BROWNSBURG, Ind. (May 17, 2017) – It only takesTommy Johnson Jr. three hours to drive from his hometown of Ottumwa, Iowa, to Topeka, Kan.
“It’s kind of like going home for me,” Johnson said of this weekend’s NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event at Heartland Park Topeka. “It’s close to Iowa so a lot of people I used to race with show up.
“I’ve had a lot of different accomplishments at Heartland Park. I got into the ‘Four Second Club’ there back in the day.”
The milestone was in 1990 when Cragar wheels saluted the first 16 Top Fuel drivers to crack into the 4-second range over a quarter mile.
“It’s a place I always look forward to going back to each year.”
Johnson’s crew chief John Collins also is from Ottumwa.
This weekend, the NHRA Mello Yello series travels to Heartland Park for the 29th annual NHRA Heartland Nationals that is eighth event of the 2017 season.
Johnson and Terry Chandler’s Make-A-Wish Funny Car team plan to bounce back from their first-round slump during the three-race Southern Swing that ended two weeks ago.
“We want to try to turn things around. We kind of went a different direction with the tuning of the car but I like we’re were at now,” said Johnson, who won this year’s title at Las Vegas. “We haven’t had the results we’re looking for but we’re close.”
Johnson hopes Topeka will bring a similar outcome.
“If you’re going to win later in the season you have to be able to keep working all the time and make yourself better when it really counts. We’re working our way in that direction and this weekend we’ll see the results.”
TOMMY JOHNSON JR., Make-A-Wish 2017 Dodge Charger R/T – Iowa native looks to snap streak
Pts Events Wins Rup Semi Qtr 1st rd Poles DNQ W/L
2017 5th 7 1 0 2 1 3 1 0 9-6
CAREER 405 16 24 55 99 167 15 44 345-345
Best Time, Speed: 3.837 sec. (Phoenix 2017); 330.80 mph (Seattle, 2016)
Last event (May 5-7, Atlanta): Qualified No. 3, lost in round one
A year ago at Topeka: Qualified No. 7, lost to DSR teammate Jack Beckman in second round
Career at Topeka: Wins 0; Runner-ups 2 (2005, 1999); Poles 1 (2007)
1. RON CAPPS (3) 633 —–
2. MATT HAGAN (2) 539 -94
3. John Force (1) 490 -143
4. Robert Hight 437 -196
5. TOMMY JOHNSON JR. (1) 427 -206
6. JACK BECKMAN 426 -207
7. Courtney Force 405 -228
8. Tim Wilkerson 329 -304
9. J.R. Todd 326 -307
10. Jonnie Lindberg 318 -315
Make-A-Wish® grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. According to a 2011 U.S. study of wish impact, most health professionals surveyed believe a wish-come-true can have positive impacts on the health of children. Kids say wishes give them renewed strength to fight their illnesses, and their parents say these experiences help strengthen the entire family. Based in Phoenix, Make-A-Wish is one of the world’s leading children’s charities, serving children in every community in the United States and its territories. With the help of generous donors and more than 27,000 volunteers, Make-A-Wish grants a wish somewhere in the country every 37 minutes. It has granted more than 254,000 wishes since its inception in 1980; more than 14,200 in 2014 alone. Visit Make-A-Wish at wish.org to learn more.
About Don Schumacher Racing
Don Schumacher Racing, headquartered in Brownsburg, Ind., fields eight 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 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 Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T, 2012 NHRA world champion Jack Beckman in the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge, and the Make-A-Wish Dodge driven by Tommy Johnson Jr.
DSR has won 304 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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