HOLLYWOOD, Calif. --
Wed, 15 Nov 2017, 10:07 AM
B. Force, Hight, Butner and Krawiec Honored as 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series World Champions in Hollywood
Courtesy of NHRA Communications
Photo copyright 2017 Gary Nastase Photography
Brittany Force, Robert Hight, Bo Butner and Eddie Krawiec were feted as the NHRA Mello Yello Drag
Racing Series champions Monday during the 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series awards ceremony
at the Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland.
The championship drivers were honored for their season-long achievements and presented with checks
and trophies for winning 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series world championship titles during
the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship, NHRA's playoffs.
Force was crowned the second female Top Fuel racer to win the category crown after she clinched the
championship Sunday at the Auto Club NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. In her
championship year, Force raced to four wins including the season ending event. She also had two
runner-up finishes and two No. 1 qualifying positions during the year.
Force, daughter of 16-time Funny Car world champion John Force, became just the second female to
win a Top Fuel world championship by defeating Richie Crampton in the quarterfinals. The other
female to win a championship in the category was legendary racer Shirley Muldowney.
Hight raced to his first championship since 2009 and his Jimmy Prock led team, who set a national
E.T. record for the category at Brainerd, found a tune-up that would propel him to the points lead
in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Countdown to the Championship. In the six-race playoffs Hight
won two events and was the No. 1 qualifier at three consecutive races. Hight raced to a runner-up
finish at the season-ending event.
Butner powered to his first world title in the same season he recorded his first career Pro Stock
win in Houston. Butner and his KB Racing teammates, Greg Anderson and Jason Line, finished
one-two-and three in the points, respectively. Starting at the Norwalk event, Butner raced to four
final round appearances in six events and was able to enter the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing
Countdown to the Championship as the No. 1 seed. In the Countdown. He defeated Tanner Gray at
Pomona in the finals to clinch the championship by seven points over Greg Anderson.
Krawiec won his fourth championship on the strength of a season opening win for the two-wheeled
category in Gainesville. The team hit their championship stride beginning in Indianapolis when he
won his second Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals. In the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series
Countdown to the Championship Krawiec cemented his crown with four wins in the first five races and
took the points lead starting in Charlotte 2. Krawiec closed out the year with a runner-up finish
at the season finale.
Pro Stock racer Tanner Gray was named the Automobile Club of Southern California Road to the Future
Award and the $20,000 prize. The award recognizes the top NHRA rookie performer of the year. Gray
in his rookie season raced to his first win at the Denso Spark Plugs NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas.
The victory put Gray in the record books as the youngest national event winner in NHRA history.
Gray also notched victories in Topeka, Kan., Sonoma, Calif., Brainerd, Minn., and the second event
in Charlotte, N.C. He also raced to four No. 1 qualifying positions. The other candidates in the
rookie class were Troy Coughlin Jr. (Top Fuel), Joey Gladstone (Pro Stock Motorcycle), Jonnie
Lindberg (Funny Car), Andy Rawlings (Pro Stock Motorcycle), Shawn Reed (Top Fuel), and Mike Salinas
"It's feels good to win the award," Gray said. "Our season could have always been better, but I am
really proud of what my team has accomplished. For someone who has never drag raced, I was able to
come out here and win with the hard work, dedication and effort from my entire team. They
definitely made the learning curve easier and not as steep as it could have been. I owe this award
Chevrolet was honored during the evening as the 2017 NHRA Manufacturers Cup winner. The season-long
points battle was captured on the strength of the Camaro Funny Cars driven by 2017 and two-time
Funny Car champion Hight, 16-time category champion John Force, and Courtney Force. The Pro Stock
category was also represented by first-time world champion Butner, 2017 Automobile Club of Southern
California Road to the Future award winner Gray, Anderson, Line, Erica Enders, Drew Skillman, Jeg
Coughlin Jr., and Chris McGaha. This is the 22nd time Chevrolet won the award and the first time
Additionally, Justin Lamb won the Stock Eliminator championship in his Chevrolet COPO Camaro, and
David Barton earned the NHRA Factory Stock Showdown title in a Chevrolet COPO Camaro.
"It is a tremendous honor for Chevrolet to win the NHRA Manufacturers Cup for the 22nd time," said
Jim Campbell, Chevrolet U.S. vice president, performance vehicles and motorsports. "This
achievement is the result of the collective dedicated effort of the Chevrolet engineering staff
with our Chevrolet Camaro SS teams in the Pro Stock and Funny Car classes, as well as our COPO
Camaro teams and drivers in the Sportsman classes. It takes a focused effort to earn this
championship, and we thank the drivers, crew and all who made this possible."
Tom McKernan was honored during the event as the recipient of the Don Prudhomme Award, one of
NHRA's highest honors, named for Don 'The Snake' Prudhomme, a true legend of NHRA as both a driver
and an owner. The Prudhomme Award is presented to an individual who has made a profound impact on
the growth and positive image of NHRA drag racing. McKernan, a long time chief executive officer of
The Automobile Club of Southern California, was given the award because of the huge positive impact
McKernan has made on the NHRA.
Drivers in nine categories in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series also were recognized as 2017
world champions: Joey Severance (Top Alcohol Dragster), Shane Westerfield (Top Alcohol Funny Car),
David Rampy (Competition Eliminator), Justin Lamb (Super Stock and Stock), Austin Williams (Super
Comp), John Labbous Jr. (Super Gas), Lynn Ellison (Top Dragster), and Jeffrey Barker (Top
The 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series awards ceremony will be available to view for fans
worldwide on the Internet starting Friday, Nov. 17, at NHRA.com and the NHRA channel on YouTube.
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