NHRA crowns new champs
Del Worsham and Matt Hagan raced to their first NHRA season championships and won Sunday in the season-ending Auto Club NHRA Finals.
Worsham took the Top Fuel season crown, while Hagan avenged last season's runner-up performance by taking the Funny Car title. Eddie Krawiec claimed his second Pro Stock Motorcycle championship. Pro Stock champ Jason Line secured his title two weeks ago in Las Vegas.
Greg Stanfield (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also won the event at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.
Longtime Funny Car racer Worsham claimed the Top Fuel championship in dramatic fashion by edging series challenger Spencer Massey at the finish line in a winner-take-all semifinal round.
Worsham went on to claim his eighth victory of the season and 33rd of his career by outrunning Tony Schumacher in the final round. Worsham powered his dragster to a 3.796 at 318.02 to finish in front of Schumacher's machine, which posted a 3.799 at 321.50.
''The semifinal round was the biggest of my 21-year career as far as what was at stake,'' Worsham said. ''Spencer Massey is a great competitor. It was so close, I didn't know if I had won. When I saw the ESPN cameras coming over to me it was like, 'Wow,' I was speechless after that round.''
Virginia cattle rancher Hagan avenged his painful loss to John Force last year by powering past two-time champ Cruz Pedregon in the semifinals for his first world championship in Funny Car. He powered to his second win of the season and fifth of his career by posting a track-record performance of 4.009 at 317.79 in a Dodge Charger to finish in front of Robert Hight, who trailed with a 4.031 at 318.92 in a Ford Mustang.
''It really is truly amazing this weekend to win the championship and win the race,'' Hagan said. ''It's a testimony to all of my guys who have worked so hard. They were so relaxed today. Being in that situation last year with John Force really helped us. I hate the phrase you gotta lose one to win one, but that's really what happened. I am really happy for DieHard and all the associates on the car. These Funny Car trophies are so hard to come by. When you can win it all, you have truly accomplished something.''
Krawiec took his second Pro Stock Motorcycle title by winning the second round, which closed out championship challenger Hector Arana Jr.
Stanfield earned his first win of the season and fifth of his career in Pro Stock when he defeated Kurt Johnson in the final round. Stanfield finished in 6.597 at 209.59 in a Pontiac GXP, while Johnson's GXP broke on the starting line.
Andrew Hines earned his second win of the season in Pro Stock Motorcycle, outrunning newly crowned champ Krawiec in the final. Hines took his 25th career victory with a 6.814 at 196.39, while Krawiec fouled at the start.