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Our show for Tuesday September 1, 2015
LIVE from McGilvery's in Speedway, Indiana!
The Autosportradio.com Show airs live starting at 7:00 p.m. ET.

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Our First Scheduled Guest

Tommy Johnson, Jr

The Ottumwa, Iowa product was born into a family of straight-line racers, thus it’s only natural that his dream was to follow in his father’s footsteps and compete professionally on the quarter-mile track.

T.J.’s racing career started at the age of eight-years-old competing on motorcycles at a local track in Iowa. He raced motorcycles until the age of 14, where he then strapped into his first race car.

Moving to the NHRA Tommy started out well. In 1990 Tommy became the 14th member of the Crager 4 second club. In 1994 he became the 15th Slick 50 member of the 300 mph club. That made him 1 of 5 to be a member of both the 4 second and 300 mph club.

At the age of 15, Johnson became the youngest person to ever hold a NHRA competition license. His driving career began in the sportsmen ranks as he piloted vehicles in the Super Gas, Super Comp and Top Alcohol Funny Car categories. He broke through for his first NHRA victory at the 1988 NHRA event near Columbus, Ohio, beating Pat Austin in the final round to collect his first career "Wally" trophy.

Johnson earned his NHRA Top Fuel license in 1989. The next season, he powered his dragster to a run of 4.964-seconds becoming the 14th member of the exclusive Cragar 4-Second Club, edging drag racing icons Don "the Snake" Prudhomme and Kenny Bernstein, who went on to claim the final two spots in the four-second fraternity.

"That is one of the most important accomplishments in my racing career," Johnson said.

"Your first win is always important," Johnson said.

The next season, Johnson joined another elite club, becoming the 15th member of the Slick 50 300-mph Club after clocking a speed of 302.01-mph at Houston Raceway Park. He joined Eddie Hill, Amato, Prudhomme and Bernstein as the only members in both the four-second and 300-mph clubs. Later that season, Johnson set the NHRA speed record at 306.64-mph in Topeka, Kan.

"My biggest accomplishment in racing, to date, is being a member of both of those special clubs," Johnson said. "To join that group of drag racing legends is a special feeling. You can’t go back and change history."

After serving as a television commentator for the International Hot Rod Association (IHRA), Helen Hofmann tabbed Johnson to pilot her Funny Car for the final 11 races of the 2000 season. Johnson stunned the drag racing community by grabbing the No. 1 qualifying spot at the prestigious U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis.

After scoring two victories in 99’ and success in 00’, Johnson received a phone call from Prudhomme offering something he had been without for nearly half a decade, job security. Prudhomme, a drag racing legend and four-time NHRA Funny Car champion, hired Johnson to drive a second Skoal Racing Chevy Funny Car in 2001.

In his first event driving for the Snake, T.J. powered his blue Skoal Racing flopper to the top qualifying spot at the season-opening Winternationals in 2001. He went on to claim his fifth career win when he bested the field at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in April. "I was proud to get the first win for the Skoal brand when they entered drag racing again in 2001," Johnson said.

In 2008, Johnson piloted the Monster Energy Funny Car for racing legend and six-time NHRA champion Kenny Bernstein. Johnson has raced for three of the biggest names in auto racing in Gibbs, Prudhomme and Bernstein gaining valuable experience on owning and operating a successful motor sports team.

Johnson joined NHRA mega team Don Schumacher Racing in the winter of 2009 as the lead driver for the Yas Marina Circuit Top Fuel dragsters. Johnson and Rod Fuller christened the Yas Drag Centre in Abu Dhabi, March 18-20, as part of the Yas Drag Festival at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi. Johnson had an impressive Middle East debut by making all six runs from a 3.89 to 3.93 seconds and just missing the 500 kilometer mark when he ran 499.76 kilometers per hour. The teams are planning a December return to Abu Dhabi to compete in front of the Emirate fans again.

In 2015 driving for Don Schumacher Tommy has two wins and is qualified for the Countdown to the Championship currently in 3rd in season points.
Our Third Scheduled Guest

Leah Pritchett

California native Leah Pritchett’s passion for drag racing began at a very early age. She started driving Jr Dragsters at 8 years old, with 37 career wins in 8 years of competition, she knew that she wanted to become a professional drag racer and put her mind to it.

As soon as she was old enough Leah got behind the wheel of a full size drag race car, and continued to light-up the scoreboard in the 190mph sportsman division. At just 18 years old she built a Nostalgia Nitro Funny car with her father Ron, and became the first woman to run 5 seconds in a Nostalgia Funny Car. She also set the world record for the fastest Nostalgia Nitro Funny Car, being the first person to break 250 mph. In 2010 Leah branched off from her family’s racing operation and began driving for Steve Plueger, where she became the Hot Rod Heritage Series Champion, winning multiple prestigious races and setting records.

It wasn’t long before Leah’s success was noticed by professional Funny Car and Pro Mod team owner Roger Burgess. In 2011 Leah made the move to Atlanta to begin driving Pro Modified cars for R2B2 racing, where she won three national events in just two short seasons. In 2013 Leah joined Dote Racing in the ranks of Top Fuel Dragster, ending up 15th in points overall after competing at only 12 national events, and was an NHRA Road To The Future nominee. Leah was the highest finishing Top Fuel driver during the 2014 season that did not complete in the full 24-race schedule. It is her unwavering goal to not only secure funds for her and Dote Racing to compete on a full schedule, but to be an NHRA Mello Yello Series Champion.
Our Second Scheduled Guest

Cruz Pedregon

With their father a Drag racer it was not hard to figure out what the sons would get involved in. Cruz started early on racing Karts. That was not where we wanted to be so it wasn't long before he got into Drag racing.
Known as the "Cruzer" became a very successful driver.
Moving into Nitro Funny Cars where he came into his own. In 1992 Cruzer won his first Funny Car World Championship thus becoming in the only other driver to win the Championship without the name John Force. He would repeat as the Funny Car World Champion again in 2008. In addition to the World Championships he has won 3 US National titles in '92, 94 and '95.He has also won the $100,000 Shootout at Indianapolis.

Cruz's career highlights include...

Wins .. 35, Final rounds .. 73, Best ET .. 3.959 Best top speed ..319.60. Cruz is currently holding the #9 in points in the Countdown to the Championship.
Our Fourth Scheduled Guest
Our Friends

Verizon IndyCar Series


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