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TOMMY JOHNSON JR. RELISHES FATHER'S IMPACT ON HIS CAREER

Tommy Johnson Jr. scored 21 NHRA national event victories in NHRA competition while racing Top Fuel, Funny Car, and Top Alcohol Funny Car. He also won four IHRA national events behind the wheel of a Top Fuel dragster and one while racing Top Alcohol Funny Car.

None of this success, he says, would have been possible if he hadn't been born the son of Tommy Johnson Sr.

"That's definitely for sure," Johnson said. "He loved drag racing more than anybody I know, and he grew back in the day, everybody would street race, and that's what; everybody he took it to the track right away when he had the chance, and that's where he took me. He and my mom met, and then they went to the drag races, and then when I was born, we continued to go to the drag races. So I wouldn't be who I am if it wasn't for him."

AARON STRONG MAKING HIS PRO STOCK SEASON DEBUT IN LAS VEGAS

 

From 2017-2019, Aaron Strong didn’t do any racing in NHRA’s Pro Stock ranks.

Strong, who won the 2016 Seattle event, which was completed at the U.S. Nationals and beat Vincent Nobile in the finals, was back in the seat at the end of the 2020 season following an out-of-the blue text from Pro Stock team owner Richard Freeman.

“Richard sent me a text that said, ‘Is your Pro Stock license current?’ I texted back ‘yes.’ Then, I sent him back a text that said ‘Why?’,” Strong said. “He said Friday (Oct. 30) at noon that (Bob) Benza’s not going to race and if I could get down there, I could race the car. I woke up Friday morning not knowing I was going to race the car and my wife and kids got on a plane and I was going down the track Saturday. I hadn’t been down a dragstrip since the World Finals in 2016 at Pomona, (Calif.).” 

BOBBY BODE READY FOR HIS FIRST CAREER FOUR-WIDE RACE IN LAS VEGAS

 

 

When you’re an 18-year-old nitro Funny Car driver, you’re bound to experience new things with each race.

That will be the case for Bobby Bode when he competes at NHRA’s Denso Spark Plugs Four-Wide Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, April 16-18.

Bobby will be competing in his inaugural Four-Wide race. Bob, Bobby’s father/team owner and fellow nitro Funny Car driver, has talked to his son about what it is like competing in a Four-Wide national event because he has done it several times.

CLOSE CALL FOR HANEY BEFORE MWDRS SLAMMERS RUNNER-UP

One week removed from the season opener for the Summit Racing Equipment Mid-West Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service, veteran driver and MWDRS owner Keith Haney remained grateful a wild qualifying mishap didn't preclude a runner-up finish in the series' unique consolation Pro Mod Slammers race.

Running in the right lane at Xtreme Raceway Park (XRP) in Ferris, TX, Haney's 2019 "Black Mamba" Camaro launched hard, but just before halfway down the strip it abruptly lost traction and skidded to its left. Fortunately, Haney was on a solo pass as the car slid sideways and almost turned over, crossing the eighth-mile finish line in the opposite lane with the bottom of its Jerry Bickel-built chassis in full display to the starting area.

CALAMITY AND CARNAGE STILL CAN'T SLOW STEVIE FAST IN SWEET 16 4.0 WIN

Steve Jackson's run to the RVW crown at Sweet 16 Apr. 1-3, began with a 3.59-seconds qualifying run that placed him fifth behind top qualifier Daniel Pharris, who ran a record-setting and historic 3.49, as it marked the first official radial tire pass in the 3.40s.

In the first pair out for eliminations Jackson opened with a 3.61 at 206.86-mph solo pass after Casey Bushmeyer's '63 Corvette was shut off on the line due to leakage. That set up a second-round clash of teammates as Jackson's screw-blown 2015 Camaro went up against the nitrous-breathing C7 Corvette of fellow Georgian Marcus Birt.

"We went out and just smoked the engine in the first round; I mean, just burned it up bad. Fire-slotted the block and the heads, a head gasket, and caught the car on fire. We had to change engines real quick after that with not a lot of time," Jackson said.

FRIENDS REMEMBER BLAKE COPSON AS AN AMAZING PERSON, RACER

 

Driving for Manny Buginga last year, Blake Copson was on top of the Duck X world, having won the X275 class in October at No Mercy 11, adding to his Duck X Magic 8 win earlier in the summer at Orlando. Tragically, the 27-year-old's life ended far too soon Mar. 6 this year and the entire Sweet 16 event Apr. 1-3, at South Georgia Motorsports Park was dedicated to his memory.

The Buginga Motorsports '03 Mustang that Copson drove to victory was on the grounds, too, wheeled by Ken Quartuccio, and the pits were filled with racers and fans alike wearing special "BCOP" memorial t-shirts and hoodies to acknowledge and celebrate Copson's life and the impact he'd made in just a short drag radial career.

Prior to second-round eliminations, Copson's car made a slow ceremonial pass down the right lane at SGMP amid silent prayers and thoughts for his family, friends and fellow competitors.

No one at SGMP that day knew Copson any better than Josh Ledford, his tuner, crew chief and closest friend at the track--and the man who flipped the starter's switch that triggered the tree for Copson's last ride.

SWEET 16 4.0 RECAP: MO KNOWS PRO 275

 After winning Lights Out earlier this year, Mo Hall and his Fulton Racing Engines-powered '07 Corvette certainly had to be considered among the favorites heading into Sweet 16. The Laytonsville, MD-based pair certainly lived up to the billing with a third-place start and first-place finish Apr. 3, at South Georgia Motorsports Park.

After eight rounds of Pro 275 qualifying over Thursday and Friday, Shawn Ayers, driving a blown '69 Camaro for NFL star Fletcher Cox, secured the number-one position with a record-setting 3.667-seconds run at 203.61 mph, followed by Luis de Leon in a Manny Buginga-owned, Procharger-fed '03 Mustang at 3.68 and 201.40 mph, with Hall going a career-best 3.70 at 199.32 to wrap up third.

SWEET 16 4.0 - SHANE STACK DELIVERS THE GOODS

 

Driving the same '86 Monte Carlo he took to high school in Huntsville, AL, some 20-plus years ago, Shane Stack's Sweet 16 weekend began on a positive note, highlighted by a personal-best 3.98 at 192.80 mph in Friday's first Limited Drag Radial qualifying session that also marked his first three-second pass at a Duck X event. It also held up to give him a fifth-place start behind Steve Summers, who posted a record 3.93 at 192.25-mph qualifying run to lead the field into race day.

The rest of qualifying didn't go so well for Stack, though.

"At like 10:30 last night, I didn't think was going to be here," Stack admitted after a raucous victory lane appearance. "We went that 3.98 yesterday morning and then smoked the tires four times in a row. We were like, man, what is wrong with this thing?

CLASSIC VIDEO: DRAG RACER, THE MOVIE

As part of our CompetitionPlus.com holiday tradition, we've searched the YouTube.com site for rare and entertaining videos to pass the time during your time away from work.

FIRST OFFICIAL DRAG RADIAL 3.40 GOES TO PHARRIS

Just nine passes into a return to racing after taking a couple of years off to focus on family and career, Daniel Pharris proved he's still the man to beat with a record-setting 3.498-seconds pass at 212.73 mph, marking the first-ever official run in the 3.40s on drag radial tires.

It placed Pharris and his Procharger-boosted '69 Camaro on top of a list of 13 Radials vs. the World qualifiers for promoter Donald Long's Sweet 16 event at South Georgia Motorsports Park. Halfway through a planned eight rounds of qualifying, Jason Lee was second at 3.53, Bryan Markiewicz held third with a 3.54, Steve Jackson fourth with the first non-Procharger qualifier at 3.60 in his screw-blown Camaro, and Marcus Birt leading the nitrous brigade with his C7 Corvette in fifth.

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