CHEVROLET RACING IN NATIONAL HOT ROD ASSOCIATION
AUTO CLUB NHRA FINALS
SUNDAY, NOV. 12, 2017
AUTO CLUB RACEWAY IN POMONA, CALIFORNIA
Chevrolet Claims Three Championships, Two Race Wins in NHRA Finale
• Robert Hight races to second career Funny Car title
• Brittany Force earns first Top Fuel crown, second by female
• Bo Butner wins race to secure first Pro Stock championship
• Courtney Force finishes career-best third in Funny Car standings
POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 12, 2017) – Chevrolet drivers were front and center on the champions’ and race winners’ stage following a scintillating and emotional season-concluding National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) race at Auto Club Raceway.
Robert Hight in Funny Car, Bo Butner in Pro Stock, and Brittany Force in Top Fuel delivered NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series titles for the Bowtie Brand at the Auto Club NHRA Finals. Butner and Force also picked up race wins.
Hight recorded his second Funny Car championship and presented Chevrolet its first in the class in a decade. Hight, who qualified a season-low 15th in the Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet Camaro SS for John Force Racing, clinch the title in the first round of eliminations. He went on to a runner-up finish in the race.
Hight, the points leader entering the season finale, registered two victories and one runner-up finish in the six-race NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship, and was the No. 1 qualifier a class-leading eight times during the season. He also reset the Funny Car national elapsed time and speed records.
“This is just huge for John Force Racing. Jimmy Prock and (co-crew chief) Chris Cunningham made that happen and they got us back in the game,” Hight said. “This is amazing.”
Courtney Force, the No. 2 qualifier in the Big Machine Records Chevrolet Camaro SS, fell in the semifinals to Hight and finished a career-best third in the Funny Car standings. Sixteen-time NHRA Funny Car champion John Force, the No. 8 qualifier in the PEAK Coolant & Motor Oil Chevrolet Camaro SS, lost in the quarterfinals and placed sixth in points.
Chevrolet secured its fifth consecutive Pro Stock championship as Bo Butner took top honors for the first time. Four-time champion Greg Anderson, the No. 1 qualifier for the finale, took a 53-point lead over teammate Butner (Jim Butner Auto Chevrolet Camaro SS) into eliminations. Anderson lost in the semifinals to Butner, who went on to defeat rookie Tanner Gray (Gray Motorsports/Valvoline Chevrolet Camaro SS) in the final round to clinch the title. Butner and Gray led the class with five victories each.
“It’s Christmas Day,” said Butner, who was the 2006 NHRA Comp champion. “It was just never give up. I have a great crew that never gave up on me. And what does that say about the KB team? They give me the best, and they have from day one. I just hit the lottery. I thank each and every one of them.”
Brittany Force, driving the Monster Energy Chevrolet dragster, secured her first professional title and the second by a female in Top Fuel competition. Force reset the track Top Fuel elapsed-time record in earning the No. 1 qualifier honor for the second time this season, and went on to post her third win in the Countdown and fourth in the season. She dispatched 2016 Top Fuel champion Antron Brown in the semifinals and ousted Shawn Langdon in the final.
“The reason we are here is because of that Monster team and all the support that I have with my team, my sponsors, everyone at John Force Racing and my family. We had our ups and downs, but we pulled it together when it mattered most,” said Force, who entered the Countdown to the Championship in sixth place.
John Force Racing has won 20 NHRA team championships in Funny Car and Top Fuel.
Chevrolet drivers amassed 33 victories in Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock during the 24-race NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season.
Al Corda of Elk Mound, Wisconsin, qualified 17th of 59 Stock Eliminator entries to lead drivers of a Chevrolet COPO Camaro. Newly-crowned Stock Eliminator champion Justin Lamb of Hendersonville, Nevada, was the No. 40 qualifier in his 2017 COPO Camaro.
“It was definitely a dream season. We had a lot of support from family and sponsors and it worked out,” Lamb said.
The 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series begins Feb. 9-11 with the Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, California. Telecasts of every race will be on FOX or FS1.
ROGER ALLEN, CHEVROLET RACING NHRA PROGAM MANAGER: “Congratulations to all the Chevrolet drivers, especially champions Robert Hight, Brittany Force, and Bo Butner. It truly was an exciting conclusion to the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season, and Chevrolet teams and drivers displayed their mettle under pressure. We salute all the competitors in the professional and Sportsman series. We’ll celebrate all the accomplishments, and then begin preparations for the 2018 season.”
An interview with Funny Car champion ROBERT HIGHT, JOHN FORCE RACING, AUTO CLUB OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (second career title):
Q: CRAZY THINGS CAN HAPPEN, AND THAT WAS ONE.
ROBERT HIGHT: Del Worsham came over to me before first round and said, ‘I don’t think I can outrun him, but I’m not going to give it to him. I’m going to make sure my car goes down the track.’ Del Worsham did the right thing by making it go down the track. It’s pretty cool; it’s been 10 years since Chevrolet has won a championship in Funny Car and we’re back.
Q: YOU KNEW WHAT YOU HAD TO DO TODAY.
ROBERT HIGHT: We thought we knew what we needed to do in qualifying, too. To qualify No. 15 and race a tough competitor like Tim Wilkerson with a lot of pressure on us in the first round, it’s awesome how it shook out. (Crew chief) Jimmy Prock kept telling me, ‘We’re only an adjustment away from getting this thing down there, and, boy, it was fast.
Q: WHAT A WAY TO END THE SEASON.
ROBERT HIGHT: This is just huge for John Force Racing. The last couple years we’ve struggled. It’s just a great group and they deserved better than what we were giving. Jimmy Prock and (co-crew chief) Chris Cunningham made that happen and they got us back in the game. This is amazing. Ron Capps has been a great champion and has had a great season, and that is a great team. They battled all year.
An interview with Pro Stock champion and race winner BO BUTNER, KB RACING, JIM BUTNER AUTO CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (first title):
Q: WHAT WAS THE DEFINING MOMENT?
BO BUTNER: It’s Christmas Day. It was just never give up. I have a great crew that never gave up on me. And what does that say about the KB team? I rent a car and motor from them and I win a championship. It’s just amazing. The good Lord blessed me all day.
Q: IT WAS THE FIRST TIME YOU BEAT TANNER (GRAY) THIS SEASON. AND IT CAME IN THE FINAL TO WIN THE TITLE
BO BUTNER: If you have to do it, this was the one to do it. He’s tough to beat and we’re going to have to fight him for a while.
Q: THE PRO STOCK CLASS IS TOUGH COMPETITION.
BO BUTNER: “Long season. Tough season. We all kind of got bunched up there. It’s like when you are a little kid, you play these games — shooting baskets — you have no time left on the clock. You are tied. I just kept telling myself that. I probably didn’t drive my best today, but when it is your day, it is your day. I was blessed today.”
Q: AND WHAT ABOUT THAT KB RACING TEAM?
BO BUTNER: Nobody can say anything about that team but good things. They give me the best, and they have from day one. I just hit the lottery. I thank each and every one of them. It’s been great. I am a Sportsman racer and I’ll always be a Sportsman racer.
An interview with Top Fuel champion and race winner BRITTANY FORCE, JOHN FORCE RACING, MONSTER ENERGY CHEVROLET DRAGSTER (first title):
Q: AT WHAT POINT DID YOU KNOW YOU WERE IN CONTENTION?
BRITTANY FORCE: I can’t believe we’re here; it seems like a dream. The reason we are here is because of that Monster team and all the support that I have with my team, my sponsors, everyone at John Force Racing and my family. We struggled. We had our ups and downs, but we pulled it together when it mattered most. I have to give all this up to my crew chiefs Alan Johnson and Brian Husen that made this possible. They never gave up on me and they always had my back. They kept pushing for more. That’s what my Monster team did all year long; they never gave up on me and kept pushing and kept fighting.
Q: YOUR DAD (JOHN FORCE) WAS CRYING AT THE OTHER END (OF THE TRACK).
BRITTANY FORCE: My dad is the one who gave me this opportunity. He’s taught me everything I know. My dad and my family always had my back. This is a very proud moment. I never knew we could be here, but the support I’ve had around me is why we’re here.
Q: HOW DID YOU FEEL THIS MORNING?
BRITTANY FORCE: This day has been unreal. That was the problem going into first round. I was carrying that red light from Las Vegas, but I told myself when the visor comes down it’s time to focus. And I did all day long