Weekend Recap: 2016 Auto Club Finals

2016 NHRA Auto Club Finals

The 52nd annual NHRA Auto Club Finals ended in a cloud of adrenaline, breaking records and first-time achievements! Here’s how it went down:

Funny Car Championship
Funny Car vet Ron Capps has tried (and came very close) to taking the championship title before, but this was the year he actually did it:

Pro Stock Motorcycle Championship
Jerry Savoie took the world championship title in Pro Stock Motorcycle. This was Savoie’s first world championship ever, beating out former championship winners Edie Krawiec and Andrew Hines. Watch his breathtaking win below: 

Pro Stock Championships
Jason Line took the Pro Stock championship this year. This marked Line’s third win, his first two from the 2006 and 2011 finals. Watch Jason Line’s strong finish below:

Top Fuel Championship
Antron Brown took the Top Fuel championship for the second year in a row, the first to do so since Tony Schumacher in 2008/2009.

After the excitement of the weekend, the raceway goes quiet once more, but will come back to life in February for the NHRA Winternationals, the start to another season, and another story.

For more information on the NHRA Mello Yello Dragracing Series, or the Auto Club Raceway, visit nhra.com or fairplex.com.

Take a look at the NHRA Auto Club Finals through the years. 

Throwback Thursday: Fairplex & NHRA

For decades now, the familiar, thunderous roar of the drag races can be heard throughout Fairplex every February and November at the Auto Club Winternationals and Finals respectively.

drags recap twitter Throwback Thursday: Fairplex & NHRA  The NHRA Winternationals are held at the Auto Club Raceway each year 

Back in the 1950s, drag racing wasn’t an official sport — far from it. In fact, Fairplex (then known as the LA County Fairgrounds) leased a parking lot for local drag races per the request of city officials.

That parking lot eventually became the historic Auto Club Raceway.

vintagedragracing Throwback Thursday: Fairplex & NHRA  The NHRA Winternationals (1963); Source: RacingJunk.com

NHRA held its first official race in 1953 at the leased parking lot. Since then, the NHRA has grown to include 70,000 members, 40,000 licensed competitors, and 120 tracks across the nation, and continues to be a leader in the motorsports industry.

We take pride in being the birthplace of this racing giant, and we welcome the return of the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series (Winternationals + Finals) every year. We can’t wait for the 52nd annual Auto Club NHRA Finals next weekend!

For more information about Fairplex and the NHRA, visit fairplex.com!

Auto Club NHRA Finals Recap

What a weekend!

We’ve been having so much fun out at the racetrack that we completely forgot tomorrow is Monday again! If we could have drag racing every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, we would totally do it! I mean, come on, the thrill and excitement that comes from seeing your favorite race car drivers take home the coveted prizes is priceless!

nhra Auto Club NHRA Finals Recap

NHRA World Champion Del Worsham
Photo Cred: NHRA/NATIONAL DRAGSTER 

Here are some of the highlights:

- This weekend’s race marked Del Worsham’s second victory NHRA world championship title and his first in Funny Car.

- Other winners included Shawn Langdon (Top Fuel), Allen Johnson (Pro Stock), and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle).

- Langdon earned his second Top Fuel win of the season, sweeping both Wallys at this track for the second time in his career.

- Krawiec closed the Pro Stock Motorcycle season with a victory and earned a second-place points finish when he defeated two-time champ Matt Smith in the final round.

- Johnson claimed his second win of the season and 26th of his career by holding off Vincent Nobile in the final round.

From everyone at Fairplex, CONGRATULATIONS to all the winners this weekend and we look forward to kicking off the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing season in February!

The Circle K NHRA Winternationals are scheduled to take place Feb. 11-14 at our venue! Hope to see everyone in 87 more days! Not that we’re counting, or anything like it! icon smile Auto Club NHRA Finals Recap

For more information about NHRA and the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series visit nhra.com. For more information about Fairplex and the Auto Club Raceway visit fairplex.com.

Goodbye October and Hello November (aka Holiday Season)

Greetings, fellow Fairplex Insider readers!

I hope everyone enjoyed the sugar intake this Halloween weekend. If you have kids, remember that for every candy they get, you get TWO! icon smile Goodbye October and Hello November (aka Holiday Season)

Here is what’s going down at Fairplex this month:

3973 1makercon Goodbye October and Hello November (aka Holiday Season)SoCal Maker Con (Nov. 7): SoCal Maker Con celebrates innovation, inventive minds and creativity in Southern California. Robot wars, drone demonstrations and all kinds of really interesting inventions will be at Fairplex this Saturday, including sessions with some of the top entrepreneurial minds in the region. You cannot miss this one-day event! For more information, visit www.socalmakercon.com

4006 1NHRAFinals Goodbye October and Hello November (aka Holiday Season)NHRA Finals (Nov 12-15): Put your ear muffs on because things are about to get really loud in Pomona! The season concludes where it began with an event traditionally laced with drama. The historic racetrack typically enjoys seasonably cool ­temperatures that translate into perfect racing conditions and a spectacular, no-holds-barred battle for the prestigious NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series world championships. Tickets available at www.nhra.com/tickets

3975 1TwilightCruise Goodbye October and Hello November (aka Holiday Season)Prolong Twilight Cruise (Nov 19): Enjoy hundreds of hot rods, classic cars and vintage race cars on display at Fairplex. Admission to Prolong Twilight Cruise is FREE and admission to the historic Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum is $5 from 5 p.m. until closing on cruise nights. Click HERE for more information.

4024 1EverybodysBirdMart Goodbye October and Hello November (aka Holiday Season)Everybody’s Birdmart (Nov 29): Everyone’s favorite bird show is back on Sunday, March 22. So, be sure to not make plans for the weekend that do not include shopping for birds of all shapes, breeds and sizes along with cages, seed, feeders, vitamins, toys, perches, vitamins and much more! Adult admission is $9, children aged 11 or younger can explore for free! For more information visit: www.everybodysbirdmart.com

Other events happening at Fairplex in November include: Bushiroad USA (Nov 7-8), Garden Railroad at Fairplex (Nov 8), ITEX Holiday Barter Fair (Nov 8), and RailGiants Train Museum (Nov 14-15).

Which events are you coming out to this November?

Drag racing at Fairplex + NHRA Finals Giveaway [Contest closed]

Southern California has long been regarded as the birthplace of drag racing, and the historic Auto Club Raceway at Fairplex plays an integral role in the story.

Cars with Grandstand Drag racing at Fairplex + NHRA Finals Giveaway [Contest closed] Auto Club Raceway at Fairplex 

The Auto Club Raceway at Pomona is the oldest venue on the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series circuit, and has been the home of the Auto Club NHRA Finals for 30 years! The Raceway was originally built in the early 60s as a way to encourage safe street racing.

100 CoryMcClenathan Brainerd 1024x680 Drag racing at Fairplex + NHRA Finals Giveaway [Contest closed]

What began as a simple dirt parking lot with an asphalt strip down the middle, and bleachers holding less than 300 spectators, has grown into a 1,320-ft racing strip where thousands of fans gather for the WinterNationals and Auto Club NHRA Finals every year. Fairplex is proud to be a unique part of the racing industry.

____________________________________________

[contest closed]

Win two tickets to the Auto Club NHRA Finals at Fairplex!

We are giving away two Auto Club NHRA Finals tickets + two NHRA seat cushions for this weekend’s racing event. To enter, leave a comment telling us why you want to attend the drag races. Winner announced Thursday at 3 p.m. PST.

Good luck!

Burn Rubber Baby…It’s Drag Racing Time!

This week guest blogger Tim L. gives us his take on our drag races.

What do you think about when you hear the phrase “drag races”? Does it take you back to your first car and seeing if you were faster than your buddies? If you’re a baby-boomer, then drag races means burnouts, nostalgic cars, American muscle and real engines…..NOT those furiously fast import tuner cars. This weekend, Fairplex will once again play host to the NHRA drag race season opener.

The 52nd O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals and names like Larry Dixon, John Force, Tony Schumacher,”fast Jack” Beckman and Brandon Bernstein come roaring into town February 9-12. Everything from the smell of beer and hot dogs to burning rubber and alcohol funny-car exhaust will permeate the air in a way that makes everyone ages 1 to 100 grin from one finger-plugged ear to the other.

I can remember as a kid coming with my dad to the drags when he worked in the automotive industry, and thinking that if his job consisted of being around cars and racing, then he had an awesome job. You see, I grew up watching my dad work at a few very well-respected companies within the auto industry, and at age 4 I could tell you what kind of car my parents were driving next to…it’s in my blood and car shows and drag racing are my heaven.

The drags don’t symbolize just a fun environment with noise and fast cars, it is the epitome of my inner addiction to the sound of an engine revving high into the bone-rattling upper limits of the RPM spectrum while waiting for the tree to glow green, so two cars could go flying down the strip. The heavenly smell of a big block Chevy idling in a 1940 Willy’s or a beautiful 1972 Plymouth Duster in perfect condition puts a smile on my face. It takes me to a place that not much else can.

I want to leave you with one last thought….are you ready to feel your chest rumble like never before while seeing a car speed past you at over 300 miles per hour? I am!

To get more information on the drag races please visit www.fairplex.com, www.nhratix.com or call Fairplex at (909) 623-3111.

Program Teaches Teens to Drive Safely

brakes Program Teaches Teens to Drive SafelyIn 2008, NHRA driver Doug Herbert’s two teen sons were killed in an automobile accident. Working through his grief, Herbert began a non-profit organization that focuses on safe driving. B.R.A.K.E.S. (Be Responsible and Keep Everyone Safe) offers a safe driving program for teens and their parents. B.R.A.K.E.S. comes to Fairplex this weekend, March 13 and 14.

 B.R.A.K.E.S. is not an ordinary driving school. It supplements driver education programs by teaching young drivers how to handle emergency driving situations in a controlled environment. Working with professional drivers, teens are taken through different scenarios including skid pads, panic stops with anti-lock brakes, distractions and a slalom course. Drivers also have teens attempt to drive and pay attention while texting or talking on a cell phone – showing them that it cannot be safely done. Parents are taught the exact same driving methods so that they can continue to practice with their teens and reinforce what their teens have learned.

 Herbert and his non-profit organization are based in North Carolina but hold driving programs three times a year at Fairplex and he is in attendance to speak directly with the teens. The California driving schools are sponsored by NHRA, which is dedicated to getting the message out about driver safety on the road.

 Each year more than 6,000 teens are killed in automobile accidents and more than 400,000 are injured. B.R.A.K.E.S. is hoping to drastically reduce those numbers. For more information about B.R.A.K.E.S. or to register for the program, visit the Web site, putonthebrakes.com.

Check out what’s coming up at Fairplex:
RCX Radio Control Expo – March 20 and 21
Computer Fair – March 20 and 21
POAC Southwest Regional Horse Show – March 20 and 21

Hanging with the BIG Boys at NHRA Drags

 Hanging with the BIG Boys at NHRA DragsWOW, I just went on a mini tour of the Auto Club NHRA Finals and I can safely say that I will never look at the Drag racing the same again!  First, I walked through an area known as THE PITS there I saw and heard the loudest most amazing looking drag cars and motorbikes I have ever seen in my life. Even better, I saw how some of the beast machines were built and fixed up to beat the competition.

Then I made my way to the Sky Boxes, where only the VIPs sit and enjoy an exclusive crystal clear view of the drag races and the entire event! It’s a great place to catch a photo  like the one posted at the bottom.

After my trip to the Sky Boxes, I found myself at the Staging Area. There I saw what looked like a pack of drag cars waiting impatiently to be driven at Full Throttle™ . It’s a great opportunity to check out the drag cars up close and see the hard work that is being put into these astonishing machines.

Continuing my journey, I made my way on over to the Top Eliminators Club, where food from the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel was served and eaten by me (in my mind).

After this awesome mini tour, drag racing at the Auto Club NHRA Finals will never be the same for me. It’s one thing to sit on the bleachers and watch the drag races. It’s a whole other experience to see them when you’re high–like up on the skyboxes, rolling with the big guys.
 Hanging with the BIG Boys at NHRA Drags

Do the Drags Right

Looking for a different experience this weekend?  Check out the Auto Club NHRA Finals right here at Fairplex.  Now for a step-by-step guide to looking like a die-hard fan this weekend. Do the Drags Right

  1. Arrive early!  The best time to get autographs and enjoy the pits (not to mention finding some prime parking) is before the racing starts.
  2. While wandering the pits, feel free to chit-chat with people like you know what you’re doing.  “Hey, did you see John Force’s qualifying run last week?”  Simple statements like that make you seem much more knowledgeable than you are.
  3. Before walking up to a driver to get his autograph, make sure you know his (o her) name.  Their faces are huge on the sides of their trailers and their names are always there too.  You have no excuses for not knowing who Brandon Bernstein is when his face is plastered about 12 feet high.
  4. Now this is one decision you get to make: Do you buy a t-shirt or just ask the drivers to sign the cards they provide? If you buy the t-shirt, be sure to put it on so they can sign your back (this is the ultimate in pit groupie cool).
  5. Find a good spot to sit.  Now, depending on which tickets you purchased, you may have a reserved seat or you may not. If you do, come and go as you please, but if you don’t, you are going to need to camp out in your spot for quite some time.
  6. Earlier, I mentioned Brandon Bernstein. If you do see him, wish him luck in his new ventures.  Budweiser is pulling out of NHRA at the end of these races, and he has found a great new team.
  7. Drink water and wear sun-block!  You are sitting outside all day. I don’t care if it is overcast, the UV rays still come through and you can still get dehydrated (sunstroke is definitely not pit groupie cool).
  8. And, the most important one…HAVE FUN!  The Drags only come twice a year and they can be a great experience.

If you follow all my steps you are sure to have a great weekend!  The Auto Club NHRA Finals run now through Sunday at Fairplex.

Adios L.A. County Fair, Hello Yearling Sale, Twilight Cruise & Off Road Expo

The dust has barely settled in the Big Red Barn. The last semi-trailer has rolled through the gates with its Fair cargo on board while busy Fairplex events staff start the preparations for the next great Fairplex year-round event.

Barretts California Cup Yearling Sale starts things off the day after the Fair closes. Monday, Oct. 5, 11 a.m. at Barretts Equine Limited, Gate 12, White Ave. Get the full catalog, plus video and photos, online. Adios L.A. County Fair, Hello Yearling Sale, Twilight Cruise & Off Road Expo

Twilight Cruisers are back for their Wednesday night confab on Oct. 7, 4 – 8 p.m. in the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum parking lot. Stop by for a beer and a dog and meet a really nice group of car fans.

Big things happen Friday, Oct. 9 – Sunday, Oct. 11 when the 10th Annual Fall Off Road Expo returns. 

Adults  $12
Children  $5
Family Package $20

Park at Gate 9 (White Ave.) or Gate 3 (McKinley Ave.)