The opening day of the Auto Club NHRA Finals produced plenty of drama as the 2022 season wraps up at historic Pomona Raceway. Following the first two rounds of professional qualifying, Brittany Force, Cruz Pedregon, Greg Anderson, and Angelle Sampey come into Saturday as the leaders in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock, and Pro Stock Motorcycle.
Force not only put her Monster Energy dragster into the top spot, she was able to increase her lead in the championship standings from 7 to 12 points over Justin Ashley. Force powered to a 3.641 to lead the quick field and as an added bonus, she set the speed record at 338.94 mph. Force has plenty of company in the 3.6s including reigning champ Steve Torrence (3.656), Leah Pruett (3.669), Mike Salinas (3.679), and Doug Kalitta (3.699).
Pedregon made the quickest run of his long career with a 3.840 in his Snap-on Tools Dodge and immediately gave credit to his crew, led by John Collins, with the recent addition of veteran Lee Beard. Pedregon muscled his way into the top spot, interrupting an epic championship fight between Robert Hight, Ron Capps, and Matt Hagan. Behind Pedregon sits Hagan, Bob Tasca III, John Force, and Hight. Capps struggled to get down the track on both runs and will need to improve on either of Saturday’s runs in order to get off the bump spot.
Anderson already knows he won’t defend his 2021 Pro Stock title, but he’d love nothing more than to win the final event of the season. Anderson is off to a great start with a 6.509 run that paces a very competitive field. Anderson made the quickest run in both sessions with his HendrickCars.com Camaro. For the most part, Team Elite drivers have rules qualifying this season but a pair of KB cars currently occupy the top spots as Anderson is followed by teammate Dallas Glenn with a 6.514. Troy Coughlin Jr. leads the Elite drivers with a third-best 6.520.
Angelle Sampey made one of the best runs of her long career in Pro Stock Motorcycle with a 6.703 to set the pace while championship leader Matt Smith is second at 6.719. Joey Gladstone, who has an outside chance to catch Smith for the title, is currently not qualified.
In the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, championships in Top Alcohol Dragster, Top Alcohol Funny Car, Super Stock, Stock, Super Gas, and Top Sportsman presented by Vortech Superchargers will also be decided this weekend.
Finally, the Pomona event will also feature a popular Cacklefest in the Hot Rod Junction on Friday and Saturday as well as exhibition runs with the Walking Tall P.T. Cruiser Wheelstander throughout the weekend.
You can catch the action all weekend on FOX Sports 1 and NHRA.tv.
You can follow NHRA on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to get a closer look at the action.
2021 EVENT WINNERS
Steve Torrence, Top Fuel; Bob Tasca III, Funny Car; Greg Anderson, Pro Stock; Matt Smith, Pro Stock Motorcycle.
3.628 seconds by Clay Millican, Feb. 2018; 338.94 mph by Brittany Force, 338.94 Nov. 2022
3.822 seconds by Matt Hagan, Feb. 2017; 336.99 mph by Robert Hight, Feb. 2018
6.480 seconds by Erica Enders, Feb. 2014; 213.84 by Drew Skillman, Nov. 2015
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE
6.703 seconds by Angelle Sampey, Nov. 2022; 202.70 by Matt Smith, Nov. 2022
NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, Nov. 12 at 11:30 and 3 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 13.
SUNDAY, Nov. 13, FS1 will televise two hours of qualifying highlights at 2 p.m. (ET)
SUNDAY, Nov. 13, FS1 will televise 3 hours of finals coverage at 4 p.m. (ET)