Pomona: Goodyear Racing final summary

FOUR WINS FOR GOODYEAR-SHOD TEAMS IN NHRA OPENER POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 11, 2007) -- Drivers racing on Goodyear tires won four categories in the season-opening CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals, setting records...

FOUR WINS FOR GOODYEAR-SHOD TEAMS IN NHRA OPENER

POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 11, 2007) -- Drivers racing on Goodyear tires won four categories in the season-opening CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals, setting records along the way and setting a new standard for drag racing drama. No tiremaker had a better result.

J.R. Todd (in Top Fuel), Gary Scelzi (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and Brandon Johnson (Top Alcohol Dragster) all won while racing on Goodyear tires.

"I can't describe how I feel," the elated Johnson said. The victory was his first in national competition.

The Shelton, Wash., resident said his team's tire selection turned out to be important to his victory. His team sought tires with a specific characteristic from the supply at the Goodyear trailer.

"They were awesome," Johnson said, grinning and gripping his trophy. "We're really happy with the tires. They were a little shorter than what we've tried before."

Johnson was one of four drivers who used Goodyear tires to fill all four spots in the semi-finals in the TAD category.

Todd's victory was his fourth in the last dozen NHRA POWERADE events. He beat Brandon Bernstein in the final at Pomona. Tony Schumacher, the defending Top Fuel champion, set the quickest lap in qualifying, then was upset in the first round by Joe Hartley.

Scelzi's victory in Funny Car completed a weekend of dramatic twists and turns for the teams in the category, ending with a wild finish. Scelzi chased Robert Hight to the finish line in their final round race and Hight got to the end of the quarter-mile first. But Scelzi got the win because Hight crossed the centerline before crossing the finish line. Hight was disqualified.

Hight drives for John Force Racing and his finish was just a piece of the trauma the team experienced at Pomona. John Force struggled to qualify and finally jumped into the field on his fourth and final qualifying pass. That same pass knocked Funny Car rookie Ashley Force, John's daughter, out of the field and she had to bump her way back in with a dramatic pass of her own. Both Forces were beaten in the first round of eliminations.

"Now I'm back to another Winternationals, just like I've been to for my whole life," Ashley Force said after losing in the first round. Her father's streak of consecutive starts now stands at 393.

Anderson's victory in the final round of Pro Stock came at the expense of Greg Stanfield. Anderson set a track record during qualifying when he recorded a speed of 209.04 mph. The winner said later his team takes painstaking care during qualifying to determine which set of tires to use on race day.

"We ran them one qualifying round, I guess it was Saturday morning when we ran low (elapsed time) and we said, 'Maybe there's something magic about these tires,'" Anderson said. "We took 'em off for the last qualifying run and saved them for Sunday."

Anderson's Summit Pontiac used the same four tires during all four of Sunday's elimination rounds.

The next event on the 2007 POWERADE racing schedule is the Feb. 23-25 event at Firebird International Raceway near Phoenix, Ariz.

-credit: goodyear

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Series NHRA
Drivers John Force , Gary Scelzi , Greg Stanfield , Ashley Force , Brandon Bernstein , Joe Hartley , Robert Hight , J.R. Todd