1 hour, 40 minutes in—Larry Dixon visits Mike Dunn and Paul Page in the booth. He acknowledges, “I’m not running this weekend, this year probably, just because all the good rides and good teams are locked up. There’s not a chance. I’m ready to go, it’s just pretty late in the game. I feel like Peyton Manning on the sidelines, just without that 28 million dollar bonus waiting on me. Alan and the team put out a release. We agreed upon it. They just want to leave the past in the past and move forward. The last piece of the puzzle is for me to find something great, so I’m really looking at this as a great opportunity for me to strengthen my spot in the NHRA world.”
1 hour, 55 minutes in—The Stat Guy announces that while Top Fuel has been in existence since 1963 at Pomona , Larry Dixon is the only driver to win back-to-back events, both in 2002 and 2003.
2 hours, 7 minutes in—Gary Densham mentions to Dave Reiff that he took wife Joanne on a Caribbean cruise, something that he thought he would absolutely hate. However, he changed his mind, saying, “David, drivers have such short attention spans that cruising is the only way to go. You go to sleep, wake up in a different port, see the city, rinse, repeat. “
2 hours, 9 minutes in—Beckman darts into Densham’s lane, narrowly avoiding disaster in a harrowing too-close-for-comfort moment. Larry Dixon, still in the booth, states, “Wow, wow, wow, wow. Gosh, that was close. That’ll get your attention.”
2 hours, 10 minutes in--Gary Gerould observes, that Densham got out, looked at the nose and said, “Wow, that was scary.” Densham adds, “We were both on a really good run. I saw Jack out there. I was just ready to lift, trying to save some parts, then there he was. I tried jerking it back and he came over. Obviously it didn’t work out well for either one of us. Yeah, that was close. That was really, really close. I hope we can fix it.” Beckman adds, “Yeah you know what they say about drag racing—it’s a non-contact, non-drafting sport. I don’t know what happened. We’ll look at this thing and see if there’s some oil on the tires. It just made a right hand turn, and I was just hoping that Gary wasn’t that close to me. From the video it looks like he was. I apologize to Gary and his crew.”
2 hours 11 minutes in—Following the Densham/Beckman comments, Dixon adds, “Hey, we’re in LA. There’s traffic, right?”
2 hours 19 minutes in—John Force talks about the differences between daughters Courtney and Ashley. “Two different personalities. Ashley’s like her momma. Drives like me, but calm and cool. Courtney’s a lot more. Ashley was an introvert. Courtney’s an extrovert. You can see the difference. “ Back in the booth, Mike Dunn comments, “I can’t believe he knows the different between introvert and extrovert.”
2 hours, 30 minutes in—The Stat Guy reports that Jeg Coughlin has wins in six different classes. Bloom reports that Coughlin plans on racing his Dodge drag pack stocker sometime later in the season, saying, “He’s going for seven.”
2 hours, 30 minutes in-Reinforcing his earlier comment regarding team comraderie in the NHRA, Densham’s crew works to repair the front fender of his damaged car, alongside crew members from the Schumacher and Clay Millican camps who stopped by to assist.
2 hours, 42 minutes in—After Densham’s crew rolls out his car to the staging lanes, Jack Beckman autographs the tape covering the damaged fender in two places with the line, “Jack Beckman was here…and here.”
3 hours in—Mike Neff, who finds himself facing John Force for the Winternationals title, states, “It’s nice to be racing my boss in the final. He’ll be happy next week.”
3 hours, 2 minutes in—A comment from Dave Reiff, who notes that the final four in Pro Stock, including Mike Edwards, Jeg Coughlin, Jason Line, and Greg Anderson, have combined for 11 Pro Stock titles, including every one since 2004. Reiff asks, “Did the cream rise to the top here today, or what?”
3 hours, 10 minutes in—The hiring of Mark Lyle from Division 6 to replace starter Rick Stewart means that since 1955, only three men have toed the starting line, including Buster Couch, Stewart, and Lyle.
3 hours, 18 minutes in—Greg Andersen wins Pro Stock. “It’s a blast to drive right now. I love to see that yellow car (Coughlin) back, he had a heckuva day. The Pontiac regime’s almost coming to an end. We’ve got Camaros coming down the road, and I’m looking forward to that. It’s gonna be fun. To lock horns with a big Dodge, put him on the trailer in the final, and it’s yellow on top of that, it doesn’t get much better than that.”
3 hours, 22 minutes in—Viewers learn that this is the first time Neff and Force have raced each other in a final.
3 hours, 22 minutes in—The Stat Guy tells viewers that in final-round matchups against his team, Force has a 14-15 record against his “hired assassins.” Interestingly, when Force wins the Winternationals, he goes on to win the championship.
3 hours, 23 minutes in—Force runs a 4.08 to defeat Neff. Paul Page says, “He lays down the gauntlet. The Force is back! Is he looking ahead to a 16th championship?”
3 hours, 24 minutes in—Force states, “For me it’s really kind of special. My braintrust, most of it’s back together. John Medlen is the one that put everything back in line for me with the Eric Medlen Project. When I lost John it was a big chunk out of me. When I lost Austin Coil, it was a big chunk out of me. The moons are right, I’ve got a trophy and I’m going to give it to all the guys in my braintrust. I got me a hot rod again.” This is Force’s 1,100 round win.
3 hours, 27 minutes in—Spencer Massey takes the Top Fuel crown, but didn’t know he won. “I really didn’t. I tried to look up at the scoreboard when I passed by to see the win light, but I couldn’t really tell. I saw a 70-something. I went around the corner until I saw the reaction, and we got the win. This is unbelievable. To finish on a note like we did last year by four thousandths of a second and getting second place. Now, to come out and leave the Winternationals number one, that’s awesome, baby!”