NHRA Story
Thursday’s Auto Club NHRA Finals photo gallery
Thursday, November 07, 2013

News and views from the
Auto Club NHRA Finals
Last update: 3:55 p.m.
Click for latest post


 The nearby city of La Verne hosted the NHRA Fan Fest the weekend before the Auto Club NHRA Finals.

Race cars of all kinds, from Top Fuelers and Funny Cars to Super Comp cars and Jr. Dragsters lined the street.

(Right) Newly crowned NHRA Mello Yello Funny Car champ John Force, along with reigning champ Jack Beckman and fellow local flopper pilots Jeff Arend and Jeff Diehl, signed autographs.

(Below) Fans also enjoyed a Cacklefest of four vintage hot rods, with Force acting as master of ceremonies.



 More than 2,000 high school and college students from Southern California came to Auto Club Raceway at Pomona Wednesday for the 25th annual NHRA Career Opportunities Fair presented by the U.S. Army.

The fair, which has become a Southern California tradition, provides students with a free, fun-filled day of career exploration and advanced education programs in the automotive industry.

Students tested their mechanical skills against one another in the High School Automotive Challenge presented by Universal Technical Institute, finding and repairing problems with a classic T-bucket roadster. The team from Ramona High School took title.



Reigning NHRA Mello Yello Funny Car champ Jack Beckman helped promote the Finals the night before the race at the Ontario Reign ECHL game vs. the San Francisco Bulls.

(Above) Beckman allowed his son, Jason, to drop the puck in the ceremonial opening faceoff between Reign captain Derek Couture, left, and the Bulls' Jordan Morrison.

Beckman signed autographs for fans between the first and second periods and rode the Zamboni between the second and third.


 As at the season-opening Winternationals, NHRA staged a public press conference in the pits, allowing fans to get up close and personal with some of the drivers who will be in the spotlight this weekend, including Pro Stock champion rivals Jason Line and Jeg Coughlin Jr. (right) and recently crowned 16-time Funny Car champ John Force (below).



Top Fuel points leader Shawn Langdon was one of many Mello Yello drivers who sat down for an interview with the CBS cameras prior to today's first round of qualifying.

Sportsman racers are making their first qualifying and time-trial runs. An important part of each pass is the post-race ritual of weighing at the scales and fuel check.


[1:55 p.m.] Because the Pro Stock Motorcycle class does not run at the season opener in Pomona, the Finals is the first chance that rookie Adam Arana had to ride on the fabled dragstrip, which prompted his dad, Hector Sr. (left), to offer a little fatherly advice on the track's features.

His advice must have worked: Adam rode to the No. 1 qualifying spot with a 6.888, just a few ticks ahead of his older brother, Hector Jr. (above), who ran 6.892.

Reigning season champ Eddie Krawiec was third-quickest with a distant 6.944.


[2:35 p.m.] Jason Line (right), who is sitting second in Pro Stock points and needs to make up serious ground in qualifying to catch points leader Jeg Coughlin Jr., earned two points with the second-best run of the first session, a 6.554, which Coughlin matched but at a slower speed, 210.73 to Line's 210.93.

Mike Edwards (above), who is third in points, earned three bonus points with his session-leading 6.553.


V. Gaines’ season hasn’t turned out the way he hoped, but his team is being a good sport. The team from Fineline Graphics redid the teeth on front of his Kendall Motor Oil Dodge Pro Stocker showing some wear and tear. "We've been kicked a time or two this year,” Gaines said. "Trouble is, we even kicked ourselves once or twice."

Even though neither of them can win the season championship because John Force locked it up two weeks ago in Las Vegas, Jack Beckman (above) and Robert Hight (below) would both love to get past second-place Matt Hagan and be able to wear the No. 2 on their car next year. Beckman, the outgoing champ, led the first session with a 4.077, and Hight was second with a 4.096. Force had the third-best pass, a 4.105.


[3:55 p.m.] Top Fuel title combatants Shawn Langdon and Antron Brown (above) qualified 1-2 in the first qualifying session with respective passes of 3.772 and 3.787, which was bad news for Brown, who needs to outpoint Langdon during qualifying if he wants any kind of shot at passing him during eliminations.

"That was a very critical run for us," said Langdon, "and we feel it really puts the pressure on Antron. We're making good, clean runs. Antron needs to outperform us in qualifying while we just need to make these kinds of runs and win the first round."

David Grubnic (left) had the third-best pass of the round with a 3.792.