SONOMA, Calif. (July 30, 2017) – Tommy Johnson Jr. and Terry Chandler’s Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car rode the proverbial roller coaster during qualifying this weekend for the NHRA Sonoma Nationals near San Francisco.
A rare rear end failure that sent Johnson and his Dodge smacking the guard wall on Friday was followed by a 3.906-second run then on the next day he lost traction early but rallied for a 3.896 that earned the team a No. 5 qualifying spot.
In Sunday’s the first round, the Make-A-Wish team was able to beat their Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron Capps for the second week in a row when Johnson recorded a time 3.905 that was the third quickest of the round and at a career-best speed of 332.02 mph.
But in the next round, he lost tractions and began a pedalfest with Courtney Force but Force got the round win.
“The track was extremely tricky all weekend long and a lot of people were struggling with it, but I was surprised in the second round we came loose,” said Johnson, whose team is led by crew chief John Collins and assistant Rip Reynolds. “We ran so well first round, changed everything we thought would calm it down for second round with the hotter conditions, but just it didn’t hardly move at all without coming loose.
“We made a huge recovery from what happened on the first run Friday to come back and make two strong runs in qualifying and a have nice first round.
DSR FUNNY CARS
Event winner: J.R. Todd (Kalitta Motorsports)
No. 1 qualifier: Robert Hight (John Force Racing), 3.807 sec., 339.87 mph-world record
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 (3.905 sec., 332.02 mph-career best) def. Ron Capps (3.941, 328,86)
Second round: Courtney Force (6.038, 287.05) def. JOHNSON (7.044, 135.02)
Qualified: No. 5
FRIDAY: no time, (Session 1); 3.908, 327.43, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 25.607, 40.78, (Session 3); 3.896, 325.85, (Session 4)
SONOMA BY THE NUMBERS
Career best time, speed: 3.837 sec. (Phoenix 2017); 332.02 mph (Sonoma 2017)
Last event (July 23), Denver: Qualified: No. 12, lost in championship round to teammate Ron Capps
A year ago at Sonoma: Qualified No. 8, lost in first round to teammate Jack Beckman
Career at Sonoma: 0 Wins; Runners-up 1 (2015); Poles 1 (1994)
2017 NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES FUNNY CAR STANDINGS
(Official after Sonoma; 15 of 24 events: wins in parenthesis; DSR drivers in CAPS)
1. RON CAPPS (6) 1,276 —–
2. MATT HAGAN (3) 1,093 -183
4. JACK BECKMAN (2) 1,049 -227
3. Robert Hight (1) 1,035 -241
5. TOMMY JOHNSON JR. (1) 982 -294
6. Courtney Force 874 -402
7. John Force (1) 821 -455
8. Tim Wilkerson 727 -549
9. J.R. Todd (1) 724 -552
10. Cruz Pedregon 570 -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.