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Mopar and Dodge Begin Championship Chase, Celebrate 80 Years of Mopar as 2017 NHRA Season Blasts Off

Four-driver Mopar Dodge Charger R/T NHRA Funny Car squad competes to capture fifth title in seven seasons

Leah Pritchett back in Mopar/Pennzoil Top Fuel Dragster, looks to build off top-ten finish

Mopar and Dodge put focus on NHRA Sportsman racers, Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak drivers for 2017 season


February 6, 2017 , Auburn Hills, Mich. -

When the fastest race cars on the planet roar to life this week for the NHRA Winternationals, a fleet of Mopar-powered Dodge machines will be among the front-runners at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in Southern California. Drivers and teams will also continue the yearlong Mopar 80th anniversary celebration at the 2017 season-starter as they look to add to the brand’s rich drag racing tradition.

The stout, four-driver NHRA Funny Car stable at Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) will look to mark the brand’s 80 years by capturing a fifth NHRA Mello Yello Series title in the past seven seasons. Longtime Mopar-powered DSR driver Ron Capps gained the title of World Champion for the first time in 2016. His championship run began in Pomona where he collected the victory in the first event of the season. Capps went on to win a total of five races in 10 finals appearances and will return to defend his crown in the NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger R/T.

Meanwhile, 2011 and 2014 Funny Car Champion Matt Hagan seeks to dethrone teammate Capps. Hagan finished third in his Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T in the Funny Car points standings last season, collecting four wins along the way, and also set dual national records. Hagan was responsible for the lowest E.T. in Funny Car history by turning in a time of 3.822 seconds at Minnesota’s Brainerd International Raceway in August. He also set the record for speed, reaching a staggering 335.57 mph at Heartland Park Topeka in May.

Just as much a threat for race wins and world titles are 2012 champ Jack Beckman and 2016 championship runner-up Tommy Johnson Jr., in the Infinite Hero and Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T machines, respectively. Beckman won twice in 2016 and is also second in lowest E.T., having turned in a pass of 3.825 seconds during last season’s fall Pomona event. Johnson earned three event wins last year, including at the Pomona season finale.

In the Top Fuel class, Leah Pritchett will compete in her first full season with DSR after coming onboard with the team midway through the 2016 campaign. A winner last year at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park near Phoenix and a top-ten finisher in the standings, Pritchett proved she’s ready to build on that solid season as she battles in her Mopar/Pennzoil Top Fuel Dragster. During Nitro Spring Training in Phoenix on Saturday, Pritchett recorded the unofficial quickest elapsed time in drag racing history, clocking a run of 3.654 seconds at 331.85 mph.

Pritchett will compete alongside one of the most successful Top Fuel drivers in history, eight-time champion Tony Schumacher, as he pilots the Mopar-powered U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster.

Several HEMI®-powered Dodge Dart cars will also compete in the Pro Stock ranks, led by veteran Mopar driver Allen Johnson. Mopar pro and Sportsman drivers will also attempt to repeat the cumulative success that helped earn Mopar and Dodge the prestigious NHRA Manufacturers Cup in 2016.

In 2017, Mopar and Dodge are also putting extra emphasis on Sportsman racing with a new program designed to provide incentives to Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak racers. The Magneti Marelli Offered by Mopar Drag Pak Rewards program will offer monetary incentives to racers running that particular car and package. The Top 20 drivers in the final point standings will be eligible for cash prizes, while rewards are also available for a Factory Stock Showdown win and a Stock Eliminator World Championship.

All Mopar Sportsman racers will continue to be eligible for awards under the Mopar contingency program, while a variety of special events are scheduled for Sportsman racers through the year. FCA US LLC engineers will provide on-site support to Mopar and Dodge racers across all Sportsman divisions during each of the 24 national events as well.

Mopar and Dodge on Manufacturers Midway
The Mopar display trailer will be on hand on Manufacturers Midway at 15 of the 24 stops on the national event calendar, offering fans a view of the latest Mopar products and hosting special events, such as driver autograph signings. The first signing event is slated for 11:30 a.m. PT on Saturday, February 11 in Pomona.

A brand-new Dodge exhibit will also join the Mopar rig at each event, with the full-scale Dodge display to debut at the NHRA Gatornationals in March. The brands will also serve as primary sponsors at two events on the NHRA schedule: the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals, set for July 21-23 near Denver, Colorado, and the Dodge NHRA Nationals, scheduled for September 21-24 in Reading, Pennsylvania.

For more information on Mopar and Dodge in NHRA, check out the Mopar brand’s official blog, Mopar Blog ? Mopar Blog.

MOPAR QUOTES

Pietro Gorlier, Head of Parts and Service (Mopar) FCA – Global

“The 2016 season was a banner one for Mopar, with Ron Capps winning his first Funny Car World Championship and Mopar and Dodge collecting the NHRA Manufacturers Cup. Mopar is celebrating 80 years in 2017, and over eight decades the dragstrip has always figured prominently in our DNA. Once again, we will field an elite lineup of drivers and teams ready to add to our brand’s championship-winning legacy at the track.”

Matt Hagan, driver, Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T


Matt Hagan took part in last week’s test session at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park near Phoenix. He’ll try to provide Mopar with its fifth NHRA Funny Car title in seven years during the 2017 season.

“2017 is going to be a big year I think for all of us, especially here at DSR. I have a lot of goals that I’ve set for myself. With my brother passing, I think that it put some stuff in perspective for me, treating every day and every lap and every race as it could be your last. He was 33 years old and he’s gone. Somehow that stuff hits home. You’ve got to take life and really realize how special every moment is. So, I think that when I’m crawling into the race car this year I’m not going to take anything for granted and not just go through the motions. I never really do that, it just means a lot more to me now knowing that it can be gone tomorrow.”

(About 80 Years of Mopar)
“I think that [Mopar’s 80th anniversary] speaks for itself. 80 years of Mopar, that’s just 80 years of horsepower. It’s pretty cool that everybody’s so brand-loyal and supported the cause and allowed Mopar to be out here and be able to demonstrate the horsepower like they do on the racetrack. 80 years, that’s pretty awesome. I think that we have to have a big year for them. We’ve got to go out here and win a bunch of races and win this championship and make it all happen.”

Ron Capps, driver, NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger R/T

“Every time I go to the starting line I know that we sort of have a target on our back with the performance that our team has always put on the racetrack. It’s funny how you spend the offseason always finding out where you can be better from the previous season. This year was no different. It was great to win a world championship and it’s another feather in the cap for [crew chief] Rahn Tobler and the crew guys, but we still did the same thing in the off-season. We sat down and figured out how we can be better here, how we can be better there, and Tobler implemented it all winter long. Hopefully we’ll start off the season in Pomona like we did last year with a win and go on to have a good season.”

Jack Beckman, driver, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T
“Winning so many championships in the recent NHRA tour for Funny Car, I think that says that there’s a deep level of commitment and excellence, both at Don Schumacher Racing and at Mopar. You know they don’t just design the body, send us a chunk of carbon and say, ‘go race.’ We’ve got engineering support literally at every race, trying to make what already is arguably the best Funny Car body out here even better. So, I think the philosophy that everybody shares is your best, 100 percent every day, and we never stop trying to get better.”

Tommy Johnson Jr., driver, Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T
“I think we’ve shown over the past three years we’re very consistent, we’ve steadily improved and I hope to stay on that track. It isn’t like we have to go a long ways now. We were just one position out of a championship. To be third and a second, it shows the strength of the team and how methodical they are. I’m looking forward to this season. I think we’ve learned from each season and we’ll take what we’ve learned and apply it and hopefully move up one more spot.”

Leah Pritchett, driver, Mopar/Pennzoil Top Fuel Dragster

“The security and sustainability that 2017 brings is remarkable. It’s actually everything I’ve dreamed of. Last year I began an official partnership with Mopar and they have been incredible, not only as a sponsor, but as a partner. They do cool things to engage fans with what we’re doing. Yes, we have the performance part of the house and deliver that on track. But we also get to go into some of their sales conferences and participate in their Block Party in Reading.

“I’m extremely pumped for the fact that we get to have a Mopar-primary car again in Reading during the Dodge race. Something really cool that I never thought would happen is being able to have the [Dodge Challenger SRT] Hellcat. I’ve had a couple different ones and have been able to utilize them in not only different shoots, but really live the power that I get to talk about. I’ll tell you what, on the street it’s a beast and on the track we’re a beast. To go into my second year with Mopar, that’s been a dream since I got my license with Schumacher Racing in 2008 in a Funny Car. We’re the epitome of power, and Mopar is the epitome of power.”
 

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Qualifying Efforts at NHRA Winternationals

Mopar and Dodge Drivers Hagan and Pritchett Start Season with Dual No. 1 Qualifying Efforts at NHRA Winternationals


Matt Hagan claims pole in Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T, ties own time and national speed record
Papa John’s Pizza/Mopar Pennzoil driver and Southern California native Leah Pritchett takes second career pole at hometown track
Seven Dodge Charger R/T machines qualify for Funny Car eliminations


February 11, 2017 , Pomona, California -

The first qualifying rounds of the 2017 NHRA schedule are in the books, and Mopar is two-for-two in Nitro qualifying on the young season. Don Schumacher Racing’s Matt Hagan led the contingent of seven Mopar-powered Funny Cars in a field of 18 to win the pole during the 57th NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, tying two of his own records along the way. Mopar-powered Top Fuel driver Leah Pritchett also collected her second career top qualifying spot to give Mopar the first two Nitro No. 1 qualifying positions of 2017.

Friday’s first session kicked off with Hagan claiming the top spot in Funny Car in his Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T. He never relinquished that position and the native of Christiansburg, Virginia, matched his national records of 3.822 seconds and 335.57 mph (both set in 2016) in Q4 on Saturday afternoon to claim the 27th No. 1 qualifier position of his career. Both elapsed time and speed were also track records at Pomona.

Meanwhile in Top Fuel, 15 cars made qualifying runs. Qualifying was based on just three sessions, with Mother Nature winning round two on Friday afternoon. Southern California native Leah Pritchett recovered from a mechanical issue on Friday to qualify first in the Papa John’s Pizza/ Mopar Pennzoil Top Fuel Dragster at her hometown track. Pritchett is originally from Redlands, California. She turned in a career-best run in Q4 with a pass of 3.672 seconds at 327.90 mph to taker her second career pole, and second in the last five events.

In the Pro Stock ranks, Allen Johnson qualified 13th in his Dodge Dart in Pro Stock and will face off against No. 4 qualifier Shane Gray in the first round on Sunday. Two other Dodge Darts made the show, including Deric Kramer in the 10th position.

MOPAR/DODGE NOTES & QUOTES




Matt Hagan, Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T
Qualified No. 1, will face No. 16 Jeff Diehl
Friday: (3.840 seconds/330.15 mph – Q1); (Cancelled – Q2)
Saturday: (3.878/304.87 – Q3); (3.822/335.57 – Q4)

“That run ties both my personal bests and I was just thinking I wish we could have gone just a little bit faster but we’ll take what we can get. We want to be humble and not be too greedy to start off with. To go out there the first race [of the year], and first weekend of qualifying and to be right there where our national record is at is huge. That takes us a lot of time and a lot of cars the middle towards the end of the year to run down in the national records.”

(On Mopar)
“I think it’s been pretty amazing the last seven years … I’ve been able to carry the banner for Mopar and I don’t know how many national records I’ve set, but we’ve laid down a lot of cool runs like that and put on a great show for fans that have paid their hard-earned money to come out here. You know they’re going to go back and that leaves an impression on them, and we’re carrying a Mopar banner. We’re gaining fans every weekend and hopefully they’re all Mopar fans. It’s just neat to carry the banner for Mopar but it’s also neat to have a race car that performs the way it does.

“We were able to win the manufacturing award last year because of drag racing, our teammates and everything else we did. I think it has been about 42 years or something since that happened so it really goes to show how much emphasis these fans and everyone else who is voting puts into drag racing. To come out here and perform and kick the season off right is pretty cool.”



Leah Pritchett, Papa John’s Pizza/Mopar Pennzoil Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified No. 1, 1st Rd. Bye
Friday: (8.835/67.47 – Q1); (Cancelled– Q2);
Saturday: (3.702/324.83 – Q3); (3.672/327.90 – Q4)

“I have envisioned this moment before when I was standing right there in the restricted area pass section when I didn’t have a restricted pass and watching these guys at exactly this time, freezing in the corner, hoping and praying that I would get to be here. I envisioned it. You can’t have a goal and chase after something like qualifying number one at Pomona, or winning the U.S. Nationals, or maybe being world champion someday, you can’t do those things without envisioning them. Is it a pipe dream? For sure it was back then. Am I closer to it now? Absolutely. But for it to happen, you can hear it in my voice, the only thing that gets better is if we wear the yellow (winner) hat.”

(About Mopar power)
“We wouldn’t have the powerplant that we have or the technology without Mopar working with Schumacher throughout the season and throughout the offseason. We create the most power in the world and put it to the ground. Mopar helps us do that efficiently. It’s been a fantastic relationship and we definitely wouldn’t be at the number one spot if it wasn’t for them and their consistent support and their influence in the drag racing scene, whether it’s with the [Mopar Dodge Challenger] Drag Paks or with our car specifically. Mopar has a very big part in this and when we win, they win.”

Ron Capps, NAPA Dodge Charger R/T
Qualified No. 4, will face No. 13 Bob Bode
Friday: (4.158/325.14 – Q1); (8.363/79.98– Q2)
Saturday: (3.859/325.85 – Q3); (Pulled Off – Steering – Q4)

“We’re happy where it is right now, and it feels like it was actually an extra day of testing, believe it or not. Even though it was at the race, we learned a ton, more what not to do than what to do, and a lot of times that’s a better benefit than actually learning something in the other direction.”

Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T
Qualified No. 8, will face No. 9 Cruz Pedregon
Friday: (4.153/295.14 – Q1); (Cancelled – Q2)
Saturday: (5.937/123.42 – Q3); (3.894/333.99 – Q4)

“That 3.89 was far from a perfect run. The speed showed some potential. We actually softened (the tune-up) up but it was a little weak on ET (elapsed time). We tested well a week ago; we had a lot of good time slips from that. But they don’t count. They’re not for points, they’re not for a trophy, they’re not during a race.”

Tommy Johnson Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T
Qualified No. 10, will face No. 7 Alex DeJoria
Friday: (4.723/183.97 – Q1); (Cancelled – Q2)
Saturday: (3.942/320.58 – Q3); (3.933/323.97 – Q4)

“Every run is getting better. Hopefully by race day, we will have enough data in the book and the guys will make the right calls. We have a lot of good data from the Finals in November when we won the title so I’m still confident going into race day.”

Tony Schumacher, U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified No. 5, will face No. 12 Scott Palmer
Friday: (3.729/325.06 – Q1); (Cancelled – Q2)
Saturday: (3.716/314.24 – Q3); (3.864/247.47 – Q4)

“I know there are cars running just a little bit quicker than us right now, but to be honest we’re not getting all the way to the finish line. When we finally make it, we’ll be running similar numbers. Good car, but we’ve got to keep it from blowing up because we’re hurting parts and we’ve got to figure that part, first because this sport is all about safety.”

Allen Johnson, Marathon Dodge Dart
Qualified No. 13, will face No. 4 Shane Gray
Friday: (6.636/207.94 – Q1); (6.663/207.66 – Q2)
Saturday: (6.621/208.33 – Q3); (6.622/208.52 – Q4)

“We spent the whole winter on the dyno and elected not to go testing in hopes of getting a better combination for our Dart. We're learning we should've tested before coming to this race and we'll go home before Phoenix and fix the problem. Outdriving these guys tomorrow is going to be real important and that's what I plan on doing in my Marathon Petroleum Co. Dodge Dart on raceday."

TUNE-IN INFO
Final eliminations for the 57th NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona will be televised LIVE on FOX at 4 p.m. ET on Sunday, February 12.
 

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Hagan and Pritchett Dominate

Hagan and Pritchett Dominate, Double Up for Mopar and Dodge at 57th NHRA Winternationals


Matt Hagan wins 27th Funny Car event of career in Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T
Mopar-powered Dodge Charger R/T drivers take three of top five spots in Funny Car point standings to start season
Leah Pritchett wins second national event in Top Fuel, first at hometown track in Papa John’s Pizza/Mopar Pennzoil Dragster
Stock Eliminator and Super Stock drivers claim first Dodge Top Finisher awards by reaching finals and quarterfinals, respectively


February 12, 2017 , Pomona, California -

The Mopar-powered machines out of the Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) stable were the undisputed stars of the 57th NHRA Winternationals. Matt Hagan won the Funny Car portion of the event in his Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T, while Leah Pritchett claimed the Top Fuel crown in her Papa John’s Pizza/Mopar Pennzoil Dragster. The win was the 27th of Hagan’s career, while Pritchett earned her second Top Fuel Wally.

Hagan was the No. 1 qualifier in Funny Car on Saturday, tying both his national elapsed time and top speed records. He then worked his way through the ladder on Sunday, defeating two Mopar Dodge teammates en route to facing Courtney Force in the final. Hagan laid down an elapsed time of 3.875 seconds at 330.07 mph in the left lane to win the title.

All four DSR Funny Cars advanced to the second round, with Hagan moving on to face defending event winner and 2016 champion Ron Capps in the semifinals. Hagan bettered his Mopar teammate after Capps redlit at the starting line. Hagan’s run was not without drama, however, as his car broke loose and he nearly crossed the center line before getting the machine righted. Hagan beat Jeff Diehl in the first round, then won the matchup against teammate Jack Beckman in the Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T in round two. Beckman had defeated Cruz Pedregon in the first round. Tommy Johnson Jr. and his Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T defeated Alexis DeJoria in the first round before being bested by John Force.

In Top Fuel, Leah Pritchett could not have scripted a better homecoming. A native of the Southern California town of Redlands, Pritchett won her second career national event in Top Fuel in her third career final round. She bested Doug Kalitta from the right lane with a pass of 3.711 seconds at 324.98 mph. Pritchett was also the first female No. 1 qualifier in Top Fuel at the Winternationals since the legendary Shirley Muldowney accomplished the feat in 1977.

With 15 cars entered in the Top Fuel class, Pritchett earned a first round bye before topping Steve Torrence in the second round. She then defeated her Mopar and DSR teammate, eight-time champ Tony Schumacher, in the semis before winning the final matchup with Kalitta. Schumacher and his U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster beat Scott Palmer in the first round and Brittany Force in the second before facing Pritchett.

For more information on Mopar and Dodge in NHRA, check out the Mopar brand’s official blog, Mopar Blog ? Mopar Blog.

Mopar/Dodge Notes & Quotes
Pietro Gorlier, Head of Parts and Service (Mopar) FCA – Global
“Multiple Nitro wins on the same weekend are an incredible feat. All of us at Mopar congratulate Matt Hagan on the win in Funny Car with his Mopar Dodge Charger R/T and Leah Pritchett on the Top Fuel win at the 57th NHRA Winternationals. We can’t wait to see what the Arizona Nationals has in store for us.”



Matt Hagan, Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car (No. 1 Qualifier)
Rd. 1: (.072 reaction time, 3.885 seconds at 331.77mph), defeated No. 16 Jeff Diehl (red light)
Rd. 2: (.045/3.882/329.18) defeated No. 8 Jack Beckman (.066/3.893/328.30)
Semis: (.050/4.290/207.50) defeated No. 4 Ron Capps (red light)
Finals: (.054/3.875/330.07 defeated No. 6 Courtney Force (.059/3.901/326.95)

“It’s just a real special race for me. A lot of stuff happened over the offseason with losing my brother and I’m just coming out motivated. My lights have been great, the car is running great. We’ve just got a real powerhouse team right now. I’ve got to say thank you to Don Schumacher. There’s a line of drivers that would sit in that car and take my job tomorrow. But he keeps me in the car and I just try to do a good job for him. We’ve got a great team around us right now. I’m just excited. This is the first race of the year and you chalk it up to, ‘okay, yeah that’s great, but there’s a long season ahead of us.’ We’ve just got to keep some of this momentum going.

"To be driving for Mopar and carrying the banner for so long, I’m sure Pietro (Gorlier) has got a big smile on his face right now. We’ve just to keep that going. Anytime we can put those Forces on the trailer that’s what we need to do. We’re here to win and Don expects us to win.”

Leah Pritchett, Papa John’s Pizza/Mopar Pennzoil Top Fuel Dragster (No.1 Qualifier)


Rd. 1: Bye (.082/3.707/325.14)
Rd. 2: (.060/3.707/324.44) defeated No. 8 Steve Torrence (.059/3.755/328.22)
Semis: (.060/3.687/327.43) defeated No. 5 Tony Schumacher (.066/3.750/322.11)
Finals: (.071/3.711/324.98) defeated No. 2 Doug Kalitta (.058/7.630/103.85)

“Every time I turn off onto Fairplex Drive and go up this road I’m in a different car and it kind of represents where I’m at in my life. So today I’m driving here from Chino, a different direction than I’ve ever had, in a [Dodge Challenger SRT] Hellcat because I’m working with Dodge last week and this upcoming week and I get to drive around a Hellcat. In my opinion it doesn’t get any better than that which is a representation of my current situation. It doesn’t get any better than that. I’m looking off at the mountains and I’m like, ‘those are my mountains, these are my streets, that’s my taco stand, this is my house,’ and that’s how I talk to myself.

"You’ve got to have confidence if you’re going to run one of these beasts and confidence is contagious. [Crew chief] Tod Okuhara and [assistant crew chief Joe [Barlam]’s confidence in the car is contagious to me as a driver, and I think that’s how we’re jelling so well.”

Ron Capps, NAPA Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car – (No. 4 Qualifier)
Rd 1: (.075/3.880/329.10) defeated No. 13 Bob Bode (.100/9.544/67.95)
Rd. 2: (.067/3.898/325.2) defeated No. 12 Del Worsham (.099/6.455/117.75)
Semis: (red light) lost to No. 1 Matt Hagan (.050/4.290/207.50)

“It’s been a long time [since I redlit]. I wasn’t trying to push it. We always discuss at Pomona before the semis and final the disadvantage of being in the left lane because the sun is lower in the sky and there can be a glare. We didn’t have lane choice so we had no say on our lane choice. But that’s not an excuse. I’ve been in that lane for a final round before with the sun right in my face and I never redlit. I thought I saw a flicker of yellow. I have no excuse. I just made a mistake and I’m devastated. I told our crew that I was sorry and they did exactly what was needed to the car.”

Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car (No. 8 Qualifier)
Rd 1: (.072/3.867/330.63) defeated No. 9 Cruz Pedregon (.086/13.004/67.39)
Rd 2: (.066/3.893/328.30 lost to No. 1 Matt Hagan (.045/3.882/329.18)

“I’m not the first one of the DSR Funny Car squad to say the cars we fear the most in the other lane are the other Dodges. We know what parts and aerodynamics they have. I tell you what’s very satisfying out here, this is a team sport. You’ve got 11 guys on a team, all working for a singular goal. But we can also go next door. When I needed another parachute, I went over to our Mopar teammate’s car and they helped us out. And we had to race them the next round. You always say, ‘from burnout to turnout there are no teammates,’ it’s every team for themselves. But it’s nice to know that when the fans are making betting odds on who they think will win a Mopar is always going to be near the top of the heap.”

Tommy Johnson Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car ( No. 10 Qualifier)
Rd.1: (.060/3.938/323.89) defeated No. 7 Alexis DeJoria (.085/4.148/229.24)
Rd 2: (.036/3.939/324.36) lost to No. 2 John Force (.068/3.884/329.67)

“It looks like the DSR and Force cars are the ones to beat right now. I’m happy to see all of our teams going to the second round. Unfortunately we didn’t make the semis, but for all the adversity we had coming into this race, having to switch cars in testing because of the bent chassis, I’m still pleased with what we did. I’m looking forward to going to Phoenix. We’re close, we’re consistent, we just need to pick up a little bit and I think we will.

Tony Schumacher, U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster (No. 5 Qualifier)
Rd. 1: (.083/3.709/326.08) defeated No. 12 Scott Palmer (.100/3.896/287.96)
Rd. 2: (.045/3.697/325.53) defeated No. 6 Brittany Force (.066/9.544/75.26)
Semis: (.066/3.750/322.11 lost to No. 1 Leah Pritchett (.060/3.687/327.43)

“It’s better than we’ve done here the last two years. We’re leaving here fourth, already picked up four spots on last year’s ending (laughs). That’s not necessarily something to celebrate for this championship-contending U.S. Army team. The car went down the track, the crew chiefs have confidence, the guys are doing a great job, the driver’s focused. We had a good run, Leah made a great run, the two fastest cars at this particular racetrack on this particular weekend are in the final. It’s fitting.I’m looking forward to Phoenix. We’ve had great success there and I can’t wait to get there.”

Mopar/Dodge NHRA Sportsman Spotlight


Like their professional counterparts, Mopar-powered NHRA Sportsman competitors raced deep into rounds at the NHRA Winternationals. Justin Jerome, of Fullerton, California, qualified No. 6 in Stock Eliminator in his 1973 Plymouth Duster on the strength of a 10.952-second run at 0.898 under index. Jerome marched through the early rounds and defeated another Mopar-powered racer, Jon Irving in his 1971 Dodge Demon, to reach the final.

Jerome came up short in the final match, paired against Jerry Emmons. Aiming for his first National event win in Stock, lifelong Mopar fan Jerome finished runner-up after he broke out with a 10.985/119.38 that was .045 over index.

Jerome didn’t leave Pomona empty-handed, as he captured the Dodge Top Finisher award in Stock Eliminator at Pomona. Newly introduced for 2017, the Dodge Top Finisher honor awards $500 to the Stock and Super Stock drivers in a Dodge or Plymouth vehicle who advance the farthest during eliminations at each of the 24 NHRA National events.



John Dourlet of Telluride, Colorado, won the Super Stock Dodge Top Finisher award in a 1970 Plymouth Duster, powered by a small block featuring Mopar Performance aluminum cylinder heads, valve covers, and other components. Droulet advanced to the Super Stock quarterfinals.

Next Event
Next up on the NHRA national event calendar is a trip to Wild Horse Pass Motrosports Park outside Phoenix for the Arizona Nationals on February 24 – 26. Mopar-powered Leah Pritchett won her first Wally in Top Fuel Dragster during the event last year. She also set the unofficial fastest time in Top Fuel history with a pass of 3.654 seconds at 331.85 mph at the track during Nitro Spring Training in early February. Qualifying and eliminations will be broadcast on FS1.

2017 NHRA Championship — Point Standings After Round 1 of 24
(Season Wins in Parentheses)


NHRA Funny Car
1. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger R/T (1) – 119
2. Courtney Force – 99
3. John Force – 80
4. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger R/T – 77
5. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger R/T – 53
6t. Tommy Johnson Jr. Dodge Charger R/T – 52

6t. J.R. Todd – 52
6t. Del Worsham – 52
9. Robert Hight – 36
10. Alexis DeJoria – 35

NHRA Top Fuel
1. Leah Pritchett, Mopar HEMI (1) – 122
2. Doug Kalitta – 105
3. Antron Brown – 79
4. Tony Schumacher, Mopar HEMI – 70
5. Brittany Force – 57
6. Troy Coughlin Jr. – 54
7. Steve Torrence – 53
8. Terry McMillen – 48
9t. Scott Palmer – 32
9t. Shawn Reed – 32
 
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