We have a better sense of where the points lie after the first day of qualifying at the Auto Club NHRA Finals in Pomona. Matt Hagan and Jeg Coughlin Jr. posted perfect days in Funny Car and Pro Stock, respectively, to assert themselves in their title races and a warm race track will make things difficult for upstarts to take down the pole sitters Saturday.
You can see all the championship scenarios as they stood when we began the Auto Club NHRA Finals and then get an up-close and personal look at each category below. We have updated points (still unofficial until the race concludes on Sunday evening) and a few updated scenarios as we prepare to hand out world championship trophies.
Here are the points still available to all racers:
-Qualifying points [Ranging from 10 to 3]
-30 points automatically awarded for qualifying
-Qualifying bonus points based on making one of the four-quickest runs of each session [Ranging from 4 to 1]
Steve Torrence lost two points to Brittany Force because of the stout run made by the Advance Auto Parts driver in the first qualifying session, but the damage could have been much worse. Torrence did not make it down the track during either qualifying session and is qualified in the No. 13 position.
Force remains within striking distance of Torrence. She can pass the Texan if she makes the quickest pass of the third and fourth qualifying sessions, qualifies No. 1 and Torrence remains qualified 13th or worse. That's not impossible, but it remains incredible unlikely based on the warm temperatures predicted for Saturday racing.
Kalitta did not earn any bonus points, but he also did not lose any ground. He is within two rounds of Torrence, and he can't get any closer. Billy Torrence did not lose any ground to his son and is within three rounds. That will keep things interesting as we head towards race day.
|Bob Tasca III||2405||-104|
|Tommy Johnson Jr.||2321||-188|
Jack Beckman and Matt Hagan both enjoyed incredible days at Auto Club Raceway while nearly everyone else struggled profusely. It will be difficult for either of them to move within a round of Hight, but at the very least it seems unlikely they will drop more than 60 points behind the driver of the Auto Club Chevy Camaro.
|Jeg Coughlin Jr.||2448||-87|
Jeg Coughlin Jr. did just enough to make things uncomfortable for Erica Enders. He is now within three points of his teammate and she needs to outqualify him on Saturday, in warmer conditions, to extend her lead to a more comfortable distance. Yes, it can happen, but if we choose to operate in the realm of the likely... well, she'll still need to take care of business on Sunday.
Matt Smith did exactly what he needed to do. He applied pressure to Andrew Hines and charged his way up the qualifying order. All that matters is beating Hines in the first round on Sunday, so this qualifying performance is all ... well, practice.