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Bernstein, C. Pedregon, A. Johnson and Hines Win at NHRA Finals

Cruz Pedregon (Funny Car), Allen Johnson (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) joined Brandon Bernstein (Top Fuel; above, near lane) as race winners of the final event of the NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship at historic Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.

Brandon Bernstein

The win for Bernstein was the 19th of his career and ended a drought that dated back to 2009. Bernstein used a quicker reaction at the start to finish eight-thousandths of a second in front of Tony Schumacher, who would have won his eighth Top Fuel season championship had he won the race. Bernstein posted a performance of 3.762 seconds at 320.81 to finish in front of the quicker, but losing U.S. Army dragster which clocked a 3.753 at 325.53.

“It’s awesome, we did a great job all weekend,” Bernstein said. “It’s been a long time since we’ve had a win. It’s a really good team and it’s a lot of fun.

“I don’t think I’ve ever had a win where I had to wait so long for the TV interview,” Bernstein added, referring to the time previously devoted to interviewing Antron Brown, who won this year’s series title when Schumacher came up short. “Hopefully next year we’re in a better position to challenge for the championship. We’ll come out next year and try to get a championship.”

Pedregon raced to his first Funny Car victory of the season and 30th of his career, as he pulled away from rookie Courtney Force in the final round. Pedregon drove his Snap-on Tools Toyota Camry to a performance of 4.035 at 306.12 while Force lost traction in her Traxxas Ford Mustang at the hit of the throttle.

Cruz Pedregon

“We’ve probably left five or six races on the table this year and we put it together this weekend,” Pedregon said. “But we’ve always had a fast car. We placed third overall last year, and after winning today, we finished fourth this year and I think we’ve proved we belong with the top teams.

“We’re a smaller independent team, but with the way we finished, I think we can build on this and be one of the favorites heading into next season.”

In Pro Stock, Johnson capped off his first championship-winning season with his seventh victory of the year and 16th of his career, powering his Team Mopar Dodge Avenger past Vincent Nobile in the final round. Johnson posted a 6.528 at 212.76 to hold off Nobile’s Mountain View Tire Avenger, which finished in 6.533 at 211.66.

Allen Johnson

“Our team is so awesome and the Mopar Dodge Avenger has just performed flawlessly,” said Johnson, who on Saturday gave Dodge its first Pro Stock championship since 1994 and fifth overall. “Determination and my father (who is his engine builder) is what got us to this point. He wanted to do this all his life and my whole focus was winning this with him. A lot of hard work and determination went into winning this.

“We had a dominating performance in this Countdown, won a championship and ended with a win. What more can we do? That has added just a little more emotion to it.”

Andrew Hines

Hines defeated newly crowned Pro Stock Motorcycle world champ and teammate Eddie Krawiec in the final round and took his sixth victory of the season and 31st of his career.

Hines rode his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson to a track record performance of 6.766 at 198.29 to finish in front of Krawiec, who trailed with a 6.805 at 197.54.

“It was by far the best bike I had all year,” Hines said. “This was an absolutely phenomenal bike I had all weekend long. It was a total joy to get down the track.”

The 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series opens Feb. 14-17 with the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.

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(Photos courtesy NHRA/National Dragster; Click to enlarge)



POMONA, Calif. — Final round-by-round results from the 48th annual Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, the final of 23 events in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series:


ROUND ONE — Bob Vandergriff, 3.810, 324.83 def. Steve Torrence, 6.268, 101.55; Spencer Massey, 3.915, 323.97 def. Antron Brown, 7.393, 51.68; Mike Salinas, 3.861, 304.74 def. Morgan Lucas, 4.915, 164.93; Brandon Bernstein, 3.776, 323.97 def. Terry McMillen, 8.674, 84.15; Cory McClenathan, 4.332, 284.69 def. Shawn Langdon, 4.668, 220.19; Tony Schumacher, 3.766, 324.59 def. J.R. Todd, 3.799, 323.27; Khalid alBalooshi, 3.776, 327.51 def. Doug Kalitta, 6.679, 113.38; Clay Millican, 4.421, 270.92 def. David Grubnic, 7.199, 90.22; QUARTERFINALS — Millican, 5.790, 251.16 def. Salinas, broke; Vandergriff, 3.836, 323.35 def. McClenathan, 4.107, 239.23; Bernstein, 3.805, 323.43 def. Massey, 3.842, 282.66; Schumacher, 3.764, 325.77 def. alBalooshi, 3.938, 322.81; SEMIFINALS — Bernstein, 3.793, 322.73 def. Millican, 8.357, 82.92; Schumacher, 3.815, 291.95 def. Vandergriff, 3.842, 310.98; FINAL — Bernstein, 3.762, 320.81 def. Schumacher, 3.753, 325.53.



ROUND ONE — Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 5.795, 263.56 def. Jim Head, Toyota Solara, DQ; Courtney Force, Mustang, 4.055, 318.02 def. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 4.081, 304.87; Ron Capps, Charger, 4.092, 311.13 def. Tony Pedregon, Toyota Camry, 4.150, 278.92; Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 4.191, 231.24 def. Grant Downing, Charger, 19.523, 129.39; Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.038, 317.19 def. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 6.564, 98.95; Jeff Arend, Camry, 4.082, 312.06 def. John Force, Mustang, 7.618, 59.89; Mike Neff, Mustang, 4.227, 268.06 def. Paul Lee, Charger, 4.750, 171.23; Robert Hight, Mustang, 4.529, 263.92 def. Johnny Gray, Charger, 4.640, 210.70; QUARTERFINALS — C. Pedregon, 4.082, 298.60 def. Neff, 4.058, 314.53; C. Force, 4.064, 317.12 def. Wilkerson, 9.821, 86.19; Capps, 4.071, 315.19 def. Hight, 5.452, 143.12; Beckman, 4.027, 317.79 def. Arend, 4.113, 311.92; SEMIFINALS — C. Force, 4.069, 318.24 def. Capps, 4.091, 313.95; C. Pedregon, 4.023, 314.09 def. Beckman, 4.086, 311.99; FINAL — C. Pedregon, 4.035, 306.12 def. C. Force, 7.878, 75.79.



ROUND ONE — Vincent Nobile, Dodge Avenger, 6.589, 211.10 def. Jeg Coughlin, Avenger, 6.624, 210.83; Ron Krisher, Pontiac GXP, 6.535, 211.79 def. Warren Johnson, GXP, 9.887, 95.22; Erica Enders, Chevy Cobalt, 6.517, 212.26 def. Shane Gray, GXP, 11.826, 75.25; V. Gaines, Avenger, 6.586, 211.76 def. Jerry Eckman, GXP, 6.617, 208.33; Greg Anderson, Chevy Camaro, 6.541, 211.93 def. Larry Morgan, Ford Mustang, 6.613, 209.52; Allen Johnson, Avenger, 6.513, 212.76 def. Greg Stanfield, Camaro, 6.564, 210.77; Jason Line, Camaro, 6.513, 213.06 def. Rodger Brogdon, Camaro, 6.544, 210.67; Mike Edwards, GXP, 6.530, 212.79 def. Chris McGaha, Avenger, 6.541, 211.30; QUARTERFINALS — Edwards, 6.531, 212.66 def. Anderson, foul; Enders, 6.528, 212.43 def. Gaines, foul; A. Johnson, 6.520, 212.63 def. Krisher, 6.537, 211.79; Nobile, 6.546, 211.79 def. Line, 6.495, 213.13; SEMIFINALS — Nobile, 6.543, 211.49 def. Enders, 6.542, 211.86; A. Johnson, 6.526, 211.16 def. Edwards, 11.745, 64.64; FINAL — A. Johnson, 6.528, 212.76 def. Nobile, 6.533, 211.66.

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ROUND ONE — Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.865, 195.14 def. Chip Ellis, Buell, foul; Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.879, 192.91 def. Hector Arana, Buell, 8.754, 111.47; LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.898, 193.93 def. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 6.876, 193.40; Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.818, 198.12 def. Mike Berry, Buell, 6.981, 191.10; Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.817, 197.59 def. James Surber, Buell, 7.071, 190.16; Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.890, 193.05 def. John Hall, Buell, 7.165, 191.48; Scotty Pollacheck, Buell, 6.871, 191.76 def. Shawn Gann, Buell, 6.990, 192.03; Matt Smith, Buell, 6.829, 195.93 def. Michael Ray, Buell, 6.884, 193.54; QUARTERFINALS — L. Tonglet, 6.890, 195.34 def. Pollacheck, 6.915, 192.11; Smith, 6.840, 195.51 def. Arana Jr, foul; Krawiec, 6.811, 198.29 def. Stoffer, foul; Hines, 6.788, 197.94 def. Johnson, 6.889, 194.58; SEMIFINALS — Krawiec, 6.831, 197.42 def. L. Tonglet, 16.265, 47.76; Hines, 6.807, 198.00 def. Smith, 11.217, 67.44; FINAL — Hines, 6.766, 198.29 def. Krawiec, 6.805, 197.54.


POMONA, Calif. — Sunday’s sportsman final results from the 48th annual Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. The race is the final of 23 in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series:

Top Alcohol Dragster — Chris Demke, 5.236, 274.00  def. Jim Whiteley, 5.248, 275.84.

Top Alcohol Funny Car — John Lombardo Jr., Chevy Monte Carlo, 5.599, 261.02  def. Tony Bartone, Ford Mustang, 5.641, 263.62.

Competition Eliminator — Doug Lambeck, Pontiac Sunfire, 8.313, 160.90  def. Bo Butner, Chevy Cobalt, 8.285, 162.39.

Super Stock — Abe Loewen, Pontiac Grand Am, 9.698, 139.91  def. Jimmy DeFrank, Chevy Cobalt, 10.631, 89.49.

Stock Eliminator — Eric Waldo, Ford Mustang, 10.657, 125.24  def. Gary Waldo, Chevy Nova, foul.

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Super Comp — Cameron Ferre, Dragster, 8.943, 167.93  def. Matt Constant, Dragster, 8.927, 174.68.

Super Gas — Ryan Herem, Chevy Corvette, 9.958, 147.17  def. Peter Bothe, Porsche, 9.868, 145.05.



This story was originally published on November 13, 2012. Drag Illustrated

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