Coughlin, Langdon earn NHRA titles in season finale

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Jeg Coughlin Jr. and Shawn Langdon (pictured) won NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series class championships in this weekend’s Auto Club NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, California.

Coughlin locked up his fifth Pro Stock title Sunday when Jason Line, the only other driver that was eligible for the title, lost in the second round of eliminations. With that, Coughlin became the eighth driver in NHRA history to win five pro series crowns.

“This was the tightest and one of the most intense championship races I’ve ever been involved with, and it certainly ranks right up there with the previous titles,” Coughlin said to NHRA.com about clinching.

As for Langdon, he won the Top Fuel title on Saturday in qualifying, and on Sunday, he celebrated by taking the Pomona race win over Doug Kalitta with a run of 3.784 seconds at 323.58 miles per hour.

In comments to the Los Angeles Times, Langdon expressed his thrill of winning the title at Pomona, a track where he watched many races while growing up.

“It’s weird to think back to where I started and where I’m at now,” Langdon said to the Times’ Mike DiGiovanna on Saturday. “Coming back to Pomona, where I grew up racing and watching my dad race, winning a championship, it’s a crazy feeling, a great feeling. It’s definitely a dream come true.”

Matt Hagan bested the recently-crowned Funny Car champion John Force in the FC final round, knocking off the legend with a 4.018-second run at 320.66 mph. Also earning event wins were Rickie Jones in Pro Stock (his first career win in the class) and Eddie Krawiec in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Sage Karam, Tony Kanaan fastest in Monday’s practice for Indy 500

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In the second-to-last practice session of the week, Sage Karam paced the 33 drivers qualified for Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 on Monday.

Karam had a field-best speed of 226.461 mph, followed by Tony Kanan (225.123 mph), Ryan Hunter-Reay (224.820), Charlie Kimball (224.582) and Alexander Rossi (224.507).

Sixth through 10th fastest were Will Power (224.445), Helio Castroneves (224.368), Marco Andretti (224.148) and rookie Zachary Claman Demelo (224.91) and Scott Dixon (223.966).

Power and Castroneves ran the most laps of all drivers at 120 and 118, respectively.

Two other Team Penske drivers struggled to get speed out of their cars. Defending Verizon IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden was 28th-fastest (221.982 mph) and Simon Pagenaud, who was the slowest (220.902 mph) of the 33 cars on-track.

Pole sitter Ed Carpenter was 14th-fastest with a best speed of 223.573 mph in a 100-lap effort.

Most drivers were in race trim or were testing things for Sunday’s Greatest Spectacle In Racing such as fuel mileage, chassis setup and more.

Rookie Matheus Leist missed most of the session with an apparent electrical problem that kept him to just 19 laps.

There was one incident of note during the 3 ½ hour session: IndyCar rookie Robert Wickens crashed coming out of Turn 2 during the first hour of practice.

Wickens appeared to skim the outside SAFER Barrier, went left and then violently turned hard back into the outside retaining wall.

MORE: Wickens wrecks during Indy 500 practice

The Honda-powered machine for the Canadian driver suffered heavy damage to the right side, particularly the right front tire and the right side of the front end.

There will be no further on-track activity for the Indy cars until Friday’s final practice to fine tune things for Sunday’s 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500.

We’ll have the full practice speed chart, as well as What Drivers Said, shortly. Please check back soon.

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