Thursday, February 22, 2024

Auto Club NHRA Finals Sportsman Preview

2019 Auto Club NHRA Finals Lucas Oil Sportsman Preview

POMONA – The final event on the 24-race NHRA national event tour is upon us. As racers roll into Pomona Raceway only a few championships remain undecided. Racers not involved in the points chase will look to finish the year on a high note by claiming the Auto Club NHRA Finals Wally.

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Sportsman Championships to be decided

Vic Penrod leads the Super Stock standings with Kyle Rizzoli hot on his heals. Kyle needs a final round showing to capture the championship. In Super Comp, Ray Miller III leads Brian Preszler. Brian also needs to make the final round to pass Miller. In the 9.90 class, Jim Rod Capp must win the race to eclipse current leader Jeremy Mason.

Auto Club Finals Event Overview

The NHRA Auto Club Finals will showcase 250 Lucas Oil sportsman racers competing in five different classes. The schedule includes Competition Eliminator, Super Stock, Stock Eliminator, Super Comp, and Super Gas.

In addition to the Lucas Oil classes, the Summit ET series national championships will also be decided on Sunday. Racers from across the country, 32 in total, will compete in Super Pro, Pro, Sportsman, and Motorcycle.

Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series

The standard four-day NHRA race schedule is in place this week. This includes Lucas Oil sportsman time trials and qualifying on Thursday with round one on Friday. As the Lucas Oil classes move into eliminations, the Summit ET series competitors will get their first time trial on Friday.

Saturday’s schedule includes two time trials for the Summit ET series racers while the Lucas Oil classes roll through three rounds of eliminations. On Sunday, the Summit ET series finally rolls into eliminations with three rounds scheduled on the day. The Lucas Oil classes will complete the semifinals and finals to determine a champion.

Before we make our 2019 predictions, here’s a recap of last seasons event champions.

2018 NHRA Auto Club Finals Champions

Competition Eliminator – David Rampy

Super Stock – Steve Wann

Stock Eliminator – Jeff Taylor

Super Comp – Chad Webber

Super Gas – Roger Kato

Super Pro – Pat Osmundson

Pro – Nelson Belot Jr.

Sportsman – Brian Hendrickson

Motorcyle – John Markham


2019 NHRA Auto Club Finals Predictions

With each NHRA national event DragChamp’s sportsman preview includes an overview of each class. In addition, we select the DragChamp Picks to win the race. Here are this week’s picks.

Competition Eliminator – 24 Car Field

Frank Aragona Jr. Comp Eliminator
Frank Aragona Jr. Comp Eliminator – Photo by Charlie Carroll

The event list includes a who’s who of Comp racers including 2018 & 2019 World Champ Frank Aragona, David Rampy, 2019 D6 Champ Ryan Warter, 2019 D7 Champ Tony Mandella, and Vegas champ Cody Lane.

DragChamp pick to win:

Doug Lambeck – This guy seems to always find his way to the final round at Pomona.

Super Stock – 55 Car Field

Vic Penrod 2019 Route 66 Nationals Super Stock Champ
Vic Penrod

With the championship undecided, there’s sure to be some added drama on the weekend. In addition to Kyle Rizzoli a host of big names will battle for the NHRA Finals title. This includes Jimmy DeFrank, Justin Lamb, Jody Lang, Aaron Stanfield, and more.

An interesting side note: Dan Fletcher is on the verge of a shutout at the national event level for the first time in ages. Dan, the winningest sportsman racer in history just missed the winners circle at Vegas where he was runner up in Super Comp. I’m sure he’ll be on kill this weekend looking for win #105.

DragChamp picks to win:

Dan Fletcher – Fletch will be highly motivated this weekend!

Justin Lamb – Another racer that should be motivated more than usual after a mediocre year by his standards.

Aaron Stanfield – This young man just wins! I think he inherited that gene from his Dad.

Stock Eliminator – 61 Car Field

Craig Maddox wins Vegas Nationals
Craig Maddox Vegas Champ

The Stock field is racing only for the Wally as Allison Doll has already locked up the championship. Four of last year’s top 10 ranked drivers will be on hand along with a talented field including 2018 event champ Jeff Taylor.

West coast bracket racer extraordinaire CW Hoefer is on the entry list. While most of his Pomona experience is on the Summit ET side, don’t count him out.

DragChamp picks to win:

Larry Gilley – Talented Moper runner is always tough.

Phil Mandella Jr. – One of the only Stockers on the grounds that’s sporting DragChamp decals! It’s got to help…right?

Scotty Richardson – One of the greatest drivers ever! Enough said.

Super Comp – 55 Car Field

Zach and Dave Meziere
Zach and Dave Meziere

Ray Ray Miller is on the grounds as he try’s to hold off Brian Preszler for the championship. Other notables in action this weekend include 2019 D7 Champ Parker Theobald, Zach Meziere, 2019 D1 Top Dragster champ Alan Kenny, and Marko Perivolaris.

DragChamp picks to win:

Peyton Januik – Recent DragChamp Car of the Month winner knows how to wheel a hot rod.

Aaron Kinard – After a huge 2018, Aaron has been quiet this season. A win to finish the year could kickstart another big run in 2020.

Steve Williams – The reigning world champ would love to go out on a high note.

Super Gas – 55 Car Field

Ray Miller 3 Super Gas Vegas winner
Ray Ray Miller

Can Jim Rod Capp win the race and the championship? That’s the big question this weekend. To do so, he’ll have to outlast a talented field. In addition to the regular West Coast crowd, there are a few out-of-division racers in Pomona including Ray Miller, Travis Salter, Kevin Wright, Jason Kenny, and Barney Barnhart.

DragChamp picks to win:

Ray Ray Miller – Dude has been unstoppable lately. Did you see his .004-pack in the Vegas final?

Brad Pierce – Talented racer that’s won many times in Pomona. Should be just about time to add another win to the ledger.

Mike Wiblishouser – Top-tier West Coast player who knows his way to the winners circle.

NHRA Summit Racing Series

Our Summit Racing Series picks are listed below. For a full list of the Summit ET racers at Pomona, click here.

Super Pro

While I’m not familiar with all of the racers, Dave Meziere and Mikey Sturgill stick out. Dave has raced for years at Pomona so he’ll know what to expect there. Sturgill has made the trek west previously so he should be dangerous as well. I’ll go with Mikey Sturgill for the win!


The Pro class includes an impressive list of racers. This includes Austin Youndt, Seth Bevins, Brian Hughes, and Matt Kielman. I think it’s pretty much a toss up between Youndt and Kielman but I’ll go with Matt Kielman for the win.


Another class with a talented entry list. Jake Ball, Ryan Montford, and Sacha Hoefer stand out. Sacha should have the experience advantage since she’s been there before and she’s closer to home than others. For that reason I’m going with Sacha Hoefer for the W.


In the two-wheeled class, I’m going to take the Division 7 rep, Larry Mota since he should be familiar with the facility. If not, at least he’s closer to home so he’s in his element.

DragChamp is your source for NHRA Lucas Oil sportsman drag racing news and drag race results. Check back on Sunday as we recap the race winners and see how our picks fared.

One thought on “Auto Club NHRA Finals Sportsman Preview

  • Flat-Spot Matty for the Pro Win!!!


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