AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals
Event 21 of 24 (Dallas)
NHRA Countdown, Event 3 of 6
October 5-7, 2018
DSR Dallas Friday Highlights:
- Tommy Johnson Jr. leads the Funny Car field as the provisional No. 1 qualifier
Johnson made bonus point-worthy runs during both sessions
- Antron Brown and Leah Pritchett occupy spots in the Top Fuel ‘top eight’
- Jack Beckman and Ron Capps sit in the top half of the Funny Car field
- Beckman made the quickest pass of the opening session, earning three bonus points
Tommy Johnson Jr. No. 1 on Friday at the Texas NHRA FallNationals
ENNIS, Texas (October 5, 2018) – Tommy Johnson Jr. and the Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car team are the provisional Funny Car leaders after day one of qualifying at the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals.
In the opening session, Johnson and the John Collins-led team laid down a stout 4.062-second at 312.64-mph pass on a hot 126-degree race track, earning one bonus point for the third quickest pass of the round.
Under the Texas Motorplex lights in round two, Johnson powered his 11,000-horsepower machine down the track in 3.958-seconds at 323.66-mph, besting Tim Wilkerson’s identical E.T. on speed to claim the provisional No. 1 spot and an additional three points.
“The first few cars ran, and they were a little bit quicker than I thought they were going to be,” said Johnson of the second Funny Car qualifying session. “It had cooled, but not a lot. We ran well first round, went down the race track so it gave us the opportunity to step on it. (Crew chief) John (Collins) got after it pretty good. It’s always fun to watch him when the cars are starting to run good out there and he comes back and lifts the box and twists the knobs. Another car runs good so he comes back and twists ‘em some more. I knew it was either going to smoke the tires or run really good.”
During a time of year where every point counts, Johnson’s two solid Friday passes put him one step closer toward achieving his ultimate goal – his first NHRA Mello Yello world title, a feat that appears within reach for the Make-A-Wish team which has displayed steady consistency since approaching the end of the NHRA regular season. Johnson has qualified in the ‘top five’ for the past four events and raced to a semifinal appearance or better at five of the last six events.
“(The car) is coming around at the right time of the year,” said Johnson, who entered the race weekend ranked sixth in the NHRA Countdown standings. “I’m only about 100 points out so the next two races are critical. If you’re going to have a shot, you have to have it by the time you leave Charlotte. We’ve got to keep ourselves in it this race, and the next race, which I think will do. Our car has been performing the last six or eight races, we’ve been heading in the right direction. It’s almost like you have to peak at the right time. I had thought you needed to peak at the first race of the Countdown but now I think you need to peak towards the middle of it, because you’ve got to finish it.”
With two more qualifying sessions scheduled for Saturday, Johnson and the Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car team will seek to retain their top ranking, and first No. 1 qualifier of the 2018 season.
Q1: 4.062 E.T. at 312.64 MPH (One bonus point for third quickest run of the session)
Q2: 3.958 E.T. at 323.66 MPH (Three bonus points for quickest run of the session)
Bonus Points: Four
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/U.S. Army dragster driven by three-time world champion Antron Brown and the Mopar/Papa John’s Pizza/Pennzoil/FireAde/U.S. Army dragster driven by Leah Pritchett; and in Funny Car, 2016 world champion Ron Capps in the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T; two-time world champion Matt Hagan in the Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat and 2012 NHRA world champion Jack Beckman in Terry and Doug Chandler’s Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge and the Chandlers’ Make-A-Wish Dodge driven by Tommy Johnson Jr.
DSR also campaigns two Sportsman teams. The two-car Factory Stock Showdown duo is piloted by Pritchett and veteran Pro Stock racer Mark Pawuk. Both drivers compete in Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Paks.
DSR has won 331 NHRA national event titles and 16 world championships.