Some untimely rain storms deferred an exciting conclusion to the 59th version Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals….

The season-opening event for the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series was finalished on the “Monday after” when the Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals presented by wrapped up at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.

Doug Kalitta (Top Fuel), Robert Hight (Funny Car) and Bo Butner (Pro Stock) emerged victorious in their respective Pro categories at the first of 24 events during the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.

Kalitta took home the Top Fuel victory with a 4.014-second pass at 269.29 mph in his Mac Tools dragster to defeat defending world champion Steve Torrence in the final round. Kalitta defended his Winternationals crown after winning the season-opening event last season here and he also increased his career win total to 45.

Doug Kalitta upped his career NHRA national event winning total to 45 victories with a strong win at the season opener.

“This place has always been very special for me,” Kalitta stated. “To have success here is more than you could imagine for me. We were fortunate to get by the Capco guys but we’re going to keep at it. We are really hungry, and we’ve got Rob (Flynn, crew chief) and Troy (Fasching, crew chief) doing just an awesome job — I’m just really proud of them.”

After qualifying in the seventh position, Kalitta took down Scott Palmer, Billy Torrence and Terry McMillen on the road to victory.

Steve Torrence was the No. 1 qualifier for the event and defeated Steve Faria and Mike Salinas as he recorded his seventh consecutive final round appearance and 15th of his career.

Rookie driver Austin Prock (son to Jimmy Prock) had a strong 2nd round placing in his first career TF start.

Hometown favorite Hight powered to the fuel FC win with a run of 3.881 at 329.75 in his Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet Camaro SS to take down Jack Beckman. After finishing as the runner-up at the 2018 Winternationals, Hight emerged victorious at the season-opening event for the fourth time in his career.

Robert Hight won convincingly at his home track – scoring in fuel FC from the #1 qualified position.

“You look at the Funny Car class and I think its tougher this year than last,”Hight said. “So to come out here and be the No. 1 qualifier and win the race — that’s quite an accomplishment for this team. But in this class we’re going to have our game face on all year long.”

Hight sat atop of the category following qualifying before then taking down Terry Haddock, Bob Tasca III and team owner John Force en route to his 46th career win

DSR star team driver Beckman reached his first final round since Brainerd last season, after besting Phil Burkhart Jr., Cruz Pedregon and teammate Tommy Johnson Jr.

In Pro Stock, this was a rematch of the 2018 Winternationals. Butner defended his event title against teammate Jason Line after driving to a 6.522 at 211.59 run in his Jim Butner’s Auto Chevrolet Camaro. He locked in his eighth career victory.

“We were really struggling during qualifying,” Bo refected. “But I definitely feel like we had the best car all four rounds today. I feel like we have a great car and team this year and I’m looking forward to keep going. We’re going to try and win them and the KB Racing team is as strong as ever.”

Bo Butner – who won the NHRA Pro Stock title in 2017 – got his 2019 season off to a great start.

Butner entered eliminations third in qualifying before taking down Alan Prusiensky, Chris McGaha and two-time world champion Erica Enders.

The 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season continues with Magic Dry Organic Absorbent NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park Feb. 22-24.

Doug Vancil powered his way to victory in the Top Fuel Harley division.

The Lucas Oil Lowdown (Final Round Results)

Canadian TAD star racer Shawn Cowie recorded some record quick times while winning.

Top Alcohol Dragster — Shawn Cowie, 5.156, 279.73 def. Matt Sackman, 5.299, 276.18 mph.

Top Alcohol Funny Car — Brian Hough, Chevy Camaro, 5.412, 269.56 def. Doug Gordon, Camaro, 5.498, 273.22 mph.

Oregon’s Brian Hough scored in TAFC

Top Fuel Harley — Doug Vancil, Weekend, 6.277, 227.34 def. Tii Tharpe, JTR, 6.322, 223.50 mph.

Competition Eliminator — Scott McClay, Dragster, 7.251, 179.06 def. Doug Lambeck, Sunfire, 8.449, 157.83 mph.

Scott McClay wheeled his cool Mopar-powered dragster to victory in Comp.

Super Stock — Ryan McClanahan, Chevy Cobalt, 8.414, 157.03 def. Rick McKinney, Olds Cutlass, 10.597, 122.81 mph.

Ryan McClanahan (top) and Doug Gibson won in Super Stock and Stock with their Chevy cars.

Stock Eliminator — Doug Gibson, Chevy Camaro, 10.702, 113.32 def. Duane Dickens, Chevy Nova, 11.525, 112.09 mph.

Super Comp — Kevin Wright, Dragster, 8.908, 175.14 def. Val Torres Jr., Dragster, 8.916, 166.91 mph.

The Super Comp “trophy dash” featured Kevin Wright vs Val Torres Jr

Super Gas — Pete Zak, Chevy Corvette, 10.732, 107.74 def. Evan Kowalski, Chevy Corvette, Foul – Red Light.

Top Dragster presented by — John Taylor Jr., Dragster, 7.105, 191.24 def. Zach Sackman, Dragster, 6.256, 221.85 mph.

John Taylor won his 5th NHRA nationals in Top Dragster

Top Sportsman presented by — Bart Smith, Chevy Monte Carlo, 6.976, 194.83 def. Mike Ferderer, Pontiac Grand Am, 7.061, 194.83 mph.

Posted with files by NHRA Communications and Bruce Biegler

Photos by Bruce Biegler

To view DragRaceCanada’s extensive photo gallery from this event – link to our LMLCMedia event presentation : HERE