• Todd secured his first Funny Car career world championship during the opening round of eliminations
• Matt Smith locked-in his third Pro Stock Motorcycle world championship and fourth event victory of the season
• Torrence made history by sweeping the Top Fuel wins during the playoffs
• Gray clinched his eighth Pro Stock win of the season
Matt Smith also won his third Pro Stock Motorcycle world championship at the final 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event during eliminations on Sunday.
The race winners at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona were Steve Torrence (Top Fuel), Todd (Funny Car), Tanner Gray (Pro Stock) and M. Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle). For the first time in NHRA history, all of the event winners were also the world champions in their respective categories.
"People kept asking, 'what do you need to do to clinch?'," Todd stated. "I'm like, we need to win the race. We need to not worry about what we need to clinch it. Seeing Robert smoke the tires first round was instant relief. My crew was racing smart and the Yella Fellas do an awesome job preparing the thing today. They stayed focused all day long because there were a lot of distractions around our pit area and they did their job. The other teams at Kalitta Motorsports came over to help and I can't thank them enough. It's a huge family over there and we've all got each other's backs and it's awesome to have that kind of support."
Todd went on to dominate the season ending event with a run of 3.872 at 329.10 taking down the defending two-time event champion Tommy Johnson Jr.'s Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T. He finishes the season with six race wins, the first coming at the DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals in Las Vegas. Todd also won the prestigious Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals for the second year in a row and three events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship, two runner-up finishes and a solo No. 1 qualifier.
"Man, we went through a lot today," Matt Smith said. "With the airline breaking in the first round and in the second round the transmission broke on us going through the lights. My guys did their job and we fixed all of the stuff that broke and ended up putting up three 200 mph runs today. We are having the time of our life right now though."
Matt Smith's championship season had four race victories with three wins during the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship. He secured five No. 1 qualifiers and had a single runner-up finish.
"It has truly been unbelievable," Torrence stated. "To go out and do what those Capco Boys have accomplished is solely by the grace of the good Lord. We've won some rounds that we probably should not have won. We are truly blessed to be able to do what we're doing. We're going to be in the history books. Nobody can beat us; they can only tie us. That's a pretty cool stat to put behind your name."
Torrence's path to victory included wins Cameron Ferre, teammate and father Billy Torrence and 2017 world champion Brittany Force. Schumacher took out Scott Palmer, Bill Litton and Blake Alexander before falling to Torrence in the finals.
"This was probably the most relaxed Sunday I've had ever," Gray said. "For me, I just wanted to enjoy the moment. That was the last time I was going to race with a lot of those guys. We wrapped up the championship during qualifying and I just wanted to enjoy it. We had already won seven races and that's really good and obviously I wanted to win more but at the same time I wanted to enjoy the time I had with the guys and make the most out of it."
Gray drove past his father Shane Gray, Erica Enders and Jason Line before entering his second consecutive final round appearance at the event. Skillman defeated Alan Prusiensky, veteran Greg Anderson and No. 1 qualifier Jeg Coughlin Jr. before falling in the finals.
The 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season will kick off with the Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals Feb. 7-10 at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.
Sunday's final results from the 54th annual Auto Club NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. The race is the final of 24 in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series-
Top Fuel -- Steve Torrence, 3.702 seconds, 330.07 mph def. Tony Schumacher, 3.700 seconds, 331.61 mph.
Funny Car -- J.R. Todd, Toyota Camry, 3.872, 329.10 def. Tommy Johnson Jr., Dodge Charger, 3.889, 327.51.
Pro Stock -- Tanner Gray, Chevy Camaro, 6.519, 211.86 def. Drew Skillman, Camaro, Foul - Red Light.
Pro Stock Motorcycle -- Matt Smith, EBR, 6.765, 201.22 def. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.812, 198.35.
Top Alcohol Dragster -- James Stevens, 5.281, 275.17 def. Julie Nataas, 5.402, 271.19.
Top Alcohol Funny Car -- Shane Westerfield, Chevy Camaro, 5.446, 271.30 def. Ulf Leanders, Camaro, 6.120, 249.72.
Competition Eliminator -- David Rampy, Bantam Roadster, 8.318, 112.44 def. Doug Lambeck, Pontiac Sunfire, Foul - Red Light.
Super Stock -- Steve Wann, Plymouth Fury, 9.782, 131.39 def. Gary Emmons, Ford Mustang, 8.780, 156.08.
Stock Eliminator -- Jeff Taylor, Chevy Camaro, 9.267, 143.51 def. Ryan Mangus, Camaro, Foul - Red Light.
Super Comp -- Chad Webber, Dragster, 8.916, 164.51 def. Tony Helms, Dragster, 8.942, 176.03.
Super Gas -- Roger Kato, Chevy Cavalier, 9.945, 174.98 def. Greg Ventura, Chevy Nova, 9.897, 144.03.
Summit Super Pro -- Pat Oswmundson, Dragster, 8.806, 169.53 def. Jeremy Hancock, Dragster, 7.087, 182.38.
Summit Pro -- Nelson Belot Jr., Olds Cutlass, 9.037, 148.46 def. Dustin Loynes, Pontiac Firebird, 9.756, 132.43.
Summit Sportsman -- Brian Hendrickson, Dodge Demon, 12.556, 105.72 def. Brent Erickson, Dodge Dart, 12.096, 108.02.
Summit Pro Bike -- John Markham, Razor, 8.764, 145.69 def. Jeremy Hicks, Busa, 8.115, 151.73.