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Drivers Roar Into Pomona For NHRA Winternationals
Ashley 4-5
Capturing his second straight win in Top Fuel, Justin Ashley qualified on the pole at the Winternationals in Pomona and defeated Austin Prock in the final round. Photo By Mike Burghardt

The NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series was in Pomona, CA this past weekend for the Lucas Oil Winternationals at In-N-Out Burger Pomona Dragstrip.

In Top Fuel, Justin Ashley scored his second win of the season and second in a row. Ashley picked up his first win in Phoenix. He qualified on the pole and in round one took on Krista Baldwin. Ashley put a solid 3.719 et @ 329 mph to Baldwin’s tire smoking 5.634 @ 120 mph. Round two Ashley ran another solid 3.712 @ 329 mph to advance into the semifinal round of competition. There he would take on three-time NHRA Top Fuel champion Antron Brown. Both drivers left the starting line nearly together, Ashley with a .047 and Brown with a .049 reaction time. Ashley posted a 3.743 @ 331 mph to Brown’s 3.749 @ 331 mph to capture the win by eight-thousandths of a second. In the final round, Ashley would meet up with Austin Prock, who won the season finale in Pomona back in November of 2022. Ashley got off the starting line first and never looked back with a 3.713 @ 330 mph to Prock’s 3.762 @ 327 mph.

In Funny Car qualifying, 16-time champion John Force and 2018 champion JR Todd had an on-track incident. Force’s Peak Chevy got loose nearing the finish line when it made a hard left turn into Todd’s lane. Force did all he could to miss Todd but the two cars collided in the shutdown area, sending Force into the retaining wall and damaging both cars. Both drivers climbed from their wounded race cars and walked away and returned little more than an hour later in back up cars to qualify. Unfortunately for Todd it would not be his only on track incident for the weekend. On Sunday in the opening round Todd’s engine let go and exploded, destroying the Toyota body.

On Elimination Day, three-time Funny Car champion Matt Hagan would come out on top in his Haas Automotive Dodge. Hagan struggled in qualifying and could only muster the 10th spot. In round one he took down Blake Alexander with a 3.929 @ 330 mph to Alexander’s 3.941 @ 324 mph. Round two Hagan sent Alexis Dejoria home early with a 3.95 @ 324 mph to 4.06 @ 269 mph. In the semifinal round the clock struck midnight on the Cinderella story for Terry Haddock. Haddock, an independent low budget racer, put all he had into his effort but came up short with his 4.11 @ 299 mph to Hagan’s 3.955 @ 326 mph. In the final round Hagan took on reigning and three-time champion Ron Capps. Hagan got off the starting line first and never looked back as Capps’ car got loose nearing half-track and had to shut it off and watch Hagan drive to his second win of the season.

In Pro Stock, Dallas Glenn picked up the trophy taking down Matt Hartford in the final round with a 6.546 @ 209 mph to Hartford’s 6.558 @ 210 mph.

Next stop for the Camping World drag racing series is Las Vegas, NV for the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals.

Collide 4-5
In Funny Car qualifying, there was an on-track incident between16-time champion John Force and 2018 champion JR Todd. Force’s Peak Chevy, right, got loose near the finish line when it made a hard left turn into Todd’s lane. Despite Force doing all he could to avoid Todd, the two cars collided in the shutdown area, damaging both cars. Photo By Jeff Burghardt