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Tommy Johnson Jr. wins Route 66 NHRA Nationals

June 2, 2019
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In this photo provided by the NHRA, Mike Salinas competes in Top Fuel qualifying for the Route 66 NHRA Nationals drag races at Route 66 Raceway on Saturday, June 1, 2019, in Joliet, Ill. (Jerry Foss/NHRA via AP)
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In this photo provided by the NHRA, Mike Salinas competes in Top Fuel qualifying for the Route 66 NHRA Nationals drag races at Route 66 Raceway on Saturday, June 1, 2019, in Joliet, Ill. (Jerry Foss/NHRA via AP)

JOLIET, Ill. (AP) — Tommy Johnson Jr. raced to his first Funny Car victory since the end of the 2017 season, beating Robert Hight in an explosive final round Sunday at the Route 66 NHRA Nationals.

Johnson’s Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat had an engine explosion just before the finish line in a pass of 4.175 seconds at 229.86 mph. He won for the 16th time in his Funny Car career and for the second time at Route 66 Raceway.

“It felt good coming here,” Johnson said. “This is a track where we’ve had a lot of success. I think we’ve been in the finals four out of the last six years here. I’m not superstitious, but the way the weekend went, things just kept pointing to it. I felt good about it. I went up there for the final and really wasn’t even nervous.”

Steve Torrence won in Top Fuel, Deric Kramer in Pro Stock and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Torrence drove to his fourth consecutive victory this season, beating Mike Salinas with a 3.763 at 326.32.

Kramer powered his Chevrolet Camaro to his first win of the season and third of his career, running a 6.532 at 210.70 to beat Erica Enders. Smith edged Karen Stoffer with a 6.807 at 198.88.

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