NHRA Female Drivers Continue to Rewrite the Record Books
Massive crowds attended the 19th annual Dodge NHRA Nationals presented by Pennzoil at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the penultimate round of the twenty-four races that comprise the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. The ten fastest drivers in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock, and Pro Stock Motorcycle battled through NHRA's 18-event regular season to compete in a six-race playoff to earn a world title in their respective division. As the thundering sounds of the National Hot Rod Association echoed across the Nellis Dunes on Sunday, two of the sport's top female drivers added their names to the history books.
First up in Sunday's final for Pro Stock was Erica Enders, the points leader in the 2019 Countdown to the Championship. Thanks to a .018 reaction time with a 6.617 ET at 208.04 mph Enders defeated her Melling Performance/Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro teammate Jeg Coughlin Jr. It was the second win of the 2019 Pro Stock season and included several milestones. It marked the 150th time that a female driver won an event for a NHRA professional category. It also marked the 25th time Enders earned a Wally and the 200th win in the Pro Stock division for Camaro. As Enders eyes her third world title, the victory at The Strip extended her lead to 92 points over runner-up Coughlin.
In Top Fuel, Brittany Force ended her record-setting weekend with a crucial victory in her Advance Auto Parts dragster to move within 16 points of Countdown to the Championship points leader Steve Torrence. To get the ball rolling, Force set the national speed record for Top Fuel on Friday with an impressive qualifying run at 338.17 mph. The daughter of NHRA patriarch John Force, broke the track record ET with 3.652-second pass in the final run on Sunday in the 900th Top Fuel race in NHRA history. Although it was Torrence's 14th final round of 2019, his 3.719 ET at 330.63 mph came up short with Force claiming her tenth career win in Top Fuel and the 151st victory for a female driver in the pro divisions of NHRA.
The Mello Yello Drag Racing Series continues Nov. 14-17 with the final race in the 2019 season and the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship playoffs, the Auto Club NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona CA.