Alcohol classes reach late rounds at the NHRA Carolina Nationals

The Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series competitors have been battling for two days, and it’s coming down to the semifinals for many categories at the DEWALT NHRA Carolina Nationals. Here’s a breakdown of the alcohol classes and who will be racing who on Sunday at zMAX Dragway.

Top Alcohol Dragster

No. 1 qualifier Matt Cummings (Photo: Auto Imagery)

Matt Cummings vs. Dan Dietrich
No. 1 qualifier Matt Cummings saw Rachel Meyer leave first by a smidge (he was .070 to her .028-second reaction time) but he thundered ahead for a 5.135-second win at 281.71 mph to a 5.234, 279.15. Cummings, who was the No. 3 finisher in the four-wide final round in Charlotte earlier this year, will race Dan Dietrich in the semifinals. Dietrich was runner-up to Jackie Fricke in the Maple Grove Raceway regional event this year.

Julie Nataas vs. Karen Stalba
This class has done a ton to show that gender has zero to do with ability here in NHRA drag racing. So far this year, there have been three all-female final rounds and a total of five female winners in just 11 races. Julie Nataas and Karen Stalba will go head-to-head in the semifinals on Sunday in Charlotte, and they are well-matched. Nataas has won four regional races this season and was the 2019 Four-Wide Nationals winner. Stalba comes to the NHRA Carolina Nationals looking to go one better than she did earlier this year at the spring race at zMAX Dragway. Stalba was runner-up to Rachel Meyer at that event.

Top Alcohol Funny Car

Nick Januik (Photo: Auto Imagery)

Nick Januik vs. Bye
Nick Januik will take a bye run into the final round as he got the nod over DJ Cox in the quarterfinals. Januik reached the final round there at zMAX Dragway this past spring, but finishing fourth in his final-round quad meant his performance only “technically” counts as a semifinals finish – so he’s already one step ahead this time around. Januik has one national event win on his scorecard going into raceday, and that was claimed in 2014 at the spring race in Las Vegas. The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway was also the site of Januik’s division win earned earlier this year. P.S. He also was runner-up to Doug Gordon at the regional race in Acton, Montana.

Sean Bellemeur vs. Brian Gawlik
Brian Gawlik has said that he’s “just out here to learn,” but he appears to be out here to win. The Allentown, Pennsylvania, resident first got the win light over Kris Hool, then advanced on troubled No. 1 qualifier Bob McCosh in the second round. The Maple Grove Raceway regional runner-up will race Sean Bellemeur, who really, really seems comfortable at zMAX Dragway. Bellemeur won the fall race here in 2018 and 2019, and he was victorious at the “Bellagio of Dragstrips” earlier this year at the Four-Wide Nationals.

Eliminations will begin with the Pro categories at 10:30am ET at zMAX Dragway.

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