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Kalitta ends long drought with Top Fuel win

ENNIS, Texas (AP) - Doug Kalitta ended a 71-race winless drought Sunday with a Top Fuel victory in the NHRA Fall Nationals at Texas Motorplex.

Cruz Pedregon (Funny Car), Jason Line (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were winners at the second of six races in the NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoffs.

Kalitta claimed his first victory since 2010 by powering his dragster to a performance of 3.842 seconds at 320.42 mph to hold off No. 1 qualifier Shawn Langdon in the final round. Kalitta's second career victory at Texas Motorplex also gave him a share of the points lead with Langdon, who broke the track record earlier Sunday.

``This is huge,'' said Kalitta of his three-year winless drought. ``I was just trying to make sure I didn't screw it up. At the end of the day, we prevailed.''

In Funny Car, Pedregon claimed his fourth Funny Car win of the season and 34th of his career by defeating 15-time world champion John Force in the final round. Pedregon pushed his Toyota Camry 312.06 mph over 4.106 seconds at to hold off Force's Ford Mustang and moved to second in the points standings.

``A couple months back, I thought about how cool it would be to sweep the Texas races,'' said Pedregon. ``Lo and behold, here we are. It was a great way to put an exclamation point on this event. It's great for our team. We kind of hung around and built momentum as the race went on.''

Line earned his second Pro Stock victory of the season and first in the Countdown, outrunning Shane Gray in the final round. Line powered his Chevy Camaro to his second Texas Motorplex win with a performance of 6.590 seconds at 211.16 mph to hold off Gray's Camaro. With the victory, the 31st of his career, Line claimed the points lead for the first time since 2011.

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, reigning world champion Krawiec claimed his first win of 2013 and first victory at Texas Motorplex, riding his Harley-Davidson to a victory of 6.951 seconds at 191.87 mph in the final round against Matt Smith.

The NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoffs continue with the Midwest Nationals on Sept. 27-29 at Gateway Motorsports Park near St. Louis.

Copyright 2018 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
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