NHRA: Enders-Stevens becomes 1st female Pro Stock champ, Hagan holds off Force for Funny Car title

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Erica Enders-Stevens made history in Sunday’s season-ending AutoClub NHRA Finals at AutoClub Raceway in Pomona, California, becoming the first female world champion in NHRA Pro Stock history.

Enders-Stevens, who rallied back after missing three races during the middle of the season, defeated her closest challenger, Jason Line, in the final round of Sunday’s eliminations. Enders-Stevens earned his sixth victory of the season when Line fouled at the starting line.

Stevens becomes only the third female to win an NHRA pro-level championship, joining Top Fuel champion Shirley Muldowney and Pro Stock Motorcycle champ Angelle Sampey.

“It’s awesome to be a part of this female movement in NHRA,” Enders-Stevens said in an NHRA media release. “I think it goes to show what we’re capable of and what a great platform NHRA gives all of us girls to climb the ladder and to get to where we want to go.

“To join two of my heroes, Shirley Muldowney and Angelle Sampey, who are both my friends now, as NHRA world champions, is simply unreal. The words of advice I’ve received from those two women means so much to me.”

Enders-Stevens has been racing for nearly 20 seasons, starting in the NHRA Junior Dragster program.

“I was a little kid with a big dream,” she said. “I started racing junior dragsters and then moved into sportsman racing and moved on up the ranks to the pro level and now 10 years later here I am in Pro Stock. It’s an awesome feeling and I feel so blessed.”

In Funny Car, Matt Hagan held off a hard challenge from John Force to earn his second career Funny Car championship (also won in 2011), spoiling Force’s bid for a record 17th title himself.

 

Hagan clinched the championship with a semi-final round win over Tommy Johnson Jr., and then capped things off by beating Force in the final round, earning Hagan his fourth win of the season and 14th of his career.

“The championship was really what we were after, and the race win was kind of icing on the cake,” Hagan said. “But it just solidifies that we had a great race car. To be the best, you’ve got to beat the best, and everybody says (Force is) the best, so we beat him, and that’s what’s cool about this deal.

“It was nice to finish it out here strong. We beat him here last year at this time, and we did it again this year. Hat’s off to him. They’ve got a great car, but we had a little better one today.

“There’s a lot of guys who have been out here their entire careers and haven’t won one of these so you never take any of it for granted. We gave these fans what they were waiting for and paid for, and hopefully, we can go out and win another one, but it’s just great to be in this experience and be a part of this.”

In Top Fuel, Tony Schumacher wrapped up his eighth championship in Saturday’s final qualifying rounds. But in Sunday’s final eliminations, it was Morgan Lucas, who raced only a part-time schedule in 2014, that roared to his second win of the season and 11th of his career, defeating Schumacher in the final round.

Lucas had two of the fastest times seen this season, with a 3.707 second run over Antron Brown in Sunday’s semifinals and a 3.704 second run in his final round win over Schumacher.

“I feel like I’m doing a better job behind the wheel on a part-time basis than I ever did racing full-time,” Lucas said. “The car was fast, and it was on a string.

“I almost didn’t have to steer it or do anything. It felt like I was strapped to a missile. I had a lot of fun today.”

Lastly, while Hector Arana Jr. ultimately took the race win in Pro Stock Motorcycle, Andrew Hines earned the fourth PSM championship of his career, defeating teammate Eddie Krawiec.

“I’ve been waiting a long time to be able to write ‘4x’ next to my name,” Hines said. “It was nice to finally get it done, but also to get it done with a win (clinched in the first round of Sunday’s eliminations).

“I didn’t really want to have to be the guy who waited for someone else to lose to clinch it. It’s great to get that big trophy and that big check, but the biggest trophies I have are my wife, Tanya, and my kids, Declan and Rion.”

As for Arana, it was his second win of the season and ninth of his career.

“I popped the clutch and never saw Eddie (Krawiec),” Arana Jr. said. “My bike went straight down the track and it was an amazing feeling.

“This is going to be a good off-season. I’m glad we got the win for the team. This is a good confidence booster. It’s good for our morale for the next four months.”

While it’s been a long season, the off-season will be relatively short: The 2015 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season begins Feb. 5-8 at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona (Calif.).

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FINAL RACE FINISHING ORDER:

TOP FUEL: 1.  Morgan Lucas; 2.  Tony Schumacher; 3.  Antron Brown; 4.  J.R. Todd; 5.  Steve Torrence; 6.  Richie Crampton; 7.  Shawn Langdon; 8.  Dom Lagana; 9.  Larry Dixon; 10.  Billy Torrence; 11.  Troy Buff; 12.  Doug Kalitta; 13.  Khalid alBalooshi; 14.  Bob Vandergriff; 15.  Spencer Massey; 16.  Clay Millican.

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

PRO STOCK: 1.  Erica Enders-Stevens; 2.  Jason Line; 3.  Jeg Coughlin; 4.  Jonathan Gray; 5.  Shane Gray; 6.  Rodger Brogdon; 7.  Dave Connolly; 8.  Matt Hartford; 9.  Vincent Nobile; 10.  V. Gaines; 11.  Chris McGaha; 12.  Larry Morgan; 13.  Greg Stanfield; 14.  Jeff Isbell; 15.  Greg Anderson; 16.  Allen Johnson.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1.  Hector Arana Jr; 2.  Eddie Krawiec; 3.  Andrew Hines; 4.  Chaz Kennedy; 5.  Adam Arana; 6.  Steve Johnson; 7.  Scotty Pollacheck; 8.  Hector Arana; 9.  Jerry Savoie; 10.  Matt Smith; 11.  Jim Underdahl; 12.  Shawn Gann; 13.  Freddie Camarena; 14.  Katie Sullivan; 15.  Angie Smith; 16.  Elvira Karlsson.


FINAL ROUND RESULTS:

Top Fuel: Morgan Lucas, 3.704 seconds, 325.14 mph  def. Tony Schumacher, 3.742 seconds, 324.98 mph.

Funny Car: Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 4.076, 310.77  def. John Force, Ford Mustang, 4.086, 276.58.

Pro Stock: Erica Enders-Stevens, Chevy Camaro, 6.480, 213.43  def. Jason Line, Camaro, foul.

Pro Stock Motorcycle: Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.832, 195.08  def. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.977, 176.37.


FINAL ROUND-BY-ROUND RESULTS:

TOP FUEL: ROUND ONE — Shawn Langdon, 3.758, 326.00 def. Spencer Massey, 5.184, 138.43; Morgan Lucas, 3.745, 326.40 def. Billy Torrence, 3.766, 326.00; Steve Torrence, 3.787, 325.53 def. Doug Kalitta, 3.833, 314.02; Richie Crampton, 3.720, 320.89 def. Troy Buff, 3.812, 318.84; Antron Brown, 3.746, 321.81 def. Clay Millican, 5.927, 97.74; J.R. Todd, 3.765, 325.77 def. Bob Vandergriff, 4.924, 141.16; Dom Lagana, 3.832, 312.93 def. Khalid alBalooshi, 4.719, 171.71; Tony Schumacher, 3.749, 327.11 def. Larry Dixon, 3.765, 324.67;

QUARTERFINALS — Todd, 3.765, 323.04 def. S. Torrence, 3.763, 327.35; Brown, 3.749, 323.43 def. Lagana, broke; Lucas, 3.903, 299.53 def. Langdon, 4.986, 166.19; Schumacher, 3.752, 327.35 def. Crampton, 3.763, 327.82;

SEMIFINALS — Schumacher, 3.770, 328.30 def. Todd, 3.824, 262.23; Lucas, 3.707, 325.45 def. Brown, 3.742, 320.74;

FINAL — Lucas, 3.704, 325.14 def. Schumacher, 3.742, 324.98.

 

FUNNY CAR: ROUND ONE — Del Worsham, Toyota Camry, 4.035, 310.48 def. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger, 4.051, 317.27; Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 4.200, 295.85 def. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 10.017, 83.08; Ron Capps, Charger, 4.028, 316.38 def. Jeff Arend, Charger, 11.137, 72.48; Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.060, 316.23 def. Tony Pedregon, Camry, 4.774, 176.07; Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 4.025, 314.61 def. Gary Densham, Chevy Impala, 5.381, 135.95; John Force, Mustang, 4.083, 319.29 def. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 4.337, 245.45; Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.015, 320.05 def. Chad Head, Camry, 5.083, 167.63; Robert Hight, Mustang, 4.049, 313.29 def. Courtney Force, Mustang, 6.611, 98.40;

QUARTERFINALS — J. Force, 4.031, 318.62 def. Wilkerson, 4.101, 313.00; Johnson Jr., 4.077, 311.27 def. Worsham, 4.027, 314.83; Hagan, 4.081, 314.83 def. R. Capps, 6.801, 100.94; DeJoria, 4.012, 313.80 def. Hight, 5.317, 149.93;

SEMIFINALS — Hagan, 4.065, 315.86 def. Johnson Jr., 6.184, 107.28; J. Force, 4.044, 320.58 def. DeJoria, 6.953, 94.32;

FINAL — Hagan, 4.076, 310.77 def. J. Force, 4.086, 276.58.

 

PRO STOCK: ROUND ONE — Dave Connolly, Chevy Camaro, 6.528, 212.33 def. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.913, 163.77; Jonathan Gray, Camaro, 6.545, 211.66 def. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.536, 211.59; Rodger Brogdon, Camaro, 6.528, 212.19 def. Allen Johnson, Dodge Dart, 8.475, 114.04; Matt Hartford, Pontiac GXP, 6.520, 211.39 def. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.507, 213.30; Jeg Coughlin, Dart, 6.522, 212.36 def. V. Gaines, Dodge Avenger, 6.524, 212.69; Jason Line, Camaro, 6.496, 213.06 def. Jeff Isbell, Camaro, foul; Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.516, 212.13 def. Greg Stanfield, Camaro, 6.578, 210.54; Erica Enders-Stevens, Camaro, 6.494, 213.47 def. Larry Morgan, Ford Mustang, 6.551, 210.93;

QUARTERFINALS — Coughlin, 6.527, 212.73 def. Hartford, 6.548, 211.53; J. Gray, 6.529, 212.13 def. S. Gray, 6.502, 212.73; Line, 6.519, 212.46 def. Connolly, 6.518, 212.43; Enders-Stevens, 6.494, 213.67 def. Brogdon, 6.511, 212.46;

SEMIFINALS — Line, 6.511, 212.93 def. Coughlin, foul; Enders-Stevens, 6.494, 213.67 def. J. Gray, 6.524, 212.29;

FINAL — Enders-Stevens, 6.480, 213.43 def. Line, foul.

 

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: ROUND ONE — Adam Arana, Buell, 6.889, 195.51 def. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.853, 194.80; Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.874, 193.32 def. Angie Smith, Buell, 7.059, 190.65; Hector Arana, Buell, 6.886, 195.90 def. Elvira Karlsson, Suzuki, foul; Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.848, 194.24 def. Shawn Gann, Buell, 6.942, 192.80; Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.839, 194.77 def. Katie Sullivan, Suzuki, 7.054, 193.38; Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.835, 198.17 def. Freddie Camarena, Suzuki, 6.971, 195.99; Chaz Kennedy, Buell, 6.904, 191.35 def. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 6.888, 194.66; Scotty Pollacheck, Buell, 6.893, 192.11 def. Matt Smith, Buell, 6.880, 195.65;

QUARTERFINALS — Kennedy, 6.924, 189.31 def. Pollacheck, 6.941, 190.78; Krawiec, 6.835, 194.13 def. A. Arana, 6.881, 195.42; Hines, 6.864, 194.02 def. H. Arana, 6.959, 191.05; Arana Jr, 6.888, 195.22 def. Johnson, 6.937, 193.96;

SEMIFINALS — Arana Jr, 6.808, 197.16 def. Kennedy, 6.981, 187.55; Krawiec, 6.850, 194.83 def. Hines, 6.890, 194.80;

FINAL — Arana Jr, 6.832, 195.08 def. Krawiec, 6.977, 176.37.


FINAL SEASON POINTS STANDINGS:

Top Fuel: 1.  Tony Schumacher, 2,594; 2.  J.R. Todd, 2,463; 3.  Spencer Massey, 2,430; 4.  Shawn Langdon, 2,419; 5.  Doug Kalitta, 2,407; 6.  Steve Torrence, 2,406; 7.  Antron Brown, 2,405; 8.  Khalid alBalooshi, 2,326; 9.  Richie Crampton, 2,299; 10.  Brittany Force, 2,249.

Funny Car: 1.  Matt Hagan, 2,628; 2.  John Force, 2,585; 3.  Tommy Johnson Jr., 2,442; 4.  Courtney Force, 2,421; 5.  Robert Hight, 2,414; 6.  Del Worsham, 2,393; 7.  Alexis DeJoria, 2,382; 8.  Ron Capps, 2,375; 9.  Tim Wilkerson, 2,310; 10.  Cruz Pedregon, 2,244.

Pro Stock: 1.  Erica Enders-Stevens, 2,639; 2.  Jason Line, 2,600; 3.  Dave Connolly, 2,481; 4.  Shane Gray, 2,463; 5.  Jeg Coughlin, 2,445; 6.  Allen Johnson, 2,403; 7.  Jonathan Gray, 2,385; 8.  Vincent Nobile, 2,364; 9.  V. Gaines, 2,269; 10.  Chris McGaha, 2,168.

Pro Stock Motorcycle: 1.  Andrew Hines, 2,689; 2.  Eddie Krawiec, 2,620; 3.  Hector Arana Jr, 2,472; 4.  Matt Smith, 2,416; 5.  Steve Johnson, 2,369; 6.  Scotty Pollacheck, 2,350; 7.  Hector Arana, 2,319; 8.  John Hall, 2,253; 9.  Angie Smith, 2,223; 10.  Michael Ray, 2,144.

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Donny Schatz edges Kyle Larson for Outlaws victory at Lake Ozark

Trent Gower/World of Outlaws
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Donny Schatz made a last-lap pass on Kyle Larson, snatching a World of Outlaws victory Saturday night at Lake Ozark Speedway.

Larson started on the pole, led 30 of 35 laps and was in control until a caution set up a two-lap shootout to the finish before a limited crowd in Eldon, Missouri.

Schatz and Larson traded the lead twice over the final two laps, but the 10-time champion emerged with his first victory since the NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series returned in mid-May from a two-month layoff because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

‘THEY’VE STUCK BEHIND ME’: Kyle Larson comments on future, Outlaws plans

“Man, I don’t know what to say, but Kyle’s a damn good racer,” Schatz, who led five laps, told DirtVision after his 296th Outlaws win. “I kind of had to go where he didn’t. We got that green-white-checkered, and I decided I was going to send it. He decided the same thing.

Donny Schatz celebrates at Lake Ozark Speedway after his second Outlaws Sprint Car victory of the season (Trent Gower).

“I’m glad to get the win. It feels like it’s been forever. I’ve been out here 24 years, and every night is a learning experience still.”

Larson finished second in his fifth start since he began racing with the Outlaws after being suspended from NASCAR.

“Obviously, it would have been nice to get the win,” Larson said on DirtVision. “I figured Donny would rip the middle. The restarts before, he’d almost clear me in (turns) 3 and 4. I should have known to protect and block his momentum. I felt I exited 2 OK. We don’t have spotters or rearview mirrors so you can’t see how close he is or really hear it when the pace is so slow.

“I just didn’t do a good enough job to run a smarter final couple of laps.”

Brad Sweet, Larson’s brother in law, finished third, with Shane Stewart and David Gravel rounding out the top five.

Larson rebounded from a 10th in Friday’s feature at Lake Ozark Speedway, continuing his streak of top-10 finishes in all five of his starts since the Outlaws’ return.

“We got our car a lot better from last night, so that was a plus,” said Larson, who finished second and first in back-to-back nights last week at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at Pevely, Missouri. “These guys are really tough. To be on the podium with Donny and Brad, they’ve won lots of big races and championships, it’s nice. I just didn’t do what I needed to do that last restart.”

Larson nearly had a flawless night Saturday, turning a 11.426-second lap to capture his second pole position this season and won the pole dash to start first in the feature.

Larson, who was fired by Chip Ganassi Racing from his NASCAR Cup Series ride last month for using a racial slur in an iRacing event, said last week that he plans to run several more NOS Energy Sprint Car Series races this year.

Larson remains indefinitely suspended by NASCAR but was approved to race by the Outlaws after completing sensitivity training.