COWIE, WESTERFIELD LEAD WINNERS AT LUCAS OIL SEASON OPENER
Shawn Cowie and Shane Westerfield each took home big wins at the season-opening 58th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals presented by ProtectTheHarvest.com at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.
Cowie and Westerfield were joined by a pair of first time winners in Steve Will and Paul Mitsos, and six other champions who took home the NHRA Wally trophy.
Cowie took out reigning NHRA Lucas Oil Top Alcohol Dragster World Champion Joey Severance and former world champion Chris Demke in rounds one and two, then faced off with Garrett Bateman, Albany, Ore., in the final. Bateman had the early lead but smoked the tires early in the run and could only watch as Cowie, Surrey, B.C., shot passed to a 5.333 second, 277.03 mph run for his 11th NHRA national event win.
Westerfield, Anaheim, Calif., started off his 2017 Lucas Oil World Champion defense with a win in the Top Alcohol Funny Car class as he outran Ulf Leanders, Niksjofors, Sweden. It was the first time the two faced off in a final round with Westerfield taking his ’16 Camaro to a 5.425 second, 269.67 mph lap to Leanders’ 5.508, 268.33. The win was the seventh for Westerfield.
Will, Fortuna, Calif., and Mitsos, Eastvale, Calif., both raced to their first NHRA National event win in the Top Dragster presented by Racing RV’s and Top Sportsman presented by Racing RV’s. Will had the slight advantage at the start over Kyle Seiple, then was better at the top end posting a run of 6.043 at 234.13 mph to Seiple’s 6.862. Mitsos took the win when Don Meziere left early with a red light foul start. Mitsos ran it out to a 7.098, 191.21.
Two Southern California brothers battled it out in Super Comp with younger brother Gabriel Torres taking out brother Val. Val had the slight lead but Gabriel was better at the strip to take the win by about two feet for this second win on the national circuit.
Dan Fetcher, Churchville, N.Y., took home his 103rd win running 8.344, 132.86 in his ’08 Cobalt to end Clint Neff’s day and local racer Kevin McClelland of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., took home the Super Gas title in defeating Phil Unruh from McPherson, Kan. The win was number five for McClelland and his ’27-T Ford.
Kyle Rizzoli and Larry Gilley rounded out the Lucas Oil winners in Super Stock and Stock respectively. Rizzoli, San Louis Obispo, Calif., upended Adam Emmer, Sonora, Calif., and Gilley, Hilmar, Calif., knocked out Ryan Mangus, Rialto, Calif., in the heads-up Stock Final.
The Mickey Thompson Top Fuel Harley win went to Doug Vancil. Vancil met up with Rickey House in the final round with both riders leaving the line together but Vancil pulled away for his first win covering the quarter-mile in 6.333, 220.01.
The following are the final results from the 58th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals presented by ProtectTheHarvest.com and the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona: