Tommy Johnson Jr. kept the good vibes going for Don Schumacher Racing. He drove his MD Anderson Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat to the winner's circle in an all-DSR battle against Jack Beckman's Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat at the NHRA Arizona Nationals.
Johnson ran a 3.883-second pass at 326.40, handily defeating the 6.156 of Beckman to earn his first Wally since the 2019 Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals presented by Mopar in July. The Iowa native won twice in 2019 following a winless 2018 and is already well on his way to bettering his previous season's performance after taking the John Collins' tuned machine to the winner's circle in Phoenix.
“We had a good car,” said Johnson, whose last Phoenix win came back in 2006. “The last qualifying run showed us that we have a solid car. Coming up here today, we had a lot of confidence. We went out first round and laid down a solid number. We weren’t low (elapsed time) but we were close. We came out second round and sat low ET so we knew we had a solid car. As a driver, going into each round knowing you have a car that’s going to perform makes your job a little easier. It gives you a little less stress. The guys did a great job. Even in Pomona we a had a good car, just dropped a cylinder second round and event had a little issue with that in qualifying here.”
He defeated Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron Capps by just .003-second in the semifinals and got past Bob Tasca III in the second round. He opened his race day by defeating Blake Alexander.
No. 1 qualifier Matt Hagan, another Don Schumacher Racing competitor, fouled out in the first round by striking a timing block at the end of the 1,000-foot race track while battling Jeff Diehl. Hagan earned pole position at the first two stops on the Mello Yello NHRA Drag Racing Series tour.
Beckman was looking for his third-straight win dating back to the 2019 season finale, the Auto Club NHRA Finals. He defeated 16-time champion John Force for the second-straight race and took down Jim Campbell and Cruz Pedregon to reach the final in Phoenix.
Campbell picked up a big round win for the Cattleman's Cut squad. He got past No. 1 qualifier Robert Hight, who lost traction early in the run. Campbell pedaled the car to fiery result and won with a 4.591-second lap.
The next event on the Mello Yello NHRA Drag Racing Series tour is the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida. You can get tickets here.