Motorsports

NHRA Wrap-Up: 17-Year-Old Tanner Gray Wins Pro Stock; Brown & Johnson Jr. Also Winners in Las Vegas

 
Tanner Gray NHRA Pro Stock

Tannery Gray, 17, son of NHRA Pro Stock driver Shane Gray, became the youngest-ever winner of an NHRA Pro Stock event after taking home the Wally at the NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas. (Image/NHRA)

Tanner Gray, the 17-year-old son of NHRA Pro Stock driver Shane Gray, became the youngest-ever winner of an NHRA Pro Stock event Sunday at the NHRA Nationals at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Antron Brown in Top Fuel, and Tommy Johnson Jr. in Funny Car were also event winners. Team Summit’s Greg Anderson won the K&N Horsepower Challenge Saturday night, on the same day he and teammate Jason Line announced their feature film debut.

Gray became the youngest Pro Stock winner in NHRA history when he raced his Chevrolet Camaro to a 6.681 pass at 206.61 to defeat Bo Butner, who also drives a Chevy Camaro, on a holeshot in the finals. Butner raced to a 6.678 at 206.76 but his reaction time of .088 at the start was too slow for Gray’s .010.

“I can’t thank everybody enough,” Gray said. “My crew is definitely the reason I’m here. I do a small part. It feels really cool. I was pretty nervous. This was something I wanted to do since I was real young and I finally got the opportunity to do it. When I started this deal I told my dad I wanted to be the youngest Pro Stock winner. To be able to do that feels really cool.”

Gray is now fourth in the points standings after taking on Drew Skillman, Anderson and defending world champ Line before reaching the finals. Butner lined up against Alan Prusiensky, two-time champ Erica Enders and veteran Jeg Coughlin en route to his finals appearance.

Antron Brown Wins Top Fuel

Brown, who won this even last year as well, piloted his dragster to Top Fuel victory on Sunday. He raced to a 3.747-second pass at 321.04 mph to defeat teammate Tony Schumacher, who ran a 3.809 at 325.14 in his U.S. Army dragster. This is Brown’s 46th career Top Fuel victory and first of the season. It was also Don Schumacher Racing’s 300th team win.

“Today was tough battles,” Brown said. “When you race two of your teammates you know you got a battle on your hands because you all have the same quality parts. And when you go up there you have to throw everything up there. Especially with Tony—he hasn’t been an eight-time champion for nothing, buddy. He knows how to race. We had to push hard.”

Brown, who has been racing Top Fuel for 10 years, has won a race every year of his Top Fuel career. He is the only racer in NHRA history to have a win in 10 consecutive seasons. He raced past Scott Palmer,

#1 qualifier Steve Torrence, and two-time 2017 event winner Leah Pritchett en route to the finals. Schumacher faced Terry McMillen and Doug Kalitta before seeing Brown in the final round.

Tommy Johnson Jr. Wins Funny Car

In Funny Car, Johnson Jr. claimed his first victory at Las Vegas Motor Speedway since 2001 when he outran rookie Jonnie Lindberg with a 3.933 pass at 323.66 in his Dodge Charger R/T. It is his 15th career win and first of the season. Lindberg pushed his Toyota Camry to a 4.016 at 302.14 in his second consecutive runner-up effort in 2017.

“Today was a pretty trying today,” Johnson Jr. said. “It was pretty hot. Probably the hottest track we’ve seen this season yet. The guys did a great job. When we came out first round and were low ET by at least three hundredths I thought, ‘Oh, it’s going to be a good day.’ This is just a great facility. When I come in the gate I have a good feeling because I’ve had some success here— a win prior to this, and a couple runner-up finishes.”

Johnson Jr. pushed past Jim Campbell, Robert Hight, and 16-time world champion John Force before facing Lindberg in the finals. Lindberg defeated Cruz Pedregon, Jack Beckman and Gary Densham before falling to Johnson Jr., who moves to second in the points standings. Lindberg is now eighth.

The 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season continues at the 30th annual NHRA SpringNationals April 21-23 at Royal Purple Raceway.

NHRA Pro Stock Point Standings

1. Greg Anderson        380
2. Jason Line           367
3. Bo Butner            299
4. Tanner Gray          296
5. Shane Gray           278

NHRA Funny Car Point Standings

1. Matt Hagan           368
2. Tommy Johnson Jr.    324
3. John Force           314
4. Ron Capps            275
5. Courtney Force       218

NHRA Top Fuel Point Standings

1. Tony Schumacher      382
2. Leah Pritchett       376
3. Antron Brown         357
4. Doug Kalitta         301
5. Brittany Force       258

NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle Point Standings

1. Eddie Krawiec        120
2. Andrew Hines          97
3. Joey Gladstone        81
4. Steve Johnson         74
5. Jerry Savoie          63

Drag Race Central and NHRA contributed to this report.

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