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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.

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Erica Enders Continues Strong Start, Rolls to Pro Stock Win in Phoenix

PHOENIX – It didn’t take long for the defending Pro Stock world champion to reach the winner’s circle in 2020.

Erica Enders rolled to the win on Sunday in Phoenix in her Melling Performance Chevrolet Camaro, putting together four dominant performances in eliminations at the NHRA Arizona Nationals, notching her first victory of the year with a run of 6.531-seconds at 210.44 mph in the final round against Bo Butner.

The impressive showing also provided Elite Motorsports team owner Richard Freeman with the ultimate birthday gift.

“It was Richard’s birthday and we were able to get it done,” Enders said. “He said this morning at breakfast, ‘Hey, you don’t have to buy me a present, just get me a Wally today,’ and we really wanted to get him one. For the entire operation, I’m just excited. I’m thrilled with the group we have and I’m proud of my guys. It’s really awesome.”

With the win at the second of 18 races in 2020, Enders continued her impressive momentum from the end of 2019, which culminated in her third world championship.

By picking up her 26th career win in her 52nd final round, Enders also earned her first regular-season win since 2018, putting her on a strong path to open Pro Stock’s 50th anniversary season.

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JOHNSON, TORRENCE AND ENDERS TAKE HOME WINS FROM THE DESERT IN FRONT OF A SOLD OUT CROWD AT NHRA ARIZONA NATIONALS

CHANDLER, AZ – Funny Car veteran, Tommy Johnson Jr. added a trophy to his collection at the 36th annual NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in front of a sold out crowd on Sunday. Sunday’s win marks Johnson’s 18th career Funny Car win and his second in Phoenix.

Steve Torrence (Top Fuel) and Erica Enders (Pro Stock) also took home wins in their respective categories at the second of 24 events on the 2020 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.

In an all Don Schumacher Racing final, Johnson went 3.883-seconds at 326.40 mph to defeat teammate Jack Beckman during the final round at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in his MD Anderson Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat. He defeated Paul Lee, Bob Tasca ll and Ron Capps to advance to the finals during Sunday’s event.

“We had a good car,” said Johnson, whose last Phoenix win came back in 2006. “The last qualifying run showed us that we have a solid car. Coming up here today, we had a lot of confidence. We went out first round and laid down a solid number. We weren’t low (elapsed time) but we were close. We came out second round and sat low ET so we knew we had a solid car. As a driver, going into each round knowing you have a car that’s going to perform makes your job a little easier. It gives you a little less stress. The guys did a great job. Even in Pomona we a had a good car, just dropped a cylinder second round and event had a little issue with that in qualifying here.”

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Tommy Johnson, Jr. Earns 20th NHRA Victory, and First for MD Anderson

CHANDLER, AZ – Tommy Johnson Jr. drove the MD Anderson Funny Car to its very first event win on Sunday afternoon at the NHRA Arizona Nationals, delivering the second consecutive victory for team sponsor Doug Chandler in 2020. Johnson defeated fellow ‘giving car’ driver and the winner of the season-opener, Jack Beckman, in the final round to earn his 20th NHRA victory and second at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park.

“There wasn’t going to be a loser,” said Johnson of his final round meeting with Beckman and the Infinite Hero Foundation Funny Car team. “Doug Chandler is supporting both these teams, and both are ‘giving’ cars and paying it forward so much. You love to bring it home for somebody like that who helps so many others. Yeah, I wanted to win, but even if we had lost, Doug still won. That’s the main focus of both of our teams – to go out and do the job that Doug’s wanting us to do, and that is promote these foundations that he’s supporting. No matter who won that one, it was a win. Beckman got the first one of the year, and I got the second one, so it’s even now.

“We’re making the statement that we’re racing to beat cancer, and today we did that,” Johnson continued. “And hopefully, that helps with the support of everybody seeing this car and realizing what we are trying to do here and that is to get people to donate money to the MD Anderson Cancer Center, and let these guys research cancer more and figure out how to not only treat it but stop it.”

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