CROWNING GLORY

THE AUTO CLUB FI­NALS NEVER DIS­AP­POINTS

Drag Racer - - Contents - Text by Pete Ward Photos by Gary Nas­tase/Auto Im­agery

The Auto Club Fi­nals Never Dis­ap­points

LOWER THE CUR­TAIN ON YET AN­OTHER MEM­O­RABLE NHRA SEA­SON. OF ALL THE ELIMINATORS, THE LOUD­EST AP­PLAUSE AGAIN GOES TO THE FUNNY CAR CAT­E­GORY.

/RON CAPPS fi­nally sealed the deal after four world champ RUs. He se­cured the crown on Satur­day, amass­ing suf­fi­cient points to sur­pass DSR team­mate Matt Ha­gan. Capps was dom­i­nant for most of the sea­son. In a seven-race span he scored three wins, two RUs and one semi ap­pear­ance. He to­taled five wins to ring up a ca­reer to­tal of 50. This marked crew chief Rahn Tobler’s fourth cham­pi­onship.

/ABOVE. ANTRON BROWN con­tin­ued his dom­i­nance of T/F, se­cur­ing a third cham­pi­onship in five years (two back to back) at the Las Ve­gas Toy­ota race prior to Pomona. The DSR star won seven na­tional events, three of which were dur­ing the count­down.

/TOP. THE PRO MOD ti­tle was de­cided at the Ve­gas Toy­ota event. Peren­nial “re­tiree” Rickie Smith se­cured his third cham­pi­onship over last year’s ti­tle­holder, Troy Cough­lin. Smith proved the big motor/ni­trous combo is still vi­able in do­ing battle with his turbo and blower com­peti­tors.

/RIGHT. YET AN­OTHER WOMAN claims an NHRA world ti­tle! Mia Tedesco be­came the first woman Su­per Gas champ, claim­ing the honor at the fall Div. 7 Ve­gas event. In ad­di­tion to the Su­per Gas na­tional ti­tle, she also won the Div. 3 S/G cham­pi­onship and the North Cen­tral Re­gion Top Alky Drag­ster ti­tle.

/ JEFF STRICK­LAND be­came just the sec­ond driver in NHRA his­tory to win two na­tional cham­pi­onships in the same sea­son. Pi­lot­ing a COPO Ca­maro for the Gray Mo­tor­sports team, he cap­tured Stock Elim­i­na­tor Satur­day at the fi­nals, adding it to the Top Drag­ster ti­tle he se­cured seven days prior in Ve­gas (near lane).

/THE FIRST SEA­SON in the new era of FI Pro Stock was dom­i­nated by the Sum­mit duo of Ja­son Line and Greg An­der­son. The strug­gle lasted un­til the semi­fi­nals where Line fi­nally se­cured the cham­pi­onship (his third) by a mea­ger three points. Through­out the sea­son he cap­tured eight wins in 14 fi­nal round ap­pear­ances. Though An­der­son lost the war, this day he won the battle, de­feat­ing his team­mate in the fi­nals.

/LEFT. HD’S STRAN­GLE hold on PSB was bro­ken by the feisty Jerry Savoie and his Suzuki. He was third com­ing into the fi­nals (fall­ing as far as sixth dur­ing the count­down), trail­ing for­mer champs Hines and Kraw­iec. He ad­vanced one round fur­ther than the HD team­mates, giv­ing Savoie the cham­pi­onship by a scant 23 points.

/BOT­TOM. TAD AND TAFC ex­pe­ri­enced a case of déjà vû as Joey Sev­er­ance and Jon­nie Lind­berg both re­tained their cham­pi­onship crowns. They cruised into Pomona hav­ing al­ready se­cured their ti­tles, though Sev­er­ance padded his points to­tal by tak­ing the fi­nals vic­tory, his sixth of the sea­son. Lind­berg notched four wins, in­clud­ing Indy.

/MID­DLE. THE EARLY BIRD gets the crown? On the strength of three na­tional event wins, Doug Doll Jr., wheel­ing Char­lie Greco’s drag­ster, was ar­guably NHRA’s first 2016 champ. He locked up the Comp Elim­i­na­tor ti­tle at Septem­ber’s Char­lotte Na­tion­als.

/JON­NIE LIND­BERG re­peat TAFC World Champ

/ABOVE. NICK FOLK took the Su­per Comp ti­tle points lead at the late Oc­to­ber Div. 2 race and se­cured the World Cham­pi­onship a week later at the Div. 7 race in Ve­gas. Folk, who races as part of a fam­ily ef­fort with his par­ents and his older brother, had a roller coaster sea­son prior to his strong sea­son-end­ing run.

/BE­LOW. JIMMY DEFRANK also cashed out, big time, in Ve­gas. It was there at the Toy­ota Na­tion­als he racked up his fifth Su­per Stock World Cham­pi­onship.

/ THE HUS­BAND-AND-WIFE duo of Mike and Dar­lene Wil­liams from the Great White North se­cured the Top Sportsman World Cham­pi­onship on the strength of their Div. 7 dou­ble-header show­ing.

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