Class Ceiling

Recap of the four-lane NHRA race at Concord, North Carolina

It was an exciting weekend of racing in North Carolina. Fox photo

Welcome to Femmefanaticsports recap of the Four Wide Concord, N. Carolina.

First Lady of Drag Racing? Winningest Female in professional Motorsports  history?  First woman  to Win the highly coveted Wally? (Danica Patrick and Christmas Abbott are favorites too, but this article is speaking exclusively on Class Ceiling Contenders in the NHRA).

The answer to most of these questions is deeply embedded in the events that unfolded this past weekend at the Four Wide Nationals in North Carolina at the zMAX Dragway. 

It's the reason Audrey Worm made a successful debut at Reading and even though considered a part time rookie , is making waves with the goal of eight events this year. It's the reason Erica Enders is hard to beat on the tree. It's the reason Courtney, Brittany and Ashley Force are so stoked for each race. (Makes for a proud Pappa, John Force.) It's the reason Leah Pritchett is relentless and refuses to give up.

So Crew Chief for Cruz Pedregon Aaron Brooks agrees that running on the 1st Four Wide Novelty track is indeed a daunting task. (Way to go Cruz for ruling the roost!)

Steve Torrence, Terry MacMillen and Clay Millican can also attest to the fact that getting your team, your setup and your car on the same page to run on any official NHRA two-lane track is in itself a challenge.   (Matt Hagan knows this all too well as he set records but destroyed a Mopar body this weekend).

Now to bring home the point, the first woman to win a Wally (NHRA'S Most Prestigious Award) was Shirley "the Drag-On Lady" Shahan. She was also the first woman to win an NHRA Pro event.   A real class act.

Then there's  Shirley "ChaCha" Muldowney . She mastered the two-lane in her top Fuel Dragster  racing with the likes of Connie Kalitta, Don Prudhomme, and Jungle Jim Liberman, young people everywhere were mesmerized! Moms, grandmas, wives, aunts  and sisters all over were abuzz! She is the classy First Lady of Drag Racing as she paved the way for Angelle Savoie ( Most winningest female in motor sports, hands down).  Megan Meyer, (who is a tw0 time winner at this track, but not to be confused with Rocker Meg Myers-Sorry), Annie Whiteley (Come on, she drives a Top Alcohol Funny Car Chevy Camaro, Seriously) to name a few. The latter  were schooled in the Class of Four Wide  in Concord, North Carolina and came off victorious! 

We are just scratching the surface here, to be sure , but what I appreciate about this trip down  drag racing memory lane is how important coed is. Teamwork is crucial for growth and stability.  Role models are vital. To have stable, secure leadership where each  team member is acknowledged and appreciated for their input and hard work  is a must for successful families and communities.  This  makes for a happy, content, right wise society.

(NHRA Photo)

Check out the results of NHRA'S Mello Yello Drag Racing Series /@ the NGK Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMax Dragway. Concord, North Carolina below:

CONCORD, N.C. -- Sunday's final results from the ninth annual NGK Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMax Dragway. The race is the sixth of 24 in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series:

Top Fuel -- Steve Torrence, 3.813 seconds, 326.56 mph def. Doug Kalitta, 4.010 seconds, 278.12 mph and Terry McMillen, 4.361 seconds, 235.72 mph and Clay Millican, 5.295 seconds, 129.97 mph;

Funny Car -- Cruz Pedregon, Toyota Camry, 4.059, 310.84 def. John Force, Chevy Camaro, 4.098, 307.93 and Tommy Johnson Jr., Dodge Charger, 4.143, 275.39 and Courtney Force, Camaro, 6.215, 114.46;

Pro Stock -- Erica Enders, Chevy Camaro, 6.535, 212.73 def. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.520, 212.69 and Chris McGaha, Camaro, 8.237, 118.82 and Drew Skillman, Camaro, 18.515, 43.69;

Pro Stock Motorcycle -- Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.784, 195.73 def. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.873, 197.05 and Scotty Pollacheck, Suzuki, 6.865, 193.79 and Matt Smith, Victory, DQ;

Pro Modified -- Jose Gonzalez, Chevy Camaro, 5.743, 254.09 def. Steve Jackson, Camaro, 5.763, 243.68 and Rickie Smith, Camaro, 5.775, 250.74 and Brandon Snider, Chevy Corvette, 6.393, 162.10;

Top Alcohol Dragster -- Megan Meyer, 5.192, 276.29 def. Dan Page, 5.250, 276.97.

Top Alcohol Funny Car -- Annie Whiteley, Chevy Camaro, 5.467, 267.59 def. DJ Cox Jr., Camaro, 6.296, 177.77.

Competition Eliminator -- Frank Aragona, Dragster, 7.378, 172.83 def. Al Ackerman, Dragster, 7.983, 151.39.

Super Stock -- Anthony Bertozzi, Pontiac Grand Am, 9.411, 110.71 def. Bryan Worner, Chevrolet, Foul - Red Light.

Stock Eliminator -- Thomas Fletcher, Chevy Camaro, 10.228, 117.67 def. James Williamson, Camaro, 11.485, 113.49.

Super Comp -- Jonathan Anderson, Dragster, 8.891, 162.78 def. Sherman Adcock, Dragster, 8.880, 166.91.

Super Gas -- Ken Griffiths, Chevy Corvette, 9.884, 152.68 def. Steve Furr, Chevy Camaro, Foul - Red Light

Stay tuned !

Next weekend 

WHEN: MAY 4-6 ,2018.

WHAT: NHRA Southern Nationals Powered by Mello Yello

WHERE: Atlanta Dragway, 500 E RIDGEWAY RD COMMERCE, GA 30529 - 

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The Astros suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Yankees Thursday. Composite image by Brandon Strange.

After an impressive two-game sweep of the NL-best Mets at home earlier in the week, the Astros took to the road to begin a four-game series with the league-best Yankees on Thursday night. To little surprise, the series started with a bang (no, not a trash can bang) in more ways than one, confirming that this series should be a must-watch this weekend.

New York's comeback proves no lead will be safe

Right from the get-go, the loud Yankee Stadium faithful had their chance to rain boos down on Jose Altuve before showing some pleasure as he led off the series by being hit by a pitch. They were quickly, though only temporarily, quieted as Altuve would come in to score two batters later on a three-run blast by Alex Bregman.

Three-run homers seemed to be a theme, as New York would get one of their own to tie the game off the bat of Giancarlo Stanton to tie the game, then Yordan Alvarez continued his dominant June by pushing the Astros back in front by three with another three-run bomb in the third, making it 6-3. That lead held through to the bottom of the ninth, where instead of holding it, Ryan Pressly issued two walks to set up the fourth homer of the game to tie things again before Aaron Judge would get a walk-off single to complete the impressive comeback.

Not only will we get to sit back and watch the slug-fest between Yordan and Judge this weekend, but it looks like with Alex Bregman swinging well again to round out the top of Houston's order, the Astros may be getting closer to their full power. So far in June, these two teams sit third and fourth in on-base percentage, with the Astros at .351 and the Yankees right behind at .350. That means we should continue to see scoring opportunities on both sides that can tilt momentum one way or the other as these lineups try to battle against the opposing pitcher.

How will the aces fare

Verlander vs. Judge, and Cole vs. Alvarez, need I say more? Although we won't see Justin Verlander go up against Gerrit Cole in the same game in this series (they should go head to head next Thursday, however), they will pitch on back-to-back days, with Houston's ace going Friday night and New York's on Saturday afternoon. Verlander is coming off his worst start of the year, a three and two-thirds inning outing where the White Sox put up seven runs, four earned, against him and knocked him out early to give him his third loss and increased his ERA from 1.94 to 2.30.

The last time he faced the Yankees was in the Bronx in the 2019 playoffs, in ALCS Game 5, where he went seven frames while allowing four runs, all on two homers in the first inning, which is all New York needed to grab the 4-1 victory to make it a 3-2 Houston lead in the series, which the Astros would go on to clinch in Game 6. So, with the double dose of bad taste in his mouth, it will be interesting to see if he can use that as the fuel to get back to the phenomenal form he's had this year or if the Yankees try to jump on him early like they did nearly three years ago.

Cole, meanwhile, is fresh off of two quality starts in a row against the Rays, where he allowed just one run on six hits with nineteen strikeouts over 13.1 innings of work. He's had his share of strife this season, though, including a seven-run shelling by the Twins earlier this month, along with a start in April where he couldn't make it through two innings against the Tigers. He's had success against his former club, most notably a complete-game shutout in Houston last July with twelve K's and holding the Astros to just three hits.

If the series opener was any indication, we are in for the treat of a playoff-caliber matchup, if not a potential ALCS preview that we may see in October. The Yankees showed why they have the best record and are the hottest team in baseball on Thursday night, but the Astros were only a good outing from their closer away from having a relatively lopsided win. The rivalry is real; the competition is close, and we get to enjoy the show.

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