Final round results from Sunday’s 51st annual Auto Club NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, final race in the 2015 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series:
TOP FUEL – Shawn Langdon, Brownsburg, Ind., Red Fuel powered by Schumacher Electric dragster, 3.715, 332.43 mph def. Antron Brown, Brownsburg, Ind., Matco Tools US Army dragster, 3.732, 321.73 mph.
FUNNY CAR –Del Worsham, Villa Park, Calif., DHL Toyota Camry, 3.900, 328.14 mph def. Tommy Johnson Jr., Avon, Ind., Make-A-Wish Dodge, 4.023, 305.43 mph
PRO STOCK – Allen Johnson, Greeneville, Tenn., Mopar Dodge Dart, 6.541 210.18
def. Vincent Nobile, Dix Hills, NY, Mountainview Tires Chevrolet Camaro, 6.540 211.93 mph.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE – Eddie Krawiec, Brownsburg, Ind., Harley Davidson V-Rod, 6.846 192.58 mph def. Jerry Savoie, Cut Off, La., White Alligator Racing Suzuki, 6.888 194.21
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HIGHT FINISHES 6th, J. FORCE AND B. FORCE FINISH SEASON 7th
POMONA, CA ---- The 2015 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season ended today at the 51st annual Auto Club Finals in Pomona. Robert Hight finished 6th in the Mello Yello point standings after he raced to the second round before losing to eventual event and Funny Car NHRA world champion Del Worsham. John Force lost in a wild opening round race while Courtney Force lost a close race to Alexis DeJoria in the first round. Brittany Force and the Monster Energy dragster team made their best run of the weekend in a losing effort to Richie Crampton and finished her third season a career best 7th in Top Fuel points.
Robert Hight’s first round win was classic pedal fest against veteran Tim Wilkerson. At the hit of the throttle Hight’s Auto Club Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car overpowered track and went into immediate tire smoke. Hight lifted off the throttle, gathered his 10,000 hp Funny Car under control and muscled his race car down the track. Wilkerson also was battling tire smoke and at the finish line Hight got the win with a pedestrian 5.744 seconds against Wilkerson’s 5.787 seconds.
“That right there was a fun ride. To do it right in front of all the Auto Club folks. Right before that run, Tom McKernan (CEO, Automobile Club of Southern California) stuck his head under there… that gives you all the confidence in the world having all these people behind you,” said Hight at the top end after the run. “It’s fun to win one of those by driving. Hopefully we’ll get this fixed and be back to running 3.80s next run.”
In the second round Hight was in the right lane against Del Worsham who was racing for the Funny Car championship. The tree flashed, both Funny Cars launched hard and at about 200 feet the Auto Club Chevrolet Camaro lost traction and Hight had to watch his friend drive away and pick up a critical win on his road to his first Mello Yello Funny Car championship.
“We were racing for the win for Auto Club. I knew Del would make a good run because they were going after the championship. We wanted to give him a race and we just smoked the tires. I tried to pedal it again but I could see him pulling away. We got a win in the Countdown at the last race and we made strong runs in qualifying. I am already thinking about 2016,” said Hight.
It was a wild ride for 16-time champion John Force in the first round against Cruz Pedregon. As both Funny Cars left the starting line Pedregon’s Funny Car started moving towards the centerline and the two-time world champion lifted to slow his erratic run. Force’s Peak Antifreeze and Coolant Chevrolet Camaro SS lost traction and Force stepped back on the throttle and his Funny Car lurched across the center line and the 16-time Auto Club Raceway at Pomona winner was disqualified. It was a surprising turn of events that will make the 100th race between these two Hall of Famers one for the memories.
Courtney Force ended the 2015 season today with a stout 3.98 second pass in the first round of eliminations. Unfortunately, Force lost the extremely close first round to Alexis DeJoria. Force and DeJoria are now tied 7-7 in career matchups. As of today, eleven of their meetings have been in the first round. They have raced each other five times this season, but this is the first time they have raced at Pomona. Their last meeting was the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis this year which ended in Force taking the round win.
“Although we didn’t get the first round win we had a great side-by-side race against Alexis and in a lane that a lot of cars were struggling to get down. After watching my teammates run we made a few changes and made a solid pass at 3.98 seconds, but we got outrun right there at the end. It was a great race for all of the fans out here at my home track and although we didn’t turn on the win light I had positive and motivating words from my team on my radio after the pass. We still feel like we have ended the season learning a lot and are excited for what’s to come in 2016,” said Force.
Brittany Force and the Monster Energy Top Fuel dragster dropped a close first round race to Richie Crampton, 3.759 to 3.732 seconds. The third year driver had starting line advantage on reaction time, .051 to. 078, which resulted in a finish line advantage of less than a thousandth of a second or essentially one inch at 320 mph. Force’s run was the fifth quickest of the first round but it was not her day to win her first Top Fuel title.
“We are out here at our home track and you want to win the whole race. I love coming out here and there were a lot of people from Monster here as well as a lot of my friends and family. One of these days I will win this race today just wasn’t that day,” said Force. “It is the last race of the season and you can’t help but look at your season as a whole. I think we did an excellent job and I am very proud of my team. We finished the season No. 7 which is a big improvement from where we were last year so I am proud of this season.”
Force’s 3.759 second run was her quickest of the weekend and the 2013 Rookie of the Year took a positive thought about her final run of 2015.
“It does feel good to leave on a good run. I will leave here knowing that was our best run and we will take that and move forward,” said Force.
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MELLO YELLO CHAMPIONSHIP POINT STANDINGS
FUNNY CAR – 1. Del Worsham, 2664; 2. Jack Beckman, 2588; 3. Tommy Johnson Jr, 2548; 4. Ron Capps, 2490; 5. Matt Hagan, 2418; 6. Robert Hight, Auto Club Chevrolet Camaro SS, 2370; 7. John Force, PEAK Antifreeze Chevrolet Camaro SS, 2332; 8. Alexis DeJoria, 2313; 9. Cruz Pedregon, 2286; 10. Tim Wilkerson, 2259; 11. Courtney Force, Traxxas Chevrolet Camaro SS, 1101.
TOP FUEL – 1. Antron Brown, 2692; 2. Tony Schumacher, 2461; 3. Richie Crampton, 2430; 4. Larry Dixon, 2412; 5. Doug Kalitta, 2388; 6. Shawn Langdon, 2387; 7. Brittany Force, Monster Energy dragster, 2363; 8. Steve Torrence, 2342; 9. JR Todd, 2307; 10. Dave Connolly, 2303
PRO STOCK – 1. Erica Enders, 2712; 2. Greg Anderson, 2492; 3. Chris McGaha, 2442; 4. Drew Skillman, 2433; 5. Allen Johnson, 2423/2443; 6. Larry Morgan, 2376; 7. Vincent Nobile, 2389/2409; 8. Jason Line, 2331; 9. Shane Gray, 2299; 10. Jonathan Gray, 2286
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE - 1. Andrew Hines, 2608; 2. Eddie Krawiec, 2565; 3. Jerry Savoie, 2550; 4. Hector Arana Jr, 2419; 5. Chip Ellis, 2400; 6. Matt Smith, 2428; 7. Karen Stoffer, 2376; 8. Hector Arana, 2323; 9. Jim Underdahl, 2220; 10. Scotty Pollacheck, 2192
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JOHN FORCE, 66, PEAK Antifreeze and Coolant Chevrolet Camaro SS
Final Qualifying: 10th at 3.990 seconds, 321.73 mph
Bonus Qualifying Points: 0
Race results: Lost to Cruz Pedregon.
ROBERT HIGHT, 46, Automobile Club of Southern California Chevrolet Camaro SS
Final Qualifying: 6th at 3.945 seconds, 324.20 mph
Bonus Qualifying Points: +2 (3rd quickest of Q1 and Q3)
Race results: Tim Wilkerson; Lost to Del Worsham
COURTNEY FORCE, 27, Traxxas Chevrolet Camaro SS
Final Qualifying: 9th at 3.988 seconds, 323.12 mph
Bonus Qualifying Points: 0
Race results: Lost to Alexis DeJoria.
BRITTANY FORCE, 29, Monster Energy Top Fuel Dragster
Final Qualifying: 12th at 3.794 seconds, 320.97 mph
Bonus Qualifying Points: 0
Race results: Lost to Richie Crampton.