TOPEKA, Kan. (May 20, 2017) – A win at the NHRA Heartland Nationals is a one that will mean a little more than most to driver Tommy Johnson Jr. and his crew chief John Collins.
Johnson and Collins grew up in Ottumwa, Iowa, about three hours from Topeka where the eighth NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event is being held at Heartland Park. It’s one of his home tracks.
“It’s kind of like going home for me,” Johnson said.
The driving forces for Terry Chandler’s Make-A-Wish 2017 Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car team will enter race day on Sunday as the No. 5 qualifier.
Johnson qualified with a best time of 3.847 seconds at a career-best speed of 331.61 mph on his last run Saturday.
“I really like the way the car is running as far as tune-up goes,” Johnson said. “We made three runs down the racetrack and improved every session. It kind of fits the overall picture of what we’ve been trying to do with changing the way we run this race car and tuning it. It’s showing promise every single run and getting better and better.”
On Friday, Johnson ran a lap of 3.990 seconds at 323.43 mph. Later, NHRA cancelled the second session because of storms in the Topeka area.
“We didn’t run the big speeds or the low ETs like a couple of them did but we’re very close. We’re in the same zip code at least now. I feel good going into tomorrow. John and Rip (Reynolds, assistant crew chief) are liking what they see on the tune-up and they’re going the right direction every time.
“It’ll be a little warmer on Sunday. There might be a little more sun but this racetrack is so good. I don’t think you’ll see a huge fall off. It’s not going to be the record conditions like we saw today but it’ll still be good and will still be quick.”
TOMMY JOHNSON JR., Terry Chandler’s Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T
Qualified: No. 5
First round: Del Worsham
FRIDAY: 3.990 sec., 323.43 mph, (Session 1); rained out, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 3.882, 325.61, (Session 3); 3.847, 331.61, (Session 4)
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 and the Papa John’s 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 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 304 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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