Will earns top ten spot
Drops close race as season comes to a finish
POMONA, Calif. (November 12, 2006) -- Hillary Will's first year as a professional Top Fuel driver came to an end in today's opening round of the season-ending 42nd annual NHRA Auto Club Finals when she dropped a close race to J.R. Todd.
Will drove her KB Racing LLC-owned, Kalitta Motorsports-managed Top Fuel dragster to a pass of 4.553 seconds at 325.69 mph on the quarter-mile track at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. Todd recorded a pass of 4.534 seconds at 325.53 mph.
"It was a close race," said Will. "We just came up a little bit short. This was one of countless times that we came up short this season. Hopefully next year it's going to be on the flip side where instead of coming up a little bit short we're ahead by that little bit."
Will began her rookie season in February at the season-opening event right here in Pomona. Since that time, the former resident of Fortuna, Calif., in Northern California, has qualified for all 23 races. At Bristol in the spring, she qualified second and most recently No. 4 at the last race in Las Vegas. She recorded a career-best elapsed time of 4.507 seconds at Atlanta, earned a runner-up finish at Memphis, and posted semifinal finishes at Englishtown and Sonoma.
With Morgan Lucas losing in the second round, Will clinched the No. 10 spot in the 2006 NHRA POWERade Top Fuel point standings, one point out of ninth. Will ends the season with 1,035 points. Cory McClenathan is ninth with 1,036 points and Lucas is 11th with 1,026. That is certainly a tight finish.
"I'm real happy to be in the top ten and that means a lot to our KB Racing team," reflected Will. "There were a lot of ups and downs this season but I've come away with so much knowledge. Next season I continue to learn even more. Somebody asks me today when the first race is next year and I replied, 'Not soon enough.' I'm definitely looking forward to next year."
"Finishing No. 10 is an accomplishment for this team," added crew chief Jim Oberhofer. "Hillary has done an excellent job throughout the year and come a long way since the first race of the year. She is a professional and, although she is a rookie and was under the microscope throughout the season, has handled her job well.
"Both driver and tuner will work hard over the off-season and I believe that this KB Racing team will have an opportunity to finish in the top five next season."