For the 60th time, the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series made its way to Southern California for the Lucas Oil Winternationals. The famed Fairplex in Pomona saw some exciting performances and stellar competition.
In Top Fuel, Doug Kalitta would capture his 48th career victory and sixth at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona. In the opening round Kalitta took out Top Fuel rookie Brandon Welch. Round two would see him square off against another rookie in Justin Ashley, Kalitta put a solid 3.705 @ 325 mph to advance to the semifinal round. There he would face the 2017 Top Fuel world champ Brittany Force in her Monster Energy Dragster. Force, who qualified on the pole for the event, ran a stellar 3.689 @ 332 mph but it would not be enough as Kalitta ran a 3.675 @ 329 mph. In the final round Kalitta would challenge the 2019 NHRA Rookie of the Year Austin Prock. As the two drivers took the green light Prock’s 11,000 horsepower dragster lost traction almost immediately and all he could do was watch Kalitta streak down the 1000 ft. racetrack with a 3.698 @ 330 mph.
Jack Beckman would stand atop the Funny Car mountain, scoring his 31st career victory. Beckman had an eventful opening round taking down Steven Densham. As Beckman neared the finish line the engine began to let go and pushed a head gasket causing a fire under the body of his Infinite Hero Dodge Hellcat. In round two, he would take out his teammate Ron Capps and his NAPA Dodge. Capps’ Dodge suffered an engine malfunction causing the engine to explode near half track into a huge fireball. Semifinals saw Beckman taking on the returning Alexis Dejoria. Dejoria’s Toyota Camry lost traction immediately after she mashed the throttle, all she could do was watch as Beckman thundered down the track. Beckman would then take on the 16-time Funny Car champion John Force. Beckman laid down the quickest run of the day with an impressive 3.837 @ 333mph to Force’s 3.897 @ 332 mph.
In the final round of Pro Stock, it would be a battle of two drivers that will be hanging up the respective fire suits at the end of the season. Three-time Pro Stock champion Jason Line vs. five-time Pro Stock Champion Jeg Coughlin. Line was driving his Summit Racing Equipment KB Racing Chevy Camaro and Coughlin was in his JEGS.com Elite Motorsports Chevy Camaro. On this day it would be Coughlin as he put up the best run of the day with a 6.522 @ 210 mph to a 6.565 @ 209 mph.
The next stop for the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series is the NHRA Arizona Nationals in Chandler, Arizona from Feb. 21 through 23.