By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
Make-A-Wish Foundation Funny Car pilot Tommy Johnson Jr. is the second Don Schumacher Racing team driver to have the provisional No. 1 qualifier at the 54th annual Auto Club NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, California. He joins Mopar Dodge Top Fuel Dragster pilot Leah Pritchett, who is also the provisional No. 1 qualifier in her category.
Johnson Jr. went 3.881 at 328.54 mph in his second pass to claim the provisional lead. He is hoping that his numbers hold up on Saturday.
If his numbers are good enough to be No. 1 qualifier after Saturday’s actions, it’ll be his fourth straight No. 1 qualifier.
“It’s incredible they have had such a handle on the car,” said Johnson. “I wish we could get that handle on Sunday but we are pretty close. I’m disappointed we didn’t get it done quick enough in the Countdown but at the same time I’m excited because it is such a good car now. If we can carry that on to next year I would love it.”
Infinite Hero Foundation Funny Car pilot Jack Beckman was the provisional No. 2 qualifier. The Norco, California native went 3.901 at 323.35 mph.
Auto Club Chevy Camaro SS Funny Car pilot Robert Hight was the provisional No. 3 qualifier. The Yorba Linda, California native went 3.936 at 325.69 mph.
Levi, Ray, and Shoup Inc. Funny Car pilot Tim Wilkerson was the provisional No. 4 qualifier. The Springfield, Illinois native went 3.936 at 305.29 mph.
NAPA Auto Parts Funny Car pilot Ron Capps was the provisional No. 5 qualifier. The Carlsbad, California native went 3.940 at 320.66 mph.
Here’s how the rest of the field panned out:
6. Shawn Langdon, Toyota Camry, 3.950, 320.97 mph
7. Courtney Force, Camaro, 3.965, 316.15 mph
8. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.029, 307.30 mph
9. Ray Martin, Camry, 4.183, 259.31 mph
10. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 4.217, 230.06 mph
11. J.R. Todd, Camry, 4.220, 310.13 mph
12. Terry Haddock, Mustang, 4.253, 260.56 mph
13. Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.256, 214.62 mph
14. Jeff Arend, Chevy Monte Carlo, 4.276, 255.15 mph
15. Bob Bode, Mustang, 4.346, 205.76 mph
16. John Force, Camaro, 4.386, 206.54 mph
Haddock had a bad fire on his pass and may not race again this weekend.
Presently, there are three Funny Cars, who are not qualified in the show yet. They’re let by No. 17 qualifier Cruz Pedregon, who went 4.396 at 204.14 mph
Jeff Diehl and Jonnie Lindberg are also on the outside looking in. “The Surfer” is the No. 18 qualifier, as he went 4.632 at 190.35 mph, while Lindberg was the No. 19 qualifier and went 5.639 at 122.74 mph.
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