Compiled by SEMA Editors
CHAMPIONS HONORED IN WEST LOS ANGELES CEREMONY: A trio of multi-time world-championship winners, Tony Schumacher, Matt Hagan and Andrew Hines, were joined by first-time champ Erica Enders-Stevens as the headliners who were crowned Monday evening during the 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series awards ceremony at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in West Los Angeles. The four drivers were honored for their season-long achievements and presented with checks and trophies for winning 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series world championship titles during the Countdown to the Championship—the NHRA’s playoffs.
ENDERS-STEVENS WINS HISTORIC FIRST PRO STOCK WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP: Erica Enders-Stevens made history last Sunday by becoming the first woman to win an NHRA Mello Yello Pro Stock world championship. Raised in Texas and now living in Louisiana, she secured the title with a victory at the 50th anniversary of the Auto Club NHRA Finals.
"To get the shiny Wally [for the 50th anniversary] and the big one at the end of the year, we did it!" said Enders-Stevens. "I can't thank my guys enough. They're the ones that make this happen. I'm just the one who gets to hold the trophy and talk. They do it all. They work so hard, and I love them more than anything. I was just a little kid with a dream when I started racing at 8 years old. It's awesome to be part of this female movement in NHRA. I think it goes to show what we're capable of and what a great platform NHRA gives all of us girls to climb the ladder and to get to where we want to go."
SCHUMACHER CLINCHES EIGHTH NHRA MELLO YELLO TOP FUEL TITLE: Tony Schumacher, the winningest driver in NHRA Top Fuel competition, locked up his eighth Mello Yello Top Fuel championship during qualifying at the Auto Club NHRA Finals. Schumacher clinched the championship by qualifying for the event and nearest competitor Spencer Massey not earning enough bonus points in the final session to come within 100 points of Schumacher heading into final eliminations.
"In the regular season, Kalitta had the car, a phenomenal car," said Schumacher. "We were all thinking that he’d be leading the points if he could maintain. Very seldom does a car lead from the beginning to the end, and that’s what we were hoping for. It’s just a long season with a lot of different changes and different conditions."
He Said, She Said
“It’s just awesome to have this experience. what a lot of people don’t understand is it all comes down to this day, but it’s the five races before this and the preparation and all the points and all the drama and all the nerves that you’ve got to get through. This is a really special championship for me, so thank you and thanks all the fans. We came out there and stumbled a little bit on Friday, but [crew chief] Dickie Venables, he did a really good job recovering. He put a new fuel pump on the car, found a few mistakes that we made, and went out there and ran really strong and was able to keep the two rounds on John. It was a tough race down to the end. We gave these fans what they were waiting for and paid for. It’s just great to be in this experience and be a part of this. This is bigger than me, and I’m just glad to be associated with this whole family."
—Funny Car racer Matt Hagan on winning his second world championship with Don Schumacher Racing. Hagan clinched his championship when he defeated Tommy Johnson Jr. in the semifinal round of competition at the Auto Club NHRA Finals. Hagan put an exclamation point on the weekend when he defeated John Force in the finals for his fourth win of the season.
Inside the Numbers
4: Number of championships Andrew Hines has in his 13-year career as a Pro Stock Motorcycle racer. With the fourth championship, he moves past his brother Matt, Angelle Sampey, Eddie Krawiec and John Myer who all have three world championships. Dave Schultz has the most championships in the Pro Stock Motorcycle category with six in his career.
"I’ve been waiting a long time to be able to write ‘4x’ next to my name," Hines said. "It was nice to finally get it done. I appreciate everything my Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines team does for me; they make me look good. We struggled at times last year, but last winter, we went to work and turned our V-Rod program around. My brother, Matt [crew chief], and our team never stopped thinking of ways to make our program better. I’m also thankful for a great teammate in Eddie Krawiec. He’s a three-time champion, and he pushes me to better myself."
Did You Know
CRAMPTON WINS 2014 AUTOMOBILE CLUB OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA ROAD TO THE FUTURE AWARD: Top Fuel driver Richie Crampton was named the winner of the $20,000 Automobile Club of Southern California Road to the Future Award, which recognizes the top NHRA rookie performer of the year. Crampton raced to victories at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis and the Toyota Summernationals at Englishtown, New Jersey, and earned a No. 1 qualifying position at the Auto Club NHRA Finals. He finished ninth in the points standings in the ultra-competitive category. The driver of the GEICO/Lucas Oil dragster received the award based on votes from a panel of the nation’s top motorsports journalists.
"I am truly blessed and honored to be in this position. Of course, none of this would even be possible if the Lucas family and all those involved had not put their faith in me and given me this chance. I just want to give a huge thank you to Forrest, Charlotte, Morgan and Katie Lucas, who gave me the opportunity of a lifetime."