Don Schumacher Racing Funny Car driver Tommy Johnson Jr. is in the midst of an incredibly memorable weekend at the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park near Phoenix. On the final day of qualifying for the second of 24 events on the 2014 tour, Johnson was surrounded by a plethora of families associated with Make-A-Wish, and he qualified their namesake Terry Chandler-sponsored car in the No. 2 spot with a stunning pass that delighted all.

The 2006 Phoenix winner will have a fair shot at another Arizona title on the basis of a qualifying-best pass of 4.029 at 316.08 mph. Johnson made the thrilling run in the very last round of qualifying and moved all the way up from the No. 11 position to No. 2, second only to John Force who ran a 3.99 in the Friday evening session.

Tommy Johnson Jr
Tommy Johnson Jr

Photo by: Bob Harmeyer

"We wanted to go out there and put on a good show for the Wish Kids and everybody from Make-A-Wish," said Johnson. "And, of course, we wanted to improve for qualifying as well. I was confident and knew we'd run pretty good, but that certainly exceeded my expectations. It was a really good run."

Johnson, who will race Tony Pedregon in the first round of eliminations on Sunday, began qualifying with an unsatisfying 7.351 but followed up in the second session with a strong and straight 4.095 at just over 308mph. Saturday dawned new, and Johnson blasted to a 4.076 at 308.85 in the early session before improving to the 4.02 that nearly bested his personal record.

"It was a great day. Everybody from Make-A-Wish was so enthused, so excited. The kids seemed really, really happy to be here and see the car run," said Johnson. "There was a little bit of nervousness because I didn't know how they would react to these cars that are so loud and fast. But after that first run, I came back to the pits and every single one of those kids was super excited. It was off the charts. It made me feel good that they all loved it. They thought it was the best thing they'd ever seen, and that was really cool for me to get to share this with them. We'll see what we can do out there tomorrow to keep them smiling."

Don Schumacher Racing