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“The Last Race?” NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Finale and the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals at the Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, CA - 11/08

“The Last Race?” NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Finale and the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals at the Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, CA - 11/08
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“The Last Race?”
NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Finale
and the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals
at the Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, CA

Nov 13,14,15,16, ‘08
Story and Photographs by Roger Rohrdanz

The Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals are unique in many ways. One is in the “Pro” classes there are 2 champions crowned when the smoke clears; The 44th annual Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals winners and the POWERade season champions. Over 50 years ago, NHRA established the distance of a drag race to be 1320 feet (a quarter mile). In the interest of safety, the last 13 races of this NHRA season required the Top Fuel Dragsters and Funny Cars race only 1000 feet. Should the new 1000 foot races be combined with the old 1320 foot races to establish a record? Here is an example, Tony Schumacher deserves all the accolades he gets. However, in the “Record Book”, he is credited with the season’s most round wins because he beat the previous record holder, Greg Anderson. How many of Schumacher’s wins came on a 1000 foot long race track?? All of Anderson’s wins were on a 1320 foot race track! Should Top Fuel Dragster and Funny Car race wins and records be separated into 1320 foot and 1000 foot categories? Have we seen the end of Top Fuel Dragster and Funny Car quarter mile drag racing?

The weather in Pomona, CA was warm for the cars and the throngs of fans. The pits with all the race cars were open to the fans, along with all the food vendors and commercial vendors. There were 15 classes of cars competing at this event. On TV, you only saw 4 of those classes. The colorful sights and stimulating sounds were overwhelming. It was a “fair” like environment with families seeing their favorite drivers and getting their autographs.

Thanks for the Show!

 
Event sign    Cruz Pedregon and his Top Fuel Funny Car won not only The Auto Club of Southern  California NHRA Finals, but also clinched The NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series  Championship. 
 
Larry Dixon takes The Auto Club of Southern California NHRA Finals in Top Fuel Dragster.      
 
    Weeks ago, Tony Schumacher clinched the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Top Fuel Dragster Championship  
 
 
The NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Pro Stock Champion Jeg Coughlin and his Chevy Cobalt.     The 2 Pro Stock Champs race one another: Jeg Coughlin (far lane) NHRA POWERade  Drag Racing Series Pro Stock Champion and Greg Anderson the Auto Club of Southern California NHRA Finals winner.  
 
Mike Neff received the Auto Club of Southern California Road to the Future Award, which recognizes NHRA’s rookie of the year.     NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Top Alcohol Dragster champion Bill Reichert. 
 
    In the pits, the Nitroalley is very popular 
 
    This may be Gary Scelzi’s last season, some fans get his autograph. 
 
Top Fuel driver Cory “Mac” (l) talks with friends in the pits    Top Fuel driver Hillary Will signs autographs. 
 
Robert Hight (Auto Club shirt) & Mike Neff (Old Spice shirt) sign autographs.    Funny Car pilot Jack Beckman greets the fans. 
 
The pits with all the race cars were open to the fans. These guys are checking out Beckman’s Funny Car.    Some drag race fans get closer than others to the cars. 
 
Mr & Mrs Dave McClelland (NHRA announcer) caught “cruisin’” the pits    Fans in the stands enjoying the races.   
 
Funny Cars in the “Staging Lanes”.    Greg Ventura SoCal Pro-Gas Association president. 
 
Mike Graham’s 2000 Ford Cobra from Tempe, AZ.   This may be Gary Scelzi’s last season. 
 
Bob Tasca III qualified 11th    Ron Capps qualified 6th 
 
Ashley Force did not run this pink body on Saturday or Sunday?     
 
Tony Pedregon    Tim Wilkerson qualified 13th. 
 
Morgan Lucas under the Wally Parks Blvd sign.    Brandon Bernstein qualified 5th. 
 
Cory “Mac” McClenathan    Shane Studley from Bellflower lifts the wheels of his ’99 Dpdge Dakota truck. 
 
Rick Houser always looks good doing a wheelie through the lights in his ’68 Plymouth Barracuda.    Brittany Force chrisply launches her Top Alcohol Dragster as Dad (far right, green shirt) looks on. 
 
Jim Whiteley is The Auto Club of Southern California NHRA Finals Top Alcohol Dragster Champion.     The Auto Club of Southern California NHRA Finals Super Stock Champ Byron Worner and his ’96 Camaro from Duncannon, PA. 
 
Last year’s Super Stock Champ Darren Smith from Palmdale, CA. and his very sharp ’68 Dodge Dart.    Fred Moreno could walk to the track from his home in La Verne, CA. He probably just drove his ’69 Ford Mustang over, NOT!