Courtney Force raced to victory in Funny Car Sunday at the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals presented by Super Start Batteries at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.
Shawn Langdon (Top Fuel) and Vincent Nobile (Pro Stock) also were winners at the first of 24 events in the 2013 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.
Force powered her Traxxas Ford Mustang past NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger driver Ron Capps with a pass of 4.025 seconds at 317.12 mph to earn her second career victory.
All images courtesy NHRA/National Dragster
“It was definitely unbelievable,” Force said. “My team, (crew chiefs) Ron Douglas and Dan Hood, thanks to them, they had given me great race car all weekend long. I just try to keep it straight down the center and they really made my job easy. I really owe it to those guys. It was kind of bittersweet finishing here (at the NHRA Finals in November) and not getting that win, then coming back and picking up where we left off and finishing our job. We got the win and I’m just proud of my team.”
In Top Fuel, Langdon drove his Al-Anabi Racing dragster to the win with his pass of 3.721 at 322.27, defeating seven-time champion Tony Schumacher and the U.S. Army team. In front of a hometown crowd, Langdon said the second victory is so much sweeter than the first.
“Couldn’t have scripted it any better really,” Langdon said. “We struggled a little in qualifying. We didn’t really have the car that we thought we should have had, but we qualified seventh. We knew the things we learned in testing that we had a car capable of winning. It showed today.” In the second round of eliminations, 2012 world champion Antron Brown’s Matco Tools dragster went out of control and crashed near the finish line. Brown emerged from the crashed car under his own power and was checked and released by NHRA emergency services officials. He received only very minor injuries in the incident.
“I am feeling good,” Brown said. “I’ve got some scrapes on my legs and my back is a little sore, but overall I feel good. The best feeling was seeing how quickly the NHRA Safety Safari got to my car after it stopped. The car did its job and we’ll be ready for Phoenix.”
Nobile claimed his sixth Pro Stock victory with a performance of 6.571 at 211.03 in his Mountain View Tire Dodge Avenger, taking the automatic victory over Jeg Coughlin, who turned on the red light at the starting line and fouled out in his JEGS.com/Mopar Dodge Avenger.
“It’s pretty awesome leaving here with the points lead,” said Nobile. “That’s every team’s goal. Now we just want to stay there, stay consistent and keep the wins coming.”
Sunday’s final results from the 53rd annual O’Reilly NHRA Winternationals presented by Super Start Batteries at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. The race is the first of 24 in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series:
Top Fuel — Shawn Langdon, 3.721 seconds, 322.27 mph def. Tony Schumacher, 3.747 seconds, 324.12 mph.
Funny Car — Courtney Force, Ford Mustang, 4.025, 317.12 def. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger, 6.090, 116.32.
Pro Stock — Vincent Nobile, Dodge Avenger, 6.584, 210.05 def. Jeg Coughlin, Avenger, foul.
Top Alcohol Dragster — Jim Whiteley, 5.245, 273.39 def. Chris Demke, 5.271, 270.86.
Top Alcohol Funny Car — John Lombardo Jr., Chevy Monte Carlo, 5.555, 261.17 def. Jason Rupert, Monte Carlo, 5.653, 255.63.
Competition Eliminator — Ross Wilson, Sunfire, 8.167, 165.50 def. Alan Ellis, ’23-T Ford, 6.604, 204.54.
Super Stock — Jimmy DeFrank, Cobalt, 9.316, 113.03 def. Mike Cotten, Barracuda, foul.
Stock Eliminator — Jimmy DeFrank, Camaro, 10.372, 126.42 def. Michael Iacono, Camaro, 11.069, 115.53.
Super Comp — Phil Dion, Dragster, 8.934, 168.14 def. Scott Taylor, Dragster, 9.123, 165.33.
Super Gas — Rick Beckstrom, Grand Am, 9.904, 160.71 def. Peter Bothe, Porsche, 9.927, 148.09.
Final round-by-round results from the 53rd annual O’Reilly NHRA Winternationals presented by Super Start Batteries at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, the first of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series:
FINAL — Nobile, 6.584, 210.05 def. Coughlin, foul.
Point standings (top 10) following the 53rd annual O’Reilly NHRA Winternationals presented by Super Start Batteries at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, the first of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series
1. Courtney Force, 124; 2. Ron Capps, 94; 3. Johnny Gray, 76; 4. Bob Tasca III, 71; 5. Gary Densham, 60; 6. Cruz Pedregon, 56; 7. Matt Hagan, 52; 8. Todd Lesenko, 51; 9. Jack Beckman, 43; 10. Del Worsham, 38.
1. Vincent Nobile, 118; 2. Jeg Coughlin, 95; 3. V. Gaines, 81; 4. Greg Stanfield, 72; 5. Allen Johnson, 52; 6. (tie) Shane Gray, 51; Kurt Johnson, 51; Chris McGaha, 51; 9. Mike Edwards, 45; 10. Erica Enders-Stevens, 42.