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Hagan Drives Mopar and Dodge//SRT to No. 1 Spot in Funny Car Qualifying at NHRA Winternationals


Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car driver Matt Hagan kicks off season by claiming pole on final qualifying pass at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, California
Hagan sets track speed record in earning 31st career No. 1 position
Hagan’s Don Schumacher Racing teammates Beckman and Capps also place their Mopar-powered Dodge Charger Funny Car machines in top five
Leah Pritchett will start season No. 4 in her Mopar Dodge NHRA Top Fuel Dragster

February 10, 2018 , Pomona, California -




Matt Hagan raced the Mopar and Dodge//SRT brands to a hot start in 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series competition, taking the No. 1 qualifying position in his Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car at the season-opening 58th annual NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, California.

Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) driver Hagan recorded a 3.822-second elapsed time (ET) at a track-record speed of 336.32 mph in the final qualifying pair on Saturday at Auto Club Raceway to earn the top spot heading into Sunday eliminations. The pole was the 31st of Hagan’s career, and the ten-year Mopar and Dodge//SRT Funny Car veteran will look to defend his 2017 event win here tomorrow.

Sunny skies and warmer track temperatures for the first two qualifying sessions on Friday gave way to cloud cover and a cooler racing surface for Saturday’s two final qualifying rounds, which Hagan used to move up the charts. On Saturday morning, he used a 3.859-second ET to claim the No. 1 spot and earn three bonus points. Knocked off the pole while awaiting his final qualifying turn, Hagan reclaimed the spot on his final attempt, banking another three markers for a total of nine qualifying bonus points.


Two-time NHRA Funny Car champion Hagan will lead a group of five Mopar-powered Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car racers into Sunday eliminations. His DSR teammate Jack Beckman earned the provisional pole on Friday with a 3.860 ET, not enough to hold the position but good enough to start from third on race day in his Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T.

Mopar-powered DSR Dodge Charger R/T driver Ron Capps, the 2016 Funny Car series champion and runner-up in 2017, briefly held the top spot after the first qualifying session on Friday and will start fifth, giving Mopar and Dodge three of the top five spots. Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T pilot Tommy Johnson Jr. will start ninth, while Jim Campbell posted his Charger No. 16 in the field.



In Top Fuel, Leah Pritchett used a strong run in the morning session on Saturday to open her racing season in the No. 4 spot. Ranked seventh after Friday qualifying, Pritchett clocked a 3.687 ET in her Mopar Dodge Top Fuel dragster and moved up three spots. She’ll attempt to defend her 2017 NHRA Winternationals event crown on Sunday and claim another victory for Mopar and Dodge//SRT. Pritchett will be joined in eliminations by DSR teammate Tony Schumacher, who will start eighth in his U.S. Army dragster.

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

Matt Hagan, Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
Qualified No. 1, will face No. 16 Jim Campbell
Friday: (3.917 seconds at 328.94 mph – Q1); (3.877/329.99 – Q2)
Saturday: (3.859/331.20 – Q3); (3.822/336.32 – Q4)

“I can’t say enough about (crew chief) Dickie Venables. We’re so blessed and lucky to have him in our corner. He’s worth his weight in gold. I get to crawl in that hot rod he tunes, put my mouthpiece in and hang on. It’s always a fun ride. Dickie has a gut instinct for how the track is, and what decisions are going to be made. He’s been doing that since he was my age so he has a lot of experience and that’s just stuff you can’t get overnight.

“The weather was awesome today. That’s why we saw those low numbers. The conditions are supposed to be more similar to what we saw on Friday. When the sun comes out and stuff slows down, it changes everything. Push hard first round and then peel it back, but you’ve got to get out of first round. One pass at a time.”

Leah Pritchett, Mopar Dodge Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified No. 4, will face No. 11 Scott Palmer
Friday: (3.783 seconds at 328.62 mph – Q1); (5.293/130.38 – Q2)
Saturday: (3.687/330.23 – Q3); (3.810/300.93 – Q4)

On mechanical issues on her last qualifying attempt:

“It’s a pretty interesting start to the season. We set our goals pretty high — we have a lot to back up from last year. Ultimately, what happened today happened today, and not tomorrow. But the shining light of it is we feel we now understand, due to math, why it did what it did on that run, and why the 3.68 we ran in the first run today wasn’t the 3.66 or 3.65 we were trying to run. Now, everything we experienced all throughout qualifying makes sense and, again, it happened today and not tomorrow.”

Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
Qualified No. 3, will face No. 14 Bob Tasca
Friday: (3.964 seconds at 324.90mph – Q1); (3.860/332.84– Q2)
Saturday: (3.863/332.43 – Q3); (8.038/76.76 – 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.”

Ron Capps, NAPA Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
Qualified No. 5, will face No. 12 Shawn Langdon
Friday: (3.882 seconds at 331.12 mph – Q1); (3.884/328.62 – Q2)
Saturday: (4.248/216.27 – Q3); (3.914/323.89 – Q4)

“I’ve said it time and time again, I don’t care where we qualify, going into a race day with Rahn Tobler, I always feel like a step up on top of whoever we’re going to race. And I still feel that way. We’re going to go into race day and him and I are going to do what we do. That’s come together and race, race hard. I’m so pumped up to be back at Pomona. It was such a fun season last year with all the wins, all the final rounds, but this is a renewed vengeance to come back out here and prove that we need to be back at number one.”

Tommy Johnson Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
Qualified No. 9, will face No. 8 Cruz Pedregon
Friday: (5.401 seconds at 132.97 mph – Q1); (3.932/320.36 – Q2)
Saturday: (7.752/82.70 – Q3); (8.765/40.24 – Q4)

“We want to come back out here like we did at the NHRA Finals, where we went right down the track. We ran really well and got the win. There’s no reason we can’t work hard tonight and find out what’s causing our problems and do the same thing tomorrow.”

Tony Schumacher, U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified No. 8, will face No. 7 Terry McMillen
Friday: (3.792 seconds at 328.46 mph – Q1); (3.732/331.20 – Q2)
Saturday: (3.767/316.15 – Q3); (8.131/82.42 – Q4)

“Mike Neff and Phil Shuler are doing a great job. We didn’t qualify as well as we wanted to but, you know what, the car is excellent. I trust in them and I look forward to the race tomorrow and getting this run for the championship started.”

Dodge Garage: New Digital Hub for Drag Racing News
Fans now have a new one-stop destination for Mopar and Dodge drag racing news. Dodge Garage (Dodge Garage | Home) is a digital content hub and premier destination for drag racing and muscle car enthusiasts.

Fans can view daily updates and get access to an online racing HQ, news, events, galleries, available downloads and merchandise. Dodge Garage features include exclusive content, such as a three-part video series “Chasing the Title,” that offers fans a unique, behind-the-scenes glimpse at Pritchett and her DSR team in action.


Tune-in Info
FOX Sports 1 will broadcast three hours of eliminations coverage of the 58th annual NHRA Winternationals starting at 5:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, February 11.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
R/T Funny Car Driver Hagan Triumphs

Mopar Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car Driver Hagan Triumphs at Season-opening NHRA Winternationals
Gilley Scores Stock Eliminator win in 1969 Dodge Dart GTS 340

Matt Hagan takes Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car to back-to-back victories at NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, California
Hagan dominates from pole to earn his 27th NHRA National event win
Three of four Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) Mopar Dodge Charger R/T drivers advance to semifinals
Mopar-powered DSR Top Fuel driver Tony Schumacher races to event runner-up
Leah Pritchett exits early in Mopar Dodge NHRA Top Fuel dragster
Larry Gilley claims Stock Eliminator class win in Mopar-powered 1969 Dodge Dart GTS 340
Gilley, Staci Smith earn first 2018 Dodge Top Finisher awards in NHRA Sportsman ranks
More info on Mopar in NHRA available at http://blog.mopar.com
New Dodge Garage (Dodge Garage | Home), a digital content hub for muscle car and race enthusiasts launches; will include highlights from NHRA season

February 11, 2018 , Pomona, California -



Matt Hagan started the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series the same way he began his 2017 season — driving the Mopar and Dodge//SRT brands to victory at the NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, California.

The two-time NHRA Funny Car champion wrapped up a dominant weekend in which he also claimed the pole in his Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car by outgunning Robert Hight in the final round at Auto Club Raceway. The victory was Hagan’s second straight at the NHRA Winternationals and the 27th of his career in 48 final rounds.


Adding to the Mopar and Dodge//SRT Sunday celebration was a runner-up showing by Hagan’s Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) teammate Tony Schumacher in Top Fuel and an NHRA Stock Eliminator win by Larry Gilley in a 1969 Dodge Dart GTS 340. Hagan was also joined in the Funny Car semifinals by two of his Mopar-powered DSR Dodge teammates, Jack Beckman and Ron Capps.


After earning the No. 1 qualifying spot on Saturday with a 3.822-second elapsed time (ET), Hagan recorded the second quickest run of the first round on Sunday to defeat Dodge Charger R/T driver Jim Campbell. The DSR driver next bested Cruz Pedregon before winning a tight all-Mopar Dodge match against Capps. In the final, Hagan’s 3.823/335.90 run was enough to hold off Hight’s strong 3.866/336.99 pass.

Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car driver Beckman posted impressive numbers in the first two elimination rounds. The 2012 Funny Car champion opened his day by using the third-quickest run of the round to best Bob Tasca, and then was quickest in the quarterfinals in trailering Tim Wilkerson. That ended in the semis, when Beckman’s car went quiet shortly after launch, ending his day.

Capps’ run to the semifinals included a first-round win over Shawn Langdon and an interesting battle with Jonnie Lindberg in the quarterfinals. Lindberg took the red light foul loss after leaving too early, which also caused Capps to launch a tad too soon as well. The fourth DSR Funny Car team member, Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T driver Tommy Johnson, was unable to move past the first round after smoking the tires and losing to Cruz Pedregon.



Tony Schumacher raced his Mopar HEMI-powered U.S. Army dragster to his first final round since the 2017 Atlanta event. Schumacher outran Terry McMillen, Terry Haddock and Antron Brown before falling to Doug Kalitta in the money round. Mopar Dodge NHRA Top Fuel dragster driver Leah Pritchett will look to rebound from an early first-round exit at Pomona. Starting from the No. 4 spot in the first round against Scott Palmer, Pritchett’s parachute popped out prematurely during the burnout, ending the DSR star’s Winternationals title defense before it could truly begin.

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

Pietro Gorlier, Head of Parts and Service (Mopar), FCA
“Congratulations to Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T driver Matt Hagan on starting off the 2018 NHRA season with a visit to winner’s circle. The Mopar and Dodge brands are working even closer together this year to expand our commitment to NHRA, and this is a great early return on that teamwork. We’re hopeful this is the first of many Sunday celebrations at the drag strip for our brands this year.”

Steve Beahm, Head of Passenger Cars, Dodge//SRT, Chrysler and FIAT, FCA North America
“Matt Hagan’s win in his Mopar-powered Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car at Pomona today is a terrific way for our brands to kick off this year’s NHRA season. By expanding our sponsorship and partnering with Mopar, now for our third year, Dodge//SRT continues to connect with the growing number of drag racing fans in the stands, watching on TV and competing at drag strips around the country in their Chargers and Challengers.”

Matt Hagan, Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 1 Qualifier – 3.822 ET)

Rd. 1: (070-second reaction time, 3.902 seconds at 331.53 mph) beat No. 16 Jim Campbell (.117/4.387/213.77)
Rd. 2: (.057/3.954/329.34) beat No. 8 Cruz Pedregon (.010/4.006/322.11)
Rd. 3: (.059/3.938/330.07) beat No. 5 Ron Capps (.074/3.968/320.81)
Rd. 4: (.055/3.823/335.90) beat No. 2 Robert Hight (.034/3.866/336.99)

“To watch my guys come together and work, everything is clicking so nice — you can tell the extra prep they put in during the off-season. It’s not so much just the parts and pieces, it’s looking at those parts and pieces, and putting your hands on them.

“I’m really just proud of them, but I’m proud to crawl in that race car that Don Schumacher owns. It’s a car that these guys have put together, that I know I can win on any given Sunday. That’s a crazy feeling. It’s a cool feeling. Everything on this car goes back to Dickie Venables, and at the end of the day him and Mike Knudsen have a game plan. It just shows you how smart they are.

“These things are very humbling. We feel great right now, but we could roll into Phoenix and it could be a different story. We just have to keep it upbeat and positive, and no matter what happens, keep it rolling.”

Tony Schumacher, U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster
(No. 8 Qualifier – 3.732 ET)

Rd. 1: (.066-second reaction time, 3.696 seconds at 332.18 mph) beat No. 7 Terry McMillen (.083/3.752/328.06)
Rd. 2: (.097/3.717/331.85) beat No. 13 Terry Haddock (.121/9.851/84.16)
Rd. 3: (.064/3.711/331.45) beat No. 6 Antron Brown (.048/3.737/324.28)
Rd. 4: (.057/4.715/145.93) lost to No. 8 Doug Kalitta (.083/3.779/TBD)

“That was a lot of fun – the whole day. It was a fun deal in every way except for what happened at the end. Still, we go on to Phoenix with absolute confidence in a great race car and a bunch of smiling U.S. Army boys. Kalitta and I have battled for a long, long time. They’re a great race team. Congrats to them for getting it done. They did a great job and they deserved to win today.”

Leah Pritchett, Mopar Dodge Top Fuel Dragster
(No. 4 Qualifier – 3.687 ET)

Rd. 1: (No time) lost to No. 11 Scott Palmer (.085/6.489/117.35)

“We thought we had it figured out last night, but it looks like there were more major issues. I want to give big thanks to my guys working their tails off. They did everything they could to find the issue, but it obviously reared its ugly head again, so we have some work to do. Ultimately, I have all the confidence in the world in Todd (Okuhara, crew chief), Scott (Okuhara, assistant crew chief) and the entire DSR/Mopar/U.S. Army team.”

Ron Capps, NAPA Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 5 Qualifier – 3.882 ET)

Rd. 1: (.085-second reaction time, 4.833 seconds at 167.53 mph) beat No. 12 Shawn Langdon (.062/10.060/79.68)
Rd. 2: (-.055/4.001/324.75) beat No. 13 Jonnie Lindberg (-.310/9.716/104.61)
Rd. 3: (.074/3.968/320.81) lost to No. 1 Matt Hagan (.059/3.938/330.07)

“We knew we were up against a good car being my teammate in Hagan with Dickie (Venables, Hagan’s crew chief). But it was a great comeback for Tobler to go back up there and not beat ourselves and go down the track like we did.”

Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 3 Qualifier – 3.860 ET)

Rd. 1: (.065-second reaction time, 3.907 seconds at 333.0 mph) beat No. 14 Bob Tasca (.074/4.016/324.12)
Rd. 2: (.075/3.901/330.23) beat No. 6 Tim Wilkerson (.079/4.253/220.51)
Rd. 3: (No time) lost to No. 2 Robert Hight (.074/3.899/329.10)

“I want to pack my bags and fly to Phoenix tomorrow because I think we have one of the best cars there is out here. Once we dive in and eliminate these little bugs, we’re going to start reeling off race wins.”

Tommy Johnson Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 9 Qualifier – 3.932 ET)

Rd. 1: (.066-second reaction time, 4.504 seconds at 267.69 mph) lost to No. 8 Cruz Pedregon (.051/4.363/246.17)

“It wasn’t what we expected coming into the first race of the season. We tested well. We’re still kind of in a test mode, because of the (new) six-disc (clutch). We’re trying stuff to make us better later in the season, and just never quite got it together this weekend. We’ll learn from it and go into Phoenix a lot stronger. We ran good there in testing, and have a lot more data there. The more data we can get, the better we’ll run.”

Mopar Dodge//SRT NHRA Sportsman Spotlight
Just like in the professional ranks, a Mopar-powered NHRA Sportsman competitor visited the winner’s circle at Pomona. Larry Gilley marched through six rounds of intense competition and reached the finish line first in a heads-up final to claim the Stock Eliminator crown at Pomona in his 1968 Dodge Dart GTS 340.

“It’s a dream come true. I’ve always wanted to win the Winternationals my whole life, since I was a kid and came her with my father,” said Gilley, 54, who also earned the $500 Dodge Top Finisher award with his victory. Winner of the prestigious NHRA U.S. Nationals event last year, Gilley has been competing for more than 15 years in nothing but Mopar-powered Dodge and Plymouth muscle cars.

“NHRA Sportsman racers are the most dedicated and passionate competitors, and we congratulate Larry Gilley on his victory today,” said Pietro Gorlier, Head of Parts and Service (Mopar), FCA. “Through our long-running Mopar Contingency Program, we are able to recognize and reward racers like Larry who compete and win with Mopar products. We hope this victory is the first of many in 2018 for our Mopar-powered Sportsman competitors.”

Under the Mopar Contingency Program, Sportsman racers who win or finish runner-up while utilizing Mopar valve covers, intake manifolds, cylinder heads and engine assemblies are eligible for monetary rewards.



“Congratulations to Larry Gilley on racing his Dodge Dart GTS 340 to victory today in the Stock Eliminator class,” said Steve Beahm, Head of Passenger Cars, Dodge//SRT, Chrysler and FIAT, FCA North America. “We are proud to support passionate Sportsman racers like Gilley through the Dodge Top Finisher award, now in its second year, which awards $500 to the Stock and Super Stock drivers who advance the furthest behind the wheel of a Mopar-powered car at all 24 national events.”

Staci Smith, from Lancaster, California, drove her 1993 Dodge Daytona Super Stocker to the fifth round at the season-opening event. Smith’s Daytona runs in the GT/HA category, allowing her to convert the car to a rear-wheel-drive configuration and install a Mopar V8 engine. Smith, a 30-year-old who has spent most of her life racing with her family, took home the Dodge Top Finisher award in Super Stock.




Up Next: NHRA Arizona Nationals
Mopar and Dodge//SRT competitors will head next to the NHRA Arizona Nationals, scheduled for February 23-25 at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Chandler, Arizona. Hagan and Pritchett will look to defend their 2017 event titles at the “duel in the desert.”

2018 NHRA Championship — Point Standings After Round 1 of 24
(Season Wins in Parentheses)


NHRA Funny Car

1. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger R/T (1) – 127
2. Robert Hight – 101
3. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger R/T – 81
4. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger R/T – 78

5. Jonnie Lindberg – 51
6(t). J.R. Todd – 49
6(t). Tim Wilkerson – 49
8. Cruz Pedregon – 48
9. Courtney Force – 36
10(t). Tommy Johnson Jr., Dodge Charger R/T – 32


NHRA Top Fuel
1. Doug Kalitta (1) – 112
2. Tony Schumacher, Mopar HEMI – 95
3. Clay Millican – 84
4. Antron Brown – 78
5. Steve Torrence – 60
6. Scott Palmer – 47
7. Brittany Force – 35
8(t). Leah Pritchett, Mopar Dodge HEMI – 32
8(t). Mike Salinas – 32
8(t). Steve Faria – 32
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Jack Beckman reached the semifinals in his Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T NHRA Funny Car at the NHRA Winternationals.

Tommy Johnson Jr., driver of the Mopar-powered Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T NHRA Funny Car.



In the Sportsman classes, it was Larry Gilley and his strong running 1969 Dodge Dart GTS 340 that battled through six rounds of intense competition to face off in a heads-up duel to claim the Stock Eliminator crown at the Winternationals.

“It’s a dream come true. I’ve always wanted to win the Winternationals my whole life, since I was a kid and came here with my father,” said Gilley, 54, who also earned the $500 Dodge Top Finisher award with his victory. Winner of the prestigious NHRA U.S. Nationals event last year, Gilley has been competing for more than 15 years in nothing but Mopar-powered Dodge and Plymouth muscle cars.
 

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NHRA Arizona Nationals

Mopar-powered Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car Driver Johnson Runner-up at NHRA Arizona Nationals


Tommy Johnson Jr. scores runner-up spot at Arizona Nationals with Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
Mopar-powered Tony Schumacher becomes fastest Top Fuel driver in NHRA history in qualifying
Three additional Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) drivers, Leah Pritchett (Top Fuel), Matt Hagan and Ron Capps (Funny Car), advance to round two
Mike Cotton runner-up in Super Stock in 1970 Plymouth ‘Cuda to win Dodge Top Finisher award
Jerry Stein wins Dodge Top Finisher award in Stock Eliminator with his Dart GTS 440

February 25, 2018 , Auburn Hills, Mich. -



Tommy Johnson Jr. advanced to the final round of Funny Car competition at the NHRA Arizona Nationals on Sunday at Wild Horse Motorsports Park in his Mopar-powered Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car.

Johnson beat Shawn Langdon, Richard Townsend and Robert Hight before earning the runner-up honors for Funny Car. He was faster than No. 1 qualifier Courtney Force at the start during the final-round run before she got the upper hand at the line. Johnson’s runner-up finish came after his Don Schumacher Racing crew worked hard to get his car ready following a fiery explosion under the hood during Saturday qualifying. Johnson jumped from tenth to fifth in Funny Car point standings with his performance.



Tony Schumacher became the fastest Top Fuel driver in NHRA history with a 336.57-miles per hour run during qualifying, but he’ll have to wait for his sixth Phoenix victory after the winningest driver in Top Fuel history was eliminated in round one on Sunday.

Schumacher’s 336.57 mph mark in the Mopar HEMI-powered U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster and his elapsed time of 3.649 seconds were both track records, as he earned his 85th No. 1 qualifying position. He had the starting line advantage against Greg Carrillo in round one, but couldn’t get his car to hook up during Sunday’s run and lost traction to cause his premature departure.

Leah Pritchett beat Troy Buff in the first round of Top Fuel competition on Sunday and faced Scott Palmer in round two with her Mopar Dodge dragster. She had seven victories against Palmer in prior events, but he was finally able to edge her on Sunday. Like Schumacher, Pritchett had the advantage at the starting line, but her Mopar Dodge dragster went up in smoke milliseconds later to halt her progression.

Matt Hagan, who earned his 27th NHRA National event victory in the season opener with his Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car, also made it to the quarterfinals before losing a cylinder, which allowed Courtney Force to advance. Hagan, the defending Funny Car winner here, easily beat J.R. Todd in round one.

Ron Capps was the No. 2 qualifier in his NAPA Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car but smoked the tires in round two to end his day as the team adapts to its new six-disc clutch. Jack Beckman was right behind Capps as the No. 3 qualifier with his Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car, but the 2012 Funny Car champion suffered an explosion in the first round to end his day.

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

Tommy Johnson Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 6 Qualifier – 3.879 ET)


Rd. 1: (.122-second reaction time, 4.715 seconds at 225.60 mph) beat No. 11 Robert Hight (.086/4.806/273.44)
Rd. 2: (.091/4.454/244.74) beat No. 14 Richard Townsend (.122/5.174/144.52)
Rd. 3: (.082/3.916/328.46) beat No. 10 Shawn Langdon (.076/3.958/325.77)
Rd. 4: (.052/6.814/101.57) lost to No. 1 Courtney Force (.104/3.834/337.16)

“The car out of the box was good, then we had the problems on Saturday. We had maybe a little luck the first two rounds, but everyone was smoking the tires. We kept working hard and got those round wins and laid down a nice solid run in the semis, so I was confident going into the finals. I thought we had something for Courtney. But I'm just happy the performance of the car is kind of coming back to us. We're still new to the six-disc (clutch) and learning it. I think the guys made big strides this weekend.”

Matt Hagan, Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 9 Qualifier – 3.926 ET)


Rd. 1: (.071-second reaction time, 3.910 seconds at 331.85 mph) beat No. 8 J.R. Todd (.060/4.017/320.66)
Rd. 2: (.081/4.480/192.19) lost to No. 1 Courtney Force (.096/3.965/319.14)

“We came in and tested in Phoenix and had a really nice session. We got here, and the weather changed, and we changed up some blower combos and some things like that, kind of making some more horsepower than we expected. We started trying to pull some of that back and then obviously, when you start doing that, it affects everything. You change one thing and it changes ten.

“All-in-all we went through first round and I was really impressed with (crew chief) Dickie Venables. In the first round there were guys smoking the tires and rattling up the tree and just couldn’t get down the track. He made some really big wholesale changes to get us where we went 91 (3.91 seconds) and ended up having lane choice out there for second round, but with the delays we already had our tune-up set and conditions changed. There just wasn’t a lot we could do. We’re going to roll to Gainesville next and do our thing.”

Leah Pritchett, Mopar Dodge Top Fuel Dragster
(No. 4 Qualifier – 3.679 ET)


Rd. 1: (.050-second reaction time, 3.679 seconds at 333.08 mph) beat No. 13 Troy Buff (.115/3.823/314.75)
Rd. 2: (.084/7.962/86.85) lost to No. 12 Scott Palmer (.099/3.844/325.85)

“It wasn’t the weekend we were looking for, but there were some positives. The feeling of a round win was much needed. It’s been a while and that’s what all the work is for, those small moments that we get to enjoy going rounds. The roller coaster saga continues. When we were in the lanes for E2 for quite some time, the conditions changed more than what we were expecting, and we adjusted for it trying to be as versatile as possible, but we were a little too much out of our spectrum.

“Coming out of Phoenix, having the know-how that we still do know how to get down the racetrack on race days and be the quickest and the fastest is what’s going to propel us to Gainesville.”

Tony Schumacher, U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster
(No. 1 Qualifier – 3.649 ET and 336.57 MPH *both records)


Rd. 1: (.089-second reaction time, 4.858 seconds at 189.66 mph) lost to No. 16 Greg Carrillo (.097/4.223/221.27)

“We’ve got a great team and went fast. We got a great race car, great team, we’re getting along excellent. It’s just one of those things that’s going to happen randomly throughout the season. You’ve got to look at the luck that goes on. At the end of the day this is not an easy thing to go out and do. We’ve got a great team. We keep our chins up. We’re happy with all the guys, they’re doing a great job. The car is performing as well as anything we’ve seen in a long time. It’s good to be here.”

Ron Capps, NAPA Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 2 Qualifier – 3.844 ET)


Rd. 1: (.090-second reaction time, 3.908 seconds at 325.30 mph) beat No. 15 Tim Wilkerson (.074/4.091/256.89)
Rd. 2: (.097/4.651/182.30) lost to No. 10 Shawn Langdon (.072/3.927/328.14)

“It takes a little while for it to sink in because we really felt like we had a car that was capable of taking the win today. We’re disappointed. It’s part of the growing pains, but we had such a great race car, and to have a chance of winning like we did, and have lane choice going back into round two, it’s been a very interesting weekend. We didn’t hurt any parts. The car is in one piece and we’re looking forward to Gainesville.” ?

Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 3 Qualifier – 3.845 ET)

Rd. 1: (.075-second reaction time, No Time) lost to No. 14 Richard Townsend (.098/5.503/179.90)

“The Infinite Hero team is going to stay and test tomorrow. We’re testing because, even though I think we have a phenomenal and versatile car good in all conditions right now, we’ve still got some different parts and pieces and some of our spare parts that we need to cycle through to make sure that we’re good to go for the hard push in the summer months. So, we will cross two more things off our list before we leave here tomorrow afternoon. We will eliminate the cause of our first-round explosion and we will test enough things that we’ll roll into Gainesville with even more confidence.”

Mopar Dodge//SRT NHRA Sportsman Spotlight
In the Stock Eliminator class Jerry Stein from Brentwood, California, drove his 1969 Dodge Dart GTS 440 to the Stock Eliminator quarter finals at the NHRA Phoenix Nationals. Stein raced through four rounds of tough competition only to lose by a mere 0.0018 seconds, roughly four inches, at the finish line. Stein’s Dart GTS 440 advanced the furthest in the eliminations and had the best package to earn the Dodge Top Finisher award in Stock Eliminator at the NHRA Arizona Nationals.

Longtime Mopar Sportsman Racer Mike Cotton of Cave Creek, Arizona piloted his 1970 big-block powered Plymouth ‘Cuda to a Super Stock runner-up finish at the 2018 NHRA Phoenix Nationals. Cotton’s ‘Cuda advanced through six rounds of intense competition at Wild Horse Motorsports Park before falling just short of another career win by 0.021 seconds. For advancing the furthest in Super Stock, Cotton will receive the Dodge Top Finisher award.

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





Up Next: NHRA Gatornationals
Mopar and Dodge//SRT competitors will head next to the NHRA Gatornationals, March 15-18, at Gainesville Raceway in Gainesville, Florida. Top Fuel track record holder, Tony Schumacher, the winningest Top Fuel driver at Gainesville Raceway, will be seeking his sixth victory at the popular track.

2018 NHRA Championship — Point Standings After Round 2 of 24
(Season Wins in Parentheses)


NHRA Funny Car
1. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger R/T (1) – 179
2. Courtney Force – 160
3. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger R/T – 139
4. Robert Hight – 133
5. Tommy Johnson Jr., Dodge Charger R/T – 128
6. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger R/T – 122
7. Jonnie Lindberg – 107
8. Shawn Langdon – 104
9. J.R. Todd – 83
10. Cruz Pedregon – 82

NHRA Top Fuel
1. Steve Torrence – 183
2. Doug Kalitta – 144
3. Tony Schumacher, Mopar HEMI – 140
4. Scott Palmer – 139
5. Antron Brown – 133
6. Clay Millican – 122
7. Leah Pritchett, Mopar HEMI – 90
8. Brittany Force – 86
9. Billy Torrence – 71
10. Greg Carrillo – 66
 

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Mopar Dodge//SRT Driver Pritchett Primed for Double Duty

Mopar Dodge//SRT Driver Pritchett Primed for Double Duty in Top Fuel, Factory Stock Showdown at NHRA Gatornationals

Test sessions have Top Fueler Leah Pritchett ready to race her Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak in Factory Stock Showdown class at Gainesville Raceway
NHRA Pro Stock world champion Allen Johnson will also drive Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak in Factory Stock Showdown
Geoff Turk cracks seven-second barrier at NMCA event; will look to repeat the feat at NHRA Gatornationals
NHRA Funny Car points leader Matt Hagan to lead Mopar Dodge//SRT Don Schumacher Racing squad into Gatornationals
Mopar Dodge//SRT display to feature popular Challenger SRT Demon simulators, elevated fan VIP viewing area at Gainesville Raceway
New Dodge Garage (www.dodgegarage.com), a digital content hub for muscle car and race enthusiasts launches; will include highlights from NHRA season

March 14, 2018 , Auburn Hills, Mich. -

Leah Pritchett will drive her Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak (shown above during testing) in the NHRA Factory Stock Showdown category at the NHRA Gatornationals, March 15-18 at Gainesville Raceway, in addition to taking her usual seat in the Papa John’s/Mopar Dodge Top Fuel dragster at the event.

Geoff Turk made history on Saturday, March 10 in his Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak at the National Muscle Car Association (NMCA) event in Bradenton, Florida, becoming the first driver in that series to break into the seven-second range with a 7.996-second elapsed time. Turk will attempt to match that feat at the NHRA Gatornationals this weekend and also become the first driver in the NHRA Factory Stock Showdown series to run in the seven-second zone.



Mopar and Dodge//SRT racers are set to battle in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series and the SAM Tech NHRA Factory Stock Showdown at the NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway in Florida, March 15-18, with one driver — Leah Pritchett — bidding for Wally trophies in both series.

In addition to her customary seat in the Papa John’s/Mopar Dodge Top Fuel dragster, Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) driver Pritchett will also take the wheel of a supercharged Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak in the NHRA Factory Stock Showdown category. Pritchett used a rare break last week from the NHRA circuit to test and tune her 354-cubic-inch HEMI®-engine-powered Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak at the National Muscle Car Association (NMCA) event in Bradenton, Florida.

Pritchett, with crew chief and new DSR employee Kevin Helms on hand, was able to put valuable track time under her belt at Bradenton before the first of seven NHRA Factory Stock Showdown events in which she will compete this year. Her Drag Pak will carry a unique Mopar and Dodge//SRT-themed livery, designed by motorsports lifestyle brand Hoonigan, all season.


“The double-duty aspect, I had a taste of it last year and honestly, I think it makes me a better racer overall,” said Pritchett, who raced in two Factory Stock Showdown events last year. “To have a three-time World Champion Sportsman racer like Kevin Helms (as crew chief) is definitely an ace in my pocket, and I’m just being a student of his. We have had a pretty good off-season of development. The test sessions we’ve had, I never experienced a crew chief that was a driver and tuner before, so the dynamic is very exciting and compelling to me.”

Joining Pritchett in the fierce, competitive field of 30-plus entries in Factory Stock Showdown will be a name familiar to Mopar and Dodge//SRT fans — 2012 NHRA Pro Stock World Champion Allen Johnson. Johnson will drive a Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak owned by Jeff Teuton, with additional vehicle preparation and support provided by Don Schumacher Motorsports (DSM) and Mopar Dodge//SRT engineers.

“I think it’s going to be very similar, almost like a drop back into time to the type of Pro Stock cars you would have seen in the 1970s,” said Johnson, whose father and engine builder Roy Johnson will also make the trip to Gainesville. “It’s given my dad a lot of energy. We obviously don’t have the crew we used to have, so it’s giving him a lot of work. I’m really excited. I’m also excited it’s only about six or seven races, compared to all 24.”

The final member of the Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak Factory Stock Showdown trio competing at Gainesville will enter the event fresh off a record-setting run. Geoff Turk made NMCA history last weekend at the Bradenton event, becoming the first driver in the series to break into the seven-second range with a 7.996-second elapsed time at 170.10 mph during qualifying for the event on March 10.

Turk is already unofficially the fastest in the NHRA Factory Stock Showdown class after running an 8.02-second elapsed time in his Blackbird Drag Pak at an NHRA Division 3 event last October, and will attempt to match last weekend’s performance by becoming the first NHRA Factory Stock driver to run in the seven-second zone this weekend at Gainesville.

Funny Car Points Leader Matt Hagan Leads Mopar Dodge//SRT Don Schumacher Racing Teams into Gatornationals
Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T driver Matt Hagan will lead the DSR squad into the NHRA Gatornationals as the current points leader in the NHRA Funny Car class.

Hagan notched a season-opening win at the NHRA Winternationals in February, and is seeking his first career win at Gainesville Raceway. Hagan's DSR teammates follow close behind him in the standings, with Ron Capps third entering this weekend, Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T driver Tommy Johnson Jr. fifth and Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T pilot Jack Beckman a spot down in sixth.

In Top Fuel, Pritchett is looking for her first win of the season as well as the first of her career at the NHRA Gatornationals, while her Mopar-powered teammate and U.S. Army Top Fuel driver Tony Schumacher owns five Gainesville wins, most in the class.

Mopar Dodge//SRT Display to Feature Challenger SRT Demon Simulators
The Mopar Dodge//SRT display — one of the largest on NHRA Manufacturers Midway at nearly 5,000 square-feet — will feature the crowd-favorite Dodge Challenger SRT Demon simulators, giving enthusiasts a virtual seat behind the wheel of the 840-horsepower, most powerful muscle car in history. An elevated viewing area atop the Dodge rig section of the combined display will also debut for the first time at the NHRA Gatornationals, giving VIP fans the chance to get a unique aerial view of the midway and track not offered at any other display.

Fans can also enter to win prizes, learn more about Mopar parts and accessories and meet their favorite NHRA stars at the Mopar Dodge//SRT autograph session, scheduled for 10 a.m. ET on Saturday, March 17. The session will feature a very special guest — NHRA legend and iconic Mopar Dodge drag racer “Big Daddy” Don Garlits.

Dodge Garage: New Digital Hub for Drag Racing News
Fans now have a new one-stop destination for Mopar and Dodge drag racing news. Dodge Garage is a digital content hub and premier destination for drag racing and muscle car enthusiasts.

Fans can view daily updates and get access to an online racing HQ, news, events, galleries, available downloads and merchandise. Dodge Garage features include exclusive content such as a three-part video series, “Chasing the Title,” that offers fans a unique, behind-the-scenes glimpse at Pritchett and her DSR team in action.

About Dodge//SRT
Dodge//SRT offers a complete lineup of performance vehicles that stand out in their own segments. Dodge is FCA North America’s mainstream performance brand, and SRT is positioned as the ultimate performance halo of the Dodge brand, together creating a complete and balanced performance brand with one vision and one voice.

For more than 100 years, the Dodge brand has carried on the spirit of brothers John and Horace Dodge, who founded the company in 1914. Their influence continues today. New for 2018, the 840-horsepower Dodge Challenger SRT Demon, the fastest quarter-mile production car in the world and most powerful muscle car ever, is taking the world by storm, along with the new 2018 Dodge Durango SRT, America’s fastest, most powerful and most capable three-row SUV, and the 707-horsepower Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody. These new SRT ultimate performance models join a brand lineup that includes the Durango, Grand Caravan, Journey, Charger and Challenger, including the 707-horsepower Challenger SRT Hellcat and the Charger SRT Hellcat, the quickest, fastest and most powerful sedan in the world.

About Mopar
Mopar (a simple contraction of the words MOtor and PARts) is the service, parts and customer-care brand for FCA vehicles around the globe. Born in 1937 as the name of a line of antifreeze products, the Mopar brand has evolved over more than 80 years to represent both complete care and authentic performance for owners and enthusiasts worldwide.

Mopar made its mark in the 1960s during the muscle-car era, with Mopar Performance Parts to enhance speed and handling for both road and racing use, and expanded to include technical service and customer support. Today, the Mopar brand’s global reach distributes more than 500,000 parts and accessories in over 150 markets around the world. With more than 50 parts distribution centers and 25 customer contact centers globally, Mopar integrates service, parts and customer-care operations in order to enhance customer and dealer support worldwide.

Mopar is the source for genuine parts and accessories for all FCA US LLC vehicle brands. Mopar parts are engineered together with the same teams that create factory-authorized specifications for FCA vehicles, offering a direct connection that no other aftermarket parts company can provide. Complete information on the Mopar brand is available at www.mopar.com.
 

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Beckman Powers Mopar and Dodge//SRT to Funny Car Pole at NHRA Gatornationals

Beckman Powers Mopar and Dodge//SRT to Funny Car Pole at NHRA Gatornationals

Jack Beckman captures third No. 1 spot in three events for a Mopar Dodge//SRT driver
Pole is the 24th of Beckman’s career and second at Gainesville Raceway
Five Mopar-powered Dodge Charger R/T drivers make Funny Car field at NHRA Gatornationals
Mopar-powered Top Fuel drivers Tony Schumacher and Leah Pritchett to start from No. 4 and No. 6 spots, respectively
Pritchett puts Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak in second day of Factory Stock Showdown eliminations, keeps quest alive for two Wally trophies


March 17, 2018 , Gainesville, Florida -



Jack Beckman collected the third No. 1 spot in three events for a Mopar Dodge//SRT driver this season, claiming the pole in his Mopar-powered Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car before a sellout crowd at the 49th annual NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida.

The top spot is the 24th of Beckman’s career and second at the iconic Gatornationals race. He’ll be joined by Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) teammates and fellow Mopar Dodge pilots Tommy Johnson Jr., Matt Hagan and Ron Capps in elimination rounds tomorrow at Gainesville Raceway, as well as by Jim Dunn Racing and Dodge driver Jim Campbell.


Beckman was on fire on Friday’s first day of qualifying, earning six bonus points and going low in both rounds with a pass of 3.958 seconds at 325.61 mph and a Q2 run of 3.911/332.18, which ultimately earned him the pole. The 2012 Funny Car World Champion added two respectable runs during the third and fourth qualifying rounds on Saturday to earn an extra bonus point.

Johnson, driving the Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T, secured a top-five starting position on the strength of a 3.933 run in Friday’s second session. Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T driver Hagan’s best effort also came in Q2, a 3.941 that placed him sixth entering Sunday. Following close behind was Mopar-powered Dodge teammate Capps, whose quickest time on the clock was a 3.944-second elapsed time in Saturday’s first qualifying session.

Tony Schumacher led the way with Mopar power in the Top Fuel ranks, qualifying No. 4 thanks to a 3.785-second mark in his very first qualifying attempt. The same was true for Papa John’s/Mopar Dodge Top Fuel driver Leah Pritchett, who recorded a 3.811 right out of the gate in Q1 to grab the No. 6 position.



Pritchett will have an opportunity to capture two Wally trophies on Sunday at Gainesville Raceway after driving her Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak into the second day of Factory Stock Showdown elimination rounds. In qualifying, Pritchett locked down the No. 7 spot with a best run of 8.109/168.22 in the second session on Friday, in addition to a Q1 run on Friday of 8.194/168.16 and a final attempt of 8.257/165.40 on Saturday.

She lined up her 354 supercharged Mopar Dodge Drag Pak against Daniel Condon in round one of Factory Stock. Pritchett left first with a .051 reaction time and never trailed, posting a 8.183/166.50 mark to the Camaro driver’s losing 8.204/165.52 effort. The DSR star will square off with Randy Taylor in the Factory Stock quarterfinals on Sunday.

Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak Factory Stock Showdown racer Geoff Turk made history last weekend at the NMCA Bradenton event, becoming the first driver to break into the seven-second range in a Factory Stock car. Turk was quick at Gainesville, qualifying No. 5 with a 8.099-second elapsed time, but was unable to make the call in eliminations due to mechanical issues.

Pro Stock World Champion and longtime Mopar Dodge driver Allen Johnson will look to rebound at the next event after failing to qualify in his Factory Stock debut. Johnson’s best run was a 10.948/144.92, with a transmission issue scuttling his final attempt to the crack the competitive Factory Stock field.

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


Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
Qualified No. 1, will face No. 16 Jim Campbell
Friday: (3.958 seconds at 325.61 mph – Q1); (3.911/332.18 – Q2)
Saturday: (4.025/316.15 – Q3); (4.007/322.04 – Q4)

“I love the fact that we did everything pretty darn good for four runs over the course of the two days here. I think it gives us a leg up going into tomorrow. We’ll have lane choice and we’ll get to pick when we’re going to run. We could make a poor decision, but I like that it’s our decision to make.

“I think by and large, you make your own luck. The team services the car perfectly, the crew chiefs put their heads together, go over data from past runs with similar conditions and make an educated tune-up there, and then you try and outdrive the person in the other lane. You race the race track. We have to do everything a little bit better than they do, but in our lane.”

Matt Hagan, Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
Qualified No. 6, will face No. 11 Tim Wilkerson
Friday: (4.142 seconds at 251.77 mph – Q1); (3.941/328.22 – Q2)
Saturday: (5.064/149.51 – Q3); (5.775/123.06 – Q4)

“Gainesville, I mean, I just can’t get it to show me any love. It’s one of those places that no matter how great your combo is, this place steps on my toes all the time. We’re trying to work through it. We’ve got a good car. Obviously, Dickie (Venables, Hagan’s crew chief) has the skills and the know-how to navigate a hot racetrack. We just have to get it dialed in tomorrow.

“(Tim) Wilkerson (Hagan’s first round opponent) has had some issues, having to bring out a new car. And I wanted to say my respects to him on his dad passing away this weekend, obviously he’s got that on his mind, and we’ll be thinking about him.

“We’ve got to figure out what we’ve got going on, and lay it down. We’ve had four shots at it, and hopefully we have four shots at it tomorrow.”

Leah Pritchett, Papa John’s/Mopar Dodge Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified No. 6, will face No. 11 Terry Haddock
Friday: (3.811 seconds at 325.77 mph – Q1); (No Time – Q2)
Saturday: (10.137/72.12 – Q3); (3.864/313.95 – Q4)

“We’ve been going wide open. I’ve got to say, there’s so much on the line: the world championship, charity for our veterans and of course in Factory Stock, with bolt-on parts that you can put on your Mopar Dodge//SRT Drag Pak.

“I’m wide open all the time, but thanks for all the patience from DSR and all the fans, it means a lot. I’ve got the opportunity of a lifetime, and I’m trying to win it all.”

Ron Capps, NAPA Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
Qualified No. 7, will face No. 10 Bob Tasca
Friday: (4.700 seconds at 174.96 mph – Q1); (3.972/322.73 – Q2)
Saturday: (3.944/325.06 – Q3); (3.967/324.20 – Q4)

“It's a new six-disc for us so we're learning but [Rahn Tobler, Capps’s crew chief] was very happy. Friday night when we got done, he said we're going to use tomorrow for Sunday. It's going to be the same conditions. It's so nice to see Tobler with a smile on his face. This is a tricky track and on Sunday, you're going to have to really earn it.”

Tommy Johnson Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
Qualified No. 5, will face No. 12 Cruz Pedregon
Friday: (10.788 seconds at 78.82 mph – Q1); (3.933/327.27 – Q2)
Saturday: (5.494/127.07 – Q3); (10.082/7.997 – Q4)

“We're struggling with the changes. The six-disc clutch is still new to us. This is the first hot track conditions we've seen with it so we're making ground. We made a nice run in the best conditions of the weekend so tomorrow will be more like we've seen today. So we have to learn from what we did during these two runs and put that together to make a nice solid day.”

Tony Schumacher, U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified No. 4, will face No. 13 Brittany Force
Friday: (3.785 seconds at 329.67 mph – Q1); (7.873/84.21 – Q2)
Saturday: (4.841/146.59 – Q3); (5.463/122.95 – Q4)

“I love this race. It’s top three for me without a doubt. We just do so well here and that gives us a ton of confidence. The place was sold out today and fans jammed in here to see us do battle. There’s just something about racing here. We’ve won this race more than anyone else (in Top Fuel) and I’m excited to have another chance Sunday.”

Fans can view daily updates and get access to an online racing HQ, news, events, galleries, available downloads and merchandise. For information on Mopar on and off the track, check out the Mopar brand’s official blog, http://blog.mopar.com.

Tune-in Info
FOX Sports 1 will broadcast three hours of eliminations coverage of the 49th annual NHRA Gatornationals starting at 7:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 18.
 

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Beckman Wins All-Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car Final

Mopar-powered Driver Beckman Wins All-Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car Final at NHRA Gatornationals

Mopar-powered Dodge Charger R/T driver Jack Beckman outruns Matt Hagan to win from pole at Gainesville Raceway
Victory is 27th of Beckman’s career and second this season for a Mopar Dodge//SRT driver
Points leader Hagan wraps up wild weekend with runner-up showing in Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T in his 500th round of racing
Trio of Mopar-powered Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car drivers advance to semifinals at Gainesville Raceway
Papa John’s/Mopar Dodge Top Fuel Dragster driver Leah Pritchett’s day ends in quarterfinals
Pritchett takes Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak to second round in Factory Stock Showdown to cap solid weekend
Nichols, Kay earn Dodge Top Finisher awards at Gainesville
More info on Mopar in NHRA available at http://blog.mopar.com



March 18, 2018 , Gainesville, Florida -



Jack Beckman capped off an amazing weekend for Mopar Dodge//SRT drivers by racing from the pole to defeat teammate Matt Hagan and take the victory in an all-Mopar Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car final round at the 49th Annual NHRA Gatornationals.

Beckman’s victory was the second for a Mopar Dodge//SRT driver this year, as well as the second from the No. 1 spot. Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) Mopar Dodge Funny Car pilots also claimed three of four spots in the semifinals, and own the top two spots in the Funny Car standings, as well as three of the top four positions.

En route to his 27th career win and his first at historic Gainesville Raceway, Beckman got down the track to make eight solid runs in his Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T during qualifying and eliminations, including a 3.911-second elapsed time to claim the No. 1 spot.


He kicked off eliminations by leaving first and leading all the way against fellow Dodge driver and No. 16 qualifier Jim Campbell. In round two, Beckman’s 3.973-second run at 318.54 mph helped him quickly overcome a slight starting line advantage by opponent Del Worsham. Beckman was slower in the semfiinals but his 4.478-second pass was enough to hold off Shawn Landon, who smoked the tires.

The all-DSR Mopar Dodge battle between Beckman and Hagan was a thriller, with Beckman off the line first but with Hagan closing the gap. In the end, Beckman was able to hold off the hard-charging Hagan, taking the holeshot win with a quicker .051 reaction time paired with a 4.035/323.58 pass to his teammate's slower .062 reaction time and 4.034/322.04 mark. His performance this weekend also moved Beckman into the second spot in the point standings.

Hagan’s run to the final round in his Mopar Express Lane Dodge included a first-round win over Tim Wilkerson and then a wild, fiery ride against Robert Hight in the quarterfinals. Hight’s engine exploded near the 660-ft mark, with his Funny Car body flying apart. As Hagan raced by in the right lane his engine did the same, sending the car body flying high in the air, but Hagan was able to cross the line at 4.027/291.26 to earn a hard-fought round win.

The Mopar Express Lane Dodge team and crew chief Dickie Venables thrashed and dug deep to get a backup car ready for Hagan to face DSR teammate and Mopar-powered Dodge Charger R/T driver Ron Capps in the semifinals. The hard work paid off as Hagan, the Funny Car points leader, posted a solid 4.056/310.91 to advance to his 49th career final round and reach a remarkable milestone, his 500th career round of racing.

Capps’ road to the semifinals included a first-round victory over Bob Tasca III that earned him lane choice in round two versus Courtney Force. In the quarterfinals, the 2016 Funny Car champion was first off of the starting line and never trailed for the win with a 4.060-second pass. The fourth DSR team member, Tommy Johnson Jr., the most recent Funny Car runner-up, defeated Cruz Pedregon in round one, but in the quarterfinals Johnson’s opponent Shawn Langdon was able to pull ahead early and take the win against Johnson's tire smoking effort.

Mopar-powered NHRA Top Fuel dragster DSR teammates Leah Pritchett and Tony Schumacher were dealt similar fates on Sunday at Gainesville Raceway, as both bowed out in round two.

Pritchett clocked a 3.735/321.50 in her Papa John’s/Mopar Dodge dragster to knock out Terry Haddock to open eliminations, and also showcased her quick trigger reflexes with a .053 reaction time at the starting tree, quickest of the round. Pritchett’s day ended in the quarterfinals with a 3.779/327.51 that was second-quickest of the session but wasn’t enough to overcome teammate Antron Brown’s even quicker and faster 3.793/324.20 run.

After resetting the Gainesville Raceway speed record earlier in the weekend and running low E.T. of the first qualifying session, defending event champion Tony Schumacher looked primed for a repeat. The U.S. Army dragster driver took down Brittany Force in round one with a 3.717/329.26 pass. In the quarterfinals, Schumacher’s starting line advantage quickly evaporated after he smoked the tires, preventing the “Sarge” from chasing down round winner Shawn Reed.

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

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

“Two wins at the first three events is a great start to the season for the Mopar and Dodge brands. This victory is a testament not only to HEMI engine power, but also to the talent and skill of Jack Beckman, his team and the entire Don Schumacher Racing organization.”

Steve Beahm, Head of Passenger Cars, Dodge//SRT, Chrysler and FIAT, FCA North America

“Congratulations to Jack Beckman on racing his Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car to the win today at the NHRA Gatornationals. Jack's victory really showcases how the increased teamwork between Dodge and Mopar this NHRA season is already paying dividends.”





Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 1 Qualifier – 3.911 ET)

Rd. 1: (.061-second reaction time, 3.934 seconds at 327.43 mph) beat No. 16 Jim Campbell (.138/4.183/305.29)
Rd. 2: (.081/3.973/318.54) beat No. 9 Del Worsham (.060/4.032/315.56)
Rd. 3: (.083/4.478/199.35) beat No. 4 Shawn Langdon (.143/9.414/81.39)
Rd. 4: (.051/4.035/323.58) beat No. 6 Matt Hagan (.062/4.034/322.04)

“The Gatornationals came on the schedule in 1970 when NHRA went from four races to seven. That was the super season, the first year they crowned a Funny Car champion. 1970 was a big year for our sport, and it’s been at this track ever since then, and I’ve never gotten close. It was such a bucket list thing (to win here).

“I flew in a day earlier, and on Thursday I went to the Hall of Fame (dinner), and I got to present Johnny Gray with the Pat Garlits award in honor of Terry Chandler, who is still on the side of our car and made all of this possible. There are 21 of us who have jobs today because of Terry Chandler and how big her heart was, and now her husband Doug wants to carry it on. He’s loving it because he knows Terry is looking down and saying, ‘Alright -- my boys did it.’”

Matt Hagan, Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 6 Qualifier – 3.941 ET)

Rd. 1: (086-second reaction time, 3.976 seconds at 328.38 mph) beat No. 11 Tim Wilkerson (.073/7.821/131.27)
Rd. 2: (.066/4.027/291.26) beats No. 3 Robert Hight (.073/4.067/265.53)
Rd. 3: (.088/4.056/310.91) beats No. 7 Ron Capps (.072/9.134/81.86)
Rd. 4: (.062/4.034/322.04) lost to No. 1 Jack Beckman (.051/4.035/323.58)

“We had a pretty great race day, to be honest. I've never been to the finals in Gainesville. We obviously had a huge blow up in the second round, then to watch these guys pull the other car back out and put it together in the amount of time they had, then turn a win light on against Capps, then to be able to go to a final, it was huge and it speaks for itself.

“These guys put a great race car together. We ran a really close race out there. It was within one [thousandth of a second] but it was one of those deals where I just got left on by Jack Beckman. You have to go home and work on that and not let these guys down who worked all day long to get you there. We'll take these next few weeks and revaluate and focus and move forward.”

Ron Capps, NAPA Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 7 Qualifier – 3.944 ET)

Rd. 1: (.083-second reaction time, 3.959 seconds at 324.28 mph) beat No. 10 Bob Tasca (.076/3.981/325.30)
Rd. 2: (.074/4.060/317.64) beat No. 2 Courtney Force (.096/8.255/88.83)
Rd. 3: (.072/9.134/81.86) lost to No. 6 Matt Hagan (.088/4.056/310.91)

“You know, it’s such a big race, the Gatornationals. These big races seem to take a little bit more to get over. And the further you go on Sunday, like we did getting to the semifinals, you feel like you have a good shot. The way I look at it, the more runs you give (crew chief) Rahn Tobler, the more competitive our car is going to get, and I really felt like we had a handle on it. For some reason, it (the car) smoked the tires at the hit of the throttle, and we haven’t done that in a long time. We’ll have to look and see what it did, and go on to the next race.”

Tommy Johnson Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 5 Qualifier – 3.933 ET)

Rd. 1: (.062-second reaction time, 3.995 seconds at 325.69 mph) beat to No. 12 Cruz Pedregon (.073/4.083/298.87)
Rd. 2: (.056/4.841/172.10) lost to No. 4 Shawn Langdon (.078/4.025/313.37)

“We’re making a little progress, but we’re going to have to keep working at it. We’ve got good data on the six-disc (clutch). When track conditions are good we run well and qualify well. We just need to keep learning on what adjustments to make when the track conditions change and it gets hot out. So, we’re making some strides, we’re still going a round or two. If we can continue this progress, we’ll get better and better.”

Leah Pritchett, Mopar Dodge Top Fuel Dragster
(No. 6 Qualifier – 3.811 ET)

Rd. 1: (.053-second reaction time, 3.735 seconds at 321.50 mph) beat No. 11 Terry Haddock (.134/4.032/284.75)
Rd. 2: (.098/3.779/327.51) lost to No. 3 Antron Brown (.067/3.793/324.20)

“We are still making progress. I feel like we have our gremlins out of the way. Our hot rod is back and it showed it on the track today. I take the blame for losing to my U.S. Army teammate Antron Brown. He came out stronger. It’s extremely frustrating. I missed it. I’ve been on it all weekend in both cars and missed it when it counted most. We win together as a team and it feels great. The highs are high and the lows are low. This has been an exciting, very high-paced weekend in Gainesville. I’m disappointed it ended early, and on my shoulders, but we’ll bounce back.”

“I feel like weekends like this where I have the chance to stretch my capabilities will only continue to help me in the future. Learning how to differentiate between cars (her Top Fuel and Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak) in a moment’s notice is something that requires a lot of focus and versatility. We’re getting better at it and I’m excited to have a handful more weekends like this ahead of me in 2018.”

Tony Schumacher, U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster
(No. 4 Qualifier – 3.785 ET)

Rd. 1: (.060-second reaction time, 3.717 seconds at 329.26 mph) beat No. 13 Brittany Force (.085/3.742/329.10)
Rd. 2: (.069/4.604/200.77) lost to No. 12 Shawn Reed (.094/4.027/245.58)

“We worked hard all weekend to put ourselves in a good position today and that showed in the first round when we made our best pass of the weekend. This U.S. Army team won’t quit. We all want to win so bad. We’ll get back after it and just keep plugging away. This was a great weekend for the fans of NHRA and we were just hoping to make Gatornationals history today. We’ll have to come back next year and try again."

Mopar Dodge//SRT NHRA Sportsman Spotlight
Leah Pritchett’s busy schedule at the NHRA Gatornationals included an entry in the NHRA Sportsman Factory Stock Showdown category in the seat of a supercharged Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak, along with her usual Top Fuel duties.

The DSR star drove to the No. 7 qualifying spot and a victory in the first round of eliminations. Pritchett was first off the starting line with a .038 reaction time in round two against Randy Taylor (.110), but was unable to beat her opponent to the stripe, posting a 8.353/163.91 pass to Taylor’s 8.189/165.99 run.

A pair of Mopar-powered NHRA Sportsman racers came away with Dodge Top Finisher awards at the NHRA Gatornationals. Jim Nichols from Centerburg, Ohio, drove his high-flying AA/SA HEMI-powered 1965 Plymouth Belvedere to the second round at the NHRA Gatornationals, earning the award and $500 bonus in Super Stock.
In the Stock category, Richard Kay of East Meadow, New York, raced his small block Mopar engine-powered SS/BM 1969 Plymouth Valiant to a third-round finish. Kay, who claimed a Dodge Top Finisher award in 2017, scored his second at Gainesville.

Up Next: NHRA Four-Wide Nationals
Next on the schedule for the Mopar and Dodge//SRT squad is the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, scheduled for April 6-8 at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The event will be the first at the venue since the dragstrip was reconfigured to accommodate the unique “four-wide” drag racing format, which features drivers competing in four separate lanes simultaneously.

2018 NHRA Championship — Point Standings After Round 3 of 24
(Season Wins in Parentheses)

NHRA Funny Car
1. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger R/T (1) – 268
2. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger R/T (1) – 247

3. Courtney Force (1) – 219
4. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger R/T – 218
5. Robert Hight – 185
6. Tommy Johnson Jr., Dodge Charger R/T – 182
7. Shawn Langdon – 174
8t. Jonnie Lindberg – 117
8t. J.R. Todd – 117
10. Del Worsham – 116

NHRA Top Fuel

1. Steve Torrence (1) –217
2. Antron Brown – 210
3. Clay Millican – 204
4. Tony Schumacher, Mopar HEMI – 198
5. Doug Kalitta (1) – 182
6. Richie Crampton (1) – 163
7. Scott Palmer –161
8. Leah Pritchett, Mopar Dodge HEMI – 147
9. Brittany Force – 117
10. Terry McMillen – 116
 

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NHRA Vegas 4-Wide Nationals

NHRA Vegas 4-Wide Nationals Doubles Excitement for Drivers and Fans

04/06/2018




Imagine if you can, witnessing and feeling 50,000 horsepower of nitro inhaling supercharged HEMI® powered Top Fuel Dragsters and Funny Cars all traveling down a four-lane drag strip at once. The concussion from all that power rotating the earth is monumental for both drivers and fans. The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway will shake the Nevada desert and move the mountains as the 19th annual DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals makes history this weekend.

For those of you new to the whole four-wide drag racing scene, this format can trace its roots back to the 1950s and 60s when hundreds of racers inundated their local drag strips in search of winning class, eliminator trophies and cash. Some track promoters began booking match races with big name racers to run four wide, much to the delight of the fans on bleachers and hanging on the fence rooting for their favorite driver and/or car brand.

Over time, NHRA moved away from the four-wide system and went to more traditional two-lane drag strips for many reasons, but primarily it was safer and more manageable. As NHRA drag racing matured, and the cars and safety equipment improved, the folks at zMAX Dragway in Charlotte created the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals in 2010. Considered by many racers as the “Bellagio of drag strips”, it’s a spectacle of four-wide racing that contains Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock, and Pro Stock Motorcycle doing battle.

Since zMax Dragway is a modern facility with all the latest advancements in safety equipment and an electronic infrastructure, it was a no brainer to use the same formula for their sister track in Las Vegas that’s also run by the same owners.

The decision was made at the end of the 2017 NHRA season to make The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway a four-lane drag strip. As if the town of Las Vegas wasn’t crazy enough with its over the top vibe, it was the perfect backdrop to bring the first-ever four-wide event to the West Coast. With two NHRA drag races at The Strip at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the race officials made the spring Vegas event a four-wide format.

From a racer’s perspective, four-wide racing can be a challenge.

“Some drivers feel strongly one way or another toward four-wide racing as a whole but, for me, I take the approach of, ‘How can you excel at something you don’t embrace?’” said Leah Pritchett, driver of Papa Johns Dodge//SRT®/Mopar® Top Fuel Dragster. “Can it throw all of us off our very much dialed-in precision routine? Yes. Are there larger chances for error? Yes. Does race-day mentality change once past the Christmas tree? Yes. Does it require a maximum level of focus? Of course. But that’s what the four-wide racing brings, beyond just the cars being physically lined up four-wide across.”

Regardless on how the drivers feel, they will all face the same challenges this weekend at the DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals. With four fresh lanes that have been paved and groomed, there is no lane advantage yet. Come Sunday though, that might not be the case.
 

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Finishes in Funny Car and Top Fuel at Vegas

Mopar-powered Drivers Beckman and Schumacher Earn Runner-up
Finishes in Funny Car and Top Fuel at Vegas

Mopar-powered Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car drivers Jack Beckman and Tommy Johnson Jr. advance to final four in Funny Car, with Beckman earning runner-up honors
Beckman departs Vegas at top of Funny Car points championship standings
Tony Schumacher qualified No. 1, takes runner-up position in Mopar-powered U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster
Papa John’s/Mopar Dodge Top Fuel Dragster driver Leah Pritchett had the quickest pass of her quad and finished as runner-up in round one
Mopar-powered Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car drivers Ron Capps and Matt Hagan qualified well but out in round one
Four Mopar drivers in Top Five in Funny Car point standings
Larry Gilley and Mike Cotton earn Dodge Top Finisher awards
More info on Mopar in NHRA available at http://blog.mopar.com


April 8, 2018 , Auburn Hills, Mich. -

Mopar and Dodge//SRT drivers Jack Beckman (Funny Car) and Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel) posted runner-up finishes Sunday at the 19th annual NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.


Schumacher was only about 4 feet shy of a Wally after the finals in Top Fuel, and Beckman was only about 9 feet short at the end of the Funny Car competition. The latter saw Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) teammate and fellow Mopar driver Tommy Johnson Jr. run the quickest pass of the quad, but foul out on a red light after leaving the starting line too early. Beckman was second out of the gate and held on for the runner-up position.

The exciting finals were viewed by a packed house assembled to see the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series’ first event west of the Mississippi River, featuring four lanes of action simultaneously instead of two lanes. The Four-Wide Nationals only require three rounds to crown a winner, with two drivers advancing from each quadrant of four until an event champion emerges in the final round. The fans turned out in droves to see it, as NHRA and the drag strip’s officials announced two sellout crowds on Saturday and Sunday, a first for the facility’s spring race.

Schumacher, driver of the U.S. Army Mopar-powered Top Fuel dragster, was that division’s top qualifier, the 86th of his career, second of the 2018 season and 11th at The Strip in Las Vegas, with a sizzling 328.46 miles per hour pass. He won his first round of eliminations convincingly over Steve Chrisman, but on the top end of that run Schumacher’s engine let go with a fireball when a fuel line broke.

He and Chrisman advanced to round two to face Clay Millican and Steve Torrence. The latter won that round but after an intense engine change after first round eliminations by the U.S. Army team, “The Sarge” came through as the runner-up, despite having to pedal it a couple of times. Schumacher turned in an excellent pass in the finals for the division’s runner-up honors, just getting edged by Torrence, who took home the Wally.

Papa John’s Pizza/Mopar Dodge Top Fuel Dragster driver Leah Pritchett had the quickest pass of her quad with a 3.793 E.T. while finishing second in round one of eliminations to No. 2 qualifier Anton Brown. She was No. 7 qualifier and helped oust Terry Totten and Mike Salinas in the first Top Fuel quad run.

Her runner-up spot earned her lane choice for round two and a big dose of confidence, but she just missed the finals when her 11,000-horsepower machine lost traction.

Jack Beckman started race day from the No. 13 seed. It was unfamiliar territory for the 2012 Funny Car world champion, who hasn’t qualified outside of the top three for the past six events, dating back to Dallas 2017.

In the first quad of eliminations, Beckman faced his teammate Ron Capps, reigning world champion Robert Hight, and Gary Densham. Beckman wheeled his Dodge Funny Car straight down the groove to take the round win and advance to the second session. In round two, Beckman had the starting line advantage and powered the Infinite Hero Foundation machine to another smooth pass, never trailing for the win.

The most recent Funny Car event winner (Gainesville) was hoping to go back-to-back and pick up his second victory of the year, and third “four-wide format” victory (Charlotte in 2011 and 2015). In the final elimination quad, Beckman was once again quick off of the line and raced to a hole shot runner-up finish. Although he wasn’t able to leave as the inaugural Las Vegas Four-Wide Funny Car winner, he was able to move into the points lead for the first time in 2018.

Tommy Johnson Jr. was set up to repeat his victory at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway from last spring. He entered race day qualified second with his time of 3.932 at 318.84-mph.

During the first session of competition, Johnson drove Terry and Doug Chandler's Make-A-Wish Dodge to a 4.030 -second at 316.01-mph to advance to the second round. Johnson then ran the best lap of the session in round two with his stout 4.007-second pass to advance to ?the final quad along with his DSR teammate, Beckman. Unfortunately, during the finals Johnson was eliminated from competition when he left the starting line early and fouled out.

Ron Capps and the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car team qualified in the top half of the field among a stacked 20-car entry list. As the No. 4 qualifier, Capps faced teammate Beckman, Robert Hight and Gary Densham in the first elimination quad. Unfortunately, Capps would not be one of two drivers to advance to the second round of eliminations when a dropped cylinder and early deploying parachutes ended his chances at winning the first Western four-wide event.

Matt Hagan, driver of the Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car, qualified seventh but was instantly disqualified in round one when he got on the throttle before the tree indicated to start, causing a red light foul. He’ll put that rare miscue behind him and get ready for the next event even more determined to do well.

The Las Vegas track is known to be one of the most difficult ones on the NHRA circuit for drivers and tuners alike due to the facility’s elevation and unique setting, forcing many to gamble on setups between each pass.

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

Tony Schumacher, U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster
No. 1 Qualifier —3.765 ET at 328.46 mph

Rd. 1: (0.078-second reaction time, 3.899 seconds at 257.43 mph), defeats No. 16 Steven Chrisman (0.140/4.111/284.81), No. 9 Terry McMillen (0.073/4.697/173.01) and No. 8 Scott Palmer (0.076/7.975/94.17)
Schumacher and Chrisman advance to round 2; Schumacher had the third choice of lanes.

Rd. 2: (0.057/4.297/249.49) lost to No. 5 Steve Torrence (0.062/3.763/326.08) and beat No. 16 Steven Chrisman (0.192/4.568/216.24) and No. 13 Clay Millican (0.069/5.970/108.82).
Torrence and Schumacher advance to the finals.

Finals: (0.058/3.790/325.22) lost to No. 5 Steve Torrence (0.069/3.771/326.63), and defeated No. 6 Doug Kalitta (0.040/3.914/273.27) and No. 2 Antron Brown (0.051/4.097/252.52)

“The problem is our car is awesome but the track’s too long – we should’ve won (laughs). Seriously, it was an excellent weekend for the Army car. There’s nothing easy about this. We had a runner-up finish with four amazing cars in the final. We’ll regroup, we’ll go to Houston and we’ll do it again. We moved up in points (to second), so that’s a good thing.”

Leah Pritchett, Papa John’s Pizza/Mopar Top Fuel Dragster
No. 7 Qualifier — 3.798 ET at 323.35 mph

Rd. 1: (0.115-second reaction time, 3.793 at 324.05) lost to No. 2 Antron Brown (0.058/3.797/327.35) and defeated No. 15 Terry Totten (0.122/4.139/278.17) and No. 10 Mike Salinas (0.091/4.398/191.81).
Brown and Pritchett advanced to round two, where Pritchett had lane choice.

Rd. 2: (0.070/5.391/149.51) lost to No. 6 Doug Kalitta (0.056/3.864/320.13), No. 2 Antron Brown (0.071/4.0050/278.58) and No. 11 Richie Crampton (0.042/4.261/261.47)

“Sometimes we’re able to come back from a run and know what we did right, like we did on elimination round number one. We were the quickest car of the four. It brought confidence back to the team; we felt like we had our hot rod back. Just as soon as you believe that, round number two comes up and sometimes you’re able to see immediately if you got it right or of you didn’t, decipher exactly why. We’re still in the process of understanding why we smoked the tires because we weren’t trying for any record or to be the quickest of the day. We were just trying to get down the track on all eight [cylinders], and instead, for a reason we’re still trying to figure out, it didn’t want to take one of the clutch arms out of play so we ended up smoking the tires. But, the progression has been upward, so that’s positive, although not at the accelerated rate that we would like.”



Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
No. 13 Qualifier — 4.028 ET at 310.05 mph

Rd. 1: 0.084-second reaction time, 4.082 seconds at 305.56 mph, defeated No. 12 Gary Densham (0.117/5.304/149.66), No. 5 Robert Hight (0.072/6.165/109.93) and No. 4 Ron Capps (0.080/6.697/78.55).
Beckman and Densham advance to round two.

Rd. 2: (0.076/4.013/317.05) to defeat No. 1 Courtney Force (0.113/4.126/298.67), No. 9 Jonnie Lindberg (0.101/4.674/188.65) and No. 12 Gary Densham (0.101/5.379/136.72).
Beckman and Courtney Force advance to the finals.

Finals: (0.057/4.052/312.21), lost to No. 3 J.R. Todd (0.050/4.041/317.05) and defeated No. 1 Courtney Force (0.103/4.007/300.53) and No. 2 Tommy Johnson Jr. (-0.008 (R)/3.978/311.70).

“It wasn’t the best weekend after qualifying Saturday night. We had problems, we were dropping cylinders, we were spinning tires, and we ended up 13th. We haven’t qualified out of the top three in the last six months and it’s certainly not what our potential is, but we left here with a runner-up. We got our act together on race day and we leave here with the points lead, so I think we did a great job of figuring out what was ailing our car and making the appropriate adjustments and going out there and gobbling up a bunch more points. Of course you want to win in the final round but I’m comfortable with the things we did here today are going to help us be a better car for the rest of the season, and we’re going to stay and test tomorrow.”

Tommy Johnson Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
No. 2 Qualifier — 3.932 ET at 318.84 mph

Rd. 1: (0.072-second reaction time, 4.030 seconds at 316.01 mph) to defeat No. 15 Del Worsham (0.090/4.496/244/25), No. 10 Tim Wilkerson (0.079/4.855/172.36) and No. 7 Matt Hagan (-0.003 (R)/5.899/117.68)
Johnson and Worsham advance to round two. Johnson had the third choice in lanes.

Rd. 2: (0.063/4.007/314.68) to defeat No. 3 J.R. Todd (0.068/4.054/314.17), No. 11 John Force (0.087/4.050/315.34) and No. 15 Del Worsham (0.091/4.049/307.93).
Johnson and Todd advance to the finals.

Finals: (-0.008 (R)/3.978/311.70) lost to No. 3 J.R. Todd (0.050/4.041/317.05), No. 13 Jack Beckman (0.057/4.052/312.21) and No. 1 Courtney Force (0.103/4.007/300.53).

“The car was running flawless and just performed exceptionally well this weekend. We found a problem after Gainesville and I’m super excited about what we’ve got in store for us. We were just a little short on completing a great weekend but I’m not disappointed whatsoever. Once you get running well you want to try to keep that going and with three in a row there’s a good chance we can go out there and win all three of those. I’m just super excited about the way this team is performing.”

Ron Capps, NAPA Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
No. 4 Qualifier — 3.953 ET at 321.50 mph

Rd. 1: (0.080-second reaction time, 6.697 ET at 78.55 mph, lost to No. 13 Jack Beckman (0.084/4.082/305.56), No. 12 Gary Densham (0.117/5.304/149.66) and No. 5 Robert Hight (0.072/6.165/109.93).

“We’re not sure what happened just yet. We’re trying to analyze the run. It definitely had a cylinder go out at the hit of the throttle, which immediately shoved my NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge to the right towards Robert Hight’s lane. I was able to turn the steering wheel and get it back towards the center. You don’t know what’s going on in the other three lanes, so you have to stay in the throttle; that’s part of the four-wide race day strategy, and in this case, it ended up backfiring so we were done for the day.”

Matt Hagan, Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
No. 7 Qualifier — 3.987 ET at 322.96 mph

Rd. 1: (-0.003 red lighted)/5.899/117.68); lost to No. 2 Tommy Johnson Jr. (0.072/4.030/316.01), No. 15 Del Worsham (0.090/4.496.244.25) and No. 10 Tim Wilkerson (0.079/4.855/172.36)

“I think we had a racecar that could have done some stuff out here today, but we won’t know until next year. It’s a hard pill to swallow, obviously after the final in Gainesville, having a .60 light, when I’m usually .50s or .40s in the finals. We’ve got stuff we’ve got to work on with the car too. I put a lot of pressure on myself. It takes all of us to do everything. It all plays a part. I’ll get my mind right and get focused and hit the practice tree and get right with it.”

Mopar Dodge//SRT NHRA Sportsman Spotlight

Former Dodge Top Finisher winner and 2018 NHRA Winternationals champ Larry Gilley drove his 1969 Dodge Dart GTS to the final round of Stock Eliminator at the 2018 DENSO Spark Plugs Four-Wide Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Powered by a Mopar 340 cubic-inch small block, Gilley’s Dart GTS was dialed-in all weekend as he raced through six-rounds of heated competition only to lose by 0.0035 seconds (approximately 7 inches) in the finals. For advancing the furthest in Stock Eliminator, Larry Gilley received the Dodge Top Finisher award that includes $500.

Mopar Sportsman Racer and previous Dodge Top Finisher winner, Mike Cotten of Cave Creek, Ariz., piloted his 1970 big-block Mopar powered Plymouth ‘Cuda to four-rounds of intense eliminations. Cotton’s ‘Cuda was consistent on race day but came up just a little short and lost by 0.018 seconds. For advancing the furthest in Super Stock, Mike Cotten received the Dodge Top Finisher award that includes $500.

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


Up Next: NHRA Spring Nationals
Next up for the Mopar and Dodge//SRT race teams is the NHRA Spring Nationals, scheduled for April 20-22 at the Royal Purple Raceway in Baytown (Houston), Texas.

2018 NHRA Championship — Point Standings After Round 4 of 24
(Season Wins in Parentheses)


NHRA Top Fuel
1. Steve Torrence (2) –333
2. Tony Schumacher, Mopar HEMI — 300
3. Antron Brown — 290
4. Clay Millican — 255
5. Doug Kalitta (1) — 248
6. Richie Crampton (1) —215
7. Leah Pritchett, Mopar Dodge HEMI — 202
8. Scott Palmer — 195
9. Brittany Force — 158
10. Terry McMillen — 148

NHRA Funny Car
1. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger R/T (1) — 338
2. Courtney Force (1) — 302
3. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger R/T (1) —301
4. Tommy Johnson Jr., Dodge Charger R/T —265
5. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger R/T — 258

6. J.R. Todd (1) — 235
7. Robert Hight — 222
8. Shawn Langdon — 205
9. Jonnie Lindberg — 171
10. Del Worsham — 167
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Leah Pritchett Ready for Repeat




Leah Pritchett Ready for Repeat Victory at NHRA Spring Nationals


04/20/2018

The calendar might say its spring, but tell that to the folks who live in parts of the country still mired in snow and torrential downpours. With whacky weather patterns inherent with the changing of the seasons, it’s anyone’s guess what to expect when they venture outside. It’s also true for our racers heading to the NHRA Spring Nationals this weekend at Houston Raceway Park. As with changes in the temperature and humidity, Dodge//SRT® Mopar® Top Fuel Dragster pilot Leah Pritchett is looking for a repeat victory this weekend as she goes back to her traditional driving style of racing on a two-lane drag strip. With the NHRA Vegas Four-Wide Nationals in the rearview mirror, Pritchett’s ready to jump back in the cockpit and whack the throttle of her 11,000-horsepower beast.



“Returning to Houston, sea level, at this particular moment in the season is huge for us,” said Pritchett. “There have been a number of changes setup-wise to the car since we last visited, and won, and most importantly, since our last race in Vegas. We are not just coming off of the four-wide Vegas race, we are entering Houston with some substantial changes to our Dodge//SRT Mopar-powered racecar. We tested in Vegas and are eager to place what we learned on the Baytown track.”



Last year at the NHRA Spring Nationals in Houston, Pritchett’s nitro-infused HEMI® dragster qualified sixth and proceeded to take down Scott Palmer in round one, then Doug Kalitta in the quarter-finals. When it came time for the semis, she had to face fellow DSR teammate Antron Brown, but she was in the groove and got the win. In the finals, she defeated Steve Torrence.



“We have developed immensely as a team since claiming a victory here, and believe we are more hungry and determined than ever to get our mojo back, and believe we’re on the right path and are looking forward to Houston. Although only four races in, we have not been stagnant. Crew chiefs are focusing on making power earlier, my focus is on not overthinking the tree which I have been, and just racing.”

You can catch Leah Pritchett and the rest the nitro Top Fuel and Funny Car teams burning rubber from Houston Raceway Park this Sunday, April 22, live on FS1 starting at 2:00 PM ET.
 

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Mopar Dodge//SRT Drivers Pritchett, Beckman and Schumacher Advance

Mopar Dodge//SRT Drivers Pritchett, Beckman and Schumacher Advance to Semifinals at Houston


Three Mopar Dodge//SRT Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) drivers advance to semifinals at NHRA SpringNationals
Mopar Dodge Top Fuel Dragster driver Leah Pritchett reaches semis, as does teammate and co-points leader Tony Schumacher
Defending Top Fuel event champion Pritchett started race day as No.1 Qualifier
Mopar-powered Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car driver Jack Beckman races to semifinals at SpringNationals
Mopar Express Lane/Pennzoil Dodge Charger R/T driver Matt Hagan advances to quarterfinals at Houston, moves to second in Funny Car standings
Jacob Pitt of Mansfield, Texas earns Dodge Top Finisher award in both Stock Eliminator and Super Stock


April 22, 2018 , Auburn Hills, Mich. -

A trio of Mopar Dodge//SRT drivers went rounds in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Race Series during the NHRA SpringNationals at Royal Purple Raceway in Baytown, Texas, near Houston. Leah Pritchett, Jack Beckman and Tony Schumacher took their Nitro machines to the semifinals in the ultra-competitive weekend, with Beckman leaving the event atop the NHRA Funny Car standings and Schumacher now tied for first in Top Fuel points.

Defending SpringNationals event winner Pritchett turned heads on Saturday afternoon when the Mopar Dodge dragster rocketed to the top with an impressive 3.680-second pass. The team earned their first No. 1 qualifier of the season and was set up for success on race day. Led by crew chief duo Todd Okuhara and Joe Barlam, the team dismissed of Top Fuel newbie Terry Brian in the opening round on Sunday with another sub 3.7-second pass, the lowest elapsed time of the opening round.

In the second round, Pritchett defeated rival Steve Torrence in one of the best side-by-side races of the day. Pritchett got the edge on the starting line and posted a 3.740, 320-mph lap over Torrence’s 3.778-second effort.

For the first time all weekend at the track near Houston, teams faced sunny skies for the semifinal round and Prichett’s dragster hazed the tires in the semifinal race against Terry McMillen. McMillen also struggled down the tricky 1,000-ft course but was able to take the win light.

The No. 1 qualifier effort, which was a track elapsed time record, and two round wins provide momentum for Pritchett and the Mopar team heading into next weekend’s NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway near Charlotte.

Funny Car points leader Jack Beckman’s race day started with a pedalfest against opponent Richard Townsend. Beckman was able to get Terry and Doug Chandler's Infinite Hero Foundation Funny Car to recover quickly and earned the round win. In the quarterfinals, Beckman once again masterfully pedaled his way to victory, and set off the win lights before Del Worsham.

The semifinal matchup found the 2012 Funny Car world champion facing Robert Hight, the reigning world champ. Beckman was first off of the starting line, but his 4.113-second pass was no match for Hight’s 3.959.

Tony Schumacher and the U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster team advanced to the semifinals on Sunday in Baytown, Texas as the NHRA began its three-race swing. Schumacher defeated Bill Litton in the opening session with his 3.703-second pass on a tricky race track. In round two, he had the starting line advantage over Clay Millican and powered the Army dragster to a 3.737-second winning pass.

In the semifinals, Schumacher went into tire smoke for the first time during the weekend and coasted to a 5.074 as Brittany Force got the round win with her 3.766-second run. The Army team will leave Baytown tied for the Top Fuel points lead with Steve Torrence.

Matt Hagan’s first trip to the winner’s circle came during the 2010 Houston race. His attempt to add a 2018 NHRA SpringNationals Wally to his trophy collection started with a tough draw, his DSR teammate, Mopar-powered driver Ron Capps. Hagan and Capps charged hard out of the gate, with Capps pulling away first in the battle of DSR Dodge race cars. Both vehicles were neck-and-neck until about the 650-ft. mark, when Hagan was able to motor down the track and score the win when Capps’ car went silent near halftrack.

In the quarterfinals, Hagan squared off against Tim Wilkerson. Both drivers had nearly identical reaction times and the Mopar Express Lane/Pennzoil Dodge was even with Wilkerson’s machine until about 330-feet when dropped cylinders caused Hagan to slow and his opponent was able to pull away for the win. Hagan moved up to second in NHRA Funny Car points heading to Charlotte’s 4-Wide race next weekend.

Tommy Johnson Jr.’s first round loss against opponent J.R. Todd was the ultimate example of ‘wrong place at the wrong time.’ Johnson, who was previously 3-0 against Todd, charged out of the gate with all candles lit. Both Johnson and Todd were straight down the groove in an exciting side-by-side race. Unfortunately for Johnson, Todd edged past and was able to take the win with his 3.955-second pass vs. Johnson’s 3.989.

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



Leah Pritchett, Mopar Dodge Top Fuel Dragster
(No. 1 Qualifier – 3.680 ET)

Rd. 1: (.078-second reaction time, 3.697 seconds at 327.43 mph) beat No. 16 Terry Brian (.203/4.233/258.37)
Rd. 2: (.055/3.740/320.36) beat No. 9 Steve Torrence (.050/3.778/312.64)
Rd. 3: (.096/10.490/73.72) lost to No. 12 Terry McMillen (.082/5.124/213.64)

“It was definitely a Six Flags rollercoaster adventure of a weekend. I can say going to the semis has done a lot for our team. We qualified No. 1, which was definitely no fluke, and we found two ways to win in the first two rounds, and that’s one small leap for the Mopar/U.S. Army team. We’ll take this and we’ll not really lick our wounds too much because we found a lot of progress. Yes, we wanted to defend our race win here from last year and it stings that we didn’t but, within minutes of coming back and debriefing after the semifinals, we found the cohesiveness of this team is very strong and will carry us a long way the rest of this season.”

Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 4 Qualifier – 3.918 ET)

Rd. 1: (.072-second reaction time, 4.125 seconds at 317.12 mph) beat No. 13 Richard Townsend (.096/4.186/298.93)
Rd. 2: (.073/5.286/233.72) beat No. 12 Del Worsham (.091/5.563/215.62)
Rd. 3: (.042/4.113/293.35) lost to No. 1 Robert Hight (.064/3.959/312.50)

"Interestingly enough, it's the first time since deep into last year where we probably didn't have one of the best cars on the property, yet we still left with the third most points of anyone this weekend. These are the kinds of outings that will win the championship; when you can overachieve relative to your performance, because trust me, these guys will have this thing figured out and we'll be thundering again in Charlotte where we're right back to a four-wide format. It's a good time of year to be a Funny Car driver and we leave with the points lead."



Matt Hagan, Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 3 Qualifier – 3.913 ET)

Rd. 1: (.101-second reaction time, 3.951 seconds at 311.49 mph) beat No. 14 Ron Capps (.048/4.152/245.81)
Rd. 2: (.054/4.190/240.08) lost to No. 6 Tim Wilkerson (.053/3.972/308.71)

“It was a little tricky track with new asphalt out there, just a lot of variables to deal with. We had six great runs up to that point and it just wore too much clutch and pulled the tires lose out there. A lot of times it just loops the tires and I can drive through it, but it just blew them off pretty hard and there was no real recovery. When you’ve got a guy like Wilkerson running 97 beside you and you have identical lights basically, it’s kind of tough to make it up. That’s Houston for us. I got my first win here so it’s kind of a special place for me but we’re moving on. We have 4-Wide (Charlotte) coming up and trying to get focused on that because it’s a whole different ballgame again like Vegas was. I don’t have the greatest record at 4-Wides so I need to focus and do well. Hopefully we’ll get back out here. We need to start winning soon.”

Tommy Johnson Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 7 Qualifier – 3.926 ET)

Rd. 1: (.088 -second reaction time, 3.989 seconds at 309.49 mph) lost to No. 10 J.R. Todd (.051/3.955/321.73)

“The conditions out here are so tricky and today was a perfect example of ‘wrong place at the wrong time.’ We made a nice run, fifth quickest of the round, but came up short. That’s part of the luck in racing sometimes. We have a really good race car, we went down the track when a lot of them didn’t so we’re not going to change anything. We’ll just go on to the next one, keep doing what we’re doing and it’ll come to us."

Ron Capps, NAPA Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 14 Qualifier – 4.077 ET)

Rd. 1: (.048 – seconds reaction time, 4.152 seconds at 245.81 mph) lost to No. 3 Matt Hagan (.101/3.951/311.49)

“We really put ourselves in a hole during qualifying, but you’ve heard me brag about (crew chief Rahn) Tobler and our team time and time again. No matter where we qualify, I think we have a fighting chance, and I wouldn’t want to be the guy or gal in the other lane racing our NAPA car on Sunday morning. Having Hagan first round was not the plan, especially as good as they’ve been running this weekend, but we went up there and were out in front of them initially. Then the car quit at about 650-feet, and we’re working to figure out why.”

Tony Schumacher, U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster
(No. 3 Qualifier – 3.703 ET)

Rd. 1: (.091-second reaction time, 3.703 seconds at 325.85 mph) beat No. 14 Bill Litton (.080/4.228/216.31)
Rd. 2: (.048/3.737/317.64) beat No. 6 Clay Millican (.070/6.473/89.64)
Rd. 3: (.070/5.074/148.97) lost to No. 2 Brittany Force (.089/3.766/299.80)

“Big picture, we’re tied for the points lead and that’s a good thing. Most importantly, we have a really good U.S. Army car. This morning, when the conditions were cool, I thought nobody was going to beat us here. It got quite a bit hotter than we thought and, still, we were ultra close. The good thing is we go right from here to another one. It wasn’t like we got beat in the first round. We held our own, we got good points this weekend, separated from a lot of people in the standings. It’s all good.”

Mopar Dodge//SRT NHRA Sportsman Spotlight
Jacob Pitt from Mansfield, Texas, doubled-up this weekend at the NHRA Spring Nationals as he was the Dodge Top Finisher winner in both Stock Eliminator and Super Stock. Competing in two classes, Pitt drove his 1969 Plymouth ‘Cuda 440 C/SA entry to the Stock Eliminator semifinals before a red light foul after leaving the starting line too early ended his march to the final round. In Super Stock, Pitt piloted his FGT/H 2003 Dodge Stratus powered by a Mopar 360 small block to a round-three finish.

The Dodge Top Finisher award, now in its second 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 Four-Wide Nationals
Next on the schedule for the Mopar and Dodge//SRT group is the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, scheduled for April 27-29 at zMax Dragway near Charlotte, NC. The event will be the second of its type this season, which features drivers competing in four separate lanes simultaneously.


2018 NHRA Championship — Point Standings After Round 5 of 24
(Season Wins in Parentheses)

NHRA Top Fuel
1. Steve Torrence (2) –385
Tony Schumacher, Mopar HEMI — 385
3. Antron Brown — 324
4. Clay Millican — 309
5. Doug Kalitta (1) — 304
6. Leah Pritchett, Mopar Dodge HEMI — 284
7. Brittany Force (1) — 270
8. Richie Crampton (1) —247
9. Terry McMillen — 240
10. Scott Palmer — 214

NHRA Funny Car
1. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger R/T (1) — 415
2. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger R/T (1) — 363

3. J.R. Todd (2) — 347
4. Courtney Force (1) — 342
5. Robert Hight — 326
6. Tommy Johnson Jr., Dodge Charger R/T —298
7. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger R/T — 289

8. Shawn Langdon — 237
9. Jonnie Lindberg — 221
10. Del Worsham — 219
 

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HEMI® Power to Pound the Pavement at Charlotte NHRA Four-Wide

HEMI® Power to Pound the Pavement at Charlotte NHRA Four-Wide



Our nitro-burning HEMI® engine-powered Top Fuel Dragsters and Charger R/T Funny Cars from Don Schumacher Racing will once again do battle. This weekend’s NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at the massive zMAX Dragway, located outside Charlotte in Concord, North Carolina, will have enough horsepower on the starting line to rotate the earth and move the track into another time zone.

Just a few weeks earlier, our drivers were dragging four-wide at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. With over 40,000 horsepower blasting down the track at once, the fans loved the sensory overload but the drivers had to quickly adapt their staging routines and reaction times to compensate for the two additional cars paired up on the same run.

“The NHRA is the epitome of the most powerful cars in the world,” said Leah Pritchett, driver of the Dodge//SRT® Mopar® Top Fuel Dragster and semifinalist at last year’s event. “22,000 horsepower side-by-side at a normal race, but this weekend in Charlotte, we double that and go four-wide, pushing that number to 44,000 horsepower on the track at the same time. It is so intense,”



Currently ranked sixth in points, this weekend is also Pritchett’s 100th event that she’s competed in as a professional driver, but it never gets old. “Your senses are totally engaged from the smell of the nitro, the burn in your eyes from the fumes, the rumble of the launch shaking the ground and the sound of pure horsepower. Seeing that amount of power push through these engines that is transferred through these cars with massive Goodyear slicks to go from zero to 335 mph in just over three-and-a-half seconds. It’s quite a scene and something everyone should experience,” exclaimed Pritchett.



In the Funny Car classes, racing four-wide is just as intense. In 2017, Ron Capps piloted his NAPA-sponsored Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car to a hard-fought victory at zMAX Dragway. With 58 wins already under his belt, it doesn’t make it easier to line up next to one Funny Car, let alone three during the four-wide races. The returning defending champion knows he’ll have his work cut out for him during qualifying and eliminations, and he begins his mental preparation early while also reflecting on last season. “Well, you can always tell its race week leading up to a zMAX Dragway race; and, boy, are my NAPA Brakes team and I looking forward to getting to the Four-Wide this weekend. This was a fun part of the season last year. We went on a four-race win streak, including the race here and vaulted ourselves right up to first place,” said Capps.



Capps also knows this season has been tough, but that doesn’t stop the former NHRA world champ from keeping a positive attitude. “While the beginning of the season hasn’t gone exactly the way we wanted it to, and like I told the media last weekend in Houston, our NAPA team is not ever going to give up. It’s going to be a fun challenge to battle our way back into the Winner’s Circle and I can’t think of a better time to do that than the Charlotte Four-Wide this weekend.”

And while Capps savors last year’s win, the opponent he took out in the final round will also be looking for payback, even if it’s his own teammate – Jack Beckman. For Beckman, or as he’s known among the fans, “Fast Jack”, he has driven his Infinite Hero-backed Charger R/T Funny Car to the winner’s circle twice at the Charlotte NHRA Four-Wide Nationals. He comes into this event currently number-one in points and wants to put more distance between himself and the rest of the field. “Not only is our Infinite Hero team leading the (Funny Car) points standings, but we’re looking for some four-wide redemption after coming oh-so-close in Vegas,” said Beckman.
 

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The other Charger R/T Funny Cars from the DSR stable are also just as focused on winning this weekend and won’t hold anything back. “Vegas (Four-Wide) didn’t go so well, so we’re hoping Charlotte goes a little better. Just got to put that behind you, do your thing, go up there and treat it like another race,” said Matt Hagan, driver of the Dodge//SRT Mopar Charger R/T Funny Car. “During qualifying, it’s just one round in each lane, so that sets everybody back a little bit since you don’t know what lane you’re going to get on Sunday, and only having one shot at it. It would be nice to go down every lap and see if we can get some data out of all four lanes. Overall, I think our car has been running pretty good. Hopefully, we run fast, do big things and turn on three win lights on Sunday,” stressed Hagan.

For Tommy Johnson Jr., driver of the Make-A-Wish Foundation Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car, he’s very optimistic and used the previous four-wide race to gain valuable knowledge.

“I’m looking forward to Charlotte, the second four-wide of the year. We’ve had a little practice at the Vegas Four-Wide, so going into this one, it should be even smoother. We performed extremely well in Las Vegas and felt like we should’ve won that race. Looking forward to trying to get the four-wide win in Charlotte, based on how well we did at the first one this season,” said Johnson.

If you want watch this mind-numbing experience of nitro dragsters and funny cars from the safe distant of your living room, final eliminations from the Charlotte NHRA Four-Wide will be broadcast on FS1 starting Sunday, April 29, at 6:00 PM ET.
 

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Final Round at NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at Charlotte

Mopar Dodge//SRT Funny Car Driver Johnson Advances to Final Round at NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at Charlotte

Tommy Johnson Jr. goes to final four-car round in Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T at Four-Wide Nationals at CharlotteInfinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T driver Jack Beckman continues to lead NHRA Funny Car point standings
Trio of Mopar-powered Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car drivers advance to semifinals at zMAX Dragway
Leah Pritchett qualifies for her 100th Top Fuel pro race at NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway
Pritchett pulls double-duty, qualifies No. 1 in Factory Stock Showdown Series in her supercharged Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak
Jack Zimmerman, Mike Volkman earn Dodge Top Finisher award in Stock Eliminator and Super Stock




April 29, 2018 , Auburn Hills, Mich.



Tommy Johnson Jr. drove his Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T to the final round at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, leading the charge for all Mopar Dodge//SRT drivers during weekend action at zMAX Dragway near Charlotte, N.C.

Johnson’s Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) teammates and fellow Mopar-powered Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car drivers Jack Beckman and Ron Capps advanced to the second round at zMAX Dragway, with Beckman retaining the points lead heading to Atlanta for the next event.

Johnson, as the No. 3 qualifier, faced and defeated fellow DSR teammate Matt Hagan in his first-round quad to finish in the runner-up position. In the next round, Johnson beat Capps despite his teammate’s advantage off the starting line, once again advancing as the runner-up.

For the final elimination, Johnson was keeping pace until just before the finish line when the tires broke loose, and Cruz Pedregon was able to drive away with the race win.


Beckman, last year’s event runner-up, advanced his Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car out of round one as runner-up. Next up, he faced a tough trio of father/daughter John and Courtney Force, along with Round one winner J.R. Todd. Beckman started skating early in the pass and let off the throttle a little early, with the Force duo taking the round.

Defending NHRA Charlotte Four-Wide event champion Capps was the No. 2 qualifier, earning an impressive six bonus points. Capps moved out front early in the first-round elimination then struck the tires at about the 700-foot mark and pedaled it with enough momentum to pick up the runner-up spot and advance while Robert Hight took the win.In round two Capps was one of several drivers with problems in his quad. He suffered traction problems in lane one and let off the throttle early, with Cruz Pedregon taking the win and DSR teammate Johnson advancing as runner-up.

Three-time zMAX Dragway winner Matt Hagan, driver of the Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car, qualified in 11th position. In the first-round elimination Hagan went to the 600-foot mark before the tires started smoking and he had to pedal. When engine issues ended his run, advancement went to Cruz Pedregon and the runner-up spot to DSR teammate Tommy Johnson Jr.

Leah Pritchett, who celebrated her 100th pro race, pulled double duty this weekend, competing in both Top Fuel and the Factory Stock Showdown Series. She struggled with qualifying her Pennzoil/Mopar Dodge Top Fuel Dragster and was ranked 15th. In the first round, Pritchett lost traction and pedaled it as she tried to regain traction but could not recover.

Pritchett had better luck in the Factory Stock Showdown Series, where she drove her HEMI-powered Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak to the top qualifying spot, although bowing out early in round one eliminations.

U.S. Army Mopar-powered DSR driver Tony Schumacher, last year’s Four-Wide Top Fuel runner-up, qualified second, setting his best time of 3.692 seconds in the second qualifying round. DSR teammates Pritchett and Schumacher faced off in side-by-side action against Clay Millican and Dom Lagana in the four-wide first round Top Fuel eliminations. Schumacher had the fastest reaction time out of the gate but lost traction and was unable to hold it down the track to hook up properly. Lagana won the round and Millican took the runner-up spot.

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

Tommy Johnson Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 3 Qualifier – 3.887 ET at 328.70 mph)

Rd.1: (.089 -second reaction time, 4.374 seconds at 215.00 mph), lost to No. 6 Cruz Pedregon (.072/4.156/243.55), defeated No. 14 John Smith (.341/4.315/256.84), defeated No. 11 Matt Hagan (.091/5.145/127.07)

Pedregon and Johnson advance to round 2

Rd.2: (.187 -second reaction time, 4.007 seconds at 275.39 mph), lost to No. 6 Cruz Pedregon (.088/4.055/309.20), defeated No. 7 Robert Hight (.084/4.610/192.49), defeated No. 2 Ron Capps (.060/5.233/140.44)

Pedregon and Johnson advance to finals

Finals: (.084 -second reaction time, 4.143 seconds at 314.02 mph), lost to No. 6 Cruz Pedregon (.032/4.059/310.84), lost to No. 8 John Force (.090/4.098/307.93), defeated No. 1 Courtney Force (.099/6.215/114.46)



Johnson finishes third place in the quad

“It's just a challenge for everybody out here today. The change of the track prep has really thrown the crew chiefs for a curve. We saw a lot of carnage and a lot of teams struggling to get a hold of the track and we made nice run in the semifinals and had a low ET of the semifinals and we kind of thought we had a handle on it. Then once we got out there for the final, it was really running well then broke the tires loose. We'll have to figure it out. We'll see if we can't keep chipping away.”

Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 13 Qualifier – 3.983 ET at 316.08)

Rd.1: (.077 -second reaction time, 4.427 seconds at 237.71 mph), lost to No. 4 J.R. Todd (.082/4.031/305.42), defeated No. 5 Bob Tasca III (.064/4.667/167.63), defeated No. 12 Shawn Langdon (.222/14.795/79.49)

Todd and Beckman advance to round two

Rd.2: (.085 -second reaction time, 4.717 seconds at 204.79 mph), lost to No. 8 John Force (.093/4.108/299.66), lost to No. 1 Courtney Force (.103/4.115/255.68), lost to No. 4 J.R. Todd (.051/4.435/204.79)

Beckman eliminated

“I don’t think I’ve seen this much carnage in one round of Nitro racing in my entire career and even as a fan. It was just kind of a freak deal. I think it was a combination of good air, spraying a little bit less percentage of the traction compound and the fact that it’s four-wide. We have to race for second place which we never do, and you’ll get back in it more often than you normally would and that’s the nature of the beast. And that’s disappointing.

We never really got a handle on the car this weekend, but we still managed to salvage a round out of it. We got 20 points and we could still leave in the points lead, so it’s hard to hang our heads too low. We’re confident we’re going to get our tune-up back underneath us. The last couple of races have thrown us a curveball here, but Guido, John and Neal live this stuff. They’ll take the data home, they’ll look at it and have three days to figure out if it was a parts issue or a tune-up issue and then we’ll unload at Atlanta with a fresh perspective."

Ron Capps, NAPA Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 2 Qualifier – 3.886 ET at 329.83 mph)

Rd 1: (.088-second reaction time, 4.585 seconds at 218.16 mph), lost to No. 7 Robert Hight (.058/4.566/273.27), defeated No. 15 Dale Creasy Jr. (.123/4.703/174.91), defeated No. 10 Jonnie Lindberg (.079/9.074/77.52)

Capps and Hight advance to round two

Rd 2: (.060-second reaction time, 5.233 seconds at 140.44 mph), lost to No. 6 Cruz Pedregon (.088/4.055/309.20), lost to No. 3 Tommy Johnson Jr. (.187/4.007/314.02), lost to No. 7 Robert Hight (.084/4.610/192.49)

Capps Eliminated

“Not sure why it was a challenging track. The car was running great the second round. Obviously, the first round was a battle of attrition having to pedal it and keep it off the center line and wall. We advanced in the second round but for some reason the oil sending unit shut off the ignition. We’re going to have to figure out why it did that.

We had a great car all weekend. It was so much fun to make that Q3 in the middle of the heat run of 3.96 when nobody else is going down the track. And I can feel (Crew Chief Rhan) Tobler’s got his mojo back. It’s a great thing going back into Atlanta obviously where headquarters are for NAPA, Coca-Cola and Mello Yello. If we have to get a win for the first time this year, it’s a good place to do it.”

Leah Pritchett, Mopar Dodge Top Fuel Dragster
(No. 15 Qualifier – 4.004 ET at 294.31 mph)

Rd.1: (.053-second reaction time, 4.288 seconds at 314.31 mph), lost to No. 2 Robert Hight (.074/3.884/327.66), lost to No. 10 Jack Beckman (.077/4.025/316.23), lost to No. 2 Jim Campbell (.118/6.712/98.34)

Pritchett eliminated

“It’s definitely been one of those frustrating weekends for us. We so badly wanted to put a win light up there for Pennzoil, Mopar and U.S. Army. We went out there out there with a conservative setup to get us down the track. The car in our lane before us had a large explosion and NHRA did a good job preparing the starting line and the part of the track where they saw it the most necessary. We are 98 percent confident that as soon as our car reached the part of the track where the preparation stopped, we ran on oil. We lost traction and I pedaled the car. You drive this event different. When you are racing four wide, you are going to pedal it no matter what because you just don’t know. I’m in lane one and I have no idea what’s going on in lane four. You are just cringing inside that car trying to get it to hook up knowing that I’m doing a lot of damage here and the only consolation is if were able to put on a win light. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to do that. Everything up to that point we felt completely confident in. So, we take that, we learn, and we go on to Atlanta.”

Tony Schumacher, U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster
(No. 2 Qualifier – 3.692 ET at 331.61 mph)

Rd.1: (.058-second reaction time, 4.726 seconds at 219.72 mph), lost to No. 10 Dom Lagana (.065/3.834/324.05), lost to No. 7 Clay Millican (.087/4.376/194.18), defeated No. 15 Leah Pritchett (.083/4.999/174.77)

Schumacher eliminated. Both DSR teammates were out and Lagana and Millican advanced to round two

“The U.S. Army car has been running good, but maybe down on horsepower just a little bit this weekend. We made some changes for that first round and the power picked right back up. I wish we had one more qualifying run, but that’s not the way it goes. You have to make changes as you see them. We are all adjusting to the traction NHRA is providing. I’m not surprised with how unpredictable things went today in the first round. We knew there were going to be changes. When the track warms up, it becomes a little more predictable. The first quad there was an oil down. The second quad there was an oil down. When there is that much span in between runs, the track is just not good. Hats to off to (Steve) Torrence, they went out and won the race. We make no excuses. We are bad to the bone and looking forward to showing in Atlanta.”

Matt Hagan, Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 11 Qualifier – 3.966 ET at 320.89 mph)

Rd.1: (.091-second reaction time, 5.145 seconds at 127.07 mph), lost to No. 6 Cruz Pedregon (.072/4.156/243.55), lost to No. 3 Tommy Johnson, Jr (.089/4.374/215.00), lost to No. 14 John Smith (.341/4.315/256.84)

Hagan eliminated

“(It was) a little tough, not the Sunday first round we wanted. Obviously, NHRA needs to address the track prep situation. There’s a lot less grip out there and that’s why I think everyone’s smoking the tires and blowing up. Hopefully, they can get this situation figured out.”

Mopar Dodge//SRT NHRA Sportsman Spotlight
Leah Pritchett’s Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak came off the truck with Crew Chief Kevin Helms’ perfectly prepared 354-cubic-inch HEMI engine for round two of seven in the Factory Stock Showdown Series and promptly topped the charts. The Mopar star posted an 8.047 E.T. for the No. 1 qualifying spot.Unfortunately, her face-off in first round eliminations against No. 9 Arthur Krohn ended in a defeat with an 8.174 E.T. at 169.08 mph against his 8.113 E.T. at 170.51 mph.

During the weekend at Charlotte, DSR also announced that it will enter a second Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak in the FSXX with veteran Pro Stock racer Mark Pawuk, beginning at the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals in June for round three.

The Dodge Top Finisher award, now in its second 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.

This weekend at the zMAX Dragway, Jack Zimmerman from Clemmons, North Carolina, drove his B/SA 1971 Dodge Challenger R/T to the semi-finals in Stock Eliminator class. Powered by a Mopar 440 Six Pack V8, Zimmerman’s Challenger ran consistent low 10-second times and earned him the Stock Eliminator class Dodge Top Finisher award and the $500.

Longtime Mopar racer and prior Dodge Top Finisher winner Mike Volkman made it to the Super Stock quarterfinals at the Charlotte NHRA Four-Wide Nationals. Driving his 2000 Chrysler Sebring powered by a Mopar 318 small block V8 and converted to rear wheel drive, Volkman’s car competes in the GT/LA category. With numerous class wins to his credit, Volkman who hails from Campobello, South Carolina, was once again the Super Stock and $500 winner.




Up Next: NHRA Southern Nationals
Next on the schedule for the Mopar and Dodge//SRT corral is the 38th Annual NHRA Southern Nationals, scheduled for May 4-6 at Atlanta Dragway in Commerce (Atlanta), GA.


2018 NHRA Championship — Point Standings After Round 6 of 24
(Season Wins in Parentheses)


NHRA Top Fuel
1. Steve Torrence (3) –503
2. Tony Schumacher, Mopar HEMI — 426
3. Doug Kalitta (1) — 401
4. Clay Millican — 384
5. Antron Brown — 362
6. Leah Pritchett, Mopar Dodge HEMI — 315
7. Brittany Force (1) — 311
8. Terry McMillen — 305
9. Richie Crampton (1) —263
10. Scott Palmer — 249


NHRA Funny Car
1. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger R/T (1) — 466
2. Courtney Force (1) — 425
3. J.R. Todd (2) — 403
4. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger R/T (1) — 395
5. Robert Hight — 381
6. Tommy Johnson Jr., Dodge Charger R/T —376
7. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger R/T — 352
8. Cruz Pedregon (1) — 274
9. Shawn Langdon — 269
10. Jonnie Lindberg — 256
 

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First Win of Season at NHRA Southern Nationals

Pritchett Powers Mopar Dodge Top Fuel Dragster to First Win of Season at NHRA Southern Nationals

Leah Pritchett races Mopar Dodge/FireAde Top Fuel dragster to first win of season at Atlanta Dragway, sixth overall of her career
Victory is third this season for a Mopar Dodge//SRT driver in NHRA Nitro classes
Matt Hagan takes Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car to runner-up finish, third final round of season
Hagan, Jack Beckman put two Mopar Dodge Funny Car machines in semifinals
Tony Schumacher qualifies for 350th consecutive Top Fuel event, comes up short in bid for first Atlanta win
Mike Volkman captures back-to-back Dodge Top Finisher awards in Super Stock, Thomas Auger earns honor in Stock Eliminator



May 6, 2018 , Auburn Hills, Mich. -





Leah Pritchett raced her Mopar Dodge/FireAde Top Fuel dragster to victory on Sunday at the 38th Annual NHRA Southern Nationals, earning her first win of the season and first at Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Georgia, as well as the sixth overall of her Top Fuel career.

The win is the third in seven events this season for a Mopar Dodge//SRT driver in the NHRA Nitro classes (Top Fuel and Funny Car). Pritchett’s Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) teammate, Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T driver Matt Hagan, added a runner-up finish in Funny Car for the brands, and moved up one spot into the third position in the standings.

Pritchett and her Mopar Dodge Top Fuel team were on point this weekend at Atlanta starting with qualifying, where the DSR driver collected five important bonus points as well as the No. 4 starting position. She was machine-like in recording seven runs in the three-second range out of a possible eight during qualifying and eliminations, including in all four rounds on Sunday starting with a 3.903-second elapsed time (ET) at 293.73 mph to beat Pat Dakin.

In the quarterfinals, Pritchett and Bill Litton had identical reaction times, but the similarities ended there, as the Mopar Dodge zoomed to a stout 3.841/322.50 run while Litton faltered shortly after launch. In the semifinals against Mike Salinas, Pritchett jumped to an early lead and never looked back to advance to her first final round of the year and ninth of her career.

Matched against Blake Alexander in the final round, Pritchett was the picture of consistency, clocking a 3.874/322.42 run to earn her sixth career win. Alexander’s lap of 4.287/199.43 wouldn’t have been enough to break up Pritchett’s dream weekend, but it didn’t matter as he was disqualified for leaving the starting line early.

Hagan, the 2016 event winner at Atlanta Dragway, started in the back half of the field at No. 11, then dispatched a trio of racers ranked higher on the qualifying charts on his march to the final round. The DSR driver recorded the second-quickest pass of the opening round to send home No. 6 qualifier Jonnie Lindberg, setting up the first of two battles with Mopar-powered Dodge DSR teammates.

In the quarterfinals against No. 3 qualifier Tommy Johnson Jr., Hagan and his stablemate were equally matched in reaction time. Hagan trailed early on, but as Johnson Jr. lost traction just before the 330-foot mark, the Virginia cattle rancher was able to surge head for the win. Next up for Hagan was Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T driver and No. 10 qualifier Jack Beckman in the semifinals. Beckman had a slight early advantage, but Hagan was able to put his Mopar Express Lane Dodge out front just past the 60-foot mark and hold on for the round win.

In the final round — the 49th of his career and third of the year — Hagan was first off the starting line against No. 1 qualifier Courtney Force, with a superior .047-second reaction time to his opponent’s slower .072. It wasn’t enough to hold up for the win, as Force was able to pass Hagan near the 330-foot mark and pull away for the victory.

Although Beckman also struggled during qualifying, the two-time Southern Nationals champion came alive during eliminations, ousting the higher qualified J.R. Todd in round one, defeating Bob Tasca III in the quarterfinals and giving Hagan a run for his money before ultimately coming up short in the semis. Johnson Jr. and the Make-A-Wish Dodge Funny Car team followed up their solid No. 3 qualifying spot with a victory over Dodge Charger R/T driver Jim Campbell before falling to Hagan in round two.

Mopar-powered NAPA Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car pilot Ron Capps, a two-time Atlanta race winner and the defending event champ, opened eliminations by facing off with longtime rival John Force. In the 92nd meeting between the past Funny Car World Champions, No. 12 qualifier Capps was first out of the gate but hazed the tires, allowing No. 5 starter Force to make up ground by the 330-foot mark. Capps maintained control and was able to pedal his racecar, and when Force struck the tires at about 500 feet, Capps pointed his Dodge down the strip to claim the round win.

Capps’ bid for an Atlanta repeat ended in the quarterfinals. First off the line once again against Cruz Pedregon, he smoked the tires early in the run. This time Capps was unable to recover, slowing to a 5.792/119.76 pass as Pedregon drove away for the victory.

Mopar-powered U.S. Army Top Fuel driver Tony Schumacher added to his remarkable list of career accomplishment’s this weekend, qualifying for his 350th consecutive race, a streak dating back to the 2003 Topeka event. The eight-time Top Fuel World Champion and 83-time event winner started No. 5 in seeking to check off one of the few career milestones he doesn’t own – a victory at Atlanta.

The runner-up last year at the Southern Nationals, and five times overall at the venue, Schumacher matched up against No. 12 qualifier Litton in round one. Unfortunately, Schumacher will continue to chase that elusive Atlanta victory, as Litton recorded a winning 3.915/315.56 pass to the DSR’s driver’s losing 3.925/311.27 effort.

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

Pietro Gorlier, Head of Parts and Service (Mopar), FCA
“Thanks to Leah Pritchett for putting the Mopar and Dodge brands in the winner’s circle at the NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway. Leah’s victory also marks the third for a Mopar-powered driver in seven NHRA events and puts an exclamation point on our brand’s early-season success on the drag strip.”

Steve Beahm, Head of Passenger Cars, Dodge//SRT, Chrysler and FIAT, FCA North America
“Hats off to Leah Pritchett for earning her first victory of the season at the NHRA Southern Nationals. With three wins early on in the season, it’s clear the combination of Dodge, Mopar and the Don Schumacher Racing organization is a successful one.”



Leah Pritchett, Mopar Dodge/FireAde Top Fuel Dragster
(No. 4 Qualifier – 3.788 ET)

Rd.1: (.086-second reaction time, 3.903 seconds at 293.73 mph) beat No. 13 Pat Dakin (.119/6.389/100.55)
Rd.2: (.104/3.841/322.50) beat No. 12 Bill Litton (.104/11.552/82.25)
Rd.3: (.081/3.907/312.42) beat No. 8 Mike Salinas (.028/4.212/211.66)
Rd.4: (.075/3.874/322.42) beat No. 10 Blake Alexander (-.006/4.287/199.43)

“This win feels incredible. It’s been a while, but I think a (win) drought is all relative. This FireAde/Mopar/U.S. Army team knows what it’s like to win and we still have that in our hearts and that’s what we grasp to. And, yes, we may have been the only Top Fuel car for DSR that advanced out of the first round today, but we felt the world of support from the entire organization knowing they were all behind us as we made our run to this win today. Thank you, Don Schumacher, for believing in me and giving me a chance two years ago. And for all of Don Schumacher Racing, all the fans, all the guys back at the shop that put those race cars together and keep us safe, this one is for you. It was a special weekend here in Atlanta for a lot of reasons, including the ability fulfill a dream of Make-A-Wish child Luci Toman. She is a true inspiration and it was great having her with me all weekend. We both got our dreams to come true this weekend.”



Matt Hagan, Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 11 Qualifier – 4.054 ET)

Rd.1: (.087-second reaction time, 4.106 seconds at 299.46 mph) beat No. 6 Jonnie Lindberg (.134/4.192/253.04)
Rd.2: (.071/4.200/290.26) beat to No. 3 Tommy Johnson Jr. (.073/4.794/178.99)
Rd.3: (.075/4.111/309.70) beat to No. 10 Jack Beckman (.077/4.224/293.41)
Rd.4: (.047/4.148/291.13) lost to No. 1 Courtney Force (.072/4.046/313.73)

“All in all, a good day. It’s like old school match racing with this track prep. (Crew chief) Dickie Venables did a great job adapting. I can’t say enough about my Mopar Express Lane Dodge team. We had a hole out, killed the tree. It was all there for the taking, it was just a matter of it all coming together, but hey, it’s drag racing. We’ll go to Topeka and get it done.”

On starting race day from the back half of the field:
“I’ve won from the back, I’ve won from the front, it’s just a matter of being in it to win it.”

Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 10 Qualifier – 4.038 ET)

Rd.1: (.059-second reaction time, 4.410 seconds at 215.27 mph) beat No. 7 J.R. Todd (.069/9.681/79.05)
Rd.2: (.081/4.146/304.74) beat to No. 15 Bob Tasca III (.094/4.181/296.11)
Rd.3: (.077/4.224/293.41) lost to No. 11 Matt Hagan (.075/4.111/309.70)

“I’m a competitor and I’m always upset when we get beat but you’ve got to recognize big picture. We did a good job this weekend. We went to the semifinals; we lost to another Mopar, so we know a Don Schumacher Dodge is going to be in the final round. We’re going a long way towards inching towards that championship so there’s no reason not to feel optimistic moving forward.”

Tommy Johnson Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 3 Qualifier – 3.968 ET)

Rd.1: (.096-second reaction time, 4.169 seconds at 247.11 mph) beat No. 14 Jim Campbell (.118/6.098/111.29)
Rd.2: (.073/4.794/178.99) lost to No. 11 Matt Hagan (.071/4.200/290.26)

“We had a really good race car and I felt confident going into the day. It’s been a really hard track to navigate. There’s bumps out there and they’re experimenting with track prep. We seemed to have been adapting pretty well, but unfortunately the bump got us the second round. It was in the lead and pulling away then hits the bump and comes loose. It’s aggravating, but we’ll keep learning and see if we can’t make what we learned today work for us down the road and make us better.”

Ron Capps, NAPA Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 12 Qualifier – 4.107 ET)

Rd.1: (.055-second reaction time, 4.397 seconds at 259.11 mph) beat No. 5 John Force (.093/4.403/238.69)
Rd.2: (.075/5.792/119.76) lost to No. 4 Cruz Pedregon (.084/4.117/298.34)

“We came in as defending champions in this race last year. It’s a tricky track with tricky conditions and we thought we were going to take the NAPA Dodge in the winner’s circle again, but we got stuck in the left lane. It’s a little more difficult to get down there. We had Cruz Pedregon, who’s probably got the toughest car right now in the class. You’re always disappointed when you don’t win but I think we made huge gains as far as where we started out Friday in qualifying. We’re going to go on to Topeka, where we won last year and see if we can’t get back in winner’s circle there and start the streak that we did last year.”

Tony Schumacher, U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster
(No. 5 Qualifier – 3.794 ET)

Rd.1: (.117-second reaction time, 3.925 seconds at 311.27 mph) lost to No. 12 Bill Litton (.076/3.915/315.56),

“I knew we were in trouble as soon as I hit the gas. Litton had only gone down the track once all weekend and we weren’t taking him lightly. We were prepared to make a run in the 3.70s. Hats off to him for making it down the track again, we just couldn’t get by him on seven cylinders. You do everything you can to be ready, but sometimes in racing something out of your control costs you. This U.S. Army team is filled with incredibly talented and smart people, and we will not give up. I know we will win races. It’s on to Topeka now.”

Mopar Dodge//SRT NHRA Sportsman Spotlight
For the second consecutive event, veteran Mopar-powered NHRA Sportsman racer and South Carolina native Mike Volkman drove his 2000 Chrysler Sebring to the Dodge Top Finisher Award in the NHRA Super Stock class, advancing all the way to the semifinals at the NHRA Southern Nationals.

Volkman, a multiple-time Super Stock event winner, qualified No. 16 out of 50 class entries in his Mopar 318 small block V8-powered GT/MA Sebring. He took out Ricky Pennington, Dave Rampy and Bill Skillman before his day ended against Byron Worner, who left first en route to the double-breakout win.

In Stock Eliminator, Thomas Auger drove his 383 Mopar-powered H/SA 1963 Dodge to the third round, good enough to claim Dodge Top Finisher honors in the class. The Marco Island, Florida, resident bested Greg Lubben and Brian Martel before losing to Jeff Longhany.

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

Dodge Garage: New Digital Hub for Drag Racing News
Fans now have a new one-stop destination for Mopar and Dodge drag racing news. Dodge Garage (http://www.dodgegarage.com) is a digital content hub and premier destination for drag racing and muscle car enthusiasts.

Fans can view daily updates and get access to an online racing HQ, news, events, galleries, available downloads and merchandise. Dodge Garage features include exclusive content, such as a three-part video series “Chasing the Title,” that offers fans a unique, behind-the-scenes glimpse at Pritchett and her DSR team in action.


Up Next: NHRA Heartland Nationals
After a string of three consecutive races, Mopar Dodge//SRT drivers will rest and recharge during a much-needed week off before heading to the next event, the NHRA Heartland Nationals, scheduled for May 18-20 at Heartland Motorsports Park in Topeka, Kansas. Last year at the event, Ron Capps took the Funny Car win in an all-Mopar Dodge//SRT final round battle with Matt Hagan.


2018 NHRA Championship — Point Standings After Round 7 of 24
(Season Wins in Parentheses)


NHRA Top Fuel
1. Steve Torrence (3) –581
2. Tony Schumacher, Mopar HEMI — 461
3. Doug Kalitta (1) — 458
4. Clay Millican — 448
5. Leah Pritchett, Mopar Dodge HEMI (1) — 435
6. Antron Brown — 390
7. Brittany Force (1) — 375
8. Terry McMillen — 336
9. Richie Crampton (1) —280
10. Mike Salinas — 275

NHRA Funny Car
1. Courtney Force (2) — 546
2. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger R/T (1) — 538
3. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger R/T (1) — 487
4. Tommy Johnson Jr., Dodge Charger R/T —436

5. J.R. Todd (2) — 428
6. Robert Hight — 421
7. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger R/T — 404
8. Cruz Pedregon (1) — 357
9. Shawn Langdon — 301
10. Tim Wilkerson — 293
 

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SRTMush to Bring the Smackdown at NMCA Bluegrass Nationals


SRTMush to Bring the Smackdown at NMCA Bluegrass Nationals

05/17/18



The 17th Annual NMCA Bluegrass Nationals will once again bring seasoned drag racers and some first-timers to Beech Bend Raceway Park in Bowling Green, Kentucky, the weekend of May 17-20, 2018. There’ll be tire-smoking, all-out, quarter-mile fun with numerous classes, including our Dodge/Mopar® HEMI® Shootout. All the competitors will be in contention for generous payouts and trophies and looking to settle some prior scores as this, the third race on the NMCA schedule. The NMCA is grassroots drag racing that brings speed freaks and horsepower junkies together for this high-octane experience.

Ready to attack the strip will also be Todd “SRTMush” in his slightly warmed over 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT® Demon. Todd will be talking smack and doing some grudge races with his wife as she races their modified 2016 Charger SRT Hellcat. Todd is a self-proclaimed “redneck” who’s been a huge Mopar fan his whole life. A few years back, Todd became somewhat of an Internet sensation.

“Although ‘Team SRTMush’ has only risen to popularity in the Mopar community over the last two years, due in large part to the SRT-focused YouTube channel, the history goes back to the ’80s, when “Shelby” and “Turbo 4 cylinder” and “Dodge” were terms people used in the same sentence,” said Todd.

“We started a YouTube channel in 2016 to highlight the ownership experience of Dodge’s newest rocket ship; and things got rolling for me and my wife when we purchased a Charger SRT Hellcat and began modifying it.”

With the Challenger SRT Demon added to their garage earlier this year, the husband-and-wife team takes both their vehicles to the drag strip regularly and push the limits of the cars and each other. Todd captures all this fun and posts informative YouTube videos for the world to see, with almost 150K followers on social media. The couple currently boasts the title of the fastest Dodge Demon in the world. If you have 9 seconds to spare, you will want to see these two run down the quarter-mile.

If you can’t make it to the NMCA Bluegrass Nationals, fear not, Dodge Garage will be livestreaming the event all weekend from Beech Bend Raceway Park. Just make sure to turn your speakers up to hear the howl of Todd’s supercharged HEMI SRT Demon as he blasts down the strip in search of a new world record.
 

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NHRA Heartland Nationals

Johnson Qualifies Sixth, Leads Mopar Dodge//SRT Funny Car Drivers into Race Day at NHRA Heartland Nationals

Tommy Johnson Jr. quickest in qualifying of five Mopar Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car drivers to make the field at Heartland Motorsports Park
Tony Schumacher will start No. 4 in his Mopar-powered U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster
Atlanta Top Fuel race winner Leah Pritchett will begin race day from fifth spot in bid for back-to-back wins
Defending Topeka event winner Ron Capps will start seventh in his Mopar Dodge Charger
Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T pilot Matt Hagan earns berth in top-half of field
More info on Mopar in NHRA available at http://blog.mopar.com


May 19, 2018 , Topeka, Kansas -

Tommy Johnson Jr. qualified No. 6 and will lead a field of five Mopar Dodge Funny Car drivers into the elimination rounds on Sunday at the NHRA Heartland Nationals in Topeka, Kansas.

In Top Fuel, Mopar-powered Tony Schumacher will start No. 4 at Heartland Motorsports Park, one spot ahead of Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) teammate and Schumacher Electric/Mopar Dodge Top Fuel dragster driver Leah Pritchett.


Johnson Jr. raced his Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T to No. 5 after the first day of qualifying, with a 4.008-second elapsed time (ET) in the second session. The Ottumwa, Iowa, native, who considers Topeka his home track, was bumped back one spot after the final two qualifying sessions on Saturday. Johnson Jr. will match up with John Force to open eliminations on Sunday.

Fellow DSR Mopar Dodge Funny Car driver Ron Capps, the 2017 event champion at Topeka, was unsatisfied with his No. 13 position after two Friday qualifying attempts and was looking to do something about it. The 2016 Funny Car World Champion responded with 4.025 pass in his first qualifying hit on Saturday, earning one bonus point, and an even quicker 4.021 ET in his final attempt that earned him two bonus points and the seventh starting spot.

Matt Hagan, driving the Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T for DSR, was ranked in the top half at No. 6 after the first day of qualifying, with his quickest attempt a 4.028 effort. On Saturday, Hagan was solid in his first pass but his final qualifying attempt ended with a fiery bang under the hood. The two-time NHRA Funny Car champion will start No. 8 in Sunday eliminations and try to recapture the magic of his 2016 Topeka victory.

For Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T driver Jack Beckman, currently second in the Funny Car standings and a two-time Topeka winner, his first run was his best. Beckman’s 4.086 in the opening session on Friday was good enough to earn him the No. 12 spot and a date with No. 5 Bob Tasca III in the opening round on Sunday.

Mopar-powered U.S. Army Top Fuel driver Tony Schumacher was No. 2 after the first qualifying round on Friday, earning two bonus points, and wrapped up the opening day fifth on the Top Fuel ladder. Temporarily knocked out of the top half of the field on Saturday, “The Sarge” re-grouped and rocketed back up near the top with his best qualifying run of the weekend at 3.771 to earn one bonus point and the fourth starting position. The eight-time Top Fuel champion will look to get revenge in round one against Bill Litton, who defeated Schumacher in the opening round of the previous race at Atlanta.

Fresh off her Atlanta event victory, Leah Pritchett posted her Schumacher Electric/Mopar Dodge Top Fuel dragster seventh after the first two qualifying sessions. Following the blueprint of DSR teammate Tony Schumacher, Pritchett saved her best run for last, using a 3.776 mark to move up to the fifth spot tomorrow in her bid for back-to-back wins. Pritchett will also be seeking her first career win and final-round appearance at Heartland Motorsports Park.

Outside of the DSR camp, Jim Campbell posted his Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car No. 15. In Pro Stock, Kansas native Will Hatcher made his class debut, qualifying No. 16 in his Mopar HEMI-powered Dodge.

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




Tommy Johnson Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
Qualified No. 6, will face No. 11 John Force
Friday: (4.212 seconds at 285.29 mph – Q1); (4.008/313.00 – Q2)
Saturday: (6.967/90.09 – Q3); (5.351/133.71 – Q4)

“It’s a tough race track, with the changing conditions, the hot conditions we’ve had today and the difference in the track prep. It’s a struggle for everybody, we’re not the only ones. Tomorrow is a totally different day weather-wise, so we will come out and deal with it then. We should be alright tomorrow, it doesn’t matter who we have to race.”

Tony Schumacher, U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified No. 4, will face No. 13 Bill Litton
Friday: (3.888 seconds at 319.75 mph – Q1); (3.836/324.51 – Q2)
Saturday: (6.589/100.32 – Q3); (3.771/331.12 – Q4)

“If race day conditions are like this, that really bodes well for us. We made three great runs. The one earlier today wasn’t a very successful run. But we’re just trying to learn how to deal with this new track prep with not enough runs under our belt with those conditions. But, otherwise, this Topeka track is a smooth racetrack and it’s a beautiful place. We’re looking forward to tomorrow. I think we’re going to see some really fast runs.”



Leah Pritchett, Schumacher Electric/Mopar Dodge Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified No. 5, will face No. 12 Antron Brown
Friday: (5.002 seconds at 145.97 mph – Q1); (3.840/286.07 – Q2)
Saturday: (4.173/216.03 – Q3); (3.776/324.51 – Q4)

“It’s been a testament to teamwork, particularly today. We were thrown many issues before Q3 in the pit with the accelerated schedule because of the weather today. We also had accelerated issues in the pit. They were electrical and ignition related, and to see the team overcome all that in a timely manner, that’s what really stands out to me. To come out with a No. 5 qualifying position says a lot of the perseverance of this Schumacher Electric/U.S. Army team.”

Ron Capps, NAPA Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
Qualified No. 7, will face No. 10 Shawn Langdon
Friday: (4.477 seconds at 179.64 mph – Q1); (4.095/305.70 – Q2)
Saturday: (4.025/316.97 – Q3); (4.021/317.79 – Q4)

"(Crew chief Rahn) Tobler made big changes coming into this race. We know we have to adapt to what NHRA is doing with the track prep. I think it's a great thing that everyone is having to work really hard at adapting. We lost (a good run) first round when the parachute came out. Unfortunately, we lost that but I'm so excited with the changes we've made. Huge changes but I think we're going to reap the benefits both here and these upcoming races over the rest of the season. I really feel like we're going to get back to how we were last year and in 2016."



Matt Hagan, Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
Qualified No. 8, will face No. 9 Tim Wilkerson
Friday: (5.966 seconds at 115.08 mph – Q1); (4.028/315.78 – Q2)
Saturday: (4.136/262.49 – Q3); (5.159/131.99 – Q4)

“Tomorrow is going to be a totally different day than today. We have a 4.02 baseline to work off. Wilkie (first-round opponent Tim Wilkerson) is a great competitor in the heat. He can get down some tricky racetracks, but we can too. It’s nice to have lane choice. I think the left lane is better than the right; it’s just driving better in the left lane. Topeka’s been kind to me. I’ve had a lot of good luck, we’ve set world records here, won races here. Qualifying is over, and we have to look and focus towards race day. We have just as good a shot as any to turn four win lights on tomorrow.”

Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
Qualified No. 12, will face No. 5 Bob Tasca III
Friday: (4.086 seconds at 304.53 mph – Q1); (4.146/244.12 – Q2)
Saturday: (4.849/165.74 – Q3); (5.109/147.17 – Q4)

“We have a great track record, and us struggling on Saturdays does not mean that we’ll struggle on Sundays. The conditions are going to be significantly different tomorrow, and I’ve got the three best crew chiefs out here. They’ll think about this all night. That’s why it’s so important to unload with a good run. Our 4.08 from Q1 is actually the run that qualified us. In two other runs we were running significantly quicker early on, but smoked the tires and didn’t make it, so I’m content that we came out of the box with a conservative run. I also think we can piece together the three runs that didn’t make it and come up with a tune-up that will give us a good, quick car for tomorrow.”


Fans can view daily updates and get access to an online racing HQ, news, events, galleries, available downloads and merchandise. Dodge Garage features include exclusive content, such as a three-part video series “Chasing the Title,” that offers fans a unique, behind-the-scenes glimpse at Pritchett and her DSR team in action.

For information on Mopar on and off the track, check out the Mopar brand’s official blog, http://blog.mopar.com.

Tune-In Info
FOX Sports 1 will broadcast three hours of live eliminations coverage from the NHRA Heartland Nationals starting at 2 p.m. ET on Sunday, May 20.
 

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Rain-delayed NHRA Heartland Nationals

Mopar-powered Schumacher Runs to Semis at Rain-delayed NHRA Heartland Nationals

Tony Schumacher advances to semifinals in U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster at Topeka
Mopar Dodge Top Fuel driver Leah Pritchett exits in all-Mopar matchup against Schumacher
Schumacher sits third in Top Fuel points, Pritchett fifth
Trio of Mopar Dodge Funny Car drivers advance to quarterfinals at Topeka
Mopar Dodge Funny Car drivers Beckman and Hagan listed second and third, respectively, in standings
Mike Cotten takes two Dodge Top Finisher awards in Topeka
More info on Mopar in NHRA available at http://blog.mopar.com


May 21, 2018 , Auburn Hills, Mich. -



U.S. Army Top Fuel driver Tony Schumacher wrapped up the rain-delayed NHRA Heartland Nationals with a semifinals finish for Mopar and Dodge//SRT on Monday, May 21, at Heartland Motorsports Park in Topeka, Kansas.

Mopar Dodge//SRT racers finished the one-third mark of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season with two drivers near the top of the ranks in Funny Car — Jack Beckman (second) and Matt Hagan (third). In Top Fuel, two drivers are also listed in the top five, with Schumacher in third and Leah Pritchett fifth.

Just following the conclusion of opening ceremonies on Sunday morning, a sprinkle of rain popped up and soon turned into persistent showers, leading to an extended eight-hour delay. Once racing finally began at 7 p.m. CT, Schumacher had his chance to exact revenge against Bill Litton, who knocked out the eight-time Top Fuel World Champion in the first-round at the previous event in Atlanta. “The Sarge” sent Litton home with a straight-down-the-groove 3.781-second elapsed time (ET) at 326.24 mph.


Next up was an all-Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) Mopar-powered battle against Schumacher Electric/Mopar Dodge teammate Pritchett, who was hot off the starting tree with .016-second reaction time. However, No. 4 qualifier Schumacher’s 3.931 ET easily earned the win after Pritchett smoked the tires shortly after takeoff due to a computer malfunction.

Changing weather conditions forced the remaining racing action to be postponed until Monday, with Schumacher lining up against Clay Millican. Schumacher led slightly off the start but smoked the tires by the 330-foot spot on the drag strip as Millican sped away for the victory.

For Pritchett, winner at the previous NHRA stop in Atlanta, her day began paired up against another DSR stablemate, Antron Brown. The No. 5 qualifier used her driving skills to advance to round two. Pritchett and Brown were basically dead even at the start and both encountered traction troubles soon after launch. Forced to go on and off the throttle of her Mopar Dodge dragster, Pritchett found enough traction to pedal her machine to the round win with a 4.060/304.39 run to Brown’s losing 4.254/301.07.

In the Funny Car class, Hagan qualified his DSR Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T in the top half of the field at No. 8 and drew Tim Wilkerson in his opening-round battle. Both drivers recorded solid runs, but only Hagan dipped into the three-second range with a winning 3.942/326.79 pass.

The 2017 runner-up and 2016 winner at Topeka had lane choice over No. 1 qualifier Courtney Force in the quarterfinals. In the end, just a tick over 12 feet separated Hagan from the round win in a nail biter of a finish. His 3.936 ET was edged out at the stripe by Force’s 3.934.

Tommy Johnson Jr. paced all Mopar Dodge Funny Car drivers by earning the sixth spot in qualifying behind the wheel of his Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T, and first faced off with John Force. The Ottumwa, Iowa, native overcame a starting line advantage by his foe with a 3.950/325.06 run, and for the second race in a row a DSR Mopar Dodge eliminated the 16-time champion in the first round. In the quarterfinals, lane choice and a solid 3.986/327.98 pass by Johnson Jr. weren’t enough to best another driver from the Force camp, Robert Hight.

A three-time finalist and two-time winner at Topeka, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T pilot and No. 12 qualifier Beckman scored a round-one win over Bob Tasca III. Tasca’s car encountered problems early, while Beckman deftly pedaled his Mopar Dodge Funny Car down the track to advance. In the quarterfinals, Beckman moved first off of the line with a .072-second reaction to opponent J.R. Todd’s slower .086 mark, but Todd caught up by the 330-ft. cone and quickly passed the DSR driver and 2012 Funny Car World Champion for the win.

Ron Capps opened eliminations hoping to defend his 2017 event crown at Topeka and add to his four career wins at Heartland Motorsports Park, along with two runner-up finishes. Starting from the No. 7 spot in his Mopar-powered NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car, Capps shook the tires and trailed early against Shawn Langdon and was unable to make up ground with his 4.322/315.64 second pass. Next up for the 2016 Funny Car World Champion is the Route 66 NHRA Nationals, where Capps was also victorious in the 2017 campaign and will have another chance to repeat.

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


Tony Schumacher, U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster
(No. 4 Qualifier – 3.771 ET)

Rd.1: (.074-second reaction time, 3.781 seconds at 326.24 mph) beat No. 13 Bill Litton (.081/3.950/270.48)
Rd.2: (.084/3.931/231.71) beat No. 5 Leah Pritchett (.016/9.302/87.02)
Rd.3: (.072/5.198/139.31) lost to No. 1 Clay Millican (.074/3.676/331.20)

“We made a few subtle changes coming into the weekend to fix some problems we’ve been having, lately. So, I’m not sure we could’ve run the number to beat what Millican did anyway, but, it would’ve gone down the track if we had run at the scheduled time. It is what it is. He made a fantastic run. We could complain that we set up a car to run at 10 o’clock but we ended up running at 11. Yeah, it’s the same for both of us, but it seemed to play right into their hands. We’re still more consistent than we’ve been in recent years, and we’re still learning and getting better each week. We just need to go out and keep racing. And I will say that I plan on winning this championship. This U.S. Army team has all the right guys to get it done”

Leah Pritchett, Schumacher Electric/Mopar Dodge Top Fuel Dragster
(No. 5 Qualifier – 3.776 ET)

Rd.1: (.047-second reaction time, 4.060 seconds at 304.39 mph) beat No. 12 Antron Brown (.048/4.254/301.07)
Rd.2: (.016/9.302/87.02) lost to No. 4 Tony Schumacher (.084/3.931/231.71)

“We had an injector issue on the burnout and it revved really high. When that happened, I looked down and watched the dash go blank. The high revs caused me to go on a super-long burnout. I stopped the car and then it wouldn’t go into reverse. Finally got it to go back, but then, because it was revving so high, I had a hard time getting it into a forward gear to stage. Eventually we (were able to) get staged. Anything can happen once the yellow light comes on. Well, because of the unusually high revs, we smoked the tires at the hit and it was over.

“It turns out, our entire computer system died, and that was what was causing the problems we had there, so we’re going to be searching for a solution for that over the next week and a half. We’re going to do whatever it takes to put it behind us, which means fine-tooth-combing this racecar. I must say, during all this, it is the coolest thing in the world for me as a driver to be running at night like we were. It really puts a smile on my face.”

Matt Hagan, Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 8 Qualifier – 4.028 ET)

Rd.1: (.065-second reaction time, 3.942 seconds at 326.79 mph) beat No. 9 Tim Wilkerson (.061/4.024/314.31)
Rd.2: (.074/3.936/328.94) lost to No. 1 Courtney Force (.052/3.934/328.54)

“I want to say that I'm just really proud of my guys. They did a great job today. We had a 55-minute turn and they did a great job making the turn with three guys in new positions just really thrashing hard and trying to get things done. All in all, pretty good race day, even though we only went to the second round. It just one of those things where you put it in perspective. Courtney Force and those guys have had a tenth on the field and we just went nose-to-nose and basically ran an identical run with them. When you put that in perspective it really shows how much we've stepped it up right now within just a round or two to be able to throw down with those guys when everybody else is still kind of running 4.0's out there.”

Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 12 Qualifier – 4.086 ET)

Rd.1: (.054-second reaction time, 4.776 seconds at 186.77 mph) beat No. 5 Bob Tasca III (.082/20.363/No Speed)
Rd.2: (.072/4.058/310.20) lost to No. 4 J.R. Todd (.086/3.949/323.12)

"The silver lining for us is as much as we had struggled in qualifying, we still felt like we had a good car. Then the huge rains came and round one was basically a one-lane race track, especially for the Funny Cars. We were one of the only, if not the only, Funny Car to win out of the less desired lane. Then we just got outrun in the second round. We will pack up, and we will go back to Brownsburg (Indiana), restock everything and get ready for four in a row. This is really going to be the point in the season where you need to find your tune up. There's no question in my mind that we will be a Countdown (playoffs) car."


Tommy Johnson Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 6 Qualifier – 4.008 ET)

Rd.1: (.083-second reaction time, 3.950 seconds at 325.06 mph) beat No. 11 John Force (.068/4.391/284.03)
Rd.2: (.082/3.986/327.98) lost to No. 14 Robert Hight (.057/3.924/330.23)

“It was just strange conditions; a long wait all day. The car ran great, just tricky to know what to do out there. I knew we'd have to push on that (second) one and (we) just came up short. Joliet is up next and that's one of those tracks where you show up and you always seem to do well, so you look forward to going to those. I can't wait to get there and see if we can't get that momentum going."

Ron Capps, NAPA Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 7 Qualifier – 4.021 ET)

Rd.1: (.092-second reaction time, 4.322 seconds at 315.64 mph) lost to No. 10 Shawn Langdon (.068/4.021/322.19)

“We really felt good coming into this race with the changes that (crew chief Rahn) Tobler made on the race car. We felt like whatever the conditions were going to be, we were going to be better off. Unfortunately, as soon as I stepped on the gas, the car started shaking the tires. I gave it a quick pedal and it hooked up, but our opponent ran a 4.02 and we were done for the day.”

Mopar Dodge//SRT NHRA Sportsman Spotlight
Mike Cotten of Cave Creek, Arizona, made the most of the extended racing at Topeka, sweeping the Dodge Top Finisher Awards in Stock and Super Stock at the NHRA Heartland Nationals. It was his fourth award of the year, including Dodge Top Finisher honors in Super Stock at the NHRA Phoenix and Vegas events.

Cotton opened eliminations with a victory over Marlene Nelson. After the remaining Stock rounds were postponed until Monday due to the extended rain delay, Cotten drove his 1973 Duster to victories over Keith Hildahl, No. 1 Stock qualifier and 2010 Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak driver Chris Kemmerer and Randy Mans to advance the semifinals. A red light foul against Tyler Wudarczyk ended Cotten’s extra day in Topeka.

In Super Stock, Cotten qualified No. 19 in his Mopar 383 Big Block-powered 1970 Plymouth ‘Cuda with a 9.962 ET that was .738 under index. He posted an almost identical 9.963 run at 130.72 mph in the first round of eliminations, but opponent Vic Penrod claimed the win with the help of a near perfect .001-second reaction time.

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


For information on Mopar on and off the track, check out the Mopar brand’s official blog, http://blog.mopar.com.

Up Next: Route 66 NHRA Nationals
In less than two weeks, Mopar Dodge//SRT drivers will head to Route 66 Raceway near Chicago for the Route 66 NHRA Nationals. In last year’s visit just outside the Windy City, Ron Capps triumphed in an all-Mopar Dodge Funny Car matchup against DSR teammate Tommy Johnson Jr.


2018 NHRA Championship — Point Standings After Round 8 of 24
(Season Wins in Parentheses)


NHRA Top Fuel

1. Steve Torrence (3) – 664
2. Clay Millican (1) — 569
3. Tony Schumacher, Mopar HEMI — 539
4. Doug Kalitta (1) — 497
5. Leah Pritchett, Mopar Dodge HEMI (1) — 489
6. Terry McMillen — 432
7. Brittany Force (1) — 428
8. Antron Brown — 423
9. Richie Crampton (1) — 312
10. Mike Salinas — 308

NHRA Funny Car
1. Courtney Force (3) — 670
2. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger R/T (1) — 590
3. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger R/T (1) — 540

4. Robert Hight — 512
5. J.R. Todd (2) — 504
6. Tommy Johnson Jr., Dodge Charger R/T — 490
7. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger R/T — 440
8. Cruz Pedregon (1) — 399
9. Shawn Langdon — 373
10. Jonnie Lindberg — 351
 

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Hagan Powers: Funny Car Pole at Route 66 NHRA Nationals

Hagan Powers Mopar Dodge//SRT to Funny Car Pole at Route 66 NHRA Nationals

Matt Hagan leads Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) Mopar Dodge//SRT sweep of top three qualifying spots at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Illinois
Hagan races Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car to second No. 1 spot of season, 32nd of his career
DSR Mopar Dodge drivers Ron Capps (second) and Jack Beckman (third) join Hagan at top of qualifying charts
Total of seven Mopar Dodge Funny Cars to race for Route 66 NHRA Nationals win on Sunday
Tony Schumacher leads Mopar HEMI-powered Top Fuel drivers with No. 3 qualifying position
Pritchett to start tenth in Papa John’s Pizza/Mopar Dodge Top Fuel dragster



June 2, 2018 , Joliet, Illinois -



Matt Hagan raced to the No. 1 spot in his Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car during qualifying for the Route 66 NHRA Nationals in Joliet, Illinois, leading a sweep of the top three positions by Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) Mopar Dodge//SRT drivers.

The pole was the second of the season for Hagan, his second at Joliet and the 32nd of his career. It was also the sixth No. 1 spot of the season for a Mopar-powered NHRA Funny Car or Top Fuel driver. His DSR teammates Ron Capps and Jack Beckman claimed the second and third qualifying positions, respectively, part of a group of seven Mopar Dodge Funny Car drivers that will race in the elimination rounds on Sunday.

Hagan led the way as he and his DSR teammates blasted to the front of the pack in their Mopar-powered Dodge machines during Friday’s second qualifying session. Hagan used a 3.917-second elapsed time (ET) at 326.79 mph in the cooler conditions of the nighttime session to collect the preliminary pole and three bonus points on Friday, after opening qualifying with a 4.027 mark that ranked him fifth.

The two-time NHRA champion and three-time Route 66 NHRA Nationals event winner held the top spot through the final two qualifying sessions on Saturday, ending with a solid 3.991 run. Hagan will start Sunday eliminations against Jonnie Lindberg.

Ron Capps, a two-time winner at Joliet, began qualifying with a boom under the hood, requiring the Mopar-powered NAPA Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car team to turn to a second body. Capps and crew responded to the adversity by laying down a 3.921/325.92 in the evening session, claiming the No. 2 spot and two bonus markers behind his teammate Hagan.

Capps maintained his spot on Saturday and was able to add another bonus point in his final qualifying pass, crossing the finish stripe at 3.989, third quickest of the session. Capps will line up with another Dodge Charger driver, Justin Schriefer to begin his day on Sunday.

As with his stablemate Capps, Beckman struggled in round one of qualifying and smoked the tires, but then rebounded in his next attempt. The Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T driver’s 3.944/322.81 in Q2 moved him up to No. 3 on Friday, where “Fast Jack” would stay for the remainder of qualifying. Once again like Capps, Beckman will battle with a Dodge driver, Dale Creasy, to open eliminations.



Tony Schumacher, owner of five career wins at Joliet, jumped his Mopar-powered U.S. Army dragster from No. 14 all the way to a brief perch in the No.1 spot with a 3.749 mark in the second qualifying session on Friday. First to run in the round, Schumacher was shuffled down just a bit on the charts to end the first day of qualifying in third.

“The Sarge” also nabbed an always-precious bonus point on Friday, and then added two more on Saturday with his final attempt, an impressive 3.771 that was second best of the round. The eight-time NHRA Top Fuel champ will start No. 3 in eliminations on Sunday against Billy Torrence.

Leah Pritchett kicked off qualifying with a powerful 3.797/328.30 run that earned the Papa John’s Pizza/Mopar Dodge Top Fuel driver a bonus point and the No. 3 spot heading into the second session on Friday. Pritchett and crew chief Todd Okuhara gave it their best shot but were unable to take advantage of the cool track conditions in Q2 after smoking the tires shortly following launch, ending the day in the eighth spot and in the top half of the field.

Pritchett was solid in her two final qualifying passes, a 3.970 followed by a final 3.832 effort, but the DSR star ultimately wrapped up qualifying at Joliet tenth, earning a date with DSR teammate Antron Brown in round one of eliminations on Sunday. Pritchett will seek her second win of 2018 and first of her career at Route 66 Raceway.

Between qualifying rounds on Saturday, Pritchett also participated in the Charity Challenge race against her sponsor, “Papa John” Schnatter. Pritchett scored the win in her Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak after Schnatter left the starting line too early.

Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T pilot Tommy Johnson Jr. steadily improved over the course of qualifying at Route 66 Raceway. The 2015 event champ at Joliet posted a best run on Friday of 4.409, improved to a 4.111 run in Q3 on Saturday and saved his best for last, a 4.011 mark that moved the DSR driver to No. 10. Johnson will go head-to-head with Shawn Langdon in round one eliminations.

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


Matt Hagan, Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
Qualified No. 1, will face No. 16 Jonnie Lindberg
Friday: (4.027 seconds at 317.49 mph – Q1); (3.917/326.79 – Q2)
Saturday: (4.861/161.59 – Q3); (3.991/317.12 – Q4)

“We’ve changed everything. To start the year off we had a whole different track prep than we do now, so we had to regroup and make big changes to this Mopar Funny Car. Obviously, it’s taken a few runs, and taken a few races to get there, but I feel like we’ve closed the gap on (points leader) Courtney (Force) now.

“Our Mopar Express Lane Dodge is running strong. We can go down there and throw down a good number. The confidence has definitely grown. We have all of the power that we need.

“Very confident going into tomorrow, but it’s race day and you just never know what’s going to happen. Blessed to have that No. 1 spot right now. Everyone thinks these Chevys are running up front, but we’ve got these Mopars going again. Just give (crew chief) Dickie (Venables) enough time and he’ll figure it out. I like him being in our corner and knowing that we’re going to get there, it’s just a matter of runs.”

Ron Capps, NAPA Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
Qualified No. 2, will face No. 15 Justin Schriefer
Friday: (4.229 seconds at 225.00 mph – Q1); (3.921/325.92 – Q2)
Saturday: (4.656/177.51 – Q3); (3.989/315.78 – Q4)

“(Crew chief Rahn)Tobler decided to go back to the five-disc (clutch), which is what we won the championship with two years ago, and almost won it again last year, and more than anything just the consistency he knows how to get out of these nitro Funny Cars with the five-disc. It’s going to be a lot of fun. I already feel like we already have our old NAPA car back. I feel like we have that car back that has consistency and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do in the heat and in the cool conditions. It’s going to be fun tomorrow.”

Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
Qualified No. 3, will face No. 14 Dale Creasy
Friday: (8.023 seconds at 85.98 mph – Q1); (3.944/322.81 – Q2)
Saturday: (5.711/128.53 – Q3); (7.019/96.51 – Q4)

“I know if you look at the sheets, we missed it three times and we smoked the tires. It looks like we have an inconsistent car. We made the first two runs and for whatever reason the car wasn’t 60-footing like it could have been. We found an issue with the clutch. The last two runs it was a banshee to 60-ft. Now we have to figure out how to tame that down but I think we found something that’s going to win races for us.”

Tony Schumacher, U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified No. 3, will face No. 14 Billy Torrence
Friday: (4.532 seconds at 166.23 mph – Q1); (3.749/329.99 – Q2)
Saturday: (3.820/326.00 – Q3); (3.771/325.61 – Q4)

“We made two good runs here today and we know we have to step it up tomorrow. We are a championship caliber team and we are ready for this moment. I’m really proud of the U.S. Army team. Led by Mike (Neff) and Phil (Shuler) we’ve made three consistent runs and now it’s time to be at our best on Sunday. We really need a win. This is my home town track. I’ve won here a lot and I want to win tomorrow with this U.S. Army team. I know Billy (Torrence) is going to be a good test and I like racing cars that go down the track really good. I can’t wait to get back out here tomorrow.”

Leah Pritchett, Papa John’s Pizza/Mopar Dodge Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified No. 10, will face No. 7 Antron Brown
Friday: (3.797 seconds at 328.30 mph – Q1); (12.084/76.43 – Q2)
Saturday: (3.970/307.93 – Q3); (3.832/324.51 – Q4)

“Lane choice is key here, but we have been back and forth between clutch changes and engine changes and ultimately we didn’t have the quick runs in qualifying that we desired. Facing Antron is definitely not the matchup we wanted. Racing our teammate and one of the fiercest competitors in the class is going to be tough, but we feel like the gold car will shine through tomorrow like it knows how to do.”

Tommy Johnson Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
Qualified No. 10, will face No. 7 Shawn Langdon
Friday: (4.409 seconds at 201.73 mph – Q1); (7.114/88.60 – Q2)
Saturday: (4.111/308.78 – Q3); (4.011/323.35 – Q4)

“Shawn (Langdon) is running good. He’s made some good runs this weekend. We struggled at the start of qualifying and finally got things figured out in the last session. We finally found what was wrong with our car and what was plaguing us. Going into tomorrow I’m a little more confident than I was after Friday. It’ll be a great race. It just shows how tough Funny Car is right now. There’s no easy round, there’s no gimmes. Going into first round against Langdon could very easily be a final round so we’ll have to be on our game.”



For information on Mopar on and off the track, check out the Mopar brand’s official blog, http://blog.mopar.com.

Tune-In Info
Three hours of eliminations coverage of the NHRA Route 66 Nationals will be broadcast on FOX Sports 1 starting at 5:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, June 3.
 

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Pritchett, Capps Carry Mopar Dodge//SRT

Pritchett, Capps Carry Mopar Dodge//SRT to Runner-up Outings at Route 66 NHRA Nationals

Leah Pritchett drives Papa John’s Pizza/Mopar Dodge Top Fuel dragster to second final in three events
Final-round appearance at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet is Pritchett’s first at venue and tenth of her career
Ron Capps takes Mopar-powered Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car to third straight final at Joliet
Pritchett jumps to third in Top Fuel standings, Capps moves to sixth in Funny Car
No. 1 qualifier Matt Hagan advances to quarterfinals in Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T
Mike Cotten captures Super Stock Dodge Top Finisher award, his fifth of season, at Joliet
Ryan Mangus earns Stock class Dodge Top Finisher honors and JEG Allstars win


June 3, 2018 , Joliet, Illinois -

Mopar Dodge//SRT Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) drivers Leah Pritchett and Ron Capps raced to runner-up appearances in the Top Fuel and Funny Car classes, respectively, during elimination rounds on Sunday, June 3, at the Route 66 NHRA Nationals in Joliet, Illinois.

The final-round appearance was the second in the last three events for Pritchett in her Papa John’s Pizza/Mopar Dodge Top Fuel dragster, including a victory in the NHRA Atlanta event in May, and the tenth overall of Pritchett’s career. Capps, the defending race winner, advanced to his third consecutive final at Route 66 Raceway in his Mopar-powered NAPA Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car, his first of the season and the 113th of his career.

Starting tenth and from the bottom half of the field for just the second time this year, Pritchett opened Sunday in strong fashion by defeating higher-qualified teammate Antron Brown with her quickest pass of race weekend, a 3.769-second elapsed time at 329.67 mph. The Mopar Dodge Top Fuel driver next took out Kyle Wurtzel, leading from start to finish on a 3.929/298.93 pass that was quickest of the quarterfinals.

Pritchett trailed opponent Blake Alexander just slightly at the start in the semifinals but quickly zoomed ahead with a 3.832/326.16 run that advanced her to a first-ever final at Route 66 Raceway. She was unable to score the event win against Clay Millican in the money round after smoking the tires and slowing near the 330-foot mark, but the runner-up performance boosted the DSR driver from fifth to third in the overall Top Fuel point standings.

Capps, the No. 2 qualifier, began his campaign for a third Joliet trophy with a round one matchup versus Justin Schriefer, who lost traction early in the run, enabling Capps to drive around his competition. In the quarterfinals, Capps faced Shawn Langdon and was quick on the throttle, leaving the line first and never trailing for the win. In his 93rd meeting with John Force in the semfinals, the second most head-to-head matchups of any two drivers in the pro classes, Capps once again had the advantage at the tree. He powered the Mopar Dodge to his best pass of the day, activating the win light with a 4.058 E.T.

Next up for the 2016 Funny Car world champion was a final round battle with the reigning world champ, Robert Hight, who pulled away first and was able to seize the victory over Capps’ tire-smoking effort. The solid Route 66 Raceway showing enabled Capps and his team to bank nearly 100 points over the course of the weekend, and bumped Capps up from seventh to sixth in the NHRA Mello Yello Funny Car points ranking.

Matt Hagan spearheaded the dominant 1-2-3 qualifying performance by the DSR team at Joliet, racing his Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car to the No. 1 spot, the sixth of the season for a Mopar-powered NHRA Funny Car or Top Fuel driver. The two-time Funny Car World champ had the early advantage in round one with a .081 reaction time against opponent Jonnie Lindbergh and never looked back with a winning 4.017/320.74 run that earned him lane choice over Bob Tasca III in the quarterfinals.

Hagan, a three-time winner at Route 66 Raceway, and Tasca both left the starting line with identical .074 marks. The two were locked together neck-and-neck for much of the race, but Tasca began to slowly edge ahead and was able to outrun Hagan’s 4.149/282.95 pass.

Mopar-powered Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T driver Jack Beckman started race day from the top half of the field and with the advantage of lane choice versus his first-round competitor, Dale Creasy Jr. Beckman held a 4-0 lead over Creasy in previous matchups and was able to extend his undefeated record on Sunday. During their round one meeting, Beckman was out of the gate first and had the immediate lead over Creasy whose parachutes deployed early into the run, allowing Beckman to drive away with the round win.

The quarterfinals found the 2016 Route 66 NHRA Nationals Funny Car champion lined up opposite of John Force. Beckman once again had the starting line advantage and held the lead early into the run before losing traction near the 330-foot mark. He finessed the throttle, but Force, who dropped a cylinder later in the run, was able to pull away for the win.

Steady improvement during qualifying provided Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car driver and No. 10 qualifier Tommy Johnson Jr. with encouragement heading into a first-round eliminations fight with Shawn Langdon. Gunning for his second career win at Joliet, Johnson left first with a .076 reaction time to Langdon’s slower .097. That promising start ended with a boom under the hood near the 300-foot mark that cracked Johnson’s Funny Car body nearly in half, with the vehicle slowing to a stop and Johnson emerging quickly and safely. The DSR driver will look to rebound at Richmond as he seeks his first win of the season.

Mopar HEMI-powered U.S. Army Top Fuel driver Tony Schumacher was looking to add to his five career wins at Route 66 Raceway, most all time for the class. Unfortunately, the No. 3 qualifier smoked the tires at halftrack and watched Billy Torrence pull away for the round win. Schumacher leaves Joliet fourth in the point standings.

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


Leah Pritchett, Papa John’s Pizza/Mopar Dodge Top Fuel Dragster
(No. 10 Qualifier – 3.797 ET)

Rd.1: (.079-second reaction time, 3.769 seconds at 329.67 mph) beat No. 7 Antron Brown (.059/5.402/134.91)
Rd.2: (.074/3.929/298.93) beat No. 15 Kyle Wurtzel (.088/5.171/137.16)
Rd.3: (.061/3.832/326.16) beat No. 6 Blake Alexander (.058/3.896/325.06)
Rd.4: (.100/4.501/192.08) lost to No. 4 Clay Millican (.092/3.894/289.32)

“We felt like we made so many wholesale changes to find our power and today we got it back. I think the most impressive thing was the three full pulls in eliminations under conditions we didn’t have before. The car reacted to what we were telling it to do, and that will put a smile on everyone’s face all the way until the win light comes on. Three round wins, it’s incredible the chemistry of the team and the problems we’ve been overcoming. Unfortunately, in the final round we had problems from the start. The silver lining is when we’re on together, we’re on together, the driver and the car, and you see the smiling faces, but when we’re off together, we’re off together.”

On two finals in the last three races:
“Sometimes when you’re winning you get used to that. The more we do well, the more appreciative and in the moment I get. It’s been a long time. When we won in Atlanta, that was a great sense of satisfaction with Lucy (the Make-A-Wish child who cheered on Pritchett at the event). Going rounds today – I can’t compare the two, but the enjoyment factor was really high up there.”

On the next event at Richmond:
“I think it’s going to go well, we’ll have an even playing field for everyone, not having good track data there. I hear it’s supposed to be fast, and this team, we can go back to some of our ways where we know how to lay down some numbers. We’ve struggled with that this year, getting that power back, and now that we’ve found it in the heat, I’m looking forward to applying it. We’re not going to let this final round stop us at all. Our heads are not hanging low at all. We’ll keep (our heads) grounded and down, and hopefully on this swing we’ll be raising another Wally.”

Ron Capps, NAPA Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 2 Qualifier – 3.921 ET)

Rd.1: (.087-second reaction time, 4.092 seconds at 308.50 mph) beat No. 15 Justin Schriefer (.063/4.305/222.73)
Rd.2: (.077/4.104/311.77) beat No. 7 Shawn Langdon (.083/4.154/307.16)
Rd.3: (.062/4.058/313.80) beat No. 6 John Force (.067/4.120/310.34)
Rd.4: (.055/4.310/230.21) lost to No. 12 Robert Hight (.047/4.073/310.63)

“It’s so nice to have our NAPA car back to where it was when we won the championship in 2016, and our eight wins last year. For me, that means it’s going to be a lot of fun because we’re going to win a lot of rounds this summer. We’re going to fight to get back up and get the point lead going into Indy. We’re back a little ways, but we’re making up ground. Great weekend for (our) guys.”

Matt Hagan, Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 1 Qualifier – 3.917 ET)

Rd.1: (.081-second reaction time, 4.017 seconds at 320.74 mph) beat No. 16 Jonnie Lindberg (.094/4.442/246.57)
Rd.2: (.074/4.149/282.95) lost to No. 8 Bob Tasca III (.074/4.084/307.86)

“Unfortunately, not what we wanted out of race day. Went out there and (the car) just kind of came loose, it was looping the tires. We’re having to make bigger wholesale changes during race day, and I feel like our Mopar Dodge is responding to the changes. All in all, I feel like we’re closing the gap on a lot of things, and we’re making it happen. We have momentum going into these next three races coming up.”

Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 3 Qualifier – 3.944 ET)

Rd.1: (.090-second reaction time, 4.213 seconds at 237.25 mph) beat No. 14 Dale Creasy (.117/6.907/81.20)
Rd.2: (.076/4.451/241.11) lost to No.6 John Force (.134/4.208/303.09)

“Little bit of a frustrating weekend, and unfortunately for our Infinite Hero team, we’ve had a few of those lately. We’re having some issues fine-tuning the new car with the new clutch, and with four races in a row, you just don’t want to stumble too much. We’re still showing signs of brilliance. The guys are doing a great job digging into the data. I overdrove the car a couple of times today. Fresh pipes, super responsive steering; I’ve got to back myself down a bit. This is a perfect example of where we have to come together as a team of 11 and step up our game.”

Tommy Johnson Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 10 Qualifier – 4.011 ET)

Rd.1: (.076-second reaction time, 5.874 seconds at 97.84 mph) lost to No. 7 Shawn Langdon (.097/4.475/250.00)

“A little frustrating, the track surface was giving everyone fits first round. The cars won’t stay hooked up. We went out there and it spun the tires. I couldn’t see Shawn (Langdon) at that point, but it’s race day so you try and get back in it and do everything you can to get it down to the finish line. It’s unfortunate, but we’ll regroup and go on to the next one.”

Tony Schumacher, U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster
(No. 3 Qualifier – 3.749 ET)

Rd.1: (.084-second reaction time, 4.718 seconds at 162.43 mph) lost to No. 14 Billy Torrence (.072/3.784/330.15)

“We had a really good U.S. Army race car here this weekend and weren’t able to take advantage of it. The frustrating part is that we were able to make some progress with the U.S. Army car the last couple of days and we were hoping to make four good runs today. We’ll get right back after it next week in Richmond. I do want to say thanks to Mark Warnick, who is leaving our Army Team and DSR after being with us for 15 years. He won a championship with the Army team in 2014 and was a huge part of our success the past five seasons.”

Mopar Dodge//SRT NHRA Sportsman Spotlight
Longtime Mopar-powered NHRA Sportsman racer Mike Cotten added to his growing collection of Dodge Top Finisher awards at the Route 66 NHRA Nationals, bringing home his fifth honor of the year and third in the last two events.

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

The Cave Creek, Arizona, native arrived on the outskirts of Chicago fresh off a sweep of the Dodge Top Finisher Awards in Stock and Super Stock at the most recent NHRA event in Topeka, Kansas. Driving his Mopar 383 Big Block-powered 1970 Plymouth ‘Cuda in Super Stock, Cotten advanced to the second round at Joliet to earn Dodge Top Finisher honors in the class. He defeated Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak driver Keith Lynch in round one of Super Stock eliminations, but his day ended in the second round against Nick Folk. Cotten was a bit too quick on his dial in, breaking out on a 9.917 run at 132.36 mph.

Ryan Mangus of Rialto, California, advanced three rounds at Route 66 Raceway in a 2010 Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak to seize the Dodge Top Finisher award in Stock Eliminator. Mangus defeated the higher-qualified Stocker cars of Slate Cummings and Chris Stephenson, then met Jeff Strickland in the third round. Mangus’ 9.831 ET and .044 reaction time wasn’t enough to outrun Strickland’s 9.218 pass and .012 move off the starting line.

Mangus also bagged a weekend win with a victory in the JEGS Allstars event, capturing the Stock title in the Mopar Dodge Drag Pak by defeating Joe Sorensen. Mangus picked up his first JEGS Allstars win after Sorensen red-lighted in his Camaro.





Up Next: Virginia NHRA Nationals
Mopar Dodge//SRT Funny Car and Top Fuel drivers will head next to Virginia Motorsports Park near Richmond for the Virginia NHRA Nationals, the second in a string of four consecutive events for NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series competitors. The series returns to the facility for the first time since the 2009 season.


2018 NHRA Championship — Point Standings After Round 9 of 24
(Season Wins in Parentheses)

NHRA Funny Car
1. Courtney Force (3) — 728
2. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger R/T (1) — 647
3. Robert Hight (1) — 624
4. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger R/T (1) — 601
5. J.R. Todd (2) — 539
6. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger R/T — 535
7. Tommy Johnson Jr., Dodge Charger R/T — 522

8. Cruz Pedregon (1) — 433
9. Shawn Langdon — 429
10. John Force — 383

NHRA Top Fuel

1. Steve Torrence (3) – 712
2. Clay Millican (2) — 687
3. Leah Pritchett, Mopar Dodge HEMI (1) — 582
4. Tony Schumacher, Mopar Dodge HEMI — 578

5. Doug Kalitta (1) — 570
6. Brittany Force (1) — 471
7. Terry McMillen — 464
8. Antron Brown — 456
9. Scott Palmer — 350
10. Richie Crampton (1) — 329
 
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