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|Tommy Johnson Jr. (Funny Car), J.R. Todd (Top Fuel) and Chris McGaha (Pro Stock) emerged as winners in Sunday's final eliminations of the NHRA Northwest Nationals in the Seattle suburb of Kent, Wash.|
Johnson (4.073 seconds at 308.00 mph) earned his second win of the season and the 12th of his NHRA career (10th in Funny Car), defeating Del Worsham in the final round.
"We've got the most consistent car," Johnson said in an NHRA media release. "The last seven races including this one, we have been to four finals.
"We've got a really good car and team. We struggled early in the season with stupid stuff that bit us. Everybody has stepped up to the plate lately and it is showing."
Worsham, one of the three drivers to have a Top Fuel and Funny Car win at Pacific Raceways in Kent, appeared in his third final round of the season.
Prior to meeting Worsham, Johnson beat Don Schumacher Racing teammate "Fast Jack" Beckman in the semifinals, denying Beckman a sweep of the three-race "Western Swing" over the last three weeks (Denver; Sonoma, Calif.; and Kent, a suburb of Seattle).
But there was still good news for Beckman: he closed to within five points of series leader Matt Hagan. Johnson, meanwhile, moved into third place, 114 points behind Hagan, who won the Funny Car national championship in 2014.
In Top Fuel, Todd (3.820 seconds at 322.04 mph) defeated Shawn Langdon in the final round. It was Todd's first win of 2015 and eighth of his career.
"It's still so surreal that I'm driving for Connie Kalitta," said Todd, who is in his second season with Kalitta Motorsports. "He's done so much for the sport as a driver, owner and crew chief.
"I'm the luckiest guy out here. This is Connie's personal toy and he takes a lot of pride in this car. I just love to be able to bring him trophies."
Despite being eliminated in the second round Sunday, Tony Schumacher retained his lead in the Top Fuel standings, holding an 87-point edge over DSR teammate Antron Brown.
In Pro Stock, McGaha earned his second career win in as many races, having also won last week at Sonoma. McGaha (6.507 seconds at 212.59 mph) defeated five-time Pro Stock champ Jeg Coughlin Jr. in the final round.
"The fact that we've gotten on a roll here, it does give us a legitimate chance at the championship," McGaha said. "I've seen guys in the past maybe peak too early. I don't know if we've peaked too early or not. I don't really care at this point either. … I have 100 percent confidence in my crew chief [Brian "Lump" Self] and I always have."
Greg Anderson continues to lead the Pro Stock standings with a 51-point lead over defending 2014 championship winner Erica Enders.
The season is now officially two-thirds complete, with 16 of the 24 races scheduled for 2015 now in the record books.
The NHRA takes next weekend off before returning to action Aug. 20-23 in the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd (Minn.) International Raceway.
UPDATED POINT STANDINGS:
Top Fuel: 1. Tony Schumacher, 1,289*; 2. Antron Brown, 1,202*; 3. Larry Dixon, 1,034; 4. Richie Crampton, 969; 5. Doug Kalitta, 944; 6. J.R. Todd, 896; 7. Shawn Langdon, 872; 8. Spencer Massey, 855; 9. Brittany Force, 851; 10. Steve Torrence, 835.
Funny Car: 1. Matt Hagan, 1,177*; 2. Jack Beckman, 1,172*; 3. Tommy Johnson Jr., 1,063; 4. John Force, 1,025; 5. Del Worsham, 1,004; 6. Ron Capps, 988; 7. Cruz Pedregon, 872; 8. Tim Wilkerson, 870; 9. (tie) Alexis DeJoria, 819; Robert Hight, 819.
Pro Stock: 1. Greg Anderson, 1,322*; 2. Erica Enders, 1,271*; 3. Chris McGaha, 1,175*; 4. Jason Line, 1,102*; 5. Allen Johnson, 951; 6. Larry Morgan, 906; 7. Shane Gray, 834; 8. Jonathan Gray, 823; 9. Vincent Nobile, 787; 10. Drew Skillman, 779.
* Secured a berth in Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship, NHRA's six-race playoffs.