Chevrolet brand drag racers certainly got the 2019 drag racing season off to a rousing start by earning no less then seven eliminator wins during the Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals at Pomona.
That list of seven winners included racers from both the Professional and Sportsman ranks, which saw the final rounds of eliminations deferred to Monday due inclement weather on Sunday.
The Stock Eliminator championship round featured two first-time finalists when Doug Gibson (Diamond Bar, California) faced off against Duane Dickens (San Clemente, California). Gibson won the event racing a newly finished D/SA 1967 Camaro when he chased down Dickens’ J/SA 1966 Nova.
The Super Stock title went to class powerhouse Ryan McClanahan (San Bernardino, California), the 2010 NHRA Lucas Oil World Champion. Racing his SS/BM 2008 Cobalt, Ryan won the event in dominating fashion as he used a final round time of 8.414 to catch Canadian Rick McKinney at the stripe. This was Ryan’s eighth career NHRA national event title and his second at the Winternationals.
The Top Sportsman class featured a myriad of cool Chevy cars, but in the end it was the 1998 Chevy Monte Carlo raced by Bart Smith that prevailed. For Smith, who is based in Las Vegas, this was his second career national event title. The event’s very tough Super Gas (9.90 index) class had its final round boil down to a pairing of two Los Angeles-area based topless Chevy Corvettes with the 1963 model raced by Pete Zak (Torrance, California) beating Evan Kowalski’s 2005 model. Kowalski went red in that match, giving Zak the title.
The event’s marquee Fuel Funny Car title went to Pomona facility fan favorite Robert Hight, who took the John Force Racing AAA Auto Club 2019 Camaro to victory. Robert scored his 46th career event win when he beat Jack Beckman in the final. He entered eliminations as the Number One seed with a qualifying run of 3.871.
Indiana’s Bo Butner was dominating while winning in Pro Stock, earning his eighth-career event win. Racing a Camaro that is closely affiliated with the Summit Racing Team, Butner beat his teammate Jason Line for the title – hitting a winning 6.522 e.t. Butner also set both low e.t. with a 6.501 and top speed of 213.10 mph during his event romp.
The Lucas Oil Top Alcohol Funny Car final round featured two Chevy Camaro-bodied cars, with Oregon’s Brian Hough defeating California’s Doug Gordon for the championship. This was Hough’s ninth career win at the NHRA national event level and the second time he has won the Winternationals. CHP
Photography by Bruce Biegler