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Winter Nationals, Arizona Nationals completed in Phoenix
4-10 Force
Veteran driver John Force picked up win number 156 in the completion of the previously rained out final round of the Winter Nationals, taking the Funny Car category checkered flag in Phoenix. Photo By Mike Burghardt

Weekend racing featured plenty of action for fans of the NHRA.

In Top Fuel, in the completion of the previously rained out Winter Nationals, the final round featured Tony Schumacher against Justin Ashley. Known for his starting line prowess, Ashley got away first (00.023 to 0.083) and held on for a baby holeshot 3.802 at 330.15 mph to (quicker) 3.772 at 325.00 mph win. This was Ashley’s 14th career Top Fuel event win.

In the rained out Winter Nationals Funny Car final round, it would be the battle between 16-time champion John Force against the up-and-coming star and four-time class champion Matt Hagan, nicknamed by many as the “Hulk” for his body building efforts. Force got away first (0.035 to 0.064) and held off a charging Hagan, as Hagan’s car lost power near the finish line. Force won with a 4.033 at 318.24 mph to 4.048 at 283.61 mph. For Force, it was his first event win in about two years and the 156th of his legendary career, more than any other driver in the sport.

The Winter Nationals Pro Stock final round featured Erica Enders and “double 0” Dallas Glenn, nicknamed for his starting line prowess. Enders was a little slower on her starting line reaction times than normal and it would cost her. Glenn got away first (0.024 to 0.042) and held on for a 6.537 at 209.14 mph to 6.530 at 209.52 mph win, his ninth career in Pro Stock.


The Mission Foods 2 Fast/2 Tasty Challenge

Tony Schumacher defeated Brittany Force (3.925 at 292.77 mph to 4.378 at 216.62 mph) to claim his first career Mission Foods 2 Fast/2 Tasty Challenge event. This event was carried over from the rained out Pomona Winter Nationals and made up of the semifinal round match ups. Schumacher got off the mark first (0.067 to 0.094) and never looked back, as Force lost traction at about 100 feet and shut off. The Mission Foods 2 Fast/2 Tasty competitors consisted of Brittany Force vs. Justin Ashley and Tony Schumacher vs. Billy Torrence.

J.R. Todd defeated John Force (3.974 at 316.67 mph to 4.007 at 320.86 mph) to take the Mission Foods 2 Fast/2 Tasty Challenge event based on semifinal round match ups from the Winter Nationals. Todd left first (0.068 to 0.081) and pulled away for his second career 2 Fast/2 Tasty Challenge win. The competitors consisted of Matt Hagan vs. J.R. Todd and John Force vs. Ron Capps.

Erica Enders has had the dominating car in the Pro Stock category and that was pretty much the case in Phoenix. In the Mission Foods event, not much changed. Four drivers competed in the race, based on their semi-final round match ups from recent Winter Nationals. It was Erica Enders vs. Greg Anderson and Dallas Glenn vs. Mason McGaha. Enders utilized better car performance (6.518 at 210.90 mph to 6.575 at 209.72 mph) to dispatch with Anderson, who left quicker (0.002 to 0.032). She then beat McGaha, who got a lucky break against a red-lighting Glenn, 6.541 at 210.87 mph to 6.591 at 208.91 mph.

The NHRA Arizona Nationals had its share of weather-related problems but the NHRA Safety Safari and track crew kept everything afloat. The event drew another sell-out crowd.

In Top Fuel it came down to a battle between Justin Ashley and Shawn Langdon. Both drivers came in with one win in this season. Ashley had a chance to double-up by winning two events at the same track on the same weekend, as he collected his win for the rained out Winter Nationals on Saturday of this event. Langdon collected his win at the season opening Gator Nationals. Langdon got away first (0.050 to 0.055) and drove away from Ashley (3.760 at 318.69 mph to 3.849 at 324.98 mph) to claim the Top Fuel Arizona Nationals event win on Sunday.

In Funny Car, one of the big stories was the resurgence of John Force. He collected his 156th career event victory by winning the rain delayed Winter Nationals final round on Saturday. He runner-upped in the Mission Foods challenge (also on Saturday) and then looked good in Sunday eliminations, until J.R. Todd took him out with a 4.003 at 319.90 mph to 4.03 at 317.64 mph in the second round. Todd, who won the season opening Gator Nationals, then lost to Austin Prock in the semi-final round. Prock, who has taken over the driving duties of Robert Hight’s car, while he takes care of some personal medical issues, would then square off against Alexis DeJoria. Both Prock, whose dad (Jimmy Prock) is crew chief and his older brother (Thomas) is assistant crew chief, had anything but easy paths to the final round. But in the final, Prock left first (0.064 to 0.099) and never looked back with a 3.952 at 320.74 mph to 4.049 at 316.90 mph winning effort. It was Prock’s first career win in a Funny Car, adding him to a special group of drivers that have won events in both Top Fuel and Funny Car.

In Pro Stock, Jeg Coughlin Jr. and Erica Enders were the top two qualifiers. But neither was around for the final round. Enders lost to her teammate (Aaron Stanfield) in the second round and Coughlin lost to Greg Anderson in the semi-final round. The final round matched up recent winner of the Winter Nationals, Dallas Glenn and his teammate Greg Anderson. It was Anderson who took a starting line advantage and drove away to the win (104th of his career) with a 6.582 at 208.97 mph to 6.618 at 208.91 mph performance.

The next event is at the Strip in Las Vegas Motor Speedway, for the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals. Pro Stock racer Camrie Caruso had a crash past the finish line (at about 142 mph), contacting both walls. Though she suffered a broken leg, she is reported to be in good spirits. She plans on being back racing in about three months.

4-10 Langdon
In the Top Fuel final of the NHRA event in Phoenix, Shawn Langdon had the faster start and drove away from Justin Ashley to claim the Arizona Nationals event win on Sunday. Photo By Mike Burghardt