An incredible season for the KB Racing team will come to a fitting conclusion at this weekend’s Auto Club NHRA Finals at historic Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, which is the final race of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship.
The Pro Stock trio of Greg Anderson, Bo Butner, and Jason Line have won 10 races during the 2017 NHRA season, including four of the five playoff races thus far, meaning one of the talented group will be named world champion at the conclusion of the weekend. Anderson has the inside track on his fifth championship, holding a 40-point lead on Butner and a 76-point advantage on reigning world champ Line in what is the perfect scenario for the team.
“This is a dream come true for us, but now we have to go out there and settle it amongst ourselves,” Anderson said. “It's great to have that 40-point lead with my red Summit Racing Chevy Camaro, but still, each round will be worth 30 points in Pomona. This isn't over yet. As great of a weekend we had in Las Vegas, to only come out 40 points ahead, you'll probably have to go to Pomona and win the race if you're going to be world champ. That's the way it should be, though. You have to earn every inch of it. I expect a complete knock-down, drag-out brawl."
Doug Kalitta (Top Fuel), Tommy Johnson (Funny Car), Anderson (Pro Stock) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were last year’s winners of the season-ending race that will be televised on FOX Sports 1 (FS1), including live finals coverage starting at 4:00 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, Nov. 12. The last of 24 events of the 2017 season will have more on the line via the point-and-a-half system, meaning the winner earns 150 points and has the chance to earn up to 191 points at the event.
The points lead gives Anderson a slight advantage, but his incredible track record at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona may give him an even bigger edge. The talented veteran has 12 wins at Pomona, tied for the most in Pro Stock history, including six at the Auto Club NHRA Finals. Another victory guarantees him a fifth world title, but it won’t be easy against Butner, who has four wins this season, and Line, who won at Dallas during the Countdown to the Championship.
“We said all year long that we wanted to be 1-2-3 at the end, and now we're almost there and it's looking like that could very well happen,” said Butner, who was the points leader for most of the regular season. “I'm proud to be part of this team, and proud of what we've accomplished so far. We've got one more to go. We've got the best guys, and I know we'll have my car figured out for Pomona. We’re going to do our same routine, and if it's meant to be, it'll happen."
Line hasn’t been quite as dominant in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro as he was a year ago when he won eight races en route to his third world title. But he enters Pomona with a chance for a championship and that’s good enough for him.
"When it comes down to the championship, crazy things have happened both for us and against us in the past,” said Line, who has 47 career wins. “That's why you go there and race instead of working it all out on paper. A lot of the time, on paper, it looks like one thing, but in reality, it's another. We'll see what happens, but right now, I'm happy. I'm proud to be part of this team."
Anderson holds similar sentiments as his longtime teammate, and this weekend is the opportunity to enjoy the fun part – dueling against each other to see who will hold the championship trophy.
"We try to operate as an open book on this team, and we want to make every car we have as fast as it can be,” said Anderson, who has 90 career wins. “It's just our M.O., and I guess it just comes down to the fact that we do the best we can to beat ourselves – but that's what's so neat about KB Racing. We can't predict what's going to happen. You want them all to be even and let the drivers and crew chiefs settle it. I can't say enough about this race team. It's wonderful to be a part of it. It certainly makes my job more difficult, but that's why I love it so much."
Steve Torrence will try to claim his first Top Fuel world championship in Pomona. The eight-time 2017 winner holds a 20-point and 84-point lead on Brittany Force and Kalitta, respectively.
Funny Car points leader Robert Hight will try to hold off reigning world champ Ron Capps in a must-see duel. Hight currently has a 15-point advantage.
Eddie Krawiec’s bid for a fourth Pro Stock Motorcycle championship is within grasp, currently leading LE Tonglet by 150 points.
Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature two rounds at 12:00 p.m. and 2:45 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 10, and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, Nov. 11, at 12:00 p.m. and 2:45 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 12.
To purchase general-admission or reserved seats, call 800-884-NHRA (6472). Tickets also are available online at www.NHRA.com/tickets. Kids 12 and under are free in general admission areas with a paid adult. All students can save 50 percent on general admission at the gate with a student ID. To honor the Salute to First Responders, military and first responders can save 20 percent on general admission tickets at the gate.