Alund gives KB Racing another Four-Wide Nationals title

CorrespondentApril 13, 2014 

— Sweden’s Jimmy Alund got a shot at racing on the National Hot Rod Association as a substitute driver.

After his performance at zMax Dragway, Alund may want to consider moving to the United States.

Alund won the Pro Stock division in the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals on Sunday, beating Shane Gray, Vincent Nobile and Erica Enders-Stevens in the final to give Mooresville-based KB Racing its third title in the unique four-lane event.

“To be able to outrun nine cars in one day, looking at the drivers in those cars and the teams they belong to, it’s pretty awesome,” said Alund, who used a 0.029-second reaction time to beat Gray by 0.001 seconds (6.562-6.563) in the final.

“I haven’t really thought about it, because it hasn’t sunk in yet. I’ve won a lot of races over in Europe, but this is something special.”

Other division winners Sunday were Antron Brown in Top Fuel, Robert Hight in Funny Car, and Andrew Hines in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Alund, an eight-time FIA European Pro Stock champion, was called on by KB Racing to substitute for four-time series champion Greg Anderson, who was forced to miss the first three months of the NHRA season after heart surgery.

With Anderson returning next month, Alund was set to resume racing in Europe. Now that he’s sitting eighth in the Pro Stock standings, Alund may have to think about finishing out the season.

“There is some overlap (between the NHRA and European schedules),” said Alund, who has been flying from Sweden to the NHRA events. “I’ve got sponsors and responsibilities over there, but they’re pretty happy with what I’ve done over here. We’ll just have to cross that bridge when we get to it.”

Brown doubles up: Brown became the first two-time Top Fuel winner on the NHRA tour this season by winning his first Four-Wide Nationals title and the fourth overall for Don Schmacher Racing.

Brown actually had an equal elapsed time to runner-up Shawn Langdon (3.800 seconds), and third-place J.R. Todd had a better ET at 3.799 seconds. But Brown’s 0.042-second reaction time got him to the finish line first in the final.

“Against guys like that, you’ve got your work cut out for you,” Brown said after his 27th career Top Fuel win and 43rd overall. “Thank God I was on time, because it would be real easy to be on the outside looking in right now.”

Hight breaks through: Hight finally got the better of Alexis DeJoria, taking his second career Four-Wide Nationals Funny Car title by beating her, John Force and Tim Wilkerson in the final.

Hight was 0-4 in elimination rounds all-time against DeJoria, with two of those losses coming in finals this season. But the former series champ had a 4.087-second run in the final, edging out Force by 0.0543 seconds.

“This is a dangerous format for (crew chief) Mike Neff – he knows what we need to run to win,” Hight said. “Losing twice to Alexis in the finals earlier this year, that motivated him a little bit to push it, but I never felt that we were going over the line.”

A repeat for Hines: After winning last October’s fall NHRA event at zMax Dragway, Hines added his first Four-Wide Nationals Pro Stock Motorcycle title by beating out teammate Eddie Krawiec, Scotty Pollacheck and John Hall in the finals.

Hines just beat Krawiec off the starting line by 0.002 seconds, then pulled away on his Harley-Davidson to post a 6.859-second run for his 33rd career title.

“We’ve got some good momentum right now,” Hines said. “We weren’t that good on Friday, but we pulled together and got a lot better on Saturday, and a lot better today. I think things are only going to get better for us.”

Other winners: Dan Pomponio of Berlin, N.J., won his second straight Alcohol Funny Car title at the Four-Wide Nationals, and seven other drivers won division titles Sunday at zMax Dragway.

Also winning were Corey Michalek of New York, N.Y. (Alcohol Dragster), Brad Plourd of Cullman, Ala. (Super Comp), Ray Sawyer of Acton, Mass. (Super Gas), Greg Rowe of Bridgeton, N.C. (Stock), Pete D’Agnolo of Rochester, N.Y. (Super Stock), Scotty Richardson of Barbourville, Ky. (Comp Eliminator), and Marco Abruzzi of Warren, Ohio (Top Sportsman).

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