Pomona II: Hillary Will preview

Hillary Will seeks career-best points finish at final NHRA event of 2008 POMONA, Calif., (Nov. 11, 2008) -- No matter what the outcome of this weekend's, Nov. 13-16, annual running of the Auto Club of Southern California NHRA Finals at Auto...

Hillary Will seeks career-best points finish at final NHRA event of 2008

POMONA, Calif., (Nov. 11, 2008) -- No matter what the outcome of this weekend's, Nov. 13-16, annual running of the Auto Club of Southern California NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona (Calif.), Hillary Will, driver of the Palm Beach Int'l Raceway/KB Racing, LLC Top Fuel dragster, knows that she will finish the 2008 POWERade Drag Racing Series in the highest points position of her three-year career.

Will, the world's fastest female, is currently in second place in POWERade points with only 41 points separating her position and Larry Dixon in fifth place. If Will and the Jim Oberhofer-led (crew chief) Palm Beach Int'l Raceway team qualify for the 16-car eliminations field, they will be guaranteed a top-five finish, a remarkable turnaround from the Ken and Kenny Black-owned team that finished last season in 13th place and in 10th in 2006.

"A top-five finish has such a nice ring to it, but our goal is to stay right where we are in second," Will, a 28-year old native of Fortuna, Calif., said. "Second place in points is as high as we can finish off our great season, and we're going to do everything in our power to do just that. Our team is awesome and every single one of them deserves it.

"Racing in my home state is always a thrill, but the mystique of racing in Pomona is something that's hard to describe. We start the season in Pomona each year with so many expectations about the year to come and to finish up this season with a chance to finish second in points is very close to the expectations we had when we started. Sure, our goal was to win the championship, but we've accomplished so much this year, including winning our first event. No matter what happens, it will be our best effort, and we know we'll know we tried our best."

Will is currently the only female driver competing in the Top Fuel class.

Will became the fastest woman in the history of NHRA drag racing when she posted a 334.65-mph lap down the quarter-mile race track at the first of event of the 2008 season in Pomona. Will became the fastest female in the NHRA's new 1,000-ft. era by crossing the track timers at 315.49 mph at the event in Richmond, Va.

Beginning with the 13th event in Denver, the NHRA instituted a new racing distance for the nitro-fueled classes of Funny Car and Top Fuel dragster to 1,000 ft., as opposed to the traditional distance of 1,320 ft., or a quarter of a mile, as a temporary safety solution to help the drivers of the world's quickest and fastest racing safely bring their cars to a stop more efficiently. The unprecedented action, which will be observed for the remainder of the 2008 season, is in response to the tragic death of Kalitta Motorsports' Scott Kalitta, who died in a high-speed Funny Car qualifying accident in Englishtown, N.J., June 21.

A former standout in the Top Alcohol Dragster class, Will moved up to the quickest and fastest NHRA professional class, Top Fuel, in 2006 behind the wheel of a newly formed team owned by Las Vegas businessman Ken Black and managed by Kalitta Motorsports, the multi-car team founded and owned by drag racing icon Connie "the Bounty Hunter" Kalitta. She won her first Top Fuel event trophy in Norwalk (IHRA) in her rookie season and made her first NHRA final-round appearance in Memphis later that year. She finished the season in 10th place in Top Fuel championship points in '06. Will picked up an emotional first NHRA national event title in Topeka, Kan., June 1, 2008.

Qualifying for the Auto Club of Southern California NHRA Finals begins Thursday for the Nitro-fueled classes with one qualifying session at 2:30 p.m. (PT). Another qualifying session will follow on Friday at 2:30 p.m. Two more qualifying sessions take place Saturday at noon and 3:30 p.m. The top 16 qualified cars will race Sunday in final eliminations beginning at 11:00 a.m.

All times and dates subject to change.

-credit: kbr/km

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Scott Kalitta , Jim Oberhofer , Hillary Will , Ken Black