SNAKE RACING DOUBLES UP WITH DIXON AND JOHNSON JR. Anderson and Treble round out winner's circle at ProCare Rx NHRA Nationals ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. -- Drag racing legend Don "Snake" Prudhomme celebrated a double-win Sunday as his two drivers --...
SNAKE RACING DOUBLES UP WITH DIXON AND JOHNSON JR.
Anderson and Treble round out winner's circle at ProCare Rx NHRA Nationals
ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. -- Drag racing legend Don "Snake" Prudhomme celebrated a double-win Sunday as his two drivers -- Larry Dixon in Top Fuel and Tommy Johnson Jr. in Funny Car -- pulled off a pair of wins at the 38th annual ProCare Rx NHRA SuperNationals presented by R2B2.
Ironically, Pro Stock winner Greg Anderson tallied his 49th career victory, which ties him with Prudhomme for sixth place on the NHRA POWERade Series' all-time winner's list. Pro Stock Motorcycle winner Craig Treble joined in the fun after he dispatched reigning champ Andrew Hines.
Johnson rose from the ashes, literally and figuratively, to get his first win of the year. The veteran racer, who has struggled through most of the season, rebounded to win the event after a giant fire in the opening round reduced his car to a bare chassis.
He also rose from 12th to eighth in the POWERade Countdown to the Championship standings with seven races left in the regular season (the top 8 qualify for the playoffs).
"To go fromm 12th to eighth and with the way we're running (he paced three of the four qualifying sessions) going into these six races (in six weeks), it's huge. We have the momentum," Johnson said.
It wasn't easy in the final as Tony Pedregon gave him a race, leaving first by a hundredth of a second. But Johnson managed to catch the former champ and pass him to win with a 4.994 at 305.84 mph to Pedregon's 5.022 at 306.33 mph.
"We had to change everything after that fire, right down to the fuel tanks," Johnson said. "That was a bad fire. It snuck up on me because the run was going fine and then, blam, there was this huge fireball.
"It was blazing pretty good. I couldn't see. I couldn't breathe. It was time to go," said Johnson, who made a hasty retreat out of the roof escape hatch and through thick, black smoke as soon as he got the car stopped.
It was the first time Prudhomme had two cars in the winner's circle since Ron Capps and Dixon pulled off the double at Columbus in 2002.
"It's special," Prudhomme said. "When Larry won last week (in Chicago and Tommy didn't), you're only 50 percent happy. It's like having one kid hit a home run and the other strike out.
"Tommy needed it. They're the ones that had been striking out and (Sunday) they hit it out of the park," Prudhomme said.
In the Top Fuel final, Dixon was the first to streak from the gates against Doug Herbert, .057 to .071, and he never looked back, inching away as he went down the track to win with a 4.625 at 321.73 mph to Herbert's 4.675 at 316.30 mph. This was Dixon's second win in a row. He's now been to the final round of this race for the last seven years with four wins.
"We're going to burn up the Snake's credit card at dinner tonight," Dixon said.
Dixon had won five Father's Day races in a row before having the streak ended by Rod Fuller in 2006. This year, with no race on Father's Day, Dixon did the next best thing by winning races on the race weekends before and after Father's day.
Trying to steal away a holeshot win from KB Racing for the second week in a row, Jeg Coughlin was a little too aggressive at the Christmas Tree, leaving early by -.007 seconds to hand Anderson his sixth win in the first 10 races of the season. It may not have mattered as Anderson's Pontiac GTO ran a 6.617 at 209.52 mph, quicker than anything Coughlin had posted all day, but it was all academic after the red-light start.
It was the 49th career win for Anderson.
"I really can't fathom that," Anderson said. "It's not because of me, it's all those guys I'm associated with ... Ken Black. I'm a lucky man and I count my blessings every day. I'm going to ride this wave as long as I can."
After three runner-up finishes here, Old Bridge Township Raceway Park probably owed Pro Stock Motorcycle victor Treble this win, the 10th of his career. The final was a thriller as both men stayed within each other's shadows most of the way down the track. In the end it was Treble eking out a 6.990-second win at 191.70 mph over Hines 7.003 at 190.48 mph.
"We went for broke," said the sponsor-less Treble who distanced himself from the pack fighting for the eighth and final Countdown playoff berth. "We won a race without a name on the tail section. I think we're the only team in the top ten without a major sponsor."