NHRA drag racing produced a new fresh face Top Fuel winner during last weekend’s marquee Summit Racing Equipment Nationals….

Blake Alexander, who is from North Carolina, became the 105th different Top Fuel winner in NHRA history after the conclusion of the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals held at Ohio’s Summit Motorsports Park.

Matt Hagan (Funny Car), Tanner Gray (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were also winners in their respective categories as NHRA reached it’s season half way point — 12th of 24 events — for the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.

The 2018 event edition was a very weather plagued one with frequent rainstorms resulting in many eliminators being set after abbreviated qualifying sessions.

Alexander’s 4.011-second pass at 297.81 mph in his Pronto Auto Service dragster to take down Terry McMillen and secure his first Top Fuel career victory.

“It felt really good,” Alexander stated. “I got a little emotional because I’ve tried to do this my whole life. I’ve come close but have lost sponsors, thought I was never going to drive the car again and basically we have gone through everything to climb back to the top.”

Driver for BVR – highly touted young talent Blake Alexander earned his first career Top Fuel victory.

Driving a race car that is owned by Bob Vandergriff, Alexander qualified 12th for the event and defeated Antron Brown, Tony Schumacher and Leah Pritchett before entering his second career final round.

Hagan powered to the Funny Car win with a run of 4.094 at 288.21 in his Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T to take down points leader Courtney Force in the finals. The two-time world champion locked-in his second victory of the season, and first since the season-opening event in Pomona.

The win for Hagan was just one of three wins recorded at the Ohio event for the Mopar brand. Joseph Welch (Factory Stock Showdown) and Matt Hoven (Stock) were also victorious.

Matt Hagan made the day for the Mopar-brand fan faithful with a convincing win in fuel FC racing.

“We just had a good solid car all weekend,” Hagan said. “We qualified well and went down the race track pretty much every lap. It’s been a while since we turned on four win lights but it’s a nitro funny car; you never know what you’re going to get.”

Hagan qualified third for the event and defeated teammates Tommy Johnson Jr. and Jack Beckman along with J.R. Todd en route to victory.

Courtney Force secured her first runner-up finish of the season after qualifying in the No. 1 position. She defeated John Smith, Shawn Langdon and her father John Force on her way to the finals.

In Pro Stock, Gray was able to take down two-time world champion Erica Enders in the final round for his eighth career victory and third of the season. His 6.615 at 209.62 in his Gray Motorsports Valvoline Chevrolet Camaro made him the only Pro Stock competitor to reach the winner’s circle three times in 2018.

3rd generation racer Tanner Gray has assumed the overall NHRA Pro Stock points lead following his 3rd win so far in 2018

“This was definitely a huge accomplishment,” Gray said. “We struggled a lot at the beginning of the season. We did a lot of testing and couldn’t really see where that hard work was because the results weren’t showing. It feels good to have finally turned a corner and see where all of the hard work has paid off.”

He took down Chris McGaha, Matt Hartford and Drew Skillman to bring home the win.

Enders now has four runner-up finishes on the year to along with a victory in Charlotte, as her five final rounds are the most in the class in 2018.

Krawiec secured his third Pro Stock Motorcycle victory at Summit Motorsports Park with his pass of 6.923 at 195.05 on his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson to defeat Jerry Savoie.

Defending World Champion Eddie Krawiec roared to the top again in Pro Stock Motorcycle racing.

“It was a good one for me,” Krawiec stated. “It’s been a good weekend for us. It was a struggle early on trying to dance through the rain drops. We were trying to get a handle on a new track and understand what it is we need to do. We were able to get it done and get our bike in the winner’s circle.”

Savoie has two final round appearances on the season with a victory at Charlotte earlier in the year.

Wily veteran Rickie Smith has regained the overall points lead for NHRA’s E3 Spark Plugs Pro Mod class division, after he defeated a very swift field present at Norwalk.

Rickie secured his 14th career NHRA Wally during the weekend’s Pro Mod racing which was presented by J&A Service, and was the seventh of 12 events this season.

“Trickie Rickie” Smith prevailed again over a very spirited Pro Mod class field.

Smith ran a 5.804-second pass at 208.01 mph in his nitrous-assisted Bahrain 1 Racing ’18 Chevrolet Camaro, to defeat Jeremy Ray’s supercharged ’63 Corvette in the finals. This is Smith’s third victory this season.

“This win just goes to show you the depth on our team,” Smith stated. “We’ve got a really good team if I can just keep on going and not screw up.”

Ray defeated Eric Dillard, Mike Castellana and Pete Farber to reach the first final round of his career.

(Editor’s Note: For expanded details about Pro Mod class racing at Norwalk – visit DragRaceCanada’s VP Racing Fuels Pro Mod Portal subsection.)

The E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series now does take it’s mid-season break before it continues on during the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals Aug. 29 – Sept. 3 at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.

The 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season continues at New England Dragway in Epping, N.H. from July 6-8.

The Lucas Oil Lowdown (Final Round Results)

Ray Drew won in TAFC for the first time in his national event career.

Racing her potent injected nitro car – Megan Meyer scored her 4th career TAD event title.

Top Alcohol Dragster — Megan Meyer, 5.320, 277.94 def. Troy Coughlin Jr., 5.369, 275.67.

Top Alcohol Funny Car — Ray Drew, Ford Mustang, 10.160, 84.56 def. Ulf Leanders, Chevy Camaro, Foul – Red Light.

Competition Eliminator — David Rampy, Bantam, 7.260, 172.32 def. Jim Primozic Jr., Cobalt, 7.377, 182.16.

Super Stock — John DiBartolomeo, Chevy Camaro, 9.402, 141.71 def. Bob Marshall, Dodge Coronet, 9.432, 136.76.

Stock Eliminator — Todd Hoven, Dodge Coronet, 10.085, 124.59 def. Dick Kincaid, Chevy II, 11.288, 114.28.

David Rampy won for the 97th time in NHRA racing – it was his 78th title in Comp eliminator.

Congrats too go reputed racer/drag racing editor John DiBartolomeo who won in Super Stock with his Chevy Camaro.

Super Comp — Dan Fletcher, Dragster, 9.440, 119.39 def. Brian Folk, Dragster, Foul – Red Light.

Super Gas — Tom Dimond, ’27-T Ford, 9.882, 159.32 def. Joey Shipp, Olds Cutlass, 9.876, 160.84.

Top Dragster presented by RacingRVs.com — John Biagi, Dragster, 6.383, 208.01 def. Bobby Ray McMahan, Dragster, 6.198, 223.88.

Top Sportsman presented by RacingRVs.com — Dusty Meyer, Chevy S-10, 6.977, 194.16 def. Mark McDonald, Ford Mustang, 6.630, 206.80.

Factory Stock Showdown — Joseph Welch, Dodge Challenger, 8.107, 168.07 def. Mark Pawuk, Challenger, 8.115, 168.58.

The Mopar cars raced by Joseph Welch (top) and Todd Hoven – won in Factory Stock Showdown and Stock eliminators respectively.

Dusty Meyer (from Kansas) prevailed in the very tough RacingRVs.com Top Sportsman class racing his cool Chevy S-10.

Posted with files by NHRA Communications and Bruce Biegler
Photos by Bruce Biegler & Dave DeAngelis

To link to DragRaceCanada’s Summit Racing Equipment Nationals Photo Gallery please click: HERE