S. TORRENCE, HAGAN, COUGHLIN AND M. SMITH EARN NO. 1 QUALIFIERS HEADING INTO CHAMPIONSHIP SUNDAY AT AUTO CLUB NHRA FINALS
POMONA, CA – Defending world champ and Top Fuel points leader Steve Torrence made an impressive statement during the final qualifying session on Saturday at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, vaulting to the No. 1 spot at the Auto Club NHRA Finals.
Matt Hagan (Funny Car), Jeg Coughlin Jr. (Pro Stock) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are all No. 1 qualifiers in their respective categories at the last of six races in the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship playoffs. The race also serves as the finale of the 24-race 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season.
After struggling on Friday, Torrence unleashed an outstanding run to close out qualifying on Saturday, jumping to the top with a run of 3.686-seconds at 329.99 mph in his Capco Contractors dragster. Looking to win his second straight world title, Torrence earned his fifth No. 1 qualifier this year and 24th in his career and will face Cameron Ferre to open eliminations. He takes a 22-point lead over Brittany Force into raceday, and the past two world champs could meet in the second round. Force qualified eighth with a 3.726 at 331.69 and races Antron Brown in the first round. If Torrence and Force both win, they would face off in the second round.
WITH TITLES ON THE LINE, HAGAN, PRITCHETT, COUGHLIN AND M. SMITH TAKE PROVISIONAL NO. 1 SPOTS AT AUTO CLUB NHRA FINALS
POMONA, CA – Fresh off two straight wins and still in championship contention, Matt Hagan kept his hot streak going by racing to the provisional No. 1 spot in Funny Car during qualifying on Friday at the 55th annual Auto Club NHRA Finals.
Leah Pritchett (Top Fuel), Jeg Coughlin Jr. (Pro Stock) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are also provisional No. 1 qualifiers in their respective categories at the last of six races in the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship playoffs. The race also serves as the finale of the 24-race 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season.
Hagan made the quickest run in both qualifying sessions, including a top pass of 3.872-seconds at 333.58 mph in his MOPAR Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody to close out the final session on Friday. It gave the two-time world champ eight qualifying bonus points, pulling him closer to points leader Robert Hight. Hagan, a two-time world champ who is racing for his second No. 1 qualifier this season and 35th of his career, entered the weekend 56 points back of Hight, but appears set on make things interesting.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE’S ANDREW HINES LOOKS TO CAP DOMINANT 2019 SEASON WITH SIXTH WORLD TITLE AT AUTO CLUB NHRA FINALS
POMONA, CA – Andrew Hines has had a spectacular career filled with the most wins in Pro Stock Motorcycle
history. But the five-time NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series world champion has never had a year like he’s enjoyed in 2019, and now Hines looks to put one final stamp on it at this weekend’s 55th annual Auto Club NHRA Finals at historic Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.
With a career-best eight victories and 10 final-round appearances this year, Hines takes a commanding 115-point lead into Pomona for the final race of the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship playoffs. The points-and-a-half scenario in play for the season finale means nothing has been clinched yet, but Hines can put a triumphant bow on his incredible season should he pick up a win on his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson in Pomona.
“It’s been a fantastic year and I’ve never had a season like this,” said Hines, who has 56 career victories. “I’ve been doing this 18 years and to have the success we’ve had this year, it’s blown everything out of the water. We couldn’t have scripted it any better. It’s been a fun atmosphere this year and hopefully we can cap it off with a big trophy and one heck of a celebration. Harley-Davidson has pushed me to be even better and that support really rejuvenated me.”
PRO STOCK’S ERICA ENDERS EYES THIRD WORLD TITLE, HOPES TO KEEP CONTENDERS AT BAY APPROACHING AUTO CLUB NHRA FINALS
POMONA, CA – Erica Enders has always thrived in pressure situations throughout a standout NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series career, and that’s once again been apparent in 2019. She’s also on the verge of the third world championship in Pro Stock, looking to finish the job in style at this weekend’s 55th annual Auto Club NHRA Finals at historic Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.
She takes a 92-point lead over Elite Motorsports teammate Jeg Coughlin Jr. into the final race of the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship playoffs, taking full advantage of getting hot at the perfect time. She’s won two playoff races in her Melling Performance/Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro, earning the 150th win for females in NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series history along the way, meaning a third postseason victory would be the perfect capper to a third world title.
“Momentum is huge in this sport,” Enders said. “At the beginning of the year, we had some pretty deep valleys and we had to claw our way out of them. (Team owner) Richard Freeman has put us in position to do the best we can. Peaking at the right time is crucial. We’re going to go out to Pomona to win the race. We’re going to dig deep and I’m excited about the opportunity.”
THRILLING FUNNY CAR TITLE RACE FEATURES FORMER WORLD CHAMPS COMPETING FOR ANOTHER CROWN AT AUTO CLUB NHRA FINALS
POMONA, CA – Jack Beckman remembers the incredible emotions he felt claiming his first Funny Car world title seven years ago in Pomona. He returns to the historic facility for this weekend’s 55th annual Auto Club NHRA Finals at historic Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, hopeful he can enjoy another magical weekend at the final race of the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship playoffs. But he’s not the only former world champ after the ultimate prize.
The race for the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series world title in Funny Car features plenty of thrilling storylines, including the fact that all four major contenders are championship tested. Two-time world champ Robert Hight is the current leader, holding a 46-point lead on Beckman, a 56-point advantage on two-time champ Matt Hagan and a 72-point cushion on 16-time champ and teammate John Force. Three of the four (Hight, Beckman, Force) are southern California natives, while they have also combined for 26 wins at Pomona.
That’s a list that doesn’t include Beckman, who hopes his first career win at Pomona in his 11,000-horsepower Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge SRT Hellcat paves the way for a second world title. With the points-and-a-half scenario in play at Pomona, Beckman knows anything can happen.
GLENDORA, CA – NHRA announced today that the Bahrain International Circuit, which currently boasts a vibrant drag racing community and numerous events, has extended their NHRA Worldwide Network agreement.
NHRA Worldwide Network is designed to enable drag racing facilities around the world to conduct events under the NHRA banner. As part of the NHRA Worldwide Network, Bahrain International Circuit will be able to use the specially-designed “Worldwide Drag Racing” NHRA oval for broad promotional purposes and will be able to draw on NHRA’s decades of experience and history.
“We are excited to announce Bahrain International Circuit has extended their agreement with the NHRA,” said Josh Peterson, NHRA vice president racing administration. “Drag Racing is extremely popular in Bahrain and we are excited to continue working with the track to help grow their programs.”
TOP FUEL CHAMPIONSHIP HOPEFULS PREPARING FOR WILD RIDE AS WORLD TITLE SET TO BE DECIDED AT AUTO CLUB NHRA FINALS
POMONA, CA – It is only fitting that an incredible season in Top Fuel, one loaded with a multitude of standout competitors, is slated for an epic finish at this weekend’s 55th annual Auto Club NHRA Finals at historic Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.
While a handful of drivers are still mathematically alive heading into the final race of the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship playoffs, the world champion will likely be decided by four star participants: reigning NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series world champ Steve Torrence, 2017 Top Fuel champ Brittany Force, longtime veteran Doug Kalitta, who is seeking his first championship, and Steve’s father, Billy, who has come alive in the Countdown with two wins.
S. Torrence currently holds the slight advantage with a 16-point lead over Force in his 11,000-horsepower Capco Contractors dragster. He leads Kalitta by 55 points and his father by 86, knowing full well it is shaping up to be a wild weekend in Pomona to close out the 2019 season.