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Weekend drags

by David Zatz on

Tommy Johnson Jr. advanced to the final round at the NHRA Arizona Nationals on Sunday in his Mopar-powered Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car. Johnson’s runner-up finish came after his Don Schumacher Racing crew worked hard to get his car ready following an explosion under the hood during Saturday qualifying. Johnson jumped from tenth to fifth in the Funny Car point standings with his performance.

Tommy Johnson NHRA

Tony Schumacher became the fastest Top Fuel driver in NHRA history with a 336.57-miles per hour run during qualifying, but he’ll have to wait for his sixth Phoenix victory after the winningest driver in Top Fuel history was eliminated in round one on Sunday.

Schumacher’s 336.57 mph mark in the Mopar HEMI-powered U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster and his elapsed time of 3.649 seconds were both track records, as he earned his 85th No. 1 qualifying position. Lost traction caused his premature departure during the races.

Leah Pritchett beat Troy Buff in the first round of Top Fuel competition on Sunday and faced Scott Palmer in round two with her Mopar Dodge dragster. She had seven victories against Palmer in prior events, but he was able to edge her on Sunday. Like Schumacher, Pritchett had the advantage at the starting line, but her Mopar Dodge dragster went up in smoke milliseconds later to halt her progression.

Matt Hagan, who earned his 27th NHRA National event victory in the season opener with his Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car, also made it to the quarterfinals before losing a cylinder, which allowed Courtney Force to advance. Hagan, the defending Funny Car winner here, easily beat J.R. Todd in round one.

Ron Capps was the No. 2 qualifier in his NAPA Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car but smoked the tires in round two to end his day as the team adapts to its new six-disc clutch. Jack Beckman was right behind Capps as the No. 3 qualifier with his Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car, but the 2012 Funny Car champion suffered an explosion in the first round to end his day.


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