NHRA’s 2018 season-opener for the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, the Lucas Oil Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, saw Doug Kalitta, Matt Hagan and Bo Butner win their classes.
Matt Hagan took the win with a 3.823-second pass at 335.90 mph in his Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T to defeat defending champion Robert Hight’s John Force Racing Chevrolet Camaro. Hagan, who also won the Winternationals last year, saw his career victory total to 27.
Said Hagan: “Keeping upbeat, confident and starting the year on a positive note is good for our team to set goals, no matter how hard they may be to obtain,” Hagan said. “Everything was clicking this weekend and even more than the parts and pieces it’s about having the right guys to use what we have. So far we’ve done it well.”
After qualifying first, Hagan took down Jim Campbell, Cruz Pedregon, and Ron Capps on the road to victory. Hight qualified second and defeated Jeff Diehl, J.R. Todd and Jack Beckman to reach the final.
Doug Kalitta won with a 3.779sec run at 324.28mph in his Mac Tools dragster to take down Tony Schumacher, taking his second win in this event.
“I tip my hat to my guys because I couldn’t do it without them and it’s really special to get a win at a track with so much history,” Kalitta said. “We feel like we have the team in place to have a successful season but I’m really proud of Jim Oberhofer [crew chief] and what he has done for all of our teams.”
Kalitta qualified fifth and took down teammate Richie Crampton, Scott Palmer, and No. 1 qualifier Clay Millican en route to his 44th career win.
Tony Schumacher reached his first final round since Atlanta last season, after besting Terry McMillen, Terry Haddock and Antron Brown.
Defending PS champion Bo Butner’s 6.549sec at 209.62mph run in his Jim Butner’s Auto Chevy Camaro was enough to defeat his teammate Jason Line in the final round.
Said Butner: “Both my crew and my car have been running smooth recently, and we are just trying to keep riding that wave. I feel great in this car and I have all the confidence in the world in my crew.”
On his way to the final, Butner took down Tanner Gray, Greg Anderson, and Erica Enders
The Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season continues with the NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park Feb. 23-25.
Final finish order in Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals presented by ProtectTheHarvest.com at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona
TOP FUEL: 1. Doug Kalitta; 2. Tony Schumacher; 3. Antron Brown; 4. Clay Millican; 5. Scott Palmer; 6. Steve Torrence; 7. Terry Haddock; 8. Terry McMillen; 9. Richie Crampton; 10. Steven Chrisman; 11. Steve Faria; 12. Mike Salinas; 13. Leah Pritchett; 14. Brittany Force.
Final: Doug Kalitta, 3.779 seconds, 324.28 mph def. Tony Schumacher, 4.715 seconds, 145.93 mph.
FUNNY CAR: 1. Matt Hagan; 2. Robert Hight; 3. Ron Capps; 4. Jack Beckman; 5. J.R. Todd; 6. Cruz Pedregon; 7. Tim Wilkerson; 8. Jonnie Lindberg; 9. Bob Tasca III; 10. Jim Campbell; 11. John Force; 12. Tommy Johnson Jr.; 13. Courtney Force; 14. Del Worsham; 15. Jeff Diehl; 16. Shawn Langdon.
Final: Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 3.823, 335.90 def. Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 3.866, 336.99.
PRO STOCK: 1. Bo Butner; 2. Jason Line; 3. Erica Enders; 4. Deric Kramer; 5. Drew Skillman; 6. Vincent Nobile; 7. Alex Laughlin; 8. Greg Anderson; 9. Chris McGaha; 10. Jeg Coughlin; 11. Kenny Delco; 12. Steve Graham; 13. Val Smeland; 14. Joey Grose; 15. Tanner Gray; 16. Alan Prusiensky.
Final: Bo Butner, Chevy Camaro, 6.549, 209.62 def. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.568, 209.59.
Point standings after 1 of 24 events in the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series
TOP FUEL: 1. Doug Kalitta, 112; 2. Tony Schumacher, 95; 3. Clay Millican, 84; 4. Antron Brown, 78; 5. Steve Torrence, 60; 6. Scott Palmer, 47; 7. Brittany Force, 35; 8. (tie) Steve Faria, 32; Leah Pritchett, 32; Mike Salinas, 32.
FUNNY CAR: 1. Matt Hagan, 127; 2. Robert Hight, 101; 3. Jack Beckman, 81; 4. Ron Capps, 78; 5. Jonnie Lindberg, 51; 6. (tie) J.R. Todd, 49; Tim Wilkerson, 49; 8. Cruz Pedregon, 48; 9. Courtney Force, 36; 10. (tie) Tommy Johnson Jr., 32, Shawn Langdon, 32, Del Worsham, 32.
PRO STOCK: 1. Bo Butner, 115; 2. Jason Line, 98; 3. Erica Enders, 74; 4. Deric Kramer, 73; 5. Drew Skillman, 65; 6. Vincent Nobile, 63; 7. Greg Anderson, 61; 8. Alex Laughlin, 54; 9. Chris McGaha, 33; 10. (tie) Jeg Coughlin, 32, Steve Graham, 32, Tanner Gray, 32.