People, Places & Racing News

Racing News: T. Johnson Jr., B. Torrence, Anderson and S. Johnson All Win MOPAR Express Lane NHRA Nationals

Compiled by SEMA Editors

Tommy Johnson
Tommy Johnson Jr. went 3.926 seconds at 330.23 mph in the 11,000-
hp Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, taking out John Force’s 3.946
in a side-by-side duel in the final round.

T. Johnson Jr., B. Torrence, Anderson and S. Johnson All Win MOPAR Express Lane NHRA Nationals Presented by Pennzoil

Filling in for defending world champ Matt Hagan, Funny Car veteran Tommy Johnson Jr. picked up a win last Sunday, powering to the victory at the 36th annual Mopar Express Lane NHRA Nationals presented by Pennzoil at Maple Grove Raceway. Billy Torrence (Top Fuel), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and Steve Johnson (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also won at the 14th of 20 races during the 2021 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season and the first race in the Countdown to the Championship playoffs.

With Hagan recovering from COVID-19, Johnson stepped in for his Don Schumacher Racing teammate at last week’s U.S. Nationals and this weekend’s playoff stop at Maple Grove Raceway. He went 3.926 seconds at 330.23 mph in the 11,000hp Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, taking out John Force’s 3.946 in a side-by-side duel in the final round.

In Top Fuel, Torrence turned in a 3.720 at 326.08 in his 11,000hp Capco Contractors dragster in the final round to knock off Justin Ashley. Torrence made a huge jump in points, moving from eighth to third on the strength of his second win this season and eighth in his career.

In Pro Stock, Anderson tied NHRA legend Warren Johnson for the most wins in class history, picking up his 97th career win with a victory over defending world champ Erica Enders in the final round. Anderson went 6.578 at 208.30 in the finals to beat Enders and earn his third victory of the season.

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, S. Johnson finds himself in the points lead for the first time in seven years after beating Eddie Krawiec in the final round on his Mac Rak/Slick 50 Suzuki with a run of 6.775 at 196.87.

The NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series returns September 17–19, with the DeWalt NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Charlotte.

NASCARNASCAR Announces Hall Of Fame Class of 2021

The NASCAR Hall of Fame and NASCAR have announced the inductees for the Class of 2021, the 12th class inducted into the program since its inception in 2010. The first class with three members instead of five comprises Dale Earnhardt Jr., Red Farmer and Mike Stefanik. The induction of this class brings the Hall’s total number of racing legends to 58. Additionally, Ralph Seagraves will be honored with the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR.  

The Class of 2021 Induction Ceremony will take place in Charlotte, Friday, January 21, 2022, as part of a three-day special program set for Thursday, January 20–Saturday, January 22. Tickets to the Class of 2021 NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Weekend events go on sale to the general public on Thursday, October 7 at 10:00 a.m. For more information, visit nascarhall.com.

Prudomme
Don Prudhomme

Don Prudhomme, Richard Shute Named Texas Motorplex Legends

Iconic drag racer Don Prudhomme and award-winning drag-racing photographer Richard Shute will be recognized as Texas Motorplex Legends during the opening ceremonies of the 36th annual Texas NHRA Fall Nationals. Prudhomme won the Fall Nationals three times including a Funny Car title in 1989, Top Fuel in 1991 and his final professional Top Fuel win was recorded at the 1994 Fall Nationals. Shute has chronicled every Texas NHRA Fall Nationals winner’s circle as part of his 50-year career as one of the sport’s most popular photographers.

Shute
Richard Shute

Prudhomme concluded his 47th year in drag racing in 2009, his 15th season as an owner, after logging 32 seasons behind the wheel as one of the sport’s elite drivers. His remarkable driving career began in 1962 with his first Top Fuel victory at “Smokers March Meet” in Bakersfield, California, before ending with 49 NHRA career victories—the sixth most in NHRA history—following his farewell “Final Strike Tour” in 1994.  For his career, Prudhomme reached the finals 68 times, posting 35 wins in 45 Funny Car finals and 14 wins in 23 Top Fuel finals rounds.

In 2020, Shute celebrated his 50th year of professionally pointing the lens at drag cars and archiving the history of the fastest accelerating machines on the planet. He began shooting professionally in 1971 and covered drag racing for several drag strips in Southern California. In 1979 he started Auto Imagery where he began photographing all NHRA’s national events. Shute still provides professional-quality photographic reproduction and film services out of his lab in Carlsbad, California.

The Texas NHRA Fall Nationals will be contested from October 7-10, with tickets available at www.stampedeofspeed.com.

John Force Racing
Ted Van Zelst

John Force Racing Names New Chief Commercial Officer

John Force Racing has hired Ted Van Zelst as chief commercial officer (COO). In this new role, Van Zelst will be responsible for creating new partnerships, enhancing business-to-business relationships with existing partners and developing successful activation. Van Zelst joins John Force Racing with 25 years of experience, most recently serving as the president/CEO of Zeker Solutions, a consulting agency. He has also held senior leadership positions with NASCAR, the Detroit Pistons, WWE and the New York Islanders.

ICMS Accepting Nominations for Board of Directors

The International Council of Motorsport Sciences (ICMS) has announced the council is accepting nominations for its Board of Directors. The ICMS Board of Directors is made up of nine individuals that each serve a three-year term. Every year, there is an opportunity for three ICMS members to be elected to serve on the Board. Nominees will be considered based on their ability to help advance the mission of ICMS, which is to inform the international motorsports community, different scientific and medical disciplines, designers and constructors and the general public of the latest innovations and advancements in scientific research on human performance and safety in motorsport.

Interested parties should email Rob Seal, M.D., current chair of the board at rseal@ualberta.ca, and Tom Weisenbach, the ICMS executive director at tom@theicms.org, with a copy of your resume and the signature of two current members of the ICMS supporting your interest. All interested must notify Dr. Seal and Weisenbach no later than 5:00 p.m. (EDT), September 30. For more information, visit icmsmotorsportsafety.org.

Midget Racing HOF

National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame Announces 2021 Inductees

Danny Frye Sr., Jimmy LaManna, Ken Nichols, Fred ”Jiggs” Peters, Lowell Sachs, and Art Shanoian were announced as the latest inductees into the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame. The announcement was made during the USAC National Midget Series event at Angell Park Speedway last weekend. The 37th annual Luncheon-Induction Ceremony will be held Friday, January 14, 2022, in conjunction with the Chili Bowl Nationals in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The event will be held at Fair Meadow Hall on the Tulsa Fairgrounds adjacent to the Expo Center hosting the Chili Bowl. In addition, plaques will be on permanent display in the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame at Angell Park Speedway in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin.

For more racing news, visit Performance Racing Industry’s (PRI) website.