Rain-Delayed Winternationals from Pomona Wrap on Monday
It was a gloomy looking Sunday at the Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona. The track temperature was cool and the damp conditions definitely put the wheel in the driver's hands for the dozen Top Fuel teams that made elimination runs. Getting off the line for the 59th annual event presented by ProtectTheHarvest.com wasn't easy but the real trick was to out pedal your opponent for 1000 feet. Probably the best drive came from Leah Pritchett who beat her Don Prudhomme teammate Antron Brown by literally a nose.
Sunday's washout at the legendary California track was followed by a beautiful day for drag racing on Monday. San Jose-native Mike Salinas made short notice of Clay Millican to join Prock, Pritchett, Steve Torrence, Billy Torrence and Doug Kalitta for second-round matchups. In the semifinals, Kalitta claimed a holeshot win over Terry McMillen's faster run at 329.10 mph, while number one qualifier Steve Torrence eliminated Mike Salinas on the way to his seventh consecutive final round appearance. Kalitta notched his 45th career win, ended Torrence's 27 round win streak, and successfully defended his Winternationals title in Top Fuel.
In Funny Car, John Force was making a solid run at his 150th career win but was defeated by his teammate Robert Hight in the semifinals. Hight, hungry for his fourth season-opening victory, would face off with "Fast Jack" Beckman in finale. Hight's 3.881 ET at 329.75 mph was enough for his 46th Wally. Pro Stock was a rematch of the 2018 final with Bo Butner set to defend his Winternationals title against his teammate Jason Line. Butner eliminated two-time world champion Erica Enders in the semifinals before claiming the eighth victory of his career in his Jim Butner's Auto Chevrolet Camaro.
The 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season continues with Magic Dry Organic Absorbent NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park Feb. 22-24.