Jason Line made if four in a row for Team Summit in Pro Stock, Alexis DeJoria made it three in a row for the ladies, and Antron Brown returned to championship form Sunday at the NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas, NV.
In a Pro Stock battle of fuel-injected Chevrolet Camaros, two-time world champion Line defeated KB Racing teammate Bo Butner in the final after Butner turned on the red light at the start. Line extended his points lead with his second win in his fourth consecutive final round appearance to open the season.
“It’s been special to say the least,” said Line, who beat Matt Hartford, Chris McGaha and Erica Enders en route to the final. “It’s been a fun ride. Hopefully it continues like this for the rest of the year.”
It is Line’s 39th career victory and the fourth consecutive victory for the KB Racing team. Line widened his points lead over teammate Greg Anderson and Butner, who defeated Anderson in the semifinals, sits in third for KB Racing, which has totally dominated this early portion of the EFI Pro Stock era.
On Saturday, Anderson became the winningest driver in K&N Horsepower Challenge history when he outlasted Line to take home this year’s trophy and the $50,000 top prize. Anderson adds this year’s title to ones he earned in 2004, 2006, 2010, and 2011. Anderson’s fifth win breaks a tie with Kurt Johnson, who has four victories in bonus events.
“It’s really cool. Kurt and I have a great history; we go back a long way, we raced together a long time. I owe so much of what I’m doing today to those people. I owe a lot to them. I respect them, and it’s great any time you can beat either one of their records. I feel great about that,” Anderson said. “I look forward to finding way to make the number bigger, but it’s cool to be the winningest driver. I didn’t even realize it’s been 30 years we’ve had this race. That’s a lot of chances for people to win, and somehow I’ve won the most of anybody over 30 years. That’s incredible to me. I’m going to take that win and move forward and try to add to it when we come out next year, and the first thing that I have to realize is it’s not an easy deal. You have to do the best you can for a year to qualify for it. The last two years I haven’t been able to qualify for it — that shows you how tough it is. I’ll do the best I can racing this year because I love racing this race, and hopefully we can come back next year and shoot for #6.”
In Funny Car action Sunday, DeJoria piloted her Toyota Camry to a 3.968 at 315.49 miles per hour to overtake defending world champion Del Worsham in his Camry. Worsham raced to a 3.988 at 323.58. It is DeJoria’s second win at LVMS, where she also won in 2014, and her fourth Funny Car victory.
“This fourth trophy was definitely a difficult one,” said DeJoria, who had not won in the last 33 races. “It took a lot of risks to get here.
“We made consistent passes down the race track all four runs in qualifying and on race day as well. I don’t know when the last time was that we did that. It’s incredible to be a part of this.”
DeJoria moved to eighth in the Funny Car points. Robert Hight maintained the points lead in his Chevy Camaro after losing to DeJoria in the quarterfinals. DeJoria also outran 16-time world champion John Force in the semifinals.
It is the first time in NHRA history where three women have raced to wins in nitro categories in consecutive events. DeJoria’s Funny Car win follows Top Fuel wins in Phoenix and Gainesville by Leah Pritchett and Brittany Force in the past two events.
“It’s great to be a part of that history,” DeJoria said.
Defending Top Fuel world champion Brown raced to his first victory of the season Sunday.
Brown powered his dragster to a 3.843 second pass at 314.60 mph to defeat first-time finalist Troy Buff, who drove his dragster to a 3.918 at 307.58 in the runner-up effort.
“It never gets boring,” Brown said. “It’s more than just a trophy. It’s all the hard work it takes to get here. We struggled the first three races but we just kept digging. We kept our heads down and just kept going.”
With the win, Brown moves to second in the Top Fuel points standings, trailing Brittany Force. Force lost to Buff in the second.
Brown defeated Leah Pritchett and Dave Connolly before meeting Buff, who defeated JR Todd in the semis. Brown has 55 career wins in 98 final round appearances, including 39 wins in Top Fuel.
The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series continues April 22-24 in Charlotte, NC with the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway.
Sunday’s race was the fourth of 24 scheduled for the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.
NHRA Pro Stock Point Standings
1. Jason Line 463 2. Greg Anderson 415 3. Bo Butner 331 4. Drew Skillman 264 5. Chris McGaha 214
NHRA Funny Car Point Standings
1. Robert Hight 341 2. John Force 294 3. Ron Capps 289 4. Del Worsham 283 5. Jack Beckman 271
NHRA Top Fuel Point Standings
1. Brittany Force 307 2. Antron Brown 269 3. Doug Kalitta 267 4. Steve Torrence 249 5. Clay Millican 242
NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle Point Standings
1. Eddie Krawiec 129 2. Hector Arana 99 3. Andrew Hines 79 4. LE Tonglet 74 5. Chip Ellis 62