I want to start this by apologizing for how horribly late this is. It was suppose to be on the site last Wednesday, but we got hit with about 13 inches of lake effect snow here in old Covert. So I spent all day Wednesday plowing my house out, then Thanksgiving, and so forth and it’s just been a busy few days here in the Pierce house hold. Anyway, on with the show!
It was the year of domination. It was the year of the return of the king. It was the year for breaking new ground. It was the year of end of the season come back. It was the year of two different halves of a season.
It was the year of the 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.
Shawn Langdon started the season and finished it in victory lane. He also won the 2013 Top Fuel Championship in the process. Shawn would win a season high seven races and dominate the point standings through the entire season. As the season went on questions arose. Could Shawn continue his dominance? Would a mechanical issue derail him? Could he be caught?
Yes. No. No. Shawn would win his division by the widest margin of 164 points, and with the most wins of any other champion. Other series champions were able to keep their competitors at a firm arm’s reach. Shawn just simply dominated them in route to his first championship.
Return of the King.
John Force seemed to be taking a back seat, finding his place in more of an owner’s role. His daughters Courtney, and Brittany were finding their footing in their respective fields, Courtney with John, and Brittany in Top Fuel. So John sat with fifteen titles, and 131 wins. But a competitor, especially one with such a dominate history refuses to go quietly into the good night.
Matt Hagan learned that, while using wins and consistency, Matt built up a sizeable advantage. John, in June at Bristol would get his first win of 2013 and win 132. Matt would have four regular season wins to John’s one by the time of The Countdown.
John began charging once the Count Down was on, and Matt fell back. John would win three straight races in The Countdown in route to clinching his sixteenth title by 140 points, and upping his total to 135 wins and ushering in the return of the King.
In 2013 NHRA got a huge boost in the public relations world when it was revealed Courtney Force would be on the cover of ESPN’s The Body. For the unaware, The Body edition of ESPN magazine is where various athletes pose nude, but positioning themselves carefully as to not reveal too much.
Courtney won rookie of the year honors in 2012 driving for her father John Force. She would also win twice this season and qualify for The Countdown. NHRA while still very popular is not at the peaks of NASCAR. When The Body hit stands, Courtney Force was the talk of the town.
However, Courtney handled it well and used the new fame to draw more attention to the NHRA. I highly recommend checking out the full spread as well. Just saying, it’s worth a look. If you are into that sort of thing. And while some rolled their eyes and thought of it as a woman flaunting her body, Courtney used it break new ground for the NHRA and bring in new fans.
End of the season comeback.
Pro Stock had three drivers standing out as the dominate drivers through the regular season. Vincent Noble, Allen Johnson, and Mike Edwards accounted for thirteen of the twenty four race season. Lurking in the background was Jeg Coughlin Jr. Having two wins already, he chose the right time to begin his comeback to go to the front of the field.
Jeg would add two more wins during The Countdown. One by one Vincent Noble, Allen Johnson and Mike Edwards would fall by the way side. Jeg would hold a steady grip on second place until finally in Reading Pennsylvania; in the Auto-Plus NHRA Nationals he won the overall event. It propel him into a 45 point lead which he’d hold onto.
Jeg would win his fifth Pro Stock title by 58 points. Reading Pennsylvania would be special because it’d be the only race all four champions would win the same event in The Countdown. But it would be more special for Coughlin as he pulled off an end of the season comeback.
Two halves to a season.
The Pro Stock Motorcycle season is shorter than its three counter parts. Where the Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock, and all have twenty-four races, the Pro stock Motorcycles only have nineteen. The first half saw Hector Arana Jr dominating the season. Arana would win the first three races straight, and win a fourth race right before The Countdown.
However, in the middle of the season, the tides changed. Matt Smith stepped up and began to outplace Arana Jr consistently every race for the most part. He’d also get his first win. Once in The Countdown, Matt would win three straight races in the middle of the event.
Matt would lead by 120 points to finish the event as Arana Jr. would fall to fourth in the standings. This would be Smith’s second championship as he’d experience being a driver/owner champion. Arana Jr’s hot start and fall and Smith’s rise would be the two halves to a season.
Final thoughts on 2013 for the NHRA
There will always be stories that are just as big as the championship or huge news that don’t make a cut. For instance, the tie down system for the bodies on Funny Car became a major topic of concern. Along with that some of the tires that led to spin outs, along with the adding and taking away from tracks. However, the biggest story for the NRHA was the champions, and the new ground being broke by Courtney Force’s appearance in “The Body” of ESPN.
2014 should be a wild ride at the drag strip.
Random Sports/Non Sports Thought:
Going to be a busy week for me here at TJR, I’ll be doing recaps on all three NASCAR series in the next three days, than on Friday will be doing a recap of all the latest news and notes in the Racing world.
Have a question, suggestion or witty comment? Feel free to leave one below! Don’t want to do that? Then the fastest, easiest, and quickest way to interact with me is on Twitter, @tpierc07. I also am on Facebook, but that one you have to work for. Don’t do social media? Then feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
So why don’t you come on back tomorrow when I’ll review the 2013 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series!