It’s rare to know before an event that you’re going to witness history, but that’s clearly going to be the case this weekend as the Camping World NHRA tour heads to Pomona for the Auto Club NHRA Finals, the last event of the 2021 season.
None of the four professional championships have been decided at this point and at least a couple of them are wide open with a number of possible outcomes. Tipster has taken all this into consideration and is determined to end the season on a strong note so this week, he’s got title hopefuls Steve Torrence, Matt Hagan, Greg Anderson, and Matt Smith listed as the favorites.
With a 108 point cushion over second-ranked Brittany Force, Torrence has the biggest lead of any of the four pro classes so his odds of winning a fourth-straight title seem to be very favorable. It also helps that the Capco team makes few mistakes and always performs well under pressure.
NHRA doesn’t currently have a “most improved” award but if they did, it would almost certainly go to the Scrappers team. Since the start of the Countdown, they’ve performed on another level and present a serious challenge to the top teams. It’s too late for a title run, but not for an event win.
Monster Energy/Flavor Pak
The strategy here is fairly simple; win the race and hope for the best, which means an early loss by Torrence. That’s not likely to happen but then again, we’ve seen stranger things in this sport. If nothing else, a season-ending win would do wonders for confidence heading into the long off-season.
He’s played the role of spoiler all year long and there’s no reason to stop now. He could play a role in determining the champion but it’s more likely that he simply wins a few rounds on Sunday.
He’s already won 23 rounds this season and has followed his Dallas victory with back-to-back semifinals in Bristol and Las Vegas so is there any reason to think he can’t or won’t go at least that far in Pomona?
It’s been a bit of a dry spell since the big win in Reading but this is still a team that is more than capable of finishing the season with a victory. In qualifying, they’ve been remarkably consistent this season. They’ve been ranked lower than sixth just once this season.
This almost certainly appears to be her final event as a part of the DSR team so it stands to reason that everyone involved would like to go out on a high note. They won the last time we were in Pomona, which was just a few months ago.
Here’s another team in transition that would love nothing more than to close the season on a high note with a victory. Can they do it? Of course, but it might require a little luck in the process.
The championship that was his to lose a few races ago started to slip away lately but there is still hope. This car has been to six finals this year and has won three of them and they may need a similar performance to retain the title.
A second Camping World NHRA title is there for the taking but it won’t be easy, even with a 58 point lead. He won the last race held here in July and believe it or not, conditions should be remarkably similar.
His Las Vegas win was a thing of beauty and just enough to keep him in title contention. Now, he’ll need a similar performance in order to win a third world title. He’s also got three nitro wins in Pomona so there’s a bit of history as well.
RoKit/Bandero Premium Tequila Toyota
Back-to-back low qualifiers and a big win in Bristol should tell you all you need to know about the potential of the Bandero team. There is no doubt that they can win this race and might even have hand in deciding the championship before it’s all said and done.
Bob Tasca III
Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford
We’d like to have seen a bit more consistency out of the Ford flagship this season but currently No. 6 in points, it is what it is. When this car is on, it can run with anyone else in the class and they were on in Las Vegas with a solid semifinal finish.
This has been a crazy and largely forgettable season for the entire Kalitta team but let’s not forget that the DHL Toyota is still in the running for the championship. Overcoming a 138 point deficit will require a minor miracle, but it’s possible. At the very least, they can end the season on a high note.
Peak/Blue Def Chevy
Not sure exactly what has happened here but the Peak team went from first place after Reading to No. 5 after Las Vegas. In other words, the Countdown has not been kind to them. Pomona Raceway, however, has been kind to the 16-time champion as he’s got 16 wins here overall.
Auto Club Chevy
Don’t think anyone expected this team to be in seventh place heading into the final event of the season and with two wins and four finals, it’s hard to argue they weren’t successful. The Countdown has not been kind with a pair of round one losses. This would be a perfect place for a rebound.
Last week, NASCARS’s Kyle Larson won a championship in his HendrickCars.com Chevy and Anderson hopes to do the same this weekend. With a 32 point lead he controls his own destiny but absolutely cannot afford an early loss like the one he took in Las Vegas.
In Las Vegas she said, “when the clock is ticking down, I want the ball” and she’s got it right now. Historically, she’s been good in high pressure situations and they don’t get much more high pressure than this.
RAD Torque Systems Camaro
Technically, he’s still a contender for the title but not really. In fact, would it be best for him to drop back in qualifying and hope to catch one of the contenders early? There’s not real evidence that is going to happen but it’s worth discussing.
Troy Coughlin Jr.
There is every reason to think he’ll block for his teammate again this week but it’s also worth noting that he’s got a car and enough talent to win the race. Give him a clear path to the final and watch what happens.
Lucas Oil/Nitro Fish Camaro
Another guy who could (or should) play the ladder game in order to help out his KB Racing teammate. This strategy only works if you’ve got enough muscle to win the race, which obviously he does.
Total Seal Camaro
If you’re looking for a championship spoiler it’s worth noting that he’s 0-5 against Anderson this year and 2-2 against Enders. Make of that what you will. Honesty, he’s going to be more focused on winning rounds and less concerned with whatever is happening with the rest of the class.
Harlow Sammons Camaro
He’s not involved in any of the championship drama which might work in his favor since all he’s got to be concerned about is winning the race. Before Las Vegas, he had a semifinal in St. Louis and a runner-up in Dallas so he’s more than capable of winning the whole thing.
Janac Bros. Camaro
So far, the Stanfield family has had a pretty good year with Aaron winning his second Factory Stock title and father, Greg, winning the Super Stock title for a fifth time. Nothing would feel better than ending the season with another Pro Stock victory.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE
For all the craziness in the Pro Stock Motorcycle class this season, he comes into the final race as the points leader, and there’s not a rider in the class who wouldn’t want that right now. He can defend his title, but it might take nothing less than a win to do it.
For a guy who’s career seemed to be winding down a couple of seasons ago, he’s made a remarkable comeback but the heavy lifting isn’t done yet. If he’s got one more good race left in him, this would be a good time to use it. After more than 30 years, this is his best shot at a championship by a mile.
Big St. Charles/Skillman Cars Suzuki
Looking for someone who could absolutely dash the hopes of a title contender? Look no further. This bike is red-hot and quick enough to dominate the field. She’s also not going to be the one under pressure. That’s a dangerous combo.
Mission Foods Vance & Hines Suzuki
Look for the Vance & Hines team to pull out all the stops in order to get their rider a fourth championship. It’s going to take a bit of work, but with just 30 points (one round) to make up, it’s certainly not out of the question, especially in this unpredictable class.
Vance & Hines Buell
Assuming he got his (ahem) oil pressure issue fixed after Las Vegas, he should be good to go for the final race of the season. He could also do some damage as far as helping out his teammate.
This might be his final race for a bit as he’s planning to take all or part of the 2022 season off so why not make it count? He’s already proven that he can win races so why not bag a third title here.
Last year, she won the final race of the season, which was held in Las Vegas. Its’ going to be a little tougher this season but certainly not out of the question.
Vance & Hines Buell
This has been a largely forgettable year for the six-time champion but he did get to the final round earlier this season in Sonoma. Also possible that he somehow affects the ongoing championship battle.