NHRA Sportsman Finals at Pomona

Jim Whiteley rides off into the sunset in TAD. 

NHRA Sportsman Finals at Pomona

Manzo Wins Final Race, Ahten Stops Whiteley

Frank Manzo went out on top, winning his final race in Top Alcohol Funny Car, the AAA Finals at Pomona, with low ET and top speed, and Jim Whiteley narrowly missed doing the same in Top Alcohol Dragster, uncharacteristically faltering in the final against first-time winner Johnny Ahten after dominating all weekend.

Manzo, who has said all year that he would retire after the season, ran the only 5.4 all weekend and parlayed consistent low .50s, including a 5.53 in the final against Clint Thompson, into his 105th and last national event victory.

Frank Manzo

"You don't know you're going to win 220-some races – however many it is – when you start racing," said Manzo, 61, who also has 125 divisional/regional wins in his unparalleled career. "You just start, you keep going, and this is where you end up."

The only thing Manzo didn't do in his final race as a driver was qualify No. 1 for the record field (5.63 bump). He was third, behind championship runner-up John Lombardo and Annie Whiteley, but quickly established control in eliminations with low ET of all four rounds. His 5.50 in a first-round win over Kris Hool took low ET from Lombardo, and he dropped it to 5.49 in round two against Von Smith.