HIGHT EXCITED FOR JFR TEAM'S OPPORTUNITY AT AUTO CLUB NHRA FINALS: Robert Hight is focused on finishing his 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season on a good note, in part because he knows just three months later he will be starting the 2015 season in the same location. But momentum aside, a strong finish at the 50th annual Auto Club NHRA Finals, November 13–16, at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, California, could set up a memorable finish for the three-car John Force Racing Funny Car team of Hight, John Force and Courtney Force. Hight trails points leader Matt Hagan by 150 points, while Courtney is two spots ahead in third and 121 points back. John Force sits in second, just 21 points behind Hagan to set up the finale in Pomona.
“You want to win the last race of the season because that is the one you remember all off-season,” Hight said. “That gives you a positive feeling going into the Winternationals [in Pomona]. This is also our sponsor’s race so you want to do well. The focus for us in this race is on getting that championship. We aren’t out of it mathematically and strange things have happened at the Auto Club Finals.”
Shawn Langdon (Top Fuel), Hagan (Funny Car), Rickie Jones (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were last year's winners of the season-ending race that will once again be televised nationally on ESPN2.
LUC ROBITAILLE NAMED GRAND MARSHAL FOR AUTO CLUB NHRA FINALS: As part of the celebration of the NHRA’s 50th anniversary of the Auto Club NHRA Finals, Los Angeles Kings and National Hockey League legend Luc Robitaille will serve as the Grand Marshal for the season-ending event at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. Robitaille is the current president of business operations for the Los Angeles Kings. A native of Montreal, Robitaille spent 19 seasons as a player in the NHL, including 14 with the Kings, winning the Stanley Cup with the Detroit Red Wings during the 2001–02 season. He holds the NHL record of being the highest-scoring left winger in league history and also holds the Kings’ scoring record at 577 goals. Robitaille was selected to eight NHL All-Star games during his illustrious career and retired in 2006.
SCHUMACHER CONFIDENT RACING INTO POMONA AS POINTS LEADER: The door is still slightly open for a miraculous comeback for five Top Fuel standouts in the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship. But if Top Fuel points leader Tony Schumacher has his way that door will be slammed shut as quickly as possible at this weekend’s 50th annual Auto Club NHRA Finals at historic Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. Spencer Massey, J.R. Todd, reigning world champion Shawn Langdon, Doug Kalitta and Steve Torrence are all still mathematically alive heading into the final event of the 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season. Schumacher, though, knows any and all equations are eliminated with a first-round win in his 10,000-hp U.S. Army dragster. He currently leads Massey by 109 points, meaning Schumacher’s seventh world championship—and first since 2009—is at his fingertips.
“I feel great,” Schumacher said. “It’s a good place to be. When you come in with a big lead, you’ve done a great job and your car has done what it has had to do to get this lead. I hope I step up and the car goes as fast as it can, and we win this race and show why we’re the champs. We have to live up to what the Army car is supposed to do."
He Said, She Said
"Shirley [Muldowney] has been very supportive of me, and I'm really appreciative of that because as a kid, and still now at my age and where I'm at, I admire the heck out of her and what she's accomplished in the time period that she accomplished it in. It wasn't necessarily heard of before for a female to compete with or even be dominant in a male-dominated profession, so I admire her very, very much, and to have her support means a lot to me. We do press events and whatnot together, but she's also a friend of mine. She comes by the pit and we talk on the phone occasionally. It always seems that when I need some advice, my phone rings, and it's like she knew I was thinking about her or something. But she spells it out for you and she's very straightforward, and that's what I need to hear, and she's been awesome. I hope to be half as successful as she was."
—Erica Enders-Stevens on her bid to be the first female Pro Stock world champion in the history of the sport. She has received support and guidance from past champions, including legendary racer Shirley Muldowney.
Inside the Numbers
5: Number of consecutive seasons a Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson racer has won the season-ending event at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. Eddie Krawiec has three wins at the event (2009, 2010, 2013) and his teammate Andrew Hines has two wins at the race (2011, 2012). Both riders also hold both ends of the track records with an E.T. record for Hines at 6.766 seconds in 2012 and Krawiec the speed record with a run of 198.29 also in 2012. Hines will attempt to secure his third Pro Stock Motorcycle world championship as he holds a 92-point lead prior to the season-ending event.
Did You Know
DEDICATION OF CHRISMAN, BRINKER GALLERY OF SPEED AND NIGHT OF CHAMPIONS AT WALLY PARKS NHRA MOTORSPORTS MUSEUM: The Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum presented by the Automobile Club of Southern California will dedicate the Chrisman, Brinker Gallery of Speed, November 15, during an historical evening at the museum, which is located on the edge of the Los Angeles County Fairplex. The “Night of Champions” will honor Art Chrisman, the legendary hot-rod builder and drag racer, for his numerous contributions to the sport of drag racing. Chrisman, who was 29th on the list of the top 50 NHRA racers in 2001, will attend the star-studded event.