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Tommy Johnson Jr. Leads the Funny Car Field at Dodge NHRA Indy Nationals Presented by Pennzoil

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DSR 18DSR Indy 3 Qualifying Report

Dodge NHRA Indy Nationals presented by Pennzoil
Event No. 5
Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis
August 8-9, 2020

DSR Qualifying Highlights:

  • Tommy Johnson Jr. piloted the MD Anderson Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat across the finish line in 3.976-seconds at 318.54-mph to pace the Funny Car field on Saturday during the Dodge NHRA Indy Nationals presented by Pennzoil
  • Johnson’s No. 1 qualifier was the 20th of his career, and second of the 2020 season
  • Joining Johnson at the top of the Funny Car timesheet are the No. 2 and No. 3 qualifiers Matt Hagan and Ron Capps
  • By qualifying his Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat second, Hagan will square off with teammate Jack Beckman in round one of eliminations, setting up an ‘unofficial preview’ of the Indy 2 final round. The two Mopar-powered teammates were set to battle it out at the last event before the race was postponed due to rain. The Indy 2 final is rescheduled for the upcoming NHRA U.S. Nationals in Indy.
  • The dragster trio of Antron Brown, Cory McClenathan, and Leah Pruett all qualified in the quick-half of the Top Fuel field, with Pruett leading the way. She will start race day from the No. 3 spot behind the wheel of the Dodge SRT Hellcat Redeye dragster

Tommy Johnson Jr.Tommy Johnson Jr. Leads the Funny Car Field at Dodge NHRA Indy Nationals presented by Pennzoil

Tommy Johnson Jr.

Tommy Johnson Jr.

BROWNSBURG, Ind. (August 8, 2020) – Tommy Johnson Jr. piloted the MD Anderson Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat across the finish line in 3.976-seconds at 318.54-mph to pace the Funny Car field on Saturday during the Dodge NHRA Indy Nationals presented by Pennzoil. It was the 20th time in his career that the Avon, Ind. resident captured the pole, and the second time he has secured the No. 1 spot since the NHRA season resumed last month after a four-month hiatus due to COVID-19.

Johnson, a two-time event finalist in 2020, will face No. 16 qualifier Alexis DeJoria in round one of eliminations on Sunday morning at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, and he is looking to build on the strong momentum he has enjoyed throughout the first four races of the season.

“We have a really solid race car here at Indy,” said Johnson, who raced to victory at the Phoenix event in February before finishing as the runner-up from the pole at Indy 1, and finishing as a semifinalist at Indy 2. “Three races here and we’ve been No. 1, 2 and No. 1 again. That gives you a ton of confidence going into race day knowing you have such a good car. Now if we can just turn these No. 1 qualifying positions into a win. We’ve gone rounds at these first two Indy races, the only thing left on the plate is a win.”

Johnson, who sits No. 2 in points behind teammate Jack Beckman, will be competing for career win No. 21, and DSR’s seventh consecutive Funny Car trophy. If he advances to the final, it will be the ninth consecutive event that drag racing’s winningest organization has campaigned a Dodge Funny Car in the final round.
The Competition: No. 16 Alexis DeJoria

The Results:
Q1: 3.976 E.T. at 318.54 MPH (Three bonus points for quickest run of the session)
Q2: 4.141 E.T. at 244.12 MPH

Bonus Points: Three

Driver Information:

Top Fuel:

ANTRON BROWNANTRON BROWN
Driver of the Matco Tools/Global Electronic Technology/Toyota Top Fuel Dragster

Qualified: No. 7 (lane choice)

The Competition: No. 10 Justin Ashley

The Results:
Q1: 3.868 E.T. at 311.41 MPH
Q2: 6.069 E.T. at 112.17 MPH

Quotable:
“The day started out with a good lap. We made a solid opening pass, nice and smooth going down the track. That second lap we were just trying to pick it up and go for No. 1 like all the teams. We had some fast wheel speed. We’ll pick it up tomorrow morning and we’ll be racing at 10 a.m. and the track will be stellar and we need to be ready. We race Justin Ashley and that car is a tough competitor with Justin and (his crew chief) Aaron Brooks. They were in the final round at the last race and we have to give it all we’ve got. We have lane choice. We’ll go up there and do what we do. We had a great test session early this week at St. Louis. We know it’s going to take a mid-3.70 to win that first round and we’ll give it all we got.”

CORY MCCLENATHANCORY MCCLENATHAN
Driver of the Nordic Boats/Revchem Composites Top Fuel Dragster

Qualified: No. 5 (lane choice)

The Competition: No. 12 Doug Kalitta

The Results:
Q1: 3.864 E.T. at 317.49 MPH (One bonus point for third-quickest run of the session)
Q2: 8.646 E.T. at 73.46 MPH

Bonus Points: One

Quotable:
“We’re not sure what happened on the second run, but it dropped a hole at the hit and they shut me off. We started off well, and testing earlier in the week paid off. It was a good opening lap and that gives us confidence. We have Doug Kalitta first round tomorrow and that’s a heavy draw. We’ll do what we can do and try to take him out and help our teammates in the points.”

LEAH PRUETTLEAH PRUETT
Driver of the Mopar Dodge SRT Hellcat Redeye Top Fuel Dragster

Qualified: No. 3 (lane choice)

The Competition: No. 14 Shawn Langdon

The Results:
Q1: 3.887 E.T. at 314.68 MPH
Q2: 3.840 E.T. at 318.02 MPH (Two bonus points for second-quickest run of the session)

Bonus Points: Two

Quotable:
“Continuing on with the momentum from the last Indy race, our fierce Redeye Top Fuel dragster is in good shape, and in a good position for a very strong Sunday. We qualified No. 3, made two consistent runs, and we’re chipping away at getting more power and keeping it hooked up. We’ve got a healthy-running car right now, and we’re definitely in our groove zone. We’ve got a tough competitor first round with Shawn Langdon, and as I’ve said before, it’s one round at a time on race day. We’ll start early in the morning, and I’m most definitely looking forward to it. It’s the Dodge Nationals and we’re in the Dodge Redeye, and we’re going to charge our way through the field tomorrow.”

Funny Car:

JACK BECKMANJACK BECKMAN
Driver of the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

Qualified: No. 15

The Competition: No. 2 Matt Hagan

The Results:
Q1: 4.707 E.T. at 170.43 MPH
Q2: 4.621 E.T. at 179.90 MPH

Quotable:
“This is what’s exciting about one day of qualifying and only two runs. When you give teams four runs, the cream typically rises to the top. With just two runs, some of the big teams stumble during qualifying and then you see some real interesting first-round matchups. We made it far enough that I think we can make a couple of adjustments and be in great shape for tomorrow. Would we have rather qualified higher and got bonus points? Of course. We didn’t intentionally qualify 15th, but we still have a car that can win tomorrow.”

RON CAPPSRON CAPPS
Driver of the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

Qualified: No. 3 (lane choice)

The Competition: No. 14 Tim Wilkerson

The Results:
Q1: 3.987 E.T. at 317.05 MPH (One bonus point for third-quickest run of the session)
Q2: 4.061 E.T. at 305.77 MPH (One bonus point for third-quickest run of the session)

Bonus Points: Two

Quotable:
“We couldn’t wait to get back here for the Dodge Indy Nats presented by Pennzoil because the last few weekends here we just haven’t had much luck. Off the trailer, (crew chief Rahn) Tobler and the guys did a great job. We unleashed with a 3.98 and ended up third. We went back there for the second run and tried to improve a little bit. The ladder was already looking a little nutty where you had some really good cars that hadn’t run well in qualifying and that’s just a product of two qualifying runs. We just have to focus on making those two runs as good as possible, so you don’t end up running a strong car like one of our DSR teammates in the first round. We qualified well and race a really good car in Tim Wilkerson. It’s going to be hot, humid, and all that fun, exciting stuff this NAPA team loves, but Wilkerson is also very good in those types of conditions.”

MATT HAGANMATT HAGAN
Driver of the Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye

Qualified: No. 2 (lane choice)

The Competition: No. 15 Jack Beckman

The Results:
Q1: 3.982 E.T. at 320.81 MPH (Two bonus points for second-quickest run of the session)
Q2: 4.457 E.T. at 199.29 MPH

Bonus Points: Two

Quotable:
“It’s obviously a tough round tomorrow with (Jack) Beckman and it seems that we’ve been racing our teammates a lot in the first round lately. With just two qualifiers, it’s tricky. We were in that position last week trying to get in the show on Q2 and that makes it tough. It’ll be a good race. We were supposed to race Beckman in the finals here a few weeks ago before it rained, so it’ll almost be like a preview of that. Tomorrow at 10 a.m. it will be cool and fast and it’s anybody’s ball game.”

ABOUT DON SCHUMACHER RACING
Established in 1998 as a single-car Top Fuel team, Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) has grown to become the winningest organization in NHRA Drag Racing history. Including team owner Don Schumacher’s five NHRA Funny Car titles from the 1970s, DSR’s current win count stands at 348, and DSR is looking forward to reaching the ‘350 milestone’ early in the season. DSR owns 17 world championships in three different NHRA categories.

Headquartered in Brownsburg, Indiana, DSR currently fields six professional teams competing in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. In Top Fuel, the Matco Tools/Global Electronic Technology/Toyota dragster driven by three-time world champion Antron Brown, and the Mopar/Pennzoil/Okuma dragster driven by Leah Pruett. In Funny Car, the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat driven by 2016 world champion Ron Capps, the Mopar Express Lane/Pennzoil/Sandvik Coromant Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat piloted by two-time series title-holder Matt Hagan, and in Doug Chandler’s ‘giving cars,’ 2012 NHRA world champion Jack Beckman in the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge, and Tommy Johnson Jr. behind the wheel of the MD Anderson Dodge.

DSR also campaigns two Factory Stock Showdown entries. The duo is piloted by Pruett, the 2018 Factory Stock Showdown Series champion, and former Pro Stock racer Mark Pawuk.

Follow Don Schumacher Don Schumacher Racing at ShoeRacing.com, on Twitter and Instagram at@shoeracing and Facebook.com/shoeracing.

Photo Credit: Auto Imagery via Don Schumacher Racing, Driver photos: NHRA

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