Monthly Archives: October 2017

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Johnson, Make-A-Wish Dodge team start looking forward to 2018 on Monday with Las Vegas test session, after tough season

Category : DSR news

LAS VEGAS (Oct. 29, 2017) – After their second round loss on Sunday at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Terry and Doug Chandler’s Make-A-Wish Funny Car team with Tommy Johnson Jr. look toward closing the season with a win and getting ready for the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Series season.

When Johnson lost to Don Schumacher Racing teammate Jack Beckman that mathematically eliminated him from contending for the championship in two weeks at the season-finale at Pomona, Calif.

Johnson and the team were championship runners-up last year and finished third the two previous seasons.

The late Terry Chandler was the financial backer of the Make-A-Wish team as well as the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge driven by Beckman. Chandler died on July 4 after a valiant battle with cancer, and her husband Doug has taken over funding the teams.

“It’s been a tough year for our team,” Johnson said. “We’ve had a lot of issues with losing Terry (Chandler) and three crew members losing family members. It’s just been a rough year, but we keep fighting.”

“We made a little improvement this weekend, just a tough weekend. We got a round win but that’s not what we’re used to.”

Johnson defeated nitro rookie and former Alcohol Funny Car world champion Jonnie Lindberg in the opening session on Sunday.

“We’ll test here tomorrow and try some new things for next season and see if we can’t start working toward that.”

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 (3.962 sec., 320..51) def. Jonnie Lindberg (4.197, 254.95)
Second round: Jack Beckman (3.947, 32854), JOHNSON (8.344, 93.10)
QUALIFYING
Qualifying position: No. 9
FRIDAY: 4.308 sec., 212.63 mph, (Session 1); 4.021, 286.74, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 9.626, 86.66, (Session 3); 3.922, 325.77, (Session 4)
Pts Events Wins Rup Semi Qtr 1st rd Poles DNQ W/L
2017 7th 22 1 4 5 5 7 1 0 31-21
CAREER 420 16* 28 58 102 171 15 44 367-360
*14 FC/2 TF
Career best time, speed: 3.837 sec. (Phoenix 2017); 332.02 mph (Sonoma 2017)
BY THE NUMBERS
Last event, Oct. 15, Dallas: Qualified No. 7, lost in first round to John Force
A year ago at Las Vegas 2: Qualified No. 10, lost in first round to Del Worsham
This spring at Las Vegas 1: Qualified No. 6. won in championship round over Jonnie Lindberg
Career at Las Vegas 2: Wins 0, Runner-ups 2 (2015-16), Poles 1 (2015)
Career at Las Vegas: Wins 1 (2001), Runner-ups 3 (2002, 2015-16) , Poles 1 (2015)

FUNNY CAR
1. Robert Hight (4) 2548 —-
2. RON CAPPS (8) 2533 -15
3. Courtney Force 2423 -125
4. JACK BECKMAN (2) 2396 -152
5. MATT HAGAN (4) 2387 -161
x-6. John Force (1) 2306 -242
x-7. TOMMY JOHNSON JR. (1) 2276 -272
x-8. Tim Wilkerson 2237 -311
x-9. J.R. Todd (2) 2233 -315
x-10. Cruz Pedregon 2163 -345
x=eliminated from championship contention


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 317 NHRA national event titles and 16 world championships.

Follow Don Schumacher Racing at ShoeRacing.com, on Twitter at @shoeracing and Facebook.com/shoeracing.


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Johnson, Chandlers’ Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T team return to Las Vegas to try to repeat their spring win at The Strip

Category : DSR news

BROWNSBURG, Ind. (Oct. 25, 2017) – With the 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing series concluding in less than a month, Tommy Johnson Jr. and Terry and Doug Chandler’s Make-A-Wish Funny Car team set their focus on finishing the season strong.

“We’ve struggled a little bit lately and hopefully this is where we can turn the corner,” said Johnson who currently is seventh in the NHRA points standings. He finished third in both 2014 and 2015 and was second in 2016.

Johnson and the Make-A-Wish team led by crew chief John Collins with assistant Rip Reynolds, stayed very consistent throughout the regular NHRA season, advancing to four of five final rounds during July and August.

Their Countdown to the Championship playoff efforts have been less than stellar with only two quarterfinal appearances.

“We won our only race so far this year in Vegas in the spring so I’m looking forward to getting back there and getting back on track.”

Johnson’s win in Funny Car in April was Don Schumacher Racing’s 299th and it was followed that weekend by Top Fuel teammate Antron Brown earning DSR its 300th.

This weekend’s 17th annual NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is the penultimate event of the 2017 season.

“We’re going to do some testing on Monday at Vegas and begin working toward next year’s program.

“Hopefully at the same time, we can get our program back on track and go some rounds. We’d love nothing more than to go out with two wins at the end of the season.”

COUNTDOWN BREAKDOWN
Antron Brown clinched his last two world championships for Don Schumacher Racing at Las Vegas and was able to celebrate two weeks later at the Pomona finale in Southern California.

That won’t happen for Brown or any other driver in the nitro categories this year, largely because NHRA enhanced the points value for the season-ending NHRA Finals by about 150 percent.

At Las Vegas this weekend, like 22 of the previous 23 events in the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, the most a driver can earn with a perfect weekend is 130 points; at Pomona, 191 can be earned.

No Top Fuel or Funny Car driver can leave Las Vegas with a 192-point lead and clinch a championship, and any driver 192 or more points out of first after Sunday’s final round at Las Vegas will be eliminated from contention.

The seven DSR drivers and 19 of the 20 in the Countdown remain alive in championship contention but most are likely to be mathematically eliminated after Las Vegas.

In Funny Car, DSR’s Ron Capps (NAPA AUTO PARTS) is atop the standings but just 24 points ahead of hard-charging Robert Hight of John Force Racing. The drivers each have won twice through the first four Countdown playoff races. Jack Beckman (Infinite Hero) is fourth, 186 back while Matt Hagan (Pennzoil/Mopar) is fifth (-226) and Tommy Johnson Jr. (Make-A-Wish) is seventh (-271).

In Top Fuel, Steve Torrence leads Brittany Force and Doug Kalitta by 57 and 76 points, with DSR’s three-time world champion Antron Brown, winner of the last two championships for Matco Tools, ranked fourth and 105 behind Torrence. Leah Pritchett (Pennzoil) is fifth (-180) and eight-time world champ Tony Schumacher is sixth (-192).

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 7th 22 1 4 5 5 7 1 0 31-21
CAREER 420 16* 28 58 102 171 15 44 367-360
*14 FC/2 TF
Career best time, speed: 3.837 sec. (Phoenix 2017); 332.02 mph (Sonoma 2017)

BY THE NUMBERS
Last event, Oct. 15, Dallas: Qualified No. 7, lost in first round to John Force
A year ago at Las Vegas 2: Qualified No. 10, lost in first round to Del Worsham
This spring at Las Vegas 1: Qualified No. 6. won in championship round over Jonnie Lindberg
Career at Las Vegas 2: Wins 0, Runner-ups 2 (2015-16), Poles 1 (2015)
Career at Las Vegas: Wins 1 (2001), Runner-ups 3 (2002, 2015-16) , Poles 1 (2015)

Funny Car
1. RON CAPPS (8) 2495 —–
2. Robert Hight (4) 2471 -24
3. Courtney Force 2324 -171
4. JACK BECKMAN (2) 2309 -186
5. MATT HAGAN (3) 2269 -226
6. John Force (1) 2252 -243
7. TOMMY JOHNSON JR. (1) 2224 -271
8. Tim Wilkerson 2206 -289
9. J.R. Todd (2) 2199 -296
10. Cruz Pedregon 2128 -307

 


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

 


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Johnson looks forward to defend title in two weeks at Las Vegas, and early preparations for the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Series

Category : DSR news

ENNIS, Texas (Oct. 15, 2017) – An early exit at the 32nd annual NHRA FallNationals sets Tommy Johnson Jr.’s sights on the upcoming 2018 season.

During the opening session of competition on Sunday, Johnson lined up Terry and Doug Chandler’s Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T against 16-time world champion John Force.

The two nitro cars battled down the track in puffs of smoke with each lost traction but Force got the smoking win light with a 4.413-second lap at 234.61 mph to beat Johnson’s 4.467 (192.44).

“It was just a weird first round, a lot of people were having issues and we were going right down there and then came loose,” Johnson said of the messy first round resulting in many drivers smoking their tires.

“I tried to pedal it and it wouldn’t go. I could hear him coming. It’s frustrating to lose that close after all the issues. We actually had a better race car this weekend, we’re just still not on top of it. We’ve got to get better.”

The NHRA will have a weekend off before traveling to Las Vegas for penultimate event of 2017.

“Going to back to Vegas where we won in the spring will hopefully bring a little bit of our luck back and we can get back on track. We’re going to do some testing after Vegas, looking forward to next season.”

Johnson and the team, led by crew chief John Collins and assistant Rip Reynolds, won the spring event in Las Vegas but has yet to visit a winner’s circle since.

FUNNY CAR
Winner:
No. 1 qualifier: Robert Hight (John Force Racing) 3.871 sec., 332.84 mph

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: John Force (4.413 sec., 234.61 mph) def. JOHNSON (4.467, 192.44)
QUALIFYING
Qualified: No. 7
FRIDAY: 4.149 sec., 236.96 mph, (Session 1); 3.930, 327.59, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 5.622, 125.25, (Session 3); 3.969, 323.81, (Session 4)
Pts Events Wins Rup Semi Qtr 1st rd Poles DNQ W/L
2017 7th 22 1 4 5 5 7 1 0 31-21
CAREER 420 16* 28 58 102 171 15 44 367-360
*14 FC/2 TF
Career best time, speed: 3.837 sec. (Phoenix 2017); 332.02 mph (Sonoma 2017)
BY THE NUMBERS
A year ago at Dallas: Qualified No. 3, lost in second round to Del Worsham
Career at Dallas: Wins 0, Runner-ups 1 (1999), Poles 0

Funny Car
1. RON CAPPS (8) 2495 —–
2. Robert Hight (4) 2471 -24
3. Courtney Force 2324 -171
4. JACK BECKMAN (2) 2309 -186
5. MATT HAGAN (3) 2269 -226
6. John Force (1) 2252 -243
7. TOMMY JOHNSON JR. (1) 2224 -271
8. Tim Wilkerson 2206 -289
9. J.R. Todd (2) 2199 -296
10. Cruz Pedregon 2128 -307


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 316 NHRA national event titles and 16 world championships.

Follow Don Schumacher Racing at ShoeRacing.com, on Twitter at @shoeracing and Facebook.com/shoeracing.


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Johnson knows Make-A-Wish team must win this weekend at Motorplex to stay in running for Funny Car championship

Category : DSR news

BROWNSBURG, Ind. (Oct. 11, 2017) – With only three events of the 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Season remaining, Tommy Johnson Jr. stays hopeful that Terry and Doug Chandler’s Make-A-Wish Funny Car team can win the NHRA championship.

“Realistically, we have to win the next three races to have a shot at the Championship,” Johnson said.

“But it can be done so you can’t throw in the towel and give up now. We have our work cut out for us. There’s no reason we can’t do it. It’s going to be a tough battle.”

The Chandler’s Make-A-Wish team sits No. 7 in the NHRA points and 204 points behind the leader and Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron Capps.

This weekend the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series is at the Texas Motorplex near Dallas for the 32rd annual NHRA FallNationals.

In 2016, Johnson entered the event as the No. 3 qualifier but lost in the second round on Sunday former Funny Car and Top Fuel world champion Del Worsham.

“It’s been warm there the past few years so we should have good data to go off when we get there,” said Johnson, who was the runner-up for the championship last year after being third the previous two years.

“We’ve ran so-so the past few years. I’ve been racing many years on that all-concrete surface. The track is always good and we’ll see if we can’t get the job done.”

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 7th 21 1 4 5 5 6 1 0 31-20
CAREER 419 16* 28 58 102 170 15 44 367-359
* 14 FC/2 TF
Career best time, speed: 3.837 sec. (Phoenix 2017); 332.02 mph (Sonoma 2017)
BY THE NUMBERS
Last event: Sept. 29-Oct. 1: Qualified No. 9, lost in first round to Matt Hagan
A year ago at Dallas: Qualified No. 3, lost in second round to Del Worsham
Career at Dallas: Wins 0, Runner-ups 1 (1999), Poles 0

FUNNY CAR
1. RON CAPPS (8) 2395 —–
2. Robert Hight (3) 2349 -46
3. Courtney Force 2287 -108
4. MATT HAGAN (3) 2238 -157
5. JACK BECKMAN (2) 2228 -167
6. John Force (1) 2197 -198
7. TOMMY JOHNSON JR. (1) 2191 -204
8. J.R. Todd (2) 2168 -227
9. Tim Wilkerson 2130 -265
10 Cruz Pedregon 2096 -299


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

 


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Disappointing first-round loss to DSR teammate Sunday at Gateway leaves Johnson accepting longshot chance for Make-A-Wish team

Category : DSR news

MADISON, Ill. (Oct. 1, 2017) – After a first-round loss at Gateway Motorsports Park, Tommy Johnson Jr. sees his chances of winning a Funny Car world championship slipping away.

“Realistically this probably killed our chances for a championship, but we can still finish higher in the standings,” said Johnson, who finished second in the NHRA Mello Yello Series standings last year and third the two previous years in Terry and Doug Chandler’s Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car.

“We’ve been fighting issues with our car and it’s the wrong time of the year to have that.”

Johnson ranks seventh in points at the midway point of the six-race Countdown to the Championship playoff and trails Don Schumacher Racing teammate and points leader Ron Capps by 204 points.

Johnson entered race day qualified ninth with a time of 3.897 seconds at 325.30 mph. His first round opponent was DSR teammate Matt Hagan.

Johnson ran a 3.940-second pass (324.90) but Hagan ran a 3.838 (334.73) to go low of the first round.

“The team will just continue to work through it, do the best we can, finish as high as we can and more than anything try to prepare ourselves for next year.

“It’s unfortunate you’re out of it so soon, but not every year is going to be a successful year. So we’ll learn from it, make ourselves better and come back stronger.”

After the early loss on Sunday, Johnson now sits seventh in the points as the NHRA has a weekend off before travel to Dallas for the fourth event of the Countdown to the Championship playoffs.

FUNNY CAR
Event winner: Ron Capps (Don Schumacher Racing)
No. 1 qualifier: Robert Hight (John Force Racing) 3.830 sec.-track record, 333.91 mph

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: Matt Hagan (3.838, 334.73 mph) def. JOHNSON (3.940, 324.90)
QUALIFYING
Qualified: No. 9
FRIDAY: 4.314 sec., 213.50 mph, (Session 1); 3.897, 325.30, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 4.130, 234.74, (Session 3); 4.007, 308.21, (Session 4)
Pts Events Wins Rup Semi Qtr 1st rd Poles DNQ W/L
2017 7th 21 1 4 5 5 6 1 0 31-20
CAREER 419 16* 28 58 102 170 15 44 367-359
* 14 FC/2 TF
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
(Official standings through St. Louis; 21 of 24 events; DSR drivers in CAPS)

FUNNY CAR
1. RON CAPPS (8) 2395 —–
2. Robert Hight (3) 2349 -46
3. Courtney Force 2287 -108
4. MATT HAGAN (3) 2238 -157
5. JACK BECKMAN (2) 2228 -167
6. John Force (1) 2197 -198
7. TOMMY JOHNSON JR. (1) 2191 -204
8. J.R. Todd (2) 2168 -227
9. Tim Wilkerson 2130 -265
10 Cruz Pedregon 2096 -299


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