MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES
Brittany Force was crowned the second female Top Fuel racer to win the category crown after she clinched the championship Sunday at the Auto Club NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. In her championship year, Force raced to four wins including the season ending event. She also had two runner-up finishes and two No. 1 qualifying positions during the year. Force, daughter of 16-time Funny Car world champion John Force, became just the second female to win a Top Fuel world championship. The other female to win a championship in the category was legendary racer Shirley Muldowney.
Robert Hight raced to his first championship since 2009 and his Jimmy Prock-led team, who set a national E.T. record for the category at Brainerd, found a tune-up that would propel him to the points lead in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Countdown to the Championship. In the six-race playoffs Hight won two events and was the No. 1 qualifier at three consecutive races. Hight raced to a runner-up finish at the season-ending event.
Bo Butner powered to his first world title in the same season he recorded his first career Pro Stock win in Houston. Butner and his KB Racing teammates, Greg Anderson and Jason Line, finished one-two-and three in the points, respectively. Starting at the Norwalk event, Butner raced to four final-round appearances in six events and was able to enter the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Countdown to the Championship as the No. 1 seed. He defeated Tanner Gray at Pomona in the finals to clinch the championship by seven points over Greg Anderson.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE
Eddie Krawiec won his fourth championship on the strength of a season opening win for the two-wheeled category in Gainesville. The team hit their championship stride beginning in Indianapolis when he won his second Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals. In the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship Krawiec cemented his crown with four wins in the first five races and took the points lead starting in Charlotte 2. Krawiec closed out the year with a runner-up finish at the season finale.
Troy Coughlin Sr.
Troy Coughlin Sr. clinched his third E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service championship in dramatic fashion at the NHRA Toyota Nationals in Las Vegas, beating his only remaining title challenger, Mike Castellana, in a dramatic, head-to-head second-round encounter at the season finale. Coughlin reached his first final round of the season in Englishtown, the sixth event of the Pro Mod schedule. From there, he reached four straight final rounds, winning his first race in Bristol (the seventh race on the schedule). Coughlin went on to win the 11th race on the schedule in St. Louis, one of six final-round appearances on the season for the veteran Pro Mod driver. Coughlin previously won the championship in 2012 and 2015, and he finished second in 2013, 2014, and 2016.
With three wins and five final-round appearances, Jay Turner claimed the inaugural Mickey Thompson Tires Top Fuel Harley Drag Racing Series championship. Turner got his season off on the right foot with a win against Rickey House at the Winternationals. He missed the final in Phoenix but got right back into the winner’s circle at back-to-back races in Las Vegas and Houston against Mike Pelrine and Bob Malloy, respectively. He then moved on to Topeka, where he was the runner-up against Mike Scott. That marked Turner’s fourth appearance in a final round in just the fifth race of the season. By that time, he had accumulated a whopping 393 points. The class counts the best six races of the season. That came in handy at the following event as Turner only picked up 40 points in Epping, a season low for the rider. He bounced right back at Thunder Valley, reaching the final round again. That clinched him the championship and helped teammate Tii Tharpe climb the points standings in the process.
TOP ALCOHOL DRAGSTER
For the third straight season, second-generation racer Joey Severance has been crowned as the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Top Alcohol Dragster national champion. Severance fought a season-long battle against a stacked field that included Shawn Cowie, Megan Meyer, and upstart Josh Hart. En route to his third title, Severance drove to seven victories, including national event wins in Pomona and Houston. Remarkably consistent in his career, Severance now has 18 national event titles to his credit since his first victory at the 2007 Las Vegas event.
TOP ALCOHOL FUNNY CAR
With two-time champion Jonnie Lindberg moving to the nitro category, it was a given that the Top Alcohol Funny Car class would have a new champion this year, and that honor went to Shane Westerfield. After opening the season with a win in Pomona, Westerfield also won the spring Las Vegas event and added regional victories in Phoenix, Seattle, and Woodburn, Ore. Westerfield held on to win the title by just 11 points over his closest rival, John Lombardo Jr.
David Rampy didn’t need another title to cement his place as one of the sport’s all-time greats, but he’s now a five-time NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series national champion. Driving his Skillman Auto-backed ’32 Bantam roadster, Rampy won all eight of the races counted in his final score, including national events in Gainesville, Chicago, and Denver. A national event winner in five different classes, Rampy has 95 national event titles to his credit, making him the fifth-winningest driver in NHRA history.
SUPER STOCK & STOCK
Lamb entered the 2017 season as a two-time NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series champ and finished with four titles after winning both the Super Stock and Stock championships. He became just the third driver to accomplish that feat, joining Scotty Richardson and Jeff Strickland. In Super Stock, Lamb drove his Chevy Cobalt to a national event win at the Pomona season opener and later added divisional titles in Sonoma, Seattle, and Woodburn, Ore. Lamb is also a winner in six different classes.
A midyear switch from his venerable ’70 Camaro to a new ’17 COPO Camaro didn’t do much to slow Lamb’s drive toward a fourth national championship. Starting the season with a runner-up finish in Phoenix, Lamb caught fire when he debuted the new car, winning the divisional events in Woodburn, Ore., and Las Vegas to go along with a runner-up finish at the Seattle national event. Lamb’s robust total of 678 points was 21 better than second-ranked Kevin Helms.
Three years after winning the Stock national championship, Austin Williams has added the Super Comp title to his résumé. Williams won the Topeka national event and the divisional race in Nobile, Okla., but his championship drive took off at midseason when he reached the final round in both races of the doubleheader weekend at Heartland Park Topeka. With two wins and three runner-up finishes on his final scorecard, Williams racked up an impressive 687-point total for the 2017 season.
John Labbous Jr.
Labbous put on a huge score early in the season when he drove his Super Gas Corvette to four wins in five finals, but he had to wait until the second-to-last day of the season to clinch the championship. Labbous won after rival Chris Cannon lost in the second round at the Auto Club nhra Finals in Pomona, coming up just three points short of the top spot. Labbous also scored his first double-up at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals in Charlotte and finished the season as the No. 2 driver in Super Comp.
TOP DRAGSTER presented by racing rvs
A consistent winner in Super Stock and Super Gas competition, Ellison turned his attention to the Top Dragster class a few years ago and was rewarded with the 2017 Top Dragster presented by Racing RVs national championship. Known as “Pirate” to his friends, Ellison began his championship march with a win at the JEGS NHRA SPORTSnationals in Bowling Green, Ky., and later added a win at the Division 3 event at National Trail Raceway and a pair of runner-up finishes in Indianapolis and Bowling Green.
TOP SPORTSMAN presented by racing rvs
For the second time in three years, Barker has been crowned the season champion in the Top Sportsman presented by Racing RVs class. With a final scorecard that included six wins and a runner-up finish, Barker was the first Sportsman racer to clinch a season title, locking up first place well before the start of the fall season. Driving his 210-mph Chevy Cavalier, Barker earned national event victories in Gainesville and Norwalk to go with divisional wins in Gainesville, Atlanta, and both ends of the Topeka doubleheader in July.