Johnson Jr. Drives Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat to Winner’s Circle during Mopar Express Lane NHRA Nationals Presented by Pennzoil

September 12, 2021

, Mohnton, Pennsylvania

A Mopar appurtenance roared a approach to a winner’s turn during a Mopar Express Lane Nationals Presented by Pennzoil as a National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) kicked off a “Countdown to a Championship” seven-event playoff array during Maple Grove Raceway nearby Reading, Pennsylvania. Funny Car motorist Tommy Johnson Jr. powered a Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat to feat as a haven motorist for Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) after fortifying Funny Car universe champion Matt Hagan was incompetent to contest as he continues his liberation from COVID-19.

In rising to a occasion, Johnson cumulative his 23rd career win and took home a Wally prize while a points warranted from a feat were awarded to DSR and Hagan. The outcome changed a Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat entrance from fifth to second place on a Funny Car leaderboard with 6 events left to conflict for a universe championship.

“Congratulations to Tommy Johnson Jr. for his win during a Mopar Express Lane Nationals Presented by Pennzoil,” pronounced Mark Bosanac, North America Vice President, Mopar Service, Parts Customer Care. “It’s good to see Tommy step in and decently expostulate to a winner’s turn during a pivotal eventuality representing a Mopar and Dodge//SRT brands.”  

Johnson, who finished a 2020 NHRA deteriorate runner-up to Hagan in a Funny Car universe championship and who had not given been behind a circle of foe car, slipped into a driver’s chair of a HEMI®-powered DSR entrance and shortly gathering it to a second quickest pass in Friday’s provisional subordinate eventuality with a 3.895-second run during 333.82 mph to record his career-best speed and put himself in a No. 4 position for eliminations. 

From there, Johnson and a Mopar group finished their approach by a rounds, defeating Jim Campbell, DSR teammate Ron Capps and J.R. Todd to allege to a final showdown opposite John Force. With a plain 3.926-second elapsed time run during 330.23 mph, Johnson incited on a win lights brazen of Force’s 3.946-second pass. 

“It’s flattering amazing, actually,” pronounced Johnson. “I got a call a week ago after I’ve been sitting on a sidelines for 10 months, observant ‘we need you.’ To come behind and adult your diversion that good, we mean, (Crew Chief) Dickie (Venables) and a guys have been racing all season, while we haven’t been doing anything. we appreciate them for a opportunity. They rose to a plea and pacifist in and finished me fit in this automobile and finished all happen.”

Watching a movement live on FS1 from home, Hagan was gratified with a outcome for both his substitute and his team.
 
“I am so unapproachable of my guys,” pronounced Hagan. “They got it finished today. T.J. did a unusual pursuit in a foe car. He’s a wheelman. We battled any other a final dual years and there wasn’t a doubt in my mind that he could get it done. Everybody blending to adversity and a motorist change and I’m usually so unapproachable of what these guys achieved today. We weren’t means to foe in Indy and it was a setback, though that usually goes to show, we can puncture right back.”

The points warranted by Johnson’s efforts puts Hagan within one turn win of a Funny Car points lead.

“I can’t contend appreciate we adequate to T.J. for stepping in and bringing his A-game,” combined Hagan, who awaits clearway to lapse to foe for a change of a playoffs.

DSR teammate Capps, who came into this initial playoff eventuality of 2021 as a tip seed in a hunt for a championship after a runner-up finish during final weekend’s Dodge//SRT NHRA U.S. Nationals, competent his NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat No. 5 and gathering it to a holeshot win over Blake Alexander in a opening round. For his quarterfinal compare up, Capps found himself interconnected with Johnson and while he took a early lead, a contingent eventuality leader edged him during a finish to unseat him from a points lead. Capps will expostulate his HEMI-powered appurtenance to a subsequent eventuality ranked third in points.

No. 1 qualifier Cruz Pedregon began his foe day by holding his Snap-on Tools Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car for a plain 3.908 seconds/318.62 mph bye-run win to allege to a quarterfinals where he would conflict No. 7 seed Todd. Pedregon put in another important pass during 3.981 seconds though it wasn’t adequate to pass Todd and his 3.931-second pass to take a win. With this weekend’s performance, a Cruz Pedregon Racing group changed adult a mark in a standings to seventh place.

In a hunt for a Top Fuel championship for a sixth uninterrupted season, Leah Pruett began this playoff array ranked fourth in a points standings and competent her white and blue Mopar dragster subsequent to DSR teammate and No. 7 seed Antron Brown. While both had traction issues, Pruett stayed with it for a turn win. That set adult a quarterfinal conflict opposite No.1 qualifier Brittany Force, opposite whom Pruett mislaid traction median by a run to finish her hopes of advancing further. The outcome puts her Mopar Dodge//SRT dragster fifth in a Top Fuel standings. 

The “Countdown to a Championship” continues subsequent weekend with a second of a 7 NHRA playoff array events, a Carolina Nationals during zMAX Dragway nearby Charlotte, North Carolina, Sept 17-19.

ADDITIONAL NOTES and QUOTES
 
FUNNY CAR:
Tommy Johnson Jr., DSR Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
(No. 4 Qualifier – 3.895 seconds during 333.82 mph)
Round 1: (0.083-second greeting time, 3.892 seconds during 333.58 mph) defeats No. 11 Jim Campbell (0.164/ no time/ no speed)
Round 2: (0.050/3.892/332.02) defeats No. 5 Ron Capps (0.047/3.924/331.12)
Round 3: (0.050/3.902/331.53) defeats No. 7 J.R. Todd (0.078/3.905/332.75)
Round 4: (0.043/3.926/330.23) defeats No. 12 John Force (0.026/3.946/328.54)

“After Q1 we suspicion we had a flattering good possibility to win this race. It’s tough to lay out that long. These cars accelerate so quick and to keep adult and keep brazen of a automobile and be means to expostulate them good. Each run, it usually got some-more and some-more comfortable, and as a day went on we kept removing some-more loose and some-more relaxed. By a final turn we was like, “Oh, OK. There’s zero to it now.’ we was dismayed when we threw a parachutes and saw a win light come on. we usually detonate out shouting since we couldn’t trust it happened. we thought, ‘You’ve gotta be kidding.’ We’ve come a prolonged approach in a week.”
 
It’s a unequivocally good automobile and a unequivocally good group and it creates it easier for a motorist to usually burst in that thing. I’ve famous a guys from a shop. We always interacted with any other so we know I’ve famous a lot of these guys for a prolonged time. And so it wasn’t like we didn’t know anybody on a team, so that helped a lot. One of a things that finished it genuine easy was they went behind to a emporium and grabbed a chair out of my automobile from final year and they put it in and we fit roughly perfectly, It was about as well-spoken a transition as we could have to make this whole thing happen. Two weeks ago sitting during home, we didn’t consider I’d have a prize from this deteriorate and to come out here and get one this weekend… this foe will meant a ton to me after on.”
 
Ron Capps, DSR NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
(No. 5 Qualifier – 3.896 seconds during 328.86 mph)
Round 1: (0.069-second greeting time, 3.929 seconds during 327.82) defeats No. 10 Blake Alexander (0.080/5.500/131.65)
Round 2: (0.047/3.924/331.12) detriment to No. 4 Tommy Johnson Jr. (0.050/3.892/332.02)
 
“We wish that (Matt) Hagan earnings to foe soon. What else can we contend about Tommy Johnson. He was my teammate for several years during Don Prudhomme’s and afterwards over here during DSR. You’re articulate about one of a best drivers ever in Funny Car and to be sitting out this prolonged and burst in and seamlessly keep that automobile using a approach it is is amazing. We didn’t have line choice though that’s no excuse. These dual lanes are great. Like we told (crew chiefs) Guido (Dean Antonelli) and John Medlen, we pat them on a boundary and contend good weekend. We went down a lane any run underneath power. We did have a small hiccup Q3, though showed that NAPA Know How we always speak about currently on foe day with dual good 3.92 laps. We feel like we can win each weekend and it’s removing tough. Everybody has that Countdown fever. That playoff heat and we can’t wait to get to Charlotte no matter what a points are. I’ve got a good feeling.”
   
Cruz Pedregon, Cruz Pedregon Racing Snap-on® Tools Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
(No. 1 Qualifier – 3.875 seconds during 326.00 mph)
Round 1: (0.103-second greeting time, 3.908 seconds during 318.62 mph) wins on a BYE run
Round 2: (0.083/3.981/315.86) detriment to No. 7 J.R. Todd (0.068/3.931/328.86)

“After subordinate No. 1 with a good 3.87 (second run) during 327 mph, we went on to run a 3.90 in a initial round, and afterwards mislaid a tighten foe to a DHL automobile (J.R. Todd) in a quarterfinals with a 3.98. we scrubbed a small bit of time off it with a approach we was staged. we inadvertently rolled in a small serve than we would have favourite and that influenced a timing clocks, so it substantially ran some-more like a 3.94 or 3.95, though altogether it was a good eventuality for a team.
 
“We wanted to go serve than that, obviously, though this is a initial of a 7 countdown races. We did pierce adult a mark (in a standings) so we’re headed in a right direction. If we can continue this good subordinate opening we’ve showed newly that’s usually going to bode good for a chances relocating forward. There’s a lot of good racing left. The marks are going to be quick and it’s going to be a good eventuality to continue a work. It’s entrance together during a right time for us. We’re still sincerely new as a group as this is a 14th foe together. We’re still gelling and there’s still some areas we can urge on, myself included, to be a small sharper. We’ll get prepared for a Charlotte foe during a good facility, a complicated racetrack that is super smooth. It’s going to be a small warmer and we’ll demeanour brazen to creation some good runs.”
 
TOP FUEL:
Leah Pruett, DSR Pennzoil Mopar Dodge//SRT Dragster  
(No. 8 Qualifier – 3.733 seconds during 323.89 mph)
Round 1:  (0.063-second greeting time, 3.930 seconds during 219.44 mph) defeats No. 7 Antron Brown (0.053/5.755/121.47)
Round 2:  (0.098/4.025/227.23) detriment to No. 1 Brittany Force (0.076/3.704/334.48)

“The thing about movement is that we wish it to final as prolonged as probable and we felt like we had it entrance into foe day. Matching adult opposite a teammate, we approaching a good foe from starting line to finish line and we smoked a tires approach distant out and did a good pursuit pedaling to get a win light. We finished some adjustments on a tire spin going into E2 opposite a No. 1 qualifier and we suspicion we had it tuned adult a right way, though we finished adult smoking a tires down lane and during this really impulse we feel like we have a gremlin in this complement and we have a few days to figure it out. We’ll work tough to excellent balance things for Charlotte and a points will stay parsimonious was we’re early in this Countdown and we’re prepared to make adult for this weekend in Charlotte.”
 
NHRA Championship Points Standings:
Following a Mopar Express Lane Nationals Presented by Pennzoil during Maple Grove Raceway
 
FUNNY CAR (season wins in parentheses)
1. John Force – 2,172 (3)
2. Matt Hagan/Tommy Johnson Jr. (Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat) – 2,167 (2/1)
3. Ron Capps (Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat) – 2,157 (1)
4. J.R. Todd – 2,133 (1)
5. Robert Hight – 2,121 (2)
6. Bob Tasca III – 2,106 (2)
7. Cruz Pedregon (Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat) – 2,083 (1)
8. Alexis DeJoria – 2,063
9. Tim Wilkerson– 2,048 (1)
10. Blake Alexander– 2,032
 
TOP FUEL (season wins in parentheses)
1. Steve Torrance – 2,179 (8)
2. Brittany Force – 2,167 (1)
3. Billy Torrence – 2,137 (2)
4. Justin Ashley – 2,124
5. Leah Pruett (Mopar Dodge//SRT) – 2,113 (1)
6. Antron Brown – 2,103 (1)
7. Shawn Langdon – 2,102
8. Mike Salinas – 2,078
9. Clay Millican – 2,067
10. Doug Kalitta – 2,032