Antron Brown and Erica Enders wrapped up season titles Sunday in the NHRA Toyota Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Enders celebrated her second straight championship title at the Toyota Nationals, entering the race with a fairly large lead over her closest challenger, four-time champion Greg Anderson, in the standings. Anderson lost to Vincent Nobile in the second round of competition on Sunday, giving Enders enough of a points cushion to claim the title even before competing in the the Pro Stock final that day and winning over Bo Butner.
Along with her second title, Enders has 21 career victories. She became the winningest female in a single NHRA season earlier this year.
Enders joined Angelle Sampey as the only women in NHRA history to successfully defend a season championship. Sampey won three straight Pro Stock Motorcycle crowns from 2000-02.
“My guys are so incredible,” said Enders, who earned $250,000. “It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you get the right people around you. To do it in front of all my sponsors and family here this weekend it is incredible. To cap off a second world championship here at Vegas is just crazy.”
She beat Bo Butner in the final.
Kalitta raced to his third victory of the season and 38th overall, outrunning Larry Dixon in the “It was a good day for us,” Kalitta said. “As we were going rounds, once we got past Antron cause that was an incredibly close race, I was feeling good for the finals. Not sure what happened there in the final. It was a lucky win for us, but we’ll take it. It’s Vegas and anything can happen.”
In Funny Car, Hight earned his second victory of the season and 36th of his career, powering his Chevy Camaro past Tommy Johnson Jr.
“It’s really a bummer to me to not be in the points chase this late in the year,” Hight said. “We’re not used to that. It drives you because you want to be there. It makes you dig deep so we’re not in the same position next year. We got a win out of it. Del Worsham’s a good friend of mine. I’m pulling for him to win the championship, but Auto Club pays me to win races, and luckily, we got the job done today.”
Johnson is 97 points back in third place behind leader Del Worsham and Jack Beckman. Worsham and Beckman lost in the second round, and Worsham leads by 38 points heading to the season-finale in Pomona, California.
Hines raced to his fourth victory of the season and third in the Countdown, powering past Jerry Savoie in a final with major title implications. Hines increased his series lead to 46 over Savoie.
“The biggest thing was that final round battle between one and two in points,” Hines said. “We’ve been running neck and neck all weekend long. I was in damage control all day and I was lucky enough to turn on a few win lights. That final might’ve looked pressure packed but I was calm and confident. I knew I needed a good race. The team was able to make the motorcycle go quicker in the final and we got the win.”