Johnson Races Dodge//SRT Mopar Funny Car to Runner-up
Finish at Four-Wide Nationals
- Tommy Johnson, Jr. races Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car to runner-up finish in Four-Wide Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in his 450th professional event
- Jack Beckman reaches second Funny Car final of 2019 in his Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat; ranks second in championship standings
- Despite opening-round defeat, Leah Pritchett ranks fourth in the NHRA Top Fuel standings
- Justin Jerome and Wayne Taylor take Dodge Top Finisher Awards in NHRA Sportsman Classes in Las Vegas
- More info on Mopar in NHRA available at http://blog.mopar.com
- Dodge Garage (http://www.dodgegarage.com/), a digital content hub for muscle car and race enthusiasts, features highlights from NHRA season
LAS VEGAS, NV (April 8, 2019) – Mopar-powered Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car driver Tommy Johnson, Jr. raced to a runner-up finish Sunday in the Four-Wide NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and ranks third in the NHRA Mello Yello Funny Car championship standings after the fourth of 24 2019 national events.
Johnson, who was competing in the 450th professional event of his career, charged to his first final of the season behind the wheel of the Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car, but his final run of 3.975 seconds at 313.29 mph wasn’t enough to defeat reigning NHRA Funny Car world champion J.R. Todd. Fellow DSR and Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat driver Jack Beckman also advanced to the final elimination quad and finished third behind Todd and Johnson. Matt Hagan and Ron Capps were also Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat drivers that raced past the first round. Leah Pritchett qualified the Mopar Dodge Top Fuel dragster fourth, but she was unable to advance past the opening round.
The run to his sixth career final appearance began with Johnson turning the fastest pass in his first round quad to advance to a loaded second-round quad where he was joined by DSR teammates Beckman and Capps as well as 16-time world champion John Force. In the second round, Johnson was first off the line with his .058 reaction time and he never trailed posting a pass of 3.994 to reach the 49th final of his career and second consecutive Vegas Four-Wide Nationals final.
Beckman, who defeated Johnson at “The Strip” in 2006 to earn his first career Funny Car Wally, followed Force to the finish line in his first quad driving the DSR Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat before coming home second behind Johnson in the second quad to reach his second final of the season. The run to the final pushed Beckman up to second in the championship standings.
Hagan’s bid to capture his second victory of 2019 came up short in the second round. After qualifying the DSR Pennzoil/Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car fifth, the two-time Funny Car world champion raced to an opening round win with his pass of 4.073/288.03 to defeat Todd, Gary Densham and Jim Campbell. In the second round, Hagan posted an impressive lap of 4.017, but lost on a holeshot to Todd. Hagan heads to the Mopar Express Lane NHRA Spring Nationals ranking fifth in the Funny Car standings.
Capps started from the second position Sunday in the DSR NAPA Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat and followed Johnson to the second round quad with his run of 4.280. Despite making a solid run of 4.037, he wasn’t able to race past Johnson or Beckman to advance to the final.
Cruz Pedregon had lane choice as a result of his best qualifying positions of the season, but lost to John Force and Beckman in the first round quad. Jim Campbell was the sixth Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car driver in competition Sunday and was defeated by Hagan and Todd in round one.
In Top Fuel, Pritchett entered the fourth race of the season second in the championship standings and seeking her first Las Vegas triumph. With three qualifying-point earning runs to begin the weekend, she positioned herself to close the gap during eliminations. Unfortunately, Pritchett’s Dodge Mopar Top Fuel dragster lost traction almost immediately in lane three during the opening quad. While watching Clay Millican and Terry Totten make clean runs down the track in front of her, Pritchett coasted to the finish with a lap of 6.768 seconds at 114.02 mph. Pritchett heads to Houston next week fourth in the Top Fuel championship standings.Mopar Dodge//SRT NHRA Sportsman Spotlight
In Stock Eliminator, Justin Jerome from Fullerton, California, raced his 1974 Plymouth Duster to his first career NHRA national event win by defeating Ryan Mangus in the final with his lap of 10.818 seconds at 120.11 mph.
Wayne Taylor drove his 1999 Chrysler Seebring to a second round finish in Super Stock. After defeating Wes King with his run of 10.038 seconds, Taylor just barely redlighted with a very close -0.009 reaction time to give his opponent Don Thomas the win.
Both Jerome and Taylor will receive $500 for being the Dodge Top Finisher by advancing the furthest in Stock Eliminator and Super Stock, respectively.
The Dodge Top Finisher award, now in its third 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.
Dodge//SRT Mopar NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series: Notes & Quotes
Tommy Johnson Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 10 Qualifier – 3.952 ET)
Rd.1: (.070-second reaction time, 4.234 seconds at 229.27 mph) beat No. 7 Bob Tasca III (.059/4.332/268.65), No. 15 Terry Haddock (.175/4.302/289.88)
Rd.2: (.058/3.994/315.93) beat to No. 2 Ron Capps (.088/4.037/315.05), No. 6 John Force (.064/4.025/321.81)
Rd.3: (.079/3.975/313.29) lost to No. 4 J.R. Todd (.052/3.970/319.07)
“It was an interesting day for sure. For all four cars to lose traction in the first round, but get the win and set low ET in the second round was really good. We were confident going into the final round. We knew we have a good race car. We just came up a tick short. We got our Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat back and we’re really close to getting a win. It was a good points day and we moved up to fourth. I feel we got the bad luck out of the way and I’m looking forward to the next few races with Houston and Charlotte in April. We have a really good car with this Make-A-Wish Dodge.”
Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 11 Qualifier – 3.956 ET)
Rd.1: (.086-second reaction time, 3.958 seconds at 322.88 mph) beat No. 3 Cruz Pedregon (.091/3.981/322.19) and No. 14 Phil Burkhart, Jr. (.029/4.172/263.56)
Rd.2: (.076/4.010/318.32) beat to No. 2 Ron Capps (.088/4.037/315.05), No. 6 John Force (.064/4.025/321.81)
Rd.3: (.018/4.370/213.16) lost to No. 4 J.R. Todd (.052/3.970/319.07), No. 10 Tommy Johnson, Jr. (.079/3.975/313.29)
“We salvaged a pretty darn good weekend after qualifying 11th. I don’t feel that was indicative of how good of a car we had. We were just wearing way too much clutch and it slows it down. We addressed if for race day and then we had to pull some of that back because the race track was the hottest we’ve seen all year. I’m so proud of this team for making good, logical choices in getting us to the final round and giving us a chance to win. At the end of the day, that’s all you really want is a chance to race in the final and get a win. It put a hole out and John Medlen shut the car off. There’s no point in risking damage and hurting parts when we weren’t going to get the trophy. The cool news is in five days we’ll unload and start making qualifying runs at Houston with a really cool looking body and we’re going to change more lives for a great cause.”
Matt Hagan, Mopar Dodge Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 5 Qualifier – 3.924 ET)
Rd.1: (.081-second reaction time, 4.073 seconds at 288.03 mph) beat No. 12 Jim Campbell (.091/4.832/168.14), No. 13 Gary Densham (.144/4.330/2223.62)
Rd.2: (.087/4.017/271.13) lost to No. 1 Tim Wilkerson (.073/3.996/275.17), No. 4 J.R. Todd (.049/4.030/272.01)
“We had a great race car here at Las Vegas this weekend with this chrome Pennzoil Dodge. Four-wide racing is always kind of crazy. We ended up losing on a little holeshot and it’s just one of those things. The car has been running and handling great. I’m bummed about the holeshot loss, but I feel really good moving into Houston. It’s Pennzoil’s home track and we have a lot of these going on this week. I’m really happy with the race car, now the driver needs to get his act together.”
Ron Capps, NAPA Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 2 Qualifier – 3.897 ET)
Rd.1: (.082-second reaction time, 4.280 seconds at 265.06 mph) beat No. 7 Bob Tasca III (.059/4.332/268.65), No. 15 Terry Haddock (.175/4.302/289.88)Rd.2: (.082/9.028/77.04) lost to No. 6 John Force (.110/4.471/185.95)
Rd.2: (.088/4.037/315.05) lost to No. 10 Tommy Johnson, Jr. (.058/3.994/315.93), No. 11 Jack Beckman (.076/4.010/318.32)
“We came in here with a plan to get back to where we were in the past. The first three races of the season didn’t show the potential of the NAPA AUTO PARTS team. We qualified second and were super happy with the car. (Rahn) Tobler is still trying to feel out things with this car and to go down the track on each run and that last quad we lost was super close. We didn’t have lane choice and went out there and made a good pass. It’s a fun race with a lot going on. I feel we got our NAPA Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat back with the performance and we’re looking forward to Houston for Pennzoil and Charlotte later this month.”
Leah Pritchett, Mopar Dodge Top Fuel Dragster
(No. 4 Qualifier – 3.743 ET)
Rd.1: (.088-second reaction time, 6.768 seconds at 114.02 mph) lost No. 5 Clay Millican (.072/3.777/328.14), No. 13 Terry Totten (.198/4.053/301.54)
“We had a consistently solid race car all during qualifying and were definitely ready to take on the competition at the first four-wide of the year. We an extra 150 motor rpm and we’re still trying to figure out why it made the car much happier than we wanted it to be and it smoked the tires at the hit. The data will be very valuable as we lead into Houston. We’ll take what we learned here and we’re just so thankful to be able to make this race. Our heads are high. We won’t let this get us down. The four-wide didn’t get us. We got ourselves. We’ll turn this around real quick and we’re looking forward to Houston to do well in the Pennzoil/Mopar chrome dragster.”
Up Next: Denso Spark Plugs NHRA Nationals
Mopar and Dodge//SRT competitors will head next to the 32nd annual Mopar Express Land NHRA Spring Nationals presented by Pennzoil, April 12-14 at Houston Raceway Park near Baytown, Texas. Four-time Houston Funny Car winner Ron Capps will look to win for the first time in 2019 and become the second driver to win driving a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car.
2019 NHRA Championship — Point Standings After Round 4 of 24
(Season Wins in Parentheses)
NHRA Funny Car
1. Robert Hight (2) – 363
2. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat – 297
3. Tommy Johnson, Jr., Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat –283
4. J.R. Todd (1) –280
5. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat (1) – 271
6. John Force – 258
7. Tim Wilkerson – 246
8. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat – 205
9. Bob Tasca III – 198
10. Cruz Pedgregon – 179
NHRA Top Fuel
1. Doug Kalitta (1) – 319
2. Mike Salinas (1) – 286
3. Steve Torrence – 256
4. Leah Pritchett, Mopar HEMI – 244
5. Richie Crampton (1) – 233
6t. Billy Torrence (1) – 231
6t. Clay Millican – 231
8. Brittany Force – 224
9. Terry McMillen – 198
10. Antron Brown – 184
Dodge//SRT offers a complete lineup of performance vehicles that stand out in their own segments. Dodge is America’s mainstream performance brand and SRT is positioned as the ultimate performance halo of the Dodge brand, together creating a complete and balanced performance brand with one vision and one voice.
For more than 100 years, the Dodge brand has carried on the spirit of brothers John and Horace Dodge, who founded the brand in 1914. Their influence continues today. New for 2019, the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye is possessed by the Demon. Its 797-horsepower supercharged HEMI® high-output engine makes it the most powerful, quickest and fastest muscle car reaching 0-60 miles per hour (mph) in 3.4 seconds and the fastest GT production car with a ¼-mile elapsed time (ET) of 10.8 seconds at 131 mph. It also reaches a new top speed of 203 mph. Joining the Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye is the 2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat with its more powerful 717-horsepower engine, the Challenger R/T Scat Pack Widebody, which features fender flares from the SRT Hellcat Widebody and adds 3.5 inches of width to Scat Pack’s footprint, as well as and the new Challenger R/T Scat Pack 1320. Infused with exclusive drag strip technology from the iconic Dodge Challenger SRT Demon, the Challenger R/T Scat Pack 1320 is a drag-oriented, street-legal muscle car and a blank canvas for the serious grassroots drag racer. The 2019 Dodge Durango SRT, America’s fastest, most powerful and most capable three-row SUV with a best-in-class tow rating of 8,700 lbs. fills out the brands’ performance lineup. These visceral performance models join a 2019 brand lineup that includes the Durango, Grand Caravan, Journey, Charger and Challenger — a showroom that offers performance at every price point.
Mopar (a simple contraction of the words MOtor and PARts) is the service, parts and customer-care brand for FCA vehicles around the globe. Born in 1937 as the name of a line of antifreeze products, the Mopar brand has evolved over more than 80 years to represent both complete care and authentic performance for owners and enthusiasts worldwide.
Mopar made its mark in the 1960s during the muscle-car era, with Mopar Performance Parts to enhance speed and handling for both road and racing use, and expanded to include technical service and customer support. Today, the Mopar brand’s global reach distributes more than 500,000 parts and accessories in over 150 markets around the world. With more than 50 parts distribution centers and 25 customer contact centers globally, Mopar integrates service, parts and customer-care operations in order to enhance customer and dealer support worldwide.
Mopar is the source for genuine parts and accessories for all FCA US LLC vehicle brands. Mopar parts are engineered together with the same teams that create factory-authorized specifications for FCA vehicles, offering a direct connection that no other aftermarket parts company can provide. Complete information on the Mopar brand is available at www.mopar.com.
Photos courtesy of Mopar, driver photos courtesy of NHRA