John Force finished off a dominating weekend with his first victory of the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season, racing to his 155th career Funny Car win on Sunday at the Circle K NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway.
Mike Salinas (Top Fuel) and Steve Johnson (Pro Stock Motorcycle) all picked up wins at the sixth of 22 races during the 2022 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season.
Force qualified No. 1 with a track-record run of 3.850s, set the track speed record with a blast of 335.07 mph in his 11,000-horsepower PEAK/BlueDEF Platinum Chevrolet Camaro SS during the first round of eliminations and then finished off the weekend with a run of 3.914 at 328.66 in the final round, knocking off Robert Hight, defending world champion Ron Capps and first-time finalist Mike McIntire Jr. Force, the 16-time Funny Car world champ, had the standout car all weekend, rolling to his second straight four-wide win in Charlotte and he also dedicated the win to his daughter, Adria, who is recovering from a medical issue.
“Things just seem to happen where you’re destined to win,” Force said. “It was amazing. On some days, magical things just happen. Things went right and we were able to win the race. It was like it was destiny and it was a great weekend for my team. To finally get a win this year gives me a lot of confidence.”
Hight finished as the runner-up as he advanced to his third final round of the 2022 season. He remained second in points behind leader Matt Hagan, while Force jumped to fourth.
In Top Fuel, Salinas earned his second victory this season and fifth in his career, going an impressive 3.708 at 330.47 in his 11,000-horsepower Pep Boys/Scrappers Racing dragster in a final round quad that also featured Cameron Ferre, Spencer Massey, and Josh Hart. On a wild day that included a number of upsets, Salinas was consistent throughout, running 3.765 and 3.708 to reach final round. He put together another solid run in the finals, joining Brittany Force as the only two-time winners in the class in 2022.
“We have a very, very consistent car,” Salinas said. “The consistency of the car, the crew, everybody on the team, it’s amazing. Rob Flynn is an amazing crew chief. All our runs (in eliminations) were in the 70s. We’ve worked so hard to get here. Most people don’t understand this stuff is hard, We’re racing the best guys in the world. But if you believe you belong here, do the right things to stay here, you’re going to be here, and you’re going to win.”
Cameron Ferre finished as the runner-up, going 3.924 at 307.44 as he tried to pick up his first career win. Brittany Force maintained the points lead, while Salinas moved into second with the victory.
The Charlotte four-wide event continues to treat Johnson very well, as the Pro Stock Motorcycle veteran rode his way to a second straight win and a second consecutive victory at the Circle K NHRA Four-Wide Nationals. Johnson went 6.740 at 200.65 on his USA Electric Suzuki in the finals, easily distancing himself from Karen Stoffer, Eddie Krawiec and Joey Gladstone. It gives Johnson his 11th career victory and plenty of momentum after also winning last weekend in Houston. At zMAX Dragway, Johnson had the quickest bike of every session during eliminations, including an impressive run of 6.712 at 201.40 in the second round that set the track record. He also moved into the points lead with his second victory this season.
“These bikes, they’re so hard to ride perfectly,” Johnson said. “We made some good runs today, but it’s never going to be an easy day in this class. For us to win, it’s special and this track is always a special place. Anytime you can win and win a race at a Bruton Smith track, you’re killing it and doing a great job.”
Stoffer, who won the opener, in Gainesville finished as the runner-up with her run of 6.824 at 198.88 in the championship round quad. She now trails Johnson by six points.
The NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series returns to action May 13-15 with the Virginia NHRA Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park.