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2017 NHRA Finals Dominated By Team Force
FC Hight
Funny Car driver Robert Hight became the 2017 season champion and finished as runner-up for the event title over the weekend in Pomona. Photo By Mike Burghardt

Coming into the AAA of Southern California NHRA Finals, three professional category season championships were up for grabs and the fourth was decided by the end of qualifying.

In Top Fuel, Steve Torrence and his CAPCO Construction team came into the event leading by just 15 points over Brittany Force and her Monster Energy Drink team. Torrence came into the event, coming off a horrible accident, where he ended up finishing runner-up to Force in Dallas. He then went out in the first round at the Vegas event. His luck did not improve much at this event, as his car broke on three of his four qualifying attempts. Force was charging, since her win in Dallas and runner-up finish in Vegas and her Monster Car was a beast at this event. She captured the number one qualifying position and drew within nine points of Torrence in the chase for the championship before eliminations started. Force turned in a string of 3.6 second runs, including a very close 3.674 at 326.63 mph to 3.677 at 329.34 mph win over three-time series champion, Antron Brown, to advance to the final round. Brown had a very slight (0.066 to 0.067 second) starting line advantage, but Force took the win by a mere 0.002 seconds. In the final round, she defeated Shawn Langdon with a 3.668 at 330.07 mph to take the Top Fuel event win. She had already clinched the season championship in the second round, when Torrence was taken out by Antron Brown, making her the first woman Top Fuel season champion in 25 years. Hall of Fame member and three-time champion Shirley Muldowney was the last woman to win the Top Fuel championship, in 1982.

In Funny Car, dramatic was the word of the weekend. Robert Hight came in with a slim lead over Ron Capps, the 2016 season champion. He then barely got into the field in the 15th position, while Capps qualified sixth. But, it was all over in the first round, as Hight and his AAA Team advanced, while Capps lost traction and was defeated by Del Worsham. Hight was now the newly crowned 2017 Mello Yello Funny Car champion. His dramatics, however, were not over. In a semifinal round victory over teammate Courtney Force, his engine exploded, sending him into the left lane wall and then deep into the sand trap stopping area, totaling his race car. He would take on Tommy Johnson, who had defeated John Force in the semifinal round, in the final with a backup car. Johnson would advance over Hight to win with a 3.920 at 329.10 mph effort when Hight’s car lost traction early in the run.

For John Force Racing, the weekend was a huge success. Team Force claimed its first “double up” season championship, as they took both the Top Fuel and Funny Car championships. The 16-time champion was nearly speechless for one of the few times in his illustrious career, when his daughter Brittany won her championship. In fact, he actually dropped to his knees, shedding tears of joy. With the championships in Top Fuel and Funny Car, along with the Top Fuel event win and runner-up in Funny Car, Team Force dominated the event.

In Pro Stock, Bo Butner needed points leader Greg Anderson to go out by the semifinal round and he also needed to win the event. Butner beat Anderson in the semis and then completed his championship weekend by winning the event, to capture his first career Pro Stock championship over Tanner Gray, 6.554 at 210.70 mph to 6.653 208.62 mph.

Eddie Krawiec clinched his fourth career Pro Stock Motorcycle championship by the end of qualifying. He and teammate, five-time champion Andrew Hines, squared off in the final round, where Hines collected the event win, giving the Vance and Hines Harley Davidson Screamin’ Eagle team a seasonal one-two finish.