Monthly Archives: February 2019

DSR Phoenix Post-Race Recap

Category : DSR news

Magic Dry Organic Absorbent NHRA Arizona Nationals
Event 2 of 24 (Phoenix)
Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park
Chandler, Arizona
February 22-24, 2019


DSR Phoenix Elimination Highlights:

  • Matt Hagan raced to victory for the 30th time in his Funny Car career and third time at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park
  • Hagan’s Arizona Nationals triumph secured Funny Car win No. 150 for DSR
  • Hagan became the first MOPAR-powered driver to park the new Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat body in the winner’s circle
  • By winning the Phoenix race, Hagan advanced to second in the Funny Car point standings
  • Leah Pritchett advanced to the Top Fuel final round and propelled to third in the Top Fuel rankings
  • Pritchett’s final round appearance was her third Phoenix final in four years

Driver Information:
Funny Car

(EXCERPT)

TOMMY JOHNSON JR.
Driver of the Make-A-Wish Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

Qualified: No. 4 (3.911 E.T. at 326.95 MPH)

The Results:
E1: No Time defeated Jim Campbell, Foul (centerline infraction)
E2: 5.048 E.T. at 134.74 MPH defeated by J.R. Todd 3.967 E.T. at 323.27 MPH

Race Recap:
Tommy Johnson Jr. celebrated the 30th anniversary of his nitro racing debut this weekend in Phoenix at Wild Horse Motorsports Park. The 2006 NHRA Arizona Nationals Funny Car winner qualified the Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car fourth and was part of a wild first-round matchup versus Jim Campbell.

Johnson had the advantage on the starting line but suffered a chain reaction of mechanical issues just past the 330-mark, which resulted in an explosion. While Johnson controlled his machine and brought it safely to a stop, Campbell drove away and looked to be on his way to victory. Before reaching the finish line, Campbell crossed the centerline and made contact with the timing block which resulted in a disqualification.

With extensive damage to Johnson’s Funny Car, the Make-A-Wish team worked feverishly to get him back to the lanes for his second-round matchup with reigning Funny Car world champion J.R. Todd. Johnson and Todd launched together, but Johnson’s machine dropped a cylinder early into the run and gave way to another big boomer while Todd drove away with the clean round win.

Quotable:
“Today was a rough day. We had two separate totally different problems, and they happened on the same day, back-to-back. It’s awful rough. I felt we had a pretty good car going into race day, and actually first round it was running well before the axle broke on us. That just shows you what kind of team we have – the fact we came back from that and made it back up in time for second round. It’s a shame we had to have an issue again second round, it was totally unrelated. We’ll go back to shop, take the two weeks before Gainesville to regroup and come back swinging.”

NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship Standings:
Top Fuel
1. Billy Torrence – 178
2. Doug Kalitta – 172
3. Leah Pritchett – 145
4. Steve Torrence – 137
5. Terry McMillen – 132
6. Mike Salinas – 122
7. Antron Brown – 115
8. Austin Prock – 106
9. Jordan Vandergriff – 77
10. Richie Crampton – 66

Funny Car
1. Robert Hight – 205
2. Matt Hagan – 160
3. Jack Beckman – 151
4. Tommy Johnson Jr. – 132
5. Bob Tasca III – 129
6. John Force – 126
6. J.R. Todd – 126
8. Shawn Langdon – 111
9. Ron Capps – 89
10. Cruz Pedregon – 86


About Don Schumacher Racing:
Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) is the winningest team in NHRA Drag Racing history, having claimed more than 325 NHRA national event titles and 17 world championships since opening its doors in 1998.

Headquartered in Brownsburg, Indiana, DSR fields seven professional teams competing in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing series. In Top Fuel, the Matco Tools dragster driven by three-time world champion Antron Brown, the MOPAR/Pennzoil/Sparkling Ice dragster driven by Leah Pritchett and eight-time world champion Tony Schumacher’s machine. In Funny Car, the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat driven by 2016 world champion Ron Capps, the Mopar Express Lane/Pennzoil/Sandvik Coromant Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat piloted by Matt Hagan, and in Terry and Doug Chandler’s ‘giving cars,’ 2012 NHRA world champion Jack Beckman in the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge, and Tommy Johnson Jr. behind the wheel of the Make-A-Wish Dodge.

DSR also campaigns two Factory Stock Showdown entries. The duo is piloted by Pritchett, the 2018 Factory Stock Showdown Series champion, and former Pro Stock racer Mark Pawuk.

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

READ FULL ARTICLE HERE


DSR Phoenix Qualifying Report

Category : DSR news

Magic Dry Organic Absorbent NHRA Arizona Nationals
Event 2 of 24 (Phoenix)
Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park
Chandler, Arizona
February 22-24, 2019


DSR Phoenix Saturday Highlights:

  • The DSR dragster duo will start race day from the top half of the field and with the advantage of lane choice
  • Matt Hagan and Tommy Johnson Jr. qualified in the top half of the Funny Car field
  • Hagan earned bonus points during all three qualifying sessions for making a ‘top three’ pass during each round
  • Antron Brown powered to the second quickest pass of Q4 and earned bonus points

Note:
Friday’s second qualifying session was cancelled due to inclement weather

Driver Information:
Funny Car:

(EXCERPT)

TOMMY JOHNSON JR.
Driver of the Make-A-Wish Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

Qualified: No. 4 (lane choice)

The Competition: No. 13 Jim Campbell

The Results:
Q1: 5.880 E.T. at 114.73 MPH (One bonus point for third quickest run of the session)
Q3: 3.911 E.T. at 326.95 MPH
Q4: 8.377 E.T. at 83.22 MPH

Bonus Points: One

Quotable:
“I think we made the best of the conditions we were dealt with. The track is really tough and it’s really hard to hit it perfectly. I think tomorrow will be a little warmer and the conditions will be a little more forgiving. If not, we probably have enough data where we can adjust and go from there. Looking forward to a long race day. I’d like to celebrate my 30th anniversary with a win tomorrow.”


About Don Schumacher Racing:
Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) is the winningest team in NHRA Drag Racing history, having claimed more than 325 NHRA national event titles and 17 world championships since opening its doors in 1998.

Headquartered in Brownsburg, Indiana, DSR fields seven professional teams competing in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing series. In Top Fuel, the Matco Tools dragster driven by three-time world champion Antron Brown, the MOPAR/Pennzoil/Sparkling Ice dragster driven by Leah Pritchett and eight-time world champion Tony Schumacher’s machine. In Funny Car, the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat driven by 2016 world champion Ron Capps, the Mopar Express Lane/Pennzoil/Sandvik Coromant Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat piloted by Matt Hagan, and in Terry and Doug Chandler’s ‘giving cars,’ 2012 NHRA world champion Jack Beckman in the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge, and Tommy Johnson Jr. behind the wheel of the Make-A-Wish Dodge.

DSR also campaigns two Factory Stock Showdown entries. The duo is piloted by Pritchett, the 2018 Factory Stock Showdown Series champion, and former Pro Stock racer Mark Pawuk.

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

LINK TO FULL DSR ARTICLE


Tommy Johnson Jr. Celebrates 30th ‘Nitro Anniversary’

Category : DSR news

BROWNSBURG, Indiana (February 21, 2019) – It was in 1989 at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, the scene of this weekend’s Magic Dry Organic Absorbent NHRA Arizona Nationals, that Make-A-Wish Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car pilot Tommy Johnson Jr. made his professional NHRA debut behind the wheel of a Top Fuel dragster. Fast forward to 2019 and Johnson, who made the transition to the Funny Car category in 1999, sits on an elite list of 16 drivers to have claimed event wins in both the Top Fuel and Funny Car categories, and is one of 19 people to boast No. 1 qualifiers in both of NHRA’s nitro classes.

As Johnson, who has competed in 447 events and counting, prepares to celebrate his 30th anniversary of driving in the nitro ranks, he reflects on the past three decades spent chasing win lights all over the globe.

You’ve driven for four Hall-of Famers (Joe Gibbs, Don Prudhomme, Kenny Bernstein, and Don Schumacher). How have they influenced your career?
I’ve learned something from all of them. To drive for Gibbs, Prudhomme, Bernstein and now Don Schumacher, it’s flattering to know that those four have picked you to drive their car and cool to know they have that kind of confidence in you, it makes you feel good.

Your career has taken you all over the world, and you’ve won events in six different countries (United States, United Arab Emirates, Australia, England, Finland, and Sweden). Where do you consider to be your favorite place to race?
I’ve won in six different countries, but each one of them has their own unique flair. Of course, you want to race on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series tour, that’s the biggest and best tour, but as a kid growing up, I always wanted to race in Australia, so it was cool to race there and get a trophy. To be able to race at Santa Pod, and over in Sweden and Finland, and the Middle East, there aren’t too many people that have had the opportunity to race a fuel car in the Middle East. I was always wanting to race the NHRA tour, that was always the goal, but it has been really neat to be able to race a Top Fuel car in all of those countries and win. I have an international trophy cabinet and an NHRA trophy cabinet, and not many people can say that.

Who has been your favorite competitor – past or present?
I don’t really have a favorite competitor. I think the coolest thing about it is I’ve been doing this for so long that I’ve had the opportunity to race different generations of drivers. I’m one of the few people out there right now that actually got to race against Shirley Muldowney and Eddie Hill and Don Prudhomme, Kenny Bernstein, Joe Amato and all of those guys from back in the day. And through the middle part of that, I got to race a different group of drivers, and today I’m racing another distinct group of drivers. I think with the longevity of it; it’s hard to pick just one, it’s just cool that I got to race against all those different generations of drivers. Not many people that can say that. I think it’s cool that I’ve done that and am still doing it.

Stating the obvious here, assuming your biggest and current goal is to win that first elusive championship title. Aside from that, what’s another item on our bucket list that’s been nagging at you?
Obviously, you want to win the championship. I’m not going to be upset if that never happens, they’re extremely hard to come by and extremely hard to win, and sometimes it’s just not your year. I think we’ve proven we’re capable of winning a championship. I’ve finished the season ranked third three times now and second once. The biggest thing I’d like to do, besides winning a championship, is win Indy. I’ve been runner-up there once and lost it on a holeshot, and it’s probably haunted me and has been the biggest aggravation of my whole career. I should’ve won that thing, and the last few years I’ve been to the semis three out of the last four years. It’s just another race, but it’s the big one, and I’d like to add my name to the Indy history books.

What race or moment stands out from the rest throughout your professional career?
There are several things that stand out throughout my career; one of them being in the four-second club and 300-mph club. There are only five of us (Top Fuel) drivers that are in both of those clubs. It’s myself, Eddie Hill, Joe Amato, Kenny Bernstein, and Don Prudhomme. That’s really cool to have your name on a list with those legends. It’s an accomplishment that can never be taken away.

The biggest victory that I’ve ever had has to be Englishtown in 2007. We were No. 1 qualifier, had the car to beat all weekend, and then it blew up and caught on fire first round. We won the round but burned the car to the ground, so I thought ‘that’s it, the weekend’s over.’ The crew was able to rebuild the car, and we went on to win the race that day. You can’t do that; it’s not possible to rebuild a car from the ground up. We took it down to the bare chassis, even had to put new seatbelts in it because the seatbelts were burned out of it. To be able to do that, come back and win the race was just a phenomenal feat – the ultimate team effort. The second round we ran low E.T. of the day, I won the semis on a holeshot and then we won the race, it was an incredible day, and you can’t write a script that would turn out that well.

There were a few years where you didn’t compete or raced a very limited schedule. Did you ever think ‘This is it. I may never be a full-time competitor again?’
There were several times when I didn’t know if I was going to race professionally again. It’s super tough to get a ride out there, especially a full-time ride, but I didn’t go away. I stayed in front of people. I worked for DSR doing the track evaluation job and just made sure people always saw my face. It’s hard to go to the races and watch other people do what you want to be doing, but I knew my only chance of getting back out there was making sure I wasn’t forgotten. We’re in a fast-paced sport, and they forget you in a hurry and I just made sure I was always in front of people, and if the opportunity ever came, they would think of me. Out of sight is out of mind, so I never let that happen.

About Tommy Johnson Jr.
NHRA Career:
Funny Car (first event: 1999)
Top Fuel (first event: 1989)
Top Alcohol Funny Car (first event: 1986)
Super Comp (first event: 2000)
Super Gas (first event: 1984)

By the Numbers:
17 national event wins (15 Funny Car/2 Top Fuel)
48 final rounds (43 Funny Car/5 Top Fuel)
18 No. 1 qualifiers (17 Funny Car/1 Top Fuel)

Career Bests:
E.T.: 3.837 seconds, Phoenix, 2017
Speed: 332.02 mph, Sonoma, 2017

Career Highlights:
One of 16 drivers in NHRA history to have claimed a win in both the Top Fuel and Funny Car categories
First Top Fuel win: Seattle, 1993; First Funny Car win: Reading, 1999
One of 19 drivers to have earned a No. 1 qualifying position in both Top Fuel and Funny Car
First Top Fuel No. 1: Sonoma 1994; First Funny Car No. 1: St. Louis 1999
Has won in the Top Fuel, Funny Car, and Top Alcohol Funny Car categories
Has won titles in six countries: United States, England, Finland, Sweden, Australia, and The United Arab Emirates


About Don Schumacher Racing
Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) is the winningest team in NHRA Drag Racing history, having claimed more than 325 NHRA national event titles and 17 world championships since opening its doors in 1998.

Headquartered in Brownsburg, Indiana, DSR fields seven professional teams competing in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing series. In Top Fuel, the Matco Tools dragster driven by three-time world champion Antron Brown, the MOPAR/Pennzoil/Sparkling Ice dragster driven by Leah Pritchett and eight-time world champion Tony Schumacher’s machine. In Funny Car, the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat driven by 2016 world champion Ron Capps, the Mopar Express Lane/Pennzoil/Sandvik Coromant Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat piloted by Matt Hagan, and in Terry and Doug Chandler’s ‘giving cars,’ 2012 NHRA world champion Jack Beckman in the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge, and Tommy Johnson Jr. behind the wheel of the Make-A-Wish Dodge.

DSR also campaigns two Factory Stock Showdown entries. The duo is piloted by Pritchett, the 2018 Factory Stock Showdown Series champion, and former Pro Stock racer Mark Pawuk.

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


DSR Pre-Race Report: Phoenix

Category : DSR news

Magic Dry Organic Absorbent NHRA Arizona Nationals
Event 2 of 24 (Phoenix)
Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park
Chandler, Arizona
February 22-24, 2019


Noteworthy:

  • Tommy Johnson Jr. made his professional debut at the 1989 event (competing in the Top Fuel category) and celebrates his 30th anniversary behind the wheel of a fuel car this weekend
  • Johnson returns as the NHRA Arizona Nationals Funny Car runner-up
  • Leah Pritchett won her first Top Fuel title at the 2016 Phoenix event
  • All current DSR drivers have been to the Phoenix winner’s circle at least once

    DSR-Owned Track Records:
    Top Fuel, E.T.: 3.649 seconds, Tony Schumacher (Phoenix 2018)
    Top Fuel, speed: 336.57 mph, Tony Schumacher (Phoenix 2018)

DSR Driver Information:
Funny Car

(Excerpt)

TOMMY JOHNSON JR.
Driver of the Make-A-Wish Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

Phoenix Event Highlights:

  • 2006 event champion
  • 2018 runner-up
  • 2017 No. 1 qualifier

2018 Phoenix Recap:
Qualified sixth; Event runner-up (defeated Robert Hight in E1, Richard Townsend in E2, Shawn Langdon in E3; defeated by Courtney Force in E4)

Last Event (Pomona I):
Qualified third; Semifinal finish (defeated Tim Wilkerson in E1, Shawn Langdon in E2; defeated by Jack Beckman in E3)

2019 Season Statistics:
Two round wins; Ranked third in points

Career Statistics:
447 races; 17 wins (two Top Fuel); 18 No. 1 qualifiers (one Top Fuel)

Noteworthy:
Made his first pass as a professional NHRA Drag Racer at the 1989 event (competing in the Top Fuel category)

Quotable:
“We’re heading to Phoenix this week and we were the runner-up there last year. We had an issue with the car in the final and felt like we could have won that race, so we’d like to go back and get a little redemption. We felt like we let that one get away from us.

“We put the car away last season and didn’t make a lot of big changes to it. We put a new front-half on the chassis and mounted a new body and left it alone because the car was performing so well at the end of the 2018 season. To bring it back out at Pomona last week and pick up right where we left off is kind of neat. Sometimes you put (the car) in the corner, pull it back out and it won’t run and you think ‘what happened? It just sat there,’ but we went out there with our Make-A-Wish Dodge Hellcat last weekend and it ran really well.”


About Don Schumacher Racing
Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) is the winningest team in NHRA Drag Racing history, having claimed more than 325 NHRA national event titles and 17 world championships since opening its doors in 1998.

Headquartered in Brownsburg, Indiana, DSR fields seven professional teams competing in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing series. In Top Fuel, the Matco Tools dragster driven by three-time world champion Antron Brown, the MOPAR/Pennzoil/Sparkling Ice dragster driven by Leah Pritchett and eight-time world champion Tony Schumacher’s machine. In Funny Car, the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat driven by 2016 world champion Ron Capps, the Mopar Express Lane/Pennzoil/Sandvik Coromant Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat piloted by Matt Hagan, and in Terry and Doug Chandler’s ‘giving cars,’ 2012 NHRA world champion Jack Beckman in the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge, and Tommy Johnson Jr. behind the wheel of the Make-A-Wish Dodge.

DSR also campaigns two Factory Stock Showdown entries. The duo is piloted by Pritchett, the 2018 Factory Stock Showdown Series champion, and former Pro Stock racer Mark Pawuk.

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

LINK TO ORIGINAL ARTICLE


Tommy Johnson Jr. to celebrate 30 years of Nitro racing in Phoenix

Category : NHRA news

Tommy Johnson Jr.’s first trip to Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, the site of this weekend’s 35th annual Magic Dry Organic Absorbent NHRA Arizona Nationals, as a nitro driver came in 1989.

20 Feb 2019 Posted by NHRA.com staff

Tommy Johnson Jr.’s first trip to Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, the site of this weekend’s 35th annual Magic Dry Organic Absorbent NHRA Arizona Nationals, as a nitro driver came in 1989. With the race marking the 30th anniversary of his Top Fuel debut, the now Funny Car championship contender reflected on what three decades of nitro racing has taught him.

“You can definitely see where being a veteran and having experience pays off,” said Johnson, who has 17 career wins. “I want to use that now. I think it’s all about maintaining focus throughout the year. It’s a long season and you can’t let the lows get you down or let the highs distract you. That comes from years of experience. When you’ve been there and done that, it helps keep you on track. Being a veteran, it gives you a whole different mindset on racing.”

With that in mind, the track just outside of Phoenix holds a special place in Johnson’s heart and he will look to grab his second career win at the early-season NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series race. The Don Schumacher Racing standout lost in the final round of the race a year ago, but is off to a strong start in his 10,000-horsepower Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

Johnson advanced to the semifinals at the 2019 opener in Pomona as he tries to take it a step further in Phoenix. Steve Torrence (Top Fuel), Courtney Force (Funny Car) and Chris McGaha (Pro Stock) were last year’s winners of a race that will once again be televised nationally on Fox Sports 1 (FS1), including live finals coverage starting at 6 p.m. ET on Sunday, Feb. 24. It is the second of 24 races during a 2019 season where Johnson may already be ahead of schedule.

Despite missing out on a win in 2018, Johnson was impressively consistent and finished third in points, finishing off the year with a final round appearance in Pomona. The team left well enough alone, made very little changes in the off-season and picked up where they left off last November. Johnson feels the team is ready for a breakthrough.

“It speaks well to the consistency of our tune-up and we’re racing better earlier in the year than we ever have,” said Johnson, who is looking for his first win since the 2017 finale heading into Phoenix. “We made minimal changes as far as what we did in the off-season and came out and ran well. For our confidence level, that’s tremendous. We ended the season on a really high note and to continue that after a long break, that’s pretty important.”

Johnson qualified third with a 3.904 at 327.03 mph in Pomona and then went as quick as 3.876 in eliminations en route to the semifinal finish. For a team that is admittedly a slow-starting one, it was a good way to begin 2019. Of course, Johnson wants a victory in Phoenix and to do that, he’ll have to get past Pomona winner and 2017 world champ Robert Hight, defending world champ J.R. Todd, 2016 champ and DSR teammate Ron Capps, Shawn Langdon and Jack Beckman.

“History shows it’s hard to keep your performance all season, but it’s definitely easier if you have it right away than it is to try and find it,” Johnson said. “I’m sure there will be a point in the season where we have to get back on track, but our focus is trying to maintain this. To get into a flow right off the bat is big, and to have a car that runs well no matter the conditions is super encouraging.”

Top Fuel defending world champ Steve Torrence will look for a second straight win in Phoenix after finishing as runner-up to Doug Kalitta in Pomona. Others to watch include Clay Millican, Terry McMillen, Leah Pritchett, Antron Brown and 2017 world champ Brittany Force.

Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature two rounds at 1:30 and 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 22 and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, Feb. 23, also at 1:30 and 4:30 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 24.

To purchase general-admission or reserved seats for the Magic Dry Organic Absorbent NHRA Arizona Nationals, call 877-840-0457 or visit https://racewildhorse.ticketforce.com/. Kids 12 and under are free in general admission areas with a paid adult. To honor the Salute to First Responders, military and first responders can save 20 percent on general admission tickets at the gate.

LINK TO ORIGINAL NHRA ARTICLE