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2014 NHRA: Johnson Ends Personal, DSR Funny Car Drought With Huge Win In Make-A-Wish Dodge In Thunder Valley Nationals At Bristol
Posted by: newsla on Jun 16, 2014 - 06:30 AM
2014 NHRA: Johnson Ends Personal, DSR Funny Car Drought With Huge Win In Make-A-Wish Dodge In Thunder Valley Nationals At Bristol

Tommy Johnson Jr. snapped a couple of streaks that neither he nor Don Schumacher Racing have liked talking about.

When Johnson won the Funny Car title Sunday driving the Make-A-Wish Funny Car in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event at Bristol Dragway it marked his first event title since 2007 when he also won on Father's Day.


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For DSR, it is the first trip to a winner's circle this season and waiting for the 10th race of a season is about as long as it's ever taken since DSR began fielding a Funny Car in 2001.

When Terry Chandler opted to fund the fourth DSR Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car team at DSR, it was her choice to hire Johnson to drive for her. The only reason it had been seven years since he lost one was he has been limit to small, part-time schedules usually to lower funded teams.

That changed when he took the wheel of the Make-A-Wish Funny Car and took another giant step when DSR owner Don Schumacher decided to promote John Collins from assistant to crew chief on Johnson's Dodge.

"There's a lot of people I have to thank including everyone in the pits, but I have to thank Don Schumacher and Terry Chandler for the opportunity to drive the car," he said.

"There's a lot of jobs that I did when I didn't have a full-time ride that I didn't always like doing, but I wanted the opportunity to drive again so I did whatever it took to get back here and this feels really, really good.

"And it makes it even better to associate with Make-A-Wish and raise awareness for them, it's just great. We just let everyone know what great things they do for these kids that are fighting life-threatening illnesses. To see them smile when they're going through tough things warms my heart and now we got them a win."

Several guests of Make-A-Wish were in attendance along with his father, Tommy Johnson Sr.

"This is third time I've won on Father's Day," including seven years and 53 events ago at Englishtown, N.J. "I love the fans, the sound of Thunder Valley. There's nothing like it. This is a great facility. It was a tricky racetrack today, and all the guys on my team did a great job."

The 10th event title of his career enabled him to jump four spots to third in the Mello Yello standings.

In Top Fuel, Antron Brown advanced the furthest for DSR by advancing to the semifinals.

The Thunder Valley Nationals was the first of four Mello Yello Series events in four weekends. DSR and the series will be at Epping, N.H., next weekend for the second annual New England Nationals.

DSR owner Don Schumacher honored at Bristol
Don Schumacher, who won many Funny Car titles at Bristol Dragway in the early 1970s, was honored Sunday as the 2014 Legend of Thunder Valley during pre-race ceremonies before the start of the Thunder Valley Nationals at the famed Tennessee track.

Schumacher, one of the early Funny Car drivers and a longtime safety innovator in drag racing, won several International Hot Rod Association titles at Bristol including three of five in 1971. He also owns five NHRA national event titles as a driver/owner and since starting Don Schumacher Racing in 1998 he has won 11 NHRA world championships and 220 NHRA event titles.

The Chicago native, who will be 70 in November, fielded seven professional teams this weekend at Bristol. He was inducted in May 2013 into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame at Talladega, Ala., with NASCAR stalwarts Rusty Wallace, Rick Hendrick and Dale Inman. He was enshrined in the Drag Racing Hall of Fame in 2007.

Event winner: Shawn Langdon (Al-Anabi Racing)
No. 1 Qualifier: Brittany Force (John Force Racing) 3.828 seconds, 317.94 mph

TONY SCHUMACHER, U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified: No. 3
First round: SCHUMACHER (3.857 sec., 323.89 mph) def. Billy Torrence (4.008, 305.84); Quarterfinals: Bob Vandergriff (4.453, 289.8) def. SCHUMACHER (5.027, 171.45).
FRIDAY: no time/clock malfunction, 330.47 mph (track record, Session 1); cancelled due to rain (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 3.854 sec., 310.77 mph, (Session 3); 3.865, 316.75, (Session 4)

ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tools Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified: No. 4
First round: BROWN (3.829 sec., 318.39 mph) def. Richie Crampton (4.398, 196.79); Quarterfinals: BROWN (3.883, 315.19) def. Spencer Massey (10.460, 76.70); Semifinals: Doug Kalitta (3.905, 312.64) def. BROWN (3.952, 304.74).
FRIDAY: 3.873 sec., 313.07 mph, (Session 1); cancelled due to rain (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 3.919, 309.49, (Session 3); 4.483, 179.83, (Session 4)

SPENCER MASSEY, Battery Extender Powered by Schumacher Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified: No. 5
First round: MASSEY (3.892 sec., 317.05 mph) def. Clay Millican (broke); Quarterfinals: Antron Brown (3.883, 315.19) def. MASSEY (10.460, 76.70).
FRIDAY: 3.876 sec., 312.93 mph, (Session 1); cancelled due to rain (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 6.834, 84.53, (Session 3); 3.920, 308.92, (Session 4)

Event winner: Tommy Johnson Jr. (Don Schumacher Racing)
No. 1 Qualifier: Del Worsham (Kalitta Motorsports), 3.992 sec.*, 319.45 mph* (*track records)

Qualified: No. 3
First round: Tony Pedregon (4.355 sec., 256.51 mph) def. CAPPS (5.330, 142.06)
FRIDAY: 4.188 sec., 302.48 mph, (Session 1); 4.024, 316.38, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 4.171, 301.81, (Session 3); 4.172, 300.80, (Session 4)

TOMMY JOHNSON JR., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T
Qualified: No. 5
First round: JOHNSON (4.147 sec., 309.20 mph) def. Cruz Pedregon (4.613, 188.49); Quarterfinals: JOHNSON (4.175, 305.84) def. Robert Hight (6.009, 114.01); Semifinals: JOHNSON (4.201, 299.46) def. Matt Hagan (4.207, 293.54); Final: JOHNSON vs. Tim Wilkerson ).
FRIDAY: 4.074 sec., 306.60 mph, (Session 1); cancelled due to rain (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 4.129, 306.19 mph, (Session 3); no run, (Session 4)

MATT HAGAN, Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T
Qualified: No. 8
First round: HAGAN (4.166 sec., 300.00) def. Chad Head (5.498, 143.90); Quarterfinals: HAGAN (4.216, 287.66) def. Del Worsham (4.209, 299.53); Semifinals: Tommy Johnson Jr. (4.201, 299.46) def. HAGAN (4.207, 293.54).
FRIDAY: 4.180 sec., 303.70 mph, (Session 1); 4.111, 308.99, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 4.176, 295.92, (Session 3); 4.831, 167.18, (Session 4)

JACK BECKMAN, Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger R/T
Qualified: No. 11
First round: Courtney Force (4.199 sec., 302.35 mph) def. BECKMAN (4.787, 181.64).
FRIDAY: 4.123 sec., 308.99 mph, (Session 1); 4.458, 199.17, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 4.374, 249.72, (Session 3); 4.338, 242.89, (Session 4)

(Unofficial through 10 of 24 events; DSR drivers in CAPS)

driver (wins) points behind
1. Doug Kalitta (1) 902 ----
2. ANTRON BROWN (3) 782 -120
3. Shawn Langdon 751 -151
4. SPENCER MASSEY (2) 652 -250
5. Steve Torrence 617 -285
6. TONY SCHUMACHER (1) 557 -345
7. Khalid alBalooshi (1) 535 -367
8. Brittany Force 502 -400
9. Richie Crampton (1) 464 -438
10. J.R. Todd 429 -473

driver (wins) points behind
1. Robert Hight (4) 905 ----
2. John Force (1) 640 -265
3. TOMMY JOHNSON JR. 627 -278
4. Alexis DeJoria (2) 619 -286
5. Del Worsham 593 -312
6. Courtney Force (1) 581 -324
7. RON CAPPS 571 -334
8. Cruz Pedregon (1) 538 -367
9. Tim Wilkerson 533 -372
10. MATT HAGAN 527 -378
11. JACK BECKMAN 512 -383

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