Compiled by SEMA Editors
LANGDON, HAGAN, JONES AND KRAWIEC END 2013 SEASON VICTORIOUS: Shawn Langdon (Top Fuel), Matt Hagan (Funny Car), Rickie Jones (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) finished their 2013 seasons on a high note by winning the season-ending Auto Club NHRA Finals. Langdon won the opening event at Pomona, and with his season-ending victory, he became just the sixth racer in Top Fuel history to sweep both Pomona events.
“There are certain races you go to when you feel like you need to win the race as soon as you pull in the gates, and we definitely have that in Pomona,” Langdon said. “Alan works his magic out here, and you can see by his track record."
Hagan won his fifth race of the season with Mike Knudsen serving as crew chief for an ailing Dickie Venables who missed the event. "This guy has done a phenomenal job," Hagan said. "It just shows you when something happens someone else can step up and take the reins and run with it.”
Jones won his first Pro Stock race when he defeated Allen Johnson in the finals. "Our team worked so hard," Jones said. "We've been running at the front quite a bit of the season, and we knew that eventually if we were consistent enough we could pull out one of these wins."
Krawiec continued his domination of Pomona by winning his third race at the track in six consecutive final-round appearances. "It was an awesome day,” Krawiec said after his second win of the season. “I’m fortunate that this race track has been my house. That’s the way I look at it. I do the best I can to not let anyone else win here."
LANGDON RACES TO FIRST TOP FUEL WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP: Shawn Langdon raced to his first Top Fuel world championship in front of friends and family at his home track of Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. The Mira Loma, California, native is in his fifth season of Top Fuel competition and powered to seven wins, a victory in the $100,000 Traxxas Nitro Shootout and seven No. 1 qualifying positions in his break-out season.
“When I think of an NHRA Top Fuel champion I think of Joe Amato, Kenny Bernstein and Tony Schumacher,” Langdon said. “To be mentioned in that group now is just unbelievable. When I think of myself, I am still that young kid on the opposite side of the fence dreaming of one day getting the chance to do it. I hope to have the opportunity to do this again.”
COUGHLIN WINS FIFTH PRO STOCK WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP: Jeg Coughlin wrote another chapter in his rich racing history when he secured his fifth Pro Stock world championship (2000, 2002, 2007, 2008) during eliminations at the Auto Club NHRA Finals. This was the first title for Coughlin since the 2008 season, and was earned on the strength of four wins and eight final-round appearances.
"In this day and age, it is so tough to win out here," Coughlin said. "We've seen a lot of races won and lost by just a few thousandths of a second. I think this is one of the tightest, and one of the most intense championships I've ever won. This ranks right up there with 2007 when we had the two cuts to the Countdown to One."
NHRA WINTERNATIONALS, Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, February 6–9, 2014: The 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series kicks off at one of the most historic facilities on the NHRA circuit, Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, February 6–9, 2014. Shawn Langdon (Top Fuel), Courtney Force (Funny Car) and Vincent Nobile (Pro Stock) will attempt to defend their 2013 wins and start the season off on a positive note.
CARQUEST AUTO PARTS NHRA NATIONALS, Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, February 21–23: For the 30th season, the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series races into the Valley of the Sun for the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals, February 21–23. The venerable facility located south of Phoenix has seen historic performances, including Tony Schumacher's 330-mph quarter-mile blast in 1999. Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel), Ron Capps (Funny Car) and Erica Enders-Stevens (Pro Stock) recorded wins at the track in 2013 and will once again attempt to get early season victories.
HE SAID, SHE SAID
“I am so excited to win this award. The rookie class this year was very competitive and I have to thank the Auto Club for sponsoring this great award. This year was definitely a learning experience and I learned so much from my crew chiefs Dean Antonelli, Eric Lane and John Medlen. This was a brand-new team in a brand-new category for John Force Racing. It was an uphill battle but we improved all season and making it to the semi-finals and running two career-best elapsed times at the Auto Club NHRA Finals this weekend ended our season on a positive note.”
—Brittany Force on winning the Automobile Club of Southern California Road to the Future Award. This award, voted on by national motorsports media members, is given to the NHRA rookie of the year. She is the fifth member of John Force Racing to win the award. Robert Hight (2005), Ashley Force Hood (2007), Mike Neff (2008) and Courtney Force (2012) have all been honored as top rookies during their first season in the NHRA.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
.015: Reaction time for Rickie Jones in the Pro Stock finals against the .030 of Allen Johnson. Jones used the starting line advantage to get his first career NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series victory on a holeshot. "It was so emotional,” Jones said. "You work for something so long, driving the race truck across the country, and keep beating on it. This is what I’ve always wanted since I was racing junior dragsters when I was 10. It seemed like it took forever for the win light to come on, and when it did, there were so many tears in my eyes that I almost couldn’t see the turnoff road. To get my first win at the Finals at Pomona, which is one of the biggest races of the year, is really awesome."
DID YOU KNOW…
FORD WINS 2013 MANUFACTURERS CUP CHAMPIONSHIP: For the third consecutive season, Ford won the NHRA Manufacturers Cup championship. Points are awarded in the annual competition for entries in Funny Car, Pro Stock, Super Stock and Stock. Their win was highlighted by the 16th world championship by John Force and the win in Stock by Bo Butner in a Ford Mustang ended the season on a high note. Dodge finished second, Chevrolet third and Toyota in fourth.