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Dodges 1-2-3 at Pomona

by Bill Cawthon on

Don Schumacher Racing Dodges were 1-2-3 in Friday Funny Car qualifying at the season-ending NHRA Sonoma Finals that run through Sunday.

Tommy Johnson Jr. took the top spot with a track record ET of 3.917 seconds at 324.67 mph. Matt Hagan, in one of his best recent qualifying performances, was the runner-up with a track record speed of 329.50 mph and an ET of 3.923, just 0.006 seconds slower than Johnson.


After setting a track ET record in the first round, Ron Capps was beaten by Johnson and Hagan in Round Two and finished the day in the No. 3 position. He collected four points, the most of any driver on Friday.

Jack Beckman took the No. 2 spot in the first round order, but slowed at the end of his second pass and qualified fifth. He still picked up two points to help close the gap between him and Del Worshan, who qualified seventh in Round Two after failing to make the cut in the day’s first run.

Beckman and the world-ET-record-holding Dodge Charger R/T will return next season. Terry Chandler announced that she will once again sponsor the Don Schumacher Racing car for the 2016 season and donate the branding rights for the car to the Infinite Hero Foundation, a charity that helps wounded veterans.

During the 2015 season, Mr. Beckman raised $300,000 for the foundation, partly by carrying Infinite Hero Challenge coins on every run. The coins were then given to fans in exchange for a $100 donation to the foundation. “Everything this Infinite Hero team has accomplished is because of Terry Chandler’s generosity, and I won’t ever forget that,” said Mr. Beckman, who was a sergeant in the U.S. Air Force.

There are eight Chargers in the Funny Car field; five qualified on Friday. Gary Densham took the last qualifying spot, finishing tenth in the order. John Hale, Paul Lee and Jeff Arend will have to try again on Saturday.

Allen Johnson’s Mopar Dart is still wearing the 20-year “Thank You” wrap from Mopar that debuted in Las Vegas. He qualified 11th in the Pro Stock opener, then bested his first run and advanced to ninth.

Richie Stevens, 2015 Pro Stock Champion Erica Ender’s husband, is sitting in for Deric Kramer this weekend. He missed the cutoff by just 0.010 seconds and qualified 13th, three spots ahead of V. Gaines and Alan Prusiensky in an 18-car field.


Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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