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2019 Mile-High Nationals Recap
Dodge//SRT Mopar Racer Tommy Johnson Jr. Wins First Victory at Dodge Mile-High Nationals Presented by Pennzoil
Johnson’s win, his 19th career NHRA victory and second of 2019, was also the sixth triumph by a Dodge Charger SRT® Hellcat pilot in 2019, and fifth in the last eight events for a Mopar®-powered competitor. It’s also the second consecutive win by a Dodge vehicle driver at the brand’s headline event, following Leah Pritchett’s 2018 Top Fuel win.
The run to victory in the event sponsored by Dodge and presented by Pennzoil, both partners of Johnson’s car owner Don Schumacher Racing (DSR), came in his 51st career final. His first final appearance came at Bandimere back in 1984, when at age 15, he raced to a runner-up finish while competing in Super Gas. Two years ago, Johnson lost in the Funny Car final, but Sunday, he was not going to be denied at the Dodge Mile-High Nationals.
Leah Pritchett returned to Thunder Mountain on a mission to become the fi fth driver in Top Fuel to score back-to-back wins over the course of the 31-year title rights sponsorship by FCA US LLC at Bandimere Speedway, and the first since Joe Amato accomplished it in 1999 and 2000. After dominating last year’s Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals by qualifying No. 1 and powering to a Sunday triumph, Pritchett looked to make it two straight triumphs in the DSR “Angry Bee” Mopar Dodge 1320 Top Fuel dragster after qualifying second in the field. She opened her defense with a solid opening-round victory with her lap of 3.877 seconds at 310.98 mph to eliminate Terry Totten and advanced to the second round facing Clay Millican for the 18th time in her career. Millican got the jump at the starting line and Pritchett struggled to overtake him after losing a cylinder early in her run, ending her day prematurely.
Two-time Funny Car world champion Matt Hagan was looking to carry the new 2020 Dodge Charger SRT® Hellcat Widebody graphics package with a flared-out feel on the DSR machine to his first career triumph at the Thunder Mountain venue on Sunday. Hagan was quickest off the starting line in his fifth first round match-up versus a DSR teammate in 2019, but his machine began to slow threequarters of the way through the race and came up short of advancing with his run of 4.177 seconds at 239.27 mph. The two-time 2019 Funny Car winner ranks eighth in the championship standings with four races remaining before points are reset for the “Countdown to the Championship”.