NHRA Story
National Dragster presents Tricky Tipster's Pomona picks
Thursday, November 07, 2013


For more than five decades, the National Dragster staff has tested its prognosticating skills prior to each national event, putting odds on the top eight racers it thinks have the best shot at victory in Tricky Tipster, which is first posted on NationalDragster.net the Wednesday before each event, then on NHRA.com the following day. This week, Tricky Tipster handicaps the Auto Club NHRA Finals. Toyota Nationals Logo

TOP FUEL
Funny Car I Pro Stock I Pro Stock Motorcycle I Top Alcohol Dragster I Top Alcohol Funny Car
A Brown ANTRON BROWN
Matco Tools
The 2012 champ caught fire recently. He has won 11 of the last 12 eliminations rounds. He also won this event in 2009 and 2010. 2-1
  
S Langdon SHAWN LANGDON
Al-Anabi Racing
He’s looking to put a wrap on the championship, bookended with wins in Pomona. 3-1
  
T Schumacher TONY SCHUMACHER
U.S. Army
“The Sarge” reached the final here in each of the past two seasons and swept the event from 2004 to 2007. 4-1
  
S Massey SPENCER MASSEY
Battery Extender
He scored four wins this year for the third consecutive season. He reached the final round here during his rookie season but has yet to make it back. 5-1
  
D Kalitta DOUG KALITTA
Mac Tools
A win at this event would be the first for the Kalitta clan and a great way to cap a solid year. 6-1
  
B Bernstein BRANDON BERNSTEIN
Protect The Harvest/
MavTV
His semifinal finish in Las Vegas might have given this team the momentum it needed to race to a successful event title defense. 8-1
  
C Millican CLAY MILLICAN
Parts Plus
If the racing gods are anything but cruel, they won’t let the hard-running Millican wait through another winter for his first win. 9-1
  
M Lucas MORGAN LUCAS
GEICO
He’s more than capable of winning during his last race as the GEICO driver before Richie Crampton takes over. 10-1
 

FUNNY CAR
J Force JOHN FORCE
Castrol GTX Ford
Locked up his 16th world championship in Las Vegas. Now, he has a chance to bring his Auto Club Raceway at Pomona win total to 16 as well, and with the car he has under him right now, there's a good chance of that happening. 3-2
  
C Force COURTNEY FORCE
Traxxas Ford
Dear ol' dad has been outperforming her (and everyone else) lately, but she's hung with him many times and even outrun him a time or two. Perhaps she can one-up him this weekend and complete the Pomona sweep. 3-1
  
J Beckman JACK BECKMAN
MTS Dodge
The 2012 world titlist hasn't been in a national event winner's circle this year, and he'd like nothing more than to end his championship reign hoisting the Pomona Wally. He has a solid car, but he's just a tick behind the Forces. 5-1
  
R Capps RON CAPPS
NAPA Dodge
As surprising as it sounds, he has never won this event, but Rahn Tobler has been giving a car that could help him fix that. Had a solid outing in Las Vegas, where his day ended simply on the wrong side of a great race. 7-1
  
R Hight ROBERT HIGHT
Auto Club Ford
If there's an Achilles' heel for the 2009 world champ right now, it's qualifying. Improving there would help avoid early matches with the top drivers, especially his class-leading teammates. 8-1
  
M Hagan MATT HAGAN
Magneti Marelli
Dodge
The best way to put the sting of not winning the championship behind him would be to close the season with a win, and we still think the regular-season leader has a car that can go the distance. 9-1
  
D Worsham DEL WORSHAM
DHL Toyota
He may not be putting the big numbers on the boards, but the 2011 Top Fuel world champ is consistently going downtrack, evidenced by the fact he was one of just two drivers to make four full pulls in Las Vegas qualifying. 11-1
  
A DeJoria ALEXIS DeJORIA
Tequila Patron
Toyota
With the way that the Las Vegas semifinalist's car is running, it's fair to say no one wants to see his or her name next to hers on a ladder. It's not inconceivable to think her first win could be coming very soon. 12-1
 

PRO STOCK
J Coughlin JEG COUGHLIN JR.
JEGS.com Mopar
Dodge
Has made it to the semi's at all but one of the five Countdown races. History in Pomona is excellent: six wins overall and three victories at the Finals. 2-1
  
J Line JASON LINE
Summit Racing
Chevy
Couldn’t be picking a better time for his first Finals victory. After missed opportunities in Reading and Las Vegas, needs a perfect outing this weekend. 3-1
  
A Johnson ALLEN JOHNSON
Mopar/J&J
Racing Dodge
Last year’s win at this race put an exclamation point on his championship season. To repeat this year, he will need to win this event again, along with some help during eliminations. 4-1
  
M Edwards MIKE EDWARDS
Interstate Batteries
Chevy
The Countdown has been rough on the driver who was so dominant during the regular season, but he still has the performance potential to end the season on a high note. 5-1
  
S Gray SHANE GRAY
Gray Motorsports
Chevy
Enters the final event of the season boosted by his Las Vegas victory, his first since 2011 in Topeka, and the excitement of his team plans for 2014. 6-1
  
E Enders ERICA ENDERS-STEVENS
Husky Liners
Chevy
It has been a roller-coaster season for the fan favorite. Has plenty of motivation to end the wild year in positive fashion. 7-1
  
G Anderson GREG ANDERSON
Summit Racing
Chevy
Facing the unsavory prospect of his first winless season since 2000. Has shown signs of promise several times this year but breaks just haven’t gone his way. 9-1
  
V Gaines V. GAINES
Kendall Oil
Dodge
Regained his late-summer form with an impressive runner-up finish in Las Vegas. Has had one of Pro Stock’s most productive one-car teams. 11-1
 

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE
M Smith MATT SMITH
Viper Motorcycle
Co. Buell
Just wondering how focused he will be since the championship is already sewn up. 4-1
  
E Krawiec EDDIE KRAWIEC
Screamin’ Eagle
Vance & Hines
Harley-Davidson
Three-time NHRA champion generally does very well at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. 5-1
  
M Ray MICHAEL RAY
Sovereign/
Star Buell
Still fighting hard for the No. 2 spot in the points and a third win to wrap up the season. 6-1
  
J Savoie JERRY SAVOIE
White Alligator
Suzuki
His performance in Las Vegas was brilliant. Came away with everything but a victory. 7-1
  
S Pollacheck SCOTTY POLLACHECK
Viper Motorcycle
Co. Buell
Will be riding Matt Smith’s championship bike, so he should have all the right equipment. 8-1
  
L Tonglet LE TONGLET
Nitro Fish
Suzuki
No matter where he qualifies, he’s almost certain to be good for a few win lights Sunday. 10-1
  
H Arana Jr HECTOR ARANA JR.
Lucas Oil
Buell
A season-ending win here would help take the sting out of an otherwise disastrous Countdown. 11-1
  
J Hall JOHN HALL
Viper Motorcycle
Co. Buell
No matter what happens in Pomona, this second-year rider has had an incredible 2013 season. 14-1
 

TOP ALCOHOL DRAGSTER
JIM WHITELEY
J&A Services/
YNot Racing
He’s the only driver in the class with more than one win this year, and he has four. He made the quickest and fastest runs in a blown car of all time last year. There’s a good chance he'll go out on top in his last season in the class. 2-1
  
CHRIS DEMKE
Peen-Rite/OSI/
CleanBoost
The one caveat to Jim Whiteley’s amazing performance at this event last year was that Demke beat him in the final round. He’ll give his on-track rival another run for his money. 4-1
  
JOEY SEVERANCE
Severance Racing
Most of the attention he has received lately is from the highlight-reel save he made in Dallas, but his new car is hauling the mail. 5-1
  
SHAWN COWIE
Mundies Towing
A win here would be an appropriate way for the dad-to-be to cap his incredible comeback season. 6-1
  
GORD GINGLES
Tristar Motorsports
The Central Region champion won the Brainerd event. Car owner Clif Bakx is eager to see how “the Bull” fares on the West Coast. 8-1
  
GARRETT BATEMAN
HipLink
He came up on the wrong end of a thousandth against Jim Whiteley in the final round of the West Region finale in Las Vegas. The driver’s quick reactions and Rick Henkelman’s tune-up are a potent combo. 9-1
  
MARK TALIAFERRO
Markco Machine Works
The Texan driver seems to have found his footing in his first season back in a blown car. Expect big things from him in 2014. 10-1
  
DON ST. ARNAUD
J&A Construction
Gord Gingles isn’t the only Canadian A/Fuel driver with a good shot at the Wally. St. Arnaud set top speed at the season opener here and has been to the final round here before. 12-1
 

TOP ALCOHOL FUNNY CAR
FRANK MANZO
Al-Anabi Racing
Chevy
The Matawan Missile’s swan song will be conducted in notes lasting 5.4 seconds apiece. even
  
TONY BARTONE
Ryco Hydraulics/Green
Stuff/Red Line Chevy
It’s his last chance to get one over on his rival Frank Manzo. The Bartone/Steve Boggs/Mickey Ferro combination seems to be clicking. 3-1
  
ANNIE WHITELEY
J&A Services/
YNot Racing Ford
She was the No. 1 qualifier at the national event in Las Vegas and won the regional. Her first dip into the 5.40s could happen here. 4-1
  
JOHN LOMBARDO JR.
NAPA Auto Parts/
Lucas Oil Chevy
The last two Pomona events ended with him standing tall. He and crew chief Jeff Lirones have a strong handle on this racetrack. 5-1
  
JAY PAYNE
Peak Motor Oil/
FireIce Ford
After winning the hotly contested war for the West Region title last weekend, his season ends with one more battle on the home front. 6-1
  
SHANE WESTERFIELD
CP-Carrillo Bullet
Series Chevy
The streak buster had a year of firsts that can only be accentuated by winning at his home track. 7-1
  
VON SMITH
Centre Pointe
Collision Ford
There’s no double duty this weekend with the Pro Mod season wrapped up. Smith scored one of his most memorable wins here in 2001 that he’ll try to replicate with Rick Jackson. 9-1
  
CLINT THOMPSON
Thompson Racing
Chevy
The Seattle winner is hard to beat once he finds his groove at an event. 11-1