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Capps Takes 60th Career Victory at Pacific Raceways

Mopar Dodge//SRT Driver Capps Takes 60th Career Victory at Pacific Raceways


Ron Capps seizes Funny Car Wally trophy in his Mopar-powered Dodge Charger R/T
Leah Pritchett takes runner-up spot in Sparkling Ice/Mopar Dodge Top Fuel Dragster
Matt Hagan captures first No. 1 qualifier spot for new Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
Tommy Johnson Jr. goes to semifinals with Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
Bill Bushmaker and Darcy Clarke collect Dodge Top Finisher awards


August 5, 2018 , Auburn Hills, Mich. -

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Mopar power was strong this weekend at the 31st annual CatSpot NHRA Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways near Seattle as Funny Car racer Ron Capps took his Dodge Charger R/T all the way to victory for a milestone 60th career win.

The win in the finale of the three-race Western Swing, set in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, was the ninth of the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series for Mopar Dodge//SRT Don Schumacher Racing competitors, and the sixth of the season for a Mopar Dodge Charger Funny Car driver.


Capps squared off in his Mopar-powered NAPA Dodge Funny Car dragster with Jonnie Lindberg in round one eliminations on the track where he won his first race in 1995 (in Top Fuel). He made a 3.989-second pass to take the win with ease. In the second round Capps had to face off against his DSR teammate, Matt Hagan, the No. 1 Funny Car qualifier of the weekend. Another three-second pass gave the 700-plus round winner the victory and lane choice for the semifinals against Tim Wilkerson. Capps powered down the track to a 4.002 pass as Wilkerson’s day came to an early end with a major leak from the valve cover.

The final round, the 117th of Capps’ career, saw him placed against Funny Car points leader Courtney Force. Force ran out front until the 660 lights, but when her engine got unsettled, Capps powered right past her and to his 60th career win, his second this season.

Leah Pritchett, the No. 6 Top Fuel qualifier, beat Troy Buff in the first round of eliminations with her Mopar Dodge dragster on a holeshot win. She faced No. 3 qualifier Clay Millican in the quarterfinals. They had near identical reaction times, but Pritchett took her tenth victory against Millican. She then faced Mike Salinas, who had starting line advantage in the semifinals. Pritchett had a strong pass until right in the lights when it let go with a quick flash of flames, but held onto the win to face DSR teammate Antron Brown for her 12th final round.

Pritchett had starting line advantage, but Brown had the lead when they went by the Christmas tree and went on for the win. The final-round appearance was Pritchett’s second in the last three races, including her victory in Denver at the Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals Powered by Mopar.

Matt Hagan collected the first No. 1 qualifier for the new Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car body this weekend, as well as his first at Pacific Raceways and fourth of the season. Hagan started eliminations against first-round opponent Cruz Pedregon, eclipsing him at the 60-foot block and charging down the track for the decisive win.

Unfortunately, in round two, the 2013 Northwest Nationals event champion had to go up against his teammate Capps. The race was very close between the two Mopar-powered Dodge Funny Cars, but Capps was able to take the win and ended Hagan’s chances at picking up his fourth victory of the season.

Tommy Johnson Jr., driver of the Make-A-Wish Dodge, is one of the few drivers who has won in both Top Fuel and Funny Car at Pacific Raceways. This weekend, Johnson was able to advance to the semifinals before missing the opportunity for another victory in the Pacific Northwest. In first round eliminations he faced off with starting line advantage against longtime NHRA champion John Force and was quick on the throttle. Both drivers had issues – Force lost traction and Johnson had a hole out, but Johnson charged on and crossed the stripe first.

In the quarterfinals, Johnson defeated the reigning world champion Robert Hight, with a 4.074 run versus Hight’s 4.551. He then faced Courtney Force and had the better reaction time, but Force was able to pull ahead before the 330-foot mark and capture with the win, ending Johnson’s chances for a second consecutive Northwest Nationals final round appearance.

The four-time Pacific Raceways victor, Tony Schumacher, qualified his Mopar-powered U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster fourth and faced last year’s runner-up Terry McMillen in the first round. Schumacher had the starting line advantage and never trailed for the win. In the second round Schumacher had to go up against fellow DSR teammate Antron Brown, who had starting line advantage. Both smoked they tires at nearly the same time, but Brown pedaled to hook it up enough for the win.

Fast Jack Beckman, the 2007 Pacific Raceways Funny Car champion, faced Shawn Langdon in round one of eliminations. Beckman was 2-0 versus Langdon in prior events but was unable to extend his lead on Sunday morning. The two world champions were nearly even after launching from the line with the Infinite Hero Dodge Charger keeping pace until the 660-foot mark when Langdon was able to pull ahead for the round win, despite it being Beckman’s fastest run of the weekend.

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

Pietro Gorlier, Head of Parts and Service (Mopar), FCA
“It’s great to see the success Ron Capps is having in his Mopar-powered Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car, taking the victory today in his third straight final-round appearance. As we head into the final eight races of the season, we look forward to cheering on Ron and all his Don Schumacher Racing teammates.”

Steve Beahm, Head of Passenger Cars, Dodge//SRT, Chrysler and FIAT, FCA North America
“Congratulations to Ron Capps and Don Schumacher Racing on bringing home the win for Dodge//SRT and Mopar this weekend at the NHRA Northwest Nationals. There’s no better way to wrap up the three-race Western Swing than in the winner’s circle on Sunday.”

Mopar Dodge//SRT NHRA Sportsman Spotlight
Mopar Sportsman racer Bill Bushmaker from Auburn, Washington, drove his I/SA 1976 Plymouth Road Runner to the quarterfinals in Stock Eliminator at the NHRA Northwest Nationals, earning the Dodge Top Finisher award for the class. Powered by a Mopar 360 small block, Bushmaker’s quest for a victory ended in round four of eliminations despite having a great reaction time against his opponent. Running off an 11.41 dial-in, Bushmaker lost by mere 0.0062 seconds (approximately 12 inches) at the finish line.

Alberta, Canada, resident Darcy Clarke piloted his 1964 SS/EA Plymouth Belvedere to a round three finish in Super Stock at the NHRA Northwest Nationals, earning the Dodge Top Finisher award in Super Stock. Powered by a high-compression 426 Max Wedge Mopar big-block, Clarke had qualified his potent Plymouth in the 16th spot out of 30 entries with a stout 9.74-second run on a 10.35 index.

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.


Ron Capps, Pennzoil Synthetics/NAPA Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 9 Qualifier – 4.008 ET)


Rd.1: (.075-second reaction time, 3.989 seconds at 321.04 mph) beat No. 8 Jonnie Lindberg (.138/4.049/317.79)
Rd.2: (.054/3.998/320.43) beat No. 1 Matt Hagen (.077/4.032/311.27)
Rd.3: (.100/4.002/315.49) beat No. 5 Tim Wilkerson (No Time)
Rd.4: (.084/4.033/314.90) beat No. 3 Courtney Force (.078/4.115/255.63)

“I won here in 1995. It was on a Tuesday. I was in an unsponsored car, I borrowed money for a firesuit, and Pennzoil was on my suit, my mom sewed it on. That was a big moment. I’ve been here many times and have been able to win in Funny Car, but that was a fateful day. That day from what (former team owner) Don Prudhomme told me, that was the day he started watching me on the track, how I drove, the way I carried myself. That day probably propelled me to the next step of getting a phone call from Don ‘The Snake’ Prudhomme, and from there led me to be able to drive for Don Schumacher. I’ve driven for two of the biggest names in the sport, represented three Fortune 500 companies in my 20+-year career. I love racing cars, I live for it, so it’s neat to come full circle and stage the car in that same lane where I won on that Tuesday.”

Leah Pritchett, Sparkling Ice/Mopar Dodge Top Fuel Dragster
(No. 6 Qualifier – 3.764 ET)


Rd.1: (.067-second reaction time, 3.809 seconds at 325.53 mph) beat No. 11 Troy Bluff (.107/3.798/315.71)
Rd.2: (.086/3.823/319.60) beat No. 3 Clay Millican (.088/3.957/266.79)
Rd.3: (.083/3.838/304.74) beat No. 7 Mike Salinas (.052/4.045/237.63)
Rd.4: (.056/3.849/320.13) lost to No. 5 Antron Brown (.066/3.835/322.88)

“I feel phenomenal about the car, the team, the headspace and the momentum. Today was a great way to finish off the Western Swing. Of course, we were just one round shy of the ultimate finish to it, but my proudest moment of the weekend wasn’t even the win lights. It was the ability this team had to overcome the insane challenges we had facing us after the semifinals. We had engine damage. We had blower damage and the confidence (crew chief) Tod Okuhara had using a blower that never had any type of boost put to it before for the final round should how good he is. When you change a blower there could be at least 15 other things that are affected, so you just don’t know what to expect. From burnout to turnout, this was basically a new machine compared to what we had all weekend long. So to show out as well as we did in the final was very impressive. I’m very proud to be part of this team and we’ll continue this momentum on to Brainerd.”

Tommy Johnson Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 7 Qualifier – 3.977 ET)


Rd.1: (.069-second reaction time, 4.177 seconds at 301.74 mph) beat No. 10 John Force (.086/5.598/138.27)
Rd.2: (.076/4.074/318.09) beat No. 2 Robert Hight (.056/4.551/215.37)
Rd.3: (.062/4.062/316.08) lost to No. 3 Courtney Force (.072/4.011/320.20)

“Surely we would’ve liked to win, but two semis on ‘the swing’ is not bad. It’s important right now to get the points. The Countdown is coming, and the Make-A-Wish Dodge is improving every race, and we’re doing better every race, so if you’re going to peak, it’s getting close to the right time to peak.”


Matt Hagan, Sandvik Coromant/Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 1 Qualifier – 3.913 ET)


Rd.1: (.092-second reaction time, 4.045 seconds at 316.52 mph) beat No. 16 Cruz Pedregon (.070/4.854/166.11)
Rd.2: (.077/4.032/311.27) lost to No. 9 Ron Capps (.054/3.998/320.43)

“Great qualifying position with this new Mopar Hellcat body. There’s a lot of tough draws out here, we had Cruz (Pedregon) first-round, (Ron) Capps second-round, and none of them are easy. Capps and the Pennzoil/NAPA team have had our number for the last few races. They ran strong beside us, he had a good light, and that’s just a hard combo to beat right now. Their car is running well; our car is running well too. It was a good drag race; we just happened to be on the back side of it. We’ll move on to the next one and hopefully do big things at (the next event in) Brainerd.”

Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 11 Qualifier – 4.028 ET)

Rd.1: (.095-second reaction time, 4.026 seconds at 315.56 mph) lost to No. 6 Shawn Langdon (.070/4.017/318.69)

“I would rather win ugly, in other words smoke the tires but get down there and get the win light, than run fast and lose. Losing is never what we want to do and we’ve lost pretty the last few times out. I think the carrot on the stick for us is that even when our car doesn’t run what we want it to run, it runs respectively. That tells me that we’ve got it back in the tune-up window where we ought to be able to start stepping on it and running quicker. Right now we’re just trying to control clutch wear. It’s a problem that every nitro car has. I definitely have reason for optimism. This is only our third first-round loss this year and that underscores how consistent our team has been. We need to ratchet it up a notch, qualify better, get a better first-round matchup and capitalize on that.”

Tony Schumacher, U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster
(No. 4 Qualifier – 3.751 ET)


Rd.1: (.079-second reaction time, 4.137 seconds at 258.47 mph) beat No. 13 Terry McMillen (.091/6.626/91.90)
Rd.2: (.077/4.718/213.00) lost to No. 5 Antron Brown (.061/4.137/301.74)

“Smoked the tires twice today after four beautiful runs during qualifying. It kind of caught me off guard a couple of times. It was a rough one. Hate to give up any points, we were doing so well, but I look forward to getting to Brainerd, and to Indy test, and getting into that Countdown. We’ve got a great car, but we haven’t had very much luck. When that luck finally turns, it’s going to be a stout deal.”

Up Next: Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals
Next on the schedule for the Mopar and Dodge//SRT squad is the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, scheduled for August 17-19 at Brainerd International Raceway in Brainerd, Minn.


2018 NHRA Championship — Point Standings After Round 16 of 24
(Season Wins in Parentheses)


NHRA Funny Car
1. Courtney Force — 1300
2. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger R/T (2) — 1146
3. Robert Hight — 1085
4. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger R/T (3) — 1064
5. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger R/T (1) — 999

6. J.R. Todd — 914
7. Tommy Johnson Jr., Dodge Charger R/T — 892
8. John Force — 824
9. Shawn Langdon — 736
10. Tim Wilkerson — 703

NHRA Top Fuel
1. Steve Torrence – 1251
2. Tony Schumacher, Mopar Dodge HEMI (1) — 1090
3. Clay Millican — 1084
4. Leah Pritchett, Mopar Dodge HEMI (2) — 1083
5. Doug Kalitta — 995
6. Antron Brown — 927
7. Terry McMillen — 759
8. Brittany Force — 731
9. Richie Crampton — 660
10. Scott Palmer — 649
 

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Discussion Starter #42
Beckman Triumphs in All-Mopar Dodge//SRT Funny Car Final at Brainerd

Beckman Triumphs in All-Mopar Dodge//SRT Funny Car Final at Brainerd

Win by Jack Beckman is seventh for a Mopar Dodge//SRT NHRA Funny Car driver this season
Victory is first for Beckman at Brainerd, second of year, 28th of career
Tommy Johnson Jr. takes runner-up in all-Don Schumacher Racing final round
Mopar-powered NHRA Sportsman racer Brian Johnson captures NHRA Super Stock win
Johnson, Steve Scherschligt earn Dodge Top Finisher honors in Super Stock and Stock


August 19, 2018 , Auburn Hills, Mich. -


Jack Beckman raced to victory in an all-Mopar Dodge//SRT Funny Car final round matchup with teammate Tommy Johnson Jr. at the NHRA Nationals in Brainerd, Minnesota, taking his second win of the season and the seventh of the year for a Mopar-powered Dodge//SRT Funny Car driver.

Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) driver Beckman’s triumph is the 28th of his career in 56 final rounds, and his first at Brainerd International Raceway. Both Beckman and Johnson clinched spots in the NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoffs during the weekend, meaning all six DSR Mopar Dodge//SRT drivers in Funny Car and Top Fuel have earned berths with one race to spare before the start of the six-race playoffs in mid-September. Mopar Dodge//SRT competitors have now combined for 10 wins this season in the NHRA Funny Car and Top Fuel classes.

The Infinite Hero Dodge driver’s road to the final was anything but easy after starting in the bottom half of the field at No. 14. First up was Mopar DSR teammate and three-time 2018 event winner Matt Hagan, who Beckman was able to defeat with a 4.044-second elapsed time (ET) at 312.64 mph despite dealing with a dropped cylinder. In the 650th round of his career, Beckman’s 3.980 run knocked out Shawn Langdon in the quarterfinals. It wasn’t enough to earn the 2012 Funny Car champion lane choice in the semifinals against points leader Courtney Force, but Beckman used a slight starting line advantage and 3.968/325.14 pass to take down Force and advance to the all-Mopar Dodge final against Johnson.

Beckman’s third career final round appearance at Brainerd was a charm, as a sharp .027 reaction time off the starting line paired with his quickest run of race day, 3.961 at 325.69 mph, propelled “Fast” Jack to his first winner’s circle celebration at Brainerd. Beckman’s other win of 2018 came back in March at the NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida. The final-round appearance was Beckman’s third of the 2018 season.

Johnson, last year’s Brainerd Funny Car runner-up, was looking to take it one step further and finish Sunday in the BIR winner’s circle for the second time in his career. Behind the wheel of his Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T, Johnson started race day from the fifth spot, knocking out Del Worsham in round one. Against Tim Wilkerson in round two, Johnson and the John Collins-led team threw down a monster 3.937-second pass which held up to be low E.T. of race day and earned the team a spot in the semifinals for the third time in three races.

Versus semifinal opponent J.R. Todd, Johnson was out of the gate first and never trailed for the win, setting up the all-DSR matchup in the finals against Beckman. Although his losing 4.031/319.67 mark in the final was not enough to end the day with the Wally trophy, Johnson clinched his Countdown to the Championship playoff berth on Sunday.

Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat driver Hagan, a three-time event winner this season, entered eliminations on Sunday searching for his first career win at Brainerd International Raceway. Hagan, starting solidly in the top half of the field in the No. 3 spot, drew DSR teammate Beckman in a matchup of Mopar HEMI machines. Both drivers dropped a cylinder, but Hagan’s Dodge was unable to match Beckman’s quicker and faster pass, keeping a Brainerd win as one of the few “to-do” items on the two-time Funny Car champion’s bucket list.

Mopar Dodge Top Fuel driver Leah Pritchett, who took the top qualifier spot and event win in 2017 at Brainerd, started Sunday from the No. 8 position. Pritchett, runner-up in the most recent NHRA stop at Seattle and a two-time event winner this year, lined up in the first round against No. 9 qualifier Scott Palmer. The DSR driver’s hopes for a deep eliminations run ended when her dragster smoked the tires, with Palmer earning the win.

Fresh off of his 60th NHRA win and three consecutive final round appearances, Ron Capps entered Brainerd seeking his sixth title at the Minnesota track. Capps’ dominance continued in qualifying, earning the No. 2 spot in his Mopar-powered NAPA Dodge. In round one, Capps had the advantage at the starting line and held the lead over Jonnie Lindberg until just past halftrack when his car made a hard move toward the centerline followed by an engine malfunction, allowing Lindberg to claim the round win. Capps remains second in the standings.

Tony Schumacher, “The Sarge,” qualified No. 7 in his HEMI-engine fueled U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster and knocked off Terry McMillen in round one. The eight-time Top Fuel champion clocked a quick 3.771 run in the quarterfinals, but was edged out at the finish stripe on a holeshot loss to Steve Torrence by a margin of about six inches.

Mopar Dodge//SRT NHRA Sportsman Spotlight
Brian Johnson of Nowthen, Minnesota, raced a Mopar-powered 1973 Plymouth Duster 340 to his first career NHRA National event win in the Super Stock class, in his very first final-round appearance. Johnson qualified back in the pack at Brainerd, at No. 45 of 52 entries, then fought through six rounds to capture the victory. He defeated Jason DeForrest in the final, recording an 11.164/116.68 run after DeForrest left the starting line early and fouled out. The performance earned Johnson the Dodge Top Finisher award in Super Stock.

In Stock Eliminator, Steve Scherschligt of Tea, South Dakota, repeated as the Dodge Top Finisher in the class, after winning the award in 2017 at Brainerd. Scherschligt posted his Mopar-powered 1973 Plymouth Satellite in the top ten during qualifying, earning the No. 8 spot with a 11.229-second pass that was 0.921 under index. Scherschligt marched all the way to the semifinals, where he lost on a red light foul after leaving too early against Randi Lyn Shipp.

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.

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

Pietro Gorlier, Head of Parts and Service (Mopar), FCA
“The win today by Jack Beckman in an all-Don Schumacher Racing Funny Car final round once again proves that the combination of Mopar power and Dodge//SRT is tough to beat. Congratulations to Jack and his Infinite Hero Dodge team on their performance today at Brainerd.”

Steve Beahm, Head of Passenger Cars, Dodge//SRT, Chrysler and FIAT, FCA North America
“The victory today by Jack Beckman reinforces that Dodge is America’s performance brand not only on the street, but also at the drag strip. The success this year of Jack and Don Schumacher Racing adds fuel for the enthusiasts who are passionate about our brand and the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.”

Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 14 Qualifier – 4.029 ET)


Rd.1: (.047-second reaction time, 4.044 seconds at 312.64 mph) beat to No. 3 Matt Hagan (.050/4.101/268.44)
Rd.2: (.062/3.980/324.83) beat to No. 6 Shawn Langdon (.049/4.019/321.42)
Rd.3: (.069/3.968/325.14) beat No. 10 Courtney Force (.074/4.040/320.51)
Rd.4: (.027/3.961/325.69) beat No. 5 Tommy Johnson Jr. (.068/4.031/319.67)

“Everyone is saying we can’t lose, because a Doug Chandler/Terry Chandler car is in the final round – but we can lose, because we’re the Infinite Hero car, and we want to win! Nobody goes into a final round thinking, ‘If we don’t win, we don’t win.’ It’s a big deal. You don’t know if your last win is your last win. We have struggled, it’s no secret. We haven’t had the car we had early in the season. We changed chassis, clutches, we faced the track prep reduction and we had a tough time. I feel a heck of a lot better today than I felt yesterday.

“I don’t think one race can make or break you. I feel like if nothing else were to change this weekend but leaving with the trophy, it changes the psychology of everyone on the team. Yeah, you know you’re capable of winning, but the last time was at Gainesville. To put it back in the winner’s circle again just reaffirms that we are coming up on the Countdown and we have a contending car. I like the way that we didn’t start (this weekend) phenomenally, but we picked away at it and got better, and got significantly better each time down the track today.”

Tommy Johnson Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 5 Qualifier – 4.003 ET)


Rd.1: (.060-second reaction time, 3.988 seconds at 3320.66 mph) beat No. 12 Del Worsham (.044/4.691/204.42)
Rd.2: (.106/3.937/319.60) beat No. 4 Tim Wilkerson (.101/4.038/314.97)
Rd.3: (.091/3.950/323.97) beat No. 8 J.R. Todd (.099/3.973/324.05)
Rd.4: (.068/4.031/319.67) lost to No. 14 Jack Beckman (.027/3.961/325.69)

“It was a great weekend for our team, we made huge progress. You could see it coming the last few races, so super excited with how we’re running going into Indy and the Countdown. It broke a throttle air switch in the final round. After such a great day, to have something small like that break in the final is disappointing, but still all in all, a great day. The car is running really well. I look forward to testing this week and let’s see if we can get that Wally in Indy.”

Matt Hagan, Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 3 Qualifier – 3.990 ET)


Rd.1: (.050-second reaction time, 4.101 seconds at 268.44 mph) lost to No. 14 Jack Beckman (.047/4.044/312.64)

“Right now, we are working to get this new body dialed in. It’s changed the whole dynamic of our racecar; the weight transfer is different, and this thing is making a lot more downforce on the nose. The car is going to be better, the numbers show it. We just have to figure out what this thing is asking for, and what adjustments we need to make. If anybody can figure it out, (crew chief) Dickie (Venables) can. It’s going to be really, really important for us to test at Indy and make those two or three days there really count.”

Leah Pritchett, Mopar Dodge Top Fuel Dragster
(No. 8 Qualifier – 3.818 ET)


Rd.1: (.074-second reaction time, 4.068 seconds at 276.92 mph) lost to No. 9 Scott Palmer (.064/3.837/325.06)

“Scott Palmer – I say it before I race him and after – you misstep ever so slightly, they’re there and they get you. We need to qualify a little better – we seem to have track record of doing better when we qualify better. Coming away from Brainerd, it’s just a little blip in the momentum, just like it was a little blip on the track today. I caught traction and we were able to hook up, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do in Indy.”

Ron Capps, NAPA Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 2 Qualifier – 3.969 ET)


Rd.1: (.077-second reaction time, 4.382 seconds at 202.91 mph) lost to No. 15 Jonnie Lindberg (.085/4.070/316.01)

“I’ve been driving 22 years and a first-round loss like that hurts just as bad as it did during my rookie year in Funny Car. After you’ve gone through Friday and Saturday and feel how good your car is running underneath you, you really feel like you have a great chance at standing up there in the winner’s circle at the end of the day. I’m lucky I can jump back in the car this Thursday during our Indy test session. After a letdown here in Brainerd, I’m looking forward to getting right back in the car a few days later. It’s extra exciting this year because we’re going to test out some new aerodynamic things with Dodge.”

Tony Schumacher, U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster
(No. 7 Qualifier – 3.818 ET)


Rd.1: (.060-second reaction time, 3.792 seconds at 328.70 mph) beat No. 10 Terry McMillen (.070/3.803/325.61)
Rd.2: (.098/3.771/328.94) lost to No. 2 Steve Torrence (.076/3.792/325.69)

“The first round, it was a long tree. The second round, it was a quick tree and it caught me off guard. There’s no excuse, no other reason, the fact is the dude left before I did on the start line and it cost us the race with our great U.S. Army racecar that we should’ve won the race with. We’ll go to the next one, we’ll forget that happened, and we’ll get it done.”

Up Next: NHRA U.S. Nationals
Mopar Dodge//SRT racers will travel next to the NHRA U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, Indiana. Six days of racing will take place on August 29 – September 3, with elimination rounds set for Labor Day. The NHRA Dodge HEMI® Challenge will return for the 18th year, and the first with the Dodge brand as title sponsor, on August 30-31, during the U.S. Nationals.



2018 NHRA Championship — Point Standings After Round 17 of 24
(Season Wins in Parentheses)



NHRA Funny Car
1. Courtney Force — 1372
2. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger R/T (2) — 1177
3. Robert Hight — 1154
4. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger R/T (2) — 1110
5. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat (2) — 1102
6t. Tommy Johnson Jr., Dodge Charger R/T — 987

6t. J.R. Todd — 987
8. John Force — 855
9. Shawn Langdon — 791
10. Tim Wilkerson — 747

NHRA Top Fuel
1. Steve Torrence – 1332
2. Tony Schumacher, Mopar Dodge HEMI (1) — 1145
3. Clay Millican — 1144
4. Leah Pritchett, Mopar Dodge HEMI (2) — 1118
5. Doug Kalitta — 1027
6. Antron Brown — 1026
7. Terry McMillen — 791
8. Brittany Force — 787
9. Scott Palmer — 701
10. Mike Salinas — 694
 

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Discussion Starter #43
Beckman Triumphs in all-Mopar Dodge//SRT Funny Car Final at Brainerd


Aug 20, 2018

Jack Beckman raced to victory in an all-Mopar Dodge//SRT Funny Car final round matchup with teammate Tommy Johnson Jr., at the NHRA Nationals in Brainerd, Minnesota, taking his second win of the season and the seventh of the year for a Mopar-powered Dodge//SRT Funny Car driver. Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) driver Beckman’s triumph is the 28th of his career in 56 final rounds, and his first at Brainerd International Raceway. Both Beckman and Johnson clinched spots in the NHRA Countdown to the Cham...
 

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Battle for NHRA Dodge HEMI® Challenge

Record-tying 30-car Field Set to Battle for NHRA Dodge HEMI® Challenge Title at U.S. Nationals
Event marks 50th anniversary of 1968 Super Stock Dodge Dart and Plymouth Barracuda

Dodge brand celebrates first year of title sponsorship in 18th consecutive season of fan-favorite event
Current entries to compete for $15,000 winner’s purse include drivers from 17 states and two countries
Two-time defending champion James Daniels guns for record third consecutive win
NHRA Dodge HEMI® Challenge qualifying and eliminations scheduled for August 30-31
Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak drivers look to continue recent Factory Stock dominance at U.S. Nationals
Mopar Dodge//SRT NHRA Funny Car, Top Fuel drivers focus on playoff berth positioning at Indy
Dodge Challenger SRT Demon Simulator “Drag Strip Showdown” fan contest continues at U.S. Nationals


August 23, 2018 , Auburn Hills, Mich. -






A record-tying 30 drivers hailing from 17 states will gather at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis on August 30-31 to fight it out in the NHRA Dodge HEMI® Challenge, held during the historic NHRA U.S. Nationals, August 29 – September 3. The victor’s Wally trophy will have even more of a “golden” luster this year, as 2018 also marks the 50th anniversary celebration of the Mopar-powered 1968 Dodge Dart and Plymouth Barracuda Super Stock cars that compete in the fan-favorite event.

The current field of entries, matching the largest in the event’s 18-year history, will duke it out for the iconic, 42.6-lb NHRA Dodge HEMI Challenge trophy, created as a callout to the 426 HEMI engine, and the $15,000 winner’s purse. Three returning Indy HEMI Challenge champions will be among those vying for the win in the first event with Dodge as title sponsor, including two-time and defending champion James Daniels in his Dodge Dart, 2015 winner and Plymouth ‘Cuda pilot Lloyd Wofford and inaugural 2001 HEMI Challenge race winner Bucky Hess.

Also joining the 22-year-old Daniels in the mix for the 2018 title will be last year’s runner-up and New Brunswick, Canada, native Wendell Howes, one of three Canadian competitors who will run at Indy. Stephen Hebert, runner-up in 2016, will lead a crew of five drivers with Louisiana roots, the largest turnout from a single state, followed by three representatives each from Pennsylvania and Ohio. The “Fish” cars will have numbers on their side: 21 Plymouth ‘Cudas will square off with nine Dodge Dart entries.

All NHRA Dodge HEMI Challenge competitors will be parked together in the Lucas Oil Raceway pit area. All drivers finishing in the top 16 will receive cash rewards. A parade of HEMI Challenge cars will take place Friday morning, August 31, before eliminations commence, with the final round to crown the 2018 champion scheduled for prime time on Friday night, just prior to NHRA Nitro qualifying.

The NHRA Dodge HEMI Challenge showcases Super Stock/A-HEMI (SS/AH) NHRA Sportsman class competitors battling on the quarter-mile in 1968 Mopar “package” cars, powered by the legendary 426 HEMI engine, nicknamed the “Elephant” engine for its size and power. The Dodge Dart and Plymouth Barracuda Super Stockers are one of the earliest and most iconic iterations of the purpose-built vehicles created at the factory. The cars feature distinct race “packages” and are for use solely on the drag strip. The Dodge Dart and Plymouth Barracudas are precursors to the modern-day package car — the Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak.

Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak drivers aim to maintain Factory Stock Showdown dominance
Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak drivers will see their first NHRA Factory Stock Showdown competition since a historically dominant performance at the NHRA Norwalk, Ohio, event in late June, in which Drag Pak racers swept the top four qualifying spots and claimed victory in the first-ever all-Mopar Dodge Factory Stock final round.

Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak drivers Mark Pawuk, runner-up at Norwalk, and Leah Pritchett, who will again pull double-duty in Top Fuel and Factory Stock, are seeking their first class wins. Joe Welch, owner of back-to-back Factory Stock wins, will go for three in a row at Indy. Pro Stock champion Allen Johnson raced to the quarterfinals at Norwalk, his best outing since his transition to Factory Stock, and will look to advance deeper in the field. Geoff Turk made history in his Drag Pak earlier this year by becoming the first driver to break into the seven-second range in a Factory Stock car and will also return to action at the U.S. Nationals.

Mopar Dodge//SRT NHRA Nitro drivers jockey for Countdown to the Championship playoff positioning
Heading into the U.S. Nationals, the final event prior to the start of the six-race NHRA Countdown the Championship, all six of the DSR Mopar Dodge//SRT teams in NHRA Funny Car and Top Fuel are locked into top-10 playoff berths, with only their final positions left to be determined.

Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car driver Matt Hagan, the 2016 Indy winner, and Infinite Hero Dodge pilot Jack Beckman, the 2015 champion, have eyes on visiting winner’s circle for the second time at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis. Their DSR Funny Car teammates Ron Capps, runner-up last year, and Tommy Johnson Jr. are searching for their first victories at the venue. Also hoping to lock down that first Indy Wally trophy is Mopar Dodge Top Fuel driver Leah Pritchett, while her teammate Tony Schumacher aims to add to his record 10 U.S. Nationals event wins.

Five rounds of NHRA Funny Car and Top Fuel qualifying will take place August 31 – September 2, with elimination rounds set for Labor Day Monday, September 3.

Dodge Challenger SRT Demon Simulator “Drag Strip Showdown” to continue in Indy
Visitors to the Mopar Dodge//SRT fan display at the U.S. Nationals can try their luck at the “Drag Strip Showdown,” a head-to-head competition in Dodge Challenger SRT Demon simulators. The contest runs through November 11, and will send the top four drivers with the best race times on a trip to the Dodge//SRT Bondurant Drag Racing School near Phoenix. Winners will be paired with either Mopar Dodge NHRA racers Leah Pritchett or Matt Hagan for a final competition that will take place at Bondurant in the actual 840-horsepower Dodge Challenger SRT Demon vehicle – the most powerful muscle car ever.

The “Drag Strip Showdown” includes stops at Dodge-sponsored NHRA races throughout the country, as well as at the Mopar exhibit at the 2018 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show in Las Vegas, set for October 30 – November 2. Two additional winners will be randomly selected by entering the “Drag Strip Showdown” online sweepstakes component of the promotion at Dodge Garage, which also features a current leaderboard of the top-four drivers in the contest.

About Dodge//SRT

Dodge//SRT offers a complete lineup of performance vehicles that stand out in their own segments. Dodge is 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 brand in 1914. Their influence continues today. New for 2019, the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye is possessed by the Demon. Its 797-horsepower supercharged HEMI® high-output engine makes it the most powerful, quickest and fastest muscle car reaching 0-60 miles per hour (mph) in 3.4 seconds and the fastest GT production car with a ¼-mile elapsed time (ET) of 10.8 seconds at 131 mph. It also reaches a new top speed of 203 mph. Joining the Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye is the 2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat with its more powerful 717-horsepower engine, the Challenger R/T Scat Pack Widebody, which features fender flares from the SRT Hellcat Widebody and adds 3.5 inches of width to Scat Pack’s footprint, as well as and the new Challenger R/T Scat Pack 1320. Infused with exclusive drag strip technology from the iconic Dodge Challenger SRT Demon, the Challenger R/T Scat Pack 1320 is a drag-oriented, street-legal muscle car and a blank canvas for the serious grassroots drag racer. The 2019 Dodge Durango SRT, America’s fastest, most powerful and most capable three-row SUV with a best-in-class tow rating of 8,700 lbs. fills out the brands’ performance lineup. These visceral performance models join a 2019 brand lineup that includes the Durango, Grand Caravan, Journey, Charger and Challenger — a showroom that offers performance at every price point.

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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Discussion Starter #45
NHRA Dodge HEMI® Challenge Pole at U.S. Nationals

Wolkwitz Takes Second Consecutive NHRA Dodge HEMI® Challenge Pole at U.S. Nationals

Gary Wolkwitz drives 1968 Dodge Dart to No. 1 qualifier position in 18th consecutive running of fan-favorite event
Two-time and defending race champion Jimmy Daniels qualifies No. 2
NHRA Dodge HEMI Challenge parade and elimination rounds set for Friday, August 31 at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis
Drivers to compete for $15,000 winner’s purse and iconic HEMI Challenge Trophy
Dodge brand’s first year as title sponsor also marks 50th anniversary of Mopar-powered 1968 Dodge Dart and Plymouth Barracuda Super Stock cars


August 30, 2018 , Brownsburg, Indiana -

Gary Wolkwitz raced his Super Stock 1968 Dodge Dart to the top spot during qualifying for the NHRA Dodge HEMI® Challenge, the popular race-within-a-race held during the NHRA U.S. Nationals, August 29 – September 3. Wolkwitz will start from the pole for the second consecutive year as he seeks his first career win at the Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis facility.

The event, now in its 18th season, comes during the 50th anniversary celebration of the Mopar-powered 1968 Dodge Dart and Plymouth Barracuda Super Stock cars that compete in the fan-favorite event. The iconic 42.6-lb NHRA Dodge HEMI Challenge trophy and $15,000 winner’s purse will be on the line tomorrow during eliminations. All drivers finishing in the top 16 will receive cash rewards.

“It didn’t do me much good last year,” said New Jersey native Wolkwitz of his No. 1 position, which he nailed down with a 8.524-second elapsed time (ET) in the final qualifying session. “Let’s hope this year is a little bit different. It would be terrific (to claim the win). I turn 73 in October, and this might be my swan song.”

Jimmy Daniels, the two-time and defending event champion, nabbed the No. 2 slot with a strong 8.538 run, earning his same starting position as last year. The 22-year-old dental student from Pennsylvania is hoping to put his imprint in the NHRA Dodge HEMI Challenge record books by becoming the first driver to claim victory in the event at Indy three years in a row.

“We’re trying hard (for the win),” said Daniels, whose father and namesake is also a past HEMI Challenge winner. “We’ve still got some work ahead of us. This is my first pass since the NHRA Dutch Classic last October, so it’s been awhile. But we’re working on it. The car likes being in the No. 2 spot, and Gary’s No. 1. It’s good to have the Barton (Racing) cars in the one and two spots. We’re feeling good for tomorrow.”

Stephen Comella held the No. 1 spot before ultimately qualifying third with a 8.556 pass in his 1968 Plymouth Barracuda. The New York-based racer posted the fastest speed (156.79 mph) of qualifying. HEMI Challenge veteran and Dodge Dart pilot Jim Pancake (fourth) and inaugural 2001 HEMI Challenge race winner and 1968 Plymouth Barracuda driver Bucky Hess completed the top five.

Rounding out spots 6-10, in order, are last year’s runner-up Gus Mantas, Tony DePillo, Wendell Howes, Rich Locker and 2016 runner-up Stephen Herbert.

A parade of HEMI Challenge cars will take place Friday, August 31, before eliminations commence, with the final round to crown the 2018 champion scheduled for prime time on Friday night, just prior to NHRA Nitro qualifying.

The NHRA Dodge HEMI Challenge showcases Super Stock/A-HEMI (SS/AH) NHRA Sportsman class competitors battling on the quarter-mile in 1968 Mopar “package” cars, powered by the legendary 426 HEMI engine, nicknamed the “Elephant” engine for its size and power. The Dodge Dart and Plymouth Barracuda Super Stockers are one of the earliest and most iconic iterations of the purpose-built vehicles created at the factory. The cars feature distinct race “packages” and are for use solely on the drag strip. The Dodge Dart and Plymouth Barracudas are precursors to the modern-day package car — the Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak.

 

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Discussion Starter #46
Daniels Makes History

Daniels Makes History, Grabs Third Consecutive Win in NHRA Dodge HEMI® Challenge



Jimmy Daniels becomes the only driver to capture three wins in a row at the NHRA Dodge HEMI Challenge event at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis
Daniels, 22, triumphs in first-ever all-1968 Dodge Dart HEMI Challenge final round at Indy against 72-year-old teammate and No. 1 qualifier Gary Wolkwitz
Dental student Daniels banks $15,000 winner’s purse in his first racing action in nearly a year
Dodge brand’s first year as title sponsor also marks 50th anniversary of Mopar-powered 1968 Dodge Dart and Plymouth Barracuda Super Stock cars


August 31, 2018 , Brownsburg, Indiana -

Jimmy Daniels wrote his name in the NHRA Dodge HEMI® Challenge record books, defeating No. 1 qualifier Gary Wolkwitz in the final round to become the first driver to claim three consecutive victories in the event at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.

Daniels, 22, bested his 72-year-old Ray Barton Racing Engines teammate Wolkwitz in the first-ever all-1968 Dodge Dart final round in the 18th year of the fan-favorite event, held during the NHRA U.S. Nationals. The win is the fourth overall for the Daniels family, including the 2010 victory by Jimmy Daniels Sr. in the same Mopar-powered Dart.


“Congratulations to Jimmy Daniels on claiming his third consecutive victory in the NHRA Dodge HEMI Challenge,” said Steve Beahm, Head of Passenger Cars, Dodge//SRT, Chrysler and FIAT, FCA North America. “His hard work and dedication has special significance this year, as his victory comes during the 50th anniversary celebration of the legendary 1968 Dodge Dart and Plymouth Barracuda Super Stock cars. The Dodge brand is proud to serve as title sponsor of the event and help recognize the legacy of these racecars, which continues on with our modern-day ‘package car,’ the Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak.”

Daniels qualified No. 2 in his 1968 Dodge Dart and promptly threw down the gauntlet in round one with an 8.522-second elapsed time (ET) to send home Mark Howes. He sped to a steady 8.542 in round two after his opponent Dan Zrust fouled out after leaving the starting line early, and after a bye run in round three, Daniels defeated the “Missouri Mule” 1968 Plymouth Barracuda of Russ Campbell with the quickest run of the weekend, a monster 8.511 pass.

In the final, held under the lights just prior to NHRA Nitro qualifying, the dental student from Pennsylvania launched first with an .033 reaction time paired with an 8.662/156.15 to claim victory over Wolkwitz, who spun the tires and slowed to a 10.110/97.63.

“It’s incredible. I just couldn’t imagine it,” said Daniels of his win, which came in his first race action in almost a year. “It’s unbelievable. There’s so much that goes into this, it’s insane. We put so much into this. The first qualifying run was my first pass (since the NHRA Dutch Classic last October). The car and I just get along. It’s cool, to be able to have us both (teammate Wolkwitz) here, and qualify one and two.”

New Jersey native Wolkwitz locked down his second consecutive NHRA Dodge HEMI Challenge No. 1 position on Friday and then clocked an 8.523 ET on his first-round bye run, paired with the fastest speed of the meet at 157.04 mph. He was quickest in round two, posting a 8.526 ET to take down Wendell Howes, and then used a 8.525 to trailer the uniquely-painted 1968 Plymouth “Psycho Kuda” of inaugural 2001 HEMI Challenge race winner Bucky Hess. Wolkwitz advanced out of the semifinals after opponent Gus Mantas bowed out on a red light foul.

“I’m happy, it’s great to race my teammate and a young kid who I respect completely,” said Wolkwitz, who made his first career final-round appearance at the Indy HEMI Challenge. “He spun too, but not as bad as I did.”

The NHRA Dodge HEMI Challenge showcases Super Stock/A-HEMI (SS/AH) NHRA Sportsman class competitors battling on the quarter-mile in 1968 Mopar “package” cars, powered by the legendary 426 HEMI engine, nicknamed the “Elephant” engine for its size and power. The Dodge Dart and Plymouth Barracuda Super Stockers are one of the earliest and most iconic iterations of the purpose-built vehicles created at the factory. The cars feature distinct race “packages” and are for use solely on the drag strip. The Dodge Dart and Plymouth Barracudas are precursors to the modern-day package car — the Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak.
 

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Discussion Starter #47
Hagan Runs Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car to First Ever Final-round Appear

Hagan Runs Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car to First Ever Final-round Appearance at Indy
Pritchett Takes First Win, Sets Class Records in Factory Stock Showdown

Matt Hagan becomes first driver to take new Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car body to final-round appearance at NHRA U.S. Nationals
Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) driver Hagan advances to sixth final round of 2018 at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, 53rd of his career
Top Fuel driver Leah Pritchett pulls double duty, earns first career Factory Stock Showdown win in Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak
Pritchett sets elapsed time and speed records in Factory Stock Showdown en route to earning pole
Pritchett defeats DSR teammate Mark Pawuk in second straight all-Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak final in the class
Dennis Steward seizes Super Stock win in Mopar-powered Plymouth Savoy
Steward, Larry Hill earn Dodge Top Finisher honors in Super Stock and Stock

September 3, 2018 , Auburn Hills, Mich. -

Matt Hagan raced the new Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat NHRA Funny Car to its first ever final-round appearance at the 64th annual NHRA U.S. Nationals, while Leah Pritchett claimed her first Factory Stock Showdown victory and the third consecutive win for a Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak driver in the class.

Hagan led the way for the Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) four-team Funny Car squad in the new Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car body, which he recently debuted in late July at the Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals. Hagan earned the No. 3 starting spot and the 2016 event winner at Indy began race day by defeating Jonnie Lindberg in a challenging run that saw Hagan deftly manage traction and engine issues to lock down the round win. Matched up against points leader Courtney Force in the quarterfinals, both drivers hazed the tires near halftrack with Hagan once again using his driving skills to pedal his car to the finish line for his 330th round win.

In the semifinals, three-time 2018 race winner Hagan recorded his best run of the day, a 4.129-second elapsed time at 298.60 mph, to knock off Shawn Langdon and advance to his sixth final round of the year and 53rd of his career. Lacking lane choice in the final against J.R. Todd, Hagan was first off the starting line but Todd soon pulled ahead, and Hagan’s solid 4.141/300.60 run wasn’t enough to close the gap. Hagan will start second when the six-race NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoffs begin at the next race, the Dodge NHRA Nationals in Pennsylvania.

Complete domination best describes the performance by Pritchett and her fellow Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak drivers in the NHRA Factory Stock Showdown class, with Pritchett going wire-to-wire and notching the quickest pass in every single round for the entire weekend, from qualifying through to the final. Pritchett, once again pulling double duty in Top Fuel and Factory Stock Showdown, set records for elapsed time and speed with an 8.002/172.56 run to claim her second career pole in the class.

After sweeping the top four spots in qualifying at the Factory Stock Showdown event in Norwalk, Ohio, in late June, Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak drivers took three of the top four spots at Indy. In addition to Pritchett, her DSR teammate Mark Pawuk qualified No. 2 for the second straight event, and 2012 Pro Stock champion Allen Johnson captured the No. 4 starting position.

Pritchett kept the hammer down in eliminations, posting the quickest passes of all competitors in each of the first three rounds — an opening 8.111/170.04 to defeat Aaron Stanfield, a run of 8.077/170.73 to take out Kevin Skinner and an 8.119/169.74 mark in the semifinals to chase down Stephen Bell. In the all-Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak final, Pritchett powered past Pawuk on an 8.108/170.26 pass to claim her first Factory Stock win in her first final-round appearance in the class. The all-DSR final also came as the DSR organization celebrated its milestone 20th anniversary at the 2018 Indianapolis event.

Pawuk believed his chance at a U.S. Nationals win was over after apparently losing to Joe Welch in the opening round, but his opponent was later disqualified by the NHRA, moving Pawuk on to round two. The driver nicknamed “The Cowboy” got by Leonard Libersher and then trailered Arthur Kohn in the semifinals with an 8.235/167.28 run to set up his final-round battle with Pritchett and his second straight runner-up finish.

Armed with the confidence boost of a runner-up finish at the most recent event and an impressive performance throughout all three days of qualifying, Tommy Johnson Jr. looked primed to go rounds in his Riley Dodge Charger R/T. Johnson faced teammate Ron Capps in the opening round, moved first and led the entirety of the 1,000-foot stretch, despite dropping cylinders down track. Johnson prevailed in the quarterfinals over Tim Wilkerson, earning another round win in the Riley car, a once-a-year tribute to the local children’s hospital at DSR’s hometown event. Against Todd, Johnson held on to the initial lead until just before halftrack when Todd pulled ahead and took the win, ending Johnson’s day at the semis. The veteran will head into the playoffs in seventh.

Infinite Hero Foundation driver Jack Beckman, winner at the recent NHRA Brainerd race, qualified No. 11 in his switch to the new Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car body, which his DSR teammate Hagan first debuted back in July. The 2012 NHRA Funny Car champion and 2015 U.S. Nationals event winner drew Courtney Force in round one. Beckman was quicker off the line with a .062 reaction time to his opponent’s.077 mark and had his Hellcat ahead early in the run, but his hopes would go up in tire smoke as Force sped away to claim the round win. “Fast” Jack will begin the Countdown playoffs from the sixth position.

Mopar Dodge Top Fuel driver and Avon, Indiana, resident Pritchett was able to get one of the two wins she was dreaming of at her home track. Pritchett posted her Top Fuel dragster No. 6 in qualifying and in the top half of the field. The two-time Top Fuel event winner this year was matched up against Doug Kalitta in the opening round, but Pritchett’s dragster smoked the tires at about the 330-ft. mark on the track and dashed any hopes to double up at Indy. She’ll seek her first Top Fuel championship starting from the fourth spot in the playoffs.

There are only two tracks on the current 24-race NHRA tour where Mopar-powered DSR Dodge Charger Funny Car driver Capps has yet to claim victory – the recently reinstated Virginia Motorsports Park and Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis. Runner-up at the 2017 U.S. Nationals, Capps qualified No. 13 in the bottom half of the field and faced DSR teammate Johnson in the opening round. Capps lost traction early in the run and fell to his stablemate, keeping a win at Indy as one of the few items left on his racing bucket list. The 2016 Funny Car champ will begin his 2018 Funny Car title campaign from the No. 4 spot.

U.S. Army Top Fuel driver Tony Schumacher — owner of an amazing 83.3 percent win average at the U.S. Nationals — began his bid to add to his record 10 wins at Indy from the No. 7 spot. Schumacher’ s Mopar-powered dragster was in the hunt until he experienced tire smoke, allowing opponent Billy Torrence to claim the win. Schumacher will enter the six-race playoff for the 2018 Top Fuel title seeded third.

Mopar Dodge//SRT NHRA Sportsman Spotlight
Dennis Steward of Port Orange, Florida, raced his 1964 FGT/L Plymouth Savoy to his first NHRA U.S Nationals victory in the Super Stock class. Steward drove through seven rounds of intense competition in his Plymouth that had a Mopar 360 Drag Pak engine combination under the hood. Steward also earned the Dodge Top Finisher award in Super Stock with the win.

In Stock Eliminator, Larry Hill of Hickory, Kentucky, drove his 1970 B/SA Plymouth ‘Cuda to the semifinals and the Dodge Top Finisher award in the class. Powered by a Mopar 440 Six Pack, Hill had a heads-up race in the semis that he narrowly lost by a mere 0.0162 seconds (approximately 3 feet) to his opponent.

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.

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

Matt Hagan, Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 3 Qualifier – 3.943 ET)


Rd.1: (.091-second reaction time, 4.401 seconds at 217.56 mph) beat No. 14 Jonnie Lindberg (.086/9.208/80.50)
Rd.2: (.060/4.397/219.58) beat No. 6 Courtney Force (.058/4.557/219.15)
Rd.3: (.064/4.129/298.60) beat No. 7 Shawn Langdon (.055/4.148/307.16)
Rd.4: (.052/4.141/300.60) lost to No. 1 J.R. Todd (.059/4.062/311.70)

“We’re going into the Countdown with some good points and a good lead on some of the heavy hitters. All we can focus on now is these next six races coming up. We all want to do the best job we can and want nothing more than to put this new Hellcat body in the winner’s circle, and I feel like we’re going to do it two or three times in the Countdown, it’s just a matter of time. The Countdown is always tough. You’ve got to figure out how to just enjoy the ride. We’re going to make opportunities for ourselves, capitalize on them, and hopefully turn that it into win lights on race day.”

Leah Pritchett, Factory Stock Showdown Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak
(No. 1 Qualifier – 8.002 ET)


Rd.1: (.071-second reaction time, 8.111 seconds at 170.04 mph) beat No. 9 Aaron Stanfield (.058/8.171/167.38)
Rd.2: (.026/8.077/170.73) beat No. 5 Kevin Skinner (.111/9.409/107.61)
Rd.3: (.077/8.119/169.74) beat No. 7 Stephen Bell (.053/8.593/166.23)
Rd.4: (.050/8.108/170.26) beat No. 2 Mark Pawuk (.027/8.191/167.51)

“That’s what we call a picture-perfect weekend over here on the left side of the racetrack. Absolutely overwhelmed and impressed. The developmental work by Mopar and Dodge to not only be fast, but to make more power than anybody else, to stick it to the ground and do it time and time again, reliably, is so impressive. For one, I love having fun when I race and this is the epitome of having fun and racing. Tuning to the track and constantly always working on being faster, and to be low of every single session of the U.S. Nationals, that’s eight rounds. When I say that, I mean legally and officially, not to be contested. It is a testament to this team – Kevin Helms, Terry Snyder and all of DSR and the people back in Detroit. The expectations are high. Don Schumacher wants us to be No. 1 qualifier, low of every round and win the race and there’s no better time to do that than the U.S. Nationals. We know how to do it now, we’re not going to let that get too far ahead of us. The season is coming to a close and we are going to make a run at this as hard and fast as possible just like these Drag Paks do.”

Leah Pritchett, Mopar Dodge Top Fuel Dragster
(No. 6 Qualifier – 3.797 ET)


Rd.1: (.084-second reaction time, 5.580 seconds at 125.12 mph) lost to No. 11 Doug Kalitta (.067/3.888/273.44)

“We started the weekend rising to the occasion by putting that lap on the board Friday night, but the rest of the qualifying sessions were a challenge. We had confidence coming into today after putting in a new clutch package for last night’s final qualifying run. Unfortunately, against Doug (Kalitta), it just wasn’t quite enough. It’s something that we thought we had a grasp on, but obviously we aren’t quite there yet. It’s frustrating for the crew chiefs right now. We were all hoping that we were making a change for the better, but it’s something we are going to have to figure out quickly with the Countdown starting. Yeah, Indy has kicked our butt again, but that’s okay because the Countdown is definitely where this team is going to shine.”

Tommy Johnson Jr., Riley Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 4 Qualifier – 3.948 ET)


Rd.1: (.048-second reaction time, 4.105 seconds at 255.58 mph) beat No. 13 Ron Capps (.067/4.894/170.77)
Rd.2: (.065/4.085/295.34) beat No. 5 Tim Wilkerson (.075/4.115/305.08)
Rd.3: (.060/4.130/278.98) lost to No. 1 Mike Salinas (.048/4.045/312.21)

“We had a really good car; a really good showing at Indy. We came up a round and a half short, but we’re really pleased with the way our car is running. We’re continuing the performance we’ve had the last few races and it’s a really great way to go into the Countdown. We’ll be a car to contend with. Would’ve loved to win Indy for Riley and all of the kids, but now we’re going to focus on winning the championship.”

Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 11 Qualifier – 4.018 ET)


Rd.1: (.062-second reaction time, 5.089 seconds at 156.50 mph) lost to No. 6 Courtney Force (.077/4.095/308.35)

“It’s never easy losing, but it’s much tougher losing first round because you leave here beating nobody. We didn’t qualify in the top half so we didn’t have lane choice today, but you can’t make excuses. You need to be able to win no matter which lane you’re in and we didn’t get it done. The hope is we learned something that’s going to help us in the Countdown. We lost in the biggest race of the year and now we’ll reset the points and go into the Countdown and run for a world championship. So from this point on it’s not about the trophy, it’s about round wins and points. We’re going to have to step on it during qualifying and go after all the bonus points that are possible and be nearly flawless on race day. “

Ron Capps, NAPA Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 13 Qualifier – 4.095 ET)


Rd.1: (.067-second reaction time, 4.894 seconds at 170.77 mph) lost to No. 4 Tommy Johnson Jr. (.048/4.105/255.58)

“Once again, we’ll have to look at winning the U.S. Nationals next year, but big picture is, we’re going to get ready for the Countdown. The points will reset. I always brag about this NAPA team and how we’re always in the talks for a championship, and we’re going to go to Maple Grove in two weeks and have our game face on.”

Tony Schumacher, U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster
(No. 7 Qualifier – 3.801 ET)


Rd.1: (.089-second reaction time, 4.203 seconds at 256.55 mph) lost to No. 10 Billy Torrance (.067/3.831/320.05)

“What a way to end a frustrating weekend. This is Indy and you want to come out and be your best every day here. Especially today when everything was on the line. We have a fast race car, but just never got a handle of it this weekend. That’s tough, because we had good results last week here testing. This place has been so special to me and the U.S. Army for the last 18 years. We certainly had a different outcome in mind for this weekend, but it doesn’t always work out the way you want it to. We’re sitting third heading into the Countdown and we earned that spot. It’s almost a clean slate from here on. It’s about the team that can finish now. Six races to decide it all. That’s starts in Reading in two weeks and we’ll be ready.”

Up Next: Dodge NHRA Nationals
Next on the calendar for the Mopar and Dodge//SRT squad is the Dodge NHRA Nationals, scheduled for September 13-16 at Maple Grove Raceway in Mohnton, Pa. Last year Ron Capps took the win in Funny Car at the event. This is the third year for the Dodge sponsorship at Maple Grove and will be the kickoff event of the NHRA Countdown to Championship six-race playoff. On Thursday, September 13, the popular Mopar Mega Block Party will jump start race weekend.



2018 NHRA Championship — Point Standings After Round 18 of 24
(Season Wins in Parentheses)


NHRA Funny Car
1. Courtney Force — 1457
2. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat (3) — 1247
3. Robert Hight — 1241
4. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger R/T (2) — 1227
5. J.R. Todd — 1174
6. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger R/T (2) — 1161
7. Tommy Johnson Jr., Dodge Charger R/T — 1107

8. Shawn Langdon — 907
9. John Force — 904
10. Tim Wilkerson — 831

NHRA Top Fuel
1. Steve Torrence – 1422
2. Clay Millican — 1234
3. Tony Schumacher, Mopar Dodge HEMI (1) — 1195
4. Leah Pritchett, Mopar Dodge HEMI (2) — 1170

5. Doug Kalitta — 1166
6. Antron Brown — 1112
7. Terry McMillen — 959
8. Brittany Force — 839
9. Mike Salinas — 768
10. Scott Palmer — 755
 

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J.R. Todd vs. Matt Hagan - Indianapolis Funny Car Final


Sep 3, 2018
J.R. Todd beats Matt Hagan in the Funny Car final at the Chevrolet Performance NHRA U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis.
 

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The 2018 dodge hemi shootout event recap


Sep 3, 2018
In 1968, the folks from Chrysler decided they needed to build the ultimate Stock and Super Stock vehicle from their factory. They teamed up with Hurst for what was a limited run of Barracudas and Darts, and what they built was a total of 50 were built with 426 Hemis. They were not street legal, nor were they street driven. They were only destroyed to go out and destroy Fords and Chevys on the drag strip.

Sit back, crank up the speakers and enjoy the action from the 2018 Dodge Hemi Shootout from the NHRA U.S. Nationals and called by veteran announcer Brian Lohnes along with Mopar legend Herb McAndless.
 

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NHRA: U.S. Nationals Drag Racing Finals Sept 3, 2018


Sep 3, 2018
The final day of racing at Indy & the Championships will be handed out.....
 

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The ‘Angry Bee’ Is Back:

The ‘Angry Bee’ Is Back: Pritchett’s Dragster to Carry Mopar Dodge 1320 Graphics at Dodge NHRA Nationals
Dodge Returns as Title Sponsor for Third Consecutive Year; Mopar Mega Block Party to Rev Up Race Weekend

Leah Pritchett’s Top Fuel dragster will once again carry “Angry Bee” Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack 1320 graphics at Dodge NHRA Nationals
Dodge//SRT celebrates third season as title sponsor of NHRA National event near Reading, Pennsylvania, scheduled for September 13-16 at Maple Grove Raceway
Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat NHRA Funny Car driver Matt Hagan and Pritchett to reprise “grudge match” races in Dodge Challenger SRT Demon vehicles
Third annual Mopar Mega Block Party at FirstEnergy Stadium set for 4-10 p.m. ET on Thursday, September 13
Mopar Mega Block Party to feature homerun derby with NHRA stars, NHRA driver autograph session, Mopar car show, Raminator monster truck rides and more


September 5, 2018 , Auburn Hills, Mich. -



The “Bee” is back and just in time for the Dodge NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway, located near Reading, Pennsylvania. NHRA Top Fuel driver Leah Pritchett’s dragster will once again feature special “Angry Bee” graphics, a callout to the new Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack 1320, at her sponsor’s title event on September 13-16, 2018.

This season marks the third with Dodge as title sponsor of the Dodge NHRA Nationals. The brand also served as primary sponsor of the Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals in Denver and the NHRA Dodge HEMI® Challenge in Indianapolis earlier this year.

“We are proud to celebrate our role as title sponsor of the Dodge NHRA Nationals held near Reading, Pennsylvania, during a season in which the Dodge brand has deepened its commitment to the NHRA and its fans,” said Steve Beahm, Head of Passenger Cars, Dodge//SRT, Chrysler and FIAT, FCA North America. “We look forward to cheering on Leah in her ‘Angry Bee’ graphics, which call attention to the Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack 1320 built and geared for grassroots Sportsman racers.”

2019 Dodge Challenger RT Scat Pack 1320 Unveiling


Pritchett debuted the 1320-themed livery on her Top Fuel dragster at the Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals in July, where she helped to announce the new street-to-strip Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack 1320 drag car. Pritchett raced her “Angry Bee” Mopar Dodge 1320 Top Fuel car, which features a modern tweak of the legendary Dodge Super Bee logo, all the way to the event win at Denver. The Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) driver hopes to repeat that result at the Dodge NHRA Nationals, which kicks off the six-race NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoffs.

“I’m glad to be back in the ‘Bee.’ We received a ton of positive feedback when we carried those graphics in Denver,” said Pritchett, a two-time winner in Top Fuel this year, in addition to her recent Factory Stock Showdown victory at the NHRA U.S. Nationals. “It’s a really cool look, and hopefully we can end our weekend at the Dodge NHRA Nationals in winner’s circle and give Dodge two wins in the two NHRA National events that the brand sponsors.”

Pritchett and her DSR teammate, Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat NHRA Funny Car driver Matt Hagan, will once again battle for bragging rights in a pair of Dodge Challenger SRT Demon vehicles in between qualifying rounds at Reading. The DSR duo dueled at Bandimere Speedway during the Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals in July, ending in a 1-1 tie. Pritchett owns a 4-2 advantage over Hagan in the “grudge match” series, which began in 2017 at Denver and Reading.

Mopar Mega Block Party returns for third year at Dodge NHRA Nationals

The Mopar Mega Block Party will rev up Dodge NHRA Nationals race weekend for the third consecutive year. The free-admission fan event, set to roll into FirstEnergy Stadium in Reading from 4 -10 p.m. ET on Thursday, September 13, will offer a jam-packed slate of fun activities for Mopar and Dodge//SRT enthusiasts.

NHRA stars and TV personalities will step to the plate and take their cuts in the annual Mopar Mega Block Party home run derby. Mopar Dodge//SRT NHRA drivers Matt Hagan, Leah Pritchett, Jack Beckman, Ron Capps, Tommy Johnson Jr. and Tony Schumacher will slug it out alongside "NHRA on Fox" play-by-play announcer Dave Rieff (the defending champ), color commentator Tony Pedregon and pit reporter Bruno Massel Jr. to determine who will wear the home run crown. NHRA announcer Alan Reinhart will provide the play-by-play. Donations to the Make-A-Wish and Infinite Hero Foundations will be made in the name of the winner of the elimination-style competition.

Mopar Mega Block Party attendees can also meet their favorite drivers in a one-hour long autograph session, hop in the cab of the 10-ft. tall Raminator Monster Truck for a once-in-a-lifetime ride and test their virtual racing skills in the “Drag Strip Showdown,” a head-to-head competition in Dodge Challenger SRT Demon simulators. A HEMI-fueled, 100-plus Mopar car show, giveaways, food and drink booths, vendor displays and live concerts by bands Liquid A, Go-Go Gadjet and TJ Bebb are also on tap, with a Mega Fireworks display to close out the night.

For more information on the Mopar Mega Block Party, visit www.moparblockparty.com.

“Drag Strip Showdown” fan contest continues at Dodge NHRA Nationals
Fans can also stop by the Dodge//SRT and Mopar display area at Maple Grove Raceway during the Dodge NHRA Nationals to take part in the “Drag Strip Showdown.” The head-to-head competition in Dodge Challenger SRT Demon simulators runs through November 11, and will send the top four drivers with the best race times on a trip to the Dodge//SRT Bondurant Drag Racing School near Phoenix. Winners will be paired with either Mopar Dodge NHRA racers Leah Pritchett or Matt Hagan for a final competition that will take place at Bondurant in the actual 840-horsepower Dodge Challenger SRT Demon vehicle – the most powerful muscle car ever.

The “Drag Strip Showdown” includes stops at Dodge-sponsored NHRA races throughout the country, as well as at the Mopar exhibit at the 2018 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show in Las Vegas, set for October 30-November 2. Two additional winners will be randomly selected by entering the “Drag Strip Showdown” online sweepstakes component of the promotion at Dodge Garage, which also features a current leaderboard of the top-four drivers in the contest.
 

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Leah Pritchett takes the "Angry Bee" to the top in Denver


Jul 21, 2018
Leah Pritchett earned her second consecutive No. 1 with a run of 3.799-seconds at 327.19 mph in her dragster for her 10th career No. 1.
 

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Leah Pritchett Giving the Official Statement


Sep 11, 2018
 

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Leah Pritchett - Perfection | Chasing the Title | Dodge


Sep 12, 2018
Leah Pritchett is relentless in her pursuit for perfection. Tune in to DodgeGarage.com throughout the 2018 NHRA season to watch Leah and Don Schumacher Racing chase titles.
 

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Pritchett to Start No. 3 in Mopar Dodge 1320 ‘Angry Bee’ Top Fuel Dragster

Pritchett to Start No. 3 in Mopar Dodge 1320 ‘Angry Bee’ Top Fuel Dragster at Dodge NHRA Nationals

Leah Pritchett seeks second win with special Mopar Dodge 1320 graphics on her Top Fuel dragster
Pritchett debuted the Mopar Dodge 1320 graphics in July by taking the pole and the win at the Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals in Denver
Five-time Maple Grove Raceway event winner Tony Schumacher qualifies No. 2 in his Mopar-powered U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster
Tommy Johnson Jr. qualifies third to lead the Mopar Dodge//SRT Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) Funny Car team at the Dodge NHRA Nationals
Jack Beckman (No. 4) and Ron Capps (No. 5) join DSR teammate Johnson in top half of Funny Car field
DSR Mopar Dodge//SRT Funny Car drivers sweep bonus points in final qualifying session
Matt Hagan qualifies No. 10 in his Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
Pritchett sweeps Hagan in Dodge Challenger SRT Demon grudge match races at Maple Grove Raceway


September 15, 2018 , Mohnton, Pennsylvania -

Leah Pritchett will start from the No. 3 spot in elimination rounds on Sunday, September 16, at the Dodge NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway near Reading, Pennsylvania, with the goal of making it two-for-two in the win column for her Mopar Dodge 1320 Top Fuel dragster.

Pritchett last carried the special Mopar Dodge 1320 graphics on her dragster when she debuted her “Angry Bee” at the Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals in Denver in late July. The Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) driver collected the No. 1 qualifier spot and the race win at that event in the “Angry Bee” 1320 graphics, which celebrate the new street-to-strip Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack 1320 drag car, geared for Sportsman racers.


After joining her fellow Mopar Dodge//SRT drivers in helping to kick-start the Dodge NHRA Nationals at the Mopar Mega Block Party on Thursday, September 13, Pritchett made the second quickest run in the evening qualifying session on Friday, earning two bonus points. She’ll begin eliminations No. 3 on Sunday in the first race of the six-event NHRA Countdown to the Championship with a first-round battle against Audrey Worm.

Mopar-powered U.S. Army Top Fuel driver Tony Schumacher, a five-time event winner at the Dodge NHRA Nationals, rocketed up to the No. 2 spot in his final qualifying attempt. “The Sarge” earned two bonus points and will meet Dan Mercier to open up Sunday.

Tommy Johnson Jr. paced the four-driver Mopar Dodge DSR Funny Car team in qualifying, locking down the No. 3 spot in his Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T. Johnson earned one bonus point in Q2, and then wrapped up qualifying with the quickest run of the session to reclaim the third spot and an additional three bonus markers. Johnson will face Jim Campbell in the first round on Sunday.

“Fast” Jack Beckman opened qualifying on Friday with the quickest pass of the round and ended it on Saturday with the second quickest of the session, earning a total of five bonus points. The DSR driver posted his Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat in the No. 4 spot and will square off with Cruz Pedregon to open Sunday. Ron Capps, the defending 2017 Dodge NHRA Nationals Funny Car winner, qualified No. 5 in his NAPA Dodge Charger R/T with consistent runs in the three-second range and drew Jonnie Lindberg in round one.

Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat pilot Matt Hagan, coming off a runner-up appearance at the NHRA U.S Nationals, will start No. 10 and lineup against John Force.

The DSR duo of Pritchett and Hagan also entertained fans in a pair of “grudge match” races in Dodge Challenger SRT Demon vehicles in between qualifying rounds on Friday and Saturday at Maple Grove Raceway. Pritchett swept both races, completing the season series with a 3-1 edge over her teammate. The pair also dueled to a 1-1 tie in the most powerful muscle car ever at the Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals event.

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


Leah Pritchett, Mopar Dodge 1320 Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified No. 3 will face No. 14 Audrey Worm

Friday: (6.696 seconds at 100.11 mph – Q1); (3.758/312.50 – Q2)
Saturday: (3.799/325.45 – Q3); (3.799/308.50 – Q4)

“I feel like the Countdown is Christmas and whoever can feel like it’s Christmas the longest is going to be the champion. We get excited about going fast and we pushed super hard in Q4. Our plan was to merge Q1 and Q2 and it stuck for a little while until we had some issues at the top end. Starting Sunday off in the third position … that’s incredible. That’s what we want. It gives us lane choice and the ability to concentrate on one round at a time. A lot of people want to put added pressure on these Countdown races. I think that consistency is going to be the biggest component and we’ve shown that we have that throughout qualifying this weekend.”

Tony Schumacher, U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified No. 2, will face No. 15 Dan Mercier

Friday: (3.806 seconds at 324.98 mph – Q1); (3.776/329.67 – Q2)
Saturday: (3.792/328.94 – Q3); (3.754/328.86 – Q4)

“We have a great U.S. Army team and just closed qualifying with a great run. We’ve been gun-shy and finally it was time in that last run; we had the opportunity we needed. The conditions were good. We already knew how to make an average run, but we needed to make a fast one. We made a lot of changes and the car was extremely fast. I give a lot credit to (crew chief) Mike (Neff) and (assistant crew chief) Phil (Shuler) and all the U.S. Army guys. They never gave up and continued to work. We want to win this race tomorrow. To win a championship, you have to win races and we have a great opportunity tomorrow.”

Tommy Johnson Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
Qualified No. 3, will face No. 14 Jim Campbell

Friday: (8.590 seconds at 83.07 mph – Q1); (3.939/326.00 – Q2)
Saturday: (5.225/134.51 – Q3); (3.921/324.90 – Q4)

“I tell you what, you try and come out and finish strong, you kind of sacrifice a little in the middle and test and figure things out. The guys did a great job, we haven’t run like we should have all season, but we’re running like we should be when it counts.”

Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
Qualified No. 4, will face No. 13 Cruz Pedregon

Friday: (3.954 seconds at 322.88 mph – Q1); (3.993/284.51 – Q2)
Saturday: (NO TIME – Q3); (3.939/328.22 – Q4)

“We did exactly what we had to do. In Q3, we towed up, fired up the car and it spit an O-ring out in the fuel line. We had a leak and had to shut it off. I cannot remember ever not making a qualifying run except for in New Hampshire in 2016 when we blew the car up so bad it made every highlight reel. We just don’t skip qualifying sessions. And then you get not only one run behind, but you can’t try stuff, so it really kind of painted us into the corner. The guys did a phenomenal job getting our Infinite Hero Dodge back on track. Not only did we move way up to fourth, we were second quickest of the session, we got two more bonus points and we’ve got a car that can win the race tomorrow.”

Ron Capps, NAPA Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
Qualified No. 5, will face No. 12 Jonnie Lindberg

Friday: (3.996 seconds at 302.96 mph – Q1); (3.948/326.56 – Q2)
Saturday: (3.972/323.89 – Q3); (3.942/321.19 – Q4)

“This is definitely NHRA Countdown fever. Going into that last session, hearing (announcer Alan) Reinhart on the PA talking about every time a pair of cars went down the track how it would be big, big names matched up first round tomorrow, and it kept moving every time someone would step up. You’d be a damn fool to try and pick a name out of the ladder and think you’d rather run them than someone else because that’s when it bites you. I’m a huge Jonnie Lindberg fan, love the kid. Jim Head is such a good racer. Those guys have got all of the good parts and they can run as good as anybody on the ground, so you don’t overlook anyone. I’m just happy we made three-second runs during all four qualifying sessions. That’s classic (crew chief) Rahn Tobler.”

Matt Hagan, Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
Qualified No. 10, will face No. 7 John Force

Friday: (8.756 seconds at 77.86 mph – Q1); (3.960/321.12 – Q2)
Saturday: (4.556/189.52 – Q3); (4.973/154.23 – Q4)

“Tomorrow’s race day, it’s the Countdown, anything can happen. Got a good team behind us, working hard, and we’re going to put this Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat in the winner’s circle.”


Tune-In Info
Three hours of eliminations coverage from the Dodge NHRA Nationals will air on FS1 starting at 7:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, September 16.

About Dodge//SRT
Dodge//SRT offers a complete lineup of performance vehicles that stand out in their own segments. Dodge is 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 brand in 1914. Their influence continues today. New for 2019, the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye is possessed by the Demon. Its 797-horsepower supercharged HEMI® high-output engine makes it the most powerful, quickest and fastest muscle car reaching 0-60 miles per hour (mph) in 3.4 seconds and the fastest GT production car with a ¼-mile elapsed time (ET) of 10.8 seconds at 131 mph. It also reaches a new top speed of 203 mph. Joining the Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye is the 2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat with its more powerful 717-horsepower engine, the Challenger R/T Scat Pack Widebody, which features fender flares from the SRT Hellcat Widebody and adds 3.5 inches of width to Scat Pack’s footprint, as well as and the new Challenger R/T Scat Pack 1320. Infused with exclusive drag strip technology from the iconic Dodge Challenger SRT Demon, the Challenger R/T Scat Pack 1320 is a drag-oriented, street-legal muscle car and a blank canvas for the serious grassroots drag racer. The 2019 Dodge Durango SRT, America’s fastest, most powerful and most capable three-row SUV with a best-in-class tow rating of 8,700 lbs. fills out the brands’ performance lineup. These visceral performance models join a 2019 brand lineup that includes the Durango, Grand Caravan, Journey, Charger and Challenger — a showroom that offers performance at every price point.
 

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Dodge Challenger SRT Demon Dodge Nationals


Leah Pritchett driving the Dodge Garage Challenger SRT Demon at the Dodge Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway
 

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Schumacher Runner-up in Mopar-powered U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster

Schumacher Runner-up in Mopar-powered U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster at Dodge NHRA Nationals

Tony Schumacher jumps into tie for second in NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoff standings with runner-up showing
Final round is fifth of season for Schumacher, eighth at Maple Grove Raceway, 152nd of his career
Don Schumacher Racing driver Ron Capps races Mopar-powered Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car to semifinals
Capps is fourth in Countdown standings, less than 30 points out of first
Leah Pritchett runs to quarterfinals in Mopar Dodge 1320 “Angry Bee’ Top Fuel dragster, ends weekend fourth in standings
Matt Hagan keeps Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car in top five of Countdown battle despite early exit
Tom Sheehan, Nick Reiter earn Dodge Top Finisher honors


September 16, 2018 , Mohnton, Pennsylvania -

Tony Schumacher advanced to his fifth final round of the season and 152nd of his career, finishing runner-up in his Mopar-powered U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster at the Dodge NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway near Reading, Pennsylvania.

Schumacher handled Dan Mercier in round one, then knocked out Scott Palmer in a close quarterfinals battle, using a 3.827-second elapsed time at 323.19 mph to beat Palmer’s 3.833/324.59 to the finish stripe. In the semifinals, “The Sarge” left first with a .047 reaction time and battled through dropped cylinders to post a winning 3.939/292.96 against Antron Brown, who smoked the tires early.

Schumacher’s eighth career final round at Maple Grove Raceway featured a marquee matchup with points leader Steve Torrence, but the eight-time Top Fuel champion lit up the tires early and watched as Torrence pulled away for the event win. Schumacher now has three runner-ups to go along with his five career wins at the Dodge NHRA Nationals, and with his performance jumped up into a tie for second in the NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoffs.

Ron Capps recorded four consistent runs in the three-second range during qualifying to post his Mopar-powered Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car fifth in qualifying, and continued to do the same in eliminations with a 3.972/324.26 pass to send home Jonnie Lindberg. In the quarterfinals, Capps quickly made up a slight starting line deficit to outgun Cruz Pedregon with a 3.972/319.07 run that was second quickest of the round.

The defending Dodge NHRA Nationals event winner matched up against J.R. Todd in the semifinals. Capps’ string of three-second runs came to an end, and his 4.014/315.12 paired with a solid .051 reaction time fell short of Todd’s winning 3.975/320.28 mark. Capps stayed fourth in the NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoffs with his semifinals showing, less than 30 points out of first as he pursues his second career Funny Car championship crown.

Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) driver Leah Pritchett started No. 3 and opened eliminations against Audrey Worm with a strong 3.786/323.50 pass in her Mopar Dodge 1320 “Angry Bee’ Top Fuel dragster, earning the two-time 2018 race winner lane choice over Antron Brown in the quarterfinals. Pritchett’s quick .034-second reaction time boosted her “Angry Bee” to the lead off the line, but a loss of traction followed by a fiery engine bang ended her quest for a first career win at Maple Grove Raceway. Pritchett remains fourth in the NHRA playoff chase.

Tommy Johnson Jr. kicked off eliminations from the No. 3 spot after blasting to the quickest run of the final qualifying session. Behind the wheel of his John Collins-led Make-A-Wish Foundation Dodge, Johnson claimed victory over first-round opponent and fellow Mopar Dodge driver Jim Campbell. Round two found the two-time Reading champion matched up against reigning world champion Robert Hight. The two drivers were nearly even until just past the 330-ft cone, when Hight pulled ahead for the round win. Johnson leaves Maple Grove Raceway sitting in the seventh spot in the NHRA Countdown rankings.

Two-time NHRA Funny Car World Champion Matt Hagan’s campaign for a third title got off to a rocky start at the first race of the NHRA playoff series. Hagan entered race weekend fresh off of a runner-up finish in his Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat and ranked second in the Funny Car standings. The 2014 Reading champion qualified 10th for race day and was locked in a close first-round race with John Force until just past halftrack, when Hagan’s machine slowed to a 4.164 E.T., with Force taking the win with a 4.007 second pass. Hagan is now fifth in the Countdown standings.

Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car driver Jack Beckman started race day in the No. 4 spot with the goal of adding to his two career wins at Maple Grove Raceway. Beckman had the edge off the starting line against Cruz Pedregon in round one, but smoked the tires near the 330-ft. mark and slowed to a losing 5.135/152.07 effort. “Fast” Jack, the 2012 NHRA Funny Car World Champion, leaves Reading in the eighth position in the NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoffs.

Mopar Dodge//SRT NHRA Sportsman Spotlight
Tom Sheehan of Belle Vernon, Pennsylvania, raced his Super Stock GT/NA 2000 Chrysler Sebring to a round three finish at the Dodge NHRA Nationals, earning the Dodge Top Finisher award in the class. Powered by a 318 cubic-inch Mopar small-block V8 engine, Sheehan’s Super Stock was running high ten-second times all weekend, paired with strong reaction times. Unfortunately, Sheehan missed his dial-in in the third round of eliminations, ending his day.

In Stock Eliminator, another Keystone State native, Nick Reiter of Warminster, Pennsylvania, drove his 1971 D/SA Dodge Charger R/T to a second round finish and Dodge Top Finisher honors. Reiter qualified 5th among 40 competitors with a 10.59-second run on an 11.55 index in his Charger, powered by a Mopar 440 Six Pack V8. During eliminations, Reiter left the starting line too soon and bowed out on a red-light foul.

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.

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

Tony Schumacher, U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster
(No. 2 Qualifier – 3.754 ET)


Rd.1: (.070-second reaction time, 3.816 seconds at 326.40 mph) beat No. 15 Dan Mercier (.098/5.372/133.18)
Rd.2: (.082/3.827/323.19) beat No. 7 Scott Palmer (.079/3.833/324.59)
Rd.3: (.047/3.939/292.96) beat No. 6 Antron Brown (.059/4.206/254.33)
Rd.4: (.067/4.196/234.82) lost to No. 4 Steve Torrence (.036/3.819/325.45)

"We got a lot better here this weekend and I’m happy about that. We’ve got a really good U.S. Army car right now. We still have some changes to make, but we are close. We were absolutely terrible in Indy. To come here and qualify number two and then make good runs down the track all weekend is exactly what had to happen. In the final against Torrence, we were very aggressive in our approach. There’s a bump out there that goes across the track. We struggle with that one area, but a lot of cars did. We won some rounds today and leave here tied for second in the points. It’s time for a battle. We have five races to go. Those will all be monster battles coming up with extremely good cars. It’s time for the fans to show up. The drivers to show up. The teams to show up and the game to be played. I love it."

Ron Capps, NAPA Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 5 Qualifier – 3.942 ET)


Rd.1: (.076-second reaction time, 3.972 seconds at 324.28 mph) beat No. 12 Jonnie Lindberg (.060/4.356/243.63)
Rd.2: (.073/3.972/319.07) beat No. 13 Cruz Pedregon (.045/4.126/289.51)
Rd.3: (.051/4.014/315.12) lost to No. 8 J.R. Todd (.038/3.975/320.28)

“We came into Reading as the only car to make three-second passes all throughout qualifying. I shut off a little early in the semifinals when J.R. Todd crossed the finish line and it went 4.01; it may have run another three (second run). But the point is, that’s seven more runs under power without tire smoke or tire shake. That’s the consistency that we like to keep up, and that’s the pressure we like to put on our opponents. Things are clicking well for our team. It’s unfortunate we lost that close race today, but points are pretty bunched up. We said coming into the Dodge Nationals, you can’t win the Countdown this weekend, but you can certainly lose it, and we had a great start. We’ll take this, build on it and head to St. Louis.”

Leah Pritchett, Mopar Dodge 1320 Top Fuel Dragster
(No. 3 Qualifier – 3.758 ET)

Rd.1: (.055-second reaction time, 3.786 seconds at 323.50 mph) beat No. 14 Audrey Worm (.220/4.004/265.01)
Rd.2: (.034/4.300/199.29) lost to No. 6 Antron Brown (.062/3.840/313.51)

“There’s definitely more positives than negatives, and all of that shows in our data. We’re going to have more momentum heading into St. Louis than we did coming here, actually. That creates a lot of confidence for us. A mechanical gremlin caused us to smoke the tires (in round two), and on race day, you pedal and leg it out and try and make it to the finish line first and that didn’t happen second round. But, I’m feeling better as a driver. This team is jelling better and harder than they’ve been in a long time.

"We’re just five days away from doing it all over again. Some drivers don’t like swings, I personally love them. Right back into it is exactly where I want to be. This is my third Countdown opportunity and it takes every single thing out of you, to do what we do at this professional level. We’ve been preparing for this all year long and it’s time to see who can stand out during this last sprint of the marathon.”

Tommy Johnson Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 3 Qualifier – 3.921 ET)


Rd.1: (.113-second reaction time, 3.950 seconds at 321.73 mph) beat No. 14 Jim Campbell (.107/6.714/98.20)
Rd.2: (.067/4.012/318.24) lost to No. 11 Robert Hight (.056/3.946/325.77)

“We had such a good race car all weekend and to come up short second round, it’s just frustrating. It was an opportunity to make up some ground in points; we did a little, but it could’ve been a really good day for points. I still think we have a really strong car for the Countdown. We’ll regroup, go to St. Louis and see if we can’t continue the streak we’re on.”

Matt Hagan, Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 10 Qualifier – 3.960 ET)


Rd.1: (.075-second reaction time, 4.164 seconds at 257.97 mph) lost to No. 7 John Force (.056/4.007/326.87)

“Life is full of bounce back situations. You have to be down in order to be up sometimes. Obviously, going out first round like that is not how we wanted to start this Dodge race. At the end of the day, it comes down to digging deep and working hard and figuring out what the issues are and racing our car the way we know how. I came in this morning thinking that we really had the car to beat John (Force). He’s a good racer and I have a lot of respect for him, but at the end of the day, I feel like I have the best crew chief out there, and I think that’ll show at the end of the season. We’ve got another race coming up really quick; we don’t have to worry about sitting on this loss for a whole weekend. Thank you so much to Mopar and Dodge and what they put into this deal.”

Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 4 Qualifier – 3.939 ET)


Rd.1: (.088-second reaction time, 5.135 seconds at 152.07 mph) lost to No. 13 Cruz Pedregon (.105/4.214/225.33)

“Sometimes drag racing is would’ve, could’ve and should’ve. We had a great race car with our Dodge Hellcat Charger, and we lost first round. We watched Courtney Force, the No. 1 car in points, smoke the tires and get beat right in front of us, and we didn’t capitalize on that. We came in here in sixth place, and we’re likely going to lose ground. There’s no reason to beat ourselves up about it; they (the race cars) are 11,000 horsepower, slightly unpredictable beasts.

“We have to be smart. We have to figure out what we should have done better, put that in our brains, in our data loggers, take that with us to St. Louis and try our best to be better every single run. We’re going to have to capitalize on qualifying bonus points. We did a great job of that this weekend, but at the end of the day they (qualifying runs) are only worth three points per run, where round wins are worth 20. That’s where we are going to have to win the championship.”

Up Next: AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals
Mopar-powered Dodge//SRT racers will go right back to work next weekend at the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals, set for September 21-23 at Gateway Motorsports Park, the second race of the six-event NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoffs. Ron Capps drove his Mopar-powered Dodge Charger R/T to the Funny Car event win last year at the track near St. Louis. Leah Pritchett will once again pull double duty, driving both the Mopar Dodge Top Fuel dragster as well as her Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak, which she steered to a win in the NHRA Factory Stock Showdown class at the NHRA U.S. Nationals in early September.


2018 NHRA Championship — Point Standings After Round 19 of 24
(Season Wins in Parentheses)


NHRA Funny Car
1. J.R. Todd — 2166
2. Robert Hight — 2143
3. Courtney Force — 2141
4. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger R/T (2) — 2137
5. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat (3) — 2112

6. Tim Wilkerson — 2101
7. Tommy Johnson Jr., Dodge Charger R/T — 2090
8. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat (2) — 2080

9. John Force — 2064
10. Shawn Langdon — 2054

NHRA Top Fuel

1. Steve Torrence – 2219
2t. Tony Schumacher, Mopar Dodge HEMI (1) — 2169
2t. Clay Millican — 2169
4. Leah Pritchett, Mopar Dodge HEMI (2) — 2118
5. Antron Brown — 2116
6. Doug Kalitta — 2103
7. Mike Salinas — 2067
8. Terry McMillen — 2062
9. Scott Palmer — 2053
10. Brittany Force — 2052
 

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Maple Grove NHRA top fuel pass


Sep 16, 2018



 

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Pritchett Dominates NHRA Factory Stock Showdown

Pritchett Dominates NHRA Factory Stock Showdown Class at St. Louis, Powers Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak to Second Consecutive Win

Leah Pritchett follows up first-ever run in seven-second range run during Factory Stock Showdown qualifying with event win at AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals
Victory at Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Illinois, near St. Louis is second consecutive Factory Stock Showdown win for Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) driver Pritchett
Win is fourth straight in Factory Stock Showdown for a Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak driver
Pritchett also advances to semifinals in her Mopar Dodge Top Fuel dragster at St. Louis, remains fourth in the Countdown standings
Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T driver Tommy Johnson Jr. leads Mopar-powered Funny Car drivers with semifinals showing
McCormack, Lynch earn Stock and Super Stock Dodge Top Finisher honors, respectively


September 23, 2018 , Auburn Hills, Mich. -

Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak driver Leah Pritchett continued to own the Factory Stock Showdown class, celebrating her second consecutive event win one day after becoming first in the class to run in the seven-second range during the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park near St. Louis.

The Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) driver made history during Factory Stock Showdown qualifying on Saturday at St. Louis, shrugging off a recent decision by the NHRA to effectively slap a 50-lb. weight handicap on all Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak vehicles to post a 7.936-second elapsed time (ET) and become the first NHRA driver in the class to make a hit in the seven-second range.

Despite owning a new entry in the NHRA record books, Pritchett would wrap up qualifying No. 2 after her DSR teammate Mark Pawuk ran even lower with a 7.929 ET to earn the pole. It marked the third consecutive event at which the Mopar brand’s modern-day package car, the supercharged, 354-cubic-inch HEMI®-engine-powered Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak, earned the top two spots on the qualifying charts.

Pritchett, winner and No. 1 qualifier at the most recent NHRA Factory Stock Showdown event at the NHRA U.S. Nationals earlier this month, kept the seven-second train rolling with a 7.948 pass at 172.70 mph to defeat fellow Mopar Dodge Drag Pak driver and former NHRA Pro Stock racer Allen Johnson in the opening round. She used an 8.031/172.12 to send home Pete Gasko Jr. in the quarterfinals and then knocked out Arthur Kohn in the semifinals with an 8.011/171.88 run.

In the final, Pritchett nudged up near the seven-second range in an easy defeat of Stephen Bell, who knocked out her teammate Pawuk in round two, unleashing her Kevin Helms-tuned Drag Pak with a blistering 8.001/172.36 to claim victory after Bell experienced problems early. The win was the fourth consecutive in Factory Stock Showdown by a Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak driver, dating back to the NHRA Bristol event in June.

Pritchett also led the way for Mopar and Dodge//SRT drivers in the NHRA Nitro classes, pulling double duty and advancing to the semifinals in her Mopar Dodge Top Fuel dragster. She was on a solo run in round one when a broken throttle cable on her opponent Scott Palmer’s machine ended his day before the run. Blake Alexander was the seven-time Top Fuel winner’s next opponent. Pritchett had the starting line advantage and never trailed with her run of 3.802 seconds at 322.73 mph. In the semifinals, Pritchett gave it her best effort to take down the points leader, Steve Torrence. She had a slight advantage at the start, but Torrence powered around her and took the win with his pass of 3.772 seconds compared to Pritchett’s 3.809 E.T.

Make-A-Wish Foundation Dodge Charger R/T NHRA Funny Car driver Tommy Johnson, Jr. came to Gateway Motorsports Park seeking his first victory at the track where his father earned his only national event win. The fan-favorite qualified No. 4 and started eliminations against No. 13 Del Worsham with a perfect run straight down the groove for the win. Johnson came up against Bob Tasca III in the quarterfinals and recorded a textbook 3.950 run, quickest of the round, for the win. Johnson would come up short in the semifinals against No. 1 qualifier Robert Hight, his solid 4.008/320.13 pass not enough to beat Hight’s 3.945/323.04 effort to the stripe. Johnson is sixth in the Countdown standings.

Tony Schumacher entered his 500th event with his sights set on advancing from second to the No. 1 spot in the Top Fuel points ranking. Schumacher qualified his Mopar-powered U.S. Army dragster sixth for race No. 2 of the Countdown to the Championship and drew non-Countdown contender Richie Crampton in round one. “The Sarge’s” 11,000-horsepower machine lost traction near halftrack before giving way to an engine explosion, but Schumacher was able to hang on for the win against Crampton’s tire smoking attempt. In round two, Schumacher had the starting line advantage but early tire smoke allowed his opponent Pat Dakin claim the upset win. Schumacher leaves St. Louis ranked third in the Top Fuel standings

Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car driver and No. 11 qualifier Matt Hagan faced No. 6 Tim Wilkerson in first-round eliminations at Gateway Motorsports Park. Hagan, a three-time runner-up at St. Louis, jumped to a small starting line advantage with a .070 reaction time to Wilkerson's slower .075, but was unable to hold the lead. Both drivers hazed the tires around the 300 ft. mark, but Hagan had to work overtime to keep his car away from first the wall and then the centerline, while Wilkerson was able to recover and collect the round win. Hagan, a two-time NHRA Funny Car world champion, exits St. Louis seventh in the Countdown quest.

Defending event champion Ron Capps returned to Gateway Motorsports Park in suburban St. Louis looking to add to his category-best four NHRA Midwest Nationals Funny Car titles. The Mopar-powered NAPA Dodge Charger R/T driver was nearly flawless in qualifying, making the second quickest run of each round, earning bonus points during all four sessions and claiming the second starting position on Sunday. Capps matched up in round one against ‘Countdown spoiler’ Cruz Pedregon and clicked off a solid 3.978 ET, but his opponent’s starting line advantage was enough to put Pedregon over the top for the holeshot win. Capps is fifth in the Countdown rankings.

Two-time St. Louis winner (2012, 2016) Jack Beckman, driver of the Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car, qualified in the top half of the field in the eighth position, drawing John Force in the opening round. “Fast” Jack trailed off the start but quickly put his Hellcat’s nose out front and began to add to his lead before his momentum abruptly came to a halt around the 600-foot mark due to a broken blower drive shaft, allowing Force to drive around for the win. Beckman is now ninth in the standings.

Mopar Dodge//SRT NHRA Sportsman Spotlight

Jason McCormack of Columbiaville, Michigan, raced his 1966 A/S Plymouth Belvedere to a round-four finish and the Dodge Top Finisher trophy in Stock Eliminator during the seventh annual AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals. With an iconic 426 HEMI V8 engine under the hood, McCormack released the clutch pedal too early and red-light fouled his chances of advancing into the next round.

In Super Stock, Keith Lynch of New Hudson, Ohio, drove his 2010 FSS/K Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak to a second-round finish and Dodge Top Finisher honors. Powered by a Mopar 5.7-Liter HEMI, Lynch’s Drag Pak looked to be a strong contender during race weekend but was sidelined early during eliminations.

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.

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

Leah Pritchett, Mopar Dodge Top Fuel Dragster
(No. 5 Qualifier – 3.718 ET)


Rd.1: (.075-second reaction time, 5.568 seconds at 125.37 mph) beat No. 12 Scott Palmer (No Time)
Rd.2: (.076/3.802/322.73) beat No. 4 Blake Alexander (.082/8.032/80.82)
Rd.3: (.054/3.809/322.11) lost to No. 1 Steve Torrence (.059/3.772/325.22)

On her Factory Stock Showdown win:

“We carried that momentum from the U.S. Nationals really without a hiccup. We put it to it every single round and that’s extremely impressive and a testament to the durability of the race cars, the powerplant and the people that Schumacher has put in place to run this program. We are in a fantastic spot heading in, second place in the points. It’s like Christmas Eve going into the last races. I really wouldn’t want a different perspective. We have a little bit of freshening up to do but overall this has been an incredible weekend of just straight teamwork all the way around and the Mopar power just continues to show through and we continue to want to show up.”

On her Top Fuel semifinals appearance:


“Going to the semifinals in the Countdown against some of the stiffest competition is definitely nothing to hang our heads about. We weren’t the quickest or fastest this weekend, but we made great improvements. We made wholesale changes that we had to commit to, and there was no turning back. We nipped away at them, but it just wasn’t quite enough. The points are still tight, we still have a shot and this team errs to the side of positivity. We’ve got a couple of things in our back pocket that I can’t wait to try out at our next race. Overall, it was a successful weekend and we’re going to build on this.”

Tommy Johnson Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 4 Qualifier – 3.896 ET)


Rd.1: (.064-second reaction time, 3.925 seconds at 325.22 mph) beat No. 13 Del Worsham(.100/4.003/321.50)
Rd.2: (.087/3.950/323.50) beat No. 5 Bob Tasca III (.073/9.014/82.83)
Rd.3: (.086/4.008/320.13) lost to No. 1 Robert Hight (.081/3.945/323.04)

“We had a really good car. We’re doing really well in the Countdown, it’s just that Robert Hight is becoming a real pain, but that’s a good motivator. I feel the four best cars in the Countdown were in the semis and I’m glad we’re one of them. We just need to pick it up one more notch and I think we’ll be the car to beat.”

Tony Schumacher, U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster
(No. 6 Qualifier – 3.731 ET)

Rd.1: (.080-second reaction time, 4.067 seconds at 257.73 mph) beat No. 11 Richie Crampton (.071/5.641/115.95)
Rd.2: (.074/4.115/270.43) lost to No. 14 Pat Dakin (.082/3.946/286.13)

“I’ve been around for 500 races. I understand that you don’t make it to the finals every time like I did in my first race. If you would have asked me after my first race, I would have said, ‘Gee, this is easy. I always get to the final.’ But after doing it for a long, long time, you realize this is a competitive sport with some incredible teams. Today was simply proof of that. Pat Dakin beat me today. He competes in about 10 events a year and has a quality team. He brings good stuff and knows how to race a car. When you get beat by him, you don’t hang your head. We need to regroup. A car can’t win the race smoking the tires. That’s what we’ve done four out of the last six elimination rounds. We can make some rounds, but can’t get away with it that many times. We’ve got to come up with a different plan.”

Matt Hagan, Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 11 Qualifier – 3.967 ET)


Rd.1: (.070-second reaction time, 4.585 seconds at 201.19 mph) lost to No. 6 Tom Wilkerson (.075/4.348/251.67)

“We’re going to test tomorrow and change some stuff up. We’ve been up against it a little bit with what we’ve been trying to do, so we’re going to make some different changes and start moving forward with some things. At the end of the day, this is the same group of guys that I won a championship with, I runner-uped with, and we’ve won a bunch of races with. It’s a fuel car, stuff changes, things happen, you make adjustments and you bounce back from adversity. Like Dickie said, we’re going to grab this thing by the horns and wrestle it to the ground and come out with the best opportunity and chance we can for the next four races to turn on win lights for our sponsors and obviously try to win so races and try to win this championship. It’s, not over. I’ve seen crazy, crazy stuff happen, but I’ve also seen stuff come together and click, and you’re like, ‘Wow! Where’s that been all season!’ I’m really looking forward to tomorrow and making some runs here, making some test hits and hopefully get a handle on this race car.”

Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 8 Qualifier – 3.929 ET)

Rd.1: (.077-second reaction time, 4.523 seconds at 185.28 mph) lost to John Force No. 9 (.041/4.025/322.96)

“Broken blower drive shaft. It’s the shaft behind the upper pulley that spins the rotors in the supercharger, and it snapped. Wow. We’re finding a lot of ways to lose right now and that’s the problem with the Countdown, you can’t have these stumbles. We had a wonderful first round car even when we were struggling in the middle part of the season, and now three first round losses in a row. Barring a miracle, we’re not going to be running for a championship, we’re going to be running for trophies at the next four races. We are going to stay and test tomorrow. This is devastating, there’s no way to spin this and say ‘gee we’re going to make the best of this.’ We’re going to do the best we can from here on out, but it’s a gut punch to get two first round losses to open up the Countdown. We’ll run our car tomorrow, we’ll try some things that we think might give us a benefit and now we’re in a situation where not only do we have to win the next couple of races, we have to rely on four or five other cars losing first or second round. It’s not impossible, but we’re going to just control our own destiny at this point.”

Ron Capps, NAPA Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 2 Qualifier – 3.873 ET)

Rd.1: (.101-second reaction time, 3.978 seconds at 316.23 mph) lost to No. 15 (.067/3.992/317.05)

“We talked about these non-Countdown cars being dangerous. They have a lot to prove and nothing to lose. Cruz (Pedregon) has won two championships. I didn’t feel like I missed the light. Sometimes, as a driver, you feel like you didn’t hit the light as good as you normally do. I try to be consistent. The worst part is that it hurts so bad because we had the best car on the ground. We were so consistent and good in qualifying with (crew chief Rahn) Tobler and this NAPA AutoCare team. We still have four races left and it seems like there will be first round losses by a lot of the Countdown hitters. I feel like I let down this entire team and everyone at DSR, and on top of that, we have to sit for almost two weeks. I can’t wait to get into the car on Friday at Dallas (the next event). These guys are my brothers and they’ll lift my spirits up.”

Up Next: AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals
Following a week off, Mopar and the Dodge//SRT drivers and teams will be back on track October 4-7 for the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals at the Texas Motorplex in Ennis, Texas. This will be the third of six races in the NHRA Countdown to Championship. Matt Hagan is a two-time Funny Car winner at the track (2010, 2016) and Tony Schumacher has collected a Wally five times (2004, 2005, 2009, 2010, 2014) at Texas Motorplex.



2018 NHRA Championship — Point Standings After Round 20 of 24
(Season Wins in Parentheses)

NHRA Funny Car
1. Robert Hight — 2270
2. J.R. Todd — 2240
3. Courtney Force — 2200
4. Tim Wilkerson — 2196
5. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger R/T (2) — 2182
6. Tommy Johnson Jr., Dodge Charger R/T — 2166
7. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat (3) — 2144

8. John Force — 2116
9. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat (2) — 2113
10. Shawn Langdon — 2086

NHRA Top Fuel
1. Steve Torrence – 2346
2. Clay Millican — 2276
3. Tony Schumacher, Mopar Dodge HEMI (1) — 2225
4. Leah Pritchett, Mopar Dodge HEMI (2) — 2192

5. Antron Brown — 2169
6. Doug Kalitta — 2135
7. Mike Salinas — 2119
8. Terry McMillen — 2093
9. Scott Palmer — 2085
10. Brittany Force — 2085
 

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Pro Mod driver Mike Bowman's parachutes failed during qualifying at St. Louis


Sep 21, 2018
The Gateway Motorsports Park nets caught a '69 Chevelle. E3 Spark Plugs Pro Mod driver Mike Bowman's parachutes failed and ended up tangled in the nets. Mike exited the car under his own power.
 
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