Tommy Johnson Jr. and 2015 Mopar Dodge Charger R/T Races to NHRA Northwest Nationals Win

Aug 10, 2015, 01:18 ET from FCA US LLC

KENT, Washington, Aug. 10, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --

  • Tommy Johnson Jr. earns second title of the season with win at NHRA Northwest Nationals near Seattle
  • New 2015 Mopar Dodge Charger R/T body has now won 13 national titles and advanced to all but one final elimination in 16 events this season
  • Johnson Jr. takes third spot in standings to put DSR 1-2-3 in championship hunt with two events left before NHRA 'Countdown to the Championship' playoff series
  • Second place "Fast Jack" Beckman moves to within 5 points of DSR teammate and points leader Matt Hagan in Mopar Express Lane machine
  • Allen Johnson drives "Magneti Marelli Offered by Mopar" Dodge Dart Pro Stock to semi-final appearance at Pacific Raceways

Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) and the new 2015 Mopar Dodge Charger R/T closed out the National Hot Rod Association's three-consecutive "western swing" events at the 28th annual NHRA Northwest Nationals with a title win by Tommy Johnson Jr., his second of the year aboard his Make-A-Wish Mopar machine. With the victory, the new Funny Car body made its 13th appearance in the winner's circle this year after advancing to a 15th final elimination in 16 national events this season.

"On behalf of everyone at Mopar, congratulations to Tommy Johnson Jr. for his second win of the year with his title victory at the Northwest Nationals," said Pietro Gorlier, President and CEO — Mopar Brand Service, Parts and Customer Care, FCA. "To see DSR win all three Funny Car nationals event titles on the western swing and add another coveted win to the resume of the new 2015 Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car is a tribute to the team's hard work and Mopar's dedication to providing quality products that translate to success on the track for our drivers."

Seeded fifth, Johnson Jr. defeated fellow Dodge driver Paul Lee and then Chad Head before a semi-final battle against teammate Jack Beckman in a rematch of the final elimination round of last weekend's NHRA Sonoma Nationals. This time Johnson emerged the victor to advance to final round showdown against Del Worsham. With a .040-second reaction time, the Make-A-Wish Mopar posted a 4.073 seconds elapsed time pass at 308.00 mph to score a holeshot victory over his competitor's 4.042/307.51 to earn his second win of the season and 10th career Funny Car Wally. The win puts Johnson third in the standings, 114 points behind points leader Matt Hagan and Beckman to put the DSR teammates 1-2-3 in championship hunt with two events left before NHRA's "Countdown to the Championship" playoff series begins.

"We've got the most consistent car," said Johnson Jr of his HEMI®-powered 2015 Dodge Charger R/T. "The last seven races including this one, we have been to four finals. We've got a good team. We had struggles early in the season, but now we've overcome them and we have a good car that can win races. Everybody stepped up to the plate. I'm so happy for the guys. Our Make-A-Wish Dodge is so competitive right now, and this class is so competitive. I'm glad we're peaking at the right time. We'll go into the Countdown to the Championship with a lot of confidence."

After national title wins in Denver and Sonoma, DSR teammate Beckman's attempted bid to sweep the western swing came to an end against Johnson in the semi-finals. In the span of those three consecutive events, Beckman also earned two No.1 qualifier positions and made history twice in his 2015 Mopar Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car by setting and then resetting the national elapsed-time record with an unbelievable 3.912-second run, paired with a Pacific Raceways track-record speed of 322.88 mph. The 2012 NHRA champ earned 189 points during the swing to close the gap between his second place position and that of points leader Hagan.

"If you would've told me three weeks ago that we would make the two quickest runs in Funny Car history, back up the national record, win two races and close within five points Hagan and (crew chief Dickie) Venables, I would say sign me up for that," Beckman said. "That being said, it's disappointing to get that far into the Western Swing, have a chance to sweep and not get it done. I think that we've done some amazing things to our Infinite Hero tune-up to put our car in position to be the frontrunner."

While DSR's Ron Capps won his all-Mopar first round match-up against stablemate Hagan, his day was cut short by Beckman in the quarterfinals to find himself sixth in points.

The western swing was not kind to defending Funny Car champion Hagan. The Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T had its race day shortened against each of Hagan's DSR teammates during the three week stint, losing to Capps in the first round at Seattle, Johnson Jr. in the second round at Sonoma, and Beckman in the second round at Denver.

"It's been a tricky Western Swing for this Mopar/Rocky Boots team," said Hagan who despite the setbacks remains in the Funny Car leader by five points. "It certainly wasn't the results we were hoping for these last three races. We know what works. We've had a lot of success and we'll have more. We lost some momentum and some ground in the points, but we'll dig our way back. This thing is very cyclical out here and we'll win more races this season."

Seeded sixth for Pro Stock eliminations, Allen Johnson exacted a little bit of revenge in his "Magneti Marelli Offered by Mopar" Dodge Dart by sending Larry Morgan home early in the first round after losing a dramatic final to his competitor at the Mopar Mile-High Nationals two weeks ago. Johnson continued his drive past Jonathan Gray in quarterfinals to meet up with former teammate Jeg Coughlin Jr. who is competing part-time this season.

Johnson had a 0.031 reaction time to start the semi-final battle, but was hampered by a sudden move out of the groove on his pass to post a 6.572/211.26 loss to Coughlin's (0.015) 6.521/212.33. Coughlin later fell to Chris McGaha who earned the national title win to post back-to-back victories after his win at Sonoma last weekend. Johnson remains fifth in the Pro Stock standings.

The next stop on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule is the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd (Minn.) International Raceway, scheduled for Aug 20-23.

2015 NHRA Championship Points Standings
(following NHRA Northwest Nationals)

PRO STOCK (season wins in parentheses)

1.     Greg Anderson* – 1322 (4) 
2.     Erica Enders-Stevens* – 1271 (4)
3.     Chris McGaha* – 1175 (2)
4.     Jason Line* – 1102 (2)
5.     Allen Johnson – Dodge Dart – 951 (1)
6.     Larry Morgan – 906 (2)     
7.     Shane Gray – 834
8.     Johnathan Gray – 823
9.     Vincent Nobile – 787
10.    Drew Skillman – 779
12.    V. Gaines – Dodge Dart – 604

FUNNY CAR (season wins in parentheses)

1.     Matt Hagan* – (2015 Dodge Charger R/T) – 1177 (4)
2.     Jack Beckman* – (2015 Dodge Charger R/T) – 1172 (5)
3.     Tommy Johnson Jr. – (2015 Dodge Charger R/T) – 1063 (2)
4.     John Force – 1025 (2)
5.     Del Worsham – 1004
6.     Ron Capps – (2015 Dodge Charger R/T) – 988 (2)
7.     Cruz Pedregon – 872
8.     Tim Wilkerson – 870 (1)
9t.    Robert Hight – 819
9t.    Alexis DeJoria – 819

About Mopar Brand
Mopar (a simple contraction of the words MOtor and PARts) was trademarked in 1937 with the launch of an antifreeze product, but it truly made its mark in the 1960s during the muscle-car era. From Mopar Performance Parts to enhance speed and handling for both road and racing use, the brand soon expanded to include technical service and customer support.

Today, Mopar is FCA's service, parts and customer-care brand and distributes more than 500,000 parts and accessories in over 150 markets around the world. With more than 50 parts distribution centers and 27 customer-contact hubs globally, Mopar integrates service, parts and customer-care operations in order to enhance dealer and customer support worldwide. Mopar is the source for genuine parts and accessories for FCA brands.

Mopar parts are engineered together with the same teams that create factory-authorized specifications for FCA vehicles. This offers a direct connection that no other aftermarket parts company can provide. A complete list of Mopar accessories and performance parts is available at www.mopar.com.

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