E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Nationals
Event 3 of 24 (Indy 1)
Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis
July 11-12, 2020
DSR Elimination Highlights:
- Matt Hagan wins the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Nationals and moves to third in points
- Hagan’s win was his 34th overall, third in the last six events, and win No. 348 for DSR
- For the second consecutive event, the final round featured an all-DSR Dodge Funny Car final
- For the sixth consecutive event, DSR was triumphant in the Funny Car category, and parked a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat in the winner’s circle
- DSR occupies the 1-2-3 spots in the Funny Car point standings
In Top Fuel, Antron Brown advanced to the semifinals and cracked into the ‘top five’ in standings
TOMMY JOHNSON JR.
Driver of the MD Anderson Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
Qualified: No. 1 (3.983 E.T. at 317.72 MPH)
E1: 3.896 E.T. at 324.90 MPH defeated Ron Capps 3.956 E.T. at 294.24 MPH
E2: 3.963 E.T. at 318.32 MPH defeated Blake Alexander (Broke; No Time)
E3: 3.959 E.T. at 319.29 MPH defeated J.R. Todd 9.211 E.T. at 77.50 MPH
E4: 5.854 E.T. at 117.84 MPH defeated by Matt Hagan 4.328 E.T. at 215.00 MPH
Tommy Johnson Jr. came oh-so-close to securing his second consecutive win of 2020 on Sunday during the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Nationals. Johnson entered the race weekend as the most recent Funny Car winner on tour and continued to dominate the class by claiming the No. 1 qualifying position after two sessions on Saturday. During race day, Johnson appeared to be unstoppable as he laid down three stout passes to make a deep-dive through the competitive Funny Car field.
A resident of nearby Avon, Ind., Johnson began eliminations with a first-round matchup against his DSR Dodge teammate, Ron Capps. It was clear Johnson and his John Collins/Rip Reynolds-led MD Anderson Funny Car team weren’t taking their stablemate lightly. The crew chief duo turned up the wick and tuned Johnson to a 3.896 – low E.T. of the meet – to defeat Capps and earn lane choice over Blake Alexander in round two. Alexander had problems from the get-go and was unable to stage his machine. Johnson let loose with a 3.963 E.T. on a solo to set up a semifinal battle with J.R. Todd. Once again, Johnson’s MD Anderson machine looked flawless as he navigated it down the track in 3.959 seconds, earning a bid to the final round where he would face another DSR Dodge teammate, Matt Hagan.
Johnson was seeking not only his first Indianapolis trophy but a spot at the top of the Funny Car leaderboard. He entered the round sitting a mere two points behind leader Jack Beckman, and a win would have ensured him the No. 1 position. Johnson stood on the gas and almost immediately, his car dropped a cylinder, while Hagan drove by for the win.
“I’m kind of disappointed, but it’s hard to be disappointed when you go to the final round and get a No. 1 qualifier. We have a great car, just like we did at Phoenix. Out of nowhere it put a cylinder out and (crew chief) John (Collins) did the right thing by trying to shut me off and just after he did that, I watched Matt (Hagan) blow up. I think I could have beat him on seven (cylinders), but it was probably the right decision to not risk hurting parts. It’s still a great weekend and we have such a solid race car, and with a shortened season and no Countdown, being near the top of the points is the most important thing.”
NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship Standings:
1. Doug Kalitta – 310
2. Steve Torrence – 199
3. Billy Torrence – 190
4. Leah Pruett – 189
5. Antron Brown – 174
6. Brittany Force – 153
7. Shawn Langdon – 144
8. Clay Millican – 142
9. Justin Ashley – 140
10. Austin Prock – 131
1. Jack Beckman – 278
2. Tommy Johnson Jr. – 276
3. Matt Hagan – 238
4. Tim Wilkerson – 179
5. John Force – 173
6. Ron Capps – 159
7. Alexis DeJoria – 154
8. Bob Tasca III – 149
9. J.R. Todd – 141
10. Robert Hight – 100
About Don Schumacher Racing:
Established in 1998 as a single-car Top Fuel team, Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) has grown to become the winningest organization in NHRA Drag Racing history. Including team owner Don Schumacher’s five NHRA Funny Car titles from the 1970s, DSR’s current win count stands at 347, and DSR is looking forward to reaching the ‘350 milestone’ early in the 2020 season. DSR owns 17 world championships in three different NHRA categories.
Headquartered in Brownsburg, Indiana, DSR currently fields eight professional teams competing in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. In Top Fuel, the Matco Tools/Global Electronic Technology/Toyota dragster driven by three-time world champion Antron Brown, the Nordic Boats/Revchem Composites/Hawkeye Industries dragster driven by Cory McClenathan, the Mopar/Pennzoil/Okuma dragster driven by Leah Pruett, and the Global Electronic Technology machine driven by eight-time world champion Tony Schumacher. 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 two-time series title-holder Matt Hagan, and in 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 MD Anderson Dodge.
DSR also campaigns two Factory Stock Showdown entries. The duo is piloted by Pruett, 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.