Funny Car Super Sub Tommy Johnson Jr. Surprise Reading

Talk about making the most of a difficult situation.

Tommy Johnson Jr., who can best be described as a forced retirement—Hagan was unable to come up with a sponsorship for the 2021 season—winning the Mopar Express Lane NHRA Nationals presented by Penzoil at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading For. , Pennsylvania, on Sunday.

The other winners in the first event of the NHRA Countdown to the Championship were Billy Torrance in Top Fuel, Greg Anderson in Pro Stock and Steve Johnson in Pro Stock Motorcycles.

None of the winners had more chances for the winners’ stage than Johnson.

Johnson was called in by team boss Don Schumacher after then-leader Matt Hagen tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of last weekend’s US Nationals in Indianapolis. Johnson, who failed to qualify in Indianapolis due to a mechanical malfunction after rain wiped out a pair of qualifying sessions, gave himself big time with a win in his second weekend in the hot seat.

Johnson, driving Hagan’s Mopar Dodge Funny car tuned by Dickie Venables, topped John Force in the final in Reading in the first seven countdowns of the championship race at the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series.

tommy johnson jr nha funny car

Tommy Johnson Jr., second from left, looked to the right at home in Maple Grove.

Mark Guertz

“It’s really pretty amazing,” said Johnson, who finished second to Hagen in the 2020 NHRA Funny Car Standings. “I got a call a week ago after I sat on the sidelines for 10 months, saying ‘we need you.’ To come back and make my game good, I mean, Dickie and the guys have been running all season long while I’m not doing anything. I thank him for this opportunity. I don’t like Schumacher and Thank you Matt, I hope you get to feel better.”

Johnson dedicated the victory to his father, the late Tommy Johnson Sr., who died earlier this year. Following his victory, Johnson reflected on the memories he shared with his father at Maple Grove, where Johnson won the first Funny Car victory of his career in 1999.

Johnson said, “It’s always been a special track for me. I just won my first fun car race here. I don’t want it to be the last. I want to get another shot at it again. It was so good and good.” It meant a lot.

“I kept thinking about my dad all day. He and I had our own Top Fuel team for a few years and came out here and ran for a few years with lots of memories. I talked about him with my wife. I’m over the weekend joking about my dad yelling at me for scratching the truck driving here with all the trees. The sport of drag racing has been my whole life. I’ve got all my memories from drag racing.”

Meanwhile, on Sunday, Hagan was Johnson’s biggest fan.

“I’m very proud of my people,” said Hagen, who still hasn’t been cleared to return to competition. “He got it done today. TJ did a phenomenal job in the race car. He’s a wheelman. We fought each other for the last time. Two years on and there was no doubt in my mind that he could get it done Everyone adapted to adverse conditions and driver changes and I am proud of what these people have achieved today.

“We weren’t able to race at Indy and it was a shock, but it just goes to show, you can just dig back. These guys did a great job. I have a big hole in my heart racing with them.” And it was really hard to watch, but at the end of the day, I knew these guys were going to do a great job and they did. They won today and I’m so proud of each of them. Dicky Venables is just an amazing man, an amazing leader, and a great crew chief, and does what it takes to make it happen. That’s why we’ve won so many championships together and did so well I can’t say enough thanks to TJ for stepping in and bringing my A-game.”


Mopar Express Lane NHRA Citizen

Result

Sunday’s final results from the 36th Annual Mopar Express Lane NHRA Nationals presented by Penzoil at Maple Grove Raceway. The race is 14th out of 20 in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series:

top fuel Billy Torrence, 3.720 seconds, 326.08 mph. Justin Ashley, 3.784 seconds, 313.22 mph.

funny car- Tommy Johnson Jr., Dodge Charger, 3.926, 330.23 def. John Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.946, 328.54.

Pro Stock – Greg Anderson, Chevy Camaro, 6.578, 208.30 def. Erica Anders, Camaro, 6.604, 206.73.

Pro Stock Motorcycle – Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.775, 196.87 def. Eddie Kravic, Buell, 6.870, 197.16.

Top Alcohol Dragster – Matthew Cummings, 5.211, 276.69 def. Robin Samsell, 5.267, 268.60.

Top Alcohol Funny Cars — Doug Gordon, Chevy Camaro, 5.445, 269.51 def. Sean Bellemoor, Camaro, 5.489, 266.48.

Competition Eliminator – Frank Aragona, Roadster, 9.652, 88.29 def. Chip Ippolito, Chevy S-10, Foul – Red Light.

super stock — Bobby Fazio, Ford Mustang, 10.627, 122.54 def. Jonathan Allegrucci, Dodge Challenger, foul – red light.

Stock Eliminator – Joe Santangelo, Chevy Camaro, 10.456, 117.88 def. Allison Doll, Pontiac Firebird, 10.580, 123.96.

Super Comp – Taylor Iacono, dragster, 8.919, 175.14 def. Lee Ream, Dragster, 8.930, 174.37.

super gas Jason Kenney, Chevy Corvette, 9.899, 166.17 def. Bill Nuzzo, Ford Mustang, 9.882, 120.88.

Top Dragster presented by Vortec Superchargers — Tom Martino, Dragster, 6.620, 195.31 def. Alan Kenny, Dragster, 6.236, 219.44.

round-by-round results

Top Fuel:

Round One – Justin Ashley, 3.703, 328.62 def. Doug Kalitta, 3.768, 321.81; Clay Millikan, 3.698, 325.45 def. Doug Foley, 3.861, 287.41; Brittany Force, 3.655, was 333.49 unopposed; Sean Langdon, 3.751, 318.54 def. Mike Salinas, 3.750, 304.32; Billy Torrence, 3.721, 328.78 def. Josh Hart, 3.781, 292.84; Steve Torrence, 3.716, 328.22 def. Joe Morrison, 6.108, 103.62; Leah Pruett, 3.930, 279.44 def. Antron Brown, 5.755, 121.47;

Quarterfinals – Ashley, 3.697, 328.70 def. Millikan, 3.819, 315.12; force, 3.704, 334.48 def. Pruett, 4.025, 227.23; B Torrence, 3.719, 329.18 def. Langdon, 3.797, 302.89; s. Torrance, 3.718, 327.43 was uncontested;

Semifinals – B Torrance, 3.725, 328.46 def. Force, 3.777, 318.84; Ashley, 4.084, 298.67 def. S. Torrence, 4.162, 245.85;

Final – B Torrance, 3.720, 326.08 def. Ashley, 3.784, 313.22.

Funny Car:

Round One – Cruz Pedregon, Dodge Charger, was 3.908, 318.62 uncontested; John Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.875, 334.65 def. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 3.892, 322.81; Robert Height, Camaro, 3.889, 330.72 def. Corey Lee, Mustang, 4.239, 296.37; Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.892, 333.58 def. Jim Campbell, Charger, foul – Outer boundary; Ron Capps, Charger, 3.929, 327.82 def. Blake Alexander, Mustang, 5.500, 131.65; Paul Lee, Charger, 3.911, 331.77 def. Bob Tusca III, Mustang, 3.906, 329.91; JR Todd, Toyota Camry, 3.919, 332.75 def. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 3.999, 316.67;

Quarterfinals – Todd, 3.931, 328.86 def. Pedregon, 3.981, 315.86; force, 3.861, 332.67 def. P. Lee, 3.909, 333.99; height, 3.880, remained uncontested, 332.92; Johnson Jr., 3.892, 332.02 def. caps, 3.924, 331.12;

Semifinals – Johnson Jr., 3.902, 331.53 def. Todd, 3.905, 332.75; force, 3.909, 329.10 def. height, 3.909, 329.42;

Finals – Johnson Jr., 3.926, 330.23 def. Force, 3.946, 328.54.

Pro Stock:

Round One – Chris McGaha, Chevy Camaro, 6.616, 207.56 def. Derrick Kramer, Camaro, 6.638, 206.92; Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.589, 208.33 def. Mason McGaha, Camaro, 10.19, 93.44; Troy Coughlin Jr., Camaro, 6.588, 206.76 def. Vincent Nobel, Camaro, 10.390, 86.39; Kyle Koretsky, Camaro, 6.600, 207.59 def. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.693, 185.03; Dallas Glen, Camaro, 6.590, 207.75 def. Bob Benza, Camaro, 6.682, 205.82; Aaron Stanfield, Camaro, 6.599, 206.76 def. Alan Prusansky, Dodge Dart, 6.621, 206.67; Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.555, 208.55 def. John Gedosh Jr., Camaro, Brock; Erica Anders, Camaro, 6.587, 207.08 def. Larry Morgan, Camaro, 6.717, 205.07;

Quarterfinal – Glenn, 6.627, 204.94 def. Koretsky, 6.680, 206.48; Coughlin Jr., 6.613, 205.98 def. Stanfield, 6.632, 207.40; Anders, 6.596, 206.35 def. C. McGahah, foul – red light; Anderson, 6.585, 207.85 def. Hartford, 6.597, 208.07;

Semifinals – Anders, 6.602, 206.51 def. Glenn, 6.642, 207.02; Anderson, 6.614, 208.01 def. Coughlin Jr., 6.613, 207.05;

Final – Anderson, 6.578, 208.30 def. Anders, 6.604, 206.73.

Pro Stock Motorcycles:

Round One – Karen Stauffer, Suzuki, 6.972, 192.63 def. Joy Gladstone, Suzuki, 6.977, 193.96; Angie Smith, 8.428, 110.82 def. Andrew Hines, Buell, Foul – Red Light; Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.825, 197.19 def. Jim Undall, Suzuki, 7.015, 193.02; Scotty Polachek, 6.892, 195.08 def. Chris Bosick, 20.043, 32.30; Eddie Kravic, Buell, 6.858, 198.58 def. Kelly Klontz, Suzuki, 10.608, 73.75; Matt Smith, 6.882, 201.07 def. Ron Tornow, 7.070, 186.38; Angel Sampy, Suzuki, 6.815, 196.79 def. Gianna Salinas, Suzuki, 7.067, 191.10; Corey Reid, Suzuki, 6.972, 193.40 def. Ryan Ohler, 6.984, 1942.21;

Quarterfinals – M Smith, 6.855, 199.20 def. Reid, 6.986, 191.59; Krawiec, 6.886, 197.57 def. A. Smith, foul – red light; Johnson, 6.788, 197.31 def. Polachek, 7.559, 133.14; Sampe, 6.847, 196.30 def. Stoffer, 6.940, 193.85;

Semifinals – Krawiec, 6.906, 196.79 def. M. Smith, 6,942, 187.89; Johnson, 6,804, 197.22 def. Sampy, 6,860, 194.52;

Final – Johnson, 6.775, 196.87 def. Kravic, 6.870, 197.16.

Update Points Standings

top fuel

1. Steve Torrence, 2,179; 2. Brittany Force, 2,167; 3. Billy Torrence, 2,137; 4. Justin Ashley, 2,124; 5. Leah Pruett, 2,113; 6. Antron Brown, 2,103; 7. Sean Langdon, 2,102; 8. Mike Salinas, 2,078; 9. Clay Millikan, 2,067; 10. Doug Kalitta, 2,032.

funny car

1. John Force, 2,172; 2. Ron Capps, 2,157; 3. JR Todd, 2133; 4. Robert Height, 2,121; 5. Bob Tusca III, 2106; 6. Matt Hagan, 2,087; 7. Cruz Pedregon, 2,083; 8. Alexis DeJoria, 2,063; 9. Tim Wilkerson, 2,048; 10. Blake Alexander, 2,032.

pro stock

1. Greg Anderson, 2,224; 2. Erica Anders, 2,183; 3. Aaron Stanfield, 2,129; 4. Dallas Glen, 2,125; 5. Kyle Koretsky, 2,117; 6. Troy Coughlin Jr., 2,114; 7. Matt Hartford, 2,098; 8. Chris McGaha, 2,078; 9. Mason McGaha, 2,067; 10. Derrick Kramer, 2,062.

Pro Stock Motorcycle

1. Steve Johnson, 2,195; 2. Matt Smith, 2,183; 3. Eddie Kravic, 2,159; 4. Angel Sampy, 2,136; 5. Scotty Polachek, 2,125; 6. Angie Smith, 2,089; 7. Karen Stauffer, 2,082; 8. Ryan Ohler, 2,077; 9. (tie) Joy Gladstone, 2,073; Corey Reid, 2,073.

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