It’s Sunday, Sunday, SUNDAY, here at the famed Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, host of the season-opening NHRA Mello Yello Winternationals since 1961. Driver introductions for Pro Stock, Funny Car, and Top Fuel happen at 10:00 am and the on-track action starts at 11:00 for the first round of eliminations. Who will leave Pomona with the early points lead? We’ll soon find out. Stay tuned as we bring you round by round coverage all day.
The first round of eliminations is in the books! Pro Stock saw some bigtime upsets, with Greg Stanfield and Shane Gray taking out both Summit Racing cars, those of Greg Anderson and Jason Line, respectively. Also advancing to the next round we number 16 qualifier Chris McGaha beating number one Mike Edwards, Vince Nobile (over Matt Hartford), V. Gaines (Deric Kramer), defending champ Allen Johnson (Roger Brogdon) Kurt Johnson (Erica Enders-Stevens), and Jeg Coughlin Jr. (Steve Kent).
In Funny Car, top qualifier Courtney Force advanced past Phil Burkhart, Matt Hagan took out Tim Wilkerson, Bob Tasca III sent Del Worsham to the trailer, and Johnny Gray beat Alexis DeJoria. The major upsets were Cruz Pedregon beating Robert Hight’s AAA car, Ron Capps sending Hight’s teammate and owner John Force home early, and Todd Lesenko’s Canadian maple leaf-emblazoned car beating defending champ Fast Jack Beckman.
Top Fuel saw rookie Sidnei Frigo’s day end early at the hands of Schumacher, Spencer Massey beaten by Steve Torrence, Antron Brown taking out Larry Dixon Jr., Dave Grubnic over Morgan Lucas, Brandon Bernstein sending rookie Brittany Force to the trailer, Shawn Langdon beating Clay Millican, Doug Kalitta beating Leah Pruett, and Khalid alBalooshi beating Bob Vandergriff.
And that’s it for the first round! Keep coming back for more as the day progresses! They’re about to run the second round as we type this, so stay tuned….
And the second round is in the books. Below are the round sheets with the results that show the following racers advancing to the semifinals: In Top Fuel, Antron won the race before he took the wild ride, beating Grubnic, but his car is destroyed. He could enter his backup car, but the crew thought it best to just give him the rest of the day off, meaning Tony Schumacher (who beat Steve Torrence) will get a bye to the final. On the other side of the ladder, Shawn Langdon will face Khaild alBalooshi after beating Brandon Bernstein and Doug Kalitta (respectively). In Funny Car, Courtney Force is still marching, taking out Matt Hagan to go up against Bob Tasca III, who beat Cruz Pedregon, and Ron Capps beat Gary Densham when the latter’s ‘chute deployed about 100 feet out, and slowed him to a 5.80. Capps will now face Johnny Gray, who beat Lesenko with a fantastic 4.038 to Lesenko’s 4.202. Finally, Pro Stock will see Vince Nobile (beat Shane Gray) and and Greg Stanfield (Chris McGaha) race each other, while on the other side of the ladder will be V. Gaines facing Jeg Jr.
And….the semis are done and the finals are set as the sun sets on Pomona. The track still seems sticky and the air is getting cold, so this should be fun. Here’s what happened.
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