SEATTLE (August 6, 2017) – Terry Chandler’s Make-A-Wish Dodge, driven by veteran driver Tommy Johnson Jr., advanced to its fourth final round of the season and second of NHRA’s Western Swing at the Northwest Nationals on Sunday before coming up just short of the title to Robert Hight.
“It’s frustrating to lose a final again, but three of the last four races (we’ve been) runner-up so you can’t complain too much,” said Johnson, who seeks his second win of the season.
“Our goal was to try to get our position the best we can going into the Countdown and we’re doing a good job of that,” he said of getting to within 13 points of fourth place.
The Make-A-Wish team Powered by Pennzoil and led by crew chief John Collins with assistant Rip Reynolds entered race day as the No. 3 qualifier with their time of 3.930 seconds at 324.05 mph.
In the opening round of competition, Johnson raced Jim Campbell of Jim Dunn Racing and got the win with a 3.953 (325.92). He advanced to the second round to face Don Schumacher Racing and NHRA points leader Ron Capps and theNAPA AUTO PARTS team.
Johnson left the starting line first at .053 seconds for the best reaction time of the round and clocked a pass of 3.957 (323.19) and win over Capps’ 3.976 (311.41) effort.
In the semifinal, Johnson took out another DSR teammate, Matt Hagan in the Mopar/Express Lane Dodge. Johnson ran a 3.935 (319.67) to beat Hagan’s 3.955.
In the final round, Johnson again left the line first at .045 seconds but Hight clocked a stellar 3.890 (328.62) to win over Johnson’s 3.978 pass.
The annual three-week NHRA Western Swing finished in Seattle and teams will travel back to DSR’s shop near Indianapolis to prepare for the next event in two weeks in Brainerd, Minn.
The Make-A-Wish team clinched their place in the Countdown to the Championship, NHRA’s version of the playoffs, which kicks off after the U.S. Nationals over Labor Day Weekend.
“Two to go before the Countdown and it seems like it’s that time of year to start picking up momentum and get yourself set for the Countdown. I’m happy with the way we’re doing and we’ll get it done. Final rounds are great, you just like to finish the job when you get there. But six finals in the Countdown would be just fine with me, too.”
TOMMY JOHNSON JR., Terry Chandler’s Make-A-Wish 2017 Dodge Charger R/T
Crew chief: John Collins; Assistant: Rip Reynolds
SUNDAY CHAMPIONSHIP ELIMINATIONS
First round: JOHNSON (3.953 sec., 325.32 mph) def. Jim Campbell (4.372, 206.48)
Second round: JOHNSON (3.957, 323.19) def. Ron Capps (3.976, 311.41)
Semifinals: JOHNSON (3.935, 319.67) def. Matt Hagan (3.955, 326.08)
Final: Robert Hight (3.890, 328.62) def. JOHNSON (3.978, 323.27)
Qualified: No. 3
FRIDAY: 4.011 sec., 319.60 mph, (first session); 3.930, 324.05, (second session)
SATURDAY: 3.980, 321.88, (third session); 4.373, 203.65, (fourth session)
SEATTLE BY THE NUMBERS
Last event (July 30), Sonoma, Calif.: Qualified No. 5, lost in second round to Courtney Force
A year ago at Seattle: Qualified No. 10, lost in second round to Ron Capps
Career at Seattle: Wins 2 (1993, 2015); Runner-ups 0 Poles 0
2017 NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES FUNNY CAR STANDINGS
(Official after Seattle; 16 of 24 events: wins in parenthesis; DSR drivers in CAPS)
1. RON CAPPS (6) 1,330 —–
2. MATT HAGAN (3) 1,172 -158
3. Robert Hight (2) 1,164 -166
4. JACK BECKMAN (2) 1,104 -226
5. TOMMY JOHNSON JR. (1) 1,081 -249
6. Courtney Force 951 -249
7. John Force (1) 877 -453
8. Tim Wilkerson 759 -571
9. J.R. Todd (1) 756 -574
10. Cruz Pedregon 601 -729
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 313 NHRA national event titles and 16 world championships.
Follow Don Schumacher Racing at ShoeRacing.com, on Twitter at @shoeracing and Facebook.com/shoeracing.