The NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season is less than three weeks old, and silly season is already in high gear.
On Friday, Cruz Pedregon Racing announced that it has hired crew chief John Collins and the entire Tommy Johnson Jr. crew from Don Schumacher Racing for Pedregon’s Snap-on Tools Dodge Charger Nitro Funny Car in 2021.
Collins most recently led the Make-A-Wish Nitro Funny Car team and Johnson to a second-place points finish in the 2020 season. Johnson made it to four final rounds and had three wins in 2020. Pedregon finished 10th in the points in 2020.
Johnson confirmed on Friday that he was released by Don Schumacher Racing last week.
“I am pretty excited to come over here to Cruz Pedregon Racing and bring a group of guys who have done a phenomenal job throughout the years,” Collins said. “I think we can come in, do a few things, build our program and have a successful team.”
“To say that I’m thrilled about John Collins and his entire crew coming on board with our Snap-on Dodge would be the understatement of the year,” said Pedregon, a two-time Funny Car world champion. “Their record speaks for itself and I’m going do all I can as an owner and driver to provide them with every tool necessary to win.”
Collins’ first full-time job on a Nitro team was in 2000 when he worked on Joe Gibbs Racing’s Top Fuel dragster driven by Cory McClenathan. Collins joined Don Prudhomme Racing the following year with Johnson Jr. on the team’s Skoal Funny Car. In 2003, he moved over to Prudhomme’s Top Fuel dragster driven by Larry Dixon and the team won the NHRA world championship that year.
Collins later worked with Rahn Tobler for five seasons, including two as the assistant crew chief on the NAPA Funny Car team before taking over the crew chief duties on the Make-A-Wish Funny Car team in 2014.
“Our plans and goals are the same as they are with every new year and that’s to compete for wins and let the chips fall where they may after that,” Pedregon relayed. “With the new additions, I feel we have all the pieces in place to attain those goals.”
Meanwhile, DSR continues to work on 2021 sponsorship packages for Top Fuel pilot Tony Schumacher and Funny Car driver Jack Beckman, as well as Johnson.
Silly season is up an running in the NHRA. Are you surprised that Tommy Johnson Jr. is looking for work? Or, is it just a sign of the times in a pandemic. If you haven’t already, sign up to participate in the comments section below and let us know what you think.
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