Langdon, Johnson, Enders-Stevens take home Bristol hardware
Sunday, June 15, 2014

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Reigning NHRA Mello Yello Top Fuel world champion Shawn Langdon claimed his first victory of the season Sunday at the Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals presented by Tri-Cities Area Ford Dealers.

Tommy Johnson Jr. (Funny Car) and Erica Enders-Stevens (Pro Stock) also were winners in their respective categories at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event at Bristol Dragway.

Langdon raced to his first Bristol Dragway victory and ninth win of his career in his Al-Anabi Racing dragster by posting a final-round performance of 3.819 seconds at 320.51 mph to defeat series points leader Doug Kalitta. With the win, Langdon moves to third in the points standings.

Shawn Langdon
Tommy Johnson Jr.
Erica Enders-Stevens

“With the stiff competition in Top Fuel, one thing you have to learn is patience and not to take anything for granted,” Langdon said. “We knew it was going to be tough. We’re still learning. Fortunately, we got this win, and most importantly, we hope to continue earning those Mello Yello points.”

Langdon, who qualified No. 7 for the event, defeated teammate Khalid alBalooshi, Terry McMillen, and Bob Vandergriff Jr. en route to his third final-round appearance of the season.

“I was a little worried about pedalling in the final going up against the Kalitta group,” Langdon said. “They are definitely the hottest car in the circuit. But that’s why it's great to be a part of a great team like the Al-Anabi team and to work with Alan Johnson. You feel like you have a pretty good race car, too.”

In Funny Car, Johnson earned his first victory since 2007. The Indianapolis driver took his 10th career win and first in Bristol with a performance of 4.156 at 302.14 in his Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger, defeating Tim Wilkerson’s Levi Ray & Shoup Ford Mustang in the final.

“I’m thrilled that we were able to get it done and all that work paid off,” Johnson said. “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.”

Johnson, who was the No. 5 qualifier of the event, defeated Cruz Pedregon, points leader Robert Hight, and local favorite Matt Hagan en route to the final round.

“We didn’t get to run Friday night because of the weather, and Saturday we had a problem in the car and didn’t get to run the last session,” Johnson said. “We just kept with our lane choice and able to stay in the right lane all day. It worked perfect, and the car was running great.”

Enders-Stevens continues to shine in the Pro Stock category this season. The series points leader secured her third win of the season and ninth of her career with a performance of 6.698 at 207.15 in her Elite Motorsports Chevy Camaro, defeating rookie Jonathan Gray in the final round. It was the first win in Bristol for Enders-Stevens, who increased her series lead with the win.

“We had to dig deeper this weekend,” the Texas native said. “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 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series continues in Epping with the second annual Auto-Plus NHRA New England Nationals at New England Dragway, June 19-22.

Peter Farber raced to his first career victory on Sunday during the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series portion of the event.

Farber, the No. 13 qualifier, drove his PJ & Sons Towing/CRC Brakeleen 69’ Dodge Daytona to a 6.087-second pass at 240.51 mph to defeat No. 7 seed Steve Matusek in the final. Matusek trailed with a 6.971 at 152.61 in his Aeromotive ’68 Camaro.

Farber defeated Danny Rowe, Dan Stevenson, and Jim Laurita en route to his first career final. With the victory, Farber moves to the eighth position in the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series points standings.

Mike Janis took over the points lead after he advanced to the semifinals, and season-long leader Rickie Smith lost in the opening round.

The NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series continues July 3-6 at the eighth annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio.

Related stories
Friday: Force, Worsham, Gray lead Friday qualifying in Bristol
Saturday: Force earns second No. 1 start; Worsham, Gray also lead Bristol fields

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Updated 6/15/2014 (Following the tenth of 24 events; Season victories in parentheses)
Place Driver Points
1. Doug Kalitta, Ypsilanti, Mich., Mac Tools dragster (1) 902
2. Antron Brown, Indianapolis, Matco Tools dragster (3) 782
3. Shawn Langdon, Indianapolis, Al-Anabi Racing dragster (1) 751
4. Spencer Massey, Fort Worth, Texas, Battery Extender dragster (2) 652
5. Steve Torrence, Kilgore, Texas, Capco Contactors dragster 617
6. Tony Schumacher, Chicago, U.S. Army dragster (1) 557
7. Khalid alBalooshi, Los Angeles, Al-Anabi Racing dragster (1) 535
8. Brittany Force, Yorba Linda, Calif., Castrol Edge dragster 502
9. Richie Crampton, Indianapolis, GEICO/Lucas Oil dragster (1) 464
10. J.R. Todd, Indianapolis, Optima/Advance Auto Parts dragster 429
1. Robert Hight, Yorba Linda, Calif., Auto Club Ford Mustang (4) 905
2. John Force, Yorba Linda, Calif., Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang (1) 640
3. Tommy Johnson Jr., Brownsburg, Ind., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger (1) 627
4. Alexis DeJoria, Austin, Texas, Patron XO Cafe Toyota Camry (2) 619
5. Del Worsham, Villa Park, Calif., DHL Toyota Camry 593
6. Courtney Force, Yorba Linda, Calif., Traxxas Ford Mustang (1) 581
7. Ron Capps, Carlsbad, Calif., NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger 571
8. Cruz Pedregon, Brownsburg, Ind., Snap-on Tools Toyota Camry (1) 538
9. Tim Wilkerson, Springfield, Ill., Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford Mustang 533
10. Matt Hagan, Christiansburg, Va., Mopar/Rocky Boots Dodge Charger 527
1. Erica Enders-Stevens, New Orleans, Elite Motorsports Chevy Camaro (3) 908
2. Jeg Coughlin Jr., Delaware, Ohio, Dodge Dart (2) 753
3. Allen Johnson, Greeneville, Tenn., Team Mopar Dodge Dart (3) 704
4. Jason Line, Mooresville, N.C., Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro (1) 698
5. Shane Gray, Mooresville, N.C., Gray Manufacturing Chevy Camaro 651
6. Vincent Nobile, Dix Hills, N.Y., Mountain View Tire Chevy Camaro 617
7. Dave Connolly, Mooresville, N.C., Charter Chevy Camaro 587
8. V. Gaines, Lakewood, Colo., Kendall Oil Dodge Dart 487
9. Chris McGaha, Odessa, Texas, Harlow Sammons of Odessa Chevy Camaro 459
10. Rodger Brogdon, Tomball, Texas, Kent Services/Trucking Chevy Camaro 390
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE (following the fourth of 16 events)
1. Andrew Hines, Brownsburg, Ind., Screamin' Eagle Harley-Davidson (2) 406
2. Eddie Krawiec, Brownsburg, Ind., Screamin' Eagle Harley-Davidson (1) 382
3. John Hall, Hamden, Conn., Matt Smith Racing Buell 285
4. Hector Arana Jr, Milltown, Ind., Lucas Oil Buell 263
5. Scotty Pollacheck, Medford, Ore., Quality Tire Buell 252
6. Michael Ray, New Braunfels, Texas, Gottspeed/Star Racing Buell 235
7. Matt Smith, King, N.C., Matt Smith Racing Buell 206
8. Steve Johnson, Birmingham, Ala., Full Throttle Powersports Suzuki (1) 187
9t. Hector Arana Sr., Milltown, Ind., Lucas Oil Buell 168
9t. Chaz Kennedy, Ormond Beach, Fla., Star Racing Buell 168