Pomona, CA – J.R. Todd was chasing history today at the NHRA Winternationals as he raced to his 19th Funny Car final round in pursuit of his first Funny Car title at the historic event. Todd had two Top Fuel victories at the traditional season-opening race which was rescheduled to July this season. Todd was looking to add his name to a list of Top Fuel and Funny Car Winternationals winners that included Don Prudhomme, Kenny Bernstein and Gary Scelzi. Todd came up just inches short as he grabbed Funny Car runner-up honors to Ron Capps today at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.
In an epic final Todd got a starting line advantage but was unable to hold off the No. 1 qualifier for the win. The team was battling an issue with dropped cylinders all day but they were able to dispatch three opponents to reach the final.
“We didn’t run spectacular, but we ran good enough to get to the final,” said Todd. “We had a problem dropping cylinders today and that’s what cost us in the final. I’m just glad to get there. The Western Swing was a struggle until we got to Pomona and then the track was real tricky this weekend. So hats off to Todd Smith, Jon Oberhofer and all of the DHL Toyota guys who made it happen today. I just wish we could have gotten a win to finish off the Swing, but all in all, it was a good points day.”
Pruett, Capps Double-Up for DSR at Hometown Track
POMONA, CA – Drag racing’s winningest organization ‘doubled-up,’ sweeping the Top Fuel and Funny Car categories for the 68th time during the rescheduled NHRA Winternationals on Sunday when SoCal racers Leah Pruett and Ron Capps broke through to drive their 11,000-horsepower machines to victory for the first time in 2021.
Aboard the Sparkling Ice Spiked Top Fuel dragster, Pruett clocked a 4.021-second at 247.61 mph run in the final round to earn her ninth Top Fuel victory, while Capps posted a 4.151-second at 297.75 mph pass behind the wheel of the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat to earn his 66th Funny Car trophy, and 67th overall.
One week after advancing to the final round in Sonoma, Pruett followed up her strong NorCal performance by securing the second seed at the venue where she first got her NHRA start while competing in Jr. Dragsters 25 years prior. The Redlands, Calif. native opened eliminations with a round-one triumph over Steve Chrisman to earn the coveted quarterfinal Bye run. Against Mike Salinas in the semis, Pruett took the Sparkling Ice Spiked machine on a winning 3.927-second ride to secure a bid to the finals for the 18th time in her career.
POMONA, CA – J.R. Todd drove his DHL Toyota Camry to the Funny Car final round at Sunday’s Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona before eventually falling to Ron Capps, while Antron Brown advanced to the Top Fuel semifinals as the top finishing Toyota drivers on the day. It was the third final round appearance of the year for Todd and he leaves Pomona just 57 points out of the top spot in the Funny Car championship race.
The 2018 Funny Car world champion opened the day with a match-up against fellow Camry driver Jeff Diehl. He had a slight lead at the tree, but Diehl started to drop cylinders right off the line and lifted early as Todd registered a strong pass for the win, giving him lane choice over Robert Hight in round two. Once again, Todd had the starting line advantage and held off a charging Hight for the close hole shot win with the two running the exact same ETs. That set up a semifinal against Jim Campbell where Todd had an .047 lead at the starting line and led wire-to-wire to send him to the finals against Ron Capps. With track temperatures at 138 degrees, Todd had an .018 advantage on the tree, but dropped cylinders before the midway point, with Capps taking the lead early and driving to the victory. For the day, Todd had a quicker reaction time than all four of his opponents.
POMONA, CA – John Force and the PEAK / BlueDEF PLATINUM Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car had a semifinal finish at the postponed Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. Brittany Force with the Flav-R-Pac dragster and Robert Hight with the Automobile Club of Southern California Chevy had quarterfinal appearances.
Sixteen-time world champion John Force and the PEAK / BlueDEF Chevy had a treacherous road ahead of them entering race day. Qualifying was tricky for the Danny Hood and Tim Fabrisis led team, putting them in the No. 12 spot to start race day with a monster match-up against Matt Hagan. Force would run 4.054-seconds at 313.66 mph to defeat Hagan’s 4.112 at 308.99. Giving Force the opportunity to move around the multi-time champ in the points.
Longtime rival Cruz Pedregon was waiting for Force in the quarterfinals. It would be a close race with Force coming out on top at 4.353-second and 260.46 mph to Pedregon’s 4.361 at 218.37 after they both had to pedal their way to the finish line. In the semifinals, Force would have to face another former Funny Car champion, Ron Capps. It would be Capps who got the better of Force and the PEAK team going 4.158-seconds at 300.06 mph to beat Force’s 4.659 at 195.19 and eventually win the race.
CAPPS, PRUETT, STANFIELD AND M. SMITH CLOSE WESTERN SWING WITH WINS AT LUCAS OIL NHRA WINTERNATIONALS
POMONA, CA – Don Schumacher Racing swept the nitro categories for the first time in the 2021 NHRA season on Sunday, as Leah Pruett and Ron Capps won in Top Fuel and Funny Car, respectively, at the 61st annual Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals presented by ProtectTheHarvest.com at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.
Aaron Stanfield (Pro Stock) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also won their respective categories at the 10th race of the 2021 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season and the final event of the famed three-race NHRA Western Swing.
Capps, who also qualified No. 1 this weekend, grabbed his first win of the year by going 4.151-seconds at 297.75 mph in the final round against J.R. Todd in his 11,000-horsepower NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat. It is the 67th career win for the former Funny Car world champ and also gave him the points lead. Capps conquered the rigorous conditions at Pomona on Sunday, knocking off Bobby Bode, Bob Tasca III, who held the points lead going into Sunday, and longtime rival John Force to reach the final round. He quickly tracked down Todd in the finals, celebrating a meaningful win at his home track.
POMONA, CA – Justin Ashley Racing is excited to announce the addition of Anderson Enterprises as an associate sponsor for the final race of the historic Western Swing. The 61st NHRA Winternationals is being contested this weekend at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona and will close out a grueling three races in three weeks schedule. Anderson Enterprises will be branded on the Smart Sanitizer Top Fuel dragster powered by Strutmasters.com for all three qualifying sessions and during final eliminations on Sunday. Ashley, the No. 7 qualifier, will face Buddy Hull in the first round. Additionally, Anderson Enterprises will be utilizing the team’s hospitality area throughout the weekend.
“We are always looking to introduce new businesses to the sport of NHRA drag racing,” said Justin Ashley, 2020 NHRA Rookie of the Year. “Our goal is to offer companies the chance to come out to a race and see what we are all about. Shawn Anderson is a big motorsports fan and he connected with our marketing representative Rich Bailey to put a one race deal together.”
”This is a great sport with a lot of opportunities for businesses to host clients, promote their products or just enjoy a weekend with their employees as a perk. Having Shawn and Anderson Enterprises with us this weekend will be a lot of fun,” added Ashley.
POMONA, CA – For the second week in a row and fourth time this season, NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car pilot Ron Capps will start race day from the No. 1 seed. Capps earned the pole during the third and final round of qualifying for the NHRA Winternationals by powering his 11,000-horsepower machine to a stout 3.941-second pass under the Auto Club Raceway at Pomona lights to earn his 29th No. 1 qualifier award.
Capps, who owns the class-best qualifying average, has been racking up yellow No. 1 qualifier hats left and right as of late, and has advanced to the semifinals or beyond four times in the last five events. While they’ve come close, finishing as the runner-up at Houston, Team NAPA is still chasing their first 2021 triumph. The Carlsbad, Calif. resident, who refers to the Dean Antonelli/John Medlen-led NAPA team as ‘a win waiting to happen,’ knows the hot and tricky track conditions that plagued teams during Q2 – the only qualifying session contested during the heat of the day – will once again provide its own unique set of challenges on race day.
“Tomorrow is going to be new territory for a lot of crew chiefs and drivers,” said Capps referring to the uber-hot weather conditions that teams will have to battle through on Sunday. “We only got one run in the heat this weekend, and no one made it down. It’s such a different track being here in July versus February or November, and it’s kind of fun. That 10 a.m. round-one session could have the best conditions we’ll see all weekend. The track has just been so difficult to get down, so you’ve really got to be on your game, especially with a car like ours that makes a lot of power. You really have to make sure you race the race track and that’s why I’m so glad I’m with the team I’m with, because they’re able to do that.