Valencia Fire Captain Wins IHRA Drag Racing Event
Newhall’s Johnny Ahten won the IHRA Pro Fuel Dragster final at the Nitro Jam drag races at Southwestern International Raceway in Arizona over the weekend.
Ahten, the captain at Fire Station 76 in Valencia, won his second Ironman trophy in his fourth career IHRA Nitro Jam start. He beat Bill Evans in the final round.
“We were so excited to get the win for all the folks that support us,” said Ahten. “Running a Pro Fuel car is not cheap, and I really want to thank 801 Racing, Island Renovations, Fireman’s Brew, Fire Ice, Hedman Hedders, and NGK Sparkplugs. I also want to thank my dad and crew chief Al Ahten, as well as crew members Howard Katano, Bob Ahten, Kevin Colvell, and Kelly Fitzgerald.”
Ahten started the weekend with a win over Cherissa Smallwood in the first round of the Nitro Jam races and set the low elapsed time of the event, 5.41 seconds.
The final round race against Evans didn’t start out too promising. Ahten’s dragster, named Stump Puller, was leaking fuel from one of its cylinders. But Ahten had a nearly half-second advantage on the start, a .059 reaction time, and jumped out to a big lead over Evans. Ahten won the race in 5.740 seconds and 244.21 mph.
“It’s kind of lonely way down there on the top end,” Ahten said. “Bill came over and we shook hands and I waited for my crew to arrive. It was just me and the Stump Puller, and together we were the first to celebrate. The team finally got there and we headed to the winners circle. It was great to see all the fans waiting for us there. It was really special, even though we were rushed out of there a little quick for my liking.”
Ahten won an IHRA Nitro Jam event in Utah in 2010.
Follow Tim Haddock on Twitter @thaddock.