NHRA: Langdon (Top Fuel) earns storybook Winternationals win; Hagan (Funny Car), Line (Pro Stock) also triumph

1 Comment

Shawn Langdon missed out on setting a national elapsed time record in Top Fuel, but that didn’t stop him from a storybook win in the season-opening NHRA Circle K Winternationals in Pomona, Calif.

Langdon, who recorded the quickest elapsed time in Top Fuel history Saturday (3.700 seconds), missed setting the national record by .04 of a second in his four subsequent rounds in Sunday’s final eliminations at Auto Club Raceway.

But the more important thing is Langdon, who a month ago appeared headed to the unemployment line after Al-Anabi Racing unexpectedly pulled its entire funding support of the two-car Alan Johnson Racing team, came back to win Sunday.

AJR has been reduced to just one dragster, driven by Langdon. And with one-off sponsorship for this weekend from several sources, including noted cook Guy Fieri, Langdon and his Knuckle Sandwich/AJPE-funded team were somehow able to motor on to victory.

Sunday’s win could be a big boost for AJR’s search for additional sponsorship, particularly since it is only committed to continue racing in the next event in two weeks in Phoenix.

After that, AJR’s future is uncertain.

Coming into Sunday’s eliminations as the event’s No. 1 qualifier, Langdon (3.799 seconds, 309.91 mph) defeated Antron Brown (3.804 seconds, 310.70 mph) in the final round. It was a race that was neck-and-neck all the way until Langdon slightly pulled ahead of Brown just before the finish line.

It was Langdon’s 10th career win in his Top Fuel career, and his second career triumph in the Winternationals.

“There are things that happen in life and then there are moments when things just fall into place,” Langdon said in a NHRA media release. “We had a lot going on positively with Guy Fieri here this weekend.

“We had to come out here and do well and make a statement. Now we’ll take what we did here and move on to Phoenix and continue what we are doing. We are still looking for sponsorship and trying to do the best we can.”

In Funny Car, defending 2014 national champion Matt Hagan picked up where he left off at the end of last season, winning the first race of 2015.

Hagan (4.011 seconds, 320.89 mph) bounced back from a motor explosion during Friday’s qualifying to defeat Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron Capps (4.078, 314.90) in Sunday’s final round.

“These [race cars] are animals out there and you never know what you are going to get when you crawl in there to drive one,” Hagan said. “It’s always an experience. You have to respect it, but you can’t fear it.”

Hagan ended 2014 and clinched his second career Funny Car championship in four years with a win in last November’s World Finals, also at Auto Club Raceway. Sunday was his first win in the Winternationals. He now has back-to-back wins at Pomona and four overall in his career.

“Pomona is very special to me and it’s an historical track,” Hagan said of his 15th career Funny Car win. “The fans are awesome here. It’s been great. The history of this track and everything that’s happened here through the years, it puts it in perspective for me and makes [winning here] even more special.”

In Pro Stock, 2014 season runner-up Jason Line (6.545 seconds, 211.83 mph) started the new season off the right way with a win over rookie Drew Skillman (6.556 seconds, 211.13 mph). It was Line’s his fourth career Winternationals win and 36th career Pro Stock win.

“It’s great to get off to a good start,” Line said. “To be honest, I didn’t expect to come here and do this well. I didn’t think the off-season had gone well enough for us, but apparently it has. And it feels great to win.

“What a really exciting day. We have some new faces in the class, and congrats to Drew Skillman for making the final at his first race, that’s phenomenal.”

It also Chevrolet’s 91st win in Pro Stock, setting a victory record for a manufacturer.

The next event on the 24-race NHRA national event schedule will be the Carquest Auto Parts Nationals, Feb. 20-22 in Chandler, Ariz.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


TOP FUEL: 1. Shawn Langdon; 2. Antron Brown; 3. Larry Dixon; 4. Spencer Massey; 5. Leah Pritchett; 6. Steve Torrence; 7. Doug Kalitta; 8. Richie Crampton; 9. Tony Schumacher; 10. Brittany Force; 11. Troy Buff; 12. Dave Connolly; 13. Steven Chrisman; 14. Clay Millican; 15. J.R. Todd; 16. Terry McMillen.

FUNNY CAR: 1. Matt Hagan; 2. Ron Capps; 3. Del Worsham; 4. Robert Hight; 5. Tommy Johnson Jr.; 6. Courtney Force; 7. John Hale; 8. Bob Bode; 9. Alexis DeJoria; 10. Tony Pedregon; 11. Tim Wilkerson; 12. Jeff Arend; 13. Cruz Pedregon; 14. Gary Densham; 15. John Force; 16. Chad Head.

PRO STOCK: 1. Jason Line; 2. Drew Skillman; 3. Rodger Brogdon; 4. Erica Enders-Stevens; 5. Chris McGaha; 6. Larry Morgan; 7. Shane Gray; 8. Allen Johnson; 9. Vincent Nobile; 10. Jonathan Gray; 11. V. Gaines; 12. Deric Kramer; 13. Greg Anderson; 14. Matt Hartford; 15. Joey Grose; 16. Jimmy Alund.

TOP FUEL: Shawn Langdon, 3.799 seconds, 309.91 mph  def. Antron Brown, 3.804 seconds, 310.70 mph.

FUNNY CAR: Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 4.011, 320.89  def. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.078, 314.90.

PRO STOCK: Jason Line, Chevy Camaro, 6.545, 211.83  def. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.556, 211.13.


TOP FUEL: ROUND ONE — Larry Dixon, 3.841, 312.13 def. Dave Connolly, 4.022, 236.84; Steve Torrence, 3.774, 324.05 def. Troy Buff, 3.828, 316.30; Richie Crampton, 4.369, 202.18 def. J.R. Todd, 9.379, 78.33; Doug Kalitta, 3.763, 330.88 def. Terry McMillen, 10.090, 86.42; Shawn Langdon, 3.741, 325.53 def. Steven Chrisman, 4.148, 255.39; Spencer Massey, 3.751, 323.74 def. Clay Millican, 6.941, 96.89; Antron Brown, 3.732, 326.87 def. Tony Schumacher, 3.787, 323.66; Leah Pritchett, 3.791, 323.04 def. Brittany Force, 3.811, 321.19;

QUARTERFINALS — Dixon, 3.848, 310.20 def. Crampton, 9.623, 80.59; Massey, 3.808, 325.37 def. Torrence, 3.821, 324.05; Langdon, 3.748, 323.19 def. Pritchett, 3.801, 323.66; Brown, 3.758, 322.73 def. Kalitta, 7.817, 94.51;

SEMIFINALS — Brown, 3.790, 322.27 def. Dixon, 3.774, 320.36; Langdon, 3.762, 326.48 def. Massey, 3.778, 327.98;

FINAL — Langdon, 3.799, 309.91 def. Brown, 3.804, 310.70.

FUNNY CAR: ROUND ONE — Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 4.065, 318.84 def. Tony Pedregon, Toyota Camry, 4.381, 227.54; John Hale, Charger, 4.264, 266.42 def. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 5.028, 159.25; Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.045, 315.19 def. Jeff Arend, Charger, 4.568, 193.52; Courtney Force, Chevy Camaro, 4.097, 312.42 def. Gary Densham, Chevy Impala, 5.422, 137.71; Bob Bode, Camry, 5.126, 202.82 def. John Force, Camaro, 5.599, 156.72; Ron Capps, Charger, 4.137, 305.22 def. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 4.110, 301.07; Robert Hight, Chevrolet Camaro, 4.066, 315.05 def. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 4.385, 208.97; Del Worsham, Camry, 4.048, 317.05 def. Chad Head, Camry, broke;

QUARTERFINALS — Capps, 4.104, 313.88 def. Bode, broke; Hight, 4.085, 313.29 def. Johnson Jr., 4.080, 306.33; Worsham, 4.068, 316.60 def. C. Force, 7.289, 87.42; Hagan, 4.128, 303.50 def. Hale, foul;

SEMIFINALS — Capps, 4.134, 312.57 def. Hight, 7.854, 84.40; Hagan, 4.068, 316.75 def. Worsham, 4.081, 314.90;

FINAL — Hagan, 4.011, 320.89 def. Capps, 4.078, 314.90.

PRO STOCK: ROUND ONE — Chris McGaha, Chevy Camaro, 6.547, 211.66 def. Jonathan Gray, Camaro, foul; Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.589, 211.26 def. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.637, 211.56; Larry Morgan, Camaro, 6.546, 212.56 def. Jimmy Alund, Pontiac GXP, 14.251, 59.26; Allen Johnson, Dodge Dart, 6.574, 211.83 def. Vincent Nobile, 6.561, 211.76; Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.570, 211.53 def. V. Gaines, Dart, 6.586, 210.93; Jason Line, Camaro, 6.545, 212.09 def. Joey Grose, Camaro, foul; Erica Enders-Stevens, Camaro, 6.548, 211.43 def. Matt Hartford, GXP, 6.651, 208.78; Rodger Brogdon, Camaro, 6.548, 212.43 def. Deric Kramer, Dodge Avenger, 6.609, 209.95;

QUARTERFINALS — Skillman, 6.595, 210.90 def. Johnson, 6.595, 211.10; Enders-Stevens, 6.569, 211.36 def. McGaha, 6.565, 210.73; Brogdon, 6.565, 211.46 def. Morgan, 6.566, 212.36; Line, 6.564, 211.56 def. S. Gray, 6.574, 211.00;

SEMIFINALS — Skillman, 6.590, 210.41 def. Enders-Stevens, 6.573, 211.53; Line, 6.560, 211.36 def. Brogdon, 6.560, 211.76;

FINAL — Line, 6.545, 211.83 def. Skillman, 6.556, 211.13.


Top Fuel: 1. Shawn Langdon, 124; 2. Antron Brown, 92; 3. Spencer Massey, 78; 4. Larry Dixon, 73; 5. Richie Crampton, 59; 6. Doug Kalitta, 56; 7. Steve Torrence, 54; 8. Leah Pritchett, 52; 9. Tony Schumacher, 36; 10. Brittany Force, 33.

Funny Car: 1. Matt Hagan, 107; 2. Ron Capps, 94; 3. Del Worsham, 74; 4. Robert Hight, 73; 5. Courtney Force, 61; 6. Tommy Johnson Jr., 60; 7. John Hale, 51; 8. Bob Bode, 46; 9. John Force, 40; 10. Cruz Pedregon, 38.

Pro Stock: 1. Jason Line, 123; 2. Drew Skillman, 97; 3. Erica Enders-Stevens, 81; 4. Rodger Brogdon, 80; 5. Chris McGaha, 55; 6. Larry Morgan, 54; 7. (tie) Shane Gray, 52; Allen Johnson, 52; 9. (tie) Greg Anderson, 34; Vincent Nobile, 34.

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

Supercross 2023: Results and points after Houston


Eli Tomac led all 23 laps of the Monster Energy Supercross race at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas and the results show he now has three wins in the season and is one shy of tying Ricky Carmichael’s 48 for third on the all-time list. With this win, he takes a seven point lead in the standings with 12 rounds remaining.

For Tomac at Houston, it was literally a tale of two races. Both his heat and the main started the same with Tomac grabbing the holeshot, but he was passed quickly by Chase Sexton in the heat. Tomac faded quickly after getting passed and was trailing by almost eight seconds at the checkered flag, which caused him to retreat to the hauler and reassess his lines. Without making any adjustments to the bike, Tomac entered the Main with a new attitude, and simply rode better.

Supercross Results Houston
Chase Sexton played it safe in the sand, but he was aggressive in every other turn. – Feld Motor Sports

Sexton had so great a lead in his heat that one could not even use the cliche that he left Tomac in his dust. By the time the rider with the No. 1 plate crossed the same real estate as the No. 23, the dust was well settled. Sexton had a modest start on the initial gate drop and ended Lap 1 in fourth. He worked his way past Aaron Plessinger on Lap 3 and got around Jason Anderson three laps later. Sexton was able to catch Tomac and pressure him, but he picked a safe, i.e. slow line through the sand section and could never get alongside his rival.

RESULTS: Click here for 450 Results; Click here for full 250 East Main Results

After starting the season with back-to-back seventh-place finishes, Anderson now has a pair of podiums. He won his heat and was easily one of the top three riders in the field, ultimately finishing behind the riders who finished 1-2 in the other preliminary. Anderson was subdued on the podium – happy he was there, but disappointed he has not yet found a way around the riders he is chasing in the points.

In the early stages of the race, Plessinger appeared to have a bike capable of winning. He pressured Tomac on the first two laps and was setting up the pass just as a red flag waved for an injury to Dylan Ferrandis that brought out a red flag. He lost second to Anderson on the restart and eventually slipped to fourth to score his first top-five of the season.

Click here for 450 Heat 1 | Heat 2 | Last Chance Qualifier

Cooper Webb rounded out the top five. Along with Sexton, he is now one of just two riders with a sweep of that mark in 2023, but with Tomac’s three wins, he is beginning to slip in the points. Webb sits third in the standings, 12 points behind the leader.

Ken Roczen entered the race as the third rider with a sweep of the top five and progressively better results in the first three races of 2023. Had the pattern held, he would have finished at least second, but he struggled for most of the night, finishing fifth in his heat and eighth in the Main. There may have been extenuating circumstances, however. Ferrandis’ injury was suffered when he landed on the back of Roczen’s bike and potentially damaged the No. 94 Suzuki.

Click here for 450 Main results | Rider Points | Manufacturer Points | Lap Chart

The 250 East division made their 2023 debut in Houston, but the name atop the board was familiar. Hunter Lawrence joined his brother Jett Lawrence as the early points’ leader in their respective divisions, but it didn’t come without a little anxiety.

Riding behind Supercross newbie Tom Vialle on the second lap, Lawrence was forced to take evasive action when the leader pitched his bike sideways to scrub speed over a jump. Lawrence veered left and landed off course, but he cleared the Tuff Blox and kept his bike straight. Lawrence made the pass for the lead on Lap 18 and never relinquished it.

Click here for 250 Heat 1 | Heat 2 | Last Chance Qualifier

In his first attempt on a 250, Max Anstie ascended to the podium. – Feld Motor Sports

England’s Max Anstie made the move from 450s to 250s this year after scoring a best result of 11th on the big bike at Anaheim 2 last year. It didn’t take anytime at all to find the front for Anstie, who finished second in both his heat and main.

It has been a while since Jordon Smith stood on the podium: February 23, 2019 to be exact when he finished that well in Detroit. A series of injuries kept him off the bike for much of 2020 and 2021, but he’s proving to be a factor when he’s healthy.

Click here for 250 Main results | 250 East Rider Points | Combined Rider Points | Lap Chart

There was a lot of hype surrounding the debut of Haiden Deegan in the 250 class and he proved it was merited. He finished fourth in his heat and main. He was as far down as ninth at one point in the feature before slowly picking off riders on his way to the front.

Jeremy Martin finished fifth and now has a streak of three consecutive top-fives to his credit stretching back to last year. Unfortunately, his pair of strong runs in 2022 were interrupted by injury.

Making impressive debuts in the 250 division, Vialle recovered from a fall to finish seventh, Chance Hymas finished eighth, and Talon Hawkins just missed the top 10 with an 11th.

2023 Results

Race 3: Chase Sexton, Levi Kitchen win
Race 2: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence win
Round 1: Tomac, Lawrence win

2023 SuperMotocross Power Rankings

Week 3: Ken Roczen takes the top spot
Week 2: Roczen moves up; Chase Sexton falls
Week 1: Eli Tomac tops 450s; Jett Lawrence 250s