Matt Smith

(Photos and videos courtesy NHRA)

NHRA: Capps (FC), Line (PS), Savoie (PSM) join Brown (TF) as 2016 champs

1 Comment

The NHRA promised a tremendous weekend at the season-ending Auto Club Finals in Pomona, California.

And boy, did it deliver.

Two of the best human interest stories that the sport has seen in a long time came true as Funny Car veteran Ron Capps and Pro Stock Motorcycle rider Jerry Savoie captured their first respective championships.

In addition, veteran Pro Stock driver Jason Line earned his third championship, capping off a dominating season.

(Antron Brown, meanwhile, had already clinched his second consecutive Top Fuel title – and third championship in the last five seasons – two weeks ago at Las Vegas.)

In addition, ending the season with event wins were Doug Kalitta (Top Fuel), Tommy Johnson Jr. (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle).

Capps and Savoie were arguably the NHRA’s Cinderella champions this season. After 20 seasons of trying, Capps earned his first career Funny Car championship on Saturday.

“I almost gave up the chance of trying so hard and wishing so hard and just focused on winning races,” said Capps, who was the series runner-up in 1998, 2000, 2005 and 2012. “With all the accolades I got this year – my 50th career win, passing some people I really looked up to in the sport with wins – that’s mind-boggling for me.

“This was the toughest Funny Car class ever and the 50th anniversary of the Funny Car, which was awesome. What a great, great season.”

And Savoie capped off an incredible story with his first PSM championship. During the week, Savoie rides herd as a “farmer” over nearly 60,000 alligators in his native Louisiana.

Savoie was a aspiring motorcycle drag racer in his late teens and early 20s until he climbed off his bike for the next 30 years to raise a family and build up his business.

He returned to racing in 2011 and Sunday, at the age of 57, capped off the biggest achievement on two wheels in his life by winning the title. Savoie clinched the championship when he reached the semifinals after former champs and teammates Andrew Hines and Eddie Krawiec lost in the quarterfinals.

“To only dream of winning one race and to come out here and put a deal together with the support of Vance & Hines and my crew and to win the championship is amazing,” Savoie said. “I went to church this morning and the word was encouragement and to get encouraged from the people that inspire you.

“I want to thank everybody, especially the fans. Without these guys, this would not be possible; you make our dreams come true, and those guys are my family.”

Line, meanwhile, clinched his third career championship by reaching the semifinal round Sunday, holding off KB Racing/Summit teammate Greg Anderson.

“It’s been a great year and thanks to all of our competitors; they kept us honest and made us work hard right to the end,” said Line, who also won the world title in 2006 and 2011. “I have to thank all the Summit guys, Ken Black, and all of them.

“It has been an incredible season and I can’t believe I didn’t actually mess it up.  It is such an honor to be up here. We have had a great car all year. Greg [Anderson] and I have had probably the two best cars all year. If it had ended any other way, I would have been disappointed.”

Line and Anderson each won eight of the season’s 24 races, with Line leading the points following 22 of those 24 events.

As for Sunday’s final race results, Kalitta defeated J.R. Todd to capture Top Fuel honors, earning his fourth win of the season and 42nd of his career.

“I’ve been trying to win this last race for a long time,” said Kalitta, nephew of drag racing legend Connie Kalitta. “The history here for me, growing up watching Connie race over the years and to be able to win today was huge for me and for everybody on the team.

“It was very cool that [Todd] and I were both in the final and got to run for the money there. It will be good momentum for all of our teams and we finished off the season with some good runs.”

Johnson, who finished the year a career-best second in the standings, defeated 16-time Funny Car champion John Force in Sunday’s final round for his third win of the season and 15th of his career.

“We had fallen down to third and we came here and knew we wanted to get back to second; we knew we could do that,” Johnson said. “You want to finish strong and show you are there to contend. You want to end on a high note because it kind of sets the tone for next season.”

In Pro Stock, Anderson defeated Line in the final round, but Line had already clinched the championship at that point. It was Anderson’s eighth win of the season, 86th of his season and sixth in the Finals.

“Great day; I can’t cry,” Anderson said. “I did all I could do today, I did everything I could possibly do today. … Still a great fight. Great fight all year. We had some great battles.

“During the last half of the year the rest of the class got in and we had some great battles with them. We overachieved this year and we’re leaving here happy.”

Lastly, in Pro Stock Motorcycle, Matt Smith earned his first win since 2013, defeating Angelle Sampey.

“We haven’t had the best season in the world,” Smith said. “We’ve had a fast bike but we’ve had a lot of electrical problems and transmission issues. We finally solved that about four races ago and it was good for us to run as good as we have.

“It struggled in qualifying but it came around today. To give Victory (Motorcycles) their first (NHRA PSM) win is huge. I’m so glad I was able to get it done for them. We have big plans for next year and hopefully you’ll see us a lot more next year.”

While the 2016 season is now over, it’ll be only three months from now before the 2017 season begins with the Circle K NHRA Winternationals, Feb. 9-12, again at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, Calif.

**********************

FINAL FINISHING ORDER OF AUTO CLUB FINALS, THE FINAL EVENT OF 24-RACE 2016 NHRA SEASON:

TOP FUEL: 1.  Doug Kalitta; 2.  J.R. Todd; 3.  Shawn Langdon; 4.  Antron Brown; 5.  Leah Pritchett; 6.  Tony Schumacher; 7.  Steve Torrence; 8.  Richie Crampton; 9.  Wayne Newby; 10.  Morgan Lucas; 11.  Tripp Tatum; 12.  Terry McMillen; 13.  Shawn Reed; 14.  Clay Millican; 15.  Brittany Force; 16.  Troy Buff.

FUNNY CAR: 1.  Tommy Johnson Jr.; 2.  John Force; 3.  Courtney Force; 4.  Jack Beckman; 5.  Robert Hight; 6. Ron Capps; 7.  Jeff Arend; 8.  Tim Wilkerson; 9.  Cruz Pedregon; 10.  Paul Lee; 11.  Del Worsham; 12.  Dave Richards; 13.  Matt Hagan; 14.  Jim Campbell; 15.  Chad Head; 16.  John Bojec.

PRO STOCK: 1.  Greg Anderson; 2.  Jason Line; 3.  Bo Butner; 4.  Erica Enders; 5.  Shane Gray; 6.  Chris McGaha; 7.  Drew Skillman; 8.  Vincent Nobile; 9.  Alex Laughlin; 10.  Jeg Coughlin; 11.  Matt Hartford; 12.  Aaron Strong; 13.  Alan Prusiensky; 14.  Allen Johnson; 15.  Deric Kramer; 16. Kenny Delco.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1.  Matt Smith; 2.  Angelle Sampey; 3.  Jerry Savoie; 4.  Hector Arana Jr; 5.  Eddie Krawiec; 6. Steve Johnson; 7.  Andrew Hines; 8.  Chip Ellis; 9.  Melissa Surber; 10.  Hector Arana; 11.  Angie Smith; 12.  Freddie Camarena; 13.  LE Tonglet; 14.  Cory Reed; 15.  Shawn Gann; 16.  Scotty Pollacheck.

**********************

Sunday's season-ending race winners in the Auto Club Finals, from left: Greg Anderson (Pro Stock), Tommy Johnson Jr. (Funny Car), Doug Kalitta (Top Fuel) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle).
Sunday’s season-ending race winners in the Auto Club Finals, from left: Greg Anderson (Pro Stock), Tommy Johnson Jr. (Funny Car), Doug Kalitta (Top Fuel) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle).

SUNDAY’S FINAL ROUND RESULTS:

TOP FUEL: Doug Kalitta, 3.745 seconds, 326.63 mph  def. J.R. Todd, 3.704 seconds, 327.90 mph.

FUNNY CAR: Tommy Johnson Jr., Dodge Charger, 3.918, 320.51  def. John Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.918, 321.81.

PRO STOCK: Greg Anderson, Chevy Camaro, 6.580, 210.24  def. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.570, 211.43.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: Matt Smith, Victory, 8.044, 117.34  def. Angelle Sampey, Buell, Foul – Red Light.

**********************

FINAL ROUND-BY-ROUND RESULTS:

TOP FUEL: ROUND ONE — Richie Crampton, 3.771, 316.52 def. Brittany Force, 5.890, 111.78; Tony Schumacher, 4.920, 288.77 def. Clay Millican, 4.945, 139.76; Antron Brown, 3.768, 321.35 def. Morgan Lucas, 3.789, 323.27; Shawn Langdon, 3.769, 321.42 def. Tripp Tatum, 3.815, 320.89; Doug Kalitta, 3.755, 326.40 def. Shawn Reed, 4.774, 157.04; J.R. Todd, 3.811, 308.43 def. Troy Buff, Foul – Red Light; Leah Pritchett, 3.766, 321.96 def. Terry McMillen, 3.872, 275.96; Steve Torrence, 3.739, 324.12 def. Wayne Newby, 3.779, 324.44; QUARTERFINALS — Todd, 3.762, 316.90 def. Crampton, Foul – Red Light; Brown, 3.756, 320.97 def. Pritchett, 3.760, 326.87; Kalitta, 3.742, 328.86 def. Schumacher, 3.778, 324.90; Langdon, 3.789, 325.06 def. Torrence, 5.068, 167.45; SEMIFINALS — Todd, 3.708, 329.26 def. Brown, 3.765, 324.44; Kalitta, 3.734, 326.95 def. Langdon, 3.747, 325.53; FINAL — Kalitta, 3.745, 326.63 def. Todd, 3.704, 327.90.

FUNNY CAR: ROUND ONE — John Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.964, 327.98 def. Cruz Pedregon, Toyota Camry, Foul – Red Light; Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger, Broke def. John Bojec, Camry, Broke – No Show; Courtney Force, Camaro, 4.137, 260.56 def. Jim Campbell, Charger, Foul – Red Light; Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.373, 235.23 def. Dave Richards, Ford Mustang, 6.365, 112.99; Ron Capps, Charger, 4.140, 234.90 def. Chad Head, Camry, 8.634, 70.32; Robert Hight, Camaro, 3.929, 326.40 def. Paul Lee, Camry, 4.460, 195.28; Jeff Arend, Camry, 3.971, 314.97 def. Matt Hagan, Charger, 6.367, 118.41; Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 3.922, 325.77 def. Del Worsham, Camry, 6.290, 108.28; QUARTERFINALS — J. Force, 3.940, 324.44 def. R. Capps, 3.938, 324.67; C. Force, 3.922, 319.75 def. Arend, 3.979, 323.97; Johnson Jr., 3.897, 325.37 def. Hight, 3.921, 330.96; Beckman, 3.910, 327.82 def. Wilkerson, 4.007, 276.69; SEMIFINALS — J. Force, 3.932, 326.00 def. Beckman, 9.012, 82.04; Johnson Jr., 3.929, 297.09 def. C. Force, 3.916, 327.74; FINAL — Johnson Jr., 3.918, 320.51 def. J. Force, 3.918, 321.81.

PRO STOCK: ROUND ONE — Chris McGaha, Chevy Camaro, 7.461, 201.61 def. Kenny Delco, Camaro, Foul – Red Light; Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.594, 210.14 def. Allen Johnson, Dodge Dart, 6.659, 208.36; Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.582, 210.93 def. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.631, 209.49; Erica Enders, Dart, 6.623, 209.33 def. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.596, 209.82; Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.600, 209.95 def. Jeg Coughlin, Dart, 6.626, 209.14; Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.598, 209.79 def. Deric Kramer, Dart, Foul – Red Light; Jason Line, Camaro, 6.560, 211.13 def. Alan Prusiensky, Dart, 6.657, 208.14; Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.576, 210.80 def. Aaron Strong, Camaro, 6.633, 208.78; QUARTERFINALS — Enders, 6.649, 208.91 def. Nobile, 15.635, 47.85; Butner, 6.605, 209.82 def. Skillman, 6.631, 210.18; Anderson, 6.592, 210.37 def. Gray, 6.596, 210.47; Line, 6.605, 209.33 def. McGaha, 6.607, 209.43; SEMIFINALS — Line, 6.590, 210.54 def. Enders, 13.902, 63.67; Anderson, 6.596, 210.54 def. Butner, 6.630, 210.41; FINAL — Anderson, 6.580, 210.24 def. Line, 6.570, 211.43.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: ROUND ONE — Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.879, 194.88 def. Angie Smith, 6.972, 190.51; Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.899, 194.86 def. Freddie Camarena, Suzuki, 6.977, 192.69; Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.930, 192.93 def. Melissa Surber, Buell, Foul – Red Light; Chip Ellis, Buell, 6.865, 194.44 def. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.980, 192.93; Matt Smith, 6.916, 193.35 def. Hector Arana, Buell, Foul – Red Light; Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.880, 194.52 def. Cory Reed, Buell, 7.152, 188.10; Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.850, 195.56 def. Shawn Gann, Buell, Foul – Red Light; Angelle Sampey, Buell, 6.882, 195.42 def. Scotty Pollacheck, Buell, 32.616, 276.86; QUARTERFINALS — Savoie, 6.897, 196.02 def. Johnson, 6.890, 193.65; Arana Jr, 6.945, 191.59 def. Ellis, Broke – No Show; Sampey, 6.879, 193.93 def. Hines, 6.912, 193.85; M. Smith, 6.904, 192.99 def. Krawiec, 6.871, 195.31; SEMIFINALS — M. Smith, 6.946, 192.44 def. Arana Jr, 7.569, 134.10; Sampey, 6.900, 194.24 def. Savoie, 6.948, 193.85; FINAL — M. Smith, 8.044, 117.34 def. Sampey, Foul – Red Light.

**********************

FINAL POINT STANDINGS OF 2016 SEASON:

TOP FUEL: 1.  Antron Brown, 2,663; 2.  Doug Kalitta, 2,533; 3.  Steve Torrence, 2,482; 4.  J.R. Todd, 2,455; 5.  Shawn Langdon, 2,443; 6.  Brittany Force, 2,399; 7.  Leah Pritchett, 2,389; 8.  Tony Schumacher, 2,387; 9.  Richie Crampton, 2,279; 10.  Clay Millican, 2,264.

FUNNY CAR: 1.  Ron Capps, 2,605; 2.  Tommy Johnson Jr., 2,553; 3.  Matt Hagan, 2,493; 4.  John Force, 2,486; 5.  Jack Beckman, 2,480; 6.  Courtney Force, 2,414; 7.  Del Worsham, 2,406; 8.  Robert Hight, 2,368; 9.  Tim Wilkerson, 2,314; 10.  Alexis DeJoria, 2,184.

PRO STOCK: 1.  Jason Line, 2,639; 2.  Greg Anderson, 2,636; 3.  Shane Gray, 2,492; 4.  Bo Butner, 2,453; 5. Vincent Nobile, 2,449; 6.  Drew Skillman, 2,424; 7.  Chris McGaha, 2,327; 8.  Allen Johnson, 2,277; 9.  Erica Enders, 2,239; 10.  Jeg Coughlin, 2,208.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1.  Jerry Savoie, 2,595; 2.  Eddie Krawiec, 2,571; 3.  Andrew Hines, 2,564; 4.  Angelle Sampey, 2,495; 5.  Chip Ellis, 2,415; 6.  Matt Smith, 2,389; 7.  LE Tonglet, 2,372; 8.  Hector Arana Jr, 2,315; 9.  Cory Reed, 2,312; 10.  Hector Arana, 2,279.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

NHRA: With 2 races left left in the Countdown, who’s next to be eliminated?

Photo courtesy NHRA
Leave a comment

For some drivers, the NHRA Countdown to the Championship is over early, as several were eliminated following Sunday’s final round of the AAA Texas FallNationals at Texas Motorplex.

Those who will not advance into the final two races of the season (Oct. 27-30 at Las Vegas and the season finale, Nov. 10-13 in Pomona, California) are:

Top Fuel: Richie Crampton and Clay Millican.

Funny Car: Alexis DeJoria.

Pro Stock: Five-time champion Jeg Coughlin and two-time defending champ Erica Enders.

“We’ve had a tough year but I promise big things are straight ahead and we’ll be back better than ever in 2017,” Enders said after Sunday’s race.

The only major professional category that has not seen any Countdown contestants eliminated yet is Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Now teams have a weekend off coming up to regroup and try to make one last attempt for the championship.

However, several teams that are still mathematically eligible for the title (within the 260 total points – 130 points for each of the last two races on the schedule) are likely closer to elimination – particularly at Las Vegas – than to rallying back for the championship:

Top Fuel: Even though she qualified No. 2 at Texas this past weekend, eight-ranked Leah Pritchett (-254 points) and seventh-ranked J.R. Todd (-244) are on the verge of elimination. Also on the hot seat are eight-time Top Fuel champ Tony Schumacher (ranked sixth, -209), fifth-ranked Steve Torrence (-197) and even fourth-ranked Brittany Force (-191).

“We really needed to win this one and we needed for the Countdown contenders ahead us in the standings to have problems,” Schumacher said. “It wasn’t shaping up that way, to begin with.”

While Schumacher isn’t giving up, if he can’t win a ninth championship, he’ll support his teammate’s quest for his second straight title and third in the last five seasons.

“Antron and his team have been lights out all year, and they’re peaking here in the Countdown,” Schumacher said. “They deserve to be on the verge of clinching the championship and, if we can’t be the ones to win the championship, we’re always rooting to keep it in the U.S. Army and DSR family.”

As for Force, she’s adamant that she is still in the championship hunt.

“I think doing well in Las Vegas will be a big factor for the championship,” Force said. “Our goal is to have a chance to win the championship when we get to the Auto Club Finals in Pomona.

“We are going to do everything we can to be in a position where we can win. We go into every race thinking we can win and it starts with the first round of qualifying. This has been an amazing season and these last couple of races will be even more exciting with the championship on the line.”

Funny Car: It’s not looking good for John Force Racing. Courtney Force is ranked eighth (-227), 16-time champ John Force is seventh (-198) and even though he had a strong weekend at Texas, sixth-ranked Robert Hight is -187. Early exits during much of the first or second rounds in the first four races of the Countdown have been the downfall for the three JFR drivers.

“I thought I needed a Hail Mary and now I need two,” said John Force, who uncharacteristically red-lit in his first round elimination race with Alexis DeJoria, immediately losing. “I didn’t do my job and they gave me a good race car. That is the bottom line.

“You can’t win championships by making that mistake. My brain just faded and I put a red light out there. I apologized to my team, my fans and the sponsors. That is all I can do.”

Added Hight, who is not giving up, “We are running with the top cars out here and there are two races left. I want to win those races and see what happens.”

As for Courtney Force, “We have two more races to go and we’re definitely motivated to go out there and continue to move up in the points and see if we can end this season on a high note.”

Pro Stock: While no one is ready to concede the championship to frontrunner Jason Line or teammate and second-ranked Greg Anderson (-26), it’s not looking good in Las Vegas for eight-ranked Allen Johnson (-241) or seventh-ranked Chris McGaha (-232). Drew Skillman, who won Sunday at Texas, is still a massive 185 points back in sixth-place.

Pro Stock Motorcycle: While none of the 10 Countdown riders have been eliminated yet, it’s likely three, four or even more could be knocked out of the playoffs at Las Vegas. Hector Arana Jr., who has struggled in the Countdown, is ranked 10th (-242). Matt Smith is ninth (-223), Hector Arana is eighth (-214) and Cory Reed is seventh (-196). Even sixth-ranked LE Tonglet IV isn’t safe (-137).

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Angie Smith makes NHRA history: Earns first national event win in first husband-wife final round

3 Comments

It should be an interesting next few days in the Smith household.

Matt Smith, the defending NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle champion, lost in Sunday’s finals of the Auto-Plus NHRA New England Nationals at New England Dragway in Epping, N.H.

But instead of losing to one of his chief rivals, Smith lost to Mrs. Smith.

Yep, that’s right, Angie Smith (6.905 seconds, 191.89 mph) earned her first career NHRA national event win, defeating hubby and teammate Matt Smith.

It marked the first time in NHRA history that a husband and wife have met in the final round of a NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event.

Matt Smith appeared headed to the win, but his motorcycle lost traction near the end of the track.

Mrs. Smith took advantage of it and rode right past to trip the win light first.

“In this sport, I’ll take it any way I can get it,” Angie Smith said. “It’s my first one, I’m proud to be here.”

Angie Smith also put a bit of levity into her post-race celebration:

“I’m really tired of dusting all of (Matt’s) Wallys (national event victory trophies),” she said with a laugh. “I at least want to dust one of mine at the house. Now I have one, and I’m good with that.”

Angie Smith did not have an easy time of it en route to her first career national event win, defeating teammates Eddie Krawiec and Andrew Hines – who had combined for wins in the last three PSM events – before beating her husband in the final.

In other pro classes, Ron Capps won in Funny Car, Tony Schumacher in Top Fuel and Dave Connolly in Pro Stock:

* After five semifinal showings this season, Capps (4.095 seconds at 315.19 mph) reached the final round for the first time since last summer at Brainerd, Minnesota, defeating Alexis DeJoria to earn his first win of the 2014 season.

“It was huge to get [crew chief] Rahn Tobler back his mojo,” Capps said in a NHRA media release. “He was beating himself up. He found something overnight. He and Eric [Lane, assistant crew chief] worked all night on what they were going to do this morning.”

* Schumacher (3.824 seconds, 323.27 mph) earned his second Top Fuel win of the season and 74th of his career, defeating points leader Doug Kalitta in the final round Sunday.

“The fans that paid good money to go to a drag race got the best show I’ve seen this year,” said Schumacher, a seven-time Top Fuel champ. “It was outstanding racing. It’s cyclical. You go up and down. Right now we’re up and it’s outstanding.”

Schumacher has now won at every racetrack on the NHRA circuit except for Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Georgia.

“I’d like to have that,” Schumacher said. “It would be really cool. Of all the records we’ve set and we’ve set everything there, that’s the one that’s out there.”

* In Pro Stock, Connolly (6.536 seconds, 213.23 mph) earned his 24th career national event win, defeating Gray Motorsports teammate Jonathan Gray.

It was Connolly’s first final round appearance, as well as his first win, since 2012.

“I had very high expectations of this team,” Connolly said. “I know the caliber of people working on it. The talent pool is deep. What a great weekend.

“This class is brutal right now. It’s tough. One-thousandths of a second separate us every weekend. Today was no different.”

The next NHRA national event, the O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 Nationals, will be June 26-29 at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Illinois.

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

SUNDAY’S FINAL FINISHING ORDER:

TOP FUEL: 1.  Tony Schumacher; 2.  Doug Kalitta; 3.  Richie Crampton; 4.  Clay Millican; 5.  Spencer Massey; 6.  Antron Brown; 7.  J.R. Todd; 8.  Khalid alBalooshi; 9.  Leah Pritchett; 10.  Steve Torrence; 11.  Dom Lagana; 12.  Todd Paton; 13.  Bob Vandergriff; 14.  Shawn Langdon; 15.  Terry McMillen; 16.  Brittany Force.

FUNNY CAR: 1.  Ron Capps; 2.  Alexis DeJoria; 3.  John Force; 4.  Courtney Force; 5.  Robert Hight; 6.  Cruz Pedregon; 7.  Del Worsham; 8.  Tommy Johnson Jr.; 9.  Tim Wilkerson; 10.  Matt Hagan; 11.  Jack Beckman; 12.  Tony Pedregon; 13.  Jeff Arend; 14.  Bob Tasca III; 15.  Dave Richards; 16.  Mike Smith.

PRO STOCK: 1.  Dave Connolly; 2.  Jonathan Gray; 3.  Allen Johnson; 4.  Greg Anderson; 5.  Erica Enders-Stevens; 6.  Shane Gray; 7.  Vincent Nobile; 8.  Shane Tucker; 9.  Jason Line; 10.  Chris McGaha; 11.  Jeg Coughlin; 12.  Larry Morgan; 13.  John Gaydosh Jr; 14.  Val Smeland; 15.  V. Gaines; 16.  Kenny Delco.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1.  Angie Smith; 2.  Matt Smith; 3.  Andrew Hines; 4.  Hector Arana Jr; 5.  Eddie Krawiec; 6.  John Hall; 7.  Adam Arana; 8.  Hector Arana; 9.  Jerry Savoie; 10.  Scotty Pollacheck; 11.  Michael Ray; 12.  Steve Johnson; 13.  Chaz Kennedy; 14.  Justin Finley; 15.  Shawn Gann; 16.  Jim Underdahl.

 

 

FINAL ROUND RESULTS:

Top Fuel — Tony Schumacher, 3.824 seconds, 323.27 mph  def. Doug Kalitta, 3.813 seconds, 323.89 mph.

Funny Car — Ron Capps, Dodge Charger, 4.095, 315.19  def. Alexis DeJoria, Toyota Camry, 4.121, 309.98.

Pro Stock — Dave Connolly, Chevy Camaro, 6.536, 213.23  def. Jonathan Gray, Camaro, 6.577, 213.16.

Pro Stock Motorcycle — Angie Smith, Buell, 6.905, 191.89  def. Matt Smith, Buell, 7.230, 145.99.

 

 

FINAL ROUND-BY-ROUND RESULTS:

TOP FUEL: ROUND ONE — Khalid alBalooshi, 3.833, 319.14 def. Leah Pritchett, 3.831, 313.15; Clay Millican, 3.920, 305.63 def. Brittany Force, 4.560, 274.22; Richie Crampton, 4.028, 300.20 def. Dom Lagana, 4.044, 297.75; Antron Brown, 3.858, 315.12 def. Todd Paton, 4.081, 290.88; Doug Kalitta, 3.810, 325.45 def. Terry McMillen, 4.341, 186.00; J.R. Todd, 3.826, 317.05 def. Bob Vandergriff, 4.081, 230.61; Spencer Massey, 3.968, 293.86 def. Shawn Langdon, 4.141, 254.86; Tony Schumacher, 3.854, 322.34 def. Steve Torrence, 3.922, 304.19;

QUARTERFINALS — Crampton, 3.800, 325.14 def. Massey, 3.794, 323.97; Millican, 3.834, 318.62 def. Todd, 3.836, 320.97; Schumacher, 3.787, 324.28 def. Brown, 3.794, 320.66; Kalitta, 3.813, 325.45 def. alBalooshi, 3.856, 318.92;

SEMIFINALS — Kalitta, 3.792, 325.92 def. Crampton, 3.822, 325.37; Schumacher, 3.825, 322.81 def. Millican, 3.860, 316.38;

FINAL — Schumacher, 3.824, 323.27 def. Kalitta, 3.813, 323.89.

 

FUNNY CAR: ROUND ONE — Robert Hight, Ford Mustang, 4.069, 314.39 def. Mike Smith, Dodge Stratus, 7.026, 89.34; Courtney Force, Mustang, 4.089, 313.73 def. Dave Richards, Chevy Monte Carlo, 4.900, 160.23; Cruz Pedregon, Toyota Camry, 4.107, 291.76 def. Jeff Arend, Dodge Charger, 4.744, 176.12; Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.127, 312.64 def. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 4.767, 190.14; Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 4.120, 310.13 def. Tony Pedregon, Camry, 4.374, 224.17; Del Worsham, Camry, 4.127, 309.84 def. Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.123, 309.20; Ron Capps, Charger, 4.064, 316.45 def. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.061, 314.46; John Force, Mustang, 4.129, 312.50 def. Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.119, 305.36;

QUARTERFINALS — J. Force, 4.095, 314.83 def. Hight, 4.067, 312.35; Capps, 4.097, 311.13 def. C. Pedregon, 4.109, 308.85; C. Force, 4.124, 312.86 def. Worsham, 4.133, 308.92; DeJoria, 4.106, 310.98 def. Johnson Jr., 7.002, 88.00;

SEMIFINALS — DeJoria, 4.086, 312.21 def. J. Force, 4.130, 312.06; Capps, 4.104, 314.09 def. C. Force, 4.131, 312.21;

FINAL — Capps, 4.095, 315.19 def. DeJoria, 4.121, 309.98.

 

PRO STOCK: ROUND ONE — Jonathan Gray, Chevy Camaro, 6.525, 213.16 def. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.530, 213.64; Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.547, 212.56 def. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.532, 213.43; Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.525, 213.27 def. V. Gaines, Dodge Dart, 11.043, 88.86; Allen Johnson, Dart, 6.531, 213.43 def. Jeg Coughlin, Dart, 6.563, 208.59; Shane Tucker, Chevy Cobalt, 6.537, 213.16 def. John Gaydosh Jr, Pontiac GXP, 6.719, 209.95; Dave Connolly, Camaro, 6.513, 213.23 def. Kenny Delco, Cobalt, broke; Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.527, 212.49 def. Val Smeland, Cobalt, 7.609, 142.46; Erica Enders-Stevens, Camaro, 6.518, 212.73 def. Larry Morgan, Ford Mustang, 6.563, 211.76;

QUARTERFINALS — Johnson, 7.742, 181.18 def. Tucker, 13.393, 63.99; J. Gray, 6.564, 212.59 def. S. Gray, 6.559, 213.06; Anderson, 6.551, 212.86 def. Enders-Stevens, 6.551, 213.40; Connolly, 6.526, 212.93 def. Nobile, 6.562, 213.13;

SEMIFINALS — J. Gray, 6.583, 212.76 def. Johnson, 6.525, 213.60; Connolly, 6.517, 213.23 def. Anderson, 6.549, 212.93;

FINAL — Connolly, 6.536, 213.23 def. J. Gray, 6.577, 213.16.

 

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: ROUND ONE — Angie Smith, Buell, 7.061, 191.27 def. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, broke; John Hall, Buell, 6.820, 196.04 def. Chaz Kennedy, Buell, 6.922, 189.76; Adam Arana, Buell, 6.995, 193.85 def. Michael Ray, Buell, foul; Hector Arana, Buell, 6.826, 196.67 def. Shawn Gann, Buell, 10.531, 78.32; Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.843, 195.28 def. Scotty Pollacheck, Buell, 6.897, 193.88; Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.827, 194.80 def. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.893, 194.35; Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.799, 197.48 def. Justin Finley, Suzuki, foul; Matt Smith, Buell, 6.834, 195.48 def. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.904, 194.21;

QUARTERFINALS — M. Smith, 6.879, 194.86 def. A. Arana, 6.979, 193.88; Hines, 6.919, 195.14 def. H. Arana, broke; Arana Jr, 6.808, 196.47 def. Hall, 6.868, 194.72; A. Smith, 6.896, 192.49 def. Krawiec, 6.862, 197.25;

SEMIFINALS — A. Smith, 6.908, 193.77 def. Hines, 6.921, 192.33; M. Smith, 6.873, 195.11 def. Arana Jr, 13.014, 61.08;

FINAL — A. Smith, 6.905, 191.89 def. M. Smith, 7.230, 145.99.

 

UPDATED POINTS STANDINGS:

Top Fuel — 1.  Doug Kalitta, 1,001; 2.  Antron Brown, 844; 3.  Shawn Langdon, 783; 4.  Spencer Massey, 709; 5.  Tony Schumacher, 670; 6.  Steve Torrence, 651; 7.  Khalid alBalooshi, 587; 8.  Richie Crampton, 546; 9.  Brittany Force, 540; 10.  J.R. Todd, 485.

Funny Car — 1.  Robert Hight, 970; 2.  Alexis DeJoria, 716; 3.  John Force, 713; 4.  Ron Capps, 683; 5.  Tommy Johnson Jr., 682; 6.  Courtney Force, 658; 7.  Del Worsham, 645; 8.  Cruz Pedregon, 599; 9.  Tim Wilkerson, 569; 10.  Matt Hagan, 564.

Pro Stock — 1.  Erica Enders-Stevens, 972; 2.  Jeg Coughlin, 789; 3.  Allen Johnson, 776; 4.  Jason Line, 733; 5.  Shane Gray, 713; 6.  Dave Connolly, 709; 7.  Vincent Nobile, 671; 8.  V. Gaines, 520; 9.  Chris McGaha, 492; 10.  Jonathan Gray, 400.

Pro Stock Motorcycle — 1.  Andrew Hines, 482; 2.  Eddie Krawiec, 445; 3.  Hector Arana Jr, 351; 4.  John Hall, 338; 5.  Matt Smith, 306; 6.  Scotty Pollacheck, 283; 7.  Michael Ray, 270; 8.  Angie Smith, 228; 9.  Hector Arana, 224; 10.  Steve Johnson, 218.

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

NHRA 2013 Season Review

Leave a comment

NHRA had some notable highlights and changes throughout its 2013 season. The latest brand change from entitlement sponsor Coca-Cola saw NHRA rebadged as the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series in 2013, taking over from Full Throttle. There was one new and three returning champions when all was said and done.

In Top Fuel, Shawn Langdon turned years of potential into an overdue first championship for the powerful Al-Anabi Racing team. Langdon finally ended his career winless drought in the 2012 Countdown, which set him up well for 2013. He won seven times in 10 final round appearances, including the series’ marquee event, the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis. A runner-up in Dallas and win in Reading in this year’s Countdown secured him the title by 164 points over 2012 class champion Antron Brown.

John Force returned to the top of Funny Car for his record-extending 16th class championship. Wins at St. Louis, Reading and Las Vegas in the Countdown all occurred in succession and propelled the drag racing legend from more than 60 points down to Matt Hagan clear of the field. The win at Las Vegas came over his daughter Courtney in the final round. Hagan was second with Jack Beckman third in the final standings. Courtney Force had a banner year with a win at Pomona to open the year and the widely acclaimed appearance in and on the cover of ESPN the Magazine’s “Body Issue” over the summer. But not all was good for John Force Racing, who announced the departure of Castrol and Ford at the end of 2014. The team continues to press ahead in the search for new partners.

Pro Stock featured the tightest top-five class battle of the year with Jeg Coughlin Jr. emerging at the top of the heap for his fifth class championship (first since 2008). Coughlin won four final rounds, notably Charlotte and Reading in the Chase, to edge defending class champion Allen Johnson by just 58 points. Jason Line (70 points back), Mike Edwards (90) and Shane Gray (92) rounded out the top-five. Line and KB Racing teammate Greg Anderson, long the dominant forces in Pro Stock, spent most of the year dialing in their newer Chevy Camaros to the class; Anderson had an off year, going without a single “Wally” and finishing only eighth in the points.

Matt Smith took home his second Pro Stock Motorcycle class title (2007) in a year where Buell riders finished in eight of the top 10 spots. Three-time champion Eddie Krawiec led Harley-Davidson’s charge in third place; L.E. Tonglet (seventh) was Suzuki’s lone interloper.