NORWALK, Ohio (June 25, 2017) – Tommy Johnson Jr. and Terry Chandler’s Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car team advanced to its third semifinals round of the June Swing at the 11th annual NHRA Nationals at Norwalk, Ohio.
Johnson advanced to the semifinals where he faced his Don Schumacher Racing Jack Beckman and the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge, also funded by Terry Chandler but Beckman was able to win and move on to win the title.
“It caught me by surprise,” Johnson said of smoking the tires for the first time since Friday night during qualifying. “It was a good day, the car was on, running great, had low E.T. second round and just thought we were really on track and just out of nowhere smoked the tires.”
On Sunday, Johnson entered race day qualified No. 5 with his time of 3.925 seconds at 329.34 mph. He faced J.R. Todd of Kalitta Motorsports for round one.
Johnson clocked a lap of 3.942 seconds (322.34) to give him the win over Todd. Later in the second round, Johnson lined up against his DSR teammate and NHRA points leader Ron Capps. Johnson ran low of the round with his time of 3.960 (324.44) to give him the win over Capps’ 3.965.
Johnson met Beckman for the second week in a row in the semifinals.
“We’ll have to look and find what changed. We didn’t really change anything on the car for it to smoke the tires, so something happened and we’ll keep searching,” Johnson said.
“I’m really happy with the way the car’s running, especially on race day. The guys are doing a great job of racing and that’s what we’ve done over the last few years to get where we were at the end of the season. So, they’re doing a great job with that and we’ll continue to progress.”
Norwalk is the final race of a four-race swing throughout the month of June. After a month of racing, the NHRA circuit will have a weekend off before traveling to Chicago for the Route 66 Nationals.
TOMMY JOHNSON JR., Terry Chandler’s Make-A-Wish 2017 Dodge Charger R/T
Crew chief: John Collins; Assistant: Rip Reynolds
SUNDAY’S CHAMPIONSHIP ELIMINATIONS
First round: JOHNSON (3.942 sec., 322.34 mph) def. J.R. Todd (4.032, 318.69)
Second round: JOHNSON (3.960, 324.44) def. Ron Capps (3.965, 324.83)
Semifinals: Jack Beckman (4.074, 319.45) def. JOHNSON (6.049, 118.22)
Qualified: No. 5
FRIDAY: 8.568 sec., 82.47 mph, (Session 1); 3.925, 329.34, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 4.008, 320.05, (Session 3); 3.990, 316.38, (Session 4)
Best Time, Speed: 3.837 sec. (Phoenix 2017); 330.80 mph (Seattle, 2016)
NORWALK BY THE NUMBERS
Last event (June 18), Bristol, Tenn.: Qualified No. 8, lost in semifinals to Jack Beckman
A year ago at Norwalk: Qualified No. 8, lost in semifinals to Courtney Force
Career at Norwalk: Wins 0; Runner-ups 0; Poles 0
2017 NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES FUNNY CAR STANDINGS
(Official after Norwalk, Ohio; 12th of 24 events; wins in parenthesis; DSR drivers in CAPS)
1. RON CAPPS (5) 1,095 —–
2. MATT HAGAN (3) 946 -149
3. JACK BECKMAN (2) 860 -230
4. Robert Hight 809 -286
5. TOMMY JOHNSON JR. (1) 739 -356
6. Courtney Force 714 -381
7. John Force (1) 683 -412
8. Tim Wilkerson 525 -570
9. J.R. Todd 508 -587
10. Cruz Pedregon 431 -664
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 310 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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