Mopar Dodge//SRT Funny Car Driver Johnson Advances to Final Round at NHRA Four-Wide Nationals!


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Mopar Dodge//SRT Funny Car Driver Johnson Advances to Final Round at NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at Charlotte
  • Tommy Johnson Jr. goes to final four-car round in Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T at Four-Wide Nationals at CharlotteInfinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T driver Jack Beckman continues to lead NHRA Funny Car point standings
  • Trio of Mopar-powered Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car drivers advance to semifinals at zMAX Dragway
  • Leah Pritchett qualifies for her 100th Top Fuel pro race at NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway
  • Pritchett pulls double-duty, qualifies No. 1 in Factory Stock Showdown Series in her supercharged Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak
  • Jack Zimmerman, Mike Volkman earn Dodge Top Finisher award in Stock Eliminator and Super Stock
  • More info on Mopar in NHRA available at
  • New Dodge Garage (, a digital content hub for muscle car and race enthusiasts launches; will include highlights from NHRA season
April 29, 2018 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - Tommy Johnson Jr. drove his Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T to the final round at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, leading the charge for all Mopar Dodge//SRT drivers during weekend action at zMAX Dragway near Charlotte, N.C.

Johnson’s Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) teammates and fellow Mopar-powered Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car drivers Jack Beckman and Ron Capps advanced to the second round at zMAX Dragway, with Beckman retaining the points lead heading to Atlanta for the next event.

Johnson, as the No. 3 qualifier, faced and defeated fellow DSR teammate Matt Hagan in his first-round quad to finish in the runner-up position. In the next round, Johnson beat Capps despite his teammate’s advantage off the starting line, once again advancing as the runner-up.

For the final elimination, Johnson was keeping pace until just before the finish line when the tires broke loose, and Cruz Pedregon was able to drive away with the race win.

Beckman, last year’s event runner-up, advanced his Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car out of round one as runner-up. Next up, he faced a tough trio of father/daughter John and Courtney Force, along with Round one winner J.R. Todd. Beckman started skating early in the pass and let off the throttle a little early, with the Force duo taking the round.

Defending NHRA Charlotte Four-Wide event champion Capps was the No. 2 qualifier, earning an impressive six bonus points. Capps moved out front early in the first-round elimination then struck the tires at about the 700-foot mark and pedaled it with enough momentum to pick up the runner-up spot and advance while Robert Hight took the win.In round two Capps was one of several drivers with problems in his quad. He suffered traction problems in lane one and let off the throttle early, with Cruz Pedregon taking the win and DSR teammate Johnson advancing as runner-up.

Three-time zMAX Dragway winner Matt Hagan, driver of the Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car, qualified in 11th position. In the first-round elimination Hagan went to the 600-foot mark before the tires started smoking and he had to pedal. When engine issues ended his run, advancement went to Cruz Pedregon and the runner-up spot to DSR teammate Tommy Johnson Jr.

Leah Pritchett, who celebrated her 100th pro race, pulled double duty this weekend, competing in both Top Fuel and the Factory Stock Showdown Series. She struggled with qualifying her Pennzoil/Mopar Dodge Top Fuel Dragster and was ranked 15th. In the first round, Pritchett lost traction and pedaled it as she tried to regain traction but could not recover.

Pritchett had better luck in the Factory Stock Showdown Series, where she drove her HEMI-powered Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak to the top qualifying spot, although bowing out early in round one eliminations.

U.S. Army Mopar-powered DSR driver Tony Schumacher, last year’s Four-Wide Top Fuel runner-up, qualified second, setting his best time of 3.692 seconds in the second qualifying round. DSR teammates Pritchett and Schumacher faced off in side-by-side action against Clay Millican and Dom Lagana in the four-wide first round Top Fuel eliminations. Schumacher had the fastest reaction time out of the gate but lost traction and was unable to hold it down the track to hook up properly. Lagana won the round and Millican took the runner-up spot.

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Mopar Dodge//SRT NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series: Notes & Quotes


Tommy Johnson Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 3 Qualifier – 3.887 ET at 328.70 mph)

Rd.1: (.089 -second reaction time, 4.374 seconds at 215.00 mph), lost to No. 6 Cruz Pedregon (.072/4.156/243.55), defeated No. 14 John Smith (.341/4.315/256.84), defeated No. 11 Matt Hagan (.091/5.145/127.07)

Pedregon and Johnson advance to round 2

Rd.2: (.187 -second reaction time, 4.007 seconds at 275.39 mph), lost to No. 6 Cruz Pedregon (.088/4.055/309.20), defeated No. 7 Robert Hight (.084/4.610/192.49), defeated No. 2 Ron Capps (.060/5.233/140.44)

Pedregon and Johnson advance to finals

Finals: (.084 -second reaction time, 4.143 seconds at 314.02 mph), lost to No. 6 Cruz Pedregon (.032/4.059/310.84), lost to No. 8 John Force (.090/4.098/307.93), defeated No. 1 Courtney Force (.099/6.215/114.46)

Johnson finishes third place in the quad

“It's just a challenge for everybody out here today. The change of the track prep has really thrown the crew chiefs for a curve. We saw a lot of carnage and a lot of teams struggling to get a hold of the track and we made nice run in the semifinals and had a low ET of the semifinals and we kind of thought we had a handle on it. Then once we got out there for the final, it was really running well then broke the tires loose. We'll have to figure it out. We'll see if we can't keep chipping away.”

Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 13 Qualifier – 3.983 ET at 316.08)

Rd.1: (.077 -second reaction time, 4.427 seconds at 237.71 mph), lost to No. 4 J.R. Todd (.082/4.031/305.42), defeated No. 5 Bob Tasca III (.064/4.667/167.63), defeated No. 12 Shawn Langdon (.222/14.795/79.49)

Todd and Beckman advance to round two

Rd.2: (.085 -second reaction time, 4.717 seconds at 204.79 mph), lost to No. 8 John Force (.093/4.108/299.66), lost to No. 1 Courtney Force (.103/4.115/255.68), lost to No. 4 J.R. Todd (.051/4.435/204.79)

Beckman eliminated

“I don’t think I’ve seen this much carnage in one round of Nitro racing in my entire career and even as a fan. It was just kind of a freak deal. I think it was a combination of good air, spraying a little bit less percentage of the traction compound and the fact that it’s four-wide. We have to race for second place which we never do, and you’ll get back in it more often than you normally would and that’s the nature of the beast. And that’s disappointing.

We never really got a handle on the car this weekend, but we still managed to salvage a round out of it. We got 20 points and we could still leave in the points lead, so it’s hard to hang our heads too low. We’re confident we’re going to get our tune-up back underneath us. The last couple of races have thrown us a curveball here, but Guido, John and Neal live this stuff. They’ll take the data home, they’ll look at it and have three days to figure out if it was a parts issue or a tune-up issue and then we’ll unload at Atlanta with a fresh perspective."

Ron Capps, NAPA Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 2 Qualifier – 3.886 ET at 329.83 mph)

Rd 1: (.088-second reaction time, 4.585 seconds at 218.16 mph), lost to No. 7 Robert Hight (.058/4.566/273.27), defeated No. 15 Dale Creasy Jr. (.123/4.703/174.91), defeated No. 10 Jonnie Lindberg (.079/9.074/77.52)

Capps and Hight advance to round two

Rd 2: (.060-second reaction time, 5.233 seconds at 140.44 mph), lost to No. 6 Cruz Pedregon (.088/4.055/309.20), lost to No. 3 Tommy Johnson Jr. (.187/4.007/314.02), lost to No. 7 Robert Hight (.084/4.610/192.49)

Capps Eliminated

“Not sure why it was a challenging track. The car was running great the second round. Obviously, the first round was a battle of attrition having to pedal it and keep it off the center line and wall. We advanced in the second round but for some reason the oil sending unit shut off the ignition. We’re going to have to figure out why it did that.

We had a great car all weekend. It was so much fun to make that Q3 in the middle of the heat run of 3.96 when nobody else is going down the track. And I can feel (Crew Chief Rhan) Tobler’s got his mojo back. It’s a great thing going back into Atlanta obviously where headquarters are for NAPA, Coca-Cola and Mello Yello. If we have to get a win for the first time this year, it’s a good place to do it.”

Leah Pritchett, Mopar Dodge Top Fuel Dragster
(No. 15 Qualifier – 4.004 ET at 294.31 mph)

Rd.1: (.053-second reaction time, 4.288 seconds at 314.31 mph), lost to No. 2 Robert Hight (.074/3.884/327.66), lost to No. 10 Jack Beckman (.077/4.025/316.23), lost to No. 2 Jim Campbell (.118/6.712/98.34)

Pritchett eliminated

“It’s definitely been one of those frustrating weekends for us. We so badly wanted to put a win light up there for Pennzoil, Mopar and U.S. Army. We went out there out there with a conservative setup to get us down the track. The car in our lane before us had a large explosion and NHRA did a good job preparing the starting line and the part of the track where they saw it the most necessary. We are 98 percent confident that as soon as our car reached the part of the track where the preparation stopped, we ran on oil. We lost traction and I pedaled the car. You drive this event different. When you are racing four wide, you are going to pedal it no matter what because you just don’t know. I’m in lane one and I have no idea what’s going on in lane four. You are just cringing inside that car trying to get it to hook up knowing that I’m doing a lot of damage here and the only consolation is if were able to put on a win light. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to do that. Everything up to that point we felt completely confident in. So, we take that, we learn, and we go on to Atlanta.”

Tony Schumacher, U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster
(No. 2 Qualifier – 3.692 ET at 331.61 mph)

Rd.1: (.058-second reaction time, 4.726 seconds at 219.72 mph), lost to No. 10 Dom Lagana (.065/3.834/324.05), lost to No. 7 Clay Millican (.087/4.376/194.18), defeated No. 15 Leah Pritchett (.083/4.999/174.77)

Schumacher eliminated. Both DSR teammates were out and Lagana and Millican advanced to round two

“The U.S. Army car has been running good, but maybe down on horsepower just a little bit this weekend. We made some changes for that first round and the power picked right back up. I wish we had one more qualifying run, but that’s not the way it goes. You have to make changes as you see them. We are all adjusting to the traction NHRA is providing. I’m not surprised with how unpredictable things went today in the first round. We knew there were going to be changes. When the track warms up, it becomes a little more predictable. The first quad there was an oil down. The second quad there was an oil down. When there is that much span in between runs, the track is just not good. Hats to off to (Steve) Torrence, they went out and won the race. We make no excuses. We are bad to the bone and looking forward to showing in Atlanta.”

Matt Hagan, Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 11 Qualifier – 3.966 ET at 320.89 mph)

Rd.1: (.091-second reaction time, 5.145 seconds at 127.07 mph), lost to No. 6 Cruz Pedregon (.072/4.156/243.55), lost to No. 3 Tommy Johnson, Jr (.089/4.374/215.00), lost to No. 14 John Smith (.341/4.315/256.84)

Hagan eliminated

“(It was) a little tough, not the Sunday first round we wanted. Obviously, NHRA needs to address the track prep situation. There’s a lot less grip out there and that’s why I think everyone’s smoking the tires and blowing up. Hopefully, they can get this situation figured out.”

Mopar Dodge//SRT NHRA Sportsman Spotlight
Leah Pritchett’s Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak came off the truck with Crew Chief Kevin Helms’ perfectly prepared 354-cubic-inch HEMI engine for round two of seven in the Factory Stock Showdown Series and promptly topped the charts. The Mopar star posted an 8.047 E.T. for the No. 1 qualifying spot.Unfortunately, her face-off in first round eliminations against No. 9 Arthur Krohn ended in a defeat with an 8.174 E.T. at 169.08 mph against his 8.113 E.T. at 170.51 mph.

During the weekend at Charlotte, DSR also announced that it will enter a second Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak in the FSXX with veteran Pro Stock racer Mark Pawuk, beginning at the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals in June for round three.

The Dodge Top Finisher award, now in its second year, awards $500 to Stock Eliminator and Super Stock drivers who advance the furthest behind the wheel of a Mopar-powered Dodge, Chrysler, or Plymouth race car at all 24 NHRA national events.

This weekend at the zMAX Dragway, Jack Zimmerman from Clemmons, North Carolina, drove his B/SA 1971 Dodge Challenger R/T to the semi-finals in Stock Eliminator class. Powered by a Mopar 440 Six Pack V8, Zimmerman’s Challenger ran consistent low 10-second times and earned him the Stock Eliminator class Dodge Top Finisher award and the $500.

Longtime Mopar racer and prior Dodge Top Finisher winner Mike Volkman made it to the Super Stock quarterfinals at the Charlotte NHRA Four-Wide Nationals. Driving his 2000 Chrysler Sebring powered by a Mopar 318 small block V8 and converted to rear wheel drive, Volkman’s car competes in the GT/LA category. With numerous class wins to his credit, Volkman who hails from Campobello, South Carolina, was once again the Super Stock and $500 winner.

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