BROWNSBURG, Ind. (July 26, 2017) – Tommy Johnson Jr. has driven Terry Chandler’s Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car to two straight final rounds and he is ready to finish the job this weekend in the 30th annual NHRA Sonoma Nationals in the wine country near San Francisco.
“We’ve been happy with the way the car has been performing the last few races,” Johnson said. “The last six races have been a pretty good stretch for us. But more than anything, we’d like get a win. Going rounds is great, but winning is awfully nice.”
The Make-A-Wish team Powered by Pennzoil and led by crew chief John Collins and assistant Rip Reynolds advanced to the final round of competition at Chicago but came up short two weeks ago to their Don Schumacher Racing teammate and NHRA points leader Ron Capps.
Last weekend in Denver at the first race of the annual three-week Western Swing, Johnson advanced to the final round but was bested by Robert Hight of John Force Racing.
Sonoma marks the second race of the Western Swing. It is the goal of every NHRA team to “sweep” the Swing and win all three events including the last one near Seattle. Johnson and the Make-A-Wish team have a history of “breaking brooms” and stopped another driver from completing the three-race sweep the past two years at Seattle.
In 2015, Johnson’s DSR teammate Jack Beckman won Denver and Sonoma but Johnson defeated him in the semifinals. Last year, he beat John Force who had also won Denver and Sonoma.
“If we can’t sweep, we don’t want anybody else to do it,” Johnson said. “Maybe we can do a semi-sweep and be in all the finals of the Swing. I’d definitely enjoy breaking a sweep again this year. I think we’re up for the challenge of doing that again this year.
“We were runner-up in Sonoma in 2015 so we know we have a car that is capable of getting it done. We just have to put four good runs together on Sunday instead of three.”
TOMMY JOHNSON JR., Terry Chandler’s Make-A-Wish 2017 Dodge Charger R/T
Pts Events Wins Rup Semi Qtr 1st rd Poles DNQ W/L
2017 5th 14 1 2 5 2 4 1 0 22-13
CAREER 412 16* 26 58 100 168 15 44 358-352
Career best time, speed: 3.837 sec. (Phoenix 2017); 330.80 mph (Seattle, 2016)
SONOMA BY THE NUMBERS
Last event (July 23), Denver: Qualified: No.
A year ago at Sonoma: Qualified No. 8, lost in first round to teammate Jack Beckman
Career at Sonoma: 0; runners-up 1 (2015); poles 1 (1994)
2017 NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES FUNNY CAR STANDINGS
(Official after Denver; 14th of 24 events; wins in parenthesis; DSR drivers in CAPS)
1. RON CAPPS (6) 1,244 —–
2. MATT HAGAN (3) 1,058 -186
3. Robert Hight (1) 973 -271
4. JACK BECKMAN (2) 970 -274
5. TOMMY JOHNSON JR. (1) 925 -319
6. Courtney Force 793 -451
7. John Force (1) 757 -487
8. Tim Wilkerson 634 -610
9. J.R. Todd 612 -632
10. Cruz Pedregon 538 -706
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 312 NHRA national event titles and 16 world championships.
Follow Don Schumacher Racing at ShoeRacing.com, on Twitter at @shoeracing and Facebook.com/shoeracing.