Reigning Top Fuel champ Shawn Langdon won his first event of the season Sunday, taking home the Wally from the Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway in Tennessee. Tommy Johnson Jr. (Funny Car) and Erica Enders-Stevens (Pro Stock) also won at Bristol.
Langdon earned round wins over his Al-Anabi Racing teammate Khalid alBalooshi, Terry McMillen and Bob Vandergriff on his way to the final round against Doug Kalitta.
“I was a little worried about pedalling in the final going up against the Kalitta group,” said Langdon. “They are definitely the hottest car in the circuit. That’s why it is great to be a part of the Alan Johnson and Al-Anabi Racing. You feel like you have a pretty good race car too.”
Johnson Jr. earned his first win of the season and 10th of his career – first since 2007 – with round wins against Cruz Pedregon, Robert Hight and Don Schumacher Racing teammate Matt Hagan on his way to the finals against Tim Wilkerson.
“I’m thrilled that we were able to get it done and all that work paid off,” said Johnson Jr. “The guys did a great job today. We’ve qualified great we just couldn’t get it to go our way on race day. We’ve been competitive and we just couldn’t close the deal. It’s tough out here. I wanted to prove that we’re not in a slump and we needed to step it up a little bit and we did.”
Enders-Stevens took home her third Wally of the season with her win over Jonathan Gray in the final round. She beat Larry Morgan in the opening round of eliminations before benefitting from red lights by Greg Anderson and Jeg Coughlin Jr. to reach the finals.
“We had to dig deeper this weekend,” said the Pro Stock points leader. “Everybody out here is hungry. As a driver, I knew I had to step up to the plate and get up on the wheel. Momentum is huge in this sport and we just need to continue to carry it. To get it done today meant the world to me and my team gave me a car to drive to the winner’s circle.”
The 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule continues next weekend in Epping, New Hampshire, home of the second annual Auto-Plus NHRA New England Nationals at New England Dragway, Thursday through Sunday, June 19th through 22nd. Keep up with the action at www.nhra.com.
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