Tanner Gray wins after day of upsets in Las Vegas
Lady Luck smiled on Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Tommy Johnson Jr. (Funny Car) and Tanner Gray (Pro Stock) Sunday at the Denso Spark Plugs NHRA Nationals.
With Brown and Johnson’s wins at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Don Schumacher Racing now has 300 career NHRA victories. Meanwhile, at the age of 17, Tanner Gray became the youngest race winner in NHRA pro history.
In Top Fuel, win No. 300 was guaranteed to come after the Funny Car and Pro Stock results were in and it was an all-Don-Schumacher-Racing final. Brown was set to take on teammate Tony Schumacher after defeating Scott Palmer, Steve Torrence and Leah Pritchett en route to the final. Brown turned a 3.747 in the final against Schumacher’s 3.804. It was the second straight race in which the two had met in the final, with Schumacher winning two weeks ago at the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals.
In Funny Car, Tommy Johnson Jr. survived a day of upsets that saw him take on Jonnie Lindberg in the final. For Lindberg, it was his second consecutive final in just his second career NHRA Funny Car race – a feat that had never been achieved before. Johnson took on Jim Campbell after taking the No. 6 qualifying spot, and then defeated Robert Hight in Round 2 after the John Force Racing drive double stepped. Johnson then defeated John Force in the Semi and then Lindberg in the final after running a 3.933.
In Pro Stock, 17-year-old rookie Tanner Gray became the youngest winner in NHRA pro history as he took his first career NHRA Pro Stock win in just the fourth race of the season. Gray had qualified fifth and had made it to the final after taking out Deric Kramer – who red-lighted – and then the KB Racing teammates of Greg Anderson and Jason Line – en route to the final against Bo Butner. Gray won on a holeshot with a 6.681. The win comes just two weeks after Shane Gray won in Gainesville, and now the Pro Stock class has seen four different winners in the opening four races of the season.
In Top Fuel Harley, Jay Turner picked up his second win of the year after squaring off against Mike Pelrine in the final.
The NHRA drivers will be in action again in three weeks’ time from the NHRA SpringNationals in Houston.