MOPAR Express Lane NHRA Nationals
Presented by Pennzoil
Event 19 of 24 (Reading)
Countdown Event 1 of 6
Maple Grove Raceway
Sept. 13-15, 2019
DSR Reading Elimination Highlights:
- Jack Beckman raced to victory at the first event of the NHRA Countdown to the Championship and moved into the Funny Car points lead
- Beckman’s triumph was his first of the season, and the 29th of his career
- Semifinalist Ron Capps moved up one spot to fourth; Tommy Johnson Jr. rounds out the ‘top five’ in the Funny Car point standings
- With Beckman’s Reading win, all DSR Funny Car pilots have visited the winner’s circle at least once in 2019
- Reading marked the eighth consecutive event that DSR has contested a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat in the final round
- Antron Brown maintains his ranking inside the Top Fuel ‘top five’
TOMMY JOHNSON JR.
Driver of the Make-A-Wish Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
Qualified: No. 7 (3.905 E.T. at 326.95 MPH)
E1: 3.977 E.T. at 327.66 MPH defeated by J.R. Todd 3.915 E.T. at 329.58 MPH
Tommy Johnson Jr. won his first-ever Funny Car Wally at Maple Grove Raceway back in 1999, and the two-time 2019 winner was looking to get a jumpstart on his run for a first NHRA Funny Car world championship with a long race day of going rounds. After qualifying the Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car seventh, Johnson began eliminations ranked second in the season championship standings, and his first-round opponent was reigning Funny Car champion J.R. Todd. Johnson and Todd were nearly even at the starting line, but Johnson, a two-time Reading winner, slowly lost ground during the race to 1,000 feet. Todd’s quicker run of 3.915 seconds was enough to defeat Johnson, who posted a pass of 3.977 seconds.
“Today certainly wasn’t ideal. We ran decent in qualifying and coming off of such a great season so far, I had high hopes for the Countdown, but starting off with a first-round loss isn’t what we had planned. Not totally demoralized by it, but we have our work cut out for us now. We’ll have to do exceptionally well at the last five to regain our position if we want any shot at the championship. I’m sure over the next week or so we’ll reevaluate and see if we can’t turn things around in St. Louis and keep a shot at the championship.”
NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship Starting Positions:
1. Doug Kalitta – 2180
2. Brittany Force – 2147
3. Steve Torrence – 2133
4. Antron Brown – 2127
5. Richie Crampton – 2126
6. Mike Salinas – 2104
7. Austin Prock – 2094
8. Leah Pritchett – 2093
9. Clay Millican – 2092
10. Billy Torrence – 2032
1. Jack Beckman – 2179
2. John Force – 2160
3. Robert Hight – 2155
4. Ron Capps – 2136
5. Tommy Johnson Jr – 2105
6. Matt Hagan – 2092
7. J.R. Todd – 2089
8. Bob Tasca III – 2072
9. Tim Wilkerson – 2057
10. Shawn Langdon – 2043
About Don Schumacher Racing:
Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) is the winningest team in NHRA Drag Racing history, having claimed more than 335 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.