Similar conditions as Vegas give Johnson, Make-A-Wish team confidence for another event win
HOUSTON (April 22, 2017) – With a similar weather conditions expected for Sunday near Houston to what the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series experienced two weeks ago at Las Vegas, Tommy Johnson Jr. hopes the Make-A-Wish Funny Car sponsored by Terry Chandler has the same result.
“It kind of replicates what we did in Las Vegas,” Johnson said. “We struggled the first day then came out on Saturday and improved and got some nice runs I before we won the Wally on Sunday.”
This week, the team is racing at Royal Purple Raceway near Houston at the 30th annual NHRA SpringNationals.
The Texas heat resulted in a sticky Royal Purple Raceway track in Baytown, Texas, with several of the nitro teams smoking the tires in qualifying Friday for the SpringNationals. But it cooled down on Saturday, and Johnson clocked a best pass of 3.934 seconds at 320.05 mph to earn the No. 7 seed.
“We would have liked to have done a little bit better but I think going into tomorrow, the conditions are going to be a little better and the track is going to come around,” Johnson said.
“Then we can go back to our normal tune-up which should set us up pretty good for a good race day. So far, everything has kind of gone the same as Vegas, and I hope tomorrow does as well.”
One element of the Houston-Vegas saga that is different. Two weeks ago in the final round at Las Vegas, Johnson defeated nitro newcomer Jonnie Lindberg, who has advanced to final rounds of his first two events. This time, they will meet in the opening round on Sunday.
Aside from going back-to-back, the Make-A-Wish team has some added motivation to win the event title.
Chandler, who also funds Don Schumacher Racing’s Infinite Hero team with Jack Beckman, is recovering at home are recent surgery.
“We wish she was here with us, but she’s at home recovering,” he said. “We’d love nothing more than to send the trophy back to her.”
No. 1 qualifier: Courtney Force (John Force Racing), 3.851 sec., 330.23 mph – track records
TOMMY JOHNSON JR., Terry Chandler’s Make-A-Wish 2017 Dodge Charger R/T
Crew chief: John Collins; assistant: Rip Reynolds
QUALIFIED: No. 7
First round: Jonnie Lindberg
FRIDAY: 8.164 sec., 82.98 mph, (Session 1); 7.144, 86.40, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 3.950, 321.12, (Session 3); 3.934, 320.05, (Session 4)
Last event at Las Vegas (March 31-April 2): Qualified No. 6, won in championship round over Jonnie Lindberg
A year ago at Houston: Qualified No. 7, lost in semifinals to event winner Courtney Force
Career at Houston: Wins 0; Runner-ups 1 (2002); Poles 0
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 300 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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