A number of NHRA POWERade Series world champions were crowned at the official awards ceremony at the Hilton Los Angeles/Universal City in California earlier this week. The most notable winner was Tony Schumacher who enjoyed his fifth consecutive trip to the stage to pick up his championship trophy.
Tony Schumacher has certainly become the guy to beat when it comes to the NHRA Top Fuel world championship. In accepting his fifth consecutive Top Fuel championship trophy, he became the first Top Fuel driver in the history of the NHRA to enjoy five consecutive wins. Schumacher has six titles overall and managed to pilot his Alan-Johnson-tuned U.S. Army dragster to 15 victories during the course of the season – another record! His unprecedented skill behind the wheel, good team and great vehicles all combined to ensure that Schumacher dominated the 7,000 horsepower category from beginning to end. Schumacher also picked up a check for $500,000, which was presented by the NHRA and POWERade, when he received his newest trophy.
But Schumacher wasn’t the only person at the ceremony to receive an award – Cruz Pedregon, Eddie Krawiec and Jeg Coughlin were also at the ceremony on Monday, November 17, to pick up their prizes. Cruz Pedregon was there to pick up his second Funny Car series crown. He last received the honor in 1992 and since seemed to have always run out of luck during the course of the season. This year he managed to take his Rahn Tobler-tuned Advance Auto Parts Toyota Solara to the head of the pack in the final three races of the season, which ultimately saw him taking home the winner’s trophy. He also received $500,000 from NHRA and POWERade.
Coughlin was at the ceremony to receive the Pro Stock World Championship title. Coughlin is also not a newcomer to the stage, as this was his second consecutive win and his fourth win overall. His Jegs.com Chevy Cobalt enjoyed a critical win in Las Vegas that went a long way to giving him the title. He received a check of $250,000 from NHRA and POWERade. Krawiec was the NHRA POWERade Series Pro Stock Motorcycle world champion of 2008. It seems that fortune favored Krawiece and his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley Davidson this year as he became the second driver in the history of the NHRA to win a series title without actually winning a race during the season. He was gifted $75,000 from NHRA and POWERade.
Mike Neff was given the Automobile Club of Southern California Road to the Future award, while the U.S. Army Top Fuel team, the Castrol GTX Ford Mustang Funny Car team, the ACDelco Chevy Cobalt Pro Stock team and the Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Prot Stock Motorcycle team all got the NHRA Full Throttle Pit Crew Challenge season award. Chevrolet accepted the NHRA Manufacturers Cup for their seventeenth time while Don Schumacher, Cruz Pedregon and Victor Cagnazzi were given NHRA Pro Owner’s Cups. The late Scott Kalitta was also given a video tribute.