Monthly Archives: September 2017

Johnson stresses importance of winning rounds in Countdown as playoff reaches midway point this weekend at Gateway near St. Louis

Category : DSR news

BROWNSBURG, Ind. (Sept. 27, 2017) – After two early exits during the six-race NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoff, Tommy Johnson Jr. knows that Terry and Doug Chandler’s Make-A-Wish Funny Car team needs to win rounds in order to contend for the Funny Car world championship.

“The championship is still doable, but it’s going to take at least four finals and we need to win them to get back on track,” said Johnson, who finished last season second in points after being third the previous two years.

“The Countdown certainly hasn’t started out the way we’d wanted it to but even with that said, we’re still only 114 points out of the lead and that’s certainly attainable.”

The Make-A-Wish team has advanced to two quarterfinals during the Countdown. Johnson currently sits No. 6, behind the leader and Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron Capps.

“Getting to final rounds are going to be important here on out. We need to find momentum that we’ve lost and go some rounds. We have to go to some finals to keep ourselves in it.

“Fortunately, nobody is running away with it and that’s keeping everybody in the race.”

The NHRA travels this week to Gateway Motorsport Park near St. Louis for the sixth annual NHRA Midwest Nationals for the third race of the six-race playoffs.

In 2016, Johnson entered the event as the No. 8 qualifier and advanced to the final round before being defeated by Jack Beckman and the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge, also funded by the Chandlers.

Aside from gaining ground in NHRA points, Johnson would love winning at Gateway to match the win by his dad, Tommy Johnson Sr., in 1976.
“It’s one of the tracks that’s closest to Iowa and Ottumwa,” he said of hometown. “This one of the races I’d like to win one of these days so I can say I won where my dad did.”

TOMMY JOHNSON JR., Terry and Doug Chandler’s Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T
Crew chief: John Collins; Assistant: Rip Reynolds
Pts Events Wins Rup Semi Qtr 1st rd Poles DNQ W/L
2017 6th 20 1 4 5 5 5 1 0 31-19
CAREER 418 16* 28 58 102 169 15 44 367-358

Career best time, speed: 3.837 sec. (Phoenix 2017); 332.02 mph (Sonoma 2017)
BY THE NUMBERS
Last event: Sept. 22-24, Reading, Pa.:
A year ago at Gateway: Qualified No. 8, lost in championship round to Jack Beckman
Career at Gateway: Wins 0, Runner-ups 2 (2001, 2016), Poles 1 (1999)

COUNTDOWN TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS
(Standings after Reading, 2nd of 6 events in the Countdown playoff; wins in parenthesis; DSR drivers in CAPS)
Funny Car
1. RON CAPPS (7) 2273 —–
2. Robert Hight (3) 2265 -8
3. Courtney Force 2234 -39
4. MATT HAGAN (3) 2183 -90
5. JACK BECKMAN (2) 2173 -100
6. TOMMY JOHNSON JR. (1) 2159 -114
7. J.R. Todd (2) 2135 -138
8. John Force (1) 2116 -157
9. Tim Wilkerson 2098 -175
10. Cruz Pedregon 2065 -208


About Don Schumacher Racing
Don Schumacher Racing, headquartered in Brownsburg, Ind., fields seven professional NHRA teams. In Top Fuel, the U.S. Army dragster driven by eight-time world champion Tony Schumacher, the Matco Tools dragster driven by three-time world champion Antron Brown and the Papa John’s Pizza/Mopar Top Fuel dragster driven by Leah Pritchett; and in Funny Car, 2016 world champion Ron Capps in the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T; 2011 and 2014 world champion Matt Hagan in the 80th anniversary Mopar/ Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T, and 2012 NHRA world champion Jack Beckman in the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge and the Make-A-Wish Dodge driven by Tommy Johnson Jr., both of which are funded by the late Terry Chandler.
DSR has won 315 NHRA national event titles and 16 world championships.
Follow Don Schumacher Racing at ShoeRacing.com, on Twitter at @shoeracing and Facebook.com/shoeracing.

 


Johnson, Make-A-Wish team advance to quarterfinals at Maple Grove, defeated by winner Capps

Category : DSR news

MOHNTON, Pa. (Sept. 24, 2017) – Everything from the weather to the end result were different from last year’s NHRA Dodge Nationals for Tommy Johnson Jr. and Terry and Doug Chandler’s Make-A-Wish Funny Car Dodge Charger R/T team.

In 2016, Johnson hoisted the NHRA Wally trophy claiming him as the Maple Grove winner. This year, he was defeated in the second round by Don Schumacher Racing teammate and eventual event winner Ron Capps.

And instead of temperatures being in the low 60s with cloudy skies, the temps at Maple Grove Raceway near Reading, Pa., were in the low 90s.

What a difference a year makes.

Johnson upset the higher qualified Alexis DeJoria in the opening session by pedaling to a 4.226-second pass at 226.62 mph as DeJoria smoked her way to a 4.684.

In the loss to Capps, Johnson couldn’t get his to car to recover from losing traction early.

“We’ve got some issues with the clutch and we’ve just struggled to get a handle on the it and the race track,” Johnson said. “It’s was a difficult weekend and the guys kept working hard to try and fix it.

“If we’re going to have a shot at the championship, we have to fix it,” said Johnson, who finished second in the NHRA standings to Capps last year.

“I’m sure John (Collins) and Rip (Reynolds) and all the guys will really regroup this week and see if we can’t pinpoint the problem. We’ve just got to win out.”

Johnson ranks sixth heading to St. Louis and is 114 points out of first.

“The championship is still doable but it’s going to take at least four finals and we need to win them to get back on track.”

“The temperatures are the same for everybody. We should have been able to adapt. It really wasn’t weather related. We had a mechanical problem. It’s going to be cooler next week so it’ll probably make the problem even worse. We’re going to have to get after it this week and find the cure.”

Next weekend the NHRA will travel to Gateway Motorsports Park, near St. Louis, for the third of the six-race Countdown to the Championship playoffs.

TOMMY JOHNSON JR., Terry and Doug Chandler’s Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T
Crew chief: John Collins; Assistant: Rip Reynolds
SUNDAY ELIMINATIONS
First round: JOHNSON (4.226 sec., 226.62 mph) def. Alexis DeJoria (4.684, 266.27)
Second round: Ron Capps (3.987, 326.32) def. JOHNSON (5.135, 146.21)
QUALIFYING
Qualified: No. 11
FRIDAY: 5.058 sec., 148.49 mph, (Session 1); 3.957, 326.00, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 4.208, 236.80, (Session 3); 4.003, 317.64, (Session 4)
BY THE NUMBERS
A year ago at Reading: Qualified No. 2, won in championship round over Ron Capps
Career at Reading: Wins 1 (2016), Runner-ups 1 (2014), Poles 1 (2006)
Pts Events Wins Rup Semi Qtr 1st rd Poles DNQ W/L
2017 6th 20 1 4 5 5 5 1 0 31-19
CAREER 418 16* 28 58 102 169 15 44 367-358

Funny Car
1. RON CAPPS (7) 2273 —–
2. Robert Hight (3) 2265 -8
3. Courtney Force 2234 -39
4. MATT HAGAN (3) 2183 -90
5. JACK BECKMAN (2) 2173 -100
6. TOMMY JOHNSON JR. (1) 2159 -114
7. J.R. Todd (2) 2135 -138
8. John Force (1) 2116 -157
9. Tim Wilkerson 2098 -175
10. Cruz Pedregon 2065 -208

 


About Don Schumacher Racing
Don Schumacher Racing, headquartered in Brownsburg, Ind., fields seven professional NHRA teams. In Top Fuel, the U.S. Army dragster driven by eight-time world champion Tony Schumacher, the Matco Tools dragster driven by three-time world champion Antron Brown and the Papa John’s Pizza/Mopar Top Fuel dragster driven by Leah Pritchett; and in Funny Car, 2016 world champion Ron Capps in the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T; 2011 and 2014 world champion Matt Hagan in the 80th anniversary Mopar/ Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T, and 2012 NHRA world champion Jack Beckman in the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge and the Make-A-Wish Dodge driven by Tommy Johnson Jr., both of which are funded by the late Terry Chandler.
DSR has won 315 NHRA national event titles and 16 world championships.
Follow Don Schumacher Racing at ShoeRacing.com, on Twitter at @shoeracing and Facebook.com/shoeracing.

 


Johnson returns to Maple Grove in Chandlers’ Make-A-Wish Dodge with plans to defend Reading title at second NHRA playoff race

Category : DSR news

BROWNSBURG, Ind. (Sept. 20, 2017) – This weekend’s NHRA Dodge Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway was held a week later in the season last year and even with temperatures expected to much warmer this time, Tommy Johnson Jr. with Terry and Doug Chandler’s Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car team hope for the same results this week.

“It’s always been a great race for me,” Johnson said of the NHRA Dodge Nationals. “I won my first Funny Car race there in ’99. Then to do it again last season, it went on to set our championship charge. I always look forward to going back there. It’s such a great race, performance wise so to be able to win the race twice now, it’s been a lot of fun.”

The track near Reading, Pa., has a history of rainy, chilly temperatures and last year Friday qualifying was rained out. With hopes of fighting off Mother Nature, the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing series moved the event earlier in the schedule.

In 2016, Johnson hoisted the NHRA Wally Trophy at the end of the day at the Dodge Nationals. Johnson, with crew chief John Collins and assistant Rip Reynolds, went on to finish second in the NHRA points standings after ending the year third the previous two years.

“It’s great to have Dodge in the sport. I’ve been involved with Mopar for so many years and then to take our Charger R/T and go on to win the Dodge race was big. It’s just one of those special events you want to do well at.”

The Dodge Nationals is the second race in the six-event NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoff. Last weekend near Charlotte, N.C., Johnson was one of only three drivers in the seven-car Don Schumacher Racing stable to advance to the second round. He was then defeated by eventual event winner Robert Hight of John Force Racing who also took over the points lead.

“We obviously didn’t go as far as we wanted in Charlotte, but it was a positive race for us,” Johnson said of his quarterfinals finish that allowed him to move from fifth to fourth in the points standings.

“We’ve moved up in points and we want to continue doing that. We started the Countdown in a positive manner instead of a negative one.”

TOMMY JOHNSON JR., Doug & Terry Chandler’s Make-A-Wish 2017 Dodge Charger R/T
Crew chief: John Collins; Assistant: Rip Reynolds
BY THE NUMBERS
Last event: Sept. 15-17, Charlotte: Qualified No. 3, lost in second round to Robert Hight
A year ago at Reading: Qualified No. 2, won in championship round over Ron Capps
Career at Reading: Wins 1 (2016), Runner-ups 1 (2014), Poles 1 (2006)
Pts Events Wins Rup Semi Qtr 1st rd Poles DNQ W/L
2017 4th 19 1 4 5 4 5 1 0 30-18
CAREER 417 16* 28 58 102 169 15 44 366-357
* 14 FC/2 TF
Career best time, speed: 3.837 sec. (Phoenix 2017); 332.02 mph (Sonoma 2017)

COUNTDOWN TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP – FUNNY CAR
(Through Charlotte, 19 of 24 events, 1 of 6 in Countdown playoff; wins in parenthesis; DSR drivers in CAPS)
1. Robert Hight (3) 2197 —–
2. Ron Capps (6) 2153 -44
3. Courtney Force 2141 -56
4. Tommy Johnson Jr. (1) 2107 -90
5. Matt Hagan (3) 2102 -95
5. J.R. Todd (2) 2102 -95
7. Jack Beckman (2) 2095 -102
8. John Force (1) 2085 -112
9. Tim Wilkerson 2046 -151
10. Cruz Pedregon 2033 -164

 


About Don Schumacher Racing
Don Schumacher Racing, headquartered in Brownsburg, Ind., fields seven professional NHRA teams. In Top Fuel, the U.S. Army dragster driven by eight-time world champion Tony Schumacher, the Matco Tools dragster driven by three-time world champion Antron Brown and the Papa John’s Pizza/Mopar Top Fuel dragster driven by Leah Pritchett; and in Funny Car, 2016 world champion Ron Capps in the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T; 2011 and 2014 world champion Matt Hagan in the 80th anniversary Mopar/ Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T, and 2012 NHRA world champion Jack Beckman in the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge and the Make-A-Wish Dodge driven by Tommy Johnson Jr., both of which are funded by the late Terry Chandler.
DSR has won 314 NHRA national event titles and 16 world championships.
Follow Don Schumacher Racing at ShoeRacing.com, on Twitter at @shoeracing and Facebook.com/shoeracing.

 


Johnson, Make-A-Wish Dodge moves to fourth in NHRA points despite early loss near Charlotte to start Countdown playoff

Category : DSR news

CONCORD, N.C. (Sept. 17 2017) – Tommy Johnson Jr. entered race day at the 10th annual Carolina Nationals as the No. 3 qualifier but was taken out in the quarterfinals by Robert Hight, who went on to win the event title and take over the Funny Car points lead in the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.

“We obviously didn’t go as far as we wanted today, but it was a positive,” said Johnson, driver of Terry and Doug Chandler’s Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car at Don Schumacher Racing.

“We’ve moved up in points and if we can continue to do that and go further. It’s OK to start the Countdown (to the Championship) in a positive manner instead of a negative one.”

Johnson had a solo run during the first round when Dave Richards had a parachute malfunction at the starting line and did not make a pass. Johnson ran a 4.064-second lap at 272.45 mph as he clicked the car off before the finish line. In round two, he was out in front but lost traction and Hight got the round win with his 3.951 (328.22) to Johnson’s 4.315 (216.65).

After his quarterfinals finish on Sunday, Johnson and the team led by crew chief John Collins and assistant Rip Reynolds moved from fifth to fourth in the NHRA points standings.

“We’ll continue to work at it and go into the Dodge Nationals at Reading (Pa.) for next week’s race. We won that race last year and ran really well. That gives you a little confidence coming in. With the way we’re coming back from a struggle two weeks ago at the U.S. Nationals. I’m pretty positive the performance will continue to increase. Being No. 3 qualifier here put us in a good position. So, if we can go there and continue to do the same, I think the results will follow it.”

The team will race again next weekend in Reading for the second event of the Countdown to the Championship. Johnson drove the Chandler’s Make-A-Wish Dodge to the winner’s circle at that event in 2016 and later finished second in the NHRA points standings.

TOMMY JOHNSON JR., Doug & Terry Chandler’s Make-A-Wish 2017 Dodge Charger R/T
Crew chief: John Collins; Assistant: Rip Reynolds
SUNDAY ELIMINATIONS
First round: JOHNSON (4.064 sec., 272.45) def. Dave Richards (broke)
Second round: Robert Hight (3.951, 328.22) def. JOHNSON (4.315, 216.65)
QUALIFYING RESULTS
Qualified: No: 3
FRIDAY: 4.345 sec., 206.35 mph, (Session 1); 3.901, 325.06, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 4.077, 309.63, (Session 3); 5.010, 151.22, (Session 4)
Pts Events Wins Rup Semi Qtr 1st rd Poles DNQ W/L
2017 4th 19 1 4 5 4 5 1 0 30-18
CAREER 417 16* 28 58 102 169 15 44 366-357
* 14 FC/2 TF
Career best time, speed: 3.837 sec. (Phoenix 2017); 332.02 mph (Sonoma 2017)
BY THE NUMBERS
Last event: Sept. 1-4, Indy: Qualified No. 12, lost in first round to Jack Beckman
2016 Fall zMAX: Qualified No. 1, lost in finals to John Force
2017 at Four-Wide: Qualified No. 7, lost in first quad
Career at Fall race: Wins 0; Runner-ups : Poles 0
Career at zMAX: Wins 0; Runner-ups 2 (2015, 2016): Poles 2 (2015, 2016)

FUNNY CAR
1. Robert Hight (3) 2197 —–
2. Ron Capps (6) 2153 -44
3. Courtney Force 2141 -56
4. Tommy Johnson Jr. (1) 2107 -90
5. Matt Hagan (3) 2102 -95
5. J.R. Todd (2) 2102 -95
7. Jack Beckman (2) 2095 -102
8. John Force (1) 2085 -112
9. Tim Wilkerson 2046 -151
10. Cruz Pedregon 2033 -164

 


About Don Schumacher Racing
Don Schumacher Racing, headquartered in Brownsburg, Ind., fields seven professional NHRA teams. In Top Fuel, the U.S. Army dragster driven by eight-time world champion Tony Schumacher, the Matco Tools dragster driven by three-time world champion Antron Brown and the Papa John’s Pizza/Mopar Top Fuel dragster driven by Leah Pritchett; and in Funny Car, 2016 world champion Ron Capps in the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T; 2011 and 2014 world champion Matt Hagan in the 80th anniversary Mopar/ Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T, and 2012 NHRA world champion Jack Beckman in the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge and the Make-A-Wish Dodge driven by Tommy Johnson Jr., both of which are funded by the late Terry Chandler.
DSR has won 314 NHRA national event titles and 16 world championships.
Follow Don Schumacher Racing at ShoeRacing.com, on Twitter at @shoeracing and Facebook.com/shoeracing.

 


Johnson, Pritchett lead DSR on opening day of qualifying near Charlotte to start NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoff in Mello Yello Series

Category : DSR news

CONCORD, N.C. (Sept. 15, 2017) – Leah Pritchett and the Papa John’s Pizza/FireAde Top Fuel dragster and Tommy Johnson Jr. in Terry and Doug Chandler’s Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car were third quickest in their respective categories for Don Schumacher Racing Powered by Pennzoil on Friday in the 10th annual NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMAX Dragway near Charlotte.

Pritchett with crew chief Todd Okuhara and assistant Joe Barlam were third quickest in both sessions on opening day with her second run being their best at 3.725 seconds and 327.98 seconds.

“The way the Countdown has started is the way the whole season has been with competition being so close,” Pritchett said of five-thousandths of a second separating current No. 1 Doug Kalitta and DSR’s Antron Brown in fourth.

“We were pushing, and we followed our strategy of making good runs in Q1 and Q2. Batting practice if over and from here on out we will have nothing but home runs in sight.”

Johnson powered to a 3.901 (325.06) with crew chief John Collins and assistant Rip Reynolds and the day’s temperatures in the low 80s under mostly sunny skies made it a challenge to get the necessary traction.

“We were really good early in the first run (4.345) but lost a little in the middle of the track where it was pretty slick from the sun,” Johnson said. “We came back after the Make-A-Wish team made some adjustments and the right calls.”

Brown, the three-time and reigning world champion, holds the No. 4 spot in Top Fuel with a time of 3.728 at the day’s top speed of 331.85 mph. Teammate Jack Beckman is No. 4 in Funny Car at 3.906 with the fastest run in Funny Car at 330.47.

The Carolina Nationals is the first of six events in the Countdown to the Championship playoff that will determine NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series world champions.

Qualifying resumes Saturday with sessions at 1:30 and 4 p.m. (EDT) heading to Sunday’s noon eliminations.

The following are Friday’s qualifying results for DSR from Brainerd:

TOP FUEL
Provisional No. 1 qualifier: Doug Kalitta (Kalitta Motorsports) 3.723 sec., 329.50 mph

LEAH PRITCHETT, Papa John’s Pizza/FireAde
Crew chief: Todd Okuhara; Assistant: Joe Barlam
QUALIFYING RESULTS
Provisional qualifying position: No. 3
FRIDAY: 3.791 sec., 323.37 mph, (Session 1); 3.725, 327.98, (Session 2)

ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tools/U.S. Army
Crew chiefs: Brian Corradi, Mark Oswald; Assistant: Brad Mason
QUALIFYING RESULTS
Provisional qualifying position: No. 4
FRIDAY: 10.493 sec., 69.86 mph, (Session 1); 3.728, 331.85, (Session 2)

TONY SCHUMACHER, U.S. Army
Crew chief: Mike Green; Assistant: Phil Shuler
QUALIFYING RESULTS
Provisional qualifying position: No. 14
FRIDAY: 4.481 sec., 175.30 mph, (Session 1); 5.391, 127.57, (Session 2)

FUNNY CARS
Provisional No. 1 qualifier: Courtney Force (John Force Racing), 3.891 sec., 330.07 mph

TOMMY JOHNSON JR., Doug & Terry Chandler’s Make-A-Wish 2017 Dodge Charger R/T
Crew chief: John Collins; Assistant: Rip Reynolds
QUALIFYING RESULTS
Provisional qualifying position: No. 3
FRIDAY: 4.345 sec., 206.35 mph, (Session 1); 3.901, 325.06, (Session 2)

JACK BECKMAN, Doug & Terry Chandler’s Infinite Hero Foundation 2017 Dodge Charger R/T
Crew chiefs: Dean Antonelli, John Medlen, Neal Strausbaugh
QUALIFYING RESULTS
Provisional qualifying position: No. 4
FRIDAY: 5.820 sec., 117.11 mph, (Session 1); 3.906, 330.47, (Session 2)

MATT HAGAN, Freightliner 2017 Dodge Charger R/T
Crew chief: Dick Venables; Assistant: Michael Knudsen
QUALIFYING RESULTS
Provisional qualifying position: No. 10
FRIDAY: 3.981 sec., 324.12 mph, (Session 1); 4.784, 163.49, (Session 2)

RON CAPPS, NAPA AUTO PARTS 2017 Dodge Charger R/T
Crew chief: Rahn Tobler; Assistant: Eric Lane
QUALIFYING RESULTS
Provisional qualifying position: No. 11
FRIDAY: 4.996 sec., 152.07 mph, (Session 1); 4.012, 257.87, (Session 2)

COUNTDOWN TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP
(Reset to start six-race playoff; wins in parenthesis; DSR drivers in CAPS)
TOP FUEL
1. Steve Torrence (7) 2,100 —-
2. ANTRON BROWN (4) 2,080 -20
3. LEAH PRITCHETT (4) 2,070 -30
4. TONY SCHUMACHER (1) 2,060 -40
5. Doug Kalitta 2,050 -50
6. Brittany Force (1) 2,040 -60
7. Clay Millican (1) 2,030 -70
8. Terry McMillan 2,020 -80
9. Scott Palmer 2,010 -90
10. Shawn Langdon 2,000 -100
FUNNY CAR
1. RON CAPPS (6) 2,100 —–
2. Robert Hight (2) 2,080 -20
3. MATT HAGAN (3) 2,070 -30
4. JACK BECKMAN (2) 2,060 -40
5. TOMMY JOHNSON JR. 2,050 -50
6. Courtney Force 2,040 -60
7. John Force (1) 2,030 -70
8. J.R. Todd (2) 2,020 -80
9. Tim Wilkerson 2,010 -90
10. Cruz Pedregon 2,000 -100

About Don Schumacher Racing
Don Schumacher Racing, headquartered in Brownsburg, Ind., fields seven professional NHRA teams. In Top Fuel, the U.S. Army dragster driven by eight-time world champion Tony Schumacher, the Matco Tools dragster driven by three-time world champion Antron Brown and the Papa John’s Pizza Top Fuel dragster driven by Leah Pritchett; and in Funny Car, 2016 world champion Ron Capps in the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T; 2011 and 2014 world champion Matt Hagan in the 80th anniversary Mopar/ Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T, and 2012 NHRA world champion Jack Beckman in the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge and the Make-A-Wish Dodge driven by Tommy Johnson Jr., both of which are funded by Doug and Terry Chandler.

DSR has won 314 NHRA national event titles and 16 world championships.
Follow Don Schumacher Racing at ShoeRacing.com, on Twitter at @shoeracing and Facebook.com/shoeracing.