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NHRA FallNationals

Mopar Dodge Driver Pritchett Hopes Season of Double Duty Delivers Championship at Dallas

Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak driver Leah Pritchett one point out of first heading into final NHRA Factory Stock Showdown event at NHRA FallNationals near Dallas this weekend
Don Schumacher Racing’s Pritchett has corralled back-to-back wins in her Drag Pak entering race at Texas Motorplex, scheduled for October 4-7
Pritchett will pull double duty for seventh and final time in her Mopar Dodge Top Fuel dragster and Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak at Dallas
Pritchett fourth in Top Fuel standings, remains in thick of title fight
Mopar-powered U.S. Army Top Fuel driver Tony Schumacher third in points
Four-driver DSR Mopar Dodge NHRA Funny Car contingent eyeing move up the NHRA Countdown rankings at Dallas


October 3, 2018 , Auburn Hills, Mich. -

For the seventh and final weekend this season, Leah Pritchett will switch between her Mopar Dodge Top Fuel dragster and Factory Stock Showdown Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak, racing through a hectic schedule as she attempts to claim one championship and improve her chances for a second at the NHRA FallNationals near Dallas, scheduled for Oct. 4-7.

Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) driver Pritchett is just a single point outside of the top spot in NHRA Factory Stock Showdown and sits fourth in the NHRA Top Fuel standings heading into action at Texas Motorplex in Ennis, Texas. The NHRA Factory Stock Showdown season wraps up this weekend, while the third event in the six-race NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoffs is on tap for Top Fuel.

Pritchett made history last weekend at the NHRA stop near St. Louis, becoming the first driver in the Factory Stock Showdown class to make a pass in the seven-second range with a 7.936-second elapsed time (ET) during qualifying. She went on to claim the event win in her Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak, her second consecutive in the class, to go along with her two event wins in Top Fuel.

“More than anything, not only am I pumped for this race, but proud of the journey of both these teams (Top Fuel and Factory Stock Showdown) to get to the position we are in going into Ennis,” said Pritchett, who is seeking her first series championship in both classes. “Unique barely describes the upcoming weekend. Everything we’ve been working towards comes to this weekend, in both categories.

“Obviously for Factory Stock, we have an extremely solid shot at winning a championship being only one point out of first place. Our strategy is to continue doing what we’ve done, not play ladder games, just run as fast as we can every time, and ultimately the game plan is to win the race, which would win us the championship.

“Still in strong contention in Top Fuel. Ennis is huge because it holds a very strong potential to be a turning point in the Countdown. Same mindset, win the race. We’re coming into Ennis with a new front-half after noticing issues in St. Louis from an incident. I think this excites me more than the magnitude of the race, because I know with new pipe, our crew chiefs will have their cooperative hot rod back. That brings a new level of confidence that I can’t wait to energize with in the car. At this point for both classes, we still cannot worry about what the competition is doing, and we will remain focused on our own path to being the quickest in every way.”

Fellow DSR Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak driver Mark Pawuk also cracked the seven-second barrier, going even lower than Pritchett with 7.929 ET to reset the class E.T. record and earn the No. 1 qualifying spot at St. Louis. Pawuk will be among the favorites at Dallas as he hunts for his first Factory Stock Showdown win.

Pritchett’s Mopar-powered Top Fuel teammate, Tony Schumacher, enters Dallas third in the standings in his battle to add to his eight series crowns. In NHRA Funny Car, 2016 series champion Ron Capps holds the fifth spot in the standings and leads the four-driver Mopar Dodge DSR squad. Tommy Johnson Jr. is sixth in his Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T, while two-time NHRA Funny Car champ and Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat driver Matt Hagan, a three-time winner this year, is seventh. Jack Beckman, owner of the 2012 NHRA Funny Car title, is ranked ninth in his Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.
 

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Pritchett Clinches NHRA Factory Stock Showdown

Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak Driver Pritchett Clinches NHRA Factory Stock Showdown Championship at Dallas, Captures Third Consecutive Win

Leah Pritchett steers Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak to victory at AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals, locks down first NHRA Factory Stock Showdown Championship
Pritchett’s win is fifth in seven NHRA Factory Stock Showdown events by a Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak driver, wrapping up dominant season for the modern-day “package” car
Mopar Dodge Top Fuel driver Pritchett is fourth in standings with hopes still alive for dual championships in NHRA Nitro and Sportsman classes
Tommy Johnson Jr. qualifies No. 1 in Make-A-Wish Dodge Funny Car, advances to semifinals, takes fourth spot in standings
Mopar-powered U.S. Army Top Fuel driver Tony Schumacher runs to semifinals, stays third in points


October 7, 2018 , Auburn Hills, Mich. -



Leah Pritchett clinched the 2018 NHRA Factory Stock Showdown championship in her Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak at the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals near Dallas, racing to her third consecutive win of the season and earning her first championship in her first full year in the class.

The NHRA Factory Stock Showdown title is the third for Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) driver Pritchett, who also captured 2000-2001 Jr. Dragster Division 7 championships and the 2010 NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series Championship in the Nostalgia Funny Car class.

Pritchett’s event win at Dallas was the fifth in the seven-event NHRA Factory Stock Showdown season for the Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak, the brand’s modern-day “package” car, and also the fifth in a row for a Mopar Dodge Drag Pak driver. The crown was the second earned in less than a month by a Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak driver, following the championship claimed by Geoff Turk in the National Muscle Car Association (NMCA) Factory Super Cars class on September 23.

Pritchett entered competition at the Texas Motorplex facility coming off victories at the NHRA U.S. Nationals in early September and at the NHRA Midwest Nationals two weeks ago, where she became the first NHRA driver in the Factory Stock Showdown class to make a pass in the seven-second range. She qualified No. 10 and posted her quickest pass of the weekend, an 8.079-second elapsed time (ET) at 169.64 mph, to defeat Aaron Stanfield in the opening round of eliminations on Sunday.

After advancing past Randy Taylor in the quarterfinals, Pritchett moved on to a dramatic semifinals grouping that also featured co-points leaders Stephen Bell and Arthur Kohn, with Pritchett trailing each by a single point. She squared off against Bell with her season on the line, leaving first with a clutch .038-second reaction time and recording a winning 8.107/169.00 mark. Kohn was up next, needing to win his semifinals match against Kevin Skinner to extend the championship battle to the final round. Skinner took the win, crowning Pritchett as the 2018 NHRA Factory Stock Showdown Champion. She would add the cherry on top by taking out No. 1 qualifier Skinner in the final with an arrow-straight 8.106/169.02 pass down the track to earn her third consecutive win.

In Top Fuel, Pritchett overcame a No. 9 qualifying spot outside of the top half of the field to defeat the higher-qualified Kebin Kinsley, posting a 3.831/324.20 run en route to leading from start to finish. In the quarterfinals against Clay Millican, the Mopar Dodge Top Fuel driver matched her opponent’s .072 reaction but dropped a cylinder right at launch, ending any chance at a deep Dallas run. Pritchett is fourth in the Top Fuel standings with her hopes for two titles still alive heading into the all-important final three-race stretch.

Tommy Johnson Jr. unleashed a 3.918-second run in the fourth and final qualifying session in his Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car to claim the sixteenth No. 1 qualifier spot of his career, his first of 2018 and first at Texas Motorplex. The DSR driver had a big advantage off the starting line in scoring a round one defeat of Terry Haddock, and posted a 3.937 ET — the quickest pass of the quarterfinals — to take out Cruz Pedregon.

In Johnson’s sixth semifinal appearance of the last seven events he recorded a clean, solid 3.964/321.58 run but was behind from the start against opponent J.R. Todd and was unable to make up any ground, ending his day. Johnson moved up to fourth in the Countdown playoff standings with his Dallas performance.

After a stellar final qualifying run late Saturday vaulted Tony Schumacher to the No. 3 spot on the elimination ladder, “The Sarge” laid down a smooth and steady opening-round win over No. 14 qualifier Shawn Reed. The Mopar-powered U.S. Army Top Fuel car crossed the finish line in 3.747-seconds at 325.69-mph to Reed’s 3.900-second pass. That set up a meeting with teammate Antron Brown. Schumacher was solid and steady once again with a run of 3.817-seconds at 323.89-mph while Brown smoked the tires midway down the track.

Trailing Steve Torrence by 125 points at the start of the day, Schumacher and the U.S. Army team were hoping to turn his playoff momentum in their favor with the chance to leave Texas Motorplex having significantly downsized that deficit. But it was not meant to be as Schumacher hazed the tires at halftrack and had to settle for a run of 4.917-seconds to Torrence’s 3.779 seconds pass.

“Fast” Jack Beckman, a two-time runner-up at Dallas, qualified strong in his Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car, collecting the No. 5 spot on his final qualifying attempt. A powerhouse matchup against Courtney Force awaited him in the opening round. The elite pair entered the race deadlocked at 10-10 in previous matchups, and were appropriately enough dead even off the starting tree with identical .082 reaction times, but Beckman was able to claim the early lead and hold off Force in a tight drag race with a winning 3.969/317.27 pass.

In the quarterfinals, the DSR driver faced J.R. Todd. Beckman trailed off the start but quickly reclaimed the lead before putting out a cylinder and veering toward the centerline, forcing him to back off as Todd went down the strip for the win. Beckman, the 2012 NHRA Funny Car champ, leaves Dallas eighth in the standings.

Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car driver Matt Hagan will look to put his weekend at the NHRA FallNationals in the rearview mirror. The two-time Texas Motorplex winner struggled to make a full pass during qualifying, placing Hagan in an uncharacteristic spot — the 15th position — heading into eliminations on Sunday. Hagan, owner of three Funny Car wins in 2018, was able to put together a full 4.058-run in round one, but it was not enough to beat Bob Tasca III to the win stripe. Despite the early exit, two-time NHRA Funny Car World Champion Hagan remains seventh in the Countdown rankings.

Ron Capps placed his Mopar-powered NAPA Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car in the top half of the field, uncorking a 3.986/317.12 to earn the No. 7 spot in in the final qualifying session. He faced John Force in a marquee first-round matchup and in the 97th meeting of the two winningest Funny Car drivers. Capps was quicker off the start in his Dodge Charger R/T and held the lead up to the 600-foot mark, when Force began to pull away for the round win. Capps is sixth in the Funny Car standings.

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

Steve Beahm, Head of Passenger Cars, Dodge//SRT, Chrysler and FIAT, FCA North America; Head of Parts & Service (Mopar), FCA - North America
“This NHRA Factory Stock Showdown championship is a testament to the drive and commitment of Leah Pritchett and also to the domination of the Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak, our modern-day version of the factory-built ‘package’ car. Leah fought through a hectic schedule to compete in both the Factory Stock Showdown and Top Fuel classes at seven events, and to wrap up the year with the series championship, to go along with three consecutive wins and the first seven-second range pass in the history of the class is truly an amazing accomplishment for her and the Don Schumacher Racing team.”

Leah Pritchett, Mopar Dodge Top Fuel Dragster
(No. 9 Qualifier – 3.808 ET)


Rd.1: (.067-second reaction time, 3.831 seconds at 324.20 mph) beat No. 8 Kebin Kinsley (.094/4.548/172.25)
Rd.2: (.072/4.228/201.91) lost to No. 1 Clay Millican (.072/3.783/321.50)

On her Factory Stock Showdown championship win:


“This championship ranks at the top of the list. I might be holding this Wally right now, but 100 percent this is Dodge and Mopar and the technology they pour into this class. I just get to drive the car. For Kevin Helms, Terry Snyder, all of Don Schumacher Racing, powered by Pennzoil of course, this is absolutely incredible. We came in with a chance to win the championship, but our mentality was one round, one burnout, one line at a time and that’s what it took, so thank you to everyone that made this happen. I know I probably speak for the whole class, but a huge thank you to SAMTech for sponsoring the Factory Stock Showdown Series. It’s really become one of the most exciting, grassroots classes out here. I get to hold it, but this Wally is definitely going home to Mopar.”

On her Top Fuel semifinals appearance:

“Some people say the glass is half empty or half full. For us, we think it’s half full. We’ve experienced gremlins we’ve never experienced before in Dallas. We thought we had them completely flushed under after a not really good day of qualifying on Saturday. Were able to fix it and get that first-round win. But, with the boost problems we’d been having, that resulted in a cylinder dropping at the hit in the second round. It would’ve been awesome for everybody, including us, to take out Clay so we could climb higher into the championship chase. This Mopar/U.S. Army team is undoubtedly still in it and we are looking forward to still chasing it and we’re definitely not counting this team or this car or any of the guys out. We have a couple of things to fix and I have confidence in this team that we will turn it around. I’ll tell you what, for the fans and the people who are watching this Countdown, it’s going to get interesting and it’s going to be good and we’re going to give it absolutely everything we have because that’s what we do.”

Tony Schumacher, U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster
(No. 3 Qualifier – 3.745 ET)


Rd.1: (.072-second reaction time, 3.747 seconds at 325.69 mph) beat No. 14 Shawn Reed (.072/3.900/322.34)
Rd.2: (.082/3.817/323.89) beat No. 11 Anton Brown (.062/4.151/241.15)
Rd.3: (.049/4.917/166.64) lost to No. 2 Steve Torrence (.057/3.779/321.73)

“We came here in the hunt, even though we may not be leaving here in the hunt, but we finally figured out two dramatic issues with our U.S. Army car. Now we can run at the level we need to run at. We may not win a championship with it because it might be too late. We do have a great car after this weekend. But we’re down to 12 rounds and (Steve) Torrence is a lot of rounds ahead of us. He’s got to go out in the first round at the next three races and we have to win them all. We’ll see if we can get in everybody’s way and earn some points and finish off the season No. 1, 2 or 3 but, realistically, we didn’t have that championship car until this weekend.”

Tommy Johnson Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 1 Qualifier – 3.918 ET)


Rd.1: (.037-second reaction time, 3.981 seconds at 324.44 mph) beat No. 16 Terry Haddock (.102/5.079/150.15)
Rd.2: (.073/3.937/322.65) beat No. 8 Cruz Pedregon (.078/4.036/303.78)
Rd.3: (.073/3.964/321.58) lost to No. 4 J.R. Todd (.033/3.952/320.89)

“We’ve got a really good race car now it’s just a matter of putting all together on Sundays. The continuous improvement is great and hopefully we can keep doing that and have a little luck go our way. We feel really good. If a few of the top cars stumble, we’re right there. We’re in the hunt and not out of this championship yet.”

Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 5 Qualifier – 3.968 ET)

Rd.1: (.082-second reaction time, 3.969 seconds at 317.27 mph) beat Courtney Force No. 12 (.082/3.985/318.17)
Rd.2: (.085/4.055/260.36) lost to No. 4 J.R. Todd (.071/3.991/318.69)

“We took our Courtney (Force) first round. Had the ladder we need with J.R. (Todd) second round. We were literally driving away and it put another hole out. It has not wanted to keep eight cylinders to the finish line all weekend and despite that we had an incredibly fast car. We figured out how to make this thing a rocket ship early in the run. We just need to figure out how to keep all the E3 spark plugs lit until the finish line. I’m excited. I think we’ll be racing for trophies the rest of the year and that motivates us.”

Matt Hagan, Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 15 Qualifier – 4.169 ET)


Rd.1: (.070-second reaction time, 4.058 seconds at 317.12 mph) lost to No. 2 Bob Tasca III (.051/3.998/319.37)

“We have to work to put out some of the Kalitta and Force cars and we need to step it up and go some rounds to put ourselves in a better position in the championship chase. We’re working hard with some new combinations and we have a lot of help from our teammates and we’re moving forward. We’re going to stay positive and go into Charlotte with a game plan and grow and have a good weekend for Mopar and Pennzoil and DSR.”

Ron Capps, NAPA Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 7 Qualifier – 3.986 ET)


Rd.1: (.062-second reaction time, 4.024 seconds at 314.39 mph) lost to No. 10 John Force (.069/3.986/325.30)

“It was a strange weekend of qualifying here at Dallas for a lot of cars. It was luck of the draw for race day and when you have a team like John Force first round, it’s going to be tough. It was a close race. I didn’t see him until right at the end Our mentality was to come in here and win the last four races and with points-and-a-half at Pomona, we now have to win the last three races. With the race car we have and the team we have, it’s very possible. It can be done. Once again, the NAPA guys game me a great car and we lost a close race. It hurts right now and we’re going to shake it off and go to zMAX.”

Up Next: NHRA Carolina Nationals
The Mopar and the Dodge//SRT drivers and teams will be back at it next weekend, October 12-14, returning to the zMAX Dragway in Charlotte, N.C. for the NHRA Carolina Nationals. They head into the second half of the NHRA Countdown to Championship with the fourth of six races on tap. Both Ron Capps and Jack Beckman have Funny Car wins at zMAX Dragway.



2018 NHRA Championship — Point Standings After Round 21 of 24
(Season Wins in Parentheses)

NHRA Funny Car
1. Robert Hight — 2387
2. J.R. Todd — 2337
3. Tim Wilkerson — 2254
4. Tommy Johnson Jr., Dodge Charger R/T — 2251
5. Courtney Force — 2232
6. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger R/T (2) — 2215
7. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat (3) — 2175
8. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat (2) — 2172

9. John Force — 2168
10. Shawn Langdon — 2120

NHRA Top Fuel

1. Steve Torrence – 2468
2. Clay Millican — 2365
3. Tony Schumacher, Mopar Dodge HEMI (1) — 2303
4. Leah Pritchett, Mopar Dodge HEMI (2) — 2244

5. Antron Brown — 2221
6. Terry McMillen — 2189
7. Doug Kalitta — 2169
8. Mike Salinas — 2150
9. Brittany Force — 2140
10. Scott Palmer — 2117
 

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NHRA Carolina Nationals

Mopar Dodge Driver Capps Captures Funny Car Event Crown at Charlotte, Claims Third Win of Season

Win by Ron Capps at NHRA Carolina Nationals is 225th overall for a Mopar-powered Dodge driver in NHRA Funny Car competition
Victory is third of 2018 for Capps, eighth of season for a Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) Mopar Dodge Funny Car driver
With 60th career Funny Car Wally, Capps moves up three spots to third in NHRA playoff standings
Tony Schumacher races Mopar HEMI-powered U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster to semifinals at zMAX Dragway in Concord, North Carolina, near Charlotte
Mark Howes, Keith Lynch take Dodge Top Finisher Awards in NHRA Sportsman classes at Charlotte


October 14, 2018 , Auburn Hills, Mich. -

Ron Capps raced to victory in his Mopar-powered Dodge Charger R/T at the NHRA Carolina Nationals near Charlotte on October 14, 2018, capturing his third victory of the season and the 225th overall for a Mopar Dodge driver in NHRA Funny Car competition.

The win by Capps is also the eighth of the year for a Mopar-powered Dodge//SRT Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) Funny Car driver. His 60th career Funny Car win moved Capps up three spots to third in the NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoff standings, injecting new life into his bid for a second career Funny Car World Championship.

The Mopar HEMI®-engine fueled NAPA Dodge Charger Funny Car star claimed 121 points over the course of the weekend. Along his way to the zMAX Dragway winner’s circle, Capps, the 2016 Funny Car Champion, defeated Dale Creasy Jr. and three of the top-ranked 2018 Funny Car championship contenders – Robert Hight, Tim Wilkerson and J.R. Todd – in crucial matchups with major Countdown implications.

The milestone victory and 61st overall triumph (including one Top Fuel win) came after two disappointing consecutive first-round losses, but Capps and his Rahn Tobler-led team were determined to not let their early Countdown stumbles deter their hopes for the 2018 title.

With 321 points up for grabs in the final two events, Capps enters the next stop on the NHRA tour sitting 109 points out of first. The remaining events on the NHRA schedule are contested in Las Vegas and Pomona, California, two historically cooler-weather events, and Capps has confidence in crew chief Tobler’s cool weather tuning capabilities.

Two-time NHRA Carolina Nationals Top Fuel champion (2014, 2008) Tony Schumacher, driver of the Mopar-backed U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster, qualified No. 6 and faced teammate Antron Brown for the 70th time in the first round. “The Sarge” recorded the low ET of the event with a hot 3.699/329.91 pass to take out Brown. In the second round, Schumacher knocked out Clay Millican with a solid 3.712/330.55 effort.

That victory set up a run against current Top Fuel points leader and No. 2 qualifier Steve Torrence in the semifinals. Schumacher’s 3.718/329.42 was quicker and faster than Torrence’s 3.728/328.38 run, but Torrence left the starting line first and was able to ride that advantage to a close holeshot win by approximately four feet.

Leah Pritchett raced her Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak to the 2018 NHRA Factory Stock Showdown championship in dramatic fashion last week at the NHRA’s Dallas stop and was looking to keep her chances alive to become the first woman in NHRA history to claim crowns in two different categories in the same season with a strong Charlotte performance.

Pritchett qualified in the top half of the field, claiming the No. 7 starting position in her Mopar Dodge Top Fuel dragster. The DSR driver trailed early in her first-round match against Richie Crampton but staged a comeback and was able to run him down with her quickest pass of the weekend, a winning 3.707/324.67. Next up was a critical quarterfinals battle against points leader Torrence. Unfortunately, Pritchett encountered all kinds of trouble, hazing the tires early and dropping cylinders as Torrence drove away for the round win and Pritchett watched a golden opportunity to improve her Top Fuel title hopes slip away.

Two-time NHRA Carolina Nationals event champion Matt Hagan, the No. 6 qualifier, drew No. 11 Shawn Langdon in round one. Hagan flexed his Mopar muscle by powering his DSR Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car straight down the groove in 3.891 seconds to take the win over Langdon, who smoked the tires. In the quarterfinals, the Mopar Express Lane driver posted another solid effort, but he gave up the win on an uncharacteristic holeshot loss, allowing opponent Tim Wilkerson to take the victory with a slower 3.910 ET versus Hagan’s quicker 3.903.

After securing his second consecutive Funny Car No. 1 qualifier spot, Tommy Johnson Jr. and his Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T team drew part-time racer Dave Richards in the opening round. Johnson was first to hit the throttle but was up in smoke right at the step and Richards was able to claim the upset win. Johnson’s DSR teammate, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat pilot Jack Beckman, was faced with a huge matchup against points leader Robert Hight in the opening round. “Fast” Jack and his Dean Antonelli/John Medlen/Neal Strausbaugh-led team mustered up a solid 3.906-second pass, but it wasn’t enough to take down Hight’s 3.877 E.T.

Mopar Dodge//SRT NHRA Sportsman Spotlight
Mark Howes of Rothesay, New Brunswick, Canada, raced his 1970 D/SA Plymouth Duster to a fourth-round finish in Stock Eliminator at the NHRA Carolina Nationals. With a high-winding Mopar 340 cubic-inch small-block V8 engine under the hood, Howes was looking strong all weekend until a red-light foul for leaving the starting line too early ended his chances of advancing deeper in eliminations. With his performance, Howes earned the Dodge Top Finisher award in Stock.

In Super Stock, Keith Lynch of New Hudson, Ohio, also drove his 2010 FGT/I Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak to a fourth-round finish. Powered by a Mopar 5.7-Liter HEMI V8, Lynch’s Drag Pak looked to be a tenacious contender during race day but was sidelined during eliminations. Lynch, who was the Dodge Top Finisher recipient last month during the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals, repeated as the award winner at Charlotte.

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

Steve Beahm, Head of Passenger Cars, Dodge//SRT, Chrysler and FIAT, FCA North America; Head of Parts & Service (Mopar), FCA - North America

“It’s great to see Ron Capps and his team capture the win today for Mopar and Dodge//SRT in the fourth event of the six-race NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoffs. We hope this momentum will carry on for the entire Don Schumacher Racing organization as our drivers continue to battle for championships this year.”

Ron Capps, NAPA Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 2 Qualifier – 3.875 ET)


Rd.1: (.080-second reaction time, 3.926 seconds at 328.86 mph) beat No. 15 Dale Creasy Jr. (.090/4.041/316.67)
Rd.2: (.053/3.889/332.43) beat No. 7 Robert Hight (.075/3.953/285.23)
Rd.3: (.0460/3.903/320.97) beat No. 3 Tim Wilkinson (.040/3.978/323.97)
Rd.4: (.074/3.890/331.20) beat No. 4 J.R. Todd (.048/4.311/214.96)

“In St. Louis we lost on a holeshot first round and I’m sick to my stomach when that happens. I go home, I don’t sleep. I’m up in the middle of the night, watching frame-by-frame of when my blades open compared to the person I lost to on a holeshot, and it’s not fun. I live it, I breathe it. I just could not wait to get to the next race after St. Louis. We really had a great car there and we really had the opportunity to make a lot of points up and we didn’t, and I wore that. I probably aged a year in that week. Then we got to Dallas, had a great car, and just got outran by John Force first round.

“(Crew chief Rahn) Tobler and I left Dallas, shook hands, gave each other a little hug like we always do when we leave the track and he said ‘Let’s just go win the last three. If we win, they can’t,’ and I’m just so glad we came here and did what we talked about doing. To make over 330-mph runs two times in the middle of the day today is big for Rahn Tobler. We always talk about race day and hot, adverse conditions, and that’s where he shines, but to throw down those speeds and E.T.s in the cooler weather today when we needed it was huge.”

“We have a lot of business left to do. It’s not over. Points-and-a-half in Pomona. Anything can happen and we’re going to go down fighting. I can’t wait to celebrate with my race team, get to the next race and finish the year strong.”

Tony Schumacher, U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster
(No. 6 Qualifier – 3.732 ET)


Rd.1: (.065-second reaction time, 3.699 seconds at 329.91 mph) beat No. 11 Anton Brown (.049/3.736/328.14)
Rd.2: (.066/3.712/330.55) beat No. 3 Clay Millican (.087/3.729/328.86)
Rd.3: (.066/3.718/329.42) lost to No. 2 Steve Torrence (.049/3.728/328.38)

“That was a rough one, man. We had a better package than Steve (Torrence) did, but .049-second lights are hard to come by. I don’t know. Ouch. The worst run we made all weekend was a 3.74. I can tell you this is a great team. It was really impressive what these U.S. Army Racing guys did here in Charlotte. I give a lot of credit to (crew chief) Mike Neff and (assistant crew chief) Phil (Shuler). They came in here with a package and just made it better all weekend. We talked about it being a bracket car in qualifying and then we came out in first round and put up fastest pass of the weekend. They were on their game and I know I was too. I’m just still wondering how those .040-lights keep happening against me. We need to beat Steve to have a legitimate chance in the championship, but that didn’t happen today. We’ve got two great tracks for us left and all we can do is go out with a bang carrying the U.S. Army colors.”

Leah Pritchett, Mopar Dodge Top Fuel Dragster
(No. 7 Qualifier – 3.755 ET)


Rd.1: (.080-second reaction time, 3.707 seconds at 324.67 mph) beat No. 10 Richie Crampton (.068/3.750/317.79)
Rd.2: (.087/4.222/219.76) lost to No. 2 Steve Torrence (.047/3.716/330.96)

“Unfortunately, we couldn’t slow down Steve today. We feel like that was the result of some self-inflicted issues. We found the power, but what it really probably came down to was that we should have picked the left lane (in the second round). We were going in the right lane. We had done well in it, but by the time Tony (Schumacher) got done in front of us the lane didn’t have the rubber down that we thought it would. So we had to back it down a little bit at the starting line. Once we did that we were behind. When we did put the power to it, we smoked the tires and it was all over from there. The bright side is that we always learn from these experiences. We learned a lot about being in tune with our car and the conditions. We’re a bit down about the championship situation, but we are making progress and we’ll come out in Las Vegas even stronger than we did coming in here.”

Matt Hagan, Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 6 Qualifier – 3.903 ET)


Rd.1: (.064-second reaction time, 3.891 seconds at 328.62 mph) beat No.11 Shawn Langdon (.054/9.638/78.22)
Rd.2: (.072/3.903/323.58) lost to No. 3 Tim Wilkerson (.052/3.910/328.46)

“We definitely got a car that’s going down the race track now. We found a king pin that was seized up in the front A arm, fixed that and the thing is driving like a dream now so that’s a huge thing as far as confidence and everything else goes. At the end of the day, I’m just glad we’ve got our race car back, our tune-up is working out, it’s going down the track again. We’re getting more laps and feeling more confident in what we’re doing. We’re turning a corner, it’s just at the end of the season.”

Tommy Johnson Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 1 Qualifier – 3.873 ET)


Rd.1: (.074-second reaction time, 7.265 seconds at 112.70 mph) lost to No. 16 Dave Richards (.092/4.283/279.27)

“It’s certainly disappointing and frustrating. You’re right in the middle of a championship chase, and to have a first round loss like that puts a huge dent in that chance. We’ll just keep swinging. Our Make-A-Wish Dodge is running so well. Didn’t expect that by any means. It’s frustrating but we’ll keep coming at them.”

Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 10 Qualifier – 3.929 ET)


Rd.1: (.073-second reaction time, 3.906 seconds at 329.26 mph) lost to No. 7 Robert Hight (.062/3.877/330.96)

“We were on the wrong end of a phenomenal drag race, and that’s frustrating because our E.T. would have won most of the matchups first round, and that’s the problem with drag racing. We desperately want to salvage a top five finish and maybe the only way for us to do that is to get both (Las Vegas II and Pomona II) trophies. I think we did a pretty darn good job on that as witnessed by our first-round time. We just came up against a car that’s gotten more runs than anybody in the last three weekends. So, Vegas here we come.”

Up Next: NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
The penultimate round of the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship will take place in two weekends, Oct. 25-28, at the Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Last year Mopar Dodge//SRT Funny Car driver Matt Hagan broke through for his first Vegas victory
.



2018 NHRA Championship — Point Standings After Round 22 of 24
(Season Wins in Parentheses)


NHRA Funny Car
1. Robert Hight — 2445
2. J.R. Todd — 2434
3. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger R/T (3) — 2336
4. Tim Wilkerson — 2334
5. Tommy Johnson Jr., Dodge Charger R/T — 2296
6. Courtney Force — 2264
7. John Force — 2241
8. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat (3) — 2229
9. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat (2) — 2204

10. Shawn Langdon — 2152

NHRA Top Fuel

1. Steve Torrence – 2592
2. Clay Millican — 2423
3. Tony Schumacher, Mopar Dodge HEMI (1) — 2382
4. Leah Pritchett, Mopar Dodge HEMI (2) — 2297

5. Antron Brown — 2253
6. Brittany Force — 2243
7. Mike Salinas — 2228
8. Doug Kalitta — 2225
9. Terry McMillen — 2221
10. Scott Palmer — 2149
 

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NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas

Mopar Dodge Drivers Hagan, Pritchett Post Runner-up Finishes at Vegas

Pennzoil Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat NHRA Funny Car driver Matt Hagan races to seventh final round of season at NHRA Nationals
Final round is 54th of Hagan’s career, all in a Mopar Dodge Funny Car
Leah Pritchett also puts Pennzoil Mopar Dodge Top Fuel dragster in final round at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Final-round appearance is fifth of season and 13th career for Pritchett
Dwight Machael and Mike Cotten claim Dodge Top Finisher NHRA Sportsman awards at Vegas



October 28, 2018 , Las Vegas -

Mopar Dodge//SRT drivers Matt Hagan and Leah Pritchett raced to runner-up finishes in Funny Car and Top Fuel, respectively, in elimination rounds at the NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on October 28, 2018.

Defending event champ Hagan opened race day with a first-round win over Tim Wilkerson. He clocked a 3.908-second elapsed time (ET) in his Pennzoil Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car, the quickest of the round. Next up for the No. 9 qualifier was Mopar Dodge Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) teammate Tommy Johnson Jr., and Hagan once again paced the field with a winning 3.919 ET.


In the semifinals, Hagan trailed early but was able to reel in Bob Tasca III with a 3.928/323.89 run, edging out his foe at the stripe in a close race to advance to his seventh final round of the year and 54th of his career. The two-time Funny Car World Champion left first in the final round with a .037 reaction time to J.R. Todd’s slower .058 mark and briefly maintained the lead before a dropped cylinder slowed Hagan’s momentum and ended his drive for a fourth win on the season.

Pritchett qualified No. 4 in her chromed-out Pennzoil Mopar Dodge Top Fuel machine and started her Sunday by outrunning part-time racer Troy Buff. Next up against Blake Alexander, Pritchett laid down a winning 3.740 ET to Alexander’s 3.968 pass. She drew teammate Tony Schumacher in the semifinals and had no trouble getting past him as she powered to her best run of the weekend (3.730 ET) versus Schumacher’s instant tire smoker.

Pritchett lined up against newly crowned series champion Steve Torrence in the final. Eager to stop Torrence’s streak of round wins, Pritchett was slightly overzealous on the line and double-stepped the throttle, immediately giving way to tire smoke as her opponent sped down the track for the round win.

Tony Schumacher qualified No. 9 and drove his Mopar HEMI-powered U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster to a round-one victory over Scott Palmer. In the quarterfinals, “The Sarge” led from start to finish against Countdown contender Clay Millican, setting up an all-Mopar DSR battle against Pritchett. Schumacher was quicker in reaction time but smoked the tires shortly after launch and it was all Leah after that, ending the four-time Vegas winner’s day.

Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car veteran Jack Beckman qualified strong in the third position and began race day with a 3.935 ET to outrun the Dodge Charger of Jim Campbell. In round two Beckman trailed early against Courtney Force but rebounded to take the victory by about four feet with a 3.951/320.51 pass. Beckman moved on to a semifinals battle with major playoff implications against new points leader J.R. Todd. “Fast Jack’s” 3.937/327.90 effort was solid but not strong enough to best Todd’s quicker 3.906 ET.

Ron Capps qualified No. 12 in his Mopar-fueled NAPA Dodge Funny Car and was able to overcome lack of lane choice and a slight starting line deficit to take down John Force in a fight between the most successful Funny Car drivers in NHRA history. In round two, Capps was foiled by Countdown spoiler Tasca III. Both drivers had identical reaction times, but Tasca eventually pulled ahead for the lead and Capps was unable to chase down his opponent.

After securing his third Funny Car No. 1 qualifier in a row, Tommy Johnson Jr. kicked off race day by driving to his career 400th round win with a defeat of Jeff Arend. Johnson faced stout competition in round two against teammate Hagan. Johnson was a bit too quick on the throttle in his Make-A-Wish Dodge, turning on the red light and giving Hagan the round win.

Mopar Dodge//SRT NHRA Sportsman Spotlight

Dwight Machael of Las Vegas, Nevada, raced his 1962 B/SA Plymouth Sport Fury to a semifinal finish in Stock Eliminator at the NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. With the iconic 413 Max Wedge under the hood, Machael was looking strong all weekend until a redlight ended his chances of advancing into the final round. Machael earned the Dodge Top Finisher award in Stock Eliminator.

In Super Stock, repeat Dodge Top Finisher winner Mike Cotten drove his 383 powered 1970 SS/JA Plymouth ‘Cuda to a round-four finish at Vegas. Cotten’s ‘Cuda was consistent on race day and was looking to go some rounds until a slightly tardy reaction time caused him to come up short against 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, Pennzoil Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 9 Qualifier – 3.949 ET)


Rd.1: (.071-second reaction time, 3.908 seconds at 326.08 mph) beat No.8 Tim Wilkerson (-.091/5.608/124.44)
Rd.2: (.084/3.919/326.08) beat No. 1 Tommy Johnson Jr. (-.027/5.395/133.38)
Rd.3: (.075/3.928/323.89) beat No. 4 Bob Tasca III (.053/3.952/319.29)
Rd.4: (.037/4.087/263.62) lost to No. 2 J.R. Todd (.058/3.921/318.39)

“It’s unfortunate that we couldn’t get that win light in the final round. We had such amazing sponsorship support with the folks from Pennzoil, Shell and Mopar and had so many key clients rooting us on here in Las Vegas. We have the SEMA Show this week here in (Las) Vegas and we wanted nothing more than to take the Wally trophy to the Mopar booth to show off with our Chrome Pennzoil Funny Car. At the end of the day, we went to the final round and it was a good day. That’s just drag racing and sometimes we lose. It wasn’t our day, but we’ll go to Pomona with a strong race car. I’m proud of our guys. They did great all weekend and we were just pressing hard trying to run in the high (3).80s and the track just wouldn’t hold it.”

Leah Pritchett, Pennzoil Mopar Dodge Top Fuel Dragster
(No. 4 Qualifier – 3.731 ET)


Rd.1: (.089-second reaction time, 3.735 seconds at 327.43 mph) beat No. 13 Troy Buff (.053/3.808/319.67)
Rd.2: (.088/3.740/322.42) beat No. 12 Blake Alexander (.059/3.968/276.29)
Rd.3: (.071/3.730/328.46) beat No. 9 Tony Schumacher (.055/6.004/93.72)
Rd.4: (.019/5.317/148.85) lost to No. 2 Steve Torrence (.047/3.751/326.32)

“We have a really incredible racecar – the tune-up for Vegas, a solid effort and chance at a runner-up finish in the championship. To put a silver lining on it, we made it to the final with seven solid passes. The buck stopped at me and I take full responsibility for that, wanting so badly not just to put a stop to Torrence’s reign in this Countdown, but more than anything the win for this team is what I wanted most for them. Seven just incredible runs, finally the issues we’ve been having with our superchargers and chassis, I think we’ve conquered those. So, if anything, a solid run for a good spot in the championship and a really good head start into 2019. The guys have really stepped up and this entire team has been really impressive to me.”

Tony Schumacher, U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster
(No. 9 Qualifier – 3.772 ET)


Rd.1: (.065-second reaction time, 3.818 seconds at 315.86 mph) beat No. 8 Scott Palmer (.060/3.850/304.94)
Rd.2: (.046/3.754/328.70) beat No. 1 Clay Millican (.106/4.025/242.15)
Rd.3: (.055/6.004/93.72) lost to No. 4 Leah Pritchett (.071/3.730/328.46)

“I wish I could tell you what happened – they’re still trying to figure it out. It spun the tires real high and real fast and then it came down and sheared the clutch off of it. That was awful because we had a good car. We were just slow in the first round, and then, in the second round, we went great. We got the blower back up, the power was made and we went fast. That last round, everything was fine but it literally sheared the clutch completely out of it – one clean cut. We’ll figure everything out and come back for a strong finish to the season in Pomona. We’ve got a good chance to salvage a second-place finish in the Countdown if all goes well for us. Congratulations to Steve Torrence on the championship. Welcome to the fraternity of Top Fuel world champions.”

Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 3 Qualifier – 3.922 ET)


Rd.1: (.053-second reaction time, 3.935 seconds at 326.24 mph) beat No. 14 Jim Campbell (.270/4.035/300.33)
Rd.2: (.074/3.951/320.51) beat No. 6 Courtney Force (.063/3.969/320.66)
Rd.3: (.074/3.937/327.90) lost to No. 2 J.R. Todd (.060/3.906/327.11)

“I think people knew that the Funny Car championship was down to a few cars, but there’s still trophies and a top five spot. We have a really solid running race car. I have to take my hat off to the entire DHL team. They are just getting it done. They’re not getting any gimmees. They’re making big runs and J.R. (Todd) is driving fantastic and that’s a tough combination to beat. Our plan is to get our car back in that area where it’s predictable and quick and driving the thing is a pleasure and we’re getting close.”

Tommy Johnson Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 1 Qualifier – 3.879 ET)


Rd.1: (.078-second reaction time, 3.938 seconds at 326.08 mph) beat No. 16 Jeff Arend (.072/7.197/92.39)
Rd.2: (-.027/5.395/133.38) lost to No. 9 Matt Hagan (.084/3.919/326.08)

“It’s just frustrating and one of these days we’ll get it all put together on a Sunday. (Matt) Hagan ran really well first round and we know what he’s capable of and I knew I had to push and pushed a little too hard. We’ll regroup and go to Pomona for the Finals where we’ve had great success winning the last two years and try to finish this thing off with a win.”

Ron Capps, NAPA Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 12 Qualifier – 3.971 ET)


Rd.1: (.060-second reaction time, 3.954 seconds at 325.22 mph) beat No. 5 John Force (.045/3.972/330.31)
Rd.2: (.066/3.963/322.81) lost to No. 4 Bob Tasca III (.066/3.943/322.11)

“This weekend at Vegas, coming off of the win at Charlotte, we didn’t qualify where we wanted to and it’s what makes this sport so heartbreaking and rewarding. It’s a constant fight. (Crew chief Rahn) Tobler found the issue between Q3 and Q4 and we did exactly what we needed to do to make a good run Q4.

“Typical Tobler, we went up there in the left lane without lane choice and beat John Force in the first round today. And that setup a match with our old assistant crew chief Eric (Lane) and Tasca’s car. We have a lot of respect for that team and they just outran us. We made a big adjustment and got after it, but just lost a close race. I didn’t see him until the finish line.”

Up Next: NHRA Finals
The 2018 finale of the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship will be held November 8-11 at the Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, Calif. Last year, Tommy Johnson Jr. took home the Wally at the NHRA Finals at Pomona.

2018 NHRA Championship — Point Standings After Round 23 of 24
(Season Wins in Parentheses)


NHRA Funny Car
1. J.R. Todd — 2553
2. Robert Hight — 2479
3. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger R/T (3) — 2388
4. Tim Wilkerson — 2367
5. Tommy Johnson Jr., Dodge Charger R/T — 2362
6. Courtney Force — 2324
7. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat (3) — 2321
8. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat (2) — 2283

9. John Force — 2277
10. Shawn Langdon — 2204

NHRA Top Fuel
1. Steve Torrence – 2718
2. Clay Millican — 2487
3. Tony Schumacher, Mopar Dodge HEMI (1) — 2454
4. Leah Pritchett, Mopar Dodge HEMI (2) — 2394

5. Brittany Force — 2302
6. Antron Brown — 2291
7t. Mike Salinas — 2259
7t. Doug Kalitta — 2259
9. Terry McMillen — 2253
10. Scott Palmer — 2182
 

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Pritchett and Capps Sweep Top Qualifying Spots at NHRA Finals

Mopar Dodge//SRT Drivers Pritchett and Capps Sweep Top Qualifying Spots at NHRA Finals

Leah Pritchett takes Mopar Dodge Top Fuel dragster to tie for second quickest pass in NHRA Top Fuel history, fourth pole of season at NHRA Finals in Pomona, California
Pritchett dominates, posting career best pass and collecting 12 of 16 possible qualifying points
Ron Capps powers Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car to his first No. 1 qualifier spot of 2018, 22nd of career
Poles for Pritchett and Capps give Mopar Dodge//SRT drivers 16 No.1 spots in NHRA nitro classes for 2018 season
Funny Car drivers Jack Beckman and Tommy Johnson Jr. qualify No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, giving Mopar Dodge//SRT sweep of top three spots


November 10, 2018 , Pomona, California -

Leah Pritchett and Ron Capps swept the top qualifying spots in Top Fuel and Funny Car, respectively, at the 54th Annual NHRA Finals in Pomona, California, putting Mopar and Dodge//SRT in the No. 1 spot for the 16th time this year in the NHRA Nitro classes.

The pole was Mopar Dodge//SRT driver Pritchett’s fourth of the year in her HEMI® engine-powered Top Fuel dragster, the 11th of her career and the seventh of the season for a Mopar-powered Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) Top Fuel driver. Capps earned his first No. 1 spot of 2018, 22nd of his career and the ninth of the 2018 campaign by a Mopar Dodge DSR Funny Car competitor.


Pritchett was dominant, pocketing all eight possible points during Friday qualifying to earn the preliminary pole on a 3.649-second elapsed time (ET) at 329.34 mph heading into Saturday. In the final pair of the final Top Fuel qualifying session of the 2018 season, Pritchett unleashed a monster 3.631/332.84 run that tied for second quickest in the history of NHRA Top Fuel, reset the Auto Club Raceway track speed record and cemented the pole. Pritchett also collected 12 of 16 possible bonus points during qualifying. She’ll face Bill Litton in round one.

Capps, third in the Funny Car points standings, improved steadily from the second session onward, ending his qualifying efforts with a 3.848 ET at 331.53 mph to stake his claim to the No. 1 spot. The Mopar-powered Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car driver locked in a date with No. 16 Ray Martin in the opening round.

Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car pilot Jack Beckman followed his DSR teammate Capps on the qualifying charts, taking the No. 2 spot with a 3.867/330.96 run in the final qualifying pair on Saturday. Beckman’s first-round battle will be against Jeff Arend.

Also in that final pair with Beckman was fellow DSR racer and Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T driver Tommy Johnson Jr., who held the provisional pole on Friday and was aiming for his fourth consecutive No. 1 spot until he was knocked off his perch by Capps. Johnson matched Beckman’s ET of 3.867 but took the third qualifying position based on his slower 326.40 mph, giving Mopar Dodge//SRT drivers a sweep of the top three Funny Car qualifying positions. Johnson, who was quickest in three rounds and earned 14 bonus points in qualifying, will open eliminations on Sunday against Cruz Pedregon.

Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car racer Matt Hagan saved his best for last, clocking a 3.946/323.50 run to move all the way up to the top half of the field in the No. 8 position. The two-time NHRA Funny Car World Champion seeks his fourth win of the season on Sunday, with Shawn Langdon as his first-round foe. Tony Schumacher also put his Mopar-powered U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster in the eighth position and will battle No. 9 Scott Palmer in round one.

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


Leah Pritchett, Mopar Dodge Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified No. 1 will face No. 16 Bill Litton

Friday: (3.774 seconds at 312.64 mph – Q1); (3.649/329.34 – Q2)
Saturday: (4.535/168.05 – Q3); (3.631/332.84 – Q4)

“It was like a whole different level of fast tonight. I’ve been 334 miles per hour before, but this, at night, at Pomona; it’s incredible. Finally, for my crew chiefs, the car is communicating in a proper way, and it’s doing everything they’re throwing at it. Todd (Okuhara) knows he’s finally got his race car back. It feels like home. Here in Pomona, the fans give me that sense of home. For us to chase history on this track makes me feel like our team is very well on its way to earning a spot in history, which is what we’re working towards.

“Confidence level is high and a lot of that has to do with Vegas. We had great momentum there, we had confidence we were going to continue the momentum here in Pomona and we’ve done that, and it just builds on it. We’re not going to let it get away from us.”

Ron Capps, NAPA Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
Qualified No. 1 will face No. 16 Ray Martin

Friday: (6.172 seconds at 111.99 mph – Q1); (3.948/320.66 – Q2)
Saturday: (3.900/327.03 – Q3); (3.848/331.53 – Q4)

“I was joking around saying ‘Man, you’d think I’d never gotten one of these green hats before,’ because I was acting like such a spaz down there, but yea it’s been a while. These No. 1s are a feather in the cap. When they came on the radio after Q4 and told me what we’d run, I couldn’t believe it, but I’m so happy for (crew chief Rahn) Tobler. In Charlotte, we really showed that not only are we strong in the heat, but we’ve got the performance with the five-disc in cool conditions. We ran great, won the race, and we said we were so happy that we ran like that in those conditions because we were certain Pomona would be like that, and it is. We went 90-flat today in conditions we’ll see tomorrow, so the fans are in for unbelievable racing tomorrow.”

Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
Qualified No. 2 will face No. 15 Jeff Arend

Friday: (4.317 seconds at 217.04 mph – Q1); (3.901/323.35 – Q2)
Saturday: (3.912/325.77 – Q3); (3.867/330.96 – Q4)

“We stumbled a bit in Q1, and then three fantastic runs for our Infinite Hero SRT Dodge. Somebody’s going to get the first win on this new Charger body. Hagan’s come close; we want to close the deal tomorrow, and I think we’ve got the car. I know we’ve got the team to do it.”

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

Friday: (3.960 seconds at 317.42 mph – Q1); (3.881/328.54 – Q2)
Saturday: (3.899/326.40 – Q3); (3.867/326.40 – Q4)

“We came in here trying to do what we wanted, to be as best as we can every single run. To be the worst of third in one session is pretty outstanding. Maybe that means No. 1 we haven’t been able to have success with, so we’ll go out here tomorrow to see if we can’t turn number three into a win.”

Matt Hagan, Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
Qualified No. 8 will face No. 9 Shawn Langdon

Friday: (4.256 seconds at 214.62 mph – Q1); (7.246/91.65 – Q2)
Saturday: (5.852/116.95 – Q3); (3.946/323.50 – Q4)

“This Mopar team, we struggled a little bit to start out this weekend, but they never gave up and dug deep. (Crew chief) Dickie Venables did a nice job running that 3.94. Good team collaboration with the NAPA guys and the Make-A-Wish boys coming over and helping get this thing straightened right out.”

Tony Schumacher, U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified No. 8 will face No. 9 Scott Palmer

Friday: (3.792 seconds at 326.24 mph – Q1); (6.748/98.23 – Q2)
Saturday: (3.762/329.02 – Q3); (3.722/329.75 – Q4)

“We’ll go fast tomorrow, but the bottom line as it is every weekend is that we’ll need to go rounds on Sunday. We need to win more rounds than anybody else. We’re chasing second place and we just need to go out and be fastest in the qualifying sessions tomorrow and then win rounds on Sunday. This track generally gets better as we go through the weekend, so we’ll be good tomorrow.”
 

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Johnson, Schumacher Take Runner-up Spots at Season-ending NHRA Finals

Johnson, Schumacher Take Runner-up Spots at Season-ending NHRA Finals

Tommy Johnson Jr. races Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car to third final round of season
Johnson leads all Mopar Dodge//SRT Funny Car racers with third-place finish in final standings, Ron Capps finishes fourth
Tony Schumacher advances to final round in Mopar-powered U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, California, finishes second in Top Fuel standings
Mopar Dodge//SRT drivers end season with 11 combined wins in NHRA Top Fuel and NHRA Funny Car Nitro classes
Mopar Dodge dragster driver Leah Pritchett wraps up season fourth in Top Fuel points
Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat pilot Matt Hagan earns eighth-place finish in final Funny Car standings
Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car racer Jack Beckman seventh in Funny Car standings
Steve Wann steers 1962 SS/DA Plymouth Sport Fury to event win in Super Stock at Pomona
Wann, Jon Irving bank final 2018 Dodge Top Finisher Awards in Super Stock and Stock at NHRA Finals

November 11, 2018 , Pomona, California -

Tommy Johnson Jr. and Tony Schumacher raced Mopar Dodge//SRT to runner-up finishes in Funny Car and Top Fuel, respectively, at the season-ending 54th Annual NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, California, on November 11, 2018.

Mopar Dodge//SRT Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) drivers finished the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season with 11 total wins in the NHRA Nitro classes — eight in Funny Car and three in Top Fuel.

Johnson, coming off three consecutive No. 1 spots, started third after holding the provisional pole and earning 14 bonus points during qualifying. The two-time defending event champion at the season-ending Pomona race posted a 3.905-second elapsed time (ET) at 327.59 mph in his Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car, second quickest of the first round, to beat Cruz Pedregon. Johnson survived a scare in the second round against Courtney Force when his engine initially would not fire up, but once his Mopar HEMI® engine turned over, it lit up the board with a winning 3.913-second ET that was quickest of the round.


Next up was an all-DSR Mopar Dodge semifinals battle with Jack Beckman. Johnson matched his quarterfinals ET of 3.913, paired with a speed of 325.06 mph, to outrun his teammate and advance to his fourth straight final round at the NHRA Finals, third of the year and 48th of his career. Johnson left nothing on the table against newly-crowned Funny Car champion J.R. Todd, posting his quickest run of race day with a 3.889 ET at 327.51 mph, but it couldn’t match Todd’s winning 3.872/329.10 pass. With his runner-up finish, Johnson moved to third in the final standings to lead all Mopar Dodge//SRT Funny Car drivers.

Tony Schumacher made the most of his final race in the iconic U.S. Army livery, marching all the way to the final round. “The Sarge” surged to a red-hot start in his Mopar-powered Top Fuel machine, clocking a 3.694 ET that was quickest of the first round to defeat Scott Palmer and earn a spot in round three when his quarterfinal opponent Bill Litton had mechanical issues on the starting line.

In the semifinals against the higher-qualified Blake Alexander, Schumacher led from start to finish to set up a final-round battle against 2018 Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence. Schumacher just missed out on stopping Torrence’s sweep of all six Countdown races. His 3.700/331.61 run was quicker and faster than his opponent’s numbers, but Torrence scored the holeshot win thanks to a .029 reaction time. Schumacher wrapped up the season with one win, six final-round appearances and took second in the Top Fuel final points.

Mopar-powered NAPA Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car driver Ron Capps earned the NHRA Finals pole and had the advantage of a bye when No. 16 qualifier Ray Martin encountered mechanical issues and was unable to make the run. In the quarterfinals, Capps powered his Dodge down the track in 3.921-seconds to take the win against Shawn Langdon’s 3.967 E.T.

The 2016 Funny Car world champion faced Todd in the semifinals. Capps gave it a solid effort, maneuvering his 11,000-horsepower machine down the Pomona track in under four seconds for the sixth consecutive time, but was unable to defeat Todd’s 3.889-second run. Capps closed out the 2018 season ranked fourth in the Funny Car standings, having collected three Wally trophies.

In his 300th professional race, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car driver Jack Beckman advanced to the semifinals. Beckman dodged a bullet in the first round, reeling in his car after it veered toward the center line shortly after launch and then eased it down the strip to defeat Jeff Arend, who also encountered on-track issues. Beckman entered the quarterfinals 30-15 in career matchups against opponent John Force, and added another mark in the win column against the 16-time champ. Force deep-staged for a sizeable lead off the start, but Beckman caught up quickly and pulled away for the round win with a 3.936/318.99 run.

Beckman squared off with DSR teammate Johnson in a match-up of the “giving” cars sponsored by the late Terry Chandler, but fell short in a tight race. The 2012 Funny Car champion racked up two event victories in 2018, good for seventh in the final Funny Car standings.

No. 1 qualifier and Mopar Dodge Top Fuel driver Leah Pritchett seemed primed for a deep run on Sunday after clocking the second-quickest pass in Top Fuel history en route to capturing her fourth pole of the season, but unfortunately the DSR racer’s day ended much sooner than desired.

Pritchett left the starting line first against first-round opponent Bill Litton, but she smoked the tires near the 330-ft. mark and then pedaled her dragster several times in a fierce fight to right her Mopar Dodge and get it pointed down the track. Pritchett shut it down after crossing the center line, ending her day. She wrapped up the 2018 season with two event wins and the fourth spot in the Top Fuel standings, to go along with her three event Wally trophies and overall championship in the NHRA Factory Stock Showdown class.

After claiming the win at the 2018 season-opener, Matt Hagan was looking to bookend his season with another Auto Club Raceway at Pomona Wally trophy. Hagan launched his Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat off the starting line ahead of his first-round opponent Shawn Langdon and held on to the lead until the 330-foot mark, but began to slow near half-track as Langdon sped down track to claim the round win. Hagan finished his 2018 campaign with three event wins, earning the two-time NHRA Funny Car champ an eighth-place finish in the points.

Mopar Dodge//SRT NHRA Sportsman Spotlight
Steve Wann from Modesto, California, drove his 1962 SS/DA Plymouth Sport Fury to the event win in Super Stock at the NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, California. Wann’s Sport Fury, powered by the Mopar 413 cubic-inch Max Wedge V8 engine, ran consistent nine-second ETs all weekend on his path to the winner’s circle. Wann, a past recipient, also earned the Dodge Top Finisher Award in Super Stock.

Jon Irving from Boulder City, Nevada, raced his 1971 D/SA Dodge Demon 340 to a semifinals finish in Stock Eliminator, collecting the Dodge Top Finisher award in the Stock class. Powered by a high-revving Mopar small-block under the factory dual-snorkel hood, Irving’s Demon 340 was consistent throughout the race weekend running in the 10-second range.

The Dodge Top Finisher program completed its second year, awarding $500 to Stock Eliminator and Super Stock drivers who advanced the furthest behind the wheel of a Mopar-powered Dodge, Chrysler, or Plymouth race car at all 24 NHRA national events during the 2018 season. More than 30 different NHRA Sportsman claimed Dodge Top Finisher honors during the year.

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

Tommy Johnson Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 3 Qualifier – 3.867 ET)


Rd.1: (.089-second reaction time, 3.905 seconds at 327.59 mph) beat No. 14 Cruz Pedregon (.104/4.034/281.36)
Rd.2: (.048/3.913/324.90) beat No. 6 Courtney Force (.075/3.942/321.50)
Rd.3: (.065/3.913/325.06) beat No. 2 Jack Beckman (.086/3.919/322.42)
Rd.4: (.055/3.889/327.51) lost to No. 4 J.R. Todd (.049/3.872/329.10)

“It was a great weekend, we just came up a little bit short. I’m proud of my guys; we have such a strong race car. To come out here and finish the season on a competitive note, finish third in points, it’s hard to be ashamed of finishing third so, I’m extremely happy. You always want a better year, unless you’re No. 1, but all in all, not a bad year. I thank Dodge and Mopar for putting the Hellcat on the line for the highest finishing driver. That certainly was in the back of our mind and we’ll put it to good use this year.”

Tony Schumacher, U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster
(No. 8 Qualifier – 3.722 ET)

Rd.1: (.059-second reaction time, 3.694 seconds at 332.34 mph) beat No. 9 Scott Palmer (.066/3.736/327.27)
Rd.2: (.086/4.667/156.10) beat No. 16 Bill Litton (NO TIME)
Rd.3: (.065/3.705/332.26) beat No. 5 Blake Alexander (.080/3.764/322.88)
Rd.4: (.053/3.700/331.61) lost to No. 2 Steve Torrence (.029/3.702/330.07)

“It was a fantastic race. Honestly, a .053 (of a second) light, a 70 (3.70-second) run wins holeshot races. For someone who had a .029, he either rolled it in or took a solid guess. He did a great job. Just such a big round for both of us, it was miraculous. We both ran 330 (mph). The winner of that round was the fans. It was a close, just outstanding. I was on both sides of those many, many times, and I plan on being on both sides of them many, many more. Obviously, we won the first race the Army was ever here with us. We won 80 along the way. We wanted to win this one today for them. We gave it everything we had and came up a few inches short. We’ve done a great job for each other. We did everything we set out to do together 19 years ago. It’s been a privilege and an honor to represent the greatest men and women in the world.”

Ron Capps, NAPA Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 1 Qualifier – 3.848 ET)


Rd.1: (.100-second reaction time, 3.904 seconds at 325.61 mph) beat No. 16 Ray Martin (NO TIME)
Rd.2: (.061/3.921/323.04) beat No. 9 Shawn Langdon (.053/3.967/322.81)
Rd.3: (.060/3.932/316.97) lost to No. 4 J.R. Todd (.053/3.889/328.14)

“We really wanted to put our Funny Car into second place since we didn’t have a chance at the championship this year. That was (crew chief Rahn) Tobler and our whole team’s goal, but we’ll be back strong next season. We’re going to switch to the Hellcat Funny Car body next year, and it was nice to give this old Charger it’s last win at Charlotte and make that great qualifying run in Pomona and end the season on a good note.”

Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 2 Qualifier – 3.867 ET)


Rd.1: (.069-second reaction time, 4.912 seconds at 255.00 mph) beat No. 15 Jeff Arend (.072/8.366/61.13)
Rd.2: (.089/3.936/318.99) beat No. 10 John Force (.029/4.023/321.81)
Rd.3: (.086/3.919/322.42) lost to No. 3 Tommy Johnson Jr. (.065/3.913/325.06))

“It’s like I said at the DSR meet-and-greet today, this isn’t where we wanted to be this morning coming back to Pomona, sitting in eighth place and not in contention for the championship. We’ve had a good car, we’ve had our ups and downs, but so has everybody. But, we’ve changed lives. We’ve raised over $400,000 in the coin program, we’ve raised more through the auctions, and we get to see the veterans’ lives that we’ve changed. We’re doing great things for a lot of people. I think the momentum is starting to shift back to DSR and you know this is going to give us the fuel in the off-season to work that much harder. We’re going to get back to where we need next year.”

Leah Pritchett, Mopar Dodge Top Fuel Dragster
(No. 1 Qualifier – 3.631 ET)


Rd.1: (.081-second reaction time, NO TIME) lost to No. 16 Bill Litton (.142/3.979/309.56)

“Our 2018 was something to be very proud of. We learned more this year than we did the previous year. Ultimately, we finished better than we did the previous year. We feel really good about the offseason even though we didn’t go rounds here this weekend. We know why and it wasn’t a tune-up failure or driver failure – it was a mechanical failure. That’s not going to stop the momentum for 2019 and that’s not just the words behind it. What we’ve proven to ourselves and the world in the last two-and-a-half races shows that the last four-and-a-half months are coming together. It took that long to get our last two races to be in the ZIP code that we want, which happens to be in a different ZIP code than everybody else when it comes to power. I think we’ve been able to return to what this team has stood for for a long time with big power and big numbers. Finally we have that back and we’re just missing one small variable that we’ll pick up during the offseason.

“When we take a step back after what happened today, yeah, we had a phenomenal season with nothing to hang our heads about at all. And what’s exciting about it is what happens next. The attitude among everyone on this team is so positive and uplifting and progressive, you can’t help but think we had a great season and we’re going to have an even more incredible one next season because of that attitude.”

Matt Hagan, Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 8 Qualifier – 3.946 ET)

Rd.1: (.058-second reaction time, 4.115 seconds at 255.19 mph) lost to No. 9 Shawn Langdon (.064/3.918/326.71)

“Not the ending to the season that we wanted. We came into the Countdown in second. We made some changes and it didn’t go our way. We kind of got stuck in a rut and it spun away from us, but at the end of the day, I’m really proud of my guys. They put together a great race car for me every lap. They’ve worked hard and did a phenomenal job of keeping me safe and keeping me moving forward. We’ve got a good group. It’s one of those things where we have some work to do in the off-season, but I’m excited for what 2019 will hold. We’ll continue to work hard and do a good job for our sponsors.”

Up Next: NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona
The 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series blasts off in a little under three months at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, California, for the NHRA Winternationals, scheduled for February 7-10. Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat driver Matt Hagan is the defending event champion in Funny Car at the season-opening race.

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


NHRA Funny Car
1. J.R. Todd — 2726
2. Robert Hight — 2532
3. Tommy Johnson Jr., Dodge Charger R/T — 2519
4. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger R/T (3) — 2510

5. Tim Wilkerson — 2418
6. Courtney Force — 2409
7. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat (2) — 2405
8. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat (3) — 2371

9. John Force — 2356
10. Shawn Langdon — 2285

NHRA Top Fuel
1. Steve Torrence – 2900
2. Tony Schumacher, Mopar Dodge HEMI (1) — 2596
3. Clay Millican — 2573
4. Leah Pritchett, Mopar Dodge HEMI (2) — 2461
5. Brittany Force — 2417
6. Antron Brown — 2378
7t. Mike Salinas — 2308
7t. Doug Kalitta — 2308
9. Terry McMillen — 2301
10. Scott Palmer — 2231

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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