Compiled by SEMA Editors
CRAMPTON, DEJORIA, GRAY, KRAWIEC WIN 60TH CHEVROLET PERFORMANCE U.S. NATIONALS: Alexis DeJoria raced past 16-time Funny Car world champ John Force Monday to win the 60th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals. Richie Crampton (Top Fuel), Shane Gray (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were first-time winners at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis—the last race of the regular season. DeJoria crossed the finish line in 4.038 seconds at 310.34 mph in the Patron XO Cafe Toyota Camry to defeat the current Funny Car points leader, who won the NHRA Traxxas Nitro Shootout on Sunday.
"It’s huge [to win the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals]," said DeJoria, wife of noted TV personality Jesse James and daughter of famed entrepreneur John Paul DeJoria. "I was just happy to make it to another semifinal; that was four in a row. To make it past the semifinals, that was huge, but to win this race just builds our confidence even more and in me especially."
COUNTDOWN FIELDS SET: The fields in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle have been set for the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the championship that begins at zMAX Dragway, September 12–14. John Force in Funny Car, Jason Line in Pro Stock, Andrew Hines in Pro Stock Motorcycle and Doug Kalitta in Top Fuel secured the No. 1 seeds in their respective fields heading into the six-race playoffs to determine the championships.
COUNTDOWN KICKS OFF IN CHARLOTTE: The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series returns to zMAX Dragway, September 12–14, for the first race of the 2014 Countdown to the Championship playoffs at the seventh annual Pep Boys NHRA Carolina Nationals. The top 10 in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle points will all compete for NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series world championships in their respective categories over the next three months. Spanning six races, the Countdown to the Championship will separate the contenders from the pretenders as four drivers are headed for the ultimate glory while every other contender is sent into the offseason wondering what might have been. Morgan Lucas (Top Fuel), Robert Hight (Funny Car), Jeg Coughlin (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were last year’s winners of the Pep Boys NHRA Carolina Nationals—a race that will once again be televised nationally on ESPN2.
He Said, She Said
"I’m a long way from where I grew up to where I’m at now. I remember sitting on the couch trying to read National Dragster to keep up on what’s going on in the NHRA. To get to drive such a great race car for a great family and great sponsors and roll into the water box and see all my heroes standing around, it blows my mind. The GEICO dragster has been running .70s all weekend long. It’s so much fun to drive right now."
—Richie Crampton on winning his first Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals victory. Crampton defeated Billy Torrence, Shawn Langdon, Tony Schumacher and Steve Torrence en route to his historic win.
Inside the Numbers
3: Number of Pro Stock Motorcycle world championships racer Andrew Hines has in his career. The No. 1 seed in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series enters the six-race playoffs on the strength of four wins and one runner-up finish during the 2014 season. Hines missed the Top 10 last year and is using the sting of that season for motivation this year.
"The guys here at Vance & Hines have been working on our Harleys nonstop to get us back to this point after the season we had last year," said Hines. "Last year I missed the cut completely. I didn't even have a chance to run for the Countdown to the championship. We're obviously in a really good position right now. I hope we can keep the momentum we've had going. I don't think I've ever had this many wins heading into the Countdown. It's a nice place to be sitting with my V-Rod up front."
Did You Know
SCHUMACHER WINS $100,000 TRAXXAS TOP FUEL SHOOTOUT; J. FORCE WINS FUNNY CAR SHOOTOUT: Tony Schumacher continued his succes at Lucas Oil Raceway when he raced to the Traxxas Nitro Shootout in Top Fuel for $100,000 over Richie Crampton.
"We knew we would be racing a good car because Richie is tough", said Schumacher. “These are the eight best cars in the world. They are cars that have gone out, won races, and continuously found themselves in final rounds. It’s very satisfying."
In the Funny Car Traxxas Nitro Shootout, John Force was able to defeat teammate and son-in-law Robert Hight for his second victory in the event.
“It was a win-win situation. We couldn’t lose,” said Force. "I got to the final, and I was so drained going up there, then my granddaughter said, ‘Grandpa, I love you, but I hope Daddy wins.’ It’s bad enough racing Robert, but how do you get up for the granddaughter," said Force. "It was just mental, and I went into the zone. She said, ‘What I really want is that trophy,’ and that trophy weighs five times as much as her, but we got the trophy. I got her down there at the other end, and I gave the trophy to Autumn. Daddy didn’t win, but Grandpa did, so you got your trophy, and it’s a big one. I’ve got the one from two years ago."
View the complete 2014 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.