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CAPPS, B. FORCE, COUGHLIN AND SAMPEY ALL QUALIFY NO. 1 AT AUTO CLUB NHRA FINALS

POMONA, CA – Defending Funny Car world champion Ron Capps stayed in the title conversation with a clutch run on Saturday at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, tying the quickest run in his career to qualify No. 1 at the 57th annual Auto Club NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.

Brittany Force (Top Fuel), Troy Coughlin Jr. (Pro Stock) and Angelle Sampey (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also qualified No. 1 at the 22nd and final event in the 2022 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season and the sixth race in the Countdown to the Championship playoffs.

Capps went 3.837-seconds at a track-record speed of 337.33 mph in his 11,000-horsepower NAPA Auto Parts Toyota GR Supra, handing the veteran his sixth No. 1 qualifier of the season and 35th in his career. He enters raceday 57 points – or less than two rounds – behind leader Robert Hight, looking to become the first Funny Car driver to win back-to-back championships in 20 years. Capps will take on Jeff Arend in the opening round, with a possible must-see matchup looming in the semifinals against Hight, who qualified fourth with a 3.849 at 334.48.

“This is what I talk about when you get into a race car like this and you wish you could make those big runs at the big moments,” Capps said. “I know we can go out and throw down with the best. It’s a great feeling, so what a way to end qualifying. I got on the radio, and I was screaming and yelling. It was like going down the road to Disneyland and getting on Space Mountain for the first time as a kid.

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B. FORCE, PEDREGON, ANDERSON AND SAMPEY PICK UP PROVISIONAL NO. 1 POSITIONS AT AUTO CLUB NHRA FINALS

POMONA, CA – Points leader Brittany Force made the fastest run in Top Fuel history on Friday, powering to the provisional No. 1 qualifier in record-breaking fashion at the final race of the season, the 57th annual Auto Club NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.

Cruz Pedregon (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and Angelle Sampey (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are also provisional No. 1 qualifiers at the 22nd and final event in the 2022 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season and the sixth race in the Countdown to the Championship playoffs.

Force went 3.641-seconds at 338.94 mph in her 11,000-horsepower Monster Energy dragster, eclipsing her own record for the fastest run in class history and giving her a perfect start to kick off a huge weekend. If it holds, it would give Force her 10th No. 1 spot this season and 42nd in her career. More importantly, it gives Force, who entered the weekend with a slim seven-point advantage over Justin Ashley, momentum as she looks to claim her second career world title.

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SIXTH WORLD TITLE WITHIN REACH FOR PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE’S MATT SMITH AT AUTO CLUB NHRA FINALS

POMONA, CA – The finishing touches are all that’s left of what Matt Smith hopes is his sixth Pro Stock Motorcycle world championship, a number that would tie him with Andrew Hines and Dave Schultz for the most in NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series history.

But it’s not official yet, which means Smith knows the job isn’t quite done heading into this weekend at the 57th annual Auto Club NHRA Finals at legendary Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. Smith currently leads Joey Gladstone by 104 points heading into the finale in the Countdown to the Championship playoffs, meaning he has a sizable lead but not enough to officially clinch the title.

That could come as early as a first-round victory if qualifying goes well for Smith on his Denso Auto Parts Buell, but the standout remains as focused as ever as he closes in on a historic achievement.

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ROBERT HIGHT LOOKS TO WARD OFF RON CAPPS, MATT HAGAN TO CLAIM FUNNY CAR TITLE AT AUTO CLUB NHRA FINALS

POMONA, CA – An impressive season has put Funny Car’s Robert Hight on the verge of a fourth world championship in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series. But with two heavyweight contenders looming, Hight knows he needs to take care of business one more time at this weekend at the 57th annual Auto Club NHRA Finals at legendary Auto Club Raceway at Pomona to secure the title.

In what has been the best season of his career to this point, Hight has racked up eight wins, 12 finals appearances and six No. 1 qualifiers in a loaded Funny Car class, a nod to what the veteran and his team have done in their 11,000-horsepower Auto Club Chevrolet Camaro SS.

Despite the incredible success, defending world champ Ron Capps and Matt Hagan, who has three world titles, are still lurking. Capps is 61 points back and Hagan, who won the most recent race in Las Vegas, is just 63 points behind, meaning Hight’s quest for another title likely needs another great weekend in Pomona.

“I can’t wait to get it going,” Hight said. “The truth is, we’re focused and we’re going to try to get our ninth win. I’m battling with two great drivers, and we’ve battled all season long. I knew it was going to be this way and it’s been great racing all season long. But we’ve got to focus and make eight great runs. If we do that and get our ninth win, we’re the champs and we’ll get to celebrate, and that’s how I want it to play out.”

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TOP FUEL TITLE CONTENDERS SET FOR THRILLING DUEL TO CROWN CHAMPION AT AUTO CLUB NHRA FINALS IN POMONA

POMONA, CA – A truly spectacular season in the Top Fuel ranks has come down to one last epic duel at this weekend’s 57th annual Auto Club NHRA Finals at legendary Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, where a championship will be crowned to close out the 2022 campaign in NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series.

Brittany Force’s incredible comeback at the most recent race in Las Vegas, where she won and made up nearly 90 points, puts her a mere seven points ahead of Justin Ashley heading into the finale, with Mike Salinas, Antron Brown and four-time defending world champion Steve Torrence still lurking as well.

But Force and her team put themselves in contention to clinch a second world championship with their Vegas mastery, adding to what has already been a brilliant year in her 11,000-horsepower Monster Energy/Flav-R-Pac dragster. Force has claimed five wins, nine No. 1 qualifiers, the fastest run in Top Fuel history and numerous track records, but she knows there’s still work to be done in Pomona.

“I’m really proud of our entire team and we’ve had a great season,” Force said. “We’ve just got to keep doing what we’ve been doing. This team has been winning races and setting track records and now it comes down to the final race, as we knew it would. We’ve got to keep repeating what we’ve been doing and it’s going to be an exciting weekend. It’s a lot of pressure, but I’m trying to find a way to enjoy it a little bit and I am looking forward to Pomona and seeing where this ends up.”

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RECENT WIN HAS ROBERT HIGHT AND AUTO CLUB FIRED UP FOR NHRA FOUR-WIDE NATIONALS

CONCORD, NC — Points leader Robert Hight and the Auto Club of Southern California Chevy Camaro SS Funny Car team are headed to the second four-wide event, the NGK Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, determined to add to their early season success.

The 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season has been full of triumphs for Hight and the Auto Club team. They’ve had three back-to-back No. 1 qualifiers and three victories starting with the Winternationals and 50th anniversary Gatornationals. The team had a slight misstep beginning at the first four-wide event of the season in Las Vegas where they made an exit in the first quad and then struggled during Friday qualifying at the most recent SpringNationals in Houston. Led by the masterminds of Jimmy Prock and Chris Cunningham, the Auto Club team was able to regain their championship form Saturday during qualifying to secure the No. 5 position and took home their third Wally on Sunday in a John Force Racing double-up victory with Brittany Force.

“This season has been off to a really great start for this team. I’ve never seen a more focused group of guys and they get the job done. The weather conditions were all over the place in Houston and we were able to get this thing where it needed to be to get the win,” said Hight. “We had a week off and now we’re getting back into it and hoping to come back out on top in Charlotte.”

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BRITTANY FORCE AND ROBERT HIGHT DOUBLE-UP AT NHRA SPRINGNATIONALS

BAYTOWN, TX — For the third time in John Force Racing history the team has swept the nitro categories at an NHRA national event. Brittany Force with Advance Auto Parts and Robert Hight with AAA Texas picked up victories at the Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals at Houston Raceway Park on Sunday.

“This is the third time Brittany and I have had double ups. Really fourth if you count the championship in 2017. Getting the championship, we seem to do really well together in these circumstances so it was really cool to be down there when she made the corner and throw a bunch of Mello Yello on her car as she came around. It was pretty cool,” said Hight. “That team is new. We just put that team together and to see what they’ve accomplished in the short amount of time was cool. Usually it takes a team, a driver and everybody awhile to gel and especially with our John Force Racing parts that we make. David Grubnic and all of his guys, they’ve adapted well and have had two finals in a row and got a win. They’re on their way.”

After a history making Saturday where Brittany Force secured the No. 1 qualifying position with her father, Force battled her way through Cameron Ferre, Doug Kalitta, and Clay Millican before taking down three-time world champion Antron Brown for her ninth career victory, first of the season and second consecutive at Houston Raceway Park.

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BRITTANY FORCE MAINTAINS NO. 3 SPOT HEADING INTO ELIMINATIONS AT THE DENSO SPARK PLUGS FOUR-WIDE NATIONALS

LAS VEGAS — Brittany Force and the Advance Auto Parts team held onto the No. 3 qualifying position Saturday at the DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals. Her teammates, Robert Hight who is No. 9, John Force who is No. 6 and Austin Prock now No. 12 all made steady performance improvements through two days at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Brittany Force and the Advance Auto Parts team are qualified No. 3 off the efforts of their first qualifying pass of 3.733-seconds at 322.88 mph from Friday afternoon. Starting off Saturday qualifying, the Advance Auto Parts team ran into trouble on the burnout and weren’t able to reverse back to the starting line and had to coast to the finish. The run would have only been half-track after the team found and fixed a problem from Friday. For her final qualifying try, Force shut off early but crossed the line for a 3.742-second pass 297.29 mph.

“We’re the No. 3 qualifier but we had a few ups and downs. Its better that things happen during qualifying and not on race day. We lost that third round because of a reverser cable. That was unfortunate but we all learned from it and we’re all moving on going into race day,” said Force. “I’m excited to be out here at the DENSO Four-Wide. This Advance Auto Parts team, we’re looking for our first win together so hoping to get the job done tomorrow.”

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ROBERT HIGHT LOOKING FOR ANOTHER 2019 WIN AT LAS VEGAS NHRA FOUR-WIDE NATIONALS

LAS VEGAS — Robert Hight and the Auto Club of Southern California Chevy Camaro SS Funny Car team are headed to the DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals in Las Vegas ready to add another Wally to their roster.

With the points lead, two victories and three consecutive No. 1 qualifiers, Hight has had a stellar start to the 2019 Mello Yello Drag Racing season. At the most recent 50th anniversary Gatornationals, he posted the quickest time of the weekend in the Funny Car class with a 3.852 and made history as the first racer since Kenny Bernstein in 1987 to have three No. 1s in the first three races of the season. Heading to Sin City for the fourth event, Hight is eager to continue leading the power rankings and, with Jimmy Prock, Chris Cunningham and the Auto Club of Southern California team keeping his car consistent that doesn’t seem far out of reach for the two-time Funny Car world champion.

“It’s pretty awesome to drive a car like this. Sometimes you count your blessings because you don’t know how long it’s going to last and things change. It really all boils down to hard work. Qualifying No. 1 at the first three races shows we have a really good handle on this race car. We’ve been quick everywhere we’ve been,” said Hight. “I really have to give it up to Jimmy Prock and Chris Cunningham, and my Auto Club guys. They’ve really put in the work to make this thing go rounds and I can’t wait to see how it does at the Four-Wide in Las Vegas.”

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ROBERT HIGHT AND AUTO CLUB CLAIM HISTORIC VICTORY AT 50TH NHRA GATORNATIONALS

GAINESVILLE, FL — Robert Hight defeated a slew of veteran drag racers on his way to winning the Amalie Motor Oil 50th NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway on Sunday evening. The two-time world champion and his Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car team put together a series of four 3.8 passes to pick up his 47th career victory, fourth at the Gatornationals and second this season.

“This is huge. This is my fourth time winning here now. This is a big one. The 50th, there will only be one of these. It seems like my boss, John Force, always wins the big races. We’ve had a 50th anniversary race for NHRA at Pomona in the summer and the big race with Winston Showdown Battle back in the day when he ran the Superman car. He just seems to win all the cool races but I finally got one,” Hight said. “This is a cool race to win and especially with everybody at this race. Anybody of ‘whose who’ of drag racing was at this event. A lot of the people I’ve looked up to growing up as a kid were here and, now, I’m here holding the trophy and they’re watching me. It’s kind of a cool thing.”

First in Hight’s path to victory was long time racer Terry Haddock whose quickest run of the weekend at 4.234-seconds and 284.03 mph wasn’t enough for the 3.869-second, 331.94 mph set-up crew chiefs Jimmy Prock and Chris Cunningham put into the Auto Club hot rod.

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