Story By: NHRA – POMONA, CA – Kyle Koretsky is looking forward to racing at historic Auto Club Raceway at Pomona for the first time in his young career, which is reason enough for the rising Pro Stock star to want to do well at this weekend’s Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals presented by ProtectTheHarvest.com.
But the fact it’s also his sponsor’s race has Koretsky even more excited for his Pomona debut in his Lucas Oil Chevrolet Camaro.
Koretsky made his Pro Stock debut after the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series resumed racing in July last year, meaning last weekend’s race in Sonoma was a whole a new experience. That sentiment holds true for this weekend as well, and Koretsky will look to build on qualifying second in Sonoma as he tries to pick up his first career victory in the class.
“I look forward to every single race and I’m really looking forward to this one,” Koretsky said. “Racing is my life and I’m definitely there to perform. Car-wise, we’ve got a great hot rod right now. Driver-wise, I really struggled last weekend cutting a light. I’m working on that and I’ll head to Pomona with a lot of confidence in the car. I’ll go to Pomona as calm and as relaxed as I can, and with a clear head, and we’ll look forward to a good outcome.”
Doug Kalitta (Top Fuel), Jack Beckman (Funny Car) and Jeg Coughlin Jr. (Pro Stock) were last year’s winners of a race that will be televised on Fox Sports 1 (FS1) and FOX, including finals coverage beginning at 4 p.m. ET on FOX on Sunday, Aug. 1. It marks the 10th race of the 2021 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season and the final race of what has been a memorable three-race Western Swing. It’s also the first time the NHRA will race at Pomona in the summer, adding another special note for the weekend.
To get his first career win, Koretsky will have to race past his KB Racing teammate and points leader Greg Anderson, who has enjoyed a huge amount of success at Pomona, defending world champ Erica Enders, Sonoma winner Aaron Stanfield, who has two victories in the past three races, standout rookie Dallas Glenn, Mason McGaha, Troy Coughlin Jr. and Deric Kramer. Currently eighth in points, a big weekend for Koretsky could pay off down the road as well.
“This year, we’re trying to stay humble and race each race, but getting into the right position for the Countdown to the Championship is huge and something you’re starting to think about,” Koretsky said. “We just have to keep trying to make as many clean runs as we can. All those points really start adding up now and I want to give my team the best shot I can. If we can keep the car where it’s at and I can get myself going, we can have a winning combination and really show what this car can do.”
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Karen Stoffer will try to keep rolling after winning last weekend in Sonoma. It was a breakout weekend for the veteran and her teammate Jerry Savoie. He advanced to the semifinals, while Stoffer picked up the victory with an impressive performance on her Ray Skillman Auto Group/Big St. Charles Motorsports Suzuki. Stoffer jumped to fifth in the points standings in the process, giving her plenty of momentum to finish off the Western Swing.
Getting a repeat win would keep Stoffer on a positive path, but replicating her performance from Sonoma will be difficult in what will be far different conditions at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. On top of that, Stoffer will have to contend with a number of top riders, including points leader and defending world champ Matt Smith, Sonoma runner-up Andrew Hines, Angie Smith, Ryan Oehler, Scotty Pollacheck, Eddie Krawiec and Angelle Sampey.
“The one thing about drag racing is you’re only a winner for a week and then you have to try to climb the hill again,” said Stoffer, who has 10 career wins. “Coming right back and racing the next week, hopefully the tuner and rider can stay consistent. We’ve made some big strides and I think we’ll continue to do that. It’s definitely going to be different going from Sonoma and Pomona, but we’ll try to maintain that team support and keep those good feelings going that we enjoyed last week.”
Top Fuel’s Steve Torrence will have an opportunity to sweep the Western swing, which hasn’t been done since 2009 and has only been accomplished by seven different drivers in NHRA history. The three-time defending world champ has been red-hot, but he’ll be challenged by the likes of Brittany Force, Antron Brown, Sonoma runner-up Leah Pruett, Clay Millican and Doug Kalitta.
Funny Car’s Robert Hight won in Sonoma for the third straight year and he’ll look for more California success this weekend in the loaded class. Trying to stop him are a host of standouts, including points leader Bob Tasca III, John Force, defending world champ Matt Hagan, Ron Capps, Tim Wilkerson, Cruz Pedregon and Gainesville winner J.R. Todd.
The event also will feature thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, where future stars of the sport hone their skills. Following nitro qualifying on both Friday and Saturday, there will be a special and thrilling fireworks and hot rod cacklefest celebration on the return road that fans won’t want to miss. After nitro qualifying on Saturday, fans can also enjoy a special “Hemi Under Glass” wheelstander exhibition driven by Mike Mantel.
As always, fans are granted an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet. This unique opportunity gives fans a chance to see teams in action and service their hot rods between rounds.
NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature one round at 7:15 p.m. PT on Friday, July 30 and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, July 31 at 3:30 and 6:30 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 10 a.m. PT on Sunday, Aug. 1. Television coverage includes qualifying action on FS1 at 2 p.m. ET on Saturday and 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, and then eliminations action at 4 p.m. on FOX on Sunday.