BRISTOL, Tenn. — It was boom or bust under the hot sun of Thunder Valley Sunday and not just the literal boom of a firing drag race engine or the bust of Wally Parks given to each of the NHRA winners.
Greeneville’s Allen Johnson and Christiansburg’s Matt Hagan are our two local racers when the Thunder Valley Nationals fire up, and elimination day was boom or bust for the well liked pair.
Johnson, running in his well known Pro Stock ride, ran the second fastest run of the first round, but it wasn’t good enough to beat veteran Larry Morgan. The loss makes him 0-16 in his quest for a home track title.
Hagan, the defending Funny Car world champion, made his dream reality. The Rocky boot car turned on four win lights on his way to a first Bristol Dragway title leaving the pair feeling very different as the sun set on Thunder Valley.
“We had a great weekend,” Johnson said after. “You can’t fault anything we did this weekend. Mopar and Magneti-Marelli supports us to the end, and we had a great weekend. It just was not our day.”
“It’s so special because it’s so close to home,” Hagan said while holding the Wally. “We have so many friends and so many family members come out, and it’s just awesome to pull four win lights on Sunday and hold the trophy up at the end of the day.”
The other big winners Sunday also had different stories. Erica Enders-Stevens became a back-to-back Pro Stock winner, while Richie Crampton took the Top Fuel race in just his second trip to Bristol.