It’s crunch time in many of the most compelling series in action motorsports, and the past weekend was a source of plenty of drama across America and beyond. From the first round of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series playoffs to the penultimate rounds of the season for Formula Drift, IMSA, and more, here’s what made the past weekend exciting:
NHRA: Jack Beckman
The 2019 Countdown to the Championship kicked off at Maple Grove Raceway with a rematch of the US Nationals Funny Car final, but this time it was Beckman taking home the Wally over John Force for his first win of the year. The win also gave Beckman his first points lead since Charlotte last year, as Don Schumacher Racing looks to earn its first Funny Car title since Ron Capps’ championship in 2016.
Formula Drift: Chelsea DeNofa
In the penultimate round of the Formula Drift season, DeNofa scored his first victory since Long Beach in 2016—and he took down the dominant James Deane in the final round to do it. DeNofa became the sixth different winner in the last six races, climbing to seventh in points going into next month’s season finale at Irwindale Speedway, where he finished third last year.
Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally: David Higgins/Craig Drew
For the 10th time, Higgins earned a national championship in American rally competition when he and drew took the win at STPR. Higgins, who broke a tie for most victories with Paul Choinere last year, may have seen his five-year STPR win streak snapped by Subaru Motorsports USA teammate Oliver Solberg, but his runner-up finish was enough to clinch the title a round early.
IMSA: Team Penske
With both of its Acura DPis occupying the top two spots at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, Roger Penske’s sports car operation had a weekend to remember. Dane Cameron and Juan Montoya scored the win, putting them in prime position to clinch the title at next month’s Petit Le Mans, while Helio Castroneves and Ricky Taylor placed second. Could Penske’s IndyCar team do the same this week?