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The Kragen O’Reilly NHRA Winternationals - 02/09

The Kragen O’Reilly NHRA Winternationals - 02/09



The Kragen O’Reilly NHRA Winternationals

Los Angeles County Fairplex, in Pomona, CA
Feb. 5 thru 11, ‘09
Story and photographs by Roger Rohrdanz

After 7 days of trying, the 49th Annual Kragen O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals was concluded on February 11, 2009 at the Auto Club of Southern California Raceway at Pomona, on the grounds of the Los Angeles County Fairplex, located in Pomona, California. This famous dragstrip has been in operation since the very early 1950’s, first hosting an NHRA race in 1953, with the first Winternationals run in 1961. This is the first race of the 2009 Full Throttle drag racing season for the National Hot Rod Association. It hasn’t been easy for the NHRA since the end of the 2007 season and the start of this new championship series brings new teams, new sponsors and new drivers. Clear, warm and sunny weather had been the norm prior to the race. The first day of racing dawned wet and cold weather and held for most of the event, leaving the surrounding mountains covered in snow. 

The logo for the 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series.

Wednesday saw the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Final rounds of eliminations for Comp - Dan Fletcher, Super Stock - Shane Studley, Stock – John Calvert, and Super Gas – Justin Lamb were all Champions.After Mother Nature forced only one Pro qualifying round on Saturday, Pro Stock, Top Fuel Funny Car and Top Fuel Dragster would finally conclude eliminations on Tuesday. Jason Line claimed his first victory ever at Pomona in Pro Stock by outrunning Mike Edwards in the final round. Line drove his Summit Racing Pontiac GXP to a 6.567 E.T. at a track record speed of 211.63 mph to hold off Edwards' Young Life/Penhall GXP, which trailed at 6.575 E.T. at 210.01 mph. In Top Fuel Funny Car, Ron Capps ended a year-long winless drought by posting a E.T. of 4.154 at 296.96 mph in his NAPA Dodge Charger to hold off surprise finalist Jim Head, whose Head Racing Toyota Solara lost traction at the start of the race. In Top Fuel Dradster, Doug Kalitta powered his Kalitta Motorsports dragster to a winning performance of 3.822 seconds at 308.57 mph to take an emotional win over top qualifier Antron Brown, whose Matco Tools dragster trailed with a 3.847 seconds at 307.16 mph. His uncle Connie Kalitta, the legendary drag racer, is celebrating his 50th anniversary in the sport this year. The only Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Champions crowned on Tuesday were Top Alcohol Dragster winner Jim Whiteley, 5.435 E.T. and 268.46 mph over Chris Demke’s 5.511 E.T. and 251.86 mph. Top Alcohol Funny Car winner Tony Bartone’s 5.530 E.T. and 259.81 mph beat Doug Gordon’s 50618 E.T. and 267.83 mph.The remaining categories will finish up racing on Wednesday.

This was the first of 24 in the 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series which will conclude back here at Pomona in November. That’s all from the racetrack. See you in November.

Gone Racin’ is at [email protected].