Despite some rather untypical rainy weather – NHRA’s annual desert event stop is a wrap…

Funny Car veteran, Tommy Johnson Jr. added a trophy to his collection at the 2020 NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in front of a sold out crowd. The win marks Johnson’s 18th career Funny Car win and his second in Phoenix.

Steve Torrence (Top Fuel) and Erica Enders (Pro Stock) also took home wins in their respective categories at the second of 24 events on the 2020 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.

In an all Don Schumacher Racing final, Johnson went 3.883-seconds at 326.40 mph to defeat teammate Jack Beckman during the final round at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in his MD Anderson Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat. He defeated Paul Lee, Bob Tasca ll and Ron Capps to advance to the finals during Sunday’s event.

Tommy Johnson Jr collected his 18th career NHRA title in fuel FC when he topped his DSR Racing teammate Jack Beckman in the Arizona Nationals final round.

“We had a good car,” said Johnson, whose last Phoenix win came back in 2006. “The last qualifying run showed us that we have a solid car. Coming up here today, we had a lot of confidence. We went out first round and laid down a solid number. We weren’t low (elapsed time) but we were close. We came out second round and sat low ET so we knew we had a solid car. As a driver, going into each round knowing you have a car that’s going to perform makes your job a little easier. It gives you a little less stress. The guys did a great job. Even in Pomona we a had a good car, just dropped a cylinder second round and event had a little issue with that in qualifying here.”

In Top Fuel, defending world champion Torrence picked up his 37th career win and his second in Phoenix after going 3.679-seconds at 321.27 in his CAPCO Contractors dragster. Torrence defeated Jim Maroney, Shawn Langdon and dad Billy Torrence to advance to the final round, where he out pedaled Doug Kalitta for the win. Sunday’s win marks Torrence’s first win in his first race of the 2020 season, having missed the season opener in Pomona two weeks ago.

Defending NHRA Mello Yello TF Champion Steve Torrence’s first start of 2020 – produced a convincing win.

“First round I had a little bit of the jitters,” said Torrence. “We missed Pomona so you came here and this is the first round of the first race of the season for us and I was a little bit nervous to go up there. We’re just going to see how the races go and what the weather throws at us. I think that we’ve always had a good hot weather tune-up. We’re just going to try to develop cool track conditions. We’re easing up to it. We’ll just see how it goes and that’s something that we really need to try to put our thumb on.”

In Pro Stock, three-time world champion Erica Enders grabbed her first win of the season and the 26th of her career with a 6.531-second pass at 210.44 in her Melling/Elite Performance Chevrolet Camaro. Sunday’s win moves Enders into the top ten for all-time wins in the Pro Stock class. Enders knocked off Fernando Cuadra Jr., Chris McGaha and Jason Line to advance to the final round where she defeated Bo Butner.

3X and defending NHRA Mello Yello Pro Stock champion Erica Enders rolled to another title in her Chevy Camaro.

“I’d have to say today was excellent,” said Enders. “Coming in here off of Jeg’s (Coughlin) dominating performance in Pomona, we knew that we just had to get my car happy because we share data obviously. There’s no reason why my shouldn’t run the same as Jeg’s Our objective coming in was to just get my car as happy as possible. We tested in Tuscan on Wednesday, so coming in we were definitely optimistic and finally got our act together for that one fun on Saturday. The guys gave me a tremendous race car today. Very consistent, very fast and we just crushed the competition today and it was really fun.”

The 2020 Arizona Nationals also did include season round #2 for the M/T presented exciting brand of Top Fuel Harley motorcycles.

In that feature – North Carolina’s Jay Turner came away victorious – notching his 11th career NHRA national event score.

Turner did receive a final round gift when his opponent Ricky House (the low qualifier – 6.285 secs) had a foul start — and both riders then clicked off their machines.

Jay Turner set both low ET and top speed while winning in the M/T Top Fuel Harley division.

Prior to that however — Turner had been very fast including a 6.193 secs 237.75 mph lap in round #1 over Tii Tharpe which was low ET and top speed of the race. He also won over Randal Andras in round #2 with an equally impressive 6.209 secs ET.

NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series racing action continues to Gainesville, Fla. on March 12-15 at the 51st annual AMALIE Motor Oil Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway.

The Lucas Oil Lowdown (Final Round Results)

Brad Burton collected career win #9 in Stock with his high-flying D/SA Firebird.

Competition Eliminator — Dean Carter, Dragster, 6.904, 177.00 def. Doug Lambeck, Pontiac Sunfire, 8.335, 160.54.

Super Stock — Kyle Rizzoli, Chevy Camaro, 9.479, 133.65 def. Justin Lamb, Chevy Cobalt, 8.872, 149.40.

Stock Eliminator — Brad Burton, Pontiac Firebird, 10.759, 109.97 def. Jon Irving, Plymouth
Satellite, 11.416, 108.92.

Super Comp — Val Torres, Dragster, 13.321, 92.96 def. Cal Belden, Dragster, Foul – Red Light.

Super Gas — Ed Olpin Jr, Chevy Corvette, 9.943, 158.35 def. Matthew Larson, Corvette, 9.932, 169.21.

Ed Olpin Jr (from Utah) won in Super Gas 9.90

Kyle Rizzoli – who finished #2 in NHRA Lucas Oil Championship points last year – scored in Super Stock with his SS/CA Camaro

Top Dragster presented by Vortech Superchargers — Art Hoover, Dragster, 6.603, 198.93 def. Phil Unruh, Dragster, 6.346, 223.21.

Top Sportsman presented by Vortech Superchargers — Paul Mitsos, Dodge Stratus, 6.688, 199.88 def. Ed Olpin, Chevy Camaro, 6.935, 198.58.

Driving his Mopar — Paul Mitsos won his second career NHRA national event in Top Sportsman.

Dean Carter rolled his front motored B/ND to the Comp title.

Posted with files by NHRA Communications and Bruce Biegler

Photos by Auto Imagery – Marc Gewertz and Bruce Biegler