcus Ericsson leads powerhouses at the top

RACE 4: Grosjean, Palou flex in bids for first victory

RACE 5: Alex Palou carrying all the momentum into Indy 500