Jason Line clinched his second NHRA Full Throttle Pro Stock world championship when racing came to an end Sunday at the Big O Tires NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Del Worsham, Ron Capps, Mike Edwards, and Eddie Krawiec raced to wins in their respective categories at the penultimate race of the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing season.
Line entered the 2011 NHRA Countdown to the Championship second in the Pro Stock point standings. He then raced to three consecutive final-round appearances, including wins in Dallas and Reading, in the first three races of the Countdown. In total, Line raced to six wins in eight final-round appearances for the season and posted seven No. 1 qualifiers.
“It feels unbelievable to win my second championship,” said Line. “Timing is everything in our sport, and we got hot at the right time. The second championship definitely means more to me because as I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to appreciate it, and realized how hard these things really are to get.”
Line, who won his first NHRA Full Throttle Pro Stock world championship in 2006, clinched his second title after he raced his Summit Racing Pontiac GXP to a semifinal-round appearance Sunday in Las Vegas, home of his KB Racing team owner, Ken Black.
“It’s more important to clinch here than Pomona since we have all of Ken Black’s family here, and without them, none of this would be possible,” said Line. “We owe everything to them. Wish we could have given them an all-Summit final, but at least, we did this here.”
In Top Fuel, Worsham raced to his seventh win of the season when he powered his Al-Anabi Racing dragster to a 3.823-second run at 318.77 mph past Spencer Massey. The win moved Worsham into the second spot in the point standings, two points behind leader Massey heading into the final race of the season.
“Today was Al-Anabi, Sheikh Khalid [Al-Thani, team owner], and our team,” said Worsham. “You can’t see the other guy, but there’s that feeling like when someone is staring at you, and you know they’re there. I knew [Spencer Massey] was lurking. He never saw me either. When my win light came on down there, I was proud.”
Matco Tools dragster pilot Antron Brown sits third in the point standings, 14 points out of the lead, while defending world champion Larry Dixon sits fourth in the standings, 44 points behind leader Massey.
In Funny Car, Capps defeated fellow Don Schumacher Racing teammate Johnny Gray to collect his second win of the season. Capps drove his NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger to a 4.109 at 311.34 to secure his 33rd career win and fourth at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
“We’re fighting to get back into it,” said Capps. “As soon as you start celebrating the win at the top end, you also think, ‘Gosh, if it weren’t for that DNQ, we’d be right in the middle of it.’ I want to win the championship with Tim and Kim [Richards, crew chiefs]. We’re going to try. I couldn’t believe that 4.10 in the final. I couldn’t believe the car stayed hooked up.”
While Capps raced to the win, his teammate Matt Hagan took the points lead away from Jack Beckman. Hagan now leads Beckman by one point heading into the final race of the season, and third-place driver Cruz Pedregon sits 26 points behind leader Hagan, and John Force Racing driver Mike Neff moved down to the fourth spot, 34 points out of the lead.
Edwards raced to the win in Pro Stock when he powered his Penhall/Interstate Batteries Pontiac GXP to a 6.641 at 208.30 past Allen Johnson in the final round. For Edwards, it was his fourth win of the season, 32nd of his career, and third in Las Vegas.
“To win the race, to come out here and qualify really well, and put four rounds together, we’ve been trying to do that for the last six or seven races for sure,” said Edwards. “Actually, it’s been more than that, probably. But it feels good to come out and finally win a race. Hats off to all my guys for doing a tremendous job.”
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, 2008 world champion Krawiec defeated fellow Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson teammate when he powered his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson to a 6.936 at 194.30 in the final round. It was Krawiec’s fourth win of the season and 11th of his career. The win also increased his points lead over second-place driver Hector Arana Jr. by 69 points.
“You know the most important thing here was consistency,” said Krawiec. “Round-wins and round-wins. And I’ve just been trying to work on my riding and being consistent. That’s the one thing that shows. No. 1 qualifying cracks don’t get you Wally’s and points at the end of the weekend. It’s an awesome points system that we have going for the past couple of years with all the categories. You can see that it’s really working and that it makes it good for the fans.”
The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series will head to Southern California for the final stop of the 2011 season, the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals Nov. 10-13 at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.
Leah Pruett raced to her second consecutive win when the 2011 NHRA Get Screened America Pro Mod Drag Racing Season came to an end.
Pruett powered her ProCare Rx ’10 Mustang to a 5.910-second run at 253.04 mph past Danny Rowe to pick up her second win of the season in her first full season in the category.
“Mission definitely accomplished,” said Pruett. “I think we ran Las Vegas out of its luck. This car is non-stop. This race is where the crew stood out. This R2B2 Mustang does have problems sometimes, but when you have the best crew in the world, that’s how you win. They shined through the thrashes we had to go through between the rounds.”
World champion Khalid Balooshi, who was crowned Saturday following his first-round win over Mike Janis, lost in the second round to No. 1 qualifier and defending event winner Brad Personett. Personett was unable to get around championship runner-up Rowe in the semifinal round.
Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series victories went to Chris Demke (Top Alcohol Dragster), Tony Bartone (Top Alcohol Funny Car), Peter Biondo (Super Stock), Jim Meador (Stock), Billy Torrence (Super Comp), and Ed DeStaute (Super Gas).
Friday: Bernstein, Hight, Line, Arana lead opening-day Vegas fields
Saturday: Capps rebounds to lead Funny Car; Worsham, Edwards, Arana also front Vegas fields