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2014 NHRA Four-Wide Nationals: Alund becomes first European winner

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NHRA Pro Stock driver Jimmy Alund, substituting four four-time Pro Stock champ Greg Anderson at KB Racing, became the first European to win in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, taking home the Wally from the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Concord, North Carolina. Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Robert Hight (Top Fuel) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also took home Wallys from the “Bellagio of drag strips.”

Alund was appearing in his first career Pro Stock final in just his second NHRA Four-Wide Nationals appearance. The Swedish driver is just the fourth non-American winner in the Mello Yello Series. He defeated Shane Gray, Vincent Nobile and Erica Enders-Stevens in the finals.

“Since I got here the very first time I didn’t feel pressure,” said Alund. “I knew if I did my best that I could do much more. They’re (KB Racing} professionals and they gave me a great race car. I think we work well together.”

Hight became the first two-time Funny Car winner at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, as the 2012 Four-Wide winner defeated his team owner John Force, Alexis DeJoria and Tim Wilkerson in the finals.

"This has been a great weekend,” Hight said. “We love coming to zMAX Dragway. What a better place to bring potential sponsors than this facility. John and I getting to the final made it that much more special. It’s my fourth final in a row and we’ve only missed two rounds in Pomona to start the season.”

Brown earned his first Four-Wide Nationals win by taking out Shawn Langdon, J.R. Todd and Doug Kalitta in the final round.

"When you go into a final and there's two Kalitta cars and an Al-Anabi car, it's pretty much stacked against you because the Kalitta team and Alan [Johnson]'s team work together,” said Brown. “It's like running three teammates car against one, so they definitely had the advantage, but you go out there and do what you do. We just keep our head down and keep it to the grind, and we put our best foot forward today, and we were able to edge out and become the victors."

Hines, the three-time Pro Stock Motorcycle world champ, is now a three-time Charlotte champ, winning his first Four-Wide Nationals Wally after two late-season victories at the track, including 2013. Hines took the Wally over Eddie Krawiec, John Hall and Scotty Pollacheck.

"This does a lot for my confidence because I've never had a round win here [at the Four-Wide]," said Hines. "In fact, Charlotte was bad to me. It took four races before I broke through for a win at the two-wide race in the fall. At this race there is so much going on that you never know what's going to happen. Some guys take a long time to stage and some guys want to get up there as quickly as they can. You have to be prepared for anything."

The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series is off until Friday through Sunday, April 25th through 27th when the series heads to Baytown, Texas for the NHRA O’Reilly Auto Parts SpringNationals at Royal Purple Raceway. Keep up with the action at www.nhra.com.

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