Johnson Ready To Visit Winner and Funny Car Point Standings
BROWNSBURG, Ind. (July 27, 2016) - Tommy Johnson Jr. is looking forward to returning to this weekend's 29th annual NHRA Sonoma Nationals with good memories from last year's event where the Make-A-Wish team reached the final round.
It was one of eight final round appearances in 2015 for the Make-A-Wish team funded by Terry Chandler, and Johnson is looking to start a final round streak again this weekend.
"Last year at Sonoma, we started a streak of three straight final rounds and that was just the momentum we needed to have heading into the Countdown (to the Championship playoff)," Johnson said.
"We kind of have to start over again after Denver. We change so many things just to be able to race there in the high altitude and so we have to change everything back. I'm really proud of the effort these Make-A-Wish guys put in at Denver. We didn't hurt anything, we were competitive on race day and that's all you can ask for."
The Make-A-Wish team led by crew chief John Collins and assistant Rip Reynolds kicked off NHRA's grueling Western Swing with a quarterfinal finish at last weekend's Mopar Mile-High Nationals near Denver. The tour will visit Pacific Raceways near Seattle next weekend before taking a weekend off.
"This stretch of events, it can be really challenging if you don't pace yourself," Johnson said. "The guys had a lot of work to do after Denver to get the car back to normal and you just hope that you pick right back up and continue making our car stronger as we near the Countdown."
The Make-A-Wish team sits seventh in Mello Yello points standing, but just two rounds behind Don Schumacher Racing teammate Matt Hagan in fourth.
"There's a pretty tight grouping in the points from fourth to about eighth," he said. "A lot can change in one event so it's important to go rounds. Sonoma was good to us last year, has been good to me in the past but we just haven't been able to get the job done. We'd like to get one more win light than we did last year."
The NHRA Sonoma Nationals kicks off with nitro qualifying at 5:15 p.m. Friday and Sunday's championship eliminations will be broadcast live on FOX national network on Sunday beginning at 4 p.m. ET.
SPECIAL GUEST TO JOIN JOHNSON IN SONOMA
On July 30 during the NHRA national event at Sonoma Raceway near San Francisco 7-year-old Guy Brizzee's wish to become a racecar driver will be granted through Terry Chandler's Make-A-Wish trackside program with assistance from 1981 NHRA Top Fuel world champion, Jeb Allen, a successful developer and supporter of Make-A-Wish in Northern California.
Assisting with fulfillment of Guy's wish will be two-time and reigning Top Fuel world championship Antron Brown and the assistant crew chief on his Matco Tools/U.S. Army team, Brad Mason.
Brad will be taking his daughter Kylie's Jr. Dragster from their home near Indianapolis to Sonoma for Guy to drive while Brown, whose three children race in the category, will be Guy's driving mentor and crew chief.
TOMMY JOHNSON JR.: Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T
Last event Denver, July 22-24: Qualified No. 9, lost in second round to Courtney Force
A year ago at Sonoma: Qualified No. 10, lost in championship round to Jack Beckman
Career at Sonoma: Wins 0; Runner-ups 1; Poles 1 (1994)
Pts Events Wins Rup Semi Qtr 1st rd Poles DNQ W/L
2016 7th 14 1 1 3 6 3 0 0 19-13
CAREER 388 13 22 51 95 161 13 44 317-331
Best Time, Speed: 3.885 sec. (2016, Epping); 327.51 mph (2016, Topeka)
NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES FUNNY CAR STANDINGS
Through 14 of 24 events, wins in parenthesis; DSR DRIVERS IN CAPS
1. RON CAPPS (4) 1,120 -----
2. Courtney Force (1) 998 -122
3. JACK BECKMAN (1) 976 -144
4. MATT HAGAN (2) 881 -239
5. Robert Hight (1) 877 -243
5. Del Worsham 877 -243
7. TOMMY JOHNSON JR. (1) 855 -265
8. John Force (1) 821 -299
9. Tim Wilkerson (2) 793 -327
10. Alexis DeJoria (1) 733 -387