J&J Freight Train Keeps Rolling 

Following his resounding victory at Denver’s high altitude Mopar-Mile High Nationals the week before, Allen Johnson showed the same speedy consistency at sea level during NHRA’s annual touchdown, the Sonoma Nationals, held in the heart of Northern California’s scenic Wine Country….

Johnson raced to his fourth Pro Stock win of the season, beating four-time world champ Greg Anderson in the final round. Johnson, who will join Brown in a quest to sweep the Western Swing in Seattle next week, won from the top qualifying position with a final round effort of 6.542 at 211.76 in his Team Mopar Dodge Avenger, overcoming a near perfect reaction time from Anderson, who trailed with a 6.573 at 210.93 in his Summit Racing Chevy Camaro.

Allen Johnson qualified on the PS pole for the 8th time this season and took his 4th win of the year

“We’ve got an awesome race car and a great team making decisions,” Johnson said. “It’s a sweet feeling knowing every time you go up there you are going to be the fastest car. You just have to be consistent as a driver. I was able to do that today and hopefully I can carry that on into Seattle.”

Johnson used a consistent string of low 6.50s to beat early round opponents Matt Hartford, Jeg Coughlin and Jason Line. He also had the quicker reaction time in each round except the final. 

“We’re learning how to win, round by round by round,” Johnson said. “And we’re taking it one round at a time.” 

Johnson, who increased his series lead to 54 points overAnderson, feels confident that he can become the eighth driver to sweep the swing and only the second Pro Stock driver to accomplish the rare feat, joining Anderson (2004).

“I can’t imagine winning two in a row and we’ve done it with earning maximum points,” Johnson said. “Every round of qualifying and eliminations we had the quickest car. It’s mind-boggling to me. We are getting in the championship mind set. I’ve never thought of myself as the best out here. So I have to start thinking that way and get my confidence up so we can get ready for the Countdown.”

Antron Brown raced to the Top Fuel victory Sunday at the NHRA Sonoma Nationals, and moved into position to become the first NHRA driver to sweep the three-race Western Swing twice.  Johnny Gray (Funny Car), and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were winners of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event held north of  San Francisco.

Antron Brown won for the 2nd week in a row setting up a possible TF "Western Sweep"

Brown, who became one of seven drivers in NHRA history to sweep the Western Swing in 2009, outran Spencer Massey in the final to claim his third win at Sonoma, his fourth victory of the season and 35th of his career. Brown’s Matco Tools dragster produced a final round performance of 3.814 seconds at 318.02 mph to hold off Massey’s charging FRAM/Prestone dragster, which finished in 3.826 at 323.50.

“The car is just running phenomenal, it’s so easy to drive,” said Brown, who defeated Steve Torrence, Tony Schumacher and Brandon Bernstein to advance to the final round.

Brown says he’ll try to remember what worked for him in 2009 as he approaches a second sweep of the Western Swing.

“We’re going to take the same approach this time like we did the last time,” Brown said. “We aren’t going to look into the future and we’ll just focus on the here and now.” 

Due to qualifying bonus points earned by Massey, he and Brown moved into a tie for the series lead. They are 126 in front of third place Tony Schumacher, the seven-time world champ. 

“We’re just trying to shoot for it and win as many races as possible,” Brown said. “We want to go into the Countdown as the points leader and there’s an extra 20 points on the line if you can do that. That proved to be huge last year in the final race of the season. We are clawing for everything that we can get.” 

In Funny Car, Gray claimed his second victory of the season by defeating defending world champ Matt Hagan in the final round. Gray posted a winning effort of 4.142 at 305.15 in his Service Central Dodge Charger, while Hagan trailed with a 5.461 at 146.67 in his Aaron’s/Mopar Charger. 

“We had a great race car all weekend,” Gray said. “We struggled a little in qualifying, but I have a great crew and crew chief and they gave me a great race car today.” 

Gray won from the No. 6 qualifying position, beating Tim Wilkerson, Gary Densham andDenverwinner Jack Beckman en route to his third final round of the season. With the win he remained in fifth place, but now trails fourth place Mike Neff by 18 points. He’s 62 points out of third.

Johnny Gray won for the 2nd time this season and the third time in his career in fuel FC

 “I’d like to move up a little bit more and earn a few more points to start the Countdown with,” said Gray, who didn’t make the Countdown last season. “I’m ready for the Countdown, we’ve got a great race car.”  

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, top qualifier Krawiec raced to his fifth victory of the season and second in a row, once again beating teammate Andrew Hines in the final round. In a battle between Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidsons, Krawiec raced to a final round performance of 6.809 at 197.74 to drive around the quicker-reacting Hines, who trailed with a 6.839 at 196.27. 

To advance to the final, Krawiec defeated Angie Smith, John Hall and Hector Arana Sr. Krawiec’s bike posted the low E.T. of the weekend in the first round win with a 6.785. He then ran low 6.80s in the final three round wins. 

“You can’t make mistakes out here,” Krawiec said. “We’re focusing on round wins. You get enough of them and that will equal race wins and then enough of those will win championships. I just want to see win lights.” 

The win was the eighth of the season for the Harley team and continues their domination dating back to last season. Hines advanced to his fourth consecutive final round appearance. The two riders are one and two in the series standings and pulling away from the pack. 

The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series continues Aug. 3-5 with the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals presented by Super Start Batteries at Pacific Raceways nearSeattle, the third and final leg of the Western Swing. 

Event Essentials:  NHRA Somona Nationals (July 27-29th, 2012) Somona, CA

TOP FUEL Name ET MPH Career Win
Winner: Antron Brown 3.814 318.02 35th
R/UP: Spencer Massey 3.826 323.50  
Low ET: Spencer Massey 3.777    
Top Speed: Spencer Massey   328.62  
Bump Spot:   3.962    
FUNNY CAR Name ET MPH Career Win
Winner: Johnny Gray 4.142 305.15 3rd
R/UP: Matt Hagan 5.461 146.67  
Low ET: Cruz Pedregon 4.028    
Top Speed: Ron Capps   317.57  
Bump Spot:   4.337    
PRO STOCK Name ET MPH Career Win
Winner: Allen Johnson 6.542 211.76 13th
R/UP: Greg Anderson 6.573 219.93  
Low ET: Erica Enders 6.512    
Top Speed: Allen Johnson   212.46  
Bump Spot:   6.908    
Winner: Eddie Krawiec 6.809 197.74 16th
R/UP: Andrew Hines 6.839 196.27  
Low ET: Eddie Krawiec 6.785    
Top Speed: Eddie Krawiec   198.35  
Bump Spot:   7.010    
LUCAS OIL        
Sportsman Winners: Name ET MPH  
Top Dragster Bobby McMahan 6.553 206.76  
Top Sportsman Ed Olpin 7.575 181.11  
Super Stock Justin Lamb 8.586 154.32  
Stock Tommy Gaynor 10.86 109.19  
Super Comp Aaron Kinard 8.952 164.75  
Super Gas Rob Willis 9.958 148.97  


Divison Six Dominates Sportsman

Six Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series racers took home silver 25thAnniversary NHRA Sonoma Nationals NHRA Wally trophies this weekend with Justin Lamb leading the way.

Lamb, Henderson, Nev., grabbed his third Sonoma Valley win and his first in Super Stock beating Dave Raybourn, Modesto, Calif., by .0026 seconds or about seven inches at the finish line.  Lamb clocked in at 154.37 mph in 8.586 to Raybourn’s 8.589, 154.14 mph lap.

Last year’s Super Gas runner up Rob Willis, Edmonds, Wash., closed the deal this year taking home his first national event win running 9.958, 148.97 over Ronnie Lahn while Bobby Ray McMahan, Lodi, Calif., collected his first as well.  Val Torres Jr. had a slight advantage off the line but McMahan drove around the Glendora, Calif., racer for the win in 6.553 seconds at 206.76 mph.

The Super Comp final was close off the line with near identical reaction times but it was Aaron Kinard, San Marcos, Calif., taking the win as Justin Morgan broke out but .006 seconds giving the win to Kinard coming in at 8.952 seconds.

Ed Olpin and Tommy Gaynor rounded out the winner’s with Olpin taking the honors in Top Sportsman for his second national event win but first in Top Sportsman.  Olpin, Pleasant Grove, Utah, went 181.11 mph in 7.575 seconds for the win over Todd Stewart out of Kilgore, Texas.  Gaynor defeated Dave Bridgewater in a dual of Camaros for the Stock Eliminator crown.  Gaynor went 10.863 at 109.19 mph.

Posted by:  NHRA Communications & Eric Lotz

DragRaceCanada File Photos by:  Bruce Biegler