NHRA Auto Club finals: Saturday qualifying results, Sunday elimination matchups

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November 17, 2019 10:03 AM

NHRA Auto Club finals: Saturday qualifying results, Sunday elimination matchups

Steve Torrence, Matt Hagan, Jeg Coughlin Jr. and Matt Smith all earn No. 1 qualifying positions.

NHRA Media Service

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NHRA/National Dragster

Steve Torrence seeks to defend his NHRA Top Fuel championship on Sunday at Pomona.

Defending world champ and Top Fuel points leader Steve Torrence made an impressive statement during the final qualifying session on Saturday at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, vaulting to the No. 1 spot at the Auto Club NHRA Finals.
Matt Hagan (Funny Car), Jeg Coughlin Jr. (Pro Stock) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are all No. 1 qualifiers in their respective categories at the last of six races in the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship playoffs. The race also serves as the finale of the 24-race 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season.
After struggling on Friday, Torrence unleashed an outstanding run to close out qualifying on Saturday, jumping to the top with a run of 3.686-seconds at 329.99 mph in his Capco Contractors dragster. Looking to win his second straight world title, Torrence earned his fifth No. 1 qualifier this year and 24th in his career and will face Cameron Ferre to open eliminations. He takes a 22-point lead over Brittany Force into race day, and the past two world champs could meet in the second round. Force qualified eighth with a 3.726 at 331.69 and races Antron Brown in the first round. If Torrence and Force both win, they would face off in the second round.
“It’s a little bit disturbing how relaxed I’ve been coming into this weekend,” said Torrence, who has nine wins in 2019. “I’ve been in this situation before and come here with the lead, and it didn’t pan out the way we wanted it to. We came here last year and were already the champs, but you just have to step back and look at what we’re doing here. It’s the final race of the year and you need to go four rounds. Tomorrow, it’s going to be sudden death. You’ve got Brittany and I, and we’ll try to keep Doug (Kalitta) from jumping on us, and try to keep my dad from getting there, too.”
Leah Pritchett qualified second with a 3.694 at 322.88 and Clay Millican is third after going 3.699 at 328.30. Doug Kalitta, who is 63 points behind Torrence, sits sixth with a 3.717 at 324.28, while Billy Torrence is 89 points back of his son heading into race day.

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Stage is set for a wild NHRA final round in Pomona

Hagan continued to impress on Saturday with a pair of solid runs, taking the No. 1 spot on the strength of his 3.872 at 333.58 mph from Friday in his MOPAR Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody. He earned his second No. 1 qualifier this season and 36th in his career, matching up with Jonnie Lindberg in the opening round. Thanks to his performance in qualifying, he’ll head into eliminations 44 points back of leader Robert Hight, who qualified fifth with a 3.895 at 330.55.
Jack Beckman shot up to the second position on his final run, going 3.876 at 332.43. He’ll start Sunday 38 points back of Hight. Tim Wilkerson took the third spot with his 3.876 at 327.43. John Force trails Hight by 76 points going into eliminations.
Coughlin’s 6.533 at 210.70 in his JEGS.com Chevrolet Camaro from Friday gave him his third No. 1 qualifier in 2019. The five-time champ impressed on Saturday, making the quickest qualifying run of the final qualifying session, getting within 81 points of leader and Elite Motorsports teammate Erica Enders heading into eliminations on Sunday. Coughlin faces off with Joey Grose to open raceday, while Enders, who qualified second for the third straight race with a 6.538 at 210.93, meets No. 15 qualifier Greg Anderson in the first round. Enders is seeking her third world title.

NHRA/National Dragster

Matt Hagan hopes to overtake Robert Hight in the Funny Car class on Sunday.

Jason Line qualified third with a 6.544 at 210.01. He is 110 points behind Enders, while Bo Butner qualified fourth with a 6.557 at 210.83, sitting 111 behind Enders. Should Enders knock off Anderson on Sunday, everyone but Coughlin would be eliminated. From there, to slip past Enders, Coughlin would need to win the race and Enders would have to lose in the second round.
Defending Pro Stock Motorcycle world champ Smith earned his third straight No. 1 qualifier on his Denso Auto Parts/Stockseth/MSR EBR thanks to his 6.815 at 197.33 from Friday. It’s his seventh top spot this year and 38th in his career, and he’ll head into eliminations 106 points behind leader Andrew Hines knowing he’ll need something incredible to happen to defend his championship.
Karen Stoffer qualified second with a 6.834 at 195.00, and Jerry Savoie, who trails Hines by 116 points, will start from third after going 6.837 at 193.35. Hines can clinch his sixth world championship by simply winning in the first round tomorrow. He’ll meet Jianna Salinas to open eliminations after qualifying fourth with a 6.845 at 196.22.
Eliminations at the Auto Club NHRA Finals begin at  2 p.m. ET on Sunday.

NHRA/National Dragster

Jeg Coughlin hopes to end the season a winner in Pro Stock.

Sunday’s first-round pairings for eliminations for the 55th annual Auto Club NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, the final of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Pairings based on results in qualifying, which ended Saturday. DNQs listed below pairings.
Top Fuel — 1. Steve Torrence, 3.686 seconds, 329.99 mph vs. 16. Cameron Ferre, 3.955, 301.81; 2. Leah Pritchett, 3.694, 322.88 vs. 15. Scott Palmer, 3.775, 328.14; 3. Clay Millican, 3.699, 328.30 vs. 14. Justin Ashley, 3.763, 318.32; 4. Mike Salinas, 3.699, 327.11 vs. 13. Richie Crampton, 3.751, 325.45; 5. Billy Torrence, 3.701, 327.51 vs. 12. Shawn Reed, 3.746, 327.98; 6. Doug Kalitta, 3.717, 324.28 vs. 11. Terry McMillen, 3.739, 323.43; 7. Jordan Vandergriff, 3.719, 327.90 vs. 10. Austin Prock, 3.733, 328.22; 8. Brittany Force, 3.726, 331.69 vs. 9. Antron Brown, 3.729, 330.07.
Did Not Qualify: 17. Jim Maroney, 3.971, 308.85; 18. Cory McClenathan, 4.009, 300.13; 19. Steven Chrisman, 5.004, 150.25.
Funny Car — 1. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 3.872, 333.58 vs. 16. Jonnie Lindberg, Ford Mustang, 4.394, 304.12; 2. Jack Beckman, Charger, 3.876, 332.43 vs. 15. John Hale, Chevy Impala, 4.345, 221.05; 3. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 3.876, 327.43 vs. 14. Steven Densham, Mustang, 4.129, 289.57; 4. Shawn Langdon, Toyota Camry, 3.893, 330.80 vs. 13. Jeff Arend, Chevy Monte Carlo, 4.099, 278.69; 5. Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 3.895, 330.55 vs. 12. John Force, Camaro, 4.039, 319.22; 6. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 3.902, 327.43 vs. 11. Blake Alexander, Mustang, 3.998, 317.19; 7. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.918, 323.97 vs. 10. J.R. Todd, Camry, 3.972, 324.20; 8. Ron Capps, Charger, 3.940, 328.06 vs. 9. Cruz Pedregon, Charger, 3.967, 320.28.
Did Not Qualify: 17. Paul Lee, 4.491, 185.64; 18. Terry Haddock, 5.074, 151.32; 19. Jim Campbell, 5.167, 147.10.
Pro Stock — 1. Jeg Coughlin, Chevy Camaro, 6.533, 210.70 vs. 16. Joey Grose, Camaro, 6.649, 207.56; 2. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.538, 210.93 vs. 15. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.646, 187.73; 3. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.544, 210.01 vs. 14. Shane Tucker, Camaro, 6.628, 209.07; 4. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.557, 210.83 vs. 13. Val Smeland, Camaro, 6.615, 209.59; 5. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.565, 210.70 vs. 12. Steve Graham, Camaro, 6.595, 209.43; 6. Fernando Cuadra, Camaro, 6.565, 208.68 vs. 11. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.585, 210.44; 7. Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.569, 209.52 vs. 10. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.582, 209.43; 8. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.576, 210.47 vs. 9. Aaron Stanfield, Camaro, 6.576, 209.85.
Did Not Qualify: 17. Richie Stevens, 6.651, 207.62; 18. Cristian Cuadra, 6.653, 208.68; 19. Fernando Cuadra Jr., 6.808, 205.63.
Pro Stock Motorcycle — 1. Matt Smith, EBR, 6.815, 197.33 vs. 16. Katie Sullivan, Suzuki, 7.022, 191.13; 2. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.834, 195.00 vs. 15. Kelly Clontz, Suzuki, 7.005, 189.92; 3. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.837, 193.35 vs. 14. Angie Smith, EBR, 6.978, 194.60; 4. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.845, 196.22 vs. 13. Jianna Salinas, Suzuki, 6.972, 186.74; 5. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.850, 194.86 vs. 12. Freddie Camarena, Suzuki, 6.965, 194.24; 6. Hector Arana Jr, EBR, 6.867, 196.36 vs. 11. Hector Arana, EBR, 6.913, 196.47; 7. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.871, 196.27 vs. 10. Angelle Sampey, Harley-Davidson, 6.882, 194.02; 8. Scotty Pollacheck, EBR, 6.873, 196.39 vs. 9. Ryan Oehler, EBR, 6.879, 196.96.

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Source:https://autoweek.com/article/nhra/nhra-auto-club-finals-saturday-qualifying-results-sunday-elimination-matchups-0

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