Tommy Johnson Jr. is ready to party like it's 1999! Johnson Jr., whose first career Funny Car win came at Maple Grove Raceway in 1999 repeated the victory while this time filling in for Matt Hagan who was unable to compete due to COVID-19.
“It was pretty cool. I was astonished. We’ve come a long way in a week,” said Johnson. “It meant a lot and I kept thinking of my dad all day. The sport of drag racing is my whole life and to come out and win for these guys, it’s just amazing. I’m still astonished it happened. It was about as smooth of a transition to make this happen. To come out here and get a win, this race will mean a ton to me.”
“It’s hard to sit out that long and these cars accelerate so fast. To be able to drive them well, you have to get ahead of them and each round it got more comfortable,” Johnson said. “As the day went on, I kept getting more relaxed.
“I know it was close against John. He’s pretty good still and to race him in the final and get this opportunity after not racing all season, that makes it even more special. He’s the best the class has ever had and to top him means a lot.”
RPM Round By Round:
Round 1 - Johnson Jr. faced Jim Campbell in the first round and is undefeated in their previous 11 matchups. This was no different as Campbell launched slow and ended up tapping the wall after drifting out of the groove. Johnson Jr. had a great run and his quickest pass of the weekend running 3.892 at 333.58 MPH.
Round 2 - In the quarters, it was Ron Capps in a closely matched Dodge in the other lane. This was a great battle from the start as Capps had a slight reaction time advantage but Johnson Jr. quickly eclipsed Capps and led him to the finish with his second straight 3.892 run at 332.02 MPH.
Round 3 - A semifinal match up with JR Todd was not something that Johnson Jr was looking forward to but he was determined to make it to the finals. Johnson Jr. took the reaction time advantage but the two competitors were even at the 660 feet. At the line it was Johnson Jr. moving on to the final running a 3.902 to Todd's 3.905.
Round 4 - The final brought no other than John Force to the line and the match up did not disappoint. The two series veterans provided a thrill of a final as they stayed close all the way down the track. In the end, it was Johnson Jr. edging out the elder Force with a run of 3.926 at 330.23 MPH.
Funny Car Points:
1 John Force 2172
2 Matt Hagan 2167 -5
3 Ron Capps 2157 -15
4 J.R. Todd 2133 -39
5 Robert Hight 2121 -51
6 Bob Tasca III 2106 -66
7 Cruz Pedregon 2083 -89
8 Alexis DeJoria 2063 -109
9 Tim Wilkerson 2048 -124
10 Blake Alexander 2032 -140
11 Jim Campbell 2022 -150
Josh Hachat provides a full recap: