Alabama’s Jeff Strickland earned a very significant milestone for the Chevrolet Racing brand last year when he prevailed to win the first-ever NHRA World Championship title for the fifth-generation Camaro. Racing the GMPartsNow/Berger Chevrolet-sponsored 2015 Camaro owned by Gray Motorsports within the Factory Stock/C category, Jeff prevailed in the hard-fought season chase for Stock Eliminator glory, clinching the title during NHRA’s final national event of the 2016 season (the AAA Auto Club Finals) held in Pomona, California. En route to his championship, Strickland’s 350ci-powered car combined two event wins on the NHRA national event trail with a Second Place finish within NHRA’s Southeast Division to claim NHRA’s coveted Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series points title. Strickland’s prowess as a skilled driver was very much on display all season as evidenced by the fact that he pulled off an extremely rare feat by winning NHRA’s national championship for the Top Dragster class, too (in a Chevy-powered machine).
New Era Domination
NHRA drag racing’s new era for Pro Stock (now including mandatory EFI, 10,500-rpm rev limiters, shortened wheelie bars, and flat hoods) debuted during the 2016 racing season. To say that Chevrolet Camaro race cars dominated the class would be an understatement. In total, Camaro entries won 23 of the 24 races during the season! At the top of that performance pinnacle was the truly formidable Summit Racing Equipment two-car Camaro team featuring superstar drivers Jason Line and Greg Anderson. The duo built up an insurmountable points lead early in the season when either one or the other prevailed to win the first 13 events, which the race team would never relinquish. Line, now a three-time world champion, finished the year with a career-high eight wins in 14 final-round appearances while Anderson notched seven wins over the course of the season. It was truly a backbreaking performance display much to the dismay of the rest of the NHRA class competitors.
Classic Claims Championship
Proving that you don’t necessarily always have to have the very latest in technology to prevail within drag racing was Rochester, New York’s Pete D’Agnolo. Racing his super sanitary 1967 Chevrolet Camaro, D’Agnolo secured a hard-fought IHRA series Super Stock World Championship for 2016. D’Agnolo prevailed in that circuit’s unique Summit Tournament of Champions race held late last season in Tennessee. That specialty annual race pits head-to-head ferocious competition for an elite-only field of qualifiers to determine its World Champs. This S&R Automotive D’Agnolo Brothers race car is pretty much a legend within the Northeast USA having been active in that area of the country for many seasons and in many configurations. The present-day championship version car features a high-winding 336ci engine program and chassis work by ATE Race Cars.
Eighth-Mile Title Titans
Drag racing’s premier eighth-mile circuit, the Professional Drag Racing Association (PDRA), featured a clean sweep of its national Pro points championships by Chevrolet brand drivers during 2016. Arguably its most dominant team overall was the North Carolina-based GALOT Motorsports team, that fielded two drivers within the PDRA’s Pro Boost class (aka Pro Mod-legal cars): Kevin Rivenbark and John Strickland. It was an unprecedented season for that team, as those two racers won every event offering last year. Driving his supercharged and deadly consistent Corvette C7, Rivenbark began the year winning three times in a row before Strickland took over winning the next three. But then Rivenbark would repeat the last half of the year, sweeping the final three events to lock up his first-ever championship. Strickland, driving the supercharged GALOT Motorsports Camaro, finished second in final Pro Boost points. Rivenbark was joined by fellow Chevrolet racers Brandon Snider (Pro Extreme) and Tommy Franklin (Pro Nitrous) on the PDRA’s season-ending celebration stage.