Compiled by SEMA Editors
NHRA SEASON TO REMEMBER WILL HAVE ITS DRAMATIC CONCLUSION AT THE AUTO CLUB NHRA FINALS: A season of record-setting excitement will come to a dramatic conclusion at the Auto Club NHRA Finals, November 10–13, at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, California—the birthplace of NHRA Drag Racing. All four pro classes in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series—Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle—will compete, while Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle will crown the 2016 World Champions in a last-race showdown to cap a spectacular season of on-track performances for the fastest motorsport on the planet.
CAPPS ON VERGE OF FIRST FUNNY CAR CHAMPIONSHIP: Almost everything has gone according to plan for Ron Capps during the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship, and now the Funny Car standout is on the verge of clinching his first career world title. Predicting it would take a finish of the semifinals or better at each of the NHRA’s six playoff races, Capps has done just that at the first five stops and takes an 86-point lead over Don Schumacher Racing teammate Matt Hagan into historic Auto Club Raceway in Pomona for the Auto Club NHRA Finals, November 10–13. On the precipice of that elusive first world championship, Capps, whose 50 wins are the most in NHRA history for a driver without a title, is enjoying the moments and build-up heading to what would be the biggest highlight in his career.
“I’m just trying to stay busy, and we just have to keep doing what we’ve been doing,” said Capps, who has finished second on four different occasions (1998, 2000, 2005, 2012). “As close as we’ve been before, you don’t want to take anything for granted, so we just have to keep going. You can tell and feel that there’s a lot of excitement, but it boils down to you just have to keep staying busy and stay in your normal mode. But there’s no doubt Pomona is going to be a lot of fun.”
TOP TWO FUNNY CARS OF 50 YEARS ANNOUNCED AT NHRA SEMA BREAKFAST: The two finalists for the 50 years of Funny Car celebration were announced at the NHRA SEMA Breakfast in Las Vegas last Wednesday. The iconic ’73 Chevy Vega driven by “Jungle Jim” Liberman and the ’96 Castrol Pontiac Firebird driven by John Force were selected by the fans as the top two legendary machines. The winner will be announced at the Auto Club NHRA Finals in Pomona, California, November 10–13.
He Said, She Said
“I underwent a series of cognitive tests, and the doctors diagnosed me with a full-blown concussion that required me to step away from the seat for the time being. It takes two weeks for these symptoms to subside, and even then, because of the trauma from the concussion, it would be unsafe for me to race this weekend. To go out and get behind the wheel of a 10,000hp race car with its high G-forces and the possibility of tire shake, would just be too traumatic for my head in its sensitive state. I’ve never been a quitter and never will be, but I must accept my fate and sit this last race out.”
—Funny Car racer Alexis DeJoria, who will miss the season-ending Auto Club NHRA Finals this weekend due to a concussion suffered at the event in Las Vegas. Veteran Jeff Arend will fill in for DeJoria during the race weekend.
Inside the Numbers
3: Number of points separating the three racers in Pro Stock Motorcycle battling for the 2016 world championship. Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley Davidson teammates Andrew Hines and Eddie Krawiec are tied for the points lead, while Jerry Savoie and his White Alligator Racing Suzuki are in third, trailing by three. The three riders are linked together as Savoie’s powerplant is built by the Vance & Hines shop in Brownsburg, Indiana.
“At one point in time, 15 out of 16 motorcycles qualified were running Vance & Hines engines. It definitely is something that we take pride in, we look forward to and no matter who it is that beats us, if they've got a Vance & Hines engine, they’re a team guy in any aspect of it,” said Krawiec. ”We do take pride in it when every individual goes out there and does well. And to be quite honest, we try to help out some of the guys when they’re maybe struggling a little bit or not going down the right road. We do what we can to make sure that they have the best equipment under them and can get the job done.”
Did You Know
SCHOOL OF AUTOMOTIVE MACHINISTS & TECHNOLOGY NHRA FACTORY STOCK SHOWDOWN EXPANDS TO FIVE EVENTS IN 2017: The School of Automotive Machinists & Technology NHRA Factory Stock Showdown returns for the 2017 season with an event added to the schedule. These series of events have seen increased car counts at races across the country and rabid interest from fans of the series. The first School of Automotive Machinists & Technology NHRA Factory Stock Showdown race of the year will take place at the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals at Florida’s Gainesville Raceway, March 16–19. They will then race at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway, April 28–30, and the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio, June 22–25. The competitors of the School of Automotive Machinists & Technology NHRA Factory Stock Showdown will take center stage during their fourth race of the year at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, August 30–September 4. The fifth event will take place at the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park, September 29–October 1.