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Jun 16, 2014 - 07:03 AM
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2014 NHRA: Goodyear, NHRA at Bristol
Posted by: newsla on Jun 16, 2014 - 07:01 AM
2014 NHRA: Goodyear, NHRA at Bristol

Call it the seven year celebration or the Father’s Day program or something else. Tommy Johnson Jr. calls it winning.


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Johnson won the Funny Car final of the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway, his first win in seven years. Johnson’s previous win came at Englishtown, also on Father’s Day. He also won on Father’s Day in 1988, while driving a Top Alcohol Funny Car.

Shawn Langdon won in Top Fuel and Erica Enders-Stevens continued her category-leading season by winning in Pro Stock.

Friday’s second round of qualifying was stopped before completion by weather, but the track temperatures were among the highest of the season on Saturday and Sunday. The racing surface’s reading peaked Sunday at 136 degrees.

“I woke up and thought, ‘Well, its Father’s Day and we seem to do pretty good on Father’s Day,’” Johnson said. “It gave me confidence.”

Johnson beat Tim Wilkerson in the Funny Car final, having already dispatched former Funny Car champs Matt Hagan, Robert Hight and Cruz Pedregon. Johnson collected his tenth career win in the nitro categories at Bristol.

Johnson did not race between 2009 and 2011 and ran a limited schedule until this season.

Hight retained his points lead with 905 points. John Force went out in the first round at Bristol, but remained second in the standings with 640.

Langdon beat Doug Kalitta in the Top Fuel final. “They have the hottest car in the category this year,” Langdon said of Kalitta.

Langdon, the defending Top Fuel champion, said the track temperature was a concern. The temperatures at Bristol were among the highest of the season. Langdon said, “It’s always tough when you go to the first hot track of the season.”

Kalitta leads the Top Fuel title hunt with 902 points. Antron Brown is next with 782.

The eliminations rounds of Top Fuel made a mess of the championship standings. The drivers who started the weekend in positions four through ten were out of the running by the end of the second round. It was the same story in Funny Car, where the four drivers with a berth in the semifinals all started the weekend in seventh place or worse in the standings.

Enders-Stevens improved her lead in the standings when she beat Jonathan Gray in the Pro Stock finals, her third win this year.

“Bristol has always been good to me,” Enders-Stevens said. “It’s one of my three favorite tracks.”

Enders-Stevens has scored more points than any other NHRA professional so far this season, 908. Jeg Coughlin, the driver Enders-Stevens beat in the semifinal round, is second in points with 753.

Goodyear employs about 69,000 people at manufacturing plants and facilities in 22 nations. Based in Akron, Ohio, Goodyear is among the largest tiremakers in the world and is the worldwide leader in race tire innovation.

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