Las Vegas, Nevada played host to the NHRA Mello Yello drag racing series over Halloween weekend. The stars of the NHRA shined as bright as the neon signs on the Vegas strip.
In Top Fuel a champion was crowned as Antron Brown and his Matco tools team captured their third Top Fuel world championship and second in a row. Brown put together an incredible season with seven event wins and four runner-up finishes. He picked up three of those wins during the six race countdown to the championship.
With a champion crowned the race went on and Steven Torrence and the Capco contractors team picked up the weekend’s event win by taking down Richie Crampton and the Lucas oil team in the opening round with a 3.730 at 327 mph to a 3.766 at 317 mph. In round two he ended Doug Kalitta and the Mac tools team’s championship hopes when he put a 3.732 at 324 mph to a 3.739 at 324 mph. He would then take on Leah Pritchett in her Pennzoil dragster. Torrence put a 3.742 at 327 mph to a 3.768 at 322 mph to advance to the final round against JR Todd and the Seal Master team. Torrence put up a 3.734 at 323 mph to a 3.762 at 321 mph to capture his third win of the 2016 season and eighth of his career.
In Funny Car, a championship is still up for grabs but the show was stolen by 16-time champion John Force and his Peak anti-freeze team. Force qualified third and motored around the Speed City team of John Bojec with a 3.906 at 326 mph to a tire smoking 5.118 at 163 mph. In round two Force made short work of Chad Head with a 3.917at 325 mph to a 4.032 at 280 mph. Force would then take on two-time champion Matt (Hulk) Hagan and the Mopar Express lube team. Force laid down a 3.928 at 330 mph to a tire smoking 6.561 at 122 mph. Thus, advancing him to the final round where he would square off against daughter Courtney Force. Courtney and her Traxxas team gave dad John all he could handle putting a 3.906 at 325 mph but came up short as the elder Force put a 3.884 at 327 mph. This is his 147th career win and fourth at this event.
Funny Car saw its share of scary moments over the course of the weekend. Alexis Dejoria smacked the wall just past the finish line during the third session of qualifying. Dejoria was uninjured in the incident but the team made the decision to sit out the race and prepare for the final race of the season. In the final session, the sold out crowd held their collective breath when Jon Capps’ car went into a power wheel stand just after halftrack and then slammed back to the ground breaking the right front spindle sending the car careening into the left retaining wall. Capps was able to climb from the wreckage after the safety safari helped him from the car.
On Sunday, Cruz Pedregon took his Snap On Tools Toyota on the longest wheelstand in Funny Car history. The car lifted the wheels from just before halftrack and carried them all the way through the 1000ft finish line slamming back to the ground. Pedregon got the car safely stopped and climbed out uninjured but the same could not be said for his car, as he was forced to sit out the next round.
In Pro Stock, Shane Gray picked up his fifth career win when he defeated teammate Drew Skillman in the final round with a 6.719 at 204 mph.
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, the points battle will go down to the wire in Pomona, California as Jerry Savoie defeated Andrew Hines in the final round to pull to just three points behind Hines and Hines’s teammate Eddie Krawiec.
The final race weekend of the season will be held on November 10-13 in Pomona for the Auto Club Finals.