PEDREGON AND KRAWIEC WIN POWERADE SERIES WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP CROWNS Dixon, Pedregon, Anderson and Rivas claim event titles at Auto Club NHRA Finals POMONA, Calif. -- Cruz Pedregon earned his second NHRA Funny Car world championship title, and ...
PEDREGON AND KRAWIEC WIN POWERADE SERIES WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP CROWNS
Dixon, Pedregon, Anderson and Rivas claim event titles at Auto Club NHRA Finals
POMONA, Calif. -- Cruz Pedregon earned his second NHRA Funny Car world championship title, and first in 16 years, by racing to victory Sunday at the Auto Club NHRA Finals in Southern California.
Meanwhile, Eddie Krawiec won his first POWERade Series crown in Pro Stock Motorcycle, and did so without winning a race during the season. He joins Rob Bruins, the 1979 Top Fuel champ, as the only drivers in NHRA history to win a season title without earning an individual race victory.
After Pedregon won his first round meeting against Jerry Toliver, he secured his first title when his two closest challengers lost in the first round. Season-long leader Tim Wilkerson fouled against John Force and then Robert Hight lost to Pedregon's brother, Tony.
Pedregon then drove his Advance Auto Parts Toyota Solara to his third straight event victory to close out the six-race Countdown to 1, NHRA's Playoffs, by beating Ron Capps in the final round. It is Pedregon's 26th career win and second here at his home track.
"I'm stunned," an emotional Pedregon said moments after his brother Tony eliminated the last racer within reach. "It's awesome Tony got that win right there because I'm standing here thinking of my dad (Frank) and that I hope he's proud of his sons. I was 18 when he died and Tony was 16 and now we each have two world championships. We've come a long way for a couple of Hispanic kids from Chino."
Krawiec entered the Countdown to 1 in seventh place and finished runner-up in four of the six races in the championship playoffs, securing his first title and the fourth for Harley-Davidson and the seventh for Vance & Hines Racing.
"Consistency pays off," Krawiec said. "It shows you that you just need to go rounds at the end. We made the Countdown in seventh place and have been in four of the last five finals. I haven't had a chance to get my first (event) Wally yet, but I've got a big gold Wally (for winning the championship). I do have a $75,000 check here though, so if someone wants to sell a Wally, I could buy one."
Larry Dixon, Greg Anderson, and Chris Rivas also claimed race victories in their respective categories at the final NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event of the season at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.
Dixon raced to his second win of the season in Top Fuel, holding off Rod Fuller in the final round. Dixon, who moved to second in the point standings with the victory, covered the distance in 3.833 seconds at 300.93 mph in his U.S. Smokeless dragster to take his 43rd career victory and first at the Finals. It was his fourth win at the historic Pomona track.
"The car nosed over really, really, really badly on the other end and it gave me the feeling it was going to blow up, but I wasn't at the finish line yet," Dixon said. "Then I saw the win light come on and it blew up, but I saw the win light come on, and that was all that mattered. We hopped it up for the final and certainly needed it. 'Hot Rod' had been cutting good lights all day and their car had been running good. You can tell by the way we blew up that we left everything on the track. I hate finishing second (in points), but as far as the bonus money that gets passed around to the guys on the team, the difference between fifth place, where we came into this race, and second, where we finished, is monumental. We were racing to finish second, so I'm really happy for them."
Top Fuel season champ Tony Schumacher's record-breaking season ended when Fuller defeated him in the second round. Schumacher tied Anderson's 2004 season-marks for wins (15) and elimination round wins (76).
Anderson claimed his sixth Pro Stock victory of the season in his Summit Racing Pontiac GXP when Kurt Johnson fouled at the start in his ACDelco Chevy Cobalt. It was Anderson's 57th career victory and his fourth win at the Finals and seventh win at Pomona.
"It is second place, but it was first place today," said Anderson, who moved into second overall in the final point standings with his win. "It was the highest position available, and it felt like we were going for the championship there. I love racing Kurt. We always have great battles. I wish that would have been for the championship, but second ain't so bad. Right now, we're going to have to be happy with that, and next year, we'll have to try and rectify that. Maybe next year it will be Kurt and I going for the championship on the last run here."
Newly crowned Pro Stock world champ Jeg Coughlin lost in the first round to Allen Johnson.
Rivas continued his hot streak in Pro Stock Motorcycle by winning his third race in a row, defeating newly crowned season champ Krawiec in the final round. Rivas, who moved to second in the final point standings with the win, powered his G-Squared/Drag Specialties Buell to a performance of 6.929 at 191.95 to drive away from Krawiec's Screamin' Eagle Harley-Davidson, which trailed at 7.009 at 190.46.
"We're still not really sure where that 6.92 came from," said Rivas, who finished second in the point standings, five points behind Krawiec. "I knew that we had left together and by the time I plugged third gear he had completely dropped back; I thought he had broken. We hit the rev limiter at the finish line so I knew it either had been a really good run or that it had broken the transmission. I did what I was supposed to do as a rider. I took out the reigning world champ and kept him from having the number-two spot, and I feel fantastic about that."