E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Nationals
Event 3 of 24 (Indy 1)
Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis
July 11-12, 2020
DSR Qualifying Highlights:
- Tommy Johnson Jr. rocketed to the top spot during Q1 and captured his 19th No. 1 qualifier
- Johnson, the most recent Funny Car winner on tour, will square off against teammate Ron Capps in round one of eliminations
- Jack Beckman and Matt Hagan join Johnson in the top half of the Funny Car field
- After being sidelined for more than a year-and-a-half, Top Fuel veteran Tony Schumacher came out swinging. He laid down the second-quickest pass of Q2 and ultimately earned a spot in the top half of the field
Tommy Johnson Jr. Captures Funny Car Pole at NHRA 2020 Restart
BROWNSBURG, Ind. (July 11, 2020) – A four-month hiatus couldn’t slow down the momentum Tommy Johnson Jr. and the MD Anderson Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car team built during the first part of the 2020 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season before it was suspended due to the COVID-19 global pandemic.
Johnson, who entered race weekend as the most recent Funny Car winner on tour, put down an impressive Q1 blast of 3.983 seconds at 317.72-mph to earn the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Nationals No. 1 qualifying position right out of the gate.
“It’s just a great start after such a long layoff and all the uncertainty,” said Johnson, who claimed the NHRA Arizona Nationals victory in February. “It’s great to be able to carry the momentum from Phoenix right into this race and not miss a beat. The guys worked hard those four months so to be able to give them a No.1 qualifier right out of the box and just carry that momentum is really good. I have a really good race car and it shows that Phoenix wasn’t a fluke. It was a good race car and is continuing to be.”
While Johnson’s stout Q1 pass allowed him to bank three bonus points, and pick up his 19th No. 1 qualifier award, it set him up for a less-than-favorable first-round matchup versus his Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat teammate, Ron Capps. Both Capps and Johnson are focused on securing their first Lucas Oil Raceway victories, and Johnson knows that an Indy win could boost him from second in the Funny Car point standings up to the top of the leaderboard.
“It’s going to be a tough day tomorrow because the conditions are going to be so different,” said Johnson, a resident of nearby Avon, Ind. “Today was really irrelevant for tomorrow, but it’s good to know that we have a good baseline and can go from there.
“Testing on Friday before the event was so valuable. You can’t put a price on that because we probably wouldn’t have qualified if we hadn’t tested with the issues we had with the new body and being able to work through some things. We also found a problem with one of our controllers for the clutch and the fuel system. To find those issues on Friday and be able to run so well on Saturday, it just shows you that we needed a couple of runs to work everything out after being off for four months.”
Qualified: No. 1 (lane choice)
The Competition: No. 16 Ron Capps
Q1: 3.983 E.T. at 317.72 MPH (Three bonus points for quickest run of the session)
Q2: 4.128 E.T. at 238.43 MPH
Bonus Points: Three
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.