Just because it’s November doesn’t mean that top-tier action motorsports have completely gone away for 2019. The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series crowned four champions at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, while Formula 1 held its penultimate round of the season on Sunday with the Brazilian Grand Prix. Here’s a look at the racers who stood out in those events:
NHRA Top Fuel: Steve Torrence
It was a dramatic Sunday for Torrence, who found himself in a shoving match with Cameron Ferre after the first round of eliminations at the Auto Club NHRA Finals. But when he eliminated closest championship rival Brittany Force in the second round, a semifinal loss to Richie Crampton didn’t matter—for the second year in a row, the dominant Texan was the NHRA Top Fuel champion.
NHRA Funny Car: Robert Hight
Unlike JR Todd last year, Hight wasn’t able to finish off the season by winning the final Funny Car race of the season to go along with his title. But just by making it to the final against championship runner-up Jack Beckman, Hight scored enough points to lock up his third career title and second in three years—winning the war despite having to abandon his car after the burnout before the final round.
NHRA Pro Stock: Erica Enders
A dominant Countdown enabled Enders to enter Pomona with a sizable Pro Stock points lead, and she capitalized on it by winning her third championship and first since 2015. Although Enders lost in the semifinals to Fernando Cuadra, she became just the third woman in NHRA history (behind Shirley Muldowney and Angelle Sampey) to score three class championships.
NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle: Jianna Salinas
After Andrew Hines red-lighted in the first round against Salinas, all eyes were on Jerry Savoie to see if he could win Sunday’s Pro Stock Motorcycle finale and take the title with it. But when his bike gave out on the starting line, Salinas—the daughter of Top Fuel race winner Mike Salinas and the 13th seed in Pomona—persevered to score her first career class victory.
Formula 1: Max Verstappen
In a dramatic Brazilian Grand Prix that saw both Ferraris collide and could have seen a Red Bull sweep of the podium, Verstappen got by World Champion Lewis Hamilton twice and avoided the late-race carnage behind him in a two-lap dash to the finish to score the victory. It was his third win of the season, and gives him an 11-point advantage on Charles Leclerc for third in points with one race to go in 2019.