Tommy Johnson Jr. and the Make-a-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat made a booming 3.964-second pass to defeat Don Schumacher Racing teammate Matt Hagan in the first round of Funny Car at the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals. Johnson will get No. 1 qualifier John Force in the second round. Force got a solo run pass on the back of being the No. 1 qualifier and made a 3.998-second hit, showing the 16-time champions and crew chief Brian Corradi have a good handle on the track.
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Two-time champion Robert Hight will not have lane choice after making a 4.02-second pass against another two-time champion, Cruz Pedregon. He got to the stripe about a tenth ahead of the Snap-on Tools Funny Car but gets a tough matchup against Bob Tasca III, who continued his strong string of runs with a 3.983-second pass at 318.47-mph to defeat Jim Campbell.
Defending champ J.R. Todd took care of business against part-time racer Terry Haddock but will not get lane choice against Jack Beckman in the second round. Beckman defeated Tim Wilkerson in a tight race after running quicker by a little more than three-hundredths of a second. Wilkerson got off the line first by a couple-thousandths of a second, but Beckman secured lane choice for his Infinite Hero team.
Shawn Langdon and Ron Capps will face off in the second round with 2017 Funny Car champion Capps getting lane choice over the former Top Fuel champion. Capps made a 4.005-second pass, .094-second quicker than Langdon, to defeat Blake Alexander, who drove for Jim Head in the stead of Jonnie Lindberg in Bristol.
The second round of eliminations is set for 2 p.m. Eastern. You can catch the action live on NHRA.tv and check back on NHRA.com for more coverage as eliminations continue.