VOTE TODAY for the 2010 NHRA South Central Division Year End Awards

November 22, 2010 by  
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2010 NHRA South Central Division Year End Awards

Once again it is time for you to vote for your year end award winners. You as a racer will be able to vote for the people that you feel to be most deserving of each and every award. The process will be fairly easy.  You will see a list of candidates for most all awards while others are a write in award. At the end of all of the nominees you will see the ballot. On the ballot you will have to type in who you want to win each award and on the write in blocks you will have to enter who you think is deserving of that award. Once you have completed that ballot you will hit “Vote Now!” and a copy of your ballot will be sent to my e-mail and I will tabulate the winners. Each racer can only vote one time and we will check to see that “ballot stuffing” is not taking place. For each nomination you are welcome to vote for anyone you would like even if that person is not listed on our list. Our list is just possible winners not the complete list. Voting ends on December 17, 2010 and late votes will not be counted.

For the Nominees and to vote please visit http://www.nhradiv4.com/apcm/templates/divnews.asp?articleid=17410&zoneid=19

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NHRA LUCAS OIL DRAG RACING SERIES TO FEATURE 41 EVENTS IN SEVEN NHRA DIVISIONS IN 2011

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New Event at New England Dragway Added to Northeast Division; Event returns to South Georgia Motorsports Park in Southeast Division

GLENDORA, Calif. (Nov. 13, 2010) – NHRA released its 2011 NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series schedule today, which features 41 events, with a minimum of five races conducted in each of NHRA’s seven divisions and four series specialty events.

The 2011 schedule also includes the addition of a new event July 22-24 at New England Dragway in Epping, N.H. in the Northeast Division.

NHRA Lucas Oil Series drivers in seven categories compete for valuable points leading to divisional and national championships and a share of the $561,000 purse.  The series also includes three sportsman-focused national events: the JEGS NHRA Cajun SPORTSnationals in Belle Rose, La.; the JEGS NHRA Pacific SPORTSnationals in Fontana, Calif.; and the JEGS NHRA Northern SPORTSnationals in Columbus, Ohio.

The 2011 season marks the 10th year of Lucas Oil’s support of NHRA sportsman racers in a partnership that extends through 2012.

Headlined by the powerful Top Alcohol Dragster and Top Alcohol Funny Car classes, the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series allows racers to compete for a championship close to home.  Other categories that compete in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series are Comp Eliminator, Super Stock, Stock Eliminator, Super Comp, Super Gas and Super Street.  Some divisions also opt to run additional categories, including Top Sportsman, Top Dragster and the Sportsman Motorcycle Series presented by Harley-Davidson.

“We are extremely proud to be involved with the dedicated racers who compete each weekend in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series,” said Forrest Lucas, owner and CEO of Lucas Oil Products.  “We can’t wait to start another successful and memorable racing season.”

Bonus programs available to competitors in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series include the $100,000 JEGS Allstars, the NHRA Perfectly Strange Performance Award, in which a total of $45,000 is up for grabs throughout, and the Sportsman Motorcycle Series presented by Harley Davidson.  Individual divisions may also have additional bonus programs available to racers.

Some prominent graduates of the NHRA Lucas Oil Series who have gone on to successful careers in the NHRA Full Throttle Series include Brandon Bernstein, Morgan Lucas, Shawn Langdon, Ashley Force Hood, and Jeg Coughlin.

Headquartered in Corona, Calif., Lucas Oil Products was founded in 1989 by Forrest and Charlotte Lucas. Through innovative product research and development, along with aggressive marketing programs, Lucas Oil has established itself as one of the fastest-growing lubrication product lines in the consumer automotive aftermarket. The Lucas Oil product line features engine oils, greases, gear lubes and problem-solving additives for everyday cars and trucks. In addition, Lucas Oil continues to be directly involved in the American racing industry at all levels through multiple vehicle sponsorships and racing events. More information on Lucas Oil Products can be found by visiting www.LucasOil.com.

Headquartered in Glendora, Calif., NHRA has 80,000 members and 140 member tracks worldwide. As the primary sanctioning body for the sport of drag racing in the United States, NHRA presents 23 national events through its NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series, NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series and NHRA Get Screened America Pro Mod Drag Racing Series. Two NHRA-sanctioned bracket racing series provide competition opportunities for drivers of all levels: the NHRA Summit Racing Series and the NHRA Drags: Street Legal Style presented by AAA.  NHRA also offers the Jr. Drag Racing League for youth ages 8 to 17. In addition, NHRA owns and operates five racing facilities: Gainesville Raceway in Florida; Atlanta Dragway in Georgia; National Trail Raceway in Ohio; O’Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis; and Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in Southern California. For more information, log on to NHRA.com, or visit the official NHRA pages on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

2011 NHRA LUCAS OIL DRAG RACING SERIES SCHEDULE

NORTHEAST DIVISION

May 27-29          Maple Grove Raceway                                 Reading, Pa.
July 1-3              Lebanon Valley Dragway                             West Lebanon, N.Y.
July 22-24          New England Dragway                                 Eping, N.H.
Aug. 5-7             Atco Raceway                                                   Atco, N.J.
Aug. 19-21         Cecil County Dragway                                   Rising Sun, Md.
Sept. 9-11           Old Bridge Township Raceway Park        Englishtown, N.J.

SOUTHEAST DIVISION

Feb. 11-13             Bradenton Motorsports Park                      Bradenton, Fla.
Feb. 18-20             Gainesville Raceway                                      Gainesville, Fla.
March 4-6              South Georgia Motorsports Park              Cecil, Ga.
May 20-22             Atlanta Dragway                                              Commerce, Ga.
Oct. 14-16             Silver Dollar Raceway                                     Reynolds, Ga.

NORTH CENTRAL DIVISION

April 29-May 1     O’Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis                 Indianapolis
May 13-15             Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park   Norwalk, Ohio
June 10-12             Route 66 Raceway                                                        Joliet, Ill.
July 22-24             National Trail Raceway                                              Columbus, Ohio
July 30-31             Mid-Michigan Motorplex*                                        Stanton, Mich.
Aug. 26-28            Beech Bend Raceway Park                                         Bowling Green, Ky.

SOUTH CENTRAL DIVISION

March 4-6            Houston Raceway Park                                 Baytown, Texas
April 15-17          Texas Motorplex                                             Ennis, Texas
May 27-29           No Problem Raceway                                    Belle Rose, La.
June 10-12           Tulsa Raceway Park                                       Tulsa, Okla.
Sept. 16-18           Houston Raceway Park                                 Baytown, Texas
Oct. 7-9                 Thunder Valley Raceway Park                    Noble, Okla.

WEST CENTRAL DIVISION

April 13-15            SRCA Dragstrip                                                Great Bend, Kan.
May 27-29             Brainerd International Raceway              Brainerd, Minn.
June 17-19             Bandimere Speedway                                    Morrison, Colo.
Aug. 12-13            Cordova Raceway Park                                  Cordova, Ill.
Aug. 26-27            Heartland Park Topeka                                 Topeka, Kan.
Sept. 9-11              Tri-State Raceway                                            Earlville, Iowa

NORTHWEST DIVISION

April 29-May 1     Firebird Raceway *                                        Boise, Idaho
May 27-29             Mission Raceway                                             Mission, B.C.
June 17-19             Spokane County Raceway                           Spokane, Ore.
July 15-17             Woodburn Dragstrip                                      Woodburn, Ore.
Aug. 19-21            Pacific Raceways                                              Seattle, Wash.
Sept.10-11             Champion Raceway                                        Eagle Point, Ore.           

PACIFIC DIVISION

Feb. 18-20             Firebird International Raceway               Chandler, Ariz.
May 20-22             Auto Club Famoso Raceway                      Bakersfield, Calif.
June 10-12             Top Gun Raceway                                           Fallon, Nev.
July 22-24             Infineon Raceway*                                         Sonoma, Calif.
Oct. 7-9                 Southwestern International Raceway      Tucson, Ariz.
Nov. 4-6                The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Las Vegas

NHRA LUCAS OIL SERIES SPECIAL EVENTS

March 18-20          JEGS NHRA Cajun SPORTSnationals *        Belle Rose, La.
May 13-15             JEGS NHRA Pacific SPORTSnationals*         Fontana, Calif.
June 9                    JEGS Allstars                                                            Joliet, Ill.
Sept. 23-25            JEGS NHRA Northern SPORTSnationals * Columbus, Ohio

* Top Alcohol classes not contested

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AAA TEXAS NAMED TITLE RIGHTS SPONSOR OF NHRA FALL NATIONALS AT TEXAS MOTORPLEX

November 15, 2010 by  
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GLENDORA, Calif. (Nov. 13, 2010) – NHRA announced today that AAA Texas will become the title rights sponsor of the 26th annual AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals at the Texas Motorplex, Sept. 22-25, 2011.

The AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals is the second of six races in the NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship, NHRA’s playoff-style format to determine the world champions in each of its four Full Throttle Series classes.

“AAA Texas has been associated with the Texas Motorplex since 1998, and we have enjoyed reaching out to race fans at such an iconic location,” said Tom McKernan, CEO of Automobile Club of Southern California and President and CEO of AAA Texas. “There is a close alignment between the objectives of our organization and those of NHRA and the Texas Motorplex. We each place a premium on quality service, and leverage our brand and resources to promote automotive safety. It is because of these shared objectives that we are proud to have AAA Texas join Billy Meyer and his team to help bring exciting NHRA racing to Texas fans for many years to come.”

The commitment strengthens AAA Texas’ participation in NHRA championship drag racing and provides expanded visibility in the Texas market. Its sister motor club and AAA’s largest affiliate, the Automobile Club of Southern California, is title sponsor of the annual NHRA Finals each November, as well as title sponsor for historic Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, host of the season-opening and season-ending races in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. The company also sponsors the Auto Club “Road to the Future” award, annually recognizing the sport’s professional rookie of the year, is presenting sponsor of the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum, and presenting sponsor of the popular California Hot Rod Reunion held at Auto Club Famoso Raceway in Bakersfield, Calif. In addition, Automobile Club of Southern California is presenting sponsor of the NHRA Safety Safari and the NHRA Drags: Street Legal Style presented by AAA.

“We are pleased that AAA Texas continues to strengthen its involvement with NHRA through its entitlement of the AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals,” said Tom Compton, president, NHRA. “We look forward to continuing to build upon our great relationship.”

Texas Motorplex debuted as the sport’s first super track in the late 1980s and continues to operate today as one of the fastest facilities in the NHRA Full Throttle Series. The all-concrete dragstrip is owned by former Funny Car driver Billy Meyer.

“AAA Texas has an amazing presence in the state and I couldn’t be happier with our new partner,” said Gabrielle Stevenson, Texas Motorplex general manager. “Texas Motorplex has an incredibly loyal fan base that has supported NHRA championship drag racing for 25 years and now we are partnered with an organization that has proven to be a champion supporter of motorsports in Texas and will only add to the excitement of this event for years to come.”

Headquartered in Glendora, Calif., NHRA has 80,000 members and 140 member tracks nationwide. As the primary sanctioning body for the sport of drag racing in the United States, NHRA presents 23 national events featuring the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series, NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series and NHRA Get Screened America Pro Mod Drag Racing Series. Two NHRA-sanctioned bracket racing series provide competition opportunities for drivers of all levels: the NHRA Summit Racing Series and the NHRA Drags: Street Legal Style presented by AAA. NHRA also offers the Jr. Drag Racing League for youth ages 8 to 17. In addition, NHRA owns and operates five racing facilities: Gainesville Raceway in Florida; Atlanta Dragway in Georgia; National Trail Raceway in Ohio; O’Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis; and Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in Southern California. For more information, log on to NHRA.com, or visit the official NHRA pages on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

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Force, Tonglet claim championships in dramatic fashion

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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Two drivers at opposite ends of the career spectrum — John Force, a 30-plus-year Funny Car veteran and rookie Pro Stock Motorcycle rider LE Tonglet  — clinched Full Throttle championships with second-round victories Sunday at the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals. Individually, they are the oldest and youngest Professional champs in NHRA history, Force at 61 years, 6 months, and 10 days and Tonglet at 20 years and 11 months.

Three years after a near career-ending accident, Force clinched his record 15th NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car title with a second-round victory over Bob Bode to take the title from incoming points leader Matt Hagan. Tonglet, already the runaway leader in the race for the Automobile Club of Southern California Road to the Future award as the year’s top rookie, added to those accolades with the championship after beating Steve Johnson in round two.

Both Force and Tonglet entered the event in second place and needed missteps by their respective points leaders, Matt Hagan and Andrew Hines, to claim their crowns.

Hagan entered the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals with a 37-point lead, meaning that Force needed to win two more rounds. That lead stayed almost completely intact through qualifying, and Force came into Sunday needing to go two rounds further than Hagan, who only had lost in the first round four times in the season’s first 22 races. The drama reached almost fever pitch after Force’s Ford Racing teammate Bob Tasca III upset Hagan and Force beat tire-smoking Gary Densham to set up a do-or-die race with Bode, which went easily to Force.

“I’ve got to give credit to a strong, powerful team, all three of them, and the young kids on mine led by Mike Neff with his partners, Austin Coil and Bernie Fedderly. It was unbelievable the race car they gave me all year,” said Force. “I want to congratulate Hagan, [Don] Schumacher, his crew chief [Tommy] DeLago. Those guys fought me down to the wire, but the crushing blow was Bobby Tasca in a Ford. Ford has a concept: We’re all one team at the end of the day, we’re all one family. And thank you to the doctors who got my arms and legs back. I’m 40 again. I’m still ugly, but I’m 40. At the end of the day, the sponsors, the family, my wife, my children were all behind me when I said, ‘I’m useless.’ And the cheer of the crowd, you’re something else. God bless you. God bless the Americans and all our veterans and the men and women in the armed forces and our local police and firefighters.”

Hines entered the final event 34 points, or just under two rounds, ahead of Tonglet in the standings, and the margin remained pretty much the same through qualifying with Hines adding just two points to his lead. That meant Tonglet needed two round-wins more than Hines or one more round-win and a national record to pass the three-time world champion.

As if the slim points margin weren’t enough drama, Hines and Tonglet qualified on the same side of the ladder and had the potential of meeting in the second round had they both won their first-round matches. That much-anticipated second-round, winner-take-all nail-biter wouldn’t happen, however, because Hines red-lighted by .016-second in the first round against Steve Johnson, opening the door for Tonglet. Showing the mettle of a veteran rider, Tonglet responded with a resounding 6.874 victory against Matt Guidera in the pair directly behind Hines. That meant Tonglet would get his shot at the crown in round two. If he beat Johnson, the title would go to the Nitro Fish-backed rider. If not, the crown would return to the Screamin’ Eagle/Vance & Hines stable. Tonglet was able to achieve the feat, cutting a near-perfect .007 light and riding to a 6.86 to claim the crown.

“This is just awesome going back home with this championship,” said Tonglet. “We were on a tight budget and thankfully Kenny Koretsky stepped up at the right time, and we’ve just been on a roll since Indy. This is just huge for my dad because he hasn’t won one of these. We came close a few times.”

Tonglet’s regular season had its highlights, most notably a win in Chicago, but it was a relatively quiet one that ended with him in the seventh spot in the standings. The rookie rider came to life in the playoffs, putting together what could easily be described as the best Countdown showing by any competitor in any class. He won the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals to jump up to second place, then followed it with wins in Charlotte and Dallas to eat into the lead of Hines, the rider whom Tonglet defeated in all those finals. Hines got the better of Tonglet in Reading, but the 20-year-old Louisiana native struck back in Las Vegas, winning again while rival Hines fell in the semi’s. That put Tonglet within two rounds entering the finale.

The championship is a record 15th for Force, breaking the tie he held with Alcohol Funny Car ace Frank Manzo, and the end of a long road back from his crash in Dallas in late 2007. After winning the 2006 title, Force suffered through two largely unproductive season in 2008 and 2009, but the addition of Mike Neff to his crew chief braintrust of Austin Coil and Bernie Fedderly re-energized the Castrol team, which is celebrating its25th year with the oil maker as its primary sponsor,

Force began his year with a win at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona at the season-opening Kragen O’Reilly NHRA Winternationals, then added regular season wins in Charlotte, Las Vegas, and Bristol, and led the points race for all but two events, and was the No. 1 seed in the Countdown playoffs.

Hagan scored wins in Houston and Chicago – where he set the national record – and entered the playoffs seeded fourth, but climbed to first after back to back finals in Dallas, where he defeated Force in the final, and in Reading – where he again reset the record — then was runner-up to Force in a crucial final-round match when the tour returned to Las Vegas.

Hagan, a former IHRA champ, was competing in just his second full NHRA season after a four-race introduction in 2008. He just missed making the Countdown playoffs last year.

Riding a dominant close to the regular season that included a semifinal showing in Norwalk and final-round appearances in the three final events — a runner-up in Sonoma and wins in Denver and Brainerd — Hines entered the playoffs as the No. 1 seed. He continued to rack up the round-wins once the Countdown started, advancing to the final rounds in Indy, Charlotte, Dallas, and Reading, winning in Reading.

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The Force was strong in Pomona on dramatic final day of season

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Sunday, November 14, 2010
Info | Schedule | Entries | Results
Team reports | Interactive | Photos | Video

John Force dominated a dramatic Sunday at the Auto Club NHRA Finals, first winning the season championship in Funny Car and then the event itself. Force was joined in the winner’s circle at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona by Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Shane Gray (Pro Stock), and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle). The win was the first of rookie Gray’s career and the first of the season for Brown.

Championship Sunday lived up to its billing as the title battles in Funny Car and Pro Stock Motorcycle had the fans at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona and across the world watching and listening on the internet on the edge of their seats. After Larry Dixon ended whatever drama existed still in Top Fuel with a first-round victory to seal his third career title and joined Greg Anderson, who locked up the Pro Stock title in qualifying Saturday, as a recrowned former champ, Force took advantage of a first-round loss in Funny Car by points leader Matt Hagan to defeat Gary Densham in round one and Bob Bode in round two to win his 15th career championship. Rookie rider LE Tonglet similarly drove through the door opened by Pro Stock Motorcycle frontrunner Andrew Hines’ first-round foul to dispatch Matt Guidera in round one and then Steve Johnson to win his first championship. Tonglet is just the third rookie to win a Pro championship, on the heels of Frank Hawley (1982) and Gary Scelzi (1997). [Final 2010 standings]

In his eight victories in the Auto Club Finals, Force has beaten eight different opponents in the final round in front of a very partial crowd, defeating Kenny Bernstein, Cruz and Tony Pedregon, Bruce Sarver, Tommy Johnson Jr., Del Worsham, Jack Beckman, and now Jeff Arend. The final was as good as they come as Force eked out a 4.08 to 4.10 victory.

“We went all year with the lead and then we stumbled at Reading when the clutch pedal fell off and couldn’t get it in reverse,” said Force. “We sat with the guys in meetings week after week, ‘We can’t make mistakes.’ We opened the door for Hagan, and he took advantage of it. He came over and congratulated me. Hagan is a class act. He’s got a lot of championships ahead of him; it’s going to happen. But we got it here. The shot around the world was by Bobby Tasca in that Ford Mustang when he took him out first round because we couldn’t count on this kid Hagan to stumble. We knew if we got him in the final it was too late. There was no national record, so somebody had to get him, and Bobby got him, and that opened the door for us.

“You got to give it to a great bunch of guys led by Mike Neff teamed up with Bernie [Fedderly] and [Austin] Coil — so much experience there, so many championships. It just brought new energy to this team. This is really a great group of kids I’ve got on this car. I see the tears in their eyes, the emotion. They’re supporting me when I run out of steam, taking the Full Throttle can out of my hand when I go overcenter. It’s just a great bunch of guys.”

Force, with the championship already clinched, kept the hammer down to the reach the final round, the 213th of his amazing career and 11th this season, by wheeling his 25th anniversary Castrol GTX Mustang past Densham, Bode, and then Melanie Troxel in the semifinals. Force was the class of the field, running 4.11, 4.16, and 4.13 in the three rounds prior to the final.

Arend, who lives just a few miles from Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in San Dimas, reached his third final of the season and the sixth of his career at the wheel of the Kalitta Motorsports DHL Toyota. After opening with a 4.29 on a solo pass after Paul Lee broke on the burnout, Arend’s yellow machine ran back to back 4.18s to defeat No. 1 qualifier Ashley Force Hood and Tasca. The race with Bob Tasca III was a thriller, as Arend got the win light, 4.181 to 4.186.

Brown recorded his milestone 25th career victory by denying Shawn Langdon his first. After Langdon smoked the tires early in the run, Brown raced to a 3.84 that was punctuated by a top-end fire that lit up the darkened Pomona sky. Brown, who won the Auto Club Finals 10 years apart – in 1999 on a Pro Stock Motorcycle and last year in Top Fuel – hadn’t won a final round in five appearances this season.

“It just makes the whole year just that much better now because we got that win,” said Brown. “It’s been a real trying and stressful year for our team. We went through a whole bunch of ups and downs. From Phoenix and everything else, we bounced back. We made it to some finals. We’ve just been working our tail off, and the difference of it is we switched a lot of stuff around, trying to get better. We went through it, and we definitely have a hot rod that has more power, but it was just getting the clutch to work with it. Brian [Corradi] and Mark [Oswald] and the rest of the guys on the team have been working hard on it, and we’re finally starting to get it together.

“These last four races, it all started coming together. We were getting close every time. We don’t do very well in qualifying because we’re still trying to feel it out, and then on race day, we’re plucking it off and getting better and better. This race, we were able to get downwind today and get it done, and it feels really good, believe me.”

Brown drove his Brian Corradi- and Mark Oswald-tuned Matco Tools dragster to the final round, the 54th of his career, from the No. 8 spot, trailering Steve Torrence, low qualifier Tony Schumacher, and Morgan Lucas with a powerful display of consistency: 3.851, 3.858, and 3.863. Lucas, teammate to Langdon, had his finest outing of the season but red-lighted to Brown in the semifinals.

Langdon raced the John Stewart-tuned Lucas Oil dragster to his third career final round and second of the season, by sitting down Ron August Jr., Doug Kalitta, and newly crowned champ Dixon with a trio of ever-quickening passes, following up a pair of 3.90s with a 3.863 holeshot victory over Dixon’s 3.856. Langdon got the drop at the Tree, .050 to .067.

A feel-good winner was guaranteed in Pro Stock with Gray looking for his first career win and Coughlin, who during qualifying announced that he’d be stepping away from the Pro Stock class in 2011, looking for a last hurrah. Gray zapped one of the class’ best leavers with a .010 light and then outpowered him, too, 6.566 to 6.658. The win also boosted Gray to fourth place in the final standings.

Gray, who in any other season would have been the rookie of the year if not for Tonglet’s herocis, reached the third final round of his debut season by wheeling the Big O Tires Pontiac past Dave Connolly with a 6.60, then running back-to-back 6.59s to defeat Kurt Johnson and No. 2 qualifier V. Gaines.

“How do you compete with LE? A rookie winning the championship? Shoot, he’s the man,” said Gray. “I told my wife when I started this deal, ‘You know, honey, it would be a great thing if we just qualify. If I can just get in the car and just start it without people laughing at me,’ so for our team to finish fourth in the points and win a race, it’s a God-given thing that we were blessed with today and all year. We have received way more than we deserve.

“I’m not real sure if this has soaked in yet. I remember we staged up, I let the clutch out, and the yellow car disappeared, and I put the car in high gear, I looked out the window, and he wasn’t there. I went across the stripe, and my light came on, and it was like, ‘What just happened?’ ”

Coughlin went out on a high note by reaching the final round, the 83rd of his Pro Stock career. Coughlin opened his Sunday account in style, dispatching recently minted world champ Greg Anderson in round one on a holeshot, 6.587 to 6.579, then also zapped Rodger Brogdon on the Tree in round two, 6.588 to 6.578. Coughlin slowed to a 6.62 in the semifinals, but the race had already been decided by low qualifier Allen Johnson’s -.010 red-light. Coughlin had won the Finals three times previously, most recently in 2007.

Krawiec, who won the motorcycle season-opening Gatornationals but hadn’t been back to final round since, rode home his victory in style with a blistering 6.811, the quickest pass in class history and a new national record backed up by his 6.84 in qualifying. Hector Arana, knowing the power of Krawiec’s V-Rod, took a shot at the Tree and red-lighted with a -.008 reaction time.

“It sure is a nice way to end the season,” said Krawiec. “I didn’t know we could set a record here but I’m glad to be guy holding that time slip. Weather has been phenomenal and that was a big help. The way this class is, you never know where record can be set. For our team it was a bitter sweet day but this [win] does takes the sting out of Drew not winning the championship. When you don’t win it makes it a bit difficult on everyone. We fight every year for championships and there are a lot of high highs and low lows.

“I would say this is the best bike I have had all year if not for my entire career. Matt [Hines, crew chief] gave me an awesome tune-up and I had my best 60-foot time of the year [1.05-second] and that made the difference.”

Krawiec, who won this race last year and was runner-up at the 2008 Finals, marched his military-themed Screamin’ Eagle/Vance & Hines Harley Davidson, ended Tonglet’s Cinderella day in the semifinals, inducing a -.001 red-light from the new champ, to reach the final round, just his second of the season. Krawiec, who qualified No. 1, defeated Freddie Camarena and Michael Phillips for the right to avenge teammate Hines against Tonglet, but his 6.92 ceded lane choice to Arana.

Arana’s reign as Pro Stock Motorcycle world champ ended at this event, but the rider of the Lucas Oil Buell went out on a high note by reaching his fifth final of the season. Arana, the No. 2 qualifier, raced past David Hope, Angie Smith, and Jim Underdahl to reach the money round.
 
Related stories:
Thursday: Hagan jumps to lead; Dixon, Line, Arana also top Thursday fields
Friday: Force team strikes back on frantic Friday at Finals
Saturday: Title drama rachets up heading into Championship Sunday

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