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Phoenix Rolls Out Red Carpet For NHRA Competition
Tommy Johnson made his way through the Funny Car field to earn his spot in the final round against Jack Beckman, with Johnson pulling away to score the win. Photo By Jeff Burghardt

The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing series made the short journey east from Pomona, CA to Phoenix, AZ for stop number two on the 24-race series schedule over the past weekend.

In Top Fuel two-time defending series champion Steve Torrence and his Capco Contractors team may have missed the race in Pomona but they didn’t skip a beat. Torrence marched through the field taking out James Maroney in round one with a strong 3.717 @ 325 mph. In round two Torrence would be forced to do a whale of a driving job on and off the throttle as both he and Shawn Langdon lost traction as they made their way down the strip. Torrence came out on top and that would set him up for a semifinal match up with his teammate and father Billy Torrence. Steve was just a hair quicker than his father at both the starting line and on the 1000ft race track running a 3.698 @ 329mph to a 3.699 @ 329 mph. In the final round it would be a battle of number one and two in the 2019 points championship. Doug Kalitta who picked up the win two weeks ago in Pomona would fall short as his Mac Tools dragster lost traction and all he could do was watch Torrence put a 3.679 @ 321 mph run on the scoreboard.

In Funny Car round one we saw an upset as Jim Campbell driving for Jim Dunn Racing and the Cattleman’s Cut Beef Jerky Dodge put reigning series champion Robert Hight on the trailer. Though it didn’t come without some fireworks as Campbell’s Dodge’s engine let go into a huge fireball, Campbell uninjured in the incident would then fall to Jack Beckman in round two. Meanwhile on the opposing side of the 16-car ladder Tommy Johnson was making his way through the field to earn his spot in the final round against Beckman. Fresh off his win in Pomona, Beckman would come up short as his Infinite Hero Dodge lost traction and Johnson pulled away to score the win.

In Pro Stock three-time champion Erica Enders qualified in the number two spot behind teammate Jeg Coughlin Jr. Enders would go on to storm her way through the field running low elapse time of every round of competition. Enders would take out Fernando Cuadra in round one, Chris McGaha in round two, and Jason Line in the semifinal round. Thus, setting her up with a match against Bo Butner in the finals. Butner struggled all day long but with some luck was able to surpass his engine letting go in the opening round thanks to his opponent red lighting. In round two his opponent would also fall victim to a red light. His semifinal round opponent’s car shook the tires extremely hard forcing them to shut off their car while Butner flirted ever so close to the center disqualification line and by mere inches did not cross it. In the final his luck would run out as Enders again laid down the second-best run of eliminations to capture the win.

Next stop for the NHRA is the Amalie Motor Oil Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida from March 12 through 15.

In Pro Stock at Phoenix, it was three-time champion Erica Enders qualifying in the number two spot and stormed her way through the field, earning the victory over Bo Butner in the finals. Photo By Jeff Burghardt