NHRA Season Wraps Up Out West With a Surprise; Courtesy of Cruz Pedregon

NHRA Auto Club Nationals 8 photos
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The 2022 NHRA Camping World Championships concluded on Sunday; the evening was packed with the drama and intrigue that defines a sport that lives in the fastest lane of all professional motorsports. Event champions were honored, and more importantly, season champions were crowned.
In true NHRA fashion, where anything can happen on Sunday afternoons, the finale of the 2022 season was no different. Austin Prock, Cruz Pedregon, Greg Anderson, and Angie Smith slammed the door on the season with what amounted to upset-like performances.

With all eyes fixed on the battle between Top Fuel drivers Brittany Force, Justin Ashley, and Mike Salinas, all vying for the season championship, Austin Prock snuck in a stole the spotlight.

Prock piloted his Montana Brand/Rocky Mountain Twist dragster to a win over Antron Brown in the final. His path to the final included wins over Shawn Langdon and Leah Pruett. He would then defeat teammate Force in the semi-final in what was the fastest side-by-side race in Top Fuel history, 3.642 to 3.676. Prock finished the season in third place overall.

The Top Fuel 2022 NHRA Championship was decided in atypical dud-like fashion in the first round when Justin Ashely was beaten by Brown in his Matco Tools/Lucas Oil/Toyota Top Fuel dragster, who would vault into second place as season's end.

The Funny Car class, in the grip of Robert Hight for most of the season, gave way to hard-charging Cruz Pedregon and his Snap-on Tools Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, who beat Ron Capps in the final. It was the first win since last fall in Las Vegas and the 38th career victory for the 59-year-old veteran. His victory was brought about by another career-best run of 3.839 seconds.

Capps would go on to finish the 2022 season as the champion.

Greg Anderson captured the title for the Auto Club Finals by beating the season champion Erica Enders in the final with a holeshot clocked at just .020 seconds and never looking back, finishing second behind Enders on the season.

Pro Stock Motorcycle seemed to be in the hands of eventual champion Matt Smith all season. However, it was his wife Angie that stole some of his thunder on Sunday by gunning down Joey Gladstone with a holeshot of her own, leaving the line in .017 to .029 but only eking out a win by .002 seconds. It was the better half's third career NHRA Wally.

Fans can now look forward to another thrilling NHRA 2023 season that kicks off next March 9 in Florida.
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