Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT Funny Car driver Tommy Johnson Jr. raced to the No. 2 starting spot at the 22nd Annual Route 66 NHRA Nationals near Chicago, leading a large field of seven HEMI®-fueled Dodge drivers into the elimination rounds at Route 66 Raceway on Sunday.
Johnson and his three Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) Dodge//SRT Mopar teammates earned berths in the top half of the field, as well as Dodge driver Cruz Pedregon, putting Dodge//SRT Mopar drivers in five of the top eight positions.
An extended rain delay pushed the final qualifying session to an evening start, and Johnson took full advantage of the cooler temperatures and prime track conditions. After clocking a 3.933-second elapsed time (ET) to open Saturday as the only Funny Car to break into three seconds and earn the No. 3 spot, the Ottumwa, Iowa, native saved his best for last, unleashing a 3.882 ET at 326.84 mph to lock in the second position and end qualifying with a total of six bonus points.
Back-to-back NHRA event winner Ron Capps looks in a strong position to keep the momentum going in his Mopar-powered Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT after earning the No. 3 spot for Sunday eliminations. Capps claimed the provisional pole on Friday with a sizzling 3.893-second elapsed time (ET) at 326.00 mph, the quickest and fastest run of the first session. He bettered that mark in his final qualifying hit with a 3.882, but it was only good enough for third in the ultra-quick final session. Capps also earned six bonus points during qualifying.
Jack Beckman banked two bonus points to open qualifying, part of a DSR Mopar Dodge 1-2-3 sweep in Q1 (Capps was No. 1, with Johnson No. 3.) The Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT driver and 2012 Funny Car World Champion wrapped up qualifying in fifth. Two-time Funny Car champion Matt Hagan was ranked 12th after the first three qualifying rounds, but he cranked up his Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT in the final session and uncorked a 3.936/323.97 pass to move up to No. 7.
Joining the DSR foursome in the race for the Route 66 Funny Car win tomorrow are a trio of Mopar-powered Dodge Charger pilots: Pedregon (No. 8), Paul Lee (No. 15) and Jim Campbell (No. 16).
Leah Pritchett, runner-up last year at Route 66 Raceway, placed her Okuma Mopar Dodge Top Fuel Dragster in the top half of the field in the eighth position. The DSR star notched her spot with a 3.776/327.82 in the opening qualifying session.
NHRA Route 66 Nationals TV Schedule:
|NHRA SUNDAY LIVE||Sunday, June 2||11:30am – 12:30pm ET||FS1|
|FINALS||Sunday, June 2||5:30pm – 8:30pm ET||FS1|
Source: Mopar & Don Schumacher Racing