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2019 NHRA Finals a Contrast to 2018

Words: Avery S. Finnivan     Photo: NHRA Media

This year's NHRA finals concluded with results that surprised few, but performances that surprised many. Robert Hight, Erica Enders, Andrew Hines and Steve Torrence went home champions, while a number of other drivers won memorable race victories.

In Funny Car, Hight safely achieved his third category championship, but lost the final round to runner-up Jack Beckman due to taking a celebratory burnout over half the track and busting his Camaro SS. Despite this last-minute disappointment, Hight was elated at his victory, praising his team and proudly joining his fellow champions on stage.

Enders took a close Pro Stock victory over Greg Anderson - 6.570/210.41 to 6.575/210.31 - and won not only the championship, but the honor of being a three-time female world champion in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series alongside such greats as Shirley Muldowney and Angelle Sampey. She lost in the semifinals to Fernando Cuadra, who has two sons competing in the same category.

Hines had a rough day in Pro Stock Motorcycle, fouling out in the first round with an early departure. The rider who won that initial race, along with the next three rounds, was rookie Jianna Salinas. Thanks to Salinas' victory versus championship contender Jerry Savoie, Hines went home with an overall victory, while Salinas rode away with one heck of a memorable first win.

Torrence started out strong, triumphing against Brittany Force in the first Top Fuel round, but things went downhill from there. As the sixth pair, Torrence and Cameron Ferre, raced down the track, Ferre deep-staged and evidently upset Torrence enough that after the race concluded (with Torrence the victor), harsh words were exchanged on the track. However, while Torrence lost to Richie Crampton in the semifinals, he had enough of a lead to end the day with a championship as well.

2019's NHRA finals couldn't have been a greater contrast to last year's, when every race winner went home a champion; this year, not one of them did so, but other drivers were left with triumphs to treasure for years to come as the champions celebrated with their trophies.