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The latest update as of November 4, 2021

We're still working on filling in all the captions to go with the photos from the Dodge//SRT NHRA Nationals of last weekend. We'll keep working on it over the next few days and take a bit of a breather before the final event of the season starts at Pomona's Auto Club Raceway next Friday. This morning we're posting the latest points standings in the PRO classes in a format that shows how they've fared going into and during the countdown.

Note that the numbers with dark red backgrounds indicate racers that have been mathematically eliminated from championship contention, and light red backgrounds indicate those that will most likely be eliminated after the first qualifying session in Pomona. The maximum number of points that can be earned at the Auto Club NHRA Finals is 187. The breakdown is 10 points for making at least one qualifying attempt, up to 12 points for setting low e.t. of each qualifying session (3 sessions x 4 points each), 10 points for #1 qualifier, 30 points for qualifying, then 30 more points for each round win for a total of 187 possible.

Top Fuel Points Standings November 1, 2021

Going into the final race, Steve Torrence has a very strong 105 point lead over his closest pursuer, Brittany Force. On the virtual "bubble" is Mike Salinas, who, despite a late season charge which includes three final rounds in the last four races, will almost certainly be eliminated after the first qualifying session at Pomona. Below Salinas, everyone is already mathematically out of the chase.

Force has her work cut out for her, as even if she takes #1 qualifying spot, and sets low e.t. of all three qualifying sessions, can only gain a maximum of 19 points during qualifying on Torrence, and that's if he finishes qualifying in the bottom quarter of the field (#13 to #16). That would still leave her 86 points behind going into the first round, and would require Torrence to lose no later than the 2nd round of eliminations, and for Force to take the event win. Considering the Capco team's run of success, with three consecutive championships, that's a mighty tall order.

Funny Car Points Standings November 1, 2021

The situation in Funny Car is very different, as no less than four racers still have a chance for the championship. Below them are three more that will be mathematicaly eliminated before qualifying concludes. Leading that "heading for the exit" group are John Force, sitting 155 points behind leader Ron Capps. Below Force are Bob Tasca III (168 points behind), and Robert Hight (173 points behind). Once Capps makes a qualifying attempt, Hight will be gone, then if he qualifies (a VERY distinct possibility), both Tasca and Force will be out.

The racers still very much in the chase are led by Capps' closest challenger, and defending champion, Matt Hagan, who has fallen 58 points behind after consecutive first round losses at Bristol and Las Vegas. He can close the gap to just under 40 points during qualifying (see the Brittany Force scenario above), and that would leave him less than two round wins behind Capps. The eliminations ladder could be very critical for Capps and Hagan, as the earlier they meet, the better for Hagan. However, an early round exit for Capps could spell doom for his title hopes.

Directly below Hagan in the standings sits the success story of the 2021 Funny Car season, as Cruz Pedregon is having his best season since 2011, aided greatly by the acquisition of Tommy Johnson Jr.'s crew when his team was disbanded at the conclusion of the 2020 season. Pedregon's win in the latest event at Las Vegas has put him within 83 points of Capps, and in reach of the championship for the first time since 2008. The last racer with a chance to Capps is J.R. Todd who has been hot and cold during the countdown portion of the season, reaching a low ebb with a first round loss at Las Vegas. He's 138 points out of first and is a longshot - at best - to take the title, but over the years we've seen stranger things happen.

Pro Stock Points Standings November 1, 2021

Pro Stock Motorcycle Points Standings November 1, 2021