HOLLYWOOD, Calif. -- 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, 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.
"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 to them."
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 since 2015.
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 Sportsman).
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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