Some final justice was earned by a veteran Top Fuel campaigner during the penultimate national event for the 2017 NHRA season….

Racing at the 17th annual NHRA Toyota Nationals produced a momentous victory for Terry McMillen who piloted his dragster to his first career victory during the event held at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Matt Hagan (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also earned victories in their respective categories at the fifth of six playoff events during the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship.

McMillen raced to his first winner’s circle with a pass of 3.870-seconds at 253.99 in his AMALIE Motor Oil XTERMIGATOR after Brittany Force red-lit in her Monster Energy dragster. He becomes the 104th different Top Fuel winner after 195 career starts.

“This is the stuff you dream of as a small kid,” McMillen stated. “To have that opportunity to go out there and get that win is truly an amazing feeling. Hats off to my crew. This is the first time in a long time where the turn arounds were really quick, and they turned around that car flawlessly. The car was really quick on the starting line, lights were good and it all just fell into place.”

Likeable independent racer Terry McMillan received his much deserved first ever NHRA Top Fuel title during the Toyota Nationals.

On his way to victory, McMillen defeated Richie Crampton, Clay Millican and Shawn Langdon. Force took down Shawn Reed, Doug Kalitta and Leah Pritchett before entering the finals. She remains second in points overall heading into the final event of the season, trailing leader Steve Torrence by 20 markers.

Hagan powered his Pennzoil Dodge Charger R/T to his first career victory at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway after a run of 3.942 at 329.42 defeating Courtney Force’s 4.020 at 320.05 in her Advance Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro. This is Hagan’s fourth victory of the season and 26th of his career.

“There’s no replacement for the feeling of winning,” Hagan said. “That’s a fix you can’t get nowhere else. My guys busted tail all day. We had a car that went down the track every run we’ve been here. I was just trying not to mess it up.”

Matt Hagan powered to victory in the special Pennzoil edition DSR Dodge Charger.

His route to victory included win lights against Gary Densham, Del Worsham and teammate Jack Beckman. Force faced Jeff Arend, Alexis DeJoria and category points leader Robert Hight before entering her third final round in the Countdown.

No. 1 qualifier in Pro Stock Anderson, raced his Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro to victory for the fourth time this season with a pass of 6.698 at 204.70 defeating KB Racing teammate Bo Butner. Anderson secured his fifth career victory at this event and 90th of his career.

Category points leader Anderson sits 40 points ahead of teammate and defending world champion Jason Line. Butner rounds out the top three.

“The ultimate scenario for us at KB Racing was to eliminate the Gray team over there,” Anderson said. “Didn’t think it would happen because they are great race car drivers, but somehow we found a way and we outlasted them today. They’re now not a part of the equation when we go to Pomona. Now we’re just going to have to go out there and settle it among ourselves.”

Anderson raced Alan Prusiensky, Chris McGaha and Line on the way to his 11th final around appearance this season. Butner bested Shane Tucker, Alan Johnson and Drew Skillman before losing to Anderson.

The Pro Stock final saw Greg Anderson win at Las Vegas-2 for the 5th time – when he defeated Bo Butner in the all Chevy Camaro championship round dash.

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, category points leader Krawiec rode his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson to a 6.924 at 193.16 defeating Hector Arana Jr. This is his third career victory at this event, seventh of the season and 43rd of his career.

“My motorcycle has been a pleasure to ride,” Krawiec stated. “I’ve got a great group of guys behind me. That make tune-up calls and make the bike as good as it is. By no means is it just one person. It’s really about the whole crew that those guys do for me and give me the opportunity to have a bike that can win a race is really something special.”

With his win in PS Motorcycle – Eddie Krawiec has moved to the cusp of another NHRA World Championship title.

Krawiec’s road to victory was lined with wins over John Hall, Angelle Sampey and Scotty Pollacheck. The win puts him 150 points ahead of LE Tonglet who remains second. Arana Jr. rode past Katie Sullivan, Mike Berry and Tonglet.

“Fast Finish” to NHRA Pro Mod Division

Georgia-based Steve “Fast” Jackson collected his 2nd career NHRA Pro Mod title during the J&A Services portion of the event racing his middle-east based supercharged Chevy Camaro.

Jackson posted a winning time of 7.081 seconds at 138.84 mph in a trouble filled finale versus newly crowned Pro Mod series Champion Tory Coughlin who’s turbocharged Corvette C7 experienced a broken part in the final and didn’t make a full pass down the track.

“What an awesome win. This is my first time racing in Vegas and it’s an unbelievable experience,” said Jackson. “This is a tough class to even qualify for. To win the last race of the season is a game changer for us. Nobody wants to eat their Thanksgiving dinner thinking about getting their butt kicked. Jack Barbee, Mark Savage, Tracy Teasley and Robbie Lowry have killed it all year. Billy Stocklin is the best there is period. And I do a decent job half the time driving the car. Being a part of Bahrain 1 is very special. We are a big family and next year is mine.”

Steve “Fast” Jackson scored in the final NHRA Pro Mod event of the season.

Coughlin had earned his third NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series world championship earlier that day. He clinched that title when he defeated Mike Castellana, his nearest competitor in points during the second round of eliminations.

“You look up in the stands and see all those people and you just want to win one more round,” said Coughlin. “The plan of attack we had happened to work. We crossed the finish line and saw those flashing win lights on the guard wall and you think this is a dream come true. It is hard to do and this class is getting tougher and tougher.”

Coughlin earned the championship, his first since 2015, on the strength of two wins, four runner-up finishes and three No. 1 qualifiers. Coughlin, who has raced full time in the series since its inception in 2010 has finished either first or second in the points every season since 2012.

Troy Coughlin clinched his 3rd career NHRA J&A Services Pro Mod class championship.

Lucas Oil Lowdown

Racing within the Lucas Oil Drag Racing series sportsman classes included some title clinching performances by Joey Severance, Shane Westerfield, and Justin Lamb who locked up Lucas Oil National Championships in their respective classes.

Severance, Woodburn, Ore., clinched his third consecutive Lucas Oil Top Alcohol Dragster National Championship, defeating second ranked Shawn Cowie, Surrey, B.C., in the final round. Severance took a strong lead running 5.286 seconds, 270.16 mph, never allowing Cowie to catch up, who clocked in at 5.402 seconds, 271.95 mph.

Joey Severence won both the event and the Lucas Oil World Championship title for TAD class racing

Shane Westerfield, Anaheim, Calif., did not make it to the final round of Top Alcohol Funny Car, but garnered enough points to clinch the National Championship. In the final round, Ulf Leanders, Viksjofors, SW, eliminated Larry Dixon, Avon, Ind. Leanders mounted a strong lead and cruised to the finish line. Dixon had serious mechanical issues right off the start – crossed over the centre strip just missing the starting line Christmas tree and collected the guard wall hard in the opposite lane. Meanwhile Leanders registered a victory pass of 6.845 seconds, 198.47 mph racing his Chevy Camaro.

The Chevy Camaro TAFC class cars of Shane Westerfield (top) and Ulf Leanders both shined at Las Vegas – Westerfield clinched the Lucas Oil World and Leanders  the Toyota Nationals event titles respectively.

Local racer Justin Lamb, (Henderson, Nev.) clinched the Super Stock National Championship, gaining enough points through 4 rounds of competition.

Lamb continued his winning ways in the Stock final round. The Henderson racer cut a .10 second reaction time, running 9.831 seconds, 133.66 mph to edge out Randi Lyn Shipp, Floyds Knobs, Ind., in a double breakout to close in on the Stock National Championship.

Marko Perivolaris, Petaluma, Calif., kept his championship aspirations alive as he ran 9.062 seconds, 171.58 mph to upend Vegas native Mark Potts in the Super Comp final round.

The other drivers visiting the Lucas Oil winner’s circle were Greg Kamplain in Comp eliminator, Ryan McClanahan in Super Stock, and Val Torres in Super Gas.

Greg Kamplain (near lane) defeated a red-lighting Tom Mettler in the Comp eliminator final round.

Super Stock winner – Ryan McClanahan

Val Torres defeated Tanner Hiatt in the all Chevy Corvette S/G final round

The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series concludes at the final event of the season at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, Nov. 9-12, with the 53rd annual Auto Club NHRA Finals.

Posted with files by NHRA Communications, Keith Yazdanseta and Bruce Biegler
Photos by Phil Hutchison, Bruce Biegler and courtesy of NHRA