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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-10-2019, 04:17 AM Thread Starter
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2019 NHRA MOPAR Racing Results

Beckman Drives Dodge//SRT and Mopar to No. 2 Spot in Funny Car Qualifying at NHRA Winternationals

Jack Beckman qualifies Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car second at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, California
Four Don Schumacher Racing teammates, Beckman, Tommy Johnson Jr., Matt Hagan and Ron Capps, place their Mopar-powered Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car machines in top five
Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car driver Hagan chasing third consecutive season-opening Winternationals triumph
Leah Pritchett looking to win second Winternationals in three years aboard her Mopar Dodge NHRA Top Fuel Dragster


February 9, 2019 , Pomona, California -

Jack Beckman led a four-car parade of Mopar-powered Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car machines in qualifying to start the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series campaign, taking the No. 2 qualifying position at the season-opening 59th annual NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, California.

Beckman closed qualifying with a powerful 3.900-second elapsed time (ET) during the final qualifying session on Saturday at Auto Club Raceway to earn the second spot heading into Sunday eliminations and was joined in the top-five by fellow Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) and Dodge//SRT Mopar drivers Tommy Johnson, Jr. (third), Matt Hagan (fourth) and Ron Capps (fifth).


Following a morning rain shower, cooler temperatures and a cloud-cluttered sky provided competitive conditions and the results showed it for the Mopar-powered Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat contingent.

Beckman’s run moved him from the 11th position up to second overall and became even more impressive as the final session proceeded. He will face Phil Burkart in the first round of Sunday’s elimination rounds.

Johnson improved from fourth to second in qualifying session three with his pass of 3.904 ET behind the wheel of the Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat. He will face Tim Wilkerson in Sunday’s first round.

Two-time NHRA Funny Car champion and two-time defending Winternationals winner Hagan followed Johnson’s lead and posted his best pass of the weekend in Q3. The Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat stopped the clock at 3.909 ET and Hagan will face John Force in round one Sunday.

Capps, the 2016 Winternationals champion, holds down the fifth spot with his Mopar-powered NAPA Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat. The 2017 Funny Car champion held the provisional top position after Friday’s first qualifying session and will take on Gary Densham Sunday.

In Top Fuel, Leah Pritchett improved her times Saturday but failed to make it cleanly to the finish line. Pritchett looked to be on a stout pass early Saturday afternoon, but couldn’t complete her run under full power and posted a mark of 3.963 ET. She closed qualifying with a lap of 4.011 ET and holds the 12th position on the qualifying ladder. Pritchett will begin her quest for a second Winternationals triumph in the last three seasons by facing her DSR teammate Antron Brown in Sunday’s first round of eliminations.


Mopar Dodge//SRT Notes & Quotes
(best elapsed time in bold)


Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
Qualified No. 2, will face No. 15 Phil Burkart
Friday: (5.014 seconds at 168.58 mph – Q1); (4.044/253.37– Q2)
Saturday: (8.296/82.73 – Q3); (3.900/330.23 – Q4)

“I’m totally satisfied. We went three-for-four, and when you’ve ran as good as we’ve ran, you can afford to take a shot on the hero runs. We probably just put in a little bit too much on that run and that’s fine. We know where the limit is. Each day has gotten cooler and better out here, so bring it on. There’s a whole lot of bad Funny Cars ready to run tomorrow.”

Tommy Johnson Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
Qualified No. 3, will face No. 14 Tim Wilkerson
Friday: (8.010 seconds at 79.35 mph – Q1); (3.929/314.61 – Q2)
Saturday: (3.904/327.03 – Q3); (8.695/80.93 – Q4)

“We started the 2018 NHRA World Finals from No. 3 and made it to the final round. It’s basically the same race car that we brought back out this weekend here at the Winternationals and it’s running just as good. I’ve got all of the confidence in the world that we’ll go out there and lay down some good runs tomorrow, but it’s going to be tough as cold as it’s going to be so we’ll have to learn from that first session.”

Matt Hagan, Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
Qualified No. 4, will face No. 13 John Force
Friday: (3.971 seconds at 323.19 mph – Q1); (3.981/321.81 – Q2)
Saturday: (3.909/326.79– Q3); (7.679/86.58– Q4)

“We had three good laps in qualifying. It’ll be a good race (in round one against John Force). I’m looking forward to it. Any time you race John, you always have to come for it.”

Ron Capps, NAPA Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
Qualified No. 5, will face No. 12 Gary Densham
Friday: (3.915 seconds at 304.87 mph – Q1); (7.198/89.83 – Q2)
Saturday: (7.717/86.88– Q3); (8.497/82.85 – Q4)

“We came in here without any pre-season testing and with a brand-new Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat body. A lot of new things. It was kind of interesting and fun because that first session, (crew chief Rahn) Tobler wanted to make sure everything was okay and told me to run it down there and shut it off at the 800-foot mark. I shut it off at about 840 feet and it ran 3.91 and put us No. 1 qualifier at that point, so that made it fun. It doesn’t matter who you run on race day. Gary Densham is one of the guys I fear the most out here because he’s cagey, he knows how to get down the track. I’ve raced him a lot. I think tomorrow will bring completely different conditions than what we’ve seen already.”

Leah Pritchett, Mopar Dodge/Sparkling Ice Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified No. 12, will face No. 3 Antron Brown
Friday: (7.912 seconds at 85.25 mph – Q1); (6.406/96.46 – Q2)
Saturday: (3.963/214.59 – Q3); (4.011/212.86 – Q4)

“The silver lining in our qualifying results is that we feel really confident in our tune-up window. There is definitely a difference between a mechanical malfunction and tune-ups. Today, we were right there to be in line with the low qualifiers before two totally different isolated incidents caused some pretty colorful damage. Fortunately, this Mopar team is built to succeed and we’ll be ready to go into race day with a solid car.

“Right out of the gate, 2019 isn’t starting with smooth sailing, but we knew the competition was going to make it tougher than ever. You never want to face your teammate unless it’s the final and we have Antron Brown in round one. It’s like they say in NHRA racing, you can’t tip toe into anything. You have to come out swinging. We know that’s what Antron and his guys are going to do and we’ve got confidence in our car to come out and do the same.”

Tune-in Info
FOX Sports 1 will broadcast three hours of eliminations coverage of the 59th annual NHRA Winternationals starting at 5:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, February 10.

Rick

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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-11-2019, 04:17 AM Thread Starter
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Weather claims Winternationals Sunday; race will resume on Monday morning
NHRA officials postponed eliminations for the Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals presented by ProtectTheHarvest.com at Auto Club Raceway until Monday, Feb. 11, following a day of lengthy rain delays.

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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-11-2019, 11:41 PM Thread Starter
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Beckman Races Dodge//SRT Mopar-powered Funny Car to Finals in Season-opening NHRA Winternationals

Jack Beckman becomes 28th driver in NHRA history to reach 400-round win milestone, en route to 57th career finals appearance
Tommy Johnson, Jr. reaches semifinals; leaves Pomona third in the standings and with keys to 2019 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
Ron Capps opens 25th NHRA season by advancing to the second round
All six Mopar-powered Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car drivers in top ten after NHRA Winternationals
Leah Pritchett advances to quarterfinals in her Mopar Dodge/Sparkling Ice Top Fuel dragster


February 11, 2019 , Auburn Hills, Mich. -



Mopar-powered Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car driver “Fast Jack” Beckman was seeking a lot of firsts on a picture-perfect afternoon during the rain-delayed 59th annual NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.

First winner in 2019. First winner in a Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat body. First career win at his home track. The 2012 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Funny Car champion and his Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) team came out swinging in the season opener with three round wins in the Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, but were just four feet short of checking all those boxes late Monday afternoon.

While Beckman stormed to his 57th career finals appearance, the rest of the DSR Dodge Mopar contingent had mixed results on Monday. Tommy Johnson Jr. continued his Pomona magic aboard the DSR Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat turning on a pair of win lights after reaching the final to close out 2018 at the Fairplex. Ron Capps, a three-time Winternationals champion, raced the NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat into the second round while two-time reigning Winternationals champion Matt Hagan was upset in the first round. Leah Pritchett scored an upset win in her HEMI-powered Sparkling Ice/Mopar Top Fuel Dragster before coming up short in the second round.

Beckman was set up for success in eliminations thanks to a stout qualifying run of 3.900 Saturday afternoon. After a workman like triumph over Phil Burkart in the first round with a run of 4.102 ET, the Norco, California, native posted his best lap of the weekend (3.875 ET) to defeat Cruz Pedregon in his Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat and set up and all-DSR semifinal versus Johnson. The Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat left first, but a clean run by Beckman put him position to finally secure a Pomona victory. It was the 41st meeting between Beckman and Robert Hight, 11th in the finals. Hight left first, but Beckman was right there through the run ultimately losing by .0073 seconds.

Johnson carried momentum from last November’s run to the final, qualifying third and taking down formidable foes Tim Wilkerson in round one and Shawn Langdon in the second round to set up an all-DSR semifinal. Johnson took the starting line advantage, but couldn’t maintain traction and was finished for the weekend.

Ron Capps completed the top-five in qualifying driving the NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat and looked strong in racing past Gary Densham in round one of eliminations. He battled John Force to the wire in round two, but his pass of 4.092 ET wasn’t enough to take down Force. Matt Hagan, who qualified the Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat No. 4, had any early advantage on Force in the opening round, but slowed to a lap of 4.140 and couldn’t advance when Force put up a session-best run of 3.890 ET.

Johnson Takes Keys for 2019 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
Tommy Johnson Jr. will be spending much of 2019 behind the wheel of a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat — both on the street and at the drag strip after being presented the keys to a brand-new 2019 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, the quickest, fastest and most powerful sedan in the world, on Sunday at the NHRA Winternationals.

Johnson will hit the streets in the 707-horsepower four-door muscle car for one year in recognition of recording the best finish of any Dodge Funny Car driver last year by claiming a top-three spot in the final overall 2018 NHRA standings.

“It’s a very cool deal to be able to drive a street-version of the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat for one year, while also competing in the Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car body on the drag strip, as well,” said Johnson. “A big thank you to Dodge//SRT for this opportunity. It’s a great reward for our team’s 2018 performance. Dodge can rest assured that the Charger SRT Hellcat will have a great home and get a lot of use by me over the next year.”

A Charger SRT Hellcat will again be on the line for 2019. Six Mopar-powered Dodge Funny Car drivers will battle to lock down the highest top-five finish in the final 2019 NHRA overall standings and a chance to take the keys to the 707-horsepower sedan for an entire year.

Mopar Dodge//SRT NHRA Sportsman Spotlight
In Stock Eliminator, Jim Durham from Stonyford, California, drove his 1972 E/SA Plymouth Duster 340 to the quarterfinals at the NHRA Winternationals. In a tight matchup, Durham lost by a mere 0.040 seconds to his opponent in round four. For advancing the furthest in competition, Durham collected the Dodge Top Finisher in Stock Eliminator.

Mike Cotten from Cave Creek, Arizona, drove his SS/IA 1970 Plymouth ‘Cuda to a round three finish in Super Stock at the NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. Powered by a Mopar 383 cubic-inch big-block V8, Cotton had qualified number seven with a run of 9.77 seconds and was looking consistent during eliminations until a redlight start ended his day. Cotten took home the Dodge Top Finisher award in Super Stock.

The Dodge Top Finisher award, now in its third year, awards $500 to Stock Eliminator and Super Stock drivers who advance the furthest behind the wheel of a Mopar-powered Dodge, Chrysler, or Plymouth race car at all 24 NHRA national events.

Up Next: NHRA Arizona Nationals
Dodge//SRT and Mopar competitors will head next to the NHRA Arizona Nationals, scheduled for February 22-24 at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Chandler, Arizona. Beckman and Capps are three-time Phoenix winners while Pritchett and Hagan have each scored a pair of victories in the desert. Johnson won the 2006 event.

Dodge//SRT Mopar NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series: Notes & Quotes

Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 2 Qualifier – 3.900 ET)

Rd.1: (.082-second reaction time, 4.102 seconds at 237.96 mph) beat No. 15 Phil Burkart (No Time)
Rd.2: (.079/3.875/331.94) beat No. 7 Cruz Pedregon (.098/3.962/328.46)
Rd.3: (.084/3.898/327.59) beat No. 3 Tommy Johnson, Jr. (.056/5.216/144.83)
Rd.4: (.062/3.880/329.42) lost to No. 1 Robert Height (.054/3.881/329.75)

“As a driver, the last thing you want is to look at that time slip and see that you got beat on a holeshot. Final rounds are a little different because drivers will roll it in a little bit because we don’t care about lane choice.

“I am so proud of everybody here. We didn’t test. We were struggling until the last qualifying run and then laid down a lap that put us second, but I don’t think that painted the full picture. We had made wholesale changes – five out of our six clutch discs are different than when we left here in November, and for the guys to zero-in on it that quick without the benefit of pre-season testing and take this car to the final round and run it as quick as anybody right now, I can’t wait for Phoenix.”

Tommy Johnson Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 3 Qualifier – 3.904 ET)

Rd.1: (.076-second reaction time, 4.193 seconds at 288.33 mph) beat No. 14 Tim Wilkerson (.097/5.822/121.03)
Rd.2: (.076/3.876/326.87) beat No. 6 Shawn Langdon (.057/3.982/324.05)
Rd.3: (.056/5.216/144.83) lost to No.2 Jack Beckman (.084/3.898/327.59)

“It’s been a really good start to the season; our best start as a team. To leave here third in points and make some really nice runs, I’m really happy with the Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat. We finished last year with it and put it away. We brought it out and it picked right up where it left off. I’m really excited and think we have a really competitive team for the rest of the year.”

Ron Capps, NAPA Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 5 Qualifier – 3.915 ET)

Rd.1: (.079-second reaction time, 3.933 seconds at 323.04 mph) beat No.12 Gary Densham (.152/12.020/83.20)
Rd.2: (.076/4.092/248.07) lost No. 13 John Force (.081/3.900/323.19)

“We are still looking at the data, but that session got really fast We just went up there and tried to run a mid-80 and Jimmy Prock ran a 3.85 and the car certainly felt comfortable. The run before that was my first full run in the car. The car drives so much better, so much nicer and I have to have way less steering input, which is a good thing, more downforce on the front end, which is a good thing. And in that run, we just went after it. I love when we go up there and try to go low ET. It just came loose. You hate to lose a race like that. The only thing that helps is it’s the first race of the season. I’m excited about running these new Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat bodies. I think it’s going to be a fun year.”

Matt Hagan, Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 4 Qualifier – 3.909 ET)

Rd.1: (.070-second reaction time, 3.932 seconds at 322.12 mph) lost to No. 13 John Force (.082/3.890/333.74)

“Obviously not the Winternationals we were hoping for. We won this race the past two years in a row and were hoping to make it three. I think if maybe we struggle at the beginning of the season than we’ll do well at the end because the last couple of years we’ve done well at the beginning and then stumbled at the end. At least that’s how I’m trying to look at it right now. Our MOPAR Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat is going down the race track, but it was just one of those things. We hit the bump out there and the clutch came at it really hard and pulled the tires loose. No excuses, on to the next race but I think with the way we qualified and the way the cars been running, I’m happy with it.”

Leah Pritchett, Mopar Dodge/Sparkling Ice Top Fuel Dragster
(No. 14 Qualifier – 3.963 ET)

Rd.1: (.050-second reaction time, 3.707 seconds at 325.61 mph) beat No. 3 Antron Brown (.047/3.733/329.26)
Rd.2: (.078/4.622/147.12) lost to No. 9 Terry McMillen (.054/3.696/329.91)

“What a turn of events here on Monday. The guys did a great job making the car faster, leaner and meaner. The competition is super stiff. Unfortunately, the challenges we faced during Saturday’s qualifying session showed up again today. We had a small window to push really hard through. We have some parts that aren’t exactly agreeing with the way that we are running this car. We are continuing to learn. This was not the way we wanted to start the season, but it’s good to be back out here. I think we put on a good show for the fans. I’m surround by great people here at Don Schumacher Racing and this Mopar team will be ready fight in Phoenix with a little different strategy”

2019 NHRA Championship — Point Standings After Round 1 of 24
(Season Wins in Parentheses)



NHRA Funny Car
1. Robert Hight - 121
2. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat - 100
3. Tommy Johnson, Jr., Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat - 81

4. John Force - 71
5. Shawn Langdon - 58
6. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat - 57
7. Bob Tasca III - 55
8. Cruz Pedregon, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat - 54
9. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat - 37
10. Jim Campbell, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat - 32



NHRA Top Fuel
1. Doug Kalitta - 117
2. Steve Torrence - 106
3. Terry McMillen - 72
4. Mike Salinas - 70
5. Billy Torrence - 56
6t.. Leah Pritchett, Mopar Dodge HEMI - 52
6t. Austin Prock - 52
8. Antron Brown - 37
9t. Richie Crampton - 35
9t. Scott Palmer - 35

Rick

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Hagan Captures Funny Car Win in Arizona

Hagan Captures Funny Car Win in Arizona,
Scores Historic First Victory in Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Body

Victory for Matt Hagan at NHRA Arizona Nationals is first win for Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat body
Hagan’s triumph aboard Sandvik Coromant Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat in Chandler, Arizona, is 30th of his career
Leah Pritchett races Don Schumacher Racing Mopar Dodge Top Fuel dragster to NHRA Arizona Nationals final round
Tommy Johnson, Jr. celebrates 30th anniversary of NHRA nitro debut in Phoenix, reaches second round in Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
Jon Irving, Darcy Clark take Dodge Top Finisher Awards in NHRA Sportsman classes in Phoenix



February 24, 2019 , Chandler, Arizona -


Matt Hagan raced to victory in his Mopar-powered Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat at the 35th NHRA Arizona Nationals near Phoenix on February 24, 2019, capturing the milestone first win for the Charger SRT Hellcat body and his third victory at Wild Horse Motorsports Pass in the last five years.

Hagan and his Sandvik Coromant/Mopar crew led by crew chief Dickie Venables were on a mission in the second race of the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello campaign. The Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) team earned the provisional pole Friday when conditions were extremely difficult and continued getting stronger with every run over the course of the weekend, including in his 55th career final appearance which resulted in the two-time NHRA Funny Car champion defeating reigning NHRA champion J.R. Todd.

Earning the historic triumph for the Charger SRT Hellcat has been the goal for Hagan since first making laps using the new Hellcat body last season. Two weeks ago in the season opener, Hagan qualified fourth and lost in the first round, but in Phoenix he wasn’t going to be denied. Hagan defeated Phil Burkart, Shawn Langdon and Bob Tasca III to reach his fourth career Phoenix final where he stormed down the track for the seventh consecutive time and his run of 3.890 ET was more than enough to defeat the tire-smoking Todd. The victory was the 30th of Hagan’s career.

Hagan wasn’t the only Dodge//SRT Mopar driver that made a run to the finals in Phoenix, as Leah Pritchett continued her success at the track. The driver of the Mopar Dodge Top Fuel dragster for DSR was seeking her third NHRA Arizona Nationals triumph in the last four years. After qualifying seventh, Pritchett was business-like early in eliminations, posting three consecutive runs in the 3.70s (seconds), taking out Cameron Ferre, Terry McMillen and Antron Brown to reach her 14th career final and first-ever matchup with Billy Torrence. Unfortunately, her shot at career win number eight went up in smoke when her machine lost traction just after launch and she coasted to the finish line.

Tommy Johnson, Jr. was celebrating the 30th anniversary of his NHRA nitro debut in Phoenix during the event. The driver of the Mopar-powered DSR Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat qualified fourth, but had trouble in both his first- and second-round appearances. His team overcame a broken axle in the first round, but Johnson lost a cylinder early in his second run and was knocked out by Todd.

Jack Beckman bounced back from a tough qualifying effort by racing the DSR Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat to a first-round victory over Tim Wilkerson before coming up short against Bob Tasca III in the quarterfinals. Ron Capps narrowly lost his opening round match-up with John Force, despite making his second-best run of the weekend in the Pennzoil Synthetics/NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

Mopar Dodge//SRT NHRA Sportsman Spotlight
In Stock Eliminator, Jon Irving from Boulder City, Nevada, drove his 1971 D/SA Dodge Demon 340 to a semifinal finish at the NHRA Arizona Nationals. In a tight matchup, Irving left the starting too early by 0.041 seconds and redlighted his chances away to his opponent. For advancing the furthest in competition, Irving took home the Dodge Top Finisher honors in Stock Eliminator.

Darcy Clarke from Alberta, Canada, drove his 1964 SS/EA Plymouth Savoy to the quarterfinals in Super Stock at the NHRA Arizona Nationals. During this round eliminations, Clarke had dialed a 9.74 ET but ran a 9.737 and lost on a breakout by a mere 0.003 seconds. Powered by a Mopar 426 cubic-inch Max Wedge V8, Clarke collected the Dodge Top Finisher in Super Stock.

The Dodge Top Finisher award, now in its third year, awards $500 to Stock Eliminator and Super Stock drivers who advance the furthest behind the wheel of a Mopar-powered Dodge, Chrysler, or Plymouth race car at all 24 NHRA national events.

Dodge//SRT Mopar NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series: Notes & Quotes

Steve Beahm, Head of Passenger Cars, Dodge//SRT, Chrysler and FIAT, FCA North America; Head of Parts & Service (Mopar), FCA - North America
“Congratulations to Matt Hagan and his entire team on making history today by claiming the first victory in our Mopar-powered Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car body. This is a great early-season win for Dodge//SRT and Mopar, and we hope it's the first of many this year for our brands and for Don Schumacher Racing.”

Matt Hagan, Sandvik Coromant/Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 2 Qualifier – 3.881 ET)

Rd.1: (.081-second reaction time, 3.919 seconds at 324.12 mph) beat No. 15 Phil Burkart (.150/5.662/126.26)
Rd.2: (.084/3.894/327.19) beat No. 7 Shawn Langdon (.060/3.951/326.48)
Rd.3: (.092/3.921/321.96) beat No. 6 Bob Tasca III (.054/3.983/320.13)
Rd.4: (.048/3.890/325.06) beat No. 5 J.R. Todd (.077/No Time)

“This is huge because it’s the first win with the new Hellcat body. Mopar put so much into designing this new body, and it’s great to be able to put it in the winner’s circle for them.

“Hats off to Dickie Venables. The guy won the race, that’s for sure. He had a race car underneath me that was going down the race track every lap. That gave me a lot of confidence. He gave me the car to win; this Wally goes to him for sure, as well as my entire team. To be able to drive for Don (Schumacher) for 10 years and be able to win 30 races is awesome. It’s pretty cool, out of DSR’s 150 Funny Car wins, I have 30 of them. It just goes to show you I’ve been put around really good people, and talented crew chiefs that work hard. Dickie is one of the best out here and I’m really glad to have him in our corner.”


Leah Pritchett, Mopar Dodge Top Fuel Dragster
(No. 7 Qualifier – 3.744 ET)

Rd.1: (.109-second reaction time, 3.722 seconds at 329.67 mph) beat No. 10 Cameron Ferre (.098/4.263/207.82)
Rd.2: (.072/3.731/308.64) beat No. 2 Terry McMillen (.072/5.011/146.69)
Rd.3: (.052/3.721/332.10) beat No. 3 Antron Brown (.070/3.763/325.85)
Rd.4: (.071/9.568/75.68) lost to No.1 Billy Torrence (.073/3.965/326.40)

“We are extremely proud of the momentum this Mopar team has been able to create here in Phoenix. We consider this weekend a win. We had a such a consistent car today in the first three rounds and unfortunately, we had some traction issues in the final. To really compare how we are now, compared to where we were to start the season has us all really excited about heading to Gainesville. I couldn’t be more proud of this team. Not only their hard work, but literally their attitude. They’ve had to go through so much to get everything right and I’m extremely impressed. I am so happy with the direction that we are going and looking forward to being able to push a little more.”

Tommy Johnson Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 4 Qualifier – 3.911 ET)

Rd.1: (.102-second reaction time, No Time) beat No. 13 Jim Campbell (.103/No Time/Central Line Foul)
Rd.2: (.059/5.048/134.74) lost to No. 5 J.R. Todd (.052/3.967/323.27)

“It was a rough day. Two separate back-to-back problems happening in the same day. I thought we had a really good Hellcat today. It was actually running well before the axle broke. It shows you what kind of team we have. To come back from that and make it back up for second round. It just a shame we had a totally unrelated issue and were not able to make the run we were hoping to. We’ve got two weeks off. We’ll head back to the shop, regroup and come out in Gainesville swinging.”

Ron Capps, Pennzoil Synthetics/NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 9 Qualifier – 3.951 ET)

Rd.1: (.078-second reaction time, 3.968 seconds at 319.98 mph) lost to No. 8 John Force (.076/3/3.933/317.19)

“Today was a product of where we qualified. Anytime you have to race a good car like John Force’s car, it’s going to be tough. Even our losing first-round run probably would have won six of those other matchups that session. This weekend has been a little bit of a struggle for us. This sport is about tackling the next thing thrown at you and (crew chief)Rahn Tobler is always so good at that. We had a couple of issues with the race car, and we’re still trying to feel out this new 2019 DSR chassis. I love this new Hellcat body, and I’m still trying to get used to it as well.”

Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 14 Qualifier – 5.022 ET)

Rd.1: (.096-second reaction time, 3.901 seconds at 321.03 mph) beat No. 3 Tim Wilkerson (.173/4.736/168.41)
Rd.2: (.076/3.963/321.73) lost to No. 6 Bob Tasca III (.073/3.950/321.96)

“Losing is always frustrating. I feel like we had the better car and we lost to (Bob) Tasca by half a car length out there. The silver lining is, we didn’t have the better car going into first round, and our guys put their heads together and came up with a great tune-up and we went right down the less-preferred lane and got a win light against Tim Wilkerson. At the end of the day, you take your lessons, you take your lumps and you move on. I’m hoping it was just a case where we might have lost the battle here. We’re heading into the 50th[WU1] annual Gatornationals as the defending champion, hopefully that will help us win the war.”

Up Next: NHRA Gatornationals
Mopar and Dodge//SRT competitors will head next to the 50th annual NHRA Gatornationals, March 14-17 at Gainesville Raceway in Gainesville, Florida. Defending Gatornationals Funny Car champion Jack Beckman and three-time Gatornationals winner Ron Capps look to get their first triumph of 2019 in one of the biggest events on the schedule.


2019 NHRA Championship — Point Standings After Round 1 of 24
(Season Wins in Parentheses)

NHRA Funny Car

1. Robert Hight (1) - 205
2. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat (1) – 160
3. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat - 151
4. Tommy Johnson, Jr., Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat - 132

5. Bob Tasca III - 129
6t. J.R. Todd – 126
6t. John Force - 126
8. Shawn Langdon - 111
9. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat - 89
10. Cruz Pedregon - 86

NHRA Top Fuel
1. Billy Torrence (1) - 178
2. Doug Kalitta (1) - 172
3. Leah Pritchett, Mopar HEMI – 145
4. Steve Torrence - 137
5. Terry McMillen - 132
6. Mike Salinas - 122
7. Antron Brown - 115
8. Austin Prock - 106
9. Jordan Vandergriff - 77
10. Richie Crampton - 66

Rick

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Qualifying at NHRA Gatornationals

Johnson Drives Dodge//SRT and Mopar to No. 3 Position in Funny Car Qualifying at NHRA Gatornationals

Tommy Johnson, Jr. qualifies Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car third at Gainesville (Florida) Raceway
Six Mopar-powered Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat drivers make Funny Car field at NHRA Gatornationals
Mopar-powered Top Fuel driver Leah Pritchett to start from No. 4 spot
Pritchett puts Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak in top half of Factory Stock Showdown field, comes up short in opening round


March 16, 2019 , Gainesville, Florida -

Tommy Johnson, Jr. is the fastest of six Mopar-powered Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car drivers qualified for Sunday’s elimination rounds at the 50th Annual NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville (Florida) Raceway.

Johnson, who made his first professional run at Gainesville in 1984, earned the provisional No. 1 qualifying position Saturday afternoon with his lap of 3.896 seconds at 324.75 mph in the Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) Make-A-Wish machine, earning three bonus points. In the final qualifying session, Johnson was hoping to back up his earlier run and regain the No. 1 position, but an explosion halfway through his run resulted in the body flying off and the racecar slowing to a run of 4.385/182.92.


Johnson walked away from the scene and his DSR team will go to work to rebuild his Funny Car in order to chase history Sunday from the third starting spot. He’ll be joined in Sunday’s field by fellow DSR and Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car drivers Matt Hagan, Jack Beckman and Ron Capps as well as fellow Mopar-powered competitors Cruz Pedregon and Jim Campbell.

Hagan, winner of the NHRA Arizona Nationals three weeks ago, posted his best lap of 3.900/325.85 aboard the Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car in his final pass to grab the fifth position. Beckman, the defending Gatornationals champion, registered the same ET (3.900) driving the Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat in Q4, but his speed of 323.74 dropped him to sixth. Pedregon also used Q4 to make his best run of the weekend (3.910/325.30) in the Snap-On Tools Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat to grab seventh just ahead of Capps in the NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, who closed qualifying with a run of 3.933/318.77.

In Top Fuel, Leah Pritchett made an impressive pass to open both qualifying days aboard her Mopar Dodge Top Fuel dragster earning a pair of qualifying points with her Q1 run of 3.818 seconds at 321.88 mph and two more following her run of 3.724/325.22 in Saturday’s Q3 session. Pritchett begins her fifth run for a Gatornationals Wally from the fourth position Sunday facing Pat Dakin in the opening round.

Dodge//SRT Mopar NHRA Sportsman Spotlight

Pritchett opened defense of her 2018 Factory Stock Showdown championship at Gainesville Raceway by qualifying her Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak sixth with a best run of 7.852/173.87 coming in the final session on Saturday afternoon, following a pair of runs Friday with results of 8.007/171.55 in Q1 and 8.018/172.10 in Q2.

In the opening round of eliminations, she lined up her 354-cubic-inch HEMI®-engine-powered Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak against Kevin Skinner. Pritchett left first with a .024 reaction time and posted a lap of 7.891/172.59, but couldn’t hold off the Mustang driver’s winning pass of 7.799/172.59.

Pro Stock World Champion and longtime Mopar Dodge driver Allen Johnson and former Pro Stock racer Mark Pawuk will look to rebound at the next Factory Stock event after failing to qualify for the 16-car ladder. Johnson’s best run was a 8.069/169.69 that placed him on the outside of the competitive Factory Stock field, while Pawuk was also unable to crack the top 16 with his pass of 8.077/170.26.

Pritchett and her fellow Dodge//SRT Mopar drivers in the NHRA Factory Stock Showdown series will resume action in late April at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway near Charlotte, the second of eight 2019 FSS events.

Mopar Dodge//SRT Notes & Quotes
(best elapsed time in bold)


Leah Pritchett, Mopar Dodge Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified No. 4, will face No. 13 Pat Dakin
Friday: (3.818 seconds at 321.88 mph – Q1); (6.919/100.84 – Q2)
Saturday: (3.724/325.22 – Q3); (6.434/105.36 – Q4)

“We like to be in the position we’re in where we’re capable of pushing. That’s where you learn, where you grow. No. 4 is a good qualifying spot. Both lanes are great. They’re nice and smooth. I feel good about our chances tomorrow, especially if we get back to where we can throw down those really big numbers. That’s what we get excited about. We learned a lot in Q4 even though the numbers didn’t show it and I think that’s going to set us up for a lot of momentum come race day. Conditions look like they’ll be favorable. We’re here to break records, break hearts and be a part of history. No better time than the 50th anniversary to bring some gold home.”

Tommy Johnson Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
Qualified No. 3, will face No. 14 John Smith.
Friday: (5.002 seconds at 152.24.35 mph – Q1); (3.985/322.85 – Q2)
Saturday: (3.896/324.75 – Q3); (8.695/80.93 – Q4)

“That (Q4 explosion) was probably the biggest boomer I’ve ever had. There was no warning whatsoever. The car was running really good and just before the finish line, kaboom! Unexpected for sure. I hate it for the crew guys, all the extra work it’s going to cause. They went through that enough already in Phoenix. I don’t think any of (these explosions) are related, and that’s what’s unfortunate. I don’t think it’s a problem we have, it’s just maybe a run of bad luck. We’ll get it fixed, the car is running really well. We’ll come out here tomorrow, see if we can’t lay down some good runs and keep the body on it.”

Matt Hagan, Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
Qualified No. 5, will face No. 12 Jonnie Lindberg
Friday: (4.779 seconds at 167.68 mph – Q1); (4.007/317.05 – Q2)
Saturday: (3.946/325.37– Q3); (3.900/325.85– Q4)

“Man, we’ve got a good hot rod. (Crew chief) Dickie Venables is continuing to get more and more comfortable with this race car and the combination we have right now. I’m excited about tomorrow. I’ve never won the Gatornationals. I finished as the runner-up last year and have a great opportunity and a great race car to get it done tomorrow. We won for Sandvik in Phoenix, now we need to win for Mopar.”

Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
Qualified No. 6, will face No. 11 J.R. Todd
Friday: (5.075 seconds at 147.46 mph – Q1); (7.996/89.17– Q2)
Saturday: (14.702/44.17 – Q3); (3.900/323.74 – Q4)

“I picked up 180 miles an hour for the first time here at Gainesville in that final run and it felt good. We struggled. I screwed up the first run. We were too aggressive on one run. We were too soft on one run. We are the defending event champions. You don’t want to go in with a whimper. We went in with some authority.”

Ron Capps, NAPA Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
Qualified No. 8, will face No. 9 Bob Tasca III
Friday: (4.017 seconds at 313.00 mph – Q1); (3.965/89.83 – Q2)
Saturday: (7.082/84.76– Q3); (3.933/318.77 – Q4)

“We used Q3 for a little test and those are the conditions you want to do it in. We sacrificed making a run, but we learned a bunch. I’m so proud of this NAPA team. This is sacred territory here with it being the 50th[WU2] Annual Gatornationals and it’d be pretty cool to get another trophy.”

Tune-in Info
FOX Sports 1 will broadcast three and a half of eliminations coverage of the 50th Annual NHRA Gatornationals starting at 7:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 17.

Rick

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Mopar Funny Car to Semis at NHRA Gatornationals


Beckman Races Dodge//SRT Mopar Funny Car to Semis at NHRA Gatornationals


Defending NHRA Gatornationals champion Jack Beckman races Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat to semifinals
Five Mopar-powered Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Cars reach second round of Gatornationals
Three Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car drivers rank in top-five of point standings
Leah Pritchett drives DSR Mopar Dodge Top Fuel dragster to second round, ranks second in championship standings
Dwayne Scheitlin, Stephen Comella take Dodge Top Finisher Awards in NHRA Sportsman classes in Gainesville

March 17, 2019 , Gainesville, Florida -

Mopar-powered Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car driver “Fast Jack” Beckman reached the semifinals Sunday in the 50th Annual NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville (Florida) Raceway and now ranks second in the NHRA Mello Yello Funny Car championships standings.

Beckman was looking to become the seventh driver to win back-to-back Gatornationals this weekend behind the wheel of his Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car and was joined in Sunday’s second round by four other Charger SRT Hellcat drivers — Matt Hagan, Ron Capps, Tommy Johnson, Jr. and Cruz Pedregon. Leah Pritchett raced her Mopar Dodge Top Fuel dragster into the second round as well and holds the second position in the Top Fuel championship standings through the first three events.


The run to the semifinals for Beckman began with the 2018 Gatornationals champion defeating reigning NHRA Funny Car world champion J.R. Todd in the opening round. Next, it was an all-Hellcat matchup between Beckman and Tommy Johnson Jr.’s Make-A-Wish Charger SRT Hellcat. Johnson defeated John Smith in round one, but Beckman came out on top in round two by 0.0007 seconds (approximately 4 inches). Beckman’s six-round winning streak in Gainesville came to a close versus Tim Wilkerson in the semis.

Hagan entered the Gatornationals as the most recent winner in the class and he raced the Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car past Jonnie Lindberg in the opening round before losing to John Force. Pedregon was victorious over Shawn Langdon before bowing out to Wilkerson and Capps drove the NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat to a first-round win over Bob Tasca III before being defeated by Hight. Jim Campbell was the sixth Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car driver in competition Sunday and was defeated in the first round by Force.

In Top Fuel, Pritchett was looking to become only the third female driver to hoist a Gatornationals Top Fuel Wally and positioned herself by qualifying the Dodge Mopar Top Fuel dragster No. 4 in the field. She was machine-like in her opening round match up with Pat Dakin, but was defeated by eventual Gatornationals Top Fuel champion Richie Crampton on a hole shot in round two.

Dodge//SRT Mopar NHRA Sportsman Spotlight
In Stock Eliminator, Dwayne Scheitlin from Brighton, Colorado, drove his 1970 A/SA Dodge Challenger R/T to a second round finish at the 50th Annual NHRA Gatornationals. Powered by a Mopar 440 Six Pack cubic-inch big-block V8, Scheiltlin had dialed a 10.14 ET but just missed his mark by 0.010 of a second and ended up running a 10.15 ET during eliminations.

Stephen Comella from Webster, New York, drove his 1968 SS/AH HEMI Dodge Dart to a semifinal finish in Super Stock. Comella just barely redlighted with a very close -0.001 reaction time to give his opponent Kevin Riner the win.

Both Scheitlin and Comella will receive $500 for being the Dodge Top Finisher by advancing the furthest in Stock Eliminator and Super Stock, respectively. The Dodge Top Finisher program, now in its third year, recognizes Mopar-powered Dodge, Chrysler, or Plymouth racers in Stock and Super Stock at all 24 NHRA national events.

Dodge//SRT Mopar NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series: Notes & Quotes

Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 6 Qualifier – 3.900 ET)

Rd.1: (.082-second reaction time, 3.905 seconds at 326.79 mph) beat No. 11 J.R. Todd (.061/4.353/255.53)
Rd.2: (.076/3.963/321.73) beat to No. 3 Tommy Johnson, Jr. (.069/3.892/327.03)
Rd.3: (.069/4.211/267.27 lost to No. 2 Tim Wilkerson (.065/3.896/329.02)

“There is no Don Schumacher Racing driver that says we had a great weekend if you are not holding the trophy. We had a good weekend. It didn’t start off that way. We struggled the first three qualifying runs and finally got to the finish line on the last qualifying run. I think that’s all the guys needed. For Guido and John, now they had data. We stepped on it. We had a great running car. I don’t know if we stepped on it too far in the semifinals. We’ll have to look at the data. Tim Wilkerson was running phenomenal. We had to go up there and turn all the screws up. The upside is that we leave here in a good position with points, but the downside is you want every single trophy you can get your hands on. We’ll see if we can get that trophy in Las Vegas.”

Tommy Johnson Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 3 Qualifier – 3.896 ET)

Rd.1: (.088-second reaction time, 3.933 seconds at 326.56 mph) beat No. 14 John Smith (.071/5.306/150.05)
Rd.2: (.069/3.892/327.03) lost to No. 6 Jack Beckman (.063/3.898/329.67)

“We were on the wrong side of the closest race of the weekend. I’m happy our Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat is running so well. It’s frustrating that we keep having gremlins jump up and bite us but I’m proud of the team for how hard they’ve worked. They keep pushing and the car keeps on performing. It’s just a matter of time. You continue to run that good, things will eventually go your way instead of going against you. I’m ready for Vegas. It’s one of my favorite tracks. Everything comes in threes, we’ve gone through our three and we’re moving on.”

Matt Hagan, Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 5 Qualifier – 3.900 ET)

Rd.1: (.079-second reaction time, 3.941 seconds at 322.58 mph) beat No. 12 Jonnie Lindberg (.084/3.950/322.44)
Rd.2: (.082/9.028/77.04) lost to No. 4 John Force (.110/4.471/185.95)

“We had to have a blower swap right there (ahead of round two) and it had way too much power, knocked it off at the starting line, but now at least we know we’ve got a really good blower. At the end of the day, I really wanted to win this race. It’s the 50th anniversary, it’s the Gatornationals. We didn’t win the 50th, but we’d like to try and come back and win the 51st. But all in all, we’ve got a good Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat. I feel good rolling into Vegas. (Crew chief) Dickie Venables has a good handle on this combo that we’re running.”

Ron Capps, NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 8 Qualifier – 3.933 ET)

Rd.1: (.084-second reaction time, 3.910 seconds at 324.59 mph) beat to No. 9 Bob Tasca III (.051/3.969/316.90)
Rd.2: (.071/10.137/77.38) lost to No. 1 Robert Hight (.067/3.870/330.88)

“We were trying to find ourselves this weekend. We came here after a great test session in Phoenix with our brand-new DSR chassis. It’s not like we were that far off this weekend, it’s just (crew chief Rahn) Tobler’s been fighting some new car blues. This is just something you go through when you bring out a new car. Sometimes everything comes out perfect and sometimes you’ve just got to chase adjustments here and there. We ran into (crew chief) Jimmy Prock and Robert Hight in round two and they’ve got a great running car. Smoking the tires at the hit is not something Rahn Tobler is known to do and as soon as I got back to the pit from that run, he felt like he already knew why it did that. That’s what I love about racing with Tobler; he’s constantly thinking. Win or lose, he’s already thinking of how to get better. He catches things that will make us better in the future. Unfortunately, this 50th anniversary would’ve been a nice race to win but it’s a long season and I can’t get wait to get back out west and race at the Vegas Four-Wide.”

Leah Pritchett, Mopar Dodge Top Fuel Dragster
(No. 4 Qualifier – 3.724 ET)

Rd.1: (.073-second reaction time, 3.724 seconds at 329.67 mph) beat No. 13 Pat Dakin (.108/7.999/80.28)
Rd.2: (.080/3.739/328.78) lost to No. 12 Richie Crampton (.022/3.785/319.37)

“The worst part is you hear the car next to you and you know that you got beat on a holeshot and you don’t need anyone telling you that. I don’t feel like I was super late. It was more of a case of him swinging super hard and I got hit with the punch. That’s the way it is. You take the highs super high and the lows you just deal with for a quick moment and then try and rebound. If I let that get me down that will just hinder our progression moving forward at the next race.”
“This Mopar Dodge dragster is really good. We brought in a new crew member, Jim Underco, this weekend and he gelled with our team and they are doing a great job. The parts we’re using are doing great. The time slips are looking fantastic. It’s all there. We definitely felt like we should have won that round, but that’s drag racing.”

Up Next: Denso Spark Plugs NHRA Nationals
Dodge//SRT and Mopar competitors will head next to the 20th annual NHRA Nationals, April 5-7 at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Five-time Las Vegas Funny Car winner Ron Capps will look to win for the sixth time and claim his first Four-Wide triumph at LVMS.

2019 NHRA Championship — Point Standings After Round 3 of 24
(Season Wins in Parentheses)

NHRA Funny Car
1. Robert Hight (2) – 330
2. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat - 225
3. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat (1) – 215

4. John Force - 200
5. Tommy Johnson, Jr., Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat - 191
6. Tim Wilkerson - 165
7. Bob Tasca III - 163
8. J.R. Todd – 159
9. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat - 146
10. Shawn Langdon - 143

NHRA Top Fuel
1. Doug Kalitta (1) - 246
2. Leah Pritchett, Mopar HEMI – 204
3. Steve Torrence - 197
4t. Billy Torrence (1) - 178
4t. Richie Crampton (1) – 178
6. Terry McMillen - 166
7. Mike Salinas – 161
8. Clay Millican - 157
9. Antron Brown - 150
10. Austin Prock - 138

Rick

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Qualifying at NHRA 4Wide Nationals in Las Vegas

Capps Drives Dodge//SRT Mopar to No. 2 Spot in Funny Car Qualifying at NHRA 4Wide Nationals in Las Vegas

Ron Capps qualified his NAPA Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car second in the Four-Wide Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Matt Hagan chases first Four-Wide Nationals triumph in Pennzoil/Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car from the fourth position
Six Mopar-powered Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat drivers make Funny Car field at NHRA Four-Wide Nationals
Mopar-powered Top Fuel driver Leah Pritchett to start from No. 4 spot
Dodge Garage, a digital content hub for muscle car and race enthusiasts, features highlights from NHRA competition


April 6, 2019 , Las Vegas, Nevada -

Ron Capps is the fastest of six Mopar-powered Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car drivers qualified for Sunday’s elimination rounds at NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Capps, the 2016 NHRA Funny Car champion, was one of only two drivers to post a 3.8-second run during qualifying Friday and Saturday, making his best qualifying pass behind the wheel of the Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) NAPA Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car in Friday’s second session with his lap of 3.897 seconds at 325.92 mph. The pass was just two thousandths slower than Tim Wilkerson’s No. 1 run.

Capps will be joined in his first round quad Sunday by fellow DSR racer and Hellcat Funny Car driver Tommy Johnson, Jr., who made his best pass in Saturday’s final qualifying session with a run of 3.952 seconds at 319.45 mph. Matt Hagan qualified No. 5 with his run of 3.924/327.03 Friday afternoon and will be joined in his first round quad by fellow Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car driver, No. 12 qualifier Jim Campbell. Jack Beckman, No. 11, and Cruz Pedregon, No. 3 are the final two Mopar-powered Hellcat drivers in the field and make up half of the final first round quad.


In Top Fuel, Leah Pritchett entered the weekend second in the championship standings through the first three events and earned qualifying points in each of her first three qualifying runs aboard her HEMI-powered Mopar Dodge Top Fuel dragster. She earned a single point in Q1 and Q2 before grabbing three more following her best qualifying run of 3.724/325.22 in Saturday’s Q3 session. Pritchett begins her second run for a NHRA Four-Wide Nationals Wally from the fourth position Sunday facing Clay Millican, Austin Prock and Terry Totten in her first round quad.



Mopar Dodge//SRT Notes & Quotes
(best elapsed times below)


Ron Capps, NAPA Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
Qualified No. 2, will face No. 7 Bob Tasca III, No. 10 Tommy Johnson, Jr. and No. 15 Terry Haddock
Friday: (3.977 seconds at 315.86 mph – Q1); (3.897/325.92 – Q2)
Saturday: (4.346/204.98 – Q3); (3.942/321.42 – Q4)

“We look to bounce back from the first three races and like I said, (Rahn) Tobler doesn’t get too far away from where he’s comfortable with the tune-up and this weekend is a perfect example of that. We came in here and he knows where to look at in the past to make this NAPA Dodge go. We made three great runs and finished No. 2. We pushed it in Q3 to see where we’d be during the hotter conditions tomorrow. We have a good hot rod. We want to roll into race day ready and these NAPA AutoCare guys have a great race car for tomorrow. It’s going to be fun.”

Matt Hagan, Pennzoil/Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
Qualified No. 5, will face No. 4 J.R. Todd, No. 12 Jim Campbell, No. 13 Gary Densham
Friday: (4.013 seconds at 320.05 mph – Q1); (3.924/327.03 – Q2)
Saturday: (3.975/320.28 – Q3); (3.937/325.92 – Q4)

“We’ve got a great Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat this weekend here at the Four-Wide in (Las) Vegas. We’ve been down the track every run and (crew chief) Dickie (Venables) has a great handle on things and this Pennzoil Dodge is running strong. Race day is up for grabs, but I’m confident it can be our day.”

Tommy Johnson, Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
Qualified No. 10, will face No. 2 Ron Capps, No. 7 Bob Tasca III and No. 15 Terry Haddock
Friday: (3.968 seconds at 316.15 mph – Q1); (4. 374/191.97 – Q2)
Saturday: (3.980/319.07 – Q3); (3.952/319.47 – Q4)

“It’s not the qualifying effort we were looking for, but we do have a consistent car. Come race day I think we can surprise a few of them because we certainly didn’t get the best of this Make-A-Wish Dodge this weekend. It keeps getting better with each lap and tomorrow could be the day we make it all come together for a win.”

Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
Qualified No. 11, will face No. 3 Cruz Pedregon, No. 6 John Force and No. 14 Phil Burkart, Jr.
Friday: (3.956 seconds at 321.97 mph – Q1); (4.044/253.37 – Q2)
Saturday: (3.967/318.92 – Q3); (3.963/318.92 – Q4)

“We went three out of four in qualifying and have a consistent car. We may have to lean on it a little bit or let this hotter weather come to this E.T. for the car. We did unload a brand new chassis this weekend at LVMS and we feel, long term, it’s the way to go. We’re just trying to get a handle on it right now. Four wide is a complete crap shoot. You can finish second twice and still leave with the trophy and that’s what we want to do.”

Leah Pritchett, Mopar Dodge Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified No. 4, will face No. 5 Clay Millican, No. 12 Austin Prock and No. 13 Terry Totten
Friday: (3.775 seconds at 322.73 mph – Q1); (3.743/328.06 – Q2)
Saturday: (3.745/327.66 – Q3); (4.139/210.60 – Q4)

“We have an incredible hot rod this weekend. We’re so consistent. We were low of our quads and tested in Q4 and threw everything at it. We’ll have our choice of the four lanes tomorrow and I’m stoked on it. We are going to pick up where left off in Gainesville and pick up some win lights. We want to shine bright like a win light three times tomorrow.”

Tune-In Info
FOX Sports 1 will broadcast three hours of eliminations coverage of the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals starting at 5:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, April 7.

Rick

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ohnson Races Dodge//SRT Mopar Funny Car to Runner-up Finish


Johnson Races Dodge//SRT Mopar Funny Car to Runner-up Finish at Four-Wide Nationals


Tommy Johnson, Jr. races Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car to runner-up finish in Four-Wide Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in his 450th professional event
Jack Beckman reaches second Funny Car final of 2019 in his Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat; ranks second in championship standings
Despite opening-round defeat, Leah Pritchett ranks fourth in the NHRA Top Fuel standings
Justin Jerome and Wayne Taylor take Dodge Top Finisher Awards in NHRA Sportsman Classes in Las Vegas




April 7, 2019 , Las Vegas, Nevada -

Mopar-powered Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car driver Tommy Johnson, Jr. raced to a runner-up finish Sunday in the Four-Wide NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and ranks third in the NHRA Mello Yello Funny Car championship standings after the fourth of 24 2019 national events.

Johnson, who was competing in the 450th professional event of his career, charged his way to his first final of the season behind the wheel of the Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car, but his final run of 3.975 seconds at 313.29 mph wasn’t enough to defeat reigning NHRA Funny Car world champion J.R. Todd. Fellow DSR and Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat driver Jack Beckman advanced to the final elimination quad and finished third behind Todd and Johnson. Matt Hagan and Ron Capps were also Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat drivers that raced past the first round. Leah Pritchett qualified the Mopar Dodge Top Fuel dragster fourth, but she was unable to advance past the opening round.

The run to his sixth career final appearance began with Johnson turning the fastest pass in his first round quad to advance to a loaded second round quad where he was joined by DSR teammates Beckman and Capps as well as 16-time world champion John Force. In the second round, Johnson was first off the line with his .058 reaction time and he never trailed posting a pass of 3.994 to reach the 49th final of his career and second consecutive Vegas Four-Wide Nationals final.


Beckman, who defeated Johnson at “The Strip” in 2006 to earn his first career Funny Car Wally, followed Force to the finish line in his first quad driving his DSR Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat before coming home second behind Johnson in the second quad to reach his second final of the season. The run to the final pushed Beckman up to second in the championship standings.

Hagan’s bid to capture his second victory of 2019 came up short in the second round. After qualifying the DSR Pennzoil/Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car fifth, the two-time Funny Car world champion raced to an opening round win with his pass of 4.073/288.03 to defeat Todd, Gary Densham and Jim Campbell. In the second round, Hagan posted an impressive lap of 4.017, but lost on a holeshot to Todd. Hagan heads to the Mopar Express Lane NHRA Spring Nationals ranking fifth in the Funny Car standings.

Capps started from the second position Sunday in the DSR NAPA Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat and followed Johnson to the second round quad with his run of 4.280. Despite making a solid run of 4.037, he wasn’t able to race past Johnson or Beckman to advance to the final.

Cruz Pedregon had lane choice as a result of his best qualifying positions of the season, but lost to John Force and Beckman in the first round quad. Jim Campbell was the sixth Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car driver in competition Sunday and was defeated by Hagan and Todd in round one.

In Top Fuel, Pritchett entered the fourth race of the season second in the championship standings and seeking her first Las Vegas triumph. With three qualifying-point earning runs to begin the weekend, she positioned herself to close the gap during eliminations. Unfortunately, Pritchett’s Dodge Mopar Top Fuel dragster lost traction almost immediately in lane three during the opening quad. While watching Clay Millican and Terry Totten make clean runs down the track in front of her, Pritchett coasted to the finish with a lap of 6.768 seconds at 114.02 mph. Pritchett heads to Houston next week fourth in the Top Fuel championship standings.

Mopar Dodge//SRT NHRA Sportsman Spotlight
In Stock Eliminator, Justin Jerome from Fullerton, California, raced his 1974 Plymouth Duster to his first career NHRA national event win by defeating Ryan Mangus in the final with his lap of 10.818 seconds at 120.11 mph.

Wayne Taylor drove his 1999 Chrysler Seebring to a second round finish in Super Stock. After defeating Wes King with his run of 10.038 seconds, Taylor just barely redlighted with a very close -0.009 reaction time to give his opponent Don Thomas the win.

Both Jerome and Taylor will receive $500 for being the Dodge Top Finisher by advancing the furthest in Stock Eliminator and Super Stock, respectively.

The Dodge Top Finisher award, now in its third year, awards $500 to Stock Eliminator and Super Stock drivers who advance the furthest behind the wheel of a Mopar-powered Dodge, Chrysler, or Plymouth race car at all 24 NHRA national events.

Dodge//SRT Mopar NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series: Notes & Quotes

Tommy Johnson Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 10 Qualifier – 3.952 ET)

Rd.1: (.070-second reaction time, 4.234 seconds at 229.27 mph) beat No. 7 Bob Tasca III (.059/4.332/268.65), No. 15 Terry Haddock (.175/4.302/289.88)
Rd.2: (.058/3.994/315.93) beat to No. 2 Ron Capps (.088/4.037/315.05), No. 6 John Force (.064/4.025/321.81)
Rd.3: (.079/3.975/313.29) lost to No. 4 J.R. Todd (.052/3.970/319.07)

“It was an interesting day for sure. For all four cars to lose traction in the first round, but get the win and set low ET in the second round was really good. We were confident going into the final round. We knew we have a good race car. We just came up a tick short. We got our Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat back and we’re really close to getting a win. It was a good points day and we moved up to fourth. I feel we got the bad luck out of the way and I’m looking forward to the next few races with Houston and Charlotte in April. We have a really good car with this Make-A-Wish Dodge.”

Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 11 Qualifier – 3.956 ET)

Rd.1: (.086-second reaction time, 3.958 seconds at 322.88 mph) beat No. 3 Cruz Pedregon (.091/3.981/322.19) and No. 14 Phil Burkhart, Jr. (.029/4.172/263.56)
Rd.2: (.076/4.010/318.32) beat to No. 2 Ron Capps (.088/4.037/315.05), No. 6 John Force (.064/4.025/321.81)
Rd.3: (.018/4.370/213.16) lost to No. 4 J.R. Todd (.052/3.970/319.07), No. 10 Tommy Johnson, Jr. (.079/3.975/313.29)

“We salvaged a pretty darn good weekend after qualifying 11th. I don’t feel that was indicative of how good of a car we had. We were just wearing way too much clutch and it slows it down. We addressed if for race day and then we had to pull some of that back because the race track was the hottest we’ve seen all year. I’m so proud of this team for making good, logical choices in getting us to the final round and giving us a chance to win. At the end of the day, that’s all you really want is a chance to race in the final and get a win. It put a hole out and John Medlen shut the car off. There’s no point in risking damage and hurting parts when we weren’t going to get the trophy. The cool news is in five days we’ll unload and start making qualifying runs at Houston with a really cool looking body and we’re going to change more lives for a great cause.”

Matt Hagan, Mopar Dodge Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 5 Qualifier – 3.924 ET)

Rd.1: (.081-second reaction time, 4.073 seconds at 288.03 mph) beat No. 12 Jim Campbell (.091/4.832/168.14), No. 13 Gary Densham (.144/4.330/2223.62)
Rd.2: (.087/4.017/271.13) lost to No. 1 Tim Wilkerson (.073/3.996/275.17), No. 4 J.R. Todd (.049/4.030/272.01)

“We had a great race car here at Las Vegas this weekend with this chrome Pennzoil Dodge. Four-wide racing is always kind of crazy. We ended up losing on a little holeshot and it’s just one of those things. The car has been running and handling great. I’m bummed about the holeshot loss, but I feel really good moving into Houston. It’s Pennzoil’s home track and we have a lot of these going on this week. I’m really happy with the race car, now the driver needs to get his act together.”

Ron Capps, NAPA Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 2 Qualifier – 3.897 ET)

Rd.1: (.082-second reaction time, 4.280 seconds at 265.06 mph) beat No. 7 Bob Tasca III (.059/4.332/268.65), No. 15 Terry Haddock (.175/4.302/289.88)Rd.2: (.082/9.028/77.04) lost to No. 6 John Force (.110/4.471/185.95)
Rd.2: (.088/4.037/315.05) lost to No. 10 Tommy Johnson, Jr. (.058/3.994/315.93), No. 11 Jack Beckman (.076/4.010/318.32)

“We came in here with a plan to get back to where we were in the past. The first three races of the season didn’t show the potential of the NAPA AUTO PARTS team. We qualified second and were super happy with the car. (Rahn) Tobler is still trying to feel out things with this car and to go down the track on each run and that last quad we lost was super close. We didn’t have lane choice and went out there and made a good pass. It’s a fun race with a lot going on. I feel we got our NAPA Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat back with the performance and we’re looking forward to Houston for Pennzoil and Charlotte later this month.”

Leah Pritchett, Mopar Dodge Top Fuel Dragster
(No. 4 Qualifier – 3.743 ET)

Rd.1: (.088-second reaction time, 6.768 seconds at 114.02 mph) lost No. 5 Clay Millican (.072/3.777/328.14), No. 13 Terry Totten (.198/4.053/301.54)

“We had a consistently solid race car all during qualifying and were definitely ready to take on the competition at the first four-wide of the year. We an extra 150 motor rpm and we’re still trying to figure out why it made the car much happier than we wanted it to be and it smoked the tires at the hit. The data will be very valuable as we lead into Houston. We’ll take what we learned here and we’re just so thankful to be able to make this race. Our heads are high. We won’t let this get us down. The four-wide didn’t get us. We got ourselves. We’ll turn this around real quick and we’re looking forward to Houston to do well in the Pennzoil/Mopar chrome dragster.”


Up Next: Mopar Express Lane NHRA Spring Nationals
Mopar and Dodge//SRT competitors will head next to the 32nd annual Mopar Express Lane NHRA Spring Nationals presented by Pennzoil, April 12-14 at Houston Raceway Park near Baytown, Texas. Four-time Houston Funny Car winner Ron Capps will look to win for the first time in 2019 and become the second driver to win driving a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car.

2019 NHRA Championship — Point Standings After Round 4 of 24
(Season Wins in Parentheses)

NHRA Funny Car
1. Robert Hight (2) – 363
2. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat – 297
3. Tommy Johnson, Jr., Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat – 283

4. J.R. Todd (1) – 280
5. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat (1) – 271
6. John Force - 258
7. Tim Wilkerson - 246
8. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat - 205
9. Bob Tasca III - 198
10. Cruz Pedgregon - 179

NHRA Top Fuel

1. Doug Kalitta (1) - 319
2. Mike Salinas (1) – 286
3. Steve Torrence - 256
4. Leah Pritchett, Mopar HEMI – 244
5. Richie Crampton (1) – 233
6t. Billy Torrence (1) - 231
6t. Clay Millican – 231
8. Brittany Force – 224
9. Terry McMillen - 198
10. Antron Brown - 184

Rick

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Capps powers Dodge//SRT Mopar to No. 2 Spot

Capps powers Dodge//SRT Mopar to No. 2 Spot in Funny Car Qualifying at Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals


Ron Capps qualified his NAPA Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car second in the Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals at Houston Raceway Park Powered by Pennzoil
Leah Pritchett qualified her HEMI-powered Pennzoil/Mopar Top Fuel Dragster third
Matt Hagan chases second Houston Funny Car triumph in his Pennzoil/Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car from the sixth position
Six Mopar-powered Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat drivers make Funny Car field at Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals
“Assemble Your Future” initiative launched for Mopar CAP program students in Houston


April 13, 2019 , Baytown, Texas -

Ron Capps is the fastest of six Mopar-powered Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car drivers that qualified for Sunday’s elimination rounds at the Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals at Houston Raceway Park Powered by Pennzoil.

Capps, the 2016 NHRA Funny Car champion and four-time Houston SpringNationals winner, was one of only two drivers to post a 3.8-second run during qualifying Friday and Saturday, making his best qualifying pass behind the wheel of the Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) NAPA Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car in Saturday’s final session with his lap of 3.893 seconds at 319.29 mph.

Capps is one of six drivers aboard Mopar-powered Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Cars in Sunday’s first round of eliminations. Fellow DSR racer and Hellcat Funny Car driver Matt Hagan, who made his best pass during Friday’s second qualifying session with a run of 3.916 seconds at 318.47 mph, holds the No. 6 position. Cruz Pedregon, Jack Beckman, Tommy Johnson, Jr. and Jim Campbell will try to become the second driver to win a Wally driving a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car.

In Top Fuel, Leah Pritchett returned to action this weekend looking to maintain her recent run of success at the Houston speed plant. Two years ago, she won the SpringNationals and last season was the No. 1 qualifier and reached the semifinals. She made three complete qualifying runs aboard her HEMI-powered Pennzoil/ Mopar Dodge Top Fuel dragster, including her best run of the weekend to close out qualifying Saturday afternoon with her pass of 3.709 seconds at 326.79 mph. Pritchett begins pursuit of her second Houston Wally from the third position Sunday facing Shawn Reed in the first round.

HIGHER EDUCATION AT 300 MPH

The “Assemble Your Future” initiative was launched Friday at Houston Raceway Park Powered by Pennzoil with 27 enrolled students in the Mopar CAP program from Lone Star College and San Jacinto College being introduced to the world of the NHRA and connecting with representatives from 13 local automobile dealers.

The students heard from two-time Funny Car world champion Matt Hagan, reigning Factory Stock Showdown and Top Fuel driver Leah Pritchett and Pritchett’s crew chief Neal Strausbaugh before touring the Don Schumacher Racing pit areas and interacting with the Houston-area dealers. The initiative will occur at four NHRA national events in 2019 with the Dodge Mile-High Nationals presented by Pennzoil near Denver in July being the next event. For more information on the Mopar CAP program, visit: www.MoparCap.com.


Mopar Dodge//SRT Notes & Quotes
(best elapsed times in bold)

Ron Capps, NAPA Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
Qualified No. 2, will face No. 15 Jeff Diehl
Friday: (3.942 seconds at 312.06 mph – Q1); (3.940/317.94 – Q2)
Saturday: (3.924/315.56 – Q3); (3.893/319.29 – Q4)

“We’ve been bragging that the proof is in the Pennzoil all weekend long. It was just a great job by the NAPA Autocare team. Again, the proof is in the hard work. What (Rahn) Tobler’s done to put this car back to where it was in championship form the last couple of years. I love to see when he’s got a plan and watch it evolve and come together. I’ve got the best seat in the house to watch it from. It’s going to be fun tomorrow. Cool conditions. It’s going to be fast and I’m looking to rekindle the magic we’ve had with Houston Raceway Park.”

Matt Hagan, Pennzoil/Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
Qualified No. 6, will face No. 11 Tommy Johnson, Jr.
Friday: (3.974 seconds at 315.56 mph – Q1); (3.916/318.47 – Q2)
Saturday: (3.944/318.47 – Q3); (3.942/316.17 – Q4)

“I feel really, really good about this race car right now. We’ve been down the race track all four qualifying sessions and in a bunch of different conditions. (Crew chief) Dickie Venables has really got a handle on the top end. This Pennzoil Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat is handling amazing, my lights are coming around, and everything is looking like we’re setup to have a great race day tomorrow. I can’t say enough about my team; my guys are just knocking it apart and putting it back together great. Dickie up here in the computer wheelhouse is doing a great job. This is a big event for us, it’s MOPAR and Pennzoil’s race and we’re driving the Pennzoil car. We’re going to put on a great show for them tomorrow and have some fun.”

Jack Beckman, MD Anderson Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
Qualified No. 8, will face No. 9 Bob Tasca III
Friday: (3.932 seconds at 331.34 mph – Q1); (7.761/94.63 – Q2)
Saturday: (6.150/115.15 – Q3); (3.965/315.86 – Q4)

“I’m okay with how we did, we got a chance to push and went too far on a couple of runs. We got points; we were second quickest out of the box. We’re doing some great stuff. The feedback from the fans on this MD Anderson program, I had no idea this many patients and former patients of that cancer center would be here this weekend. It’s been mind-blowing for me and to know that we’re a part of helping them fund cancer research is pretty gratifying. So, that’s Friday and that’s Saturday. Sunday is about the trophy. We could go a long way toward raising even more money. If we can get this car in the winner’s circle, it’s certainly going to help our chances of raising even more funding.”

Tommy Johnson, Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
Qualified No. 11, will face No. 6 Matt Hagan
Friday: (8.406 seconds at 78.26 mph – Q1); (4. 810/168.43 – Q2)
Saturday: (3.987/309.70 – Q3); (3.959/312.13 – Q4)

“We haven’t been our normal self in qualifying. We kept fighting it and I think we got back close with our Saturday runs. We’re making progress at it. We’re just struggling a little bit the conditions and this track. I’m confident this team will get it figured out tonight and we’ll be much better tomorrow. It’s just been a little bit of a bumpy weekend, but we’ll be okay tomorrow.”

Leah Pritchett, Pennzoil/Mopar/Dodge Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified No. 3, will face No. 14 Shawn Reed
Friday: (3.763 seconds at 323.81 mph – Q1); (3.720/326.40 – Q2)
Saturday: (6.429/109.77 – Q3); (3.709/326.79 – Q4)

“I think we definitely have all our ducks lined in a row. This is the ultimate proving grounds for Pennzoil and to have everybody out here has been phenomenal. My guys just went through a last-minute scramble before the final qualifying session because of the extreme changes in weather conditions. I’m super proud of the TF4 Pennzoil team for making that happen really quick for this last run. I’m feeling good where we stand heading into eliminations tomorrow and we’re just going to keep this flow going.”

Tune-In Info
FOX will air live coverage of the Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals elimination rounds starting at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday, April 14.

Rick

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NHRA SpringNationals

Hagan Races Dodge//SRT Mopar Funny Car to Runner-up Finish at Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals

Matt Hagan races Pennzoil/Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car to runner-up finish in Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals Presented by Pennzoil
Leah Pritchett advances to second round behind wheel of Pennzoil/Mopar Dodge Top Fuel dragster at Houston Raceway Park Powered by Pennzoil
Mopar-powered Jacob Pitt earns Stock Eliminator win at Houston, sweeps Dodge Top Finisher Awards for second straight year



April 14, 2019 , Baytown, Texas -


Mopar-powered Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car driver Matt Hagan was shooting for the perfect outcome during this weekend’s 32nd Annual Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals Presented by Pennzoil. The two-time Funny Car world champion raced his Pennzoil/Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat into Sunday’s final at Houston Raceway Park Powered by Pennzoil, but came up just short of scoring the victory.

Hagan was the highest finisher among six Mopar-powered Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Cars in Sunday’s field. Ron Capps reached the semifinal while Jack Beckman, Tommy Johnson, Jr., Cruz Pedregon, and Jim Campbell were unable to advance past round one. Leah Pritchett drove the HEMI-powered Pennzoil/Mopar Dodge Top Fuel dragster into the second round.

Hagan and his Pennzoil team, led by crew chief Dickie Venables, had a solid beginning to the weekend with four consistent qualifying runs Friday and Saturday, earning the No. 6 spot in Sunday’s elimination ladder.

Up first on Sunday was a matchup with fellow Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat driver Tommy Johnson, Jr. Hagan’s lap of 3.946 seconds knocked out Johnson and advanced the 2010 SpringNationals winner into the second round. Hagan dismissed Blake Alexander with another consistent run of 3.948 to setup a semifinal showdown with another DSR teammate, Ron Capps. Hagan legged his way to a victory over Capps after losing traction near halftrack, ultimately crossing the finish line with a run of 4.613 to reach his 56th career final and first in Houston since 2010, when he won his first career Funny Car Wally.

In the final, Hagan lost the starting line advantage to Robert Hight, a .076 reaction time to a .056, and was never able to catch up. His run of 3.966 trailed Hight’s winning pass of 3.941. The run to the final moved Hagan from fifth to second in the championship standings through five of 24 events.

Capps, a four-time Houston winner, qualified second and defeated a tire-smoking Jeff Diehl in the first round with a pass of 3.950 seconds and then navigated his way into his first semifinal of the season by defeating Shawn Langdon with a 3.939-second lap. His quest for a fifth Houston triumph ended when his machine gave way to tire smoke at the hit of the throttle and he was unable to catch Hagan. Capps leaves Houston tied for seventh in the Funny Car rankings.

Despite Sunday’s first-round loss to Bob Tasca III, the weekend was a huge success for Beckman thanks to Doug Chandler, husband of the late Terry Chandler, who elected to banner MD Anderson Cancer Center on the side of Beckman’s Hellcat in honor of his wife. Before Sunday’s elimination rounds got underway, Beckman joined Chandler family representative Judy Pittman on-stage during NHRA’s pre-race ceremony where the duo presented a $100,000 donation check to Bobby Dean, Executive Director of Philanthropic Resources for MD Anderson, on behalf of Doug Chandler and his TLC Foundation.

Following a runner-up finish in Las Vegas last Sunday, Tommy Johnson, Jr. felt like his Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car was on the verge of breaking through this weekend in Houston. After qualifying 11th, he faced his DSR teammate Hagan in the round one. Johnson had a slight starting line advantage, but he lost traction shortly thereafter, allowing Hagan to drive away for the victory. Johnson’s run of 4.807 seconds at 166.87 resulted in his first opening-round loss of 2019. Johnson leaves Houston sixth in the point standings.

In other first-round action with Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Cars competing, Cruz Pedregon lost to Shawn Langdon and Jim Campbell wasn’t able to make a clean run versus J.R. Todd.

In Top Fuel, Pritchett returned to Houston eyeing a second triumph in the last three years. She positioned herself for a big day by qualifying the DSR Pennzoil/Mopar Dodge Top Fuel dragster third in the field. She was machine-like in her victory over Shawn Reed to open eliminations with a run of 3.736 seconds at 322.73 mph to extend her all-time record versus Reed to 6-0. The win advanced her to a matchup with three-time Top Fuel world champion Antron Brown. Unfortunately, an early throttle stomp by Pritchett activated the red light and earned her DSR teammate the automatic round win.

Mopar Dodge//SRT NHRA Sportsman Spotlight
Mopar-powered NHRA Sportsman racer Jacob Pitt drove to the overall event win in Stock Eliminator at the Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals in Houston, on his way to sweeping Dodge Top Finisher honors in both Stock and Super Stock for the second consecutive year.

Pitt, hailing from Fort Worth, Texas, steered his 1969 Plymouth ‘Cuda 440 to his third overall NHRA Wally trophy by defeating Brett Candies in a close final-round matchup. Pitt left the starting line first to edge out his opponent by less than two feet at the finish stripe, and took Dodge Top Finisher honors in the class with his victory.

The Texan also raced to the Dodge Top Finisher Award in the Super Stock class as well, advancing to the third round in his FGT/H 2003 Dodge Stratus, powered by a Mopar 360 small block engine

The Dodge Top Finisher award, now in its third year, awards $500 to Stock Eliminator and Super Stock drivers who advance the furthest behind the wheel of a Mopar-powered Dodge, Chrysler, or Plymouth race car at all 24 NHRA national events.

Dodge//SRT Mopar NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series: Notes & Quotes

Matt Hagan, Pennzoil/Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 6 Qualifier – 3.916 ET)

Rd.1: (.066-second reaction time, 3.946 seconds at 318.62 mph) beat No. 11 Tommy Johnson, Jr. (.061/4.807/166.87)
Rd.2: (.069/3.948/312.93) beat No. 14 Blake Alexander (.065/4.011/306.40)
Rd.3: (.066/4.613/225.79) beat No. 2 Ron Capps (.061/7.818/98.67)
Rd. 4: (.076/3.966/311.70) lost to No. 5 Robert Hight (.056/3.941/310.84)

“I had a great weekend here in Houston. I’ve got a great race car. Dickie Venables is doing an amazing job with this car. The result today falls on me. I was putting down some numbers that were unacceptable and I didn’t leave the way I needed to. We ran just as good as they did, maybe a little better. I put that weight on me. I should have been better (on the starting line). I should have been in the 40s (reaction time) and we would have won this race today.

“Sometimes you need things like this to make you dig deeper. I felt really good about my lights all weekend. In qualifying, I was where I needed to be and today the first three rounds I was there. In the final, I had a really long tree. I went inside my head and almost double-stepped the car, but I pulled it back. As soon as I’m pulling back the light is dropping. You just know to yourself that you are dead late. I would have loved to have won it for Pennzoil this weekend. Driving the chrome Pennzoil car right here in Houston with so many Pennzoil and Mopar people out here to root us on was amazing. I couldn’t be happier with the car and team I have surrounding me. We’re ready to keep things going in Charlotte.”

Ron Capps, NAPA Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 2 Qualifier – 3.893 ET)

Rd.1: (.084-second reaction time, 3.950 seconds at 318.54 mph) beat No. 15 Jeff Diehl (.059/6.980/126.98)
Rd.2: (.068/3.983/315/78) beat No. 10 Shawn Langdon (.061/3.983/318.17)
Rd. 3: (.061/7.818/98.67) lost to No. 6 Matt Hagan (.066/4.613/225/79)

“This was definitely a ‘get-healthy’ weekend for the NAPA guys. To come in and run like we did in qualifying, progressively getting better and end up No. 2 and then to go out there and get to the semifinals. We’ve got a racecar. I’ve been telling our fans to hang with us. After a slow start, we’re back in fighting shape. It’s going to be fun now. It was so much fun going up there with the juices flowing and trying to cut your best light knowing you have a good Thoroughbred underneath you. The confidence just grows and grows. We’ll build off this semifinals finish and moving up in the points.”

Jack Beckman, MD Anderson Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 8 Qualifier – 3.932 ET)

Rd.1: (.073-second reaction time, 5.321 seconds at 137.23 mph) lost to No. 9 Bob Tasca III (.060/3.949/316.60)

“This (first round loss) is a little bit of a gut check. It hurts for a couple of reasons. One is for MD Anderson, that’s a one-race-only deal and despite the fact that we didn’t achieve what we wanted to on the track, we did some real positive things for cancer research and I’m proud of that. But once the helmet goes on, your goal is to win the race and we’ve got a great car right now. We don’t know what happened. We had a breakage in the bottom end there and we’re going to have to find out what caused it. When you’re running well, you have to strike while the iron’s hot. To lose when we know we have this good of a race car, it’s tough. That being said, that’s why we get 24 shots at this a year. We’ll regroup, we’ll figure out what went wrong, see if we can prevent that from happening again and we’ll go back to four-wide and take that trophy.”

Tommy Johnson Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 11 Qualifier – 3.959 ET)

Rd.1: (.061-second reaction time, 4.807 seconds at 166.87 mph) lost No. 6 Matt Hagan (.059/3.946/318.62)

“We were just off a little bit this weekend. We never could quite find our mojo with our tune up. It wasn’t a horrible weekend, but we are better than that. We’ll rebound and come back at Charlotte and try to regroup. Throughout the season there are going to be weekends where you just don’t do as good as you should. Hopefully this is ours and it’s out of the way.”

Leah Pritchett, Pennzoil/Mopar Dodge Top Fuel Dragster
(No. 3 Qualifier – 3.743 ET)

Rd.1: (.062-second reaction time, 3.736 seconds at 322.73 mph) beat No. 14 Shawn Reed (.043/3.755/326.16)
Rd.2: (-.065 red/3.763/320.74) lost to No. 11 Antron Brown (.066/3.750/320.89)

“We came in with a stout hot rod. Got that first-round win and matched up with our teammate Antron Brown. I consider him to be one of the best leavers in the industry and I got a little bit too ‘up’ apparently. I take 100-percent credit for the lack of being able to put a win light on in the second round. I wanted it really bad.

“This was a super important race to all of us and I just can’t thank Pennzoil and Mopar enough for backing us. When the failure falls solely on you, you have two ways to handle it – one is to let it eat at you or the other is to know where and how to improve and just think positively about the next one. We have a second go-round in the Pennzoil chrome car coming up at our next race in Charlotte and I can’t wait for that to be my redemption.”

Up Next: NGK Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals
Mopar and Dodge//SRT competitors will head next to the 10th annual NGK Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, April 26-28 at zMAX Dragway in Concord, North Carolina. Two-time Charlotte Four-Wide Funny Car winner Jack Beckman will look to win for the first time in 2019 and become the second driver to win driving a Mopar-powered Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car.

2019 NHRA Championship — Point Standings After Round 5 of 24
(Season Wins in Parentheses)

NHRA Funny Car
1. Robert Hight (3) – 476
2. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat (1) – 366
3. J.R. Todd (1) –341
4. John Force – 339
5. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat – 332
6. Tommy Johnson, Jr., Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat –315
7t. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat – 286

7t. Tim Wilkerson - 286
9. Bob Tasca III - 250
10. Shawn Langdon - 223

NHRA Top Fuel
1. Doug Kalitta (1) - 367
2. Brittany Force (1) –349
3. Steve Torrence – 343
4. Mike Salinas (1) – 320
5. Leah Pritchett, Mopar HEMI – 303
6. Clay Millican – 302
7. Antron Brown – 278
8. Billy Torrence (1) - 265
9. Richie Crampton (1) – 264
10. Terry McMillen – 231

Rick

Nitro Year: 2007 (1 of 91,815 sold in 07)
Nitro Model: R/T 4X4 Stone White
CAT-BACK Exhaust, CAI, Projector Head Lamps
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