Compiled by SEMA Editors
ENDERS-STEVENS DOUBLES; FORCE, CRAMPTON ALSO GET BIG WINS: John Force, the winningest driver in NHRA history, raced to the Funny Car victory Sunday in his Chevrolet Camaro at the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Richie Crampton (Top Fuel) and Erica Enders-Stevens (Pro Stock) also were winners at the fifth of 24 events of the 2015 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season. Force, a 16-time Funny Car world champ, clocked a 4.148-second pass at 312.35 mph to defeat teammate Robert Hight in the final round. Hight trailed with a 4.154 at 306.05 in his Auto Club Chevy Camaro. This marks Force’s 142nd career win and fifth career win at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
"Robert is my best team," Force said. "He’s hot on that Christmas Tree, so I really got to get after him. The win was good, but all that we’ve been through, with financial change, my sponsors promised to keep me competitive, win championships, and I could build safety. We were lucky today, and I’ll take lucky any day because it buys us some time to learn."
ENDERS-STEVENS WINS K&N HORSEPOWER CHALLENGE; WINS NATIONAL EVENT FOR DOUBLE-UP BONUS: Erica Enders-Stevens hit the jackpot in Las Vegas by winning the K&N Horsepower Challenge event for the second consecutive season on Saturday and then raced to the national event victory on Sunday for her 13th career Pro Stock victory. Enders-Stevens, the defending Pro Stock world champion, defeated Vincent Nobile to win both events and won on Sunday on a holeshot to claim the win. She took home a total of $75,000 for both victories, and became the first driver to sweep both events in consecutive seasons since Bob Glidden accomplished the feat in 1987 and 1988.
"Just very proud for Elite Motorsports and Elite Performance," Enders-Stevens said. "My guys work so hard and continue to give me a consistent race car, which has been a struggle to start this year. I think we got our hot rod back, and I guess we can start saying Vegas is our lucky track. Winning is so dang challenging, and to be able to come here and do what we did yesterday and double up again today is certainly a high-pressure situation, but my guys thrive on it and perform very well under it. I’m so proud of them and proud of our team."
FORCE, CRAMPTON JOIN TRAXXAS NITRO SHOOTOUT COMPETITORS: Spots for the Traxxas Nitro Shootout in both Funny Car and Top Fuel are rapidly filling up as John Force (Funny Car) and Richie Crampton (Top Fuel) took home victories at the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. This will be the second appearance for Crampton in the speciality race and will look to improve on his runner-up finish in 2014. This will mark the fourth time Force has entered into the event and he won the inaugural and is the defending event winner.
He Said, She Said
"I thought that the car we lost in Gainesville was heading in that direction performance-wise. To have it come back in two races was nice and the car ran really good; just came up a bit short in the finals. Really happy for the guys and proud of all the hard work they have put in the past month."
—Larry Dixon, who raced to a runner-up finish at the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals just two races after his wreck in Gainesville. It was his first final-round appearance since he won the Phoenix event in 2011 and marked his 47th career runner-up position and moved him into eighth in the points.
Inside the Numbers
3-0: Career final-round record for Lucas Oil Top Fuel racer Richie Crampton, who is in his second season in the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Crampton won the event in Las Vegas when he defeated Larry Dixon in the finals. In 2014 he defeated Doug Kalitta in Englishtown for his first career victory and he won the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals when he bested Steve Torrence for the most prized win in drag racing. Crampton, the 2014 Automobile Club of Southern California Road to the Future award winner, moved to fifth in Top Fuel points with the victory.
"It's a huge boost for the entire team," Crampton said. "We've got a great hot-track race car, and we all know how well [crew chief] Aaron [Brooks] can run when the weather is cool. He's just phenomenal right now and one of the best around. I'm extremely lucky to get to drive such great equipment. I'm from the other side of the world, so this is like a 6,000-mile hole in one for me. I'm extremely lucky, and it speaks volumes for Forrest and Charlotte Lucas, Morgan and Katie Lucas and the Lucas Oil family. The entire team stood behind Morgan's decision to give me a crack at it. I'm very fortunate, and I've got some big shoes to fill."
Did You Know
HOBBS MOTORSPORTS PARK RETURNS TO NHRA MEMBER TRACK FAMILY: Hobbs Motorsports Park in New Mexico has returned to the NHRA Member Track Network as part of the NHRA’s South Central Division.
“As a longtime NHRA facility, we are excited to have Hobbs Motorsports Park back in the NHRA Member Track Network after only a few years away,” said Trey Capps, director of the NHRA South Central Division.
Hobbs Motorsports Park is a quarter-mile facility located in the Hobbs Industrial Air Park near Hobbs, New Mexico. The facility is operated by Darrell Reid and is a popular track for racers in the West Texas and New Mexico area. As a former B-17 training base in the mid-1940s the facility not only has a great drag-racing heritage but it is a part of American history as well.
View the complete 2015 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.