With the Top Fuel and Pro Stock season Mello Yello Champions already decided by the completion of the NHRA Toyota Nationals one week earlier, Funny Car and Pro Stock Motorcycle took center stage at the 51st annual Auto Club NHRA Finals in Pomona.
In Top Fuel, Shawn Langdon, who won the season opening Winter Nationals at this same track, marched from his 11th qualifying position through a tough field and into the winner’s circle. This made him the first Top Fuel driver to win both events at Pomona in the same season, while driving Top Fuel cars owned by two different teams. In the final round, he outran the newly crowned 2015 Top Fuel Champion, Antron Brown, 3.715 at 332.43 mph to 3.732 at 321.73 mph to take the Final event win. His 332.43 mph speed in the final round set the new NHRA top speed record for the category.
In Funny Car the dramatics reached new levels. Del Worsham and his DHL/Toyota team came into the event with a 37-point lead over Jack Beckman and his Infinite Heroes/Dodge team. Each round of racing is worth 20 points and a new national elapse time record is worth 20 points. While all eyes were on these two drivers, Ron Capps and his NAPA Dodge team were making some noise of their own, qualifying in the top spot with a 3.886 at 326.87 mph, and a chance to set a national record. Beckman backed up his 3.890 qualifying time with a 3.897 to set a new elapse time record and take the possible 20 bonus points (if he held onto it at the end of the event). In the second round, Capps turned in a 3.885 second elapse time to claim the national record, taking it away from Beckman. Only 45 seconds later, Beckman reclaimed the record with a blistering 3.884 second run to advance to a “winner take all” semi-final round match up against Worsham. With the eyes of all the fans watching, Worsham defeated Beckman, to take his first ever Mello Yello Funny Car season championship. This made him only the third driver in NHRA history to win championships in both Top Fuel (which he did in 2011) and Funny Car. To cap it all off, he then went on to take out Tommy Johnson in the final round to take the Funny Car event win. Jack Beckman finished the event with the national elapse time record, but no championship.
In Pro Stock, Allen Johnson got around Vincent Nobile in the final round to claim the NHRA Finals event win. This marked the last time that Pro Stock cars would use carbureted engines and feature large hood scoops. Next year they will feature fuel injection.
Pro Stock Motorcycle had a chance for three riders to claim the championship. Those riders were (points leader) Andrew Hines and his Vance and Hines Harley Davidson team, Jerry ‘the Alligator Man” Savoie and his Suzuki team and Eddie Krawiec and his Vance and Hines Harley Davidson team. The championship battle was over in the second round. While racing against Krawiec, Savoie’s bike broke on the launch, handing the win to the Harley Davidson rider and gave Andrew Hines his fifth career championship. Hines then found himself on the losing end of a 6.917 at 184.80 mph to 6.882 at 192.38 mph battle with Krawiec in their semi-final round matchup. In the final round Krawiec put away Matt Smith and his Victory Motorcycle with a 6.846 at 192.58 mph to 6.888 at 194.21 mph effort to claim the event title and a second place season championship finish.