DeJoria, Brown and Johnson Race to Wins at Carquest Auto Parts NHRA Nationals

From NHRA Communications:

Alexis DeJoria raced to her first career Funny Car victory Sunday at the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park.

Antron Brown (Top Fuel) and Allen Johnson (Pro Stock) also were winners of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event at the multi-purpose motorsports facility near Phoenix.

DeJoria powered her Patron XO Cafe Toyota Camry to a winning performance of 4.043 seconds at 309.63 mph to defeat Robert Hight, whose Auto Club Ford Mustang lost traction. DeJoria raced past Jeff Arend, Del Worsham and red-hot event top qualifier John Force to advance to the final.

DeJoria, in her third season at the controls of an 8,000-horsepower Funny Car for Kalitta Motorsports, becomes the fourth female to win an NHRA Funny Car race and the 14th female in history to win a Mello Yello Series race.

“When we won the finals, I couldn’t believe it," said DeJoria, daughter of famed entrepreneur John Paul DeJoria and wife of noted television personality Jesse James.  "Actually, I can because I know we can do it, but it’s such a shock at the same time. It’s surreal. It’s really amazing. I don’t think I’m going to be able to sleep."

DeJoria’s win gave the Phoenix crowd a chance to see the well-known Kalitta Motorsports mosh pit celebration. DeJoria pointed out that the support of the whole organization made the win much more rewarding.

“I can’t wait to see the video of the Kalitta guys on the starting line,” DeJoria said. “I don’t care what anybody says; that’s badass. We all root for each other, and it’s really a team effort over there."

Force now leads Hight by 66 points and DeJoria moves to third overall with the win, 69 points back.

In Top Fuel, Brown defeated Brittany Force with a run of 3.755 at 324.20 in his Matco Tools dragster to her 3.793 at 322.04 in her Castrol Edge dragster. A Don Schumacher Racing/John Force Racing final in Funny Car is normal, but this was the first Top Fuel final between the two NHRA super-teams.

It was the 2012 Mello Yello Top Fuel world champ’s third career victory at Phoenix and his 26th career Top Fuel win. He defeated Australian Richie Crampton, defending world champ Shawn Langdon and No. 1 qualifier Doug Kalitta before edging Force in the final.

“We love coming to Phoenix,” Brown said. “They revamped it and did a phenomenal job. We’ve had bad mishaps and tragedy here and some wins here. This place really holds a special place in my heart for what we've been through and what we've accomplished here.”

Force, last season’s top rookie, was appearing in her first Top Fuel final and her team performed consistently throughout the weekend, with most passes in the low 3.8-second range and her final pass in the 3.7s. Brown was quick to point out Force’s consistency and knew it would take a perfect run to claim the Wally.

“She's at a young stage in her career, and you can tell that she's getting better and better,” Brown said. “She was consistent all day to get those round-wins. None of these teams come out here to play games.  It's not recess no more. School is in, and you better have your thinking caps on and be ready to do the work. I look at her as a tough, top competitor. They stepped up in the final. You look at her car and see Castrol on the side, and that's John Force Racing. We go after them like we go after everyone else.”

With his semifinal appearance, Kalitta takes over the Top Fuel series lead, 26 ahead of Pomona winner alBalooshi.

Johnson, also a 2012 series champ, scored his 21st career Pro Stock win and second at Phoenix by defeating V Gaines with his final round effort of 6.543 at 212.23 in his Team Mopar Dodge Avenger.

“We fought the car all weekend,” said Johnson, who qualified sixth and beat Jimmy Alund, Jason Line and Dave Connolly en route to the win. “I'm only here because we have a great crew. I can't say enough about my guys. They worked and got it right, and this is a great way to send this Mopar Express Lube Dodge Avenger out on a winning note.”

Johnson was happy to rebound from a disappointing weekend at Pomona two weeks ago, where he lost in the first round of eliminations.

“Pomona was probably the worst performance by me in 18 years in Pro Stock,” Johnson said.  “It made me want to get it right this time. I still didn't do my best here. I was responsible for one round-win, and my crew was responsible for the other three.”

Gaines moves into the series points lead in the factory hot rod category for the first time in his 21-year career with his back-to-back final round appearances.

The Mello Yello Drag Racing Series continues in Gainesville, Fla. with the Amalie Motor Oil Gatornationals, March 13-16. The event will feature the season debut of the Pro Stock Motorcycle class.

Final finish order (1-16) at the 30th annual CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park.  The race is the second of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.

TOP FUEL:

1.  Antron Brown; 2.  Brittany Force; 3.  Doug Kalitta; 4.  Steve Torrence; 5.  Shawn Langdon; 6. Spencer Massey; 7.  Khalid alBalooshi; 8.  Tony Schumacher; 9.  David Grubnic; 10.  Leah Pritchett; 11.  Richie Crampton; 12.  Clay Millican; 13.  Scott Palmer; 14.  Bob Vandergriff; 15.  Terry McMillen; 16.  Troy Buff.

FUNNY CAR:

1.  Alexis DeJoria; 2.  Robert Hight; 3.  Tommy Johnson Jr.; 4.  John Force; 5.  Bob Tasca III; 6. Jack Beckman; 7.  Tim Wilkerson; 8.  Del Worsham; 9.  Jeff Arend; 10.  Matt Hagan; 11.  Chad Head; 12.  Ron Capps; 13.  Courtney Force; 14.  Cruz Pedregon; 15.  Tony Pedregon; 16.  Jeff Diehl.

PRO STOCK:

1.  Allen Johnson; 2.  V. Gaines; 3.  Dave Connolly; 4.  Vincent Nobile; 5.  Jason Line; 6.  Shane Gray; 7.  Erica Enders-Stevens; 8.  Shane Tucker; 9.  Chris McGaha; 10.  Jimmy Alund; 11.  Rodger Brogdon; 12.  Greg Stanfield; 13.  Larry Morgan; 14.  Steve Kent; 15.  Matt Hartford; 16.  Jeg Coughlin.

Sunday's final results from the 30th annual CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park. The race is the second of 24 in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series:

Top Fuel -- Antron Brown, 3.755 seconds, 324.20 mph def. Brittany Force, 3.793 seconds, 322.04 mph.

Funny Car -- Alexis DeJoria, Toyota Camry, 4.043, 309.63 def. Robert Hight, Ford Mustang, 5.491, 142.19.

Pro Stock -- Allen Johnson, Dodge Avenger, 6.543, 212.23  def. V. Gaines, Avenger, 8.042, 115.10.

Top Dragster -- Val Torres Jr., Dragster, 6.694, 198.55  def. Phil Unruh, Dragster, 6.548, 210.77.

Top Sportsman -- Ed Olpin, Chevy Camaro, 7.366, 187.13  def. Paul Mitsos, Dodge Stratus, 7.355, 185.08.

Super Stock -- Dan Fletcher, Chevy Camaro, 10.296, 124.41  def. Scott Pearson, AMX, foul.

Stock Eliminator -- Mark Faul, Chevy El Camino, 11.691, 102.95  def. Robert Pond, Ford Fairlane, 10.133, 124.87.

Super Comp -- Shane Thompson, Dragster, 8.916, 169.13  def. Chad Langdon, Dragster, 8.887, 172.83.

Super Gas -- Aaron Kinard, Chevy Corvette, 9.903, 160.75  def. Craig Anderson, Corvette, 9.891, 156.75.

Super Street -- Gary Reust, Chevy Bel Air, 10.943, 125.55  def. Dave Gotts, Chevy Camaro, foul.

Final round-by-round results from the 30th annual CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, the second of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series:

TOP FUEL:

ROUND ONE -- Khalid alBalooshi, 3.778, 325.14 def. Leah Pritchett, 4.416, 234.00; Brittany Force, 3.821, 316.97 def. David Grubnic, 3.826, 320.13; Tony Schumacher, 3.779, 326.56 def. Terry McMillen, 10.390, 81.69; Doug Kalitta, 3.781, 324.67 def. Scott Palmer, 6.351, 106.79; Steve Torrence, 3.775, 325.22 def. Troy Buff, 17.163, 28.71; Shawn Langdon, 3.745, 320.36 def. Clay Millican, 6.132, 100.48; Antron Brown, 3.825, 314.83 def. Richie Crampton, 5.067, 149.48; Spencer Massey, 3.826, 319.90 def. Bob Vandergriff, 6.546, 90.13; QUARTERFINALS -- Force, 3.805, 322.58 def. Schumacher, 5.017, 179.06; Kalitta, 4.458, 250.04 def. alBalooshi, 4.563, 216.31; Torrence, 3.793, 319.98 def. Massey, 4.223, 230.17; Brown, 3.771, 322.34 def. Langdon, 3.851, 291.95; SEMIFINALS -- Force, 3.814, 319.75 def. Torrence, 4.187, 247.02; Brown, 3.782, 321.81 def. Kalitta, 3.794, 322.96; FINAL -- Brown, 3.755, 324.20 def. Force, 3.793, 322.04.

FUNNY CAR:

ROUND ONE -- Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger, 4.057, 312.71 def. Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.135, 306.53; Del Worsham, Toyota Camry, 4.121, 303.03 def. Courtney Force, Ford Mustang, 4.499, 291.95; Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.095, 313.37 def. Tony Pedregon, Camry, 6.848, 92.26; John Force, Mustang, 7.501, 94.53 def. Jeff Diehl, Toyota Solara, broke; Robert Hight, Mustang, 4.484, 262.69 def. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 4.903, 241.15; Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 4.065, 309.27 def. Jeff Arend, Charger, 4.105, 305.49; Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.263, 266.95 def. Chad Head, Camry, 4.401, 211.46; Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 4.090, 312.42 def. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.411, 260.66; QUARTERFINALS -- Johnson Jr., 4.098, 308.64 def. Wilkerson, 4.186, 300.26; Hight, 4.059, 314.97 def. Beckman, 4.127, 306.81; J. Force, 4.106, 312.78 def. Tasca III, 4.120, 306.88; DeJoria, 4.123, 298.21 def. Worsham, 4.900, 183.12;

SEMIFINALS -- DeJoria, 4.052, 311.41 def. J. Force, 5.899, 127.64; Hight, 4.047, 316.08 def. Johnson Jr., 4.083, 311.49;

FINAL -- DeJoria, 4.043, 309.63 def. Hight, 5.491, 142.19.

PRO STOCK:

ROUND ONE -- V. Gaines, Dodge Avenger, 6.573, 210.28 def. Rodger Brogdon, Chevy Camaro, 6.589, 210.54; Dave Connolly, Camaro, 6.551, 211.30 def. Jeg Coughlin, Avenger, 6.993, 163.91; Allen Johnson, Avenger, 6.558, 211.76 def. Jimmy Alund, Camaro, 6.587, 210.97; Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.576,211.43 def. Greg Stanfield, Camaro, 6.612, 209.26; Jason Line, Camaro, 6.569, 211.56 def. Steve Kent, Camaro, 6.634, 209.98; Shane Tucker, Chevy Cobalt, 6.627, 209.39 def. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.571, 211.53; Erica Enders-Stevens, Camaro, 6.531, 212.09 def. Matt Hartford, Avenger, 6.645, 209.49; Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.563, 210.44 def. Larry Morgan, Ford Mustang, 6.629, 209.01; QUARTERFINALS -- Gaines, 6.584, 210.83 def. Tucker, 7.337, 145.67; Nobile, 6.577, 210.57 def. Gray, 6.572, 210.64; Johnson, 6.543, 212.16 def. Line, 6.556, 210.93; Connolly, 6.561, 211.10 def.

Enders-Stevens, 6.617, 210.54

SEMIFINALS -- Gaines, 6.581, 211.00 def. Nobile, 7.282, 205.51; Johnson, 6.550, 211.99 def. Connolly, 6.629, 210.41

FINAL -- Johnson, 6.543, 212.23 def. Gaines, 8.042, 115.10.

Point standings (top 10) following the 30th annual CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, the second of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series -

Top Fuel

1.  Doug Kalitta, 191; 2.  Khalid alBalooshi, 165; 3.  Antron Brown, 156; 4.  Steve Torrence, 155; 5.  (tie) Brittany Force, 127; Spencer Massey, 127; 7.  Shawn Langdon, 124; 8.  Tony Schumacher, 92; 9.  (tie) Richie Crampton, 84; David Grubnic, 84.

Funny Car

1.  John Force, 225; 2.  Robert Hight, 159; 3.  Alexis DeJoria, 156; 4.  Tommy Johnson Jr., 136; 5. Del Worsham, 132; 6.  Matt Hagan, 129; 7.  Bob Tasca III, 124; 8.  Jack Beckman, 92; 9.  Ron Capps, 88; 10.  Tim Wilkerson, 84.

Pro Stock

1.  V. Gaines, 191; 2.  Jason Line, 180; 3.  (tie) Allen Johnson, 161; Vincent Nobile, 161; 5. Dave Connolly, 128; 6.  Shane Gray, 127; 7.  Erica Enders-Stevens, 120; 8.  Jeg Coughlin, 88; 9.

(tie) Larry Morgan, 82; Shane Tucker, 82.

FORCE, KALITTA AND MCGAHA SECURE NO. 1 QUALIFIERS AT CARQUEST AUTO PARTS NHRA NATIONALS

NHRA Funny Car icon John Force will be seeking his seventh consecutive final round appearance from the No. 1 qualifying position Sunday at the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park.

Doug Kalitta (Top Fuel) and Chris McGaha (Pro Stock) also will lead their classes into tomorrow’s 11 a.m. eliminations as the No. 1 qualifiers at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event.

Force, the 16-time world champ and current series leader, claimed his second consecutive No. 1 position of the season and fifth in a row dating to last year on Saturday with his Friday track record performance of 3.990 seconds at 317.79 mph at the controls of his Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang. It is the 148th No. 1 of Force’s career and his eighth at the multi-purpose motorsports facility near Phoenix.

"It doesn’t matter who you’re racing,” said Force, who won the season-opening race two weeks ago in Southern California. “The baddest kid or the worst can win if your car gets down the racetrack.”

Force will face Jeff Diehl in the first round of eliminations tomorrow as he goes for his 140th career victory and his ninth Phoenix win.

Tommy Johnson Jr. fell to Force at the season opener in Pomona and returned to Phoenix in style, securing the No. 2 spot with a 4.029 at 316.08. He will face two-time Funny Car champ Tony Pedregon in the first round of eliminations.

Robert Hight, Alexis DeJoria and Del Worsham round out the top five in Funny Car qualifying.

In Top Fuel, Kalitta’s Friday performance of 3.735 at 327.74 was good enough to secure his second consecutive No. 1 qualifying position of the season and at this event. It is the 38th career top qualifier for Kalitta, who was runner-up to winner Khalid alBalooshi two weeks ago at Pomona, Calif.

“It’s been going good,” Kalitta said. “We’ve just been trying to keep our heads down and do the best we can. We will just see if the win light can come on in our lane.”

Kalitta will try to go one round further when he opens the race Sunday against Scott Palmer. He is searching for his first win since Dallas last season.

Tony Schumacher struggled in Pomona, qualifying 10th and falling in the first round. Determined to have a better start, the seven-time world champ was able to pilot his U.S. Army dragster to second with a performance of 3.757 at 325.74. He opens against Terry McMillen in round one of eliminations.

Nine drivers recorded passes in the 3.7-second range, which will make Top Fuel extremely competitive. Steve Torrence, Shawn Langdon and Antron Brown will also race from top five starting positions on Sunday.

McGaha earned his first career Pro Stock No. 1 qualifying position with a performance of 6.530 at 210.64 in his Chevy Camaro. Utilizing equipment purchased from 2009 Pro Stock Champion, McGaha was thrilled to lead the field in Phoenix.

“Being number one is really hard to explain,” an ecstatic McGaha said. “This really hasn’t sunk in yet.”

The Texan will open against Australian Shane Tucker and will be gunning for his first win. Despite this being only his second time he has qualified in the top half of a Pro Stock field, McGaha has a feeling this could be his weekend.

“You feel that way, but until it happens you don’t know,” McGaha said. “But if we can continue to make good runs, I am feeling very confident.”

McGaha’s run from day one was challenged by defending event winner Erica Enders-Stevens. The driver of the Elite Motorsports Chevy Camaro posted a 6.531 to pull right behind McGaha in the 16-car lineup. Enders-Stevens will race local favorite Matt Hartford in the first round.

Pomona winner Jason Line, Vincent Nobile and Shane Gray had strong qualifying efforts and rounded out the top five in qualifying.

Sunday's first-round pairings for eliminations for the 30th annual CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, the second of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.  Pairings based on results in qualifying, which ended Saturday. DNQs listed below pairings.

Top Fuel -- 1. Doug Kalitta, 3.735 seconds, 327.74 mph  vs. 16. Scott Palmer, 4.165, 249.49; 2.Tony Schumacher, 3.757, 325.14  vs. 15. Terry McMillen, 4.160, 225.75; 3. Steve Torrence, 3.758, 324.59  vs. 14. Troy Buff, 3.989, 282.01; 4. Shawn Langdon, 3.763, 323.27  vs. 13. Clay Millican, 3.847, 313.15; 5. Antron Brown, 3.768, 323.27  vs. 12. Richie Crampton, 3.836, 316.67; 6. Bob Vandergriff, 3.772, 322.58  vs. 11. Spencer Massey, 3.821, 313.88; 7. David Grubnic, 3.777, 320.28 vs. 10. Brittany Force, 3.813, 321.19; 8. Leah Pritchett, 3.785, 320.20  vs. 9. Khalid alBalooshi, 3.787, 313.80.

Funny Car -- 1. John Force, Ford Mustang, 3.990, 317.79  vs. 16. Jeff Diehl, Toyota Solara, 5.654, 128.26; 2. Tommy Johnson Jr., Dodge Charger, 4.029, 316.08  vs. 15. Tony Pedregon, Toyota Camry, 4.247, 290.19; 3. Robert Hight, Mustang, 4.030, 314.24  vs. 14. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 4.130, 299.33; 4. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 4.048, 309.27  vs. 13. Jeff Arend, Charger, 4.120, 303.16; 5. Del Worsham, Camry, 4.051, 316.67  vs. 12. Courtney Force, Mustang, 4.096, 311.99; 6. Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.055, 314.09  vs. 11. Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.091, 309.63; 7. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.066, 308.35  vs. 10. Chad Head, Camry, 4.089, 307.79; 8. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 4.078, 309.27 vs. 9. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.079, 312.78.

Did Not Qualify: 17. Paul Lee, 5.936, 252.66; 18. Gary Densham, 6.430, 168.41; 19. Terry Haddock, 6.540, 109.05.

Pro Stock -- 1. Chris McGaha, Chevy Camaro, 6.530, 210.93  vs. 16. Shane Tucker, Chevy Cobalt, 6.645, 208.75; 2. Erica Enders-Stevens, Camaro, 6.531, 211.66  vs. 15. Matt Hartford, Dodge Avenger, 6.613, 209.72; 3. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.536, 211.83  vs. 14. Steve Kent, Camaro, 6.611, 209.46; 4. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.551, 211.16  vs. 13. Larry Morgan, Ford Mustang, 6.601, 209.56; 5. Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.551, 211.06  vs. 12. Greg Stanfield, Camaro, 6.599, 209.39; 6. Allen Johnson, Avenger, 6.553, 212.06  vs. 11. Jimmy Alund, Camaro, 6.591, 210.87; 7. Dave Connolly, Camaro, 6.565, 211.03  vs. 10. Jeg Coughlin, Avenger, 6.578, 211.43; 8. V. Gaines, Avenger, 6.571, 210.93  vs. 9. Rodger Brogdon, Camaro, 6.573, 210.97. Did Not Qualify: 17. Paul Pittman, 6.705, 207.56; 18. Deric Kramer, 7.335, 145.91.

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