No. 4-ranked Johnson, Make-A-Wish Dodge ready to move up in standings when Mello Yello Series hits Vegas this weekend
BROWNSUBRG, Ind. (Mar. 29, 2017) – The Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car funded by Terry Chandler and piloted by Tommy Johnson Jr. travels west to Nevada this week for the 18th annual NHRA Las Vegas Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
“Vegas is one of my favorite racetracks,” said Johnson. “I’ve always done well there. There’s certain tracks you go to that you just have confidence no matter what. Vegas is one of those tracks for me.”
The NHRA Nationals is the fourth race of the 2017 NHRA season. Going into this weekend’s event, Johnson and the Make-A-Wish team led by crew chief John Collins and assistant Rip Reynolds are No. 4 in points, 99 behind the leader and Don Schumacher Racing teammate Matt Hagan.
A year ago, Johnson qualified No. 11 and lost in the first round to the event winner, Alexis DeJoria of Kalitta Motorsports. A last fall’s race at Las Vegas, Johnson also lost in the opening round.
“Last year certainly wasn’t our best at Vegas,” he said. “We’ve only won there once (2001) but we just seem to usually run well there. I’m excited and ready to go back because our team is running so well. Knowing my pass success there and how our team is running, it should be a good weekend.”
The Make-A-Wish team has advanced to the semifinals at this year’s last two events and are looking to score their first win of the season this weekend.
The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is one of three racetracks that teams visit twice throughout the Mello Yello Drag Racing series circuit. The team raced in Las Vegas five months ago in October for the penultimate event of the 2016 NHRA season.
Johnson says that although it has not been that long since the team has raced in Vegas, the conditions will be different from what the saw in the fall.
“Conditions in the spring are different than when we’re there in the fall but we’ve done well at both.
“It’s something that John and the team and myself have always been able to adapt to. I think it’s kind of to our liking. Even as a driver, you like a track so much and I think the team likes it a lot so that helps too.”
TOMMY JOHNSON JR.: Make-A-Wish 2017 Dodge Charger R/T
Best Time, Speed: 3.837 sec. (Phoenix 2017); 330.80 mph (Seattle, 2016)
Last event (March 17-19) Gainesville, Fla.): Qualified No. 5, lost in semifinals to event winner John Force
2016 Las Vegas 1: Qualified No.11, lost in first round to Alexis event winner DeJoria
2016 Las Vegas 2: Qualified No.10, lost in first round to Del Worsham
Career at Las Vegas 1: Wins 1 (2001); Runner-ups 1 (2002); Poles 0
Career at Las Vegas: Wins 1 (2001); Runner-ups 2 (2006, 2002); Poles 0
Pts Events Wins Rup Semi Qtr 1st rd Poles DNQ W/L
2017 4th 3 0 0 2 1 0 1 0 5-3
2016 2nd 24 3 3 4 9 5 1 0 38-21
CAREER 401 15 24 53 99 163 15 44 341-342
2017 NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES FUNNY CAR STANDINGS
(Official after Gainesville, Fla.; 3 of 24 events; wins in parenthesis; DSR drivers in CAPS)
1. MATT HAGAN (2) 308 —–
2. John Force (1) 238 -70
3. RON CAPPS 235 -73
4. TOMMY JOHNSON JR. 209 -99
5. Courtney Force 177 -131
6. Robert Hight 150 -158
7. Jim Campbell 148 -160
8. JACK BECKMAN 144 -164
9. J.R. Todd 138 -170
10. Tim Wilkerson 117 -191
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, the Papa John’s Top Fuel dragster driven by Leah Pritchett and 2013 Top Fuel world champion Shawn Langdon; 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 298 NHRA national event titles and 16 world championships.
Follow Don Schumacher Racing at ShoeRacing.com, on Twitter at @shoeracing and Facebook.com/shoeracing.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
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