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The latest update as of November 22, 2021

Auto Club NHRA FINALS logo

Our apologies for the lateness of these postings, and the lack of captions, but we have dedicated the next two days to filling in all - or as many as we have time to do - the blanks in our coverage of Auto Club NHRA Finals. We're still waiting to receive photos from Friday and Saturday's qualifying, but first things first, and that's eliminations on Sunday. One we've finished putting up all our photos and text from the event, we will transfer it to the "Features Page" and present it all in a chronological order. Stay tuned for that!


James Stevens (near lane) vs Jackie Fricke 
(far lane) --- Julie Nataas (near lane) vs Mitch Myers 
(far lane)

(LEFT) In the far lane, Jackie Fricke (far lane) picked up the pace from her first round effort, dipping back into the 5-teens with a very strong 5.190 - 278.92 to put the blown alcohol car of James Stevens (near lane) in the trailer. Stevens gave it a good try with a solid 5.298 - 271.95 but was well back of Fricke at the finish line.

(RIGHT There was just one Meyer Racing car in attendance as Rachel Meyer had already maxed out her points earning capability, and clinched the 2021 Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series with her win in the final round at the previous event in Las Vegas. Her team-mate, Julie Nataas (near lane), was set up to face the second place finisher in the standings, Jackie Fricke, by qualifying on the same side of the ladder. She had to advance to the semifinals to do so, and did it easily over Mitch Myers (far lane), as he went into instant tire shake, and shut off to an 8-second pass. Despite slowing more than a tenth from her first round 5.175, Nataas lit up the scoreboard with a 5.295 - 273.32 for the win.

Shawn Cowie --- Jasmine Salinas (near lane) vs Shawn Cowie 
(far lane)

(LEFT) Coming into the round with lane choice and consistent low 5.20's on his scorecard, Shawn Cowie burned out as he prepared to face another injected nitro car as his side of the ladder had only one other blown car, that of Chris Demke, who was eliminated in the first round.

(RIGHT Leaving first on the green was Jasmine Salinas in the near lane, and she took the win with a slightly off-pace 5.388 - 268.44 as Cowie saw his season end in a blaze of tire smoke as he coasted to a losing 18-second pass. That was it for the blown alky cars as the three that qualified were all gone before the second round ended.

Casey Grisel --- Casey Grisel (near lane) vs Rich McPhillips Jr. 
(far lane)

A solid burnout by Casey Grisel in the Jerry Darien-tuned car preceded his matchup with another green car. By the way, whatever happened to the "green cars are bad luck" mantra of the old days? Grisel qualified decently with a 5.30, but slowed to a 5.36 in the first round, and slowed even further to a 5.484 - 263.56 in a losing effor in this round. Casey left first on opponent Rich McPhillips Jr. (near lane) by nearly a tenth, but even a career best wouldn't have been close to McPhillips' nuclear pass of 5.101 - 282.42.

To put those numbers in perspective, Grisel's career best was a 5.247, turned in 2019, while McPhillips' previous best was a low 5-teen from earlier this season, and the best the car had run this year was a 5.123 with Matt Cummings at the wheel. In the "modern" era of A/Fuel Dragster racing (running on 95% nitro), there's only been two runs quicker than McPhillips' 5.101, both clocked last September at the U.S. Nationals by Megan Meyer, a 5.090, backed up by a 5.097 for the quickest runs in A/FD history.


Terry Ruckman --- Terry Ruckman (near lane) vs Shane Westerfield 
(far lane)

Following a strong burnout, Terry Ruckman prepared to face Shane Westerfield in the Rick Jackson Motorsports entry. The two cars qualfied close together, with Westerfield #3 and Ruckman #4, with Westerfield's 5.498 edging out Ruckman's 5.506 on the final qualifying sheet. In this match, Ruckman left first by .011, but it was Westerfield (far lane) first to the finish line with a very good 5.531 - 268.06, to take a half car length victory over Ruckman's solid 5.654 - 261.47 in a losing cause.

Doug Gordon --- Doug Gordon (near lane) vs Ulf Leanders 
(far lane)

Outgoing class champion Doug Gordon burned out first as he prepared to meet Sweden's Ulf Leanders (far lane), who was making his first national event appearance since the 2020 Winternationals. Despite matching his qualifying numbers (5.493 - 267.48) in the first round with a 5.493 - 267.16, Gordon barely earned lane choice honours for this match as Leanders showed no rust on his tuning and driving skills with an almost-as-good 5.509 - 263.87 first round win. In this race, Leanders launched first by half a tenth, but his slightly off-pace 5.674 - 263.62 was no match for Gordon's back-breaking and consistent 5.494 - 267.96 as he advanced to the semifinals.

Brian Hough --- Brian Hough (near lane) vs Sean Bellemeur 
(far lane)

With his championship hopes long gone, Oregon's Brian Hough (left photo) has been in "testing" mode for the past few races, with tuning consultant, and former two-time national champion Jonnie Lindberg, trying out some new ideas in preparation for an all-out assault in 2022. However, his more immediate task was figuring out how to get past the incoming (and former) champion Sean Bellemeur (far lane in the right photo) and his all-conquering team of "Killer B's".

Hough did all he could with a stellar light (.014), and his best run of the weekend, an excellent 5.511 - 267.69, but it wasn't even close at the finish line against Bellemeur's almost as quick launch (.022 light), and low e.t. of the meet at 5.442 - 268.71 to advance to the final round. With the short 12-car field, Bellemeur earned the semifinal bye by virtue of his #1 qualifying position.


Billy Torrence --- Billy Torrence (near lane) vs Antron Brown 
(far lane)

With the championship decided in the first round, the focus switched to the event win, and with the CAPCO Teammates on opposite sides of the ladder, the possibility of an all-CAPCO final was looming. However, Billy Torrence (burning out in left photo) had to get past Antron Brown (far lane in right photo). Torrence was a tad late off the line, .090 to .056 reaction, but clocked the quicker e.t. at 3.730 - 328.46 to give Brown a real battle. But it wasn't enough, as Brown's very good 3.747 - 327.35 turned on the winlight by just seventeen thousandths of a second.

Steve Torrence --- Steve Torrence (near lane) vs Doug Kalitta 
(far lane)

The other CAPCO car, driven by now four-time world champion Steve Torrence, (left photo) faced Doug Kalitta, (far lane in right photo), without lane choice. That advantage literally went up in smoke as Kalitta smoked the tires early and shut off to a losing 5.456 - 121.55 pass. Torrence had his own problems as he lost traction further down track, and coasted across the finish line with a 4.253 - 200.89 for the win.

Cameron Ferre --- Cameron Ferre (near lane) vs Clay Millican 
(far lane)

The biggest surprise of qualifying, and the first round, was Cameron Ferre (left photo) in the Canadian-based Paton Family car. He ran two career bests in qualifying, and upped the ante even further in the first round, but he came into this match against veteran Clay Millican (far lane in right photo) as an underdog. The drivers left the line almost together but the race was over quickly as Millican smoked the tires, and Ferre cruised to a slowing 3.889 - 304.19 win as he advanced to the semifinals.

The icing on the proverbial cake was earning lane choice over Steve Torrence. Regular NHRA fans may well remember a confrontation they had at the finals in Pomona two years ago. It got heated to the point where Torrence shoved/punched Ferre and the two had to be separated by their crewmen, and a large ($25,000) fine was issued to Torrence by the NHRA. I seriously doubt that their next meeting on the return road after their upcoming semifinal race will devolve into a similar incident.

Mike Salinas (near lane) vs Tripp Tatum 
(far lane)

The final pairing of the second round brought the two black cars to the line, with Mike Salinas in the near lane, and Tripp Tatum in the far lane. Tatum got off the line first by a small margin, but things went sideways, literally, soon after. Both cars smoked the tires, but Salinas ran into far more trouble than Tatum as can be seen in the following photo sequence, courtesy of NHRA.tv and the Sunoco Vision big screen at the track. For the record, Tatum took the win with a coasting 5.980 - 188.31, while Salinas didn't receive a timeslip, for obvious reasons.

Mike Salinas's wild ride --- Mike Salinas's wild ride --- Mike Salinas's wild ride

We've got a bunch more of these shots, unfortunately, none of them in sharp focus, but they do tell the tale of one of the wildest rides seen in a Top Fuel car in a very long time. While Mike Salinas has driven into - and thankfully, out of - trouble more than once in his career, this episode certainly tops the list. Once we've got the rest of our coverage from the Auto Club NHRA Finals posted, we'll go through the rest of the photos of this run and see if we can put together a better selection.


Bob Tasca III --- Bob Tasca III (near lane) vs Jim Campbell 
(far lane)

Despite being eliminated from championship contention when Ron Capps won his first round match, Bob Tasca III (left photo) forged ahead towards the event win by dispatching Jim Campbell (far lane in right photo) in the MOON Equipment car of Jim Dunn. Tasca and Campbell left the line together but Campbell was forced to lift early enroute to a 4.792 - 184.30 clocking that was no match for Tasca's best of the weekend 3.946 - 323.50 pass.

John Force --- John Force (near lane) vs Paul Lee 
(far lane)

Another racer that dropped out of the countdown chase at the close of qualifying, John Force (left photo), moved ahead with a convincing win over Paul Lee (far lane in right photo), who fell off his from his earlier passes. Force left second by two hundredths but kept the slicks hooked up to a decent 4.038 - 313.37 time to easily cover Lee's tire-smoking 6-second effort. With the 4.038 elapsed time, Force gave up lane choice to Bob Tasca III in the semifinal round.

Matt Hagan --- Matt Hagan (near lane) vs Ron Capps 
(far lane)

Next up was the BIG one: defending champion Matt Hagan (left photo) versus the points leader Ron Capps (far lane in the right photo). A win for Hagan would keep him in the hunt for the BIG trophy, but a loss to Capps would hand the NAPA driver his second world championship. Capps left first (.043 to .074), but Hagan had the superior car as his 3.948 - 322.24 took the win - by less than half a car length - over Capps' very close 3.995 - 319.45 effort. Now all Hagan had to do was turn on the winlight two more times to take his fourth world championship.

Alexis DeJoria --- Alexis DeJoria (near lane) vs Tim Wilkerson 
(far lane)

The round closed with Alexis DeJoria (left photo) facing off against Tim Wilkerson (far lane in right photo), in a race to determine Matt Hagan's semifinal round opponent. Wilkerson left first by a touch, but DeJoria powered on to another 3-second pass, stopping the clocks with a 3.988 - 318.92 to hold off Wilkerson's fading 4.268 - 227.42 timeslip. Unfortunately, DeJoria's e.t. wasn't enough to gain her choice of lanes in the all-important third round matchup.


Julie Nataas (near lane) vs Jackie Fricke 
(far lane)

Even with a tenth of a second e.t. disadvantage, based on the previous round's results, Julie Nataas (near lane), improved a little to a 5.283 - 274.78 to end Jackie Fricke's (far lane) season. Fricke slowed by more than a tenth with a losing 5.315 - 276.01 pass to fall half a car length short at the finish line as Nataas earned her third final round berth of the season.

Jasmine Salinas --- Jasmine Salinas (near lane) vs Rich McPhillips Jr. 
(far lane)

Burning out with the least amount of tire smoke as possible seems to be the norm for the A/Fuel cars, as Jasmine Salinas (left photo) gets ready to face the McPhillips family juggernaut. Salinas rebounded from a somewhat sub-par second round 5.388 to a much better 5.275 - 280.31, while Rich McPhillips Jr. slowed from his other-worldly 5.101 in the previous round, but still stayed in the 5-teens, with a winning 5.172 - 274.33 timeslip. Even though both cars are tuned by Rich McPhillips (Sr.), there's no "team orders" and it's always an honest heads-up race when they meet.


Shane Westerfield --- Doug Gordon

Prepping the tires for their semi-final round match, Shane Westerfield (left photo) and Doug Gordon (right photo) readied their mounts for the battle to come.

Doug Gordon (near lane) vs Shane Westerfield 
(far lane) --- Greg Bellemeur

(LEFT) Seeing who would get a chance to play giant killer, Doug Gordon (near lane) met Shane Westerfield (far lane) in what promised to be a good race. It certainly was as Westerfield left quickly with a great .031 light, then ran hard to the finish line with an excellent 5.516 - 267.22 that should have or could have been the winning numbers... but it wasn't. Gordon left quicker with an .010 light (in an alky Funny Car? are you kidding?) and lit up the scoreboard with another 5-forty, this time a 5.495 - 267.11 to show how consistent they can be on a good track.

(RIGHT With no one in the other lane to block their path to the final round, the "Killer B's decided to test the track to see what it could hold. Driver Sean Bellemeur quickly found out they'd gone a little (or a lot?) "over center" as the car went into instant tire shake, forcing him to shut off and coast to a 9-second pass and a ticket to the final round.


Cameron Ferre --- Steve Torrence

(LEFT) Coming into the round on the biggest roll of his career, Cameron Ferre had some real confidence in the car underneath him on the strength of a string of 3.70-3.80 passes, and even had lane choice over the four-time world champion.

(RIGHT With the pressure of defending his championship long passed, Steve Torrence was free to concentrate on winning the event to cap a very successful season. Even though he'd run into some trouble in the previous round, and had lost lane choice, he knew that he had the most consistent winning combination in the class to back him up.

Cameron Ferre (near lane) vs Steve Torrence 
(far lane)

In the near lane, Cameron Ferre left first by 12 thousandths, but it didn't last long as Steve Torrence (far lane) pulled into a solid lead before the 330' mark. He continued to build on that until just past half track, when the engine went south and he was forced to coast across the finish line at 3.813 - 283.07, just six thousandths ahead of a rapidly closing challenger, as Ferre fell short with his 3.831 - 313.37. It was nearly a photo finish and was oh-so-close to putting Ferre in the final round instead of Torrence.

Antron Brown --- Tripp Tatum

Not quite side-by-side burnouts, but Antron Brown (left photo) and Tripp Tatum (right photo) lit up the tires before they decided who would be Torrence's final round opponent. While Brown had 125 previous final round appearances (mostly in Top Fuel), Tatum had never gone this far in Top Fuel eliminations before.

Tripp Tatum (near lane) vs Antron Brown 
(far lane)

With a less than one hundredth lead on reaction times, Antron Brown (far lane) saw his lead evaporate quickly as Tripp Tatum (near lane) outran him at all the early interval points. At the 660' mark, Tatum was still nearly two hundredths in front, but his engine started giving up at that point and he faded to a decent, but losing, 3.915 - 246.57 while Brown powered on to the win at 3.794 - 324.98 to go into the final with lane choice. Both semifinal races were close but there wasn't going to be a cinderella-style finish to the day in Top Fuel.


Alexis DeJoria --- Matt Hagan

In sharp contrast to Top Fuel, the drama level in the Funny Car semifinal was the highest of the season as Mat Hagan (right photo) had to win the event to snatch the championship out of Ron Capps hands. With Capps already eliminated (in the previous round), all he could do is hope that Alexis DeJoria (left photo) could stop Hagan.

Matt Hagan (near lane) vs Alexis DeJoria 
(far lane)

Launching first by an (.054 to .081) margin, Matt Hagan (near lane) did his best to win but couldn't pull away from Alexis DeJoria (far lane) and could only get close as she tripped the winlight by a miniscule margin of eight thousandths of a second. The verdict: Hagan 3.975 - 317.79 for the loss, while DeJoria took the win with her 3.940 - 321.04 effort.

Bob Tasca III --- John Force

The other semifinal featured two of the Top Five cars in the class, as Bob Tasca III (left photo) prepared to meet John Force for the 35th time in eliminations. While both drivers were already eliminated from championship contention, they were still battling for the #3 spot in the final points standings.

Bob Tasca III (near lane) vs John Force 
(far lane)

Think the first pair of the semis put on a close race? It just got better in the second, as John Force (far lane) left first by nearly three hundredths, and held that lead until the 660' mark. Then Bob Tasca III (near lane) edged in front and held it to the finish line, stopping the timers first with a 3.950 - 322.58 to take the win by just four thousandths over Force's valiant try of 3.982 - 323.58. A great way to wrap up a great round of racing.


Kyle Koretsky --- Kyle Koretsky (near lane) vs Dallas Glenn 
(far lane)

With both racers in the first pairing locked into the #3 and #4 positions in the final points standings, the only unknown for Kyle Koretsky (left photo) and Dallas Glenn (far lane in right photo) would be who would advance to the final round. As he's done so often in a brilliant rookie season, Glenn had the quicker reaction time, an .027 light - his slowest of eliminations, after an other-worldly .001 and merely great .017 in previous rounds.

Koretsky wasn't far behind with an .043 light, but took the lead very quickly as Glenn ran into major tire shake and shut off to a 20-second clocking. Koretsky lit up the scoreboard with a 6.601 - 208.71 to move into the final round against what promised to be a very tough opponent, no matter who won in the next pairing.

Greg Anderson --- Greg Anderson (near lane) vs Erica Enders 
(far lane)

Burning out before his most important round of racing in 2021, Greg Anderson (left photo), prepared to meet arch-rival Erica Enders (far lane in right photo) in the race that could decide the World Championship. If Anderson won, then the championship would be his. If Enders won, then she would have to defeat Kyle Koretsky in the final round to take the title. Even higher drama than the Funny Car semifinal as this would be a head-to-head match between the two championship contenders.

Enders left first - by a bunch in Pro Stock terms - and gave herself an immediate .041 lead on the launch. But she shook the tires early, pedaled and couldn't recover enough to catch Anderson's winning 6.578 - 208.23 pass, as he stayed in the 6.50's all weekend. Enders' final numbers were 6.742 - 206.92 in a losing cause.


John Richardson (near lane) vs Parker Theobald 
(far lane) --- John Richardson

(LEFT) Moving to the Top Dragster class, we've got John Richardson (near lane) taking on Parker Theobald (far lane) in their semifinal match.

(RIGHT) Richardson left just two thousandths of a second before the green, and coasted to an 8-second loss, while Theobald took the easy win with a safe 7.480 - 181.13 clocking.

Summer Richardson (near lane) vs Jennifer Wiens 
(far lane)

In the other pairing of the semis, Jennifer Wiens (far lane) took a slight lead on the starting line and held on for the win over Summer Richardson (near lane) in a double breakout race. Wiens broke out by two hundredths less, making her 6.190 - 220.94 a winning time over Richardson's 6.430 - 211.39 effort.


Ryan Priddy --- Ryan Priddy (near lane) vs Florentino Martin 
(far lane)

(LEFT) Burning out in the familiar (remember the Pro Stock car they used to run?) "Mountain View Tire" colours, Ryan Priddy prepared to meet his semifinal round opponent in Top Sportsman eliminations.

(RIGHT) Facing him would be Florentino Martin (far lane) and after nearly identical reaction times, Priddy took the win by virtue of a smaller breakout (.003) to Martin's (.011) infraction. Priddy's winning time was a quick 6.617 - 209.33 while Martin's losing times were quicker and faster at 6.409 - 224.62.

Jeff Gillette (near lane) vs Jimmy Lewis 
(far lane)

The other semifinal match saw veteran Jeff Gillette (near lane) take an even closer race as he ran dead-on his 6.95 dial-in with a 6.950 -199.61 for the win. Despite reacting almost as quickly as Gillette (.031 to .030), Jimmy Leeds (far lane) couldn't quite hit his dial with a very close, but losing, 6.410 - 206.48 effort.


Angelo DeCarlo - SS/HA

Coming from the #1 qualifying spot in the 57-car field with a great 9.621 e.t. in his '66 Corvette split-window, Angelo DeCarlo, went all the way to the final round before dropping a close decision to event winner Jimmy DeFrank. He's shown here wheelstanding his way to a win in the semifinal round with another 9.60 pass.


Scott McClay - C/ED

We've even got a Comp(licated) Eliminator photo, that of Scott McClay as he launches his C/ED enroute to a loss in the final round of Comp. His opponent Ryan Warter in his H/A (not shown) ran -.481 under the index to defeat McClay's -.441 run, started with a sterling .006 light. The margin at the finish line was less than two hundredths of a second.


Doug Gordon --- Doug Gordon (near lane) vs Sean Bellemeur 
(far lane)

How could the final round of alky funny car not feature the two dominant players in the class? We've got Doug Gordon (left photo and near lane in right photo) and Sean Bellemeur (far lane in the right photo) going for the gold in a classic matchup. Coming into the final, they'd both been stuck in the 5.40's, with the exception of Bellemeur's tire shaking moonshot attempt on his semifinal bye run.

The race started as it almost always does with Bellemeur launching first (.023 to .043) and fractionally increasing the margin all the way to the finish line. The winlight came on in Bellemeur's lane with an excellent 5.465 - 266.32 as he crossed the stripe less than a car length ahead of Gordon's very close 5.483 - 268.33 time for his sixth national event win of his championship winning season. A tremendous finish to a season of great racing between the two best Top Alcohol Funny Car racers and crews in the business.


Julie Nataas (near lane) vs Rich McPhillips Jr. 
(far lane)

There was just one more race before the PRO finalists came out and it featured the quickest and fastest (Pro) Sportsman class, the Top Alcohol Dragsters. This season, more than any in memory has seen the A/Fuel Dragsters take over and dominate the category. True to form, the two quickest injected nitro cars met in the final. Note that of the 17 entries in the field, just four were burning methanol (alcohol), only three of them qualified, and only two made it to the second round of eliminations.

After an earth-shaking 5.101 pass in the second round, Rich McPhillips Jr. (far lane) had to be the heavy favourite against the Randy Meyer Racing team car of Julie Nataas (near lane). Ms. Nataas qualified #3 in the show with a very good 5.195, then improved to a 5.175 in her first round win before dropping into the high 5.20's in the next two rounds. On the other side of the track, McPhillips had qualified on top with a 5.155, then stayed in the 5-teens throughout eliminations, with only one run not in the teens going into the final.

When the ambers flashed, Nataas left first by .021 and held the lead until McPhillips passed her at half track, running only one mph faster, but leading by .005 second. It stayed close all the way to the 1320, where McPhillips tripped the timers first with his 5.138 - 278.81 taking the win over Nataas' very close 5.173 - 276.58. The gap at the finish line was barely a quarter car length between the two hard running cars.


Karen Stoffer (near lane) vs Matt Smith 
(far lane)

Down to the final four races of the season, the Pro Stock Motorcycles came out first, with Matt Smith (far lane), already crowned the season champion for the fourth time, not holding lane choice over opponent Karen Stoffer (near lane). Stoffer qualified #1 with a 6.751 and had been locked into the 6.70's throughout eliminations to be the definite favourite in the final. However, as can be seen clearly in the photo, Smith launched first by a large (.011 to .101) margin and had the power to hold on for the holeshot win by a 6.817 - 200.74 to 6.766 - 198.47 margin. The win was Smith's sixth of the 2021 season, and 32nd of his career.


Greg Anderson --- Kyle Koretsky

(LEFT) With the season championship already in hand and the BIG trophy in the trailer, Greg Anderson looked to finish the race with another event win and move one step closer to his goal of 100 NHRA national event wins. He held a strong hand going into the final, having qualified #1, holding low e.t. and top speed of the meet, and running the quickest e.t. of every elimination round.

(RIGHT) Facing Anderson was young Kyle "Kid Chaos" Koretsky who had the second strongest car all weekend, qualifying #2 and staying in the 6.50 zone for the most part, but knowing that he faced a formidable task in getting past Anderson in the final. His only advantage was in reaction times as in previous three rounds he'd averaged an .025 light compared to Anderson's .062 average.

Greg Anderson (near lane) vs Kyle Koretsky 
(far lane)

Turning the tables on the reaction times, Anderson (near lane) left first (.027 to .047), and held on for the holeshot win over Koretsky (far lane). Korestky put down his second quickest run and best speed of the weekend at 6.567 - 209.56 but fell just a few feet short of Anderson's winning 5.574 - 208.23 at the finish line. A great way to wrap up the season for both racers and expect to see more of the same from both of them in 2022.


Bob Tasca III --- Alexis DeJoria

(LEFT) Coming into the final round with momentum on his side, and third place in the final points standings wrapped up, Bob Tasca III burned out before his fifth final round of the year, and hoping to notch his third victory to finish the season on a high note.

(RIGHT) After a string of sub 4-second runs (well, five out of six anyway), Alexis DeJoria came into the final round with lane choice and a chance to notch her second victory of the year.

Bob Tasca III (near lane) vs Alexis DeJoria 
(far lane)

When the ambers flashed, it was Tasca away first, by just .025 seconds and he increased the margin at every incremental point downtrack until tripping the winlight with a 3.955 - 321.65 to take a slightly more than a car-length victory over the hard-charging 3.974 - 322.58 runnerup effort of DeJoria. Another great final round in the books and a more than fitting way to end a season of very competitive Fuel Coupe racing.


Steve Torrence --- Antron Brown

(LEFT) The new four-time Top Fuel World Champion, Steve Torrence had dodged some serious roadblocks, and received a couple of lucky breaks enroute to his fourteenth final round of the season. After a suprisingly close first round win over Brandon Welch, he won a pedaling contest over Doug Kalitta, then eked out an ever-so-close .006 victory over Cameron Ferre in the semifinals to gain entry to the final.

(RIGHT) Coming into his second final of the season and holding lane choice, Antron Brown was feeling confident, rebounding from five first round losses in the previous six races to reach the final here in Pomona. Qualifying solidly in the #5 position, he put down a string of 3.70's in eliminations coming into this round.

Steve Torrence (near lane) vs Antron Brown 
(far lane)

And then there was one.... final round that is before the season wrapped up. With the sun sinking low in the L.A. county sky, the two finalists moved into the staging beams and prepared to make their final runs of 2021. Steve Torrence (near lane) had the championship won by the end of the first round, but he wanted to go out on a high note, with an event win too. In the far lane, Antron Brown was looking for his second win of the season as he made the transition in team ownership for next season.

Brown left first by a small margin and held the slim lead until half track before falling back and losing by half a car length. Brown put up a great fight with a very good 3.803 - 312.21 as the engine faded just before the finish line, while Torrence kept the pipes lit a little longer with a 3.759 - 317.12 to trip the timers first.

And that was it for the NHRA Camping World drag racing season. Bring on 2022!