NHRA: Worsham (Funny Car), Hines (Pro Stock Bike) earn 2015 titles


In Sunday’s season-ending Auto Club Finals in Pomona, California, Del Worsham (Funny Car) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) joined previously-crowned Antron Brown (Top Fuel) and Erica Enders (Pro Stock) as 2015 champions.

Worsham earned his second career NHRA championship, but his first in Funny Car, making him only the third driver in sanctioning body history to earn championships in both nitro classes, Top Fuel and Funny Car.

Worsham won the Top Fuel crown in 2011. The other two drivers to have accomplished the rare feat in the past were Kenny Bernstein and Gary Scelzi.

Worsham clinched the championship after defeating closest challenger Jack Beckman in the semifinals. Worsham then went on to win the race in Funny Car for an encore.

“When I put this trophy next to my other one at home it will be real,” said Worsham, who earned $500,000 from NHRA and Mello Yello for the championship. “Every time I looked up there was a (Don Schumacher Racing) car sitting there in my face.

“I was nervous about it. I was counting points. I am not going to tell you it was like any other race, because it wasn’t. I know the points are the same as the first round at Charlotte (the opening race of the six-race Countdown to the Championship), but the circumstances here were much greater.”

Some consolation for Beckman was that he set the national Funny Car elapsed time record (3.884 seconds).

“The cars were running so fast here this weekend that the record just became part of the equation,” Worsham said. “(Beckman) was making up points before we even started racing by setting the record. Today it came down to being head to head and I am grateful for the way it worked out.”

Hines, meanwhile, earned his second straight and fifth career Pro Stock Motorcycle championship. Hines clinched the title after his closest challenger, Louisiana alligator farmer Jerry Savoie, lost in the second round of Sunday’s eliminations.

Hines won $75,000 and becomes the youngest driver in NHRA history to win five championships.

“My outstanding Harley-Davidson team did a great job of keeping me focused and keeping the pressure off of me,” Hines said. “I guess we put the fear of Harley into them. Five championships is pretty awesome.”

Brown and Enders clinched their respective championships in the penultimate race two weeks ago at Las Vegas.

In addition to Worsham winning the Funny Car final round, other race winners were Shawn Langdon (Top Fuel), Allen Johnson (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle).

Langdon won the season-opening race at Pomona back in February and capped off a difficult season (lost primary sponsorship just before the 24-race schedule kicked off) with a win Sunday.

“I love this track,” said Langdon, the 2013 world champ who now has 11 career victories. “It has always had a special place in my heart.

“I grew up right around the corner (Mira Loma, Calif.). I was always out here watching my heroes race. I have so many great memories out at this track. Luckily I’ve had a good career here. It makes it sweet to share these special memories with your family and friends.”

In Pro Stock, Johnson claimed his second win of the season and 26th of his career.

“We had struggled during the entire Countdown, never winning more than two rounds a race and losing twice in the first round,” Johnson said. “We also struggled during qualifying and in eliminations. But right before the final, we discovered that a torsion bar was bent. We fixed that, and the car went straight down the track.”

Of note, Sunday’s race marks the final Pro Stock race that will feature carbureted engines. Next season, Pro Stock motors will include electronic fuel injection, as well as other significant changes including the elimination of hood scoops.

“This was a very special win because it will be remembered as the end of an era,” said Johnson, the 2012 Pro Stock world champ. “To do this today the way we did it by digging down deep and getting it done was very special.”

Krawiec, meanwhile, earned his fourth Pro Stock Motorcycle win of the year.

“I’ve been to eight finals in a row here in Pomona, so this track has treated me well,” Krawiec said. “It is also a big deal for us to get the 75th win (in NHRA PSM) for Harley-Davidson.”

That puts a wrap on the 24-race 2015 season. The 2016 season (which has been reduced to 23 races) opens Feb. 12 right back at the same location as this past weekend’s finals, AAA Raceway in Pomona.


TOP FUEL: 1.  Shawn Langdon; 2.  Antron Brown; 3.  Doug Kalitta; 4.  Richie Crampton; 5.  Steve Torrence; 6.  J.R. Todd; 7.  Billy Torrence; 8.  Clay Millican; 9.  Brittany Force; 10.  Larry Dixon; 11.  Terry McMillen; 12.  Troy Buff; 13.  Dave Connolly; 14.  Cory McClenathan; 15.  Tony Schumacher; 16.  Morgan Lucas.

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

PRO STOCK: 1.  Allen Johnson; 2.  Vincent Nobile; 3.  Greg Anderson; 4.  Erica Enders; 5.  Chris McGaha; 6.  Drew Skillman; 7.  Larry Morgan; 8.  Shane Gray; 9.  Jason Line; 10.  Bo Butner; 11.  Alex Laughlin; 12.  Kenny Delco; 13.  Matt Hartford; 14.  Richie Stevens; 15.  Jonathan Gray; 16.  V. Gaines.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1.  Eddie Krawiec; 2.  Matt Smith; 3.  LE Tonglet; 4.  Andrew Hines; 5.  Karen Stoffer; 6.  Hector Arana Jr; 7.  Chip Ellis; 8.  Jerry Savoie; 9.  Hector Arana; 10.  Steve Johnson; 11.  Scotty Pollacheck; 12.  Angie Smith; 13.  Shawn Gann; 14.  Mike Berry; 15.  Jim Underdahl; 16.  Michael Ray.


Top Fuel: Shawn Langdon, 3.715 seconds, 332.43 mph  def. Antron Brown, 3.732 seconds, 321.73 mph.

Funny Car: Del Worsham, Toyota Camry, 3.900, 328.14  def. Tommy Johnson Jr., Dodge Charger, 4.023, 305.42.

Pro Stock: Allen Johnson, Dodge Dart, 6.541, 210.18  def. Vincent Nobile, Chevy Camaro, 6.540, 211.93.

Pro Stock Motorcycle: Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.846, 192.58  def. Matt Smith, Victory, 6.888, 194.21.


TOP FUEL: ROUND ONE — Richie Crampton, 3.732, 317.49 def. Brittany Force, 3.759, 324.44; Shawn Langdon, 3.828, 318.24 def. Larry Dixon, 3.821, 316.82; Clay Millican, 3.871, 318.92 def. Morgan Lucas, 8.172, 90.46; Antron Brown, 3.725, 323.58 def. Cory McClenathan, 5.391, 128.81; Billy Torrence, 3.745, 328.46 def. Terry McMillen, 3.842, 316.08; J.R. Todd, 3.778, 329.91 def. Troy Buff, 3.845, 311.92; Doug Kalitta, 3.783, 274.33 def. Tony Schumacher, 5.732, 118.11; Steve Torrence, 3.720, 329.42 def. Dave Connolly, 4.018, 221.13;

QUARTERFINALS — Langdon, 3.749, 325.85 def. Millican, 8.515, 80.79; Kalitta, 3.747, 323.66 def. B. Torrence, 7.079, 83.34; Crampton, 3.718, 320.20 def. Todd, 3.739, 328.22; Brown, 3.728, 326.40 def. S. Torrence, foul;

SEMIFINALS — Langdon, 3.763, 327.19 def. Kalitta, 3.781, 314.31; Brown, 3.700, 323.58 def. Crampton, 10.354, 81.71;

FINAL — Langdon, 3.715, 332.43 def. Brown, 3.732, 321.73.

FUNNY CAR: ROUND ONE — Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 5.744, 220.94 def. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 5.787, 270.59; Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 3.902, 331.45 def. Paul Lee, Charger, 4.052, 316.38; Ron Capps, Charger, 3.944, 321.50 def. Jeff Arend, Charger, 4.368, 255.97; Jack Beckman, Charger, 3.897, 328.38 def. Chad Head, Toyota Camry, 4.115, 248.66; Del Worsham, Camry, 4.039, 300.93 def. Tony Pedregon, Camry, 4.432, 227.61; Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.010, 310.84 def. Gary Densham, Charger, 4.238, 228.11; Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 6.604 def. John Force, Camaro, DQ, 113.66; Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 3.978, 323.66 def. Courtney Force, Camaro, 3.986, 325.14;

QUARTERFINALS — Capps, 3.885, 326.87 def. DeJoria, 3.955, 325.14; Beckman, 3.884, 326.16 def. C. Pedregon, 8.101, 84.25; Johnson Jr., 3.926, 321.58 def. Hagan, 7.451, 86.63; Worsham, 3.896, 328.30 def. Hight, 5.255, 150.85;

SEMIFINALS — Johnson Jr., 3.891, 326.08 def. Capps, 4.052, 323.50; Worsham, 3.928, 327.35 def. Beckman, 4.088, 324.83;

FINAL — Worsham, 3.900, 328.14 def. Johnson Jr., 4.023, 305.42.

PRO STOCK: ROUND ONE — Chris McGaha, Chevy Camaro, 6.527, 211.89 def. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.537, 211.89; Larry Morgan, Camaro, 6.561, 211.43 def. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.550, 212.26; Allen Johnson, Dodge Dart, 6.571, 209.23 def. Jonathan Gray, Camaro, foul; Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.556, 211.06 def. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.556, 211.26; Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.543, 211.79 def. Richie Stevens, Dart, foul; Shane Gray, Camaro, 8.316, 116.78 def. Kenny Delco, Camaro, foul; Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.536, 211.96 def. Matt Hartford, Pontiac GXP, 6.594, 210.01; Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.526, 212.56 def. V. Gaines, Dart, broke;

QUARTERFINALS — Johnson, 6.548, 209.82 def. S. Gray, 6.551, 211.76; Nobile, 6.533, 212.13 def. Skillman, 6.527, 212.23; Anderson, 6.515, 212.53 def. McGaha, 6.517, 211.99; Enders, 6.520, 212.43 def. Morgan, 6.548, 212.43;

SEMIFINALS — Johnson, 6.572, 209.17 def. Enders, 6.542, 211.56; Nobile, 8.523, 98.09 def. Anderson, foul;

FINAL — Johnson, 6.541, 210.18 def. Nobile, 6.540, 211.93.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: ROUND ONE — Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.845, 195.90 def. Mike Berry, Buell, 7.107, 188.31; Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.903, 193.18 def. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 7.703, 133.43; Chip Ellis, Buell, 6.974, 191.00 def. Shawn Gann, Buell, 7.023, 187.52; LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.886, 191.87 def. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.972, 190.48; Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.915, 190.75 def. Scotty Pollacheck, Buell, 6.988, 189.63; Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.905, 191.62 def. Michael Ray, Buell, 8.251, 112.78; Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.914, 194.91 def. Angie Smith, 7.018, 188.33; Matt Smith, 6.884, 194.52 def. Hector Arana, Buell, 6.957, 193.10;

QUARTERFINALS — Krawiec, 6.955, 184.57 def. Savoie, no time; Hines, 6.879, 190.27 def. Arana Jr, 6.898, 194.35; Tonglet, 6.871, 194.16 def. Stoffer, foul; M. Smith, 6.870, 194.32 def. Ellis, 6.928, 192.06;

SEMIFINALS — Krawiec, 6.882, 192.38 def. Hines, 6.917, 184.80; M. Smith, 6.896, 194.72 def. Tonglet, 6.892, 190.16;

FINAL — Krawiec, 6.846, 192.58 def. M. Smith, 6.888, 194.21.


Top Fuel: 1.  Antron Brown, 2,692; 2.  Tony Schumacher, 2,461; 3.  Richie Crampton, 2,430; 4.  Larry Dixon, 2,412; 5.  Doug Kalitta, 2,388; 6.  Shawn Langdon, 2,387; 7.  Brittany Force, 2,363; 8.  Steve Torrence, 2,342; 9.  J.R. Todd, 2,307; 10.  Dave Connolly, 2,303.

Funny Car: 1.  Del Worsham, 2,664; 2.  Jack Beckman, 2,608; 3.  Tommy Johnson Jr., 2,548; 4.  Ron Capps, 2,490; 5.  Matt Hagan, 2,418; 6.  Robert Hight, 2,370; 7.  John Force, 2,332; 8.  Alexis DeJoria, 2,313; 9.  Cruz Pedregon, 2,286; 10.  Tim Wilkerson, 2,259.

Pro Stock: 1.  Erica Enders, 2,712; 2.  Greg Anderson, 2,492; 3.  Allen Johnson, 2,443; 4.  Chris McGaha, 2,442; 5.  Drew Skillman, 2,433; 6.  Vincent Nobile, 2,389; 7.  Larry Morgan, 2,376; 8.  Jason Line, 2,331; 9.  Shane Gray, 2,299; 10.  Jonathan Gray, 2,286.

Pro Stock Motorcycle: 1. Andrew Hines, 2,608; 2.  Eddie Krawiec, 2,565; 3.  Jerry Savoie, 2,550; 4.  Matt Smith, 2,428; 5.  Hector Arana Jr, 2,419; 6.  Chip Ellis, 2,400; 7.  Karen Stoffer, 2,376; 8.  Hector Arana, 2,323; 9.  Jim Underdahl, 2,220; 10.  Scotty Pollacheck, 2,192.

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IndyCar disappointed by delay of video game but aiming to launch at start of 2024

IndyCar video game 2024

An IndyCar executive said there is “absolutely” disappointment that its long-awaited video game recently was delayed beyond its target date, but the series remains optimistic about the new title.

“Well, I don’t know how quick it will be, but the whole situation is important to us,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said during a news conference Monday morning to announce IndyCar’s NTT title sponsorship. “Motorsport Games has spent a lot of money, a lot of effort to create an IndyCar title. What we’ve seen of that effort, which is not completely obvious, is very reassuring.

“I think it’s going to be outstanding. That’s our shared objective, that when it is released, it’s just widely accepted. A great credit both to IndyCar racing, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, something that our fans love.”

In June 2021, IndyCar announced a new partnership with Motorsport Games to create and distribute an IndyCar video game for the PC and Xbox and PlayStation consoles in 2023.

But during an earnings call last week, Motorsport Games said the IndyCar game had been delayed to 2024 to ensure high quality.

Somewhat compounding the delay is that IndyCar’s license for iRacing expired after the end of the 2022 season because of its exclusive agreement with Motorsport Games.

That’s resulted in significant changes for IndyCar on iRacing, which had provided a high-profile way for the series to stay visible during its 2020 shutdown from the pandemic. (Players still can race an unbranded car but don’t race on current IndyCar tracks, nor can they stream).

That’s helped ratchet up the attention on having a video game outlet for IndyCar.

“I wish we had an IndyCar title 10 years ago,” said Miles, who has been working with the organization since 2013. “We’ve been close, but we’ve had these I think speed bumps.”

IndyCar is hopeful the Motorsports Game edition will be ready at the start of 2024. Miles hinted that beta versions could be unveiled to reporters ahead of the time “to begin to show the progress in a narrow way to make sure we’ve got it right, to test the progress so that we’re ready when they’re ready.”

It’s been nearly 18 years since the release of the most recent IndyCar video game for console or PC.

“(We) better get it right,” Miles said. “It’s something we’re very close to and continue to think about what it is to make sure we get it over the line in due course.”