Story By: SCOTT SMITH / NHRA – HOLLYWOOD, CA – Steve Torrence, Robert Hight, Erica Enders and Andrew Hines were crowned NHRA Mello Yello world champions in their respective classes during Monday night’s awards ceremony at the Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland.
All four drivers were awarded checks and trophies to celebrate season-long achievements that culminated in winning 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series world championship titles during the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship, NHRA’s playoffs.
Torrence captured his second consecutive Top Fuel world championship title after a thrilling weekend at the Auto Club NHRA Finals, taking home the title following the third round of eliminations at the Auto Club NHRA Finals. En route to the championship, Torrence raced to nine wins during the season, eight of which came during a nine race streak.
In the Funny Car class, Hight raced to his third world championship title. Hight clinched the championship in dramatic fashion during the final round at the Auto Club NHRA finals at Pomona after a thrilling half-track burnout. Hight raced to a career best six victories during the 2019 season, holding the points lead for 23 of 24 races on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series calendar.
Clinching her third world championship, Enders took home the 2019 Pro Stock championship title following an intense on-track battle with Chris McGaha in the second round of the Auto Club NHRA Finals. Enders becomes just the third female in NHRA history to secure three championship titles, joining the likes of Shirley Muldowney and Angelle Sampey.
Pro Stock Motorcycle rider Hines captured the sixth world championship title of his career after a long day at the Auto Club NHRA Finals. The winningest rider in class history dominated the season with a career best eight wins, giving him 56 total career victories and 10 final round appearances during the 2019 season.
Top Fuel rookie Austin Prock took home the Automobile Club of Southern California Road to the Future award, along with a $20,000 prize check. The award recognizes one of the top performing rookies during the season. Prock competed in all 24 events on the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello calendar, taking home his first win by defeating 2018 Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence. Prock claimed his first career win at the Magic Dry Organic Absorbent NHRA Northwest Nationals in Seattle. He also raced to five semi-final appearances and qualified a career high, third position, at the Heartland Nationals and Midwest Nationals. Other candidates up for the award were Cristian Cuadra (Pro Stock), Fernando Cuadra Jr. (Pro Stock), Cameron Ferre (Top Fuel), Lex Joon (Top Fuel), Jianna Salinas (Pro Stock Motorcycle), and Jordan Vandergriff (Top Fuel).
Chevrolet was honored during the event as the 2019 Manufacturers Cup winner. The season long battle was captured due to the success of 16-time Funny Car champion John Force and teammate Robert Hight. The Pro Stock class was represented by two-time world champion Erica Enders, Jeg Coughlin Jr., Jason Line, Greg Anderson, Bo Butner, Deric Kramer, Chris McGaha, Alex Laughlin, Matt Hartford, Kenny Delco, Fernando Cuadra, Val Smeland, Steve Graham, Wally Stroup, Joey Grose, Shane Grey, Shane Tucker, Roger Brogdon, and Fernando Cuadra Jr. This marks the 24th time Chevrolet has won the award and the third consecutive year for the manufacturer.
The NHRA Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to legendary crew chief Austin Coil. For 24 years Coil served as crew chief to John Force, helping to bring home 15 championship titles and 132 event wins, making the duo the winningest driver-crew chief combination in NHRA history.
Drivers from ten categories in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series were also recognized as 2019 world champions: Megan Meyer (Top Alcohol Dragster), Sean Bellemeur (Top Alcohol Funny Car), Frank Aragona Jr. (Competition Eliminator), Vic Penrod (Super Stock), Allison Doll (Stock), Ray Miller lll (Super Comp), Jeremy Mason (Super Gas), Danny Nelson (Top Dragster), Sandy Wilkins (Top Sportsman), Drew Skillman (SAM Factory Stock).
The 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series awards ceremony will be available to view for fans worldwide on the internet starting Wednesday, Nov. 20, at NHRA.com and the NHRA YouTube channel.