In addition to the Camping World Drag Racing Series action taking place at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, nine champions were also crowned in Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series competition at the Auto Club NHRA Finals, led by Bob Locke, whose Super Gas win clinched the world championship in dramatic fashion.
Locke won’t ever forget his first national event victory as his 9.90 to 9.92 final-round triumph over Brian Preszler earned him the Super Gas world championship. Locke trailed points leader Phil Unruh entering the event, and needed an all-or-nothing victory to earn the championship, and did so in dramatic fashion to win the championship by just 11 points.
Taylor Vetter scored her first national event victory in unforgettable fashion, upsetting newly crowned Top Alcohol Dragster world champion Joey Severance in the final round, then losing control of her dragster near the finish line, narrowly avoiding crossing the centerline and then crashing into the guardwall. Vetter was not injured and her car was only slightly damaged.
Sean Bellemeur didn’t win the Top Alcohol Funny Car world championship for only the second time in the last five years but he did have the satisfaction of scoring his fifth win of the season and capping it with a final-round victory over the man who took his crown away, Doug Gordon. Bellemeur got off the one solidly ahead of Gordon and held on for a 5.44 to 5.45 win, the 31st of his career.
Allen Wilson broke a 27-year national event victory drought with his win in Comp. The 1995 Brainerd winner made the long tow from Indiana pay off when he won one of the wildest Comp finals in recent memory, powering to a stout (-.696) 7.194 to defeat newly crowned world champ Ryan Priddy (-.692) 6.428.
A day after locking up the Lucas Oil Stock world title, Jimmy Hidalgo Jr. put a cap on the best season of his career with a Super Stock win in Pomona. Hidalgo earned the win with a 9.717 on his 9.69 dial after Tim Seymour broke out by a hundredth. Two rounds earlier, Seymour ended Greg Stanfield’s bid for a sixth world title.
Ryan Mangus, previously 0-5 in national event final rounds, picked up a long-awaited first victory in Stock at the season finale after opponent Chris Hall red-lighted in the final round. Mangus had a tough road to the final including races against world champs Jeff Taylor and Jody Lang.
Jerron Settles had a memorable fortnight to close out the season. A week after clinching the Division 7 Super Comp championship with a clutch victory at the Lucas Oil Series event in Las Vegas, scored his first career national event victory with an 8.942 to 8.947 final-round victory over Angelina Ferre, wife of Top Fuel racer Cameron Ferre.
Al Kenny wrapped up his 50th season of NHRA drag racing in the best way possible, with a Top Dragster presented by Vortech Superchargers win at the Auto Club Finals. Kenny survived a close battle with rising star Dylan Hough in the final to win with a 6.137 on his 6.11 dial. Kenny also finished second to Jeremy Hancock in the championship battle.
In the most pressure-packed race of his career, Lance Abbott came through with flying colors to win his first national event, and the world title in Top Sportsman presented by Vortech Superchargers. Abbott clinched the championship in the semifinals and finished the job by beating championship runner-up Vince Hoda in the final.