POMONA, CA. (NOV. 13, 2016) The final day of NHRA Mello Yello drag racing took place today. Being the last of 24 events with world championships on line, the Auto Club Finals made for great racing in Southern California.
In an all-Kalitta Motorsports final, world championship runner-up, Doug Kalitta walked away victorious after he defeated his teammate J.R. Todd. Kalitta posted a time of 3.745 @ 326.63 mph, while Todd had a quicker but losing 3.704 @ 327.90 mph pass. This is Doug Kalitta’s fourth win on the 2016 season. This is also the first time since 2005 that Kalitta Motorsports has had two top fuel drivers finish in the top four in the championship points standings.
The last Funny Car final of 2010 was a match up of the greats. Don Schumacher Racing vs. John Force Racing. Tommy Johnson Jr. took the win over John Force with a 3.918 @ 320.51 mph pass. Force posted an identical elapsed time with a speed of 321.81 mph. However, the reaction time made all the difference. Johnson was 5-thousandths quicker off the starting line than Force. Johnson and Force finished second and third in the championship. Nearly 20 years after making his Funny Car debut, Ron Capps was able to wrap up his first world championship last night in Q4 on Saturday.
Greg Anderson won the battle, but lost the war. In the final round, Anderson got around his teammate and newly crowned NHRA Pro Stock world champion, Jason Line. Keeping up with the theme of final round holeshot wins, Anderson ran a 6.580 @ 210.24 mph, while Line had the quicker 6.570 @ 211.43 mph pass. Despite not picking up the Auto Club Finals Wally, Line got the big trophy. The world champion trophy. Line drove around Erica Enders in the semifinals to claim the third world title of his career.
Pro Stock Motorcycle
Matt Smith picked up his first Wally in three years. Smith was automatically given the win when his competitor, Angelle Sampey, red-lit in the final round. Smith saw the win light come on and coasted to the finish line with a time of 8.044 @ 117.34 mph. However, the story everyone is talking about is Jerry Savoie. After Eddie Krawiec and Andrew Hines fell to Matt Smith and Angelle Sampey respectively in the second round, Savoie, a privateer rider picked up his first world title. This makes Savoie the oldest world champion at age 57.