Joey Severance, Doug Gordon, Pete D'Agnolo, and Jimmy Hidalgo Jr. clinched Lucas Oil Series Sportsman championships during Saturday’s elimination runs at Auto Club Pomona Raceway.
Severance claimed his fifth title in the Top Alcohol Dragster class after his closest rival, Jasmine Salinas, lost a close 5.27 to 5.28 quarterfinal race against recent Las Vegas winner Madison Payne. Severance won four-straight titles from 2015-2018 in his supercharged J&A Service dragster but wasn’t able to duplicate that success over the last three seasons as the Myers sisters, Megan and Rachel, combined to win three titles. This season, Severance came back in a big way with a campaign that included six victories in eight final rounds. Severance opened the season with a runner-up finish in Pomona and also carved out national event wins in Las Vegas and Houston.
This weekend in Pomona, Severance qualified No. 6 in the record field with a 5.211 and opened eliminations with another 5.211 in his victory against Casey Grisel. Severance was in the staging lanes when Payne scored the title-clinching win against Salinas, but was able to avoid distraction and has advanced to the semifinal round by beating Matt Cummings, who also came into Pomoan with a chance to win the championship.
Gordon’s run to a second Top Alcohol Funny Car title is about as unlikely as anything the sport has ever seen. The 2020 champ escaped injury during a frightening on-track accident in Brainerd, and quickly returned to action with a new Beta Motorcycles Camaro and put together a late-season charge with back-to-back wins at the Las Vegas national and regional event as well as win at the St. Louis regional. Gordon officially locked up the title after rival Shane Westerfield red-lighted by .012-second in his quarterfinal race against Annie Whiteley. A few moments later, Gordon drove to a 5.44 on his quarterfinal bye to continue his drive towards the Auto Club NHRA Finals title.
The Super Stock title was also decided as Greg Stanfield came up short in his bid for a record sixth championship when he was defeated by Tim Seymour in the quarterfinals. Stanfield’s loss cliched the championship for Division 1 racer Pete D’Agnolo, who also won this year’s Dodge Power Brokers U.S. Nationals. D’Agnolo also won the Gatornationals this season and went to the final of three other events. He finished with a strong total of 699 points but still had to wait until the next-to-last day of the season in order to clinch his first title.
Jimmy Hidalgo Jr. will be the 2022 NHRA Stock world champ following an intense battle against former two-time champ Brad Burton. Under the lights on Saturday evening, Hidalgo defeated Chad Loge to advance to the quarterfinals while Burton lost a tight battle against Chris Hall. Hidalgo, who won the title via a tie-breaker, put together a championship season that includes three wins including a national event victory in St. Louis.
The championships in Top Sportsman presented by Vortech Superchargers and Super Gas will be decided tomorrow. In Top Sportsman, incoming leader Lance Abbott is still in competition as is Division 4 champ Vince Hoda, who came into the event as the No. 4 ranked driver in the class. Abbott needs to win his semifinal race or have Hoda lose in order to lock up the title.
In Super Gas, Division 3 racer Bob Locke faced a must-win situation coming into Pomona. Locke must win the final round on Sunday in order to secure the title and so far, he has advanced to Sunday’s semifinal round. Locke defeated Matt Treadway in a double breakout to reach the final four. Locke will race last year’s ninth ranked driver Evan Kowalski in the semi’s.