Johnny Gray raced to his third victory of the season Sunday and moved back into the Funny Car points lead at the 25th annual NHRA Kansas Nationals.
Shawn Langdon (Top Fuel) and Jeg Coughlin (Pro Stock) also were winners in their respective categories at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event. All three winners were presented special-edition silver Wally trophies in honor of the event’s 25th anniversary.
Gray took his first win at Heartland Park Topeka and the sixth of his career by outrunning Robert Hight in the final round. Gray drove his Dodge Charger to a final round performance of 4.067 seconds at 314.90 miles-per-hour, while Hight’s Ford Mustang lost traction and slowed early in the run in his first final round appearance in more than a year.
“Rob [Wendland, crew chief] gave me a great race car that ran real hard all day,” said Gray, who beat Alexis DeJoria, Del Worsham and defending event winner Jack Beckman in earlier rounds. “Sometimes you can win races on an intimidation factor and Rob had her tuned up to where she was a little intimidating today. Robert had a great race car too, but they just missed it a little bit. They have a great team over there. Our car went right on down through there. My guys are giving me a car I can’t screw up in right now.”
In Top Fuel, Langdon used the quickest time of the weekend to defeat his arch-rival Tony Schumacher in the final round and take his second win of the season. Langdon covered the distance in 3.750 at 324.20 in his Al-Anabi Racing dragster, while Schumacher’s U.S. Army machine trailed with a 3.781 at 327.27. All three of Langdon’s career victories have come with seven-time world champ Schumacher as his final round opponent.
“We haven’t quite been able to finish it out on Sunday,” Langdon said. “[My crew] had the fire in their eyes today. They wanted to close it out. We didn’t want to go four races in a row feeling like we had a car that can win and not getting it done.”
In Pro Stock, Coughlin broke a winless drought of more than two years by taking the victory over teammate Allen Johnson. Coughlin took the win light with a performance of 6.680 at 206.20 in his Dodge Avenger, while runner-up Johnson finished in 6.698 at 206.57 in his Avenger.
Pro Stock Championship point standings
1. Mike Edwards 723 2. Jeg Coughlin 647 3. Allen Johnson 602 4. Erica Enders-Stevens 526 5. Jason Line 505
Funny Car Championship point standings
1. Johnny Gray 591 2. Cruz Pedregon 581 3. Matt Hagan 568 4. Ron Capps 512 5. Courtney Force 485
Top Fuel Championship point standings
1. Tony Schumacher 665 2. Shawn Langdon 631 3. Antron Brown 593 4. Spencer Massey 541 5. Doug Kalitta 470
The NHRA and Drag Race Central contributed to this report.