Auto Club Finals at Pomona

Andrew Paul Bettridge
January 1, 2014 • 568 views

The day at the Auto Club Finals in Pomona started off in classic fashion with the track walk and driver introductions. Down the first round of eliminations for the top fuel nitro, first pair between Morgan Lucas and Terry McMillen; where Terry smoked the tires right at the 330 ft mark. The next pair rolled in and Clay Millican took the win against Troy Buff as he smoked the tires at 60 ft. Next set to go down on the track, Brand Bernstein took the win as Billy Torrence got loose just past 60 ft. and sideways. Brandon smoked the tires just past halftrack. The next pair up was the already crowned top fuel champion Shawn Langdon and Steve Torrence. Shawn has a clean run, but Steven Torrence ran into issues and banged the blower, deploying the chutes between 60 ft. and 330 ft. and coming to a stop before the lights at the end.
The matchup between Doug Kalitta and Tony Schumacher was one of the fastest of the day here at the Auto Club Finals. By Doug running 3.757 seconds at 328 mph, he brought Tony’s season to an end. The Antron Brown and Bob Vandergriff match-up brought Vandergriff’s day end, by smoking the tires just around 60ft. Dave Grubnic blew the blower off the top of the engine, just before the finish line and still got the win for the round.  The match-up of Spencer Massey and Brittany Force brought up the end of the round for top fuel. Brittany’s crew chief had predicted a high 3.7 seconds for her run but came up with a 4.594 pedaling it, going down the track and coming out with the win to move onto the next round.
The first match-up of nitro funny cars came up fast with Jack Beckman in his DSR (Don Schumacher Racing) Dodge and Cruz Pedregon in the Snap-On Camry.  Cruz came out on top with a 4.101 run. The pair of Del Worsham and Gary Densham came in and Del came out with a 4.100 time for the win.  As Courtney Force rolled into the water box for the first round of eliminations, the chutes popped out on the line, but as she went down the track against Bob Tasca, she spun the tires near the top end before the lights, giving Tasca the win. The next pair up was John Force and Bob Bode where John ran 4.036 at 327.12    The Alexis Dejoria and Matt Hagan run resulted in 4.059 seconds from Alexis and 4.056 from Matt.  Ron Capps took the win over Robert Height as Robert lost traction and smoked the tires near the top end.
The last nitro funny car pair was a wild run for both drivers as Tim Wilkerson nearly crossed the center stripe at half- track and Jeff Arrend got loose shortly after. As track prep went on for pro-stock cars, the car of Jeff Arrend sat on the top end of the track.  Track prep ended with the car still being attended to for unknown reasons.  As moving into the semi-finals for pro stock motorcycle was Sullivan versus Polachek and Ray versus Krawiec. For pro stock car leaves K. Johnson versus A. Johnson and Perkinson versus Jones.  In funny car it slides John Force who pedaled the car about 7 or 8 times to get it going straight back on the track against Gary Densham and Matt Hagan vs Cruz Pedregon. Finally, top fuel pitted Brittany Force against Doug Kalitta and Shawn Langdon and Morgan Lucas head to head. For top fuel semi-finals, Brittany Force smoked the tires right off the line between 60 feet, giving the win to Doug Kalitta. Shawn Langdon ran 3.756 seconds at 326.87 mph against Morgan Lucas, although some unknown objects came off both cars around half-track. Morgan’s car seemed to just lose post and coasted the rest of the way. In the finals for top fuel resulted in putting the number 4 qualifier Doug Kalitta and number 2 qualifier Shawn Langdon head to head. John Force ran a 4.043 at 314.83 mph and moved on to the finals here at Pomona.   The next pair was Matt Hagan and Cruz Pedregon, the number 4 and number 6 qualifier head to head. Cruz Pedregon dropped a cylinder near the top end and lost to Matt Hagan, resulting in a Matt Hagan vs John Force final for the 49th Annual Auto Club Finals at Pomona. The next pair was Rickie Jones and Buddy Perkinson, where Richie Jones took the win over Buddy Perkinson to match the ET of Allen Johnson to head into the finals together. In the pro stock motorcycle semi-finals, a 6.957 second run from Eddie Kraewick takes him into the finals to go against Scotty Polachek who ran a 6.949 against Katie Sullivan, who would have been the 4th female pro stock motorcycle rider to go into the finals. Eddie Kraewick takes the win at the Auto Club Finals with a 6.968 at 192 in pro stock motorcycle. In pro stock car, Rickie Jones takes the win with a 6.584 at 210.28.   Nitro funny car rolls into the water box for the last time this season putting the 16 time champ John Force against DSR’s Matt Hagan, with Matt Hagan taking the win. Shawn Langdon came out over Doug Kalitta in top fuel.

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