NHRA’s Seattle winners: Tommy Johnson Jr. (Funny Car), J.R. Todd (Top Fuel), Chris McGaha (Pro Stock)


Tommy Johnson Jr. (Funny Car), J.R. Todd (Top Fuel) and Chris McGaha (Pro Stock) emerged as winners in Sunday’s final eliminations of the NHRA Northwest Nationals in the Seattle suburb of Kent, Wash.

Johnson (4.073 seconds at 308.00 mph) earned his second win of the season and the 12th of his NHRA career (10th in Funny Car), defeating Del Worsham in the final round.

“We’ve got the most consistent car,” Johnson said in an NHRA media release. “The last seven races including this one, we have been to four finals.

“We’ve got a really good car and team. We struggled early in the season with stupid stuff that bit us. Everybody has stepped up to the plate lately and it is showing.”

Worsham, one of the three drivers to have a Top Fuel and Funny Car win at Pacific Raceways in Kent, appeared in his third final round of the season.

Prior to meeting Worsham, Johnson beat Don Schumacher Racing teammate “Fast Jack” Beckman in the semifinals, denying Beckman a sweep of the three-race “Western Swing” over the last three weeks (Denver; Sonoma, Calif.; and Kent, a suburb of Seattle).

But there was still good news for Beckman: he closed to within five points of series leader Matt Hagan. Johnson, meanwhile, moved into third place, 114 points behind Hagan, who won the Funny Car national championship in 2014.

In Top Fuel, Todd (3.820 seconds at 322.04 mph) defeated Shawn Langdon in the final round. It was Todd’s first win of 2015 and eighth of his career.

“It’s still so surreal that I’m driving for Connie Kalitta,” said Todd, who is in his second season with Kalitta Motorsports. “He’s done so much for the sport as a driver, owner and crew chief.

“I’m the luckiest guy out here. This is Connie’s personal toy and he takes a lot of pride in this car. I just love to be able to bring him trophies.”

Despite being eliminated in the second round Sunday, Tony Schumacher retained his lead in the Top Fuel standings, holding an 87-point edge over DSR teammate Antron Brown.

In Pro Stock, McGaha earned his second career win in as many races, having also won last week at Sonoma. McGaha (6.507 seconds at 212.59 mph) defeated five-time Pro Stock champ Jeg Coughlin Jr. in the final round.

“The fact that we’ve gotten on a roll here, it does give us a legitimate chance at the championship,” McGaha said. “I’ve seen guys in the past maybe peak too early. I don’t know if we’ve peaked too early or not. I don’t really care at this point either. … I have 100 percent confidence in my crew chief [Brian “Lump” Self] and I always have.”

Greg Anderson continues to lead the Pro Stock standings with a 51-point lead over defending 2014 championship winner Erica Enders.

The season is now officially two-thirds complete, with 16 of the 24 races scheduled for 2015 now in the record books.

The NHRA takes next weekend off before returning to action Aug. 20-23 in the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd (Minn.) International Raceway.


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

FUNNY CAR: 1.  Tommy Johnson Jr.; 2.  Del Worsham; 3.  John Force; 4.  Jack Beckman; 5.  Ron Capps; 6.  Tim Wilkerson; 7.  Chad Head; 8.  Alexis DeJoria; 9.  Robert Hight; 10.  Matt Hagan; 11.  Courtney Force; 12.  Cruz Pedregon; 13.  Paul Lee; 14.  John Hale; 15.  Jeff Diehl; 16.  Terry Haddock.

PRO STOCK: 1.  Chris McGaha; 2.  Jeg Coughlin; 3.  Allen Johnson; 4.  Shane Gray; 5.  Erica Enders; 6. Vincent Nobile; 7.  Greg Anderson; 8.  Jonathan Gray; 9.  Jason Line; 10.  Bo Butner; 11.  Larry Morgan; 12.  Matt Hartford; 13.  Aaron Strong; 14.  Joey Grose; 15.  Deric Kramer; 16.  V. Gaines.


TOP FUEL: J.R. Todd, 3.824 seconds, 323.04 mph  def. Shawn Langdon, 3.902 seconds, 307.51 mph.

FUNNY CAR: Tommy Johnson Jr., Dodge Charger, 4.073, 308.00  def. Del Worsham, Toyota Camry, 4.042, 307.51.

PRO STOCK: Chris McGaha, Chevy Camaro, 6.507, 212.59  def. Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 6.532, 212.63.


TOP FUEL: ROUND ONE — Richie Crampton, 3.740, 322.96 def. Ron Smith, broke; Brittany Force, 3.774, 324.51 def. Troy Buff, 3.846, 315.34; Terry McMillen, 4.530, 272.56 def. Dave Connolly, broke; Tony Schumacher, 3.773, 323.66 def. Jenna Haddock, 4.123, 241.07; Larry Dixon, 3.753, 325.85 def. Doug Kalitta, 4.552, 172.04; J.R. Todd, 3.763, 327.35 def. Clay Millican, 3.783, 320.89; Steve Torrence, 3.795, 322.19 def. Spencer Massey, 4.105, 232.03; Shawn Langdon, 4.419, 199.64 def. Antron Brown, 4.714, 225.11;

QUARTERFINALS — Schumacher, 3.846, 299.06 def. Torrence, 3.832, 310.63; Todd, 3.830, 308.78 def. McMillen, 3.899, 309.84; Dixon, 3.791, 303.16 def. Force, 3.899, 315.71; Langdon, 3.810, 301.07 def. Crampton, 9.909, 82.35;

SEMIFINALS — Todd, 3.844, 319.29 def. Schumacher, 7.997, 83.19; Langdon, 3.816, 319.90 def. Dixon, 3.952, 240.85;

FINAL — Todd, 3.824, 323.04 def. Langdon, 3.902, 307.51.

FUNNY CAR: ROUND ONE — John Force, Chevy Camaro, 4.065, 306.60 def. Jeff Diehl, Toyota Solara, 9.951, 90.05; Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger, 3.978, 316.60 def. Terry Haddock, Solara, 11.560, 86.32; Del Worsham, Toyota Camry, 4.018, 314.17 def. John Hale, Charger, 6.796, 72.58; Chad Head, Camry, 4.017, 310.34 def. Robert Hight, Chevrolet Camaro, 4.137, 252.00; Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.075, 307.02 def. Paul Lee, Charger, 5.044, 150.77; Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 4.373, 259.51 def. Courtney Force, Camaro, 4.461, 226.66; Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 4.010, 312.50 def. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 5.038, 152.49; Ron Capps, Charger, 4.091, 303.78 def. Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.356, 225.79;

QUARTERFINALS — Johnson Jr., 4.057, 308.07 def. Head, 6.481, 143.02; Beckman, 4.024, 312.50 def. Capps, 4.108, 302.28; Worsham, 4.041, 310.41 def. Wilkerson, 4.171, 291.82; J. Force, 4.152, 300.13 def. DeJoria, 10.552, 82.15;

SEMIFINALS — Worsham, 4.039, 310.27 def. J. Force, 4.094, 308.00; Johnson Jr., 4.070, 310.41 def. Beckman, 4.166, 301.47;

FINAL — Johnson Jr., 4.073, 308.00 def. Worsham, 4.042, 307.51.

PRO STOCK: ROUND ONE — Vincent Nobile, Chevy Camaro, 6.516, 212.59 def. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.514, 212.13; Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.518, 212.13 def. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.524, 212.39; Allen Johnson, Dodge Dart, 6.544, 211.83 def. Larry Morgan, Camaro, 6.547, 212.09; Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.523, 212.83 def. Matt Hartford, Pontiac GXP, 6.570, 211.49; Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.502, 212.29 def. V. Gaines, Dart, 18.453, 44.01; Jonathan Gray, Camaro, 6.521, 212.03 def. Deric Kramer, Dart, foul; Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.488, 213.40 def. Joey Grose, Camaro, foul; Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 6.500, 212.56 def. Aaron Strong, Camaro, 6.589, 209.01;

QUARTERFINALS — Johnson, 6.570, 212.03 def. J. Gray, 15.593, 52.60; S. Gray, 6.739, 210.93 def. Anderson, 14.840, 56.87; Coughlin, 6.532, 211.96 def. Enders, 6.530, 211.89; McGaha, 6.524, 212.76 def. Nobile, 6.538, 212.43;

SEMIFINALS — Coughlin, 6.521, 212.33 def. Johnson, 6.572, 211.26; McGaha, 6.533, 212.23 def. S. Gray, 15.389, 67.19;

FINAL — McGaha, 6.507, 212.59 def. Coughlin, 6.532, 212.63.


Top Fuel: 1.  Tony Schumacher, 1,289*; 2.  Antron Brown, 1,202*; 3.  Larry Dixon, 1,034; 4.  Richie Crampton, 969; 5.  Doug Kalitta, 944; 6.  J.R. Todd, 896; 7.  Shawn Langdon, 872; 8.  Spencer Massey, 855; 9. Brittany Force, 851; 10.  Steve Torrence, 835.

Funny Car: 1.  Matt Hagan, 1,177*; 2.  Jack Beckman, 1,172*; 3.  Tommy Johnson Jr., 1,063; 4.  John Force, 1,025; 5.  Del Worsham, 1,004; 6.  Ron Capps, 988; 7.  Cruz Pedregon, 872; 8.  Tim Wilkerson, 870; 9.  (tie) Alexis DeJoria, 819; Robert Hight, 819.

Pro Stock: 1.  Greg Anderson, 1,322*; 2.  Erica Enders, 1,271*; 3.  Chris McGaha, 1,175*; 4.  Jason Line, 1,102*; 5.  Allen Johnson, 951; 6.  Larry Morgan, 906; 7.  Shane Gray, 834; 8.  Jonathan Gray, 823; 9.  Vincent Nobile, 787; 10.  Drew Skillman, 779.

* Secured a berth in Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship, NHRA’s six-race playoffs.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

IndyCar disappointed by delay of video game but aiming to launch at start of 2024

IndyCar video game 2024

An IndyCar executive said there is “absolutely” disappointment that its long-awaited video game recently was delayed beyond its target date, but the series remains optimistic about the new title.

“Well, I don’t know how quick it will be, but the whole situation is important to us,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said during a news conference Monday morning to announce IndyCar’s NTT title sponsorship. “Motorsport Games has spent a lot of money, a lot of effort to create an IndyCar title. What we’ve seen of that effort, which is not completely obvious, is very reassuring.

“I think it’s going to be outstanding. That’s our shared objective, that when it is released, it’s just widely accepted. A great credit both to IndyCar racing, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, something that our fans love.”

In June 2021, IndyCar announced a new partnership with Motorsport Games to create and distribute an IndyCar video game for the PC and Xbox and PlayStation consoles in 2023.

But during an earnings call last week, Motorsport Games said the IndyCar game had been delayed to 2024 to ensure high quality.

Somewhat compounding the delay is that IndyCar’s license for iRacing expired after the end of the 2022 season because of its exclusive agreement with Motorsport Games.

That’s resulted in significant changes for IndyCar on iRacing, which had provided a high-profile way for the series to stay visible during its 2020 shutdown from the pandemic. (Players still can race an unbranded car but don’t race on current IndyCar tracks, nor can they stream).

That’s helped ratchet up the attention on having a video game outlet for IndyCar.

“I wish we had an IndyCar title 10 years ago,” said Miles, who has been working with the organization since 2013. “We’ve been close, but we’ve had these I think speed bumps.”

IndyCar is hopeful the Motorsports Game edition will be ready at the start of 2024. Miles hinted that beta versions could be unveiled to reporters ahead of the time “to begin to show the progress in a narrow way to make sure we’ve got it right, to test the progress so that we’re ready when they’re ready.”

It’s been nearly 18 years since the release of the most recent IndyCar video game for console or PC.

“(We) better get it right,” Miles said. “It’s something we’re very close to and continue to think about what it is to make sure we get it over the line in due course.”