John Force captures #16! Fourth entering the “playoffs,” he rallied to win three consecutive races in five straight final-round appearances in the six-race postseason. Jimmie Johnson, eat your heart out; you’ll never catch him!
The curtain has come down on NHRA Mello Yello 2013 season. A host of new faces made the stage at the championship ceremonies, and several past champions said their good-byes, but one repeat victor vows to fight on. Will John Force be back to claim his seventeenth? Stay tuned race fans, 2014 is already shaping up to be a killer season.
Shawn Langdon, the former NHRA Jr. Drag Racing League and two-time Super Comp champ, raced to a category-best seven victories, including the world finals.
Jeg Coughlin Jr. earned his fifth Pro Stock world championship scoring four victories in eight final-round appearances.
Matt Smith nabbed his second world championship by racing to four victories in eight final rounds, including three victories in four consecutive finals during the countdown. Smith joined his father, who won Pro Mod title, as a champion this season. It’s the first time a father and son have won NHRA championships in the same season.
TAD champ Jim Whiteley announced his retirement at the end of the season. Jim’s had a sterling career: 24 career victories in 30 finals, seven straight Top Fives in the national standings, championship runner-ups in 2008 and 2009, and the 2012 and 2013 titles.
A collective sigh of relief was heard throughout the TAFC community following Frank Manzo’s retirement announcement after scoring yet another championship. “Ace” has racked up an astonishing 17 world crowns, including seven in a row.
Long time Comp Eliminator competitor Alan Ellis won four events on his way to capturing his first world title.
Byron Worner had a knuckle-biter of a season, waiting until the final race of the year to capture the Super Stock world crown.
No Lamb to the slaughter, multi-national event winner, Justin Lamb captured his first world championship, going three for three in final round appearances this season.
After several near misses, Luke Bogacki scored his first Super Comp world title. Leading since June, he heard footsteps all season, but held on for his big win.
Super Gas champ Rick Beckstrom had three wins in four final rounds this year including a pair of national event wins enroute to first world championship.
After four decades of racing and eight IHRA world titles, Rickie Smith finally broke through in NHRA competition. After winning the Pro Mod crown, Smith announced his retirement.
Text by Pete Ward and Photos by Gary Nastase, Gus Alonso and Auto Imagery