(Photo courtesy NHRA)

NHRA: Langdon (TF), Johnson (FC), Line (PS) are Bristol winners

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Don Schumacher Racing dominated the finals in Sunday’s Top Fuel and Funny Car matchups in the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol (Tennessee) Dragway.

Shawn Langdon (Top Fuel) and Tommy Johnson Jr. (Funny Car) defeated fellow DSR teammates Tony Schumacher and Matt Hagan in each of their respective final round appearances.

Meanwhile, Jason Line continued his domination in Pro Stock for KB Racing, earning his sixth win in the first 11 races of the 24-race NHRA national event schedule.

Langdon reached (3.838 seconds at 322.19 mph) and emerged victorious in his first final round appearance of the season, defeating Schumacher (3.934 at 310.70 mph).

It was Langdon’s 12th career win, his second career win at Bristol and saw him jump up to sixth place in the Mello Yello Top Fuel point standings.

“We really did struggle at the beginning of the year,” Langdon, who won the 2013 Top Fuel championship, said in a media release. “Everybody at Don Schumacher Racing came together and everybody there helped out; it’s a big team. I have to thank all the other crews and our Red Fuel crew. This is a big win for us and we are excited.”

The win propels Langdon into the sixth spot for the upcoming Top Fuel Traxxas Nitro Shootout on Labor Day weekend at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis.

Schumacher, meanwhile, who struggled in the early part of the season, appears to be back on track, now having finished runner-up in the last two races on the NHRA national event schedule. Schumacher is now fifth in the standings.

It was Langdon’s second win for DSR. He also won last season’s finale at Pomona, California.

In Funny Car, Johnson roared to his first win of the season and 13th of his career. Johnson (4.038 seconds at 313.22 mph) defeated teammate Hagan (4.030 seconds at 317.57 mph)

It was Johnson’s second career win at Bristol and improved his ranking to seventh place in the Funny Car point standings.

“We’re just slow starters, but we’re strong finishers,” Johnson said of his first win and second final round appearance this season. “The guys kept working hard and have kept their heads down. We got hot in Epping (last weekend in New Hampshire) with a runner-up finish and we are on a roll now and we’re looking good.”

Like Langdon did in Top Fuel, Johnson locked himself into a spot in the Funny Car portion of the Traxxas Nitro Shootout. The eighth/final spot of the bonus event held on will be decided by a fan vote.

Lastly, in Pro Stock, Line (6.668 seconds at 207.59 mph) earned his sixth win of 2016 and 43rd of his career, defeating teammate Greg Anderson (6.694 seconds at 207.62 mph), who has won the other five races.

“It’s been amazing,” said Line, who has raced to every final round this season except one. “I am so thrilled to be up here, you just can’t imagine.

“I am living my dream. The fact that I am getting to do this and have been so successful this year is awesome.”

Line and Anderson remain 1-2 in the Pro Stock standings.

The NHRA hits the midpoint of the 24-race season next weekend (June 23-26) in the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio.

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FINAL FINISHING ORDER:

TOP FUEL: 1.  Shawn Langdon; 2.  Tony Schumacher; 3.  Doug Kalitta; 4.  Antron Brown; 5.  Steve Torrence; 6. Richie Crampton; 7.  Brittany Force; 8.  Pat Dakin; 9.  Leah Pritchett; 10.  Clay Millican; 11. J.R. Todd; 12.  Kyle Wurtzel; 13.  Chris Karamesines; 14.  Terry McMillen; 15.  Terry Haddock; 16. Scott Palmer.

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

PRO STOCK: 1.  Jason Line; 2.  Greg Anderson; 3.  Jeg Coughlin; 4.  Drew Skillman; 5.  Vincent Nobile; 6. Allen Johnson; 7.  Shane Gray; 8.  Bo Butner; 9.  Erica Enders; 10.  Alex Laughlin; 11.  John Gaydosh Jr; 12.  Chris McGaha; 13.  V. Gaines; 14.  Dave River.

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FINAL RESULTS:

Top Fuel — Shawn Langdon, 3.838 seconds, 322.19 mph  def. Tony Schumacher, 3.924 seconds, 310.70 mph.

Funny Car — Tommy Johnson Jr., Dodge Charger, 4.038, 313.22  def. Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.030, 317.57.

Pro Stock — Jason Line, Chevy Camaro, 6.668, 207.59  def. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.694, 207.62.

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FINAL ROUND-BY-ROUND RESULTS:

TOP FUEL: ROUND ONE — Pat Dakin, 3.821, 292.65 def. Clay Millican, 3.841, 322.65; Shawn Langdon, 3.817, 323.89 def. Terry McMillen, 4.357, 195.96; Brittany Force, 3.842, 317.42 def. Chris Karamesines, 4.243, 220.12; Steve Torrence, 3.823, 325.14 def. Terry Haddock, 4.645, 173.72; Doug Kalitta, 3.783, 329.34 def. Kyle Wurtzel, 3.917, 300.46; Antron Brown, 3.842, 315.12 def. Scott Palmer, 5.456, 127.76; Richie Crampton, 3.812, 314.83 def. Leah Pritchett, 3.838, 320.13; Tony Schumacher, 3.794, 324.90 def. J.R. Todd, 3.873, 314.61; QUARTERFINALS — Langdon, 3.835, 319.07 def. Force, 4.089, 276.80; Brown, 3.856, 314.31 def. Crampton, 3.937, 257.24; Schumacher, 3.802, 326.32 def. Torrence, 3.835, 320.97; Kalitta, 3.821, 323.89 def. Dakin, 8.486, 71.22; SEMIFINALS — Langdon, 4.464, 265.53 def. Kalitta, 5.350, 188.52; Schumacher, 3.840, 325.61 def. Brown, 8.399, 84.20; FINAL — Langdon, 3.838, 322.19 def. Schumacher, 3.924, 310.70.

FUNNY CAR: ROUND ONE — Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 3.945, 309.49 def. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 4.614, 176.12; Ron Capps, Charger, 3.978, 315.86 def. Jim Campbell, Toyota Camry, Foul – Red Light; Del Worsham, Camry, 3.961, 323.04 def. John Hale, Charger, 4.186, 255.34; Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 4.000, 319.67 def. Jeff Diehl, Toyota Solara, 5.581, 133.43; Courtney Force, Camaro, 3.984, 320.89 def. Dave Richards, Mustang, 7.636, 65.61; Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.988, 316.38 def. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, Foul – Centerline; Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 4.026, 315.93 def. Chad Head, Camry, 4.489, 226.32; Jack Beckman, Charger, 3.974, 322.73 def. John Force, Camaro, 4.503, 197.74; QUARTERFINALS — Hagan, 4.048, 316.82 def. C. Force, 4.048, 313.66; Johnson Jr., 3.990, 314.83 def. Hight, 4.095, 283.85; DeJoria, 4.012, 314.53 def. Worsham, 8.397, 80.47; Capps, 3.990, 315.05 def. Beckman, 4.007, 317.19; SEMIFINALS — Johnson Jr., 4.039, 312.42 def. DeJoria, 4.138, 288.33; Hagan, 5.190, 220.98 def. Capps, 5.989, 158.13; FINAL — Johnson Jr., 4.038, 313.22 def. Hagan, 4.030, 317.57.

PRO STOCK: ROUND ONE — Shane Gray, Chevy Camaro, 6.752, 206.86 def. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.796, 205.63; Allen Johnson, Dodge Dart, 6.695, 207.59 def. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.760, 206.29; Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.688, 207.75 def. Erica Enders, Dart, 6.716, 206.32; Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.689, 207.37 def. V. Gaines, Dart, 9.479, 96.16; Jason Line, Camaro, 6.650, 208.97 def. Dave River, Chevy Cobalt, Broke – No Show; Jeg Coughlin, Dart, 6.716, 205.54 def. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.645, 207.85; Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.657, 208.07 def. John Gaydosh Jr, Chevrolet Camaro, 6.790, 202.94; QUARTERFINALS — Coughlin, 6.746, 204.63 def. Johnson, 6.971, 167.32; Skillman, 6.702, 206.76 def. Nobile, 6.715, 206.86; Anderson, 6.668, 207.56 def. Gray, 7.165, 150.88; Line, 6.668, 207.34 was unopposed; SEMIFINALS — Line, 6.688, 207.66 def. Skillman, 14.723, 56.33; Anderson, 6.690, 207.56 def. Coughlin, 10.882, 80.81; FINAL — Line, 6.668, 207.59 def. Anderson, 6.694, 207.62.

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UPDATED POINT STANDINGS:

Top Fuel: 1.  Doug Kalitta, 926; 2.  Antron Brown, 873; 3.  Steve Torrence, 846; 4.  Brittany Force, 754; 5. Tony Schumacher, 675; 6.  Shawn Langdon, 595; 7.  J.R. Todd, 562; 8.  Clay Millican, 540; 9. Richie Crampton, 535; 10.  Leah Pritchett, 412.

Funny Car: 1.  Ron Capps, 841; 2.  Jack Beckman, 786; 3.  Courtney Force, 741; 4.  Matt Hagan, 710; 5.  Del Worsham, 701; 6.  Tim Wilkerson, 691; 7.  Tommy Johnson Jr., 675; 8.  Robert Hight, 643; 9.  John Force, 615; 10.  Alexis DeJoria, 588.

Pro Stock: 1.  Jason Line, 1,263; 2.  Greg Anderson, 1,170; 3.  Bo Butner, 758; 4.  Allen Johnson, 668; 5. Drew Skillman, 625; 6.  Vincent Nobile, 535; 7.  Chris McGaha, 524; 8.  Jeg Coughlin, 496; 9. Shane Gray, 458; 10.  Alex Laughlin, 445.

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Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.