NHRA Young Guns Win Big at the Big Go... NOT!
Just when you thought it was time for his "Swan Song", the ageless John Force claims the second win of the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing series and his 151st win in the premiere division of Funny Car. Almost two decades his junior, 51-year old Doug Kalitta followed suit and got the Indianapolis monkey off his back too with a win at Lucas Oil Raceway in Brownsburg IN over the Labor Day weekend. Unlike Kalitta who had never hoisted a Wally at the Indy track, Force had won the U.S Nationals at the Big Go on four previous occasions. Nonetheless, the driver of the PEAK Chevrolet Performance Accessories Camaro SS stood in victory lane at Indy for the first time since 2002... and the second race in a row.
The legendary Funny Car driver beat Jonnie Lindberg, points leader and teammate Robert Hight, and Matt Hagan to reach his first Indy final in five years. Sunday's win tied Force with Ed "Ace" McCulloch for the most Funny Car titles at U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis. The patriarch of John Force Racing posted a 3.919 ET at 324.44 mph to defeat "Fast" Jack Beckman's Dodge Charger. Force garnered a hole-shot win over Beckman's top speed of 325.92 mph. Beckman claimed the Number One qualifier over the weekend beating Justin Schriefer, Bob Tasca III and defending series champion J.R. Todd to reach his fourth final round of Mello Yello season and the 60th his career.
Top Fuel driver Doug Kalitta and Pro Stocker Alex Laughlin also won in their respective categories at the final regular-season race of the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season. It is the 18th of 24 events. The second-generation racer from the Kalitta racing family, Doug's uncle, Connie, won the Big Go twenty five years ago. Despite having 45 NHRA career wins, this was Doug's first U.S. Nationals win driving the Troy Fasching and Rob Flynn tuned MAC TOOLS dragster. The 2019 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series continues Sept. 12-15 with the first of six races in the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship playoffs, the Mopar Express Lane NHRA Nationals presented by Pennzoil at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pa.
Photo Courtesy of Action Sports Photography