Tommy Johnson Jr. Earns NHRA Arizona Nationals Win in All-Mopar Dodge//SRT Funny Car Final Round Battle
Phoenix, AZ – It was an all-Mopar Dodge //SRT Funny Car final round showdown at the Arizona Nationals with Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) driver Tommy Johnson Jr. earning his first victory of the 2020 National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Mello Yello Series season over his teammate, Jack Beckman.
From his No. 4 qualifier position, Johnson Jr. drove his MD Anderson Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat past Paul Lee and Bob Tasca, then used a holeshot win over DSR teammate Ron Capps to set up a final elimination battle against Beckman. Johnson powered past his DSR opponent, who lost traction early, to make his way to the winner’s circle in the second event of the season.
With the win, Johnson’s collected his 18th career Funny Car national event Wally trophy, his second at Phoenix’s Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, and his first final round victory over Beckman in five final-elimination encounters.
The early season win provided some relief for Johnson and his team, who were looking to recover quickly from a difficult 2019 Countdown to the Championship that followed a promising regular season.
Fast Start for “Fast Jack” and Mopar Dodge//SRT with Funny Car National Event Win at NHRA Winternationals to Kick-off 2020 Season
Pomona, CA – A fast start to the 2020 National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Mello Yello Series season was exactly what “Fast Jack” Beckman was looking for as he drove his Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat to a national event win at the 60th annual NHRA Winternationals to kick off the year on the heels of his runner-up finish in the 2019 Funny Car Championship.
From his No.2 qualifying position, the Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) driver knew the stage was set for him to have a strong eliminations performance at the historic Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, Calif., and commence his drive for the 2020 Funny Car Championship immediately.
Beckman drove past Alexis DeJoria, DSR teammate Ron Capps, and Steve Densham to earn a berth in the final round versus John Force.
Force had a slight starting line advantage, but Beckman quickly powered his Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat to an exciting side-by-side battle before steadily making gains and taking the lead in the final stretch.
Gilley, who hails from Hilmar, California, drove his E/SA 1969 Dodge Dart GTS to a round-four finish in Stock Eliminator at the 60th annual NHRA Winternationals. Powered by a Mopar 340 small-block, Gilley ran a string of consistent high 10-second elapsed-times during competition.
During round four, both he and his opponent had the same reaction times, but unfortunately Gilley lost by a mere 0.0193 seconds. For his great driving and tuning efforts, Gilley will receive $500 dollars from Dodge for advancing the furthest in his class.
Pomona, CA – It was a strong and fast start for Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) veteran pilots Matt Hagan and Jack Beckman as they drove their Mopar Dodge//SRT Hellcat Funny Cars to the No.1 and No.2 qualifier positions, respectively, in anticipation of Sunday’s first race day of the 2020 National Hot Rod Association Mello Yello Drag Racing season at the 60th annual Winternationals.
Hagan kept his Mopar Dodge//SRT Charger Hellcat Funny Car atop the timesheets at the historic Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, Calif., through four qualifying sessions to earn his first No.1 qualifier position of the new year after running low E.T. on his first and last runs.
“This Mopar Funny Car is just flying out there,” said Hagan who improved on Friday’s provisional top spot pass of 3.867 second /331.20 mph with a 3.841 second elapsed time qualifying run a top speed of 333.25 mph. on his final run. “When your team puts a hot rod underneath you like that, it’s always fun.”
“Going into race day tomorrow, my lights are good, the car is running great, the guys are doing a phenomenal job, and we came off of a really strong season last year, so we’re just focused on keeping the ball rolling,” added Hagan who collected eight qualifying points for his efforts and will face off against Alex Miladinovich in the first round of eliminations.
Pomona, CA – This weekend’s 60th annual Winternationals at the historic Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, California, kicks off the 2020 National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Mello Yello Drag Racing Series 24-event season and Mopar Dodge//SRT wasted no time getting right back to work and to the top of the timesheets. Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) driver Matt Hagan drove his Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car straight to the provisional No.1 qualifier position with his official first run of the season.
Hagan and his DSR HEMI®-powered machine, which sports a new blue and white Mopar scheme that will be seen at ten events throughout the year, wasted no time taking his Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat to the top of the timesheets with a 3.867 second / 331.20 mph pass. While his second qualifying run didn’t go quite as planned, Hagan is pleased with the quick start to the weekend and season.
“There’s a lot of confidence unloading off the trailer like that and being able to run a good number,” said the 2011 and 2014 NHRA Funny Car World Champion. “We had a great test session in Vegas and laid down some good numbers. I was up there just pressing this last run. I was trying to run a 0.081 or 82 and it just didn’t stick. All in all, I think we have a really good car, everybody is confident. I think there are still some low numbers to be had tomorrow.”
Auburn Hills, MI – Mopar and Dodge//SRT are just days away from kicking off another competitive season in the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Commencing with the 60th annual NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, California, on February 6-9, the 2020 season’s 24-race calendar will see Mopar and Dodge//SRT once again divide title sponsorship duties at four NHRA national race events:
April 16-19 – Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals near Houston
July 17-19 – Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals in Denver
Sept. 17-20 – Mopar Express Lane NHRA Nationals in Reading, Pennsylvania
Oct. 29-Nov. 1 – Dodge NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas
This year’s spotlight will be on the full-time HEMI®-powered entries from Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) in both Funny Car and Top Fuel classes, continued Mopar and Dodge//SRT brand support in the NHRA’s Sportsman classes, as well as on the debut of a fourth-generation Challenger Drag Pak.
Pomona, CA – Dodge//SRT Mopar driver Jack Beckman closed the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season by racing the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car of Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) to his second victory of the season at the 55th annual Auto Club NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, Calif.
The win for Beckman, his 30th career Funny Car class victory, concluded a season where four drivers raced Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Cars to 11 wins in the 24-race NHRA campaign.
Beckman and fellow Dodge//SRT Mopar and DSR driver Matt Hagan made strong championship bids, but both came up short in the end. Beckman finished second and Hagan, winner of the two previous NHRA events, finished third in the final season standings.
“I’ve never won in Funny Car at Pomona,” said Beckman. “If you win at the Winternationals (in February), the rest of the year is going to be okay because you’ve already won something, but if you do it in the finals (at the end of the year), your off-season is fantastic. My Infinite Hero Foundation guys have given me such a great race car lately. I stumbled a couple of times, and I don’t want to ‘woulda, coulda, shoulda’ myself in the off-season. We finished solidly in second, capped off the year with a win. We have a phenomenal Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, and things are awesome right now. I’m feeling on top of the world.”