Bristol: Goodyear Racing final report

TROXEL, CONNOLLY AND SCHUMACHER WIN IN NHRA EVENT BRISTOL, Tenn. (May 19, 2008) -- Melanie Troxel, Dave Connolly and Tony Schumacher overcame the elements, and their competition, to win their categories at the NHRA's O'Reilly ...

TROXEL, CONNOLLY AND SCHUMACHER WIN IN NHRA EVENT

BRISTOL, Tenn. (May 19, 2008) -- Melanie Troxel, Dave Connolly and Tony Schumacher overcame the elements, and their competition, to win their categories at the NHRA's O'Reilly Thunder Valley Nationals at soggy Bristol Dragway.

The three wins gave Goodyear 37 victories in NHRA national event competition this season. Connolly's win was the 343rd straight win for Goodyear in Pro Stock. Warren Johnson posted the best time in qualifying and that means cars shod with Goodyear Eagles have been the top qualifier in 341 of the last 343 Pro Stock races.

"In spite of challenging weather conditions, our Goodyear Eagles performed well," said Goodyear's Carolyn Ashbee. The frequent rains in the region kept the track awash for much of Sunday's elimination schedule. The NHRA track preparation crew had a very busy day.

Troxel (racing in Funny Car) and Connolly (Pro Stock) collected each their first wins of 2008, while Schumacher (Top Fuel) won for the third time this season in POWERade Drag Racing Series competition. All three raced on Goodyear tires.

"We had to go up to the starting line three times for the first round," Troxel said. "I felt like we'd been racing all day long. I did three burnouts for the first round and was in and out of the helmet six times."

Troxel became only the 14th driver to collect wins in both the NHRA's Funny Car and Top Fuel categories when she knocked off Mike Neff in the final. It was a special milestone for Troxel because her husband, Tommy Johnson Jr., is also one of the 14.

"Your first pro win is always special," Troxel said. "But this one is right up there. This one is a little bit sweet, given the way we struggled at the beginning of the year."

Connolly made it to the final round for the second straight race after missing the first five races of the season. He beat Greg Stanfield in the final.

"Every time we have a rain delay," Connolly said, "it always seems we win. So, for 17 races, or whatever we have left, I hope it rains." Sixteen races remain on the 2008 schedule.

Schumacher beat Larry Dixon in a match between future Hall of Famers in the final round. Schumacher has advanced to the final round five times this season, his best start since 2004, when he won 10 times.

Schumacher leads the Top Fuel standings with a hefty 726-595 lead over Antron Brown. Tim Wilkerson, who lost in the second round at Bristol, leads the Funny Car drivers by a narrow 552-529 margin over Ashley Force. Greg Anderson leads teammate Jason Line 561-559 in Pro Stock.

The weekend's unseasonable weather allowed some track records.

Kurt Johnson and Warren Johnson each broke a track record in Pro Stock during Friday's first two rounds of qualifying. Kurt Johnson, Warren's son, set a new elapsed time mark at 6.687 seconds and Warren's record on Friday was for speed, 206.57 mph. By the time Saturday's sessions were completed, Warren Johnson held both track records with an elapsed time of 6.674 seconds and a speed of 207.43. mph.

-credit: goodyear racing

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Series NHRA
Drivers Antron Brown , Larry Dixon , Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Tony Schumacher , Greg Anderson , Tim Wilkerson , Ashley Force , Melanie Troxel , Jason Line , Tommy Johnson Jr.