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Doug Kalitta Scores Second Straight Wally After Winning Betway Carolina Nationals At zMAX Dragway

From Phil Burgess, NHRA National Dragster Editor

CONCORD, N.C. (Sept. 24, 2023) – After a three-year drought, Doug Kalitta won his second straight Top Fuel title to take the points lead with a victory at the Betway NHRA Carolina Nationals, the second event of the six-race NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship, at zMAX Dragway.

Kalitta, fresh off his first win in nearly three years and the milestone 50th of his career, kept the raceday momentum rolling by taking out points leader Steve Torrence to take his first points lead since the fall of 2020. Kalitta’s Alan Johnson- and Brian Husen-tuned Mac Tools rail followed with victories over teammate Shawn Langdon and Leah Pruett to reach the 111th final round of his career, where he defeated Mike Salinas, 3.69 to 3.71.

"A lot of what we've been doing has been in the clouds, and low temperatures, so it was nice that the thing was going down the track with .74s throughout the day and then obviously, we had to tune that for the final against Mike, and he was right there. It was a real close race.

"It was a good day for all my guys. It's been a while since I've had a points lead, and with Alan and Brian, and all these guys, they are the ones used to winning the championship, so I'm glad I'm along for the ride with whatever we end up with. it's a great start for us and I've got just a ton of support from everybody that's been following me over the years. Winning the championship would be huge, but we've just got to keep going rounds."

Salinas, who raced his Rob Flynn-tuned Valley Services Scrappers Racing dragster to the No. 1 qualifying spot Saturday night with an historic 3.64 that was created on the back of the sport’s first 300-mph eighth-mile pass — for which he received a rich bounty of $30,000 from Phillips Connect — worked his way past part-timer Mike Bucher in round one to earn a second-round bye, then took down Austin Prock with a 3.89 to reach the final, his first since his season-opening win in Gainesville.

The halfway point of the NHRA Countdown to the Championship will be at World Wide Technology Raceway for the NHRA Midwest Nationals Sept. 29 - Oct. 01.

See the latest from the NHRA:

Betway NHRA Carolina Nationals Sunday photo gallery from NHRA National Dragster staff:


Photo's: NHRA | Racing Pro Media (RPM)


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