Make-A-Wish team hopes to bounce back after early Houston loss at unique Four-Wide race near Charlotte before Johnson’s family
BROWNSBURG, Ind. (April 26, 2017) – NHRA drivers have a love/hate relationship with the Four-Wide Nationals near Charlotte, N.C., and Tommy Johnson Jr., driver of Terry Chandler’s Make-A-Wish Funny Car, loves the Four-Wide.
“We’re headed to the Four-Wide and I actually enjoy it but a lot of people hate it,” Johnson said of the unique format of the Four-Wide Nationals.
For 23 events a season, teams line up in pairs to face their competition. But in the spring at zMAX Dragway, the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing series lines up nitro cars in quads for a sensory overload of 44,000 horsepower.
“I enjoy it. It’s different and I enjoy the challenge of it,” he said. “It’s definitely harder than racing two-wide just from a concentration level.”
There is an added level of difficulty to the Four-Wide because not only are drivers matched against three competitors, the staging process is different and has a history of giving drivers fits.
“I’m pretty confident about Charlotte. We didn’t run bad, we just didn’t run great in Houston. You’ll have a bad race every now and again,” Johnson said of his initial first-round loss of 2017 last weekend at the NHRA SpringNationals.
“I’ve done pretty well in Charlotte in the past and I’m looking forward to going their again and see if we can’t follow up from what we did there in the fall when we were runner-up so we’ll see if we can make that a little better.”
Last fall at the NHRA Carolina Nationals, the Make-A-Wish team led by crew chief John Collins and assistant Rip Reynolds entered race day as the No. 1 qualifying team and advanced to the final round before losing to John Force.
Johnson says that any time the NHRA travels to Charlotte it’s a bit of a homecoming for him as many of his family now lives in the area.
“It’s always fun to have the family there. I’ve been involved in racing with my family for years and it’s always nice to have my family and now my nephews coming out. It’s nice to have everybody out there supporting and coming out for the weekend.”
TOMMY JOHNSON JR., Make-A-Wish 2017 Dodge Charger R/T
Pts Events Wins Rup Semi Qtr 1st rd Poles DNQ W/L
2017 4th 5 1 0 2 1 1 1 0 9-4
CAREER 403 16 24 55 99 165 15 44 345-343
Best Time, Speed: 3.837 sec. (Phoenix 2017); 330.80 mph (Seattle, 2016)
Best Time, Speed: 3.658 sec.-world record ((Phoenix 2017); 329.75 (2016, Indy)
Last event (April 21-23, Houston): Qualified No. 7, lost in first round to Jonnie Lundberg
2016 at Four-Wide: Qualified No. 11, lost in second quad
2016 Fall at Charlotte: Qualified No. 1, lost in finals to John Force
Career at Four-Wide: Wins 0; Runner-ups 0; Poles 0
Career at zMAX: Wins 0; Runner-ups 2 (2012-13): Poles 2 (2015-16)
2017 NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES STANDINGS
(Official after Houston; 5 of 24 events; wins in parenthesis; DSR drivers in CAPS)
1. MATT HAGAN (2) 400 —–
2. RON CAPPS (1) 398 -2
3.John Force (1) 371 -29
4.TOMMY JOHNSON JR. (1) 357 -43
5. Robert Hight 301 -99
5. Courtney Force 301 -99
7. JACK BECKMAN 282 -118
8. Jonnie Lindberg 235 -165
9. J.R. Todd 222 -178
10. Jim Campbell 211 -189
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, the Papa John’s Top Fuel dragster driven by Leah Pritchett and 2013 Top Fuel world champion Shawn Langdon; 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 302 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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