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Monday, May 27, 2024

Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals Sportsman Preview

POMONA – The NHRA 2019 season opening Lucas Oil Winternationals races into action this weekend at Auto Club Raceway. The event is the first race of the 24-race national series.

320 racers from across the United States have made their way to Pomona for a chance at stardom. Sportsman racer’s will compete for points, monies, and the coveted Wally trophy across seven classes. Classes include Competition Eliminator, Super Stock, Stock Eliminator, Super Comp, Super Gas, Top Sportsman, and Top Dragster.

Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series

First Round on Thursday?

A schedule change will definitely play a part in eliminations this year as most classes will roll into eliminations on Thursday afternoon. National events have traditionally felt like a marathon due to the spread out schedule. But beginning eliminations on Thursday will compound this issue.

In addition, it’s hard to imagine taking several days off of work to travel to a national event only to possibly be finished by Thursday evening. Most racer’s travel long distances to compete at a national event. It doesn’t make sense to travel that far to be done in one day. Hopefully the NHRA will recognize this and make adjustments going forward.

The 2018 Event Winners include:

Competition Eliminator – Dan Fletcher

Super Stock – Kyle Rizzoli

Stock Eliminator – Larry Gilley

Super Comp – Gabriel Torres

Super Gas – Kevin McClelland

Top Dragster – Steve Will

Top Sportsman – Paul Mitsos

2019 Winternationals Predictions

With each NHRA national event DragChamp’s sportsman preview includes an overview of each class along with the Team DragChamp Picks to win. Here are this week’s picks.

Competition Eliminator – 14 Car Field

The small Comp field includes some tough competitors. There’s also a few cars traveling the country to attend the Winternationals. Ed Ferderkeil Jr. will be making the cross-country trip from Florida along with Jarrod Granier and John Clegg III who will be traveling from Louisiana and Texas respectively.

Team DragChamp pick to win:

Doug Lambeck – Doug is always a tough draw at Pomona. I look for him to add to his win total this week.

Super Stock – 60 Car Field

The 60 car Super Stock field is loaded with former world champions and multi-time national event champions including reigning world champ Justin Lamb.

Team DragChamp picks to win:

Justin Lamb – How do you bet against Justin? He’s the baddest dude in the class.

Jimmy DeFrank – The multi-time world champion and perennial top-ten finisher is always on his game at Pomona.

Jody Lang – This could be the year that Jody final breaks through and collects the national championship. A win this week would be a great start.

Stock Eliminator – 61 Car Field

Some of the same racers are entered in Stock and Super Stock which makes for a tough road to the final round. World champion Brian McClanahan will begin his title reign this weekend as well.

Team DragChamp picks to win:

Ryan Mangus – Talented racer with great equipment. Ryan always seems to find his way to the final round.

Dan Fletcher – Winningest (is that a word, spell check doesn’t think so but I’m sticking with it) sportsman racer in NHRA history. Enough said.

Leo Glasbrener – Two-time 2018 national event winner would love to start 2019 with a win.

Super Comp – 56 Car Field

2018 world champion Steve Williams will kick off his champions tour this week. Kevin Brannon is making the cross-country trip from South Carolina to compete at the Winternationals. In addition, Justin Lamb will make a rare appearance in Super Comp as well.

Team DragChamp picks to win:

Ryan Herem – High Gear Herem would love to give new sponsor Moser Engineering a win at their first race together.

Marko Perivolaris – Super talented racer already doubled up at a bracket race recently (click here for more). Will be looking for more wins this week.

Val Torres Jr. – The Torres family dominated this race last year but Val Jr. was left out. Look for him to make a big splash this week.

Super Gas – 58 Car Field

As always, the Super Gas will is loaded with talent. Everyone seems to have great equipment and knows how to hit the index.

Team DragChamp picks to win:

Matt Blodgett – I’m sticking with the two-time 2018 event winner!

Steve Williams – Look for the K&N Corvette to make some rounds this week.

Kevin McClelland – 2018 event winner is looking for a repeat performance.

Top Sportsman – 35 Car Field

Three of the 2018 Top Ten finishers will be in attendance this weekend.

Team DragChamp picks to win:

Mike Ferderer – The Ferd is always a great pick. A win could build momentum for another championship run.

Ed Olpin – Former event winner knows how to get it done in Pomona.

Top Dragster – 36 Car Field

We’ll see if the new Index Enforcement rule has any effect on Top Dragster this weekend. Of note, both Kevin Brannon and John Taylor will be making the long trek from the East Coast to do a little West Coast drag racing this weekend.

Team DragChamp picks to win:

Steve Casner – The transmission specialist is also super talented behind the wheel.

Phil Unruh – Phil has the best equipment and knows how to use it.

All that’s left know is to fire up the engines and go racing! Make sure you visit DragChamp each day for daily sportsman racing updates from the Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals.

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