CONCORD, N.C. (Sept. 17 2017) – Tommy Johnson Jr. entered race day at the 10th annual Carolina Nationals as the No. 3 qualifier but was taken out in the quarterfinals by Robert Hight, who went on to win the event title and take over the Funny Car points lead in the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.
“We obviously didn’t go as far as we wanted today, but it was a positive,” said Johnson, driver of Terry and Doug Chandler’s Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car at Don Schumacher Racing.
“We’ve moved up in points and if we can continue to do that and go further. It’s OK to start the Countdown (to the Championship) in a positive manner instead of a negative one.”
Johnson had a solo run during the first round when Dave Richards had a parachute malfunction at the starting line and did not make a pass. Johnson ran a 4.064-second lap at 272.45 mph as he clicked the car off before the finish line. In round two, he was out in front but lost traction and Hight got the round win with his 3.951 (328.22) to Johnson’s 4.315 (216.65).
After his quarterfinals finish on Sunday, Johnson and the team led by crew chief John Collins and assistant Rip Reynolds moved from fifth to fourth in the NHRA points standings.
“We’ll continue to work at it and go into the Dodge Nationals at Reading (Pa.) for next week’s race. We won that race last year and ran really well. That gives you a little confidence coming in. With the way we’re coming back from a struggle two weeks ago at the U.S. Nationals. I’m pretty positive the performance will continue to increase. Being No. 3 qualifier here put us in a good position. So, if we can go there and continue to do the same, I think the results will follow it.”
The team will race again next weekend in Reading for the second event of the Countdown to the Championship. Johnson drove the Chandler’s Make-A-Wish Dodge to the winner’s circle at that event in 2016 and later finished second in the NHRA points standings.
TOMMY JOHNSON JR., Doug & Terry Chandler’s Make-A-Wish 2017 Dodge Charger R/T
Crew chief: John Collins; Assistant: Rip Reynolds
First round: JOHNSON (4.064 sec., 272.45) def. Dave Richards (broke)
Second round: Robert Hight (3.951, 328.22) def. JOHNSON (4.315, 216.65)
Qualified: No: 3
FRIDAY: 4.345 sec., 206.35 mph, (Session 1); 3.901, 325.06, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 4.077, 309.63, (Session 3); 5.010, 151.22, (Session 4)
Pts Events Wins Rup Semi Qtr 1st rd Poles DNQ W/L
2017 4th 19 1 4 5 4 5 1 0 30-18
CAREER 417 16* 28 58 102 169 15 44 366-357
* 14 FC/2 TF
Career best time, speed: 3.837 sec. (Phoenix 2017); 332.02 mph (Sonoma 2017)
BY THE NUMBERS
Last event: Sept. 1-4, Indy: Qualified No. 12, lost in first round to Jack Beckman
2016 Fall zMAX: Qualified No. 1, lost in finals to John Force
2017 at Four-Wide: Qualified No. 7, lost in first quad
Career at Fall race: Wins 0; Runner-ups : Poles 0
Career at zMAX: Wins 0; Runner-ups 2 (2015, 2016): Poles 2 (2015, 2016)
1. Robert Hight (3) 2197 —–
2. Ron Capps (6) 2153 -44
3. Courtney Force 2141 -56
4. Tommy Johnson Jr. (1) 2107 -90
5. Matt Hagan (3) 2102 -95
5. J.R. Todd (2) 2102 -95
7. Jack Beckman (2) 2095 -102
8. John Force (1) 2085 -112
9. Tim Wilkerson 2046 -151
10. Cruz Pedregon 2033 -164
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 dragster driven by three-time world champion Antron Brown and the Papa John’s Pizza/Mopar Top Fuel dragster driven by Leah Pritchett; 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 80th anniversary Mopar/ Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T, and 2012 NHRA world champion Jack Beckman in the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge and the Make-A-Wish Dodge driven by Tommy Johnson Jr., both of which are funded by the late Terry Chandler.
DSR has won 314 NHRA national event titles and 16 world championships.
Follow Don Schumacher Racing at ShoeRacing.com, on Twitter at @shoeracing and Facebook.com/shoeracing.