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Steve Johnson Takes New Suzuki Bodywork To The Winners Circle At Thunder Valley Nationals In Bristol

The Gaige Herrera domination tour came to a stop on Sunday in Bristol and Steve Johnson was in position to capitalize.

Herrera himself had said that it was only a matter of time before he was knocked down from the top in his total domination of the Pro Stock Motorcycle class, but no one suspected that it would come at his own hand on Sunday afternoon at Bristol. Herrera left the starting line -.011 too soon in the final next Johnson, who was wheeling a brand new Suzuki Hyabusa body at the event. Johnson won with a .053 reaction and 7.17.

Johnson's defeated a troubled Joey Gladstone in round one, 6.88 to 6.93, then mustered a quick .028 light in round two to beat Eddie Krawiec on a holeshot. Krawiec was .065 at the tree and 6.87 at the finish line to Johnson's 6.88. In the semifinals, Hector Arana Jr. reacted quickly, .006 to Johnson's .060, but his bike bogged and Johnson advanced to his 31st career final on a 6.89.

Herrera earned decisive victories over Ron Tornow, who left before the tree was activated; Chase Van San, who gave it a good shot with a .008 reaction; and Angie Smith to gain access to a fourth consecutive final in his first full season with Vance & Hines aboard the Mission Suzuki.

"The Suzuki Hyabusa Gen 3 body is the newest coolest thing in Pro Stock Motorcycle racing," said Johnson, who scored the 12th win of his career. "We got it, it's the 25th anniversary of Suzuki next year and we're really into trying to promote it. It's totally different. It looks the same, but the feel and how the motorcycle rides down the track it's totally different.

"The first round was exciting and second round was really exciting to beat Eddie, especially on a holeshot. Third round, we got lucky – but in the finals racing Gaige, he's got a really, really fast Suzuki and I was like, okay, what do you want to do? We talked about timing, jetting, all these things, but it was like, we just have to throw the kitchen sink at it. But we didn't have one. So, we said we'll just do what we can. We did some stuff that probably wasn't right, but I looked up and saw our win light, and I let off to save the parts. I was pretty happy with it, but it's pretty shocking."

The NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season continues with the Summit Motorsports Equipment NHRA Nationals at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio June 23rd to 25th.

See the full recap from Kelly Wade at

Thunder Valley Nationals Sunday photo gallery from NHRA National Dragster staff:

Content: NHRA | Kelly Wade

Photo's: NHRA | Racing Pro Media (RPM)


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