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

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


February 9, 2019 , Pomona, California -

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Discussion Starter #2
Weather claims Winternationals Sunday; race will resume on Monday morning
NHRA officials postponed eliminations for the Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals presented by ProtectTheHarvest.com at Auto Club Raceway until Monday, Feb. 11, following a day of lengthy rain delays.
 

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Beckman Races Dodge//SRT Mopar-powered Funny Car to Finals in Season-opening NHRA Winternationals

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


February 11, 2019 , Auburn Hills, Mich. -



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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



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

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Discussion Starter #4
Hagan Captures Funny Car Win in Arizona

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

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



February 24, 2019 , Chandler, Arizona -


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

NHRA Funny Car

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

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

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

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Qualifying at NHRA Gatornationals

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

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


March 16, 2019 , Gainesville, Florida -

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

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


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

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

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

Dodge//SRT Mopar NHRA Sportsman Spotlight

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Mopar Funny Car to Semis at NHRA Gatornationals


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


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

March 17, 2019 , Gainesville, Florida -

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Qualifying at NHRA 4Wide Nationals in Las Vegas

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

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


April 6, 2019 , Las Vegas, Nevada -

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

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

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


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



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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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




April 7, 2019 , Las Vegas, Nevada -

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

NHRA Top Fuel

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

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

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


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


April 13, 2019 , Baytown, Texas -

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

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

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

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

HIGHER EDUCATION AT 300 MPH

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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NHRA SpringNationals

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

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



April 14, 2019 , Baytown, Texas -


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Mopar to Semifinal Finishes at Charlotte

Hagan, Pritchett Take Dodge//SRT, Mopar to Semifinal Finishes at Charlotte

Matt Hagan and Leah Pritchett advance to final elimination quad in their respective categories at NHRA Four-Wide Nationals
Hagan races Pennzoil Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car to semifinals finish at NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway near Charlotte
Hagan maintains hold on second spot in NHRA Funny Car standings
Pennzoil Mopar Dodge Top Fuel driver Pritchett joins Don Schumacher Racing teammate Hagan as semifinalist at Charlotte
Kelly Mack, Dave Thomas take Dodge Top Finisher honors at Charlotte


April 28, 2019 , Auburn Hills, Mich. -

Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) teammates Matt Hagan and Leah Pritchett powered their Pennzoil Dodge//SRT Mopar machines to semifinal finishes in Funny Car and Top Fuel, respectively, at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway near Charlotte on Sunday, April 28.

Starting from the No. 6 position, Pennzoil Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car driver Hagan finished second out of four drivers in the opening round of the unique “four-wide” racing format to advance deeper in eliminations on the strength of a 3.953 second elapsed time (ET) at 325.14 mph, his quickest pass of the weekend. In the next four-driver pairing, Hagan posted the quickest pass to continue on to the final quad.

Hagan, the 2013 winner at Charlotte, matched up with Force, Robert Hight and Shawn Langdon in the final foursome of the day. Chasing his second win of the season, the two-time Funny Car World Champion smoked the tires early and was forced to settle for a semifinals finish, with Langdon taking the event win. Hagan remains second in the Funny Car point standings.

Pritchett was hoping to end the day at zMAX Dragway with her first Four-Wide Wally trophy, but a loss of traction in the final round dashed her hopes at her first triumph of the year.

Pritchett and her Pennzoil Mopar Dodge team posted the third-best run of the final qualifying session to secure a spot in the top-half of the field. In round one, Pritchett led her quad with a solid 3.775 E.T. In the second elimination session, a blower belt caused the seven-time Top Fuel winner to slow to a 3.947 but it was enough to earn a spot in the final elimination quad where she eventually fell to reigning Top Fuel world champ Steve Torrence and Clay Millican, recording a semifinal finish.

“Fast” Jack Beckman looked to be on a bee-line to the winner’s circle in the early going on Sunday at zMAX Dragway in his Mopar-powered Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car. After banking five total bonus points en route to the No. 2 qualifying spot, DSR driver Beckman was quickest in his first foursome grouping in eliminations, clocking a 3.925 ET at 324.83 mph to advance.

Unfortunately, the 2012 Funny Car World Champion’s run ended in round two, thanks to a dropped cylinder that forced Beckman to pedal his car to a losing 7.194 ET finish. Beckman's performance moved him up in the Funny Car standings, where he now sits tied for fourth.

Tommy Johnson Jr. entered the weekend seeking his first zMAX Dragway win and qualified the Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat No. 4. He posted a 3.978 E.T., the quickest of the first round, to score the victory over his competition. In round two, Johnson found himself stacked against three former world champions. His machine was on a good pass before hazing the tires just past halftrack, allowing his lane four opponent to pull ahead and nab the win, ending Johnson’s day.

As the No. 10 qualifier, NAPA Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car driver Ron Capps faced tough competition in his round-one elimination quad, which included teammate Jack Beckman, Tim Wilkerson, and Dave Richards. Capps stood on the gas and his machine lost traction shortly after, slowing to a 5.172-second pass which wasn’t enough to set off the win light.

In NHRA Factory Stock Showdown competition, defending class champion Pritchett, once again pulling double duty in her Top Fuel and Factory Stock Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak machines at Charlotte, qualified in the ninth position. Pritchett left first in the opening round with a stellar .011 reaction time in her Drag Pak and maintained the lead at half track before opponent Bill Skillman was able to get past and beat her 7.945/173.21 run to nudge out Pritchett by three feet for the win.

Mopar Dodge//SRT NHRA Sportsman Spotlight
In Stock Eliminator, Kelly Mack from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada, drove his FS/C 2009 Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak to a round three finish at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals. Motivating Mack’s Drag Pak to low 10-second ETs is a Mopar 6.1-Liter HEMIÒ engine. Despite running consistent all weekend, Mack bowed out on a redlight foul in the third round of eliminations after leaving the starting line a bit too early. For advancing the furthest in competition, Kelly earned Dodge Top Finisher honors in Stock Eliminator.

Dave Thomas from West Chester, Pennsylvania, drove his FSS/F 2011 Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak to a second round finish in Super Stock at Charlotte. Powered by a Viper V10 engine, Thomas qualified 11th out of 52 Super Stock entries with a run of 9.33 seconds and was looking strong during eliminations. Unfortunately, a slightly tardy reaction time against his opponent ended Thomas’ quest to advance to the next round. Thomas collected the Dodge Top Finisher award in Super Stock.

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

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

Matt Hagan, Pennzoil/Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 6 Qualifier – 3.959 ET)

Rd.1: (.070-second reaction time, 3.953 seconds at 325.14 mph) beat No. 14 Cruz Pedregon (.038/4.671/184.02), No. 11 Jonnie Lindberg (.104/4.786/181.25)
Rd.2: (.133/3.997/316.30) beat No. 7 Tim Wilkerson (.080/4.062/290.07), No. 2 Jack Beckman (.090/7.194/99.31)
Rd.3: (.060/5.252/172.89) lost to No. 5 Shawn Langdon (.069/4.125/305.08), No. 1 Robert Hight (.054/4.159/242.89)

“We were just pushing a little bit too hard up there, really trying to run a number. You can Monday morning quarterback it all day long – it didn’t take that big a number to make it happen, I think a 4.12 won it – but everybody went up there with that same mentality to push hard, and that’s why everybody smoked the tires.

“The thing about it is, we’ve got a great race car. We’re going into Atlanta, we’re coming off of two finals right now, and I just really feel like this team is clicking and working really well. The parts and pieces are working and the guys are putting it (the car) together great. For Sandvik/Mopar/Pennzoil, It’s going to happen soon. Just keep doing what we’re doing. The car is responding to the decisions (crew chief) Dickie Venables is making good or bad. If it’s working, don’t change it.”

Leah Pritchett, Pennzoil/Mopar Dodge Top Fuel Dragster
(No. 5 Qualifier – 3.750 ET)

Rd.1: (.064-second reaction time, 3.775 seconds at 327.03 mph) beat No. 12 Richie Crampton (.054/4.851/153.72), No. 13 Lex Joon (.115/6.231/111.37)
Rd.2: (.092/3.947/271.30 mph) beat No. 4 Doug Kalitta (.079/4.736/163.65), No. 1 Mike Salinas (.076/5.423/149.81)
Rd.3: (.099/4.435/246.30) lost to No. 6 Steve Torrence (.061/3.778/323.19), No. 9 Clay Millican (.019/4.035/310.48)

“The bad news is that we didn’t get a win out of the final. The good news is, we’re done with four-wide racing for the year. I don’t think the four-wide particularly had too much to do with the result of our day. We raced in a lane we only previously had one run in since we had last pick. The highlight is first round we had the race car and driver come together and we were able to sweep past the competition and into the second round. It’s progress. Four-Wide throws a lot of curve balls as you as a driver and a crew chief.

“T-minus five days we’ll be in Atlanta and we’re definitely looking forward to that. It’ll be warm so we’re going to take everything we learned here and apply it there. I can personally say I’m frustrated. I’ve tried a lot of things, physically and mentally, to be where the competition is at with reaction times, and frustrated because it’s not working. I will continue to work towards a solution and I can’t wait to show out in Atlanta.”

Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 2 Qualifier – 3.891 ET)

Rd.1: (.092-second reaction time, 3.925 seconds at 324.83 mph) beat No. 15 Dave Richards (.106/5.044/175.32), No. 10 Ron Capps (.084/5.172/152.95)
Rd.2: (.090/7.194/99.31) lost to No. 3 John Force (.053/4.046/320.81), No. 6 Matt Hagan (.133/3.997/316.30)

“It seems our theme this year has been that we’re not dominant in qualifying, and we find a race day package that works. Then we come here, and now we’re stellar in qualifying, and the second best car first round on race day. And then as soon as I stepped on the throttle that round (the second round), it put a hole out. That’s going to happen when we get to these tracks. We have to figure out how to tune around it, because once we get into the heat of the summer months, we are going to be faced with it a lot.

“I’ve said all along we’ve got a great race car, but we need to prove that. At some point in the next couple of races, we need to push this thing into the winner’s circle. The good thing about having a race next weekend is that we only have to wait five days to dust ourselves off and do this again.”

Tommy Johnson Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 4 Qualifier – 3.938 ET)

Rd.1: (.087-second reaction time, 3.978 seconds at 321.35 mph) beat No. 13 Jeff Diehl (.184/4.492/236.09), No. 12 Terry Haddock (.255/11.602/69.75)
Rd.2: (.075/4.363/213.60) lost to No. 1 Robert Hight (.065/3.977/322.58), No. 5 Shawn Langdon (.059/4.311/248.93)

“Losing in the second round is not what we wanted, but we learned some things and it was still a productive day. We had a good race car but the track was really tricky. The quad we were in, only one car made a full run, the rest of us had issues. We’ll learn from this and take it to Atlanta. It’s only going to get hotter and if we can learn from this for the summertime, that’s great.”

Ron Capps, NAPA Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 10 Qualifier – 4.025 ET)

Rd.1: (.084-second reaction time, 5.172 seconds at 152.95 mph) lost to No. 2 Jack Beckman (.092/3.925/324.83), No. 7 Tim Wilkerson (.076/3.954/317.27)

“The big story for us was dealing with an obstacle that you’re never really ready for during a race, and that is having to change cars during qualifying on Saturday. We’ll figure out what’s wrong with the car we were running and have a front-half done. To be thrown a curve ball like that, and I brag about the NAPA Know How with Tobler, and we had everything ready to go to make the switch and to go up there and make a run like that to qualify is awesome. This team isn’t far from the winner’s circle and I have the utmost confidence. The way this journey has been this year, that win will be very rewarding.”

Up Next: Arby’s NHRA Southern Nationals
Next up for the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series is a trip to Atlanta Dragway for the Arby’s NHRA Southern Nationals, scheduled for May 3-5 in Commerce, Georgia. One of the longest-running events on the NHRA circuit, Leah Pritchett raced her Mopar Dodge Top Fuel machine to the event win last year, and will attempt to duplicate the feat this season.

2019 NHRA Championship — Point Standings After Round 6 of 24 (Season Wins in Parentheses)

NHRA Funny Car

1. Robert Hight (3) – 582
2. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat (1) – 440
3. John Force – 417
4t. J.R. Todd (1) – 394
4t. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat – 394
6. Tommy Johnson, Jr., Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat – 371

7. Tim Wilkerson – 339
8. Shawn Langdon (1) - 338
9. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat – 318
10. Bob Tasca III - 282

NHRA Top Fuel

1. Steve Torrence (1) – 460
2. Doug Kalitta (1) – 426
3. Clay Millican – 394
4. Mike Salinas (1) – 384
5. Brittany Force (1) – 382
6. Leah Pritchett, Mopar HEMI – 378
7. Antron Brown – 317
8. Terry McMillen – 309
9. Richie Crampton (1) – 296
10. Billy Torrence (1) – 265
 

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Ron Capps Races Dodge//SRT Mopar Funny Car to NHRA Southern Nationals Victory

Ron Capps Races Dodge//SRT Mopar Funny Car to NHRA Southern Nationals Victory

Ron Capps scores first NHRA Funny Car win of 2019 by racing Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car to victory in the NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway
Tommy Johnson, Jr. reaches semifinal aboard Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car for the second time in 2019
Defending Southern Nationals winner Leah Pritchett qualified fourth, advanced to second round behind wheel of the HEMI-powered DSR Top Fuel dragster
Jerry Hatch, Jack Zimmerman earn Dodge Top Finisher Awards at Atlanta



May 5, 2019 , Commerce, Georgia -

Ron Capps became the second driver to put a Mopar-powered Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car in the winner’s circle by racing the Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) machine to victory in the 39th annual Arby’s NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Georgia, on Sunday, May 5.

Capps, one of six Mopar-powered Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car drivers in Sunday’s field, earned his 62nd career win, first of 2019 and third career triumph at the track. Tommy Johnson, Jr. reached the semifinal while Jack Beckman, Matt Hagan, Cruz Pedregon, and Jim Campbell were unable to advance past round one. Leah Pritchett raced her HEMI-powered DSR Top Fuel dragster into the second round.


The victory for Capps was well earned for the 2016 Funny Car world champion. He started the day from the No. 11 position and opened eliminations by taking down last weekend’s Charlotte winner, Shawn Langdon, in the first round with a run of 4.076 seconds. Next in his path was 16-time champion John Force and their 101st career match-up. For the fourth straight year, Capps defeated Force in the Southern Nationals by making his best run of the day at 4.022 to Force’s pass of 4.312. In the semifinals, it was an all Mopar/DSR match-up with Capps out-dueling Johnson, Jr. with a run of 4.071 to reach his seventh career final at the facility.

The final pitted Capps versus Tim Wilkerson and it marked the third time in the past five years the duo would race for the Atlanta victory. Wilkerson won in 2015 and Capps was victorious in 2017. On Sunday, Capps was quicker off the starting line and he earned the holeshot victory with his run of 4.068 seconds compared to Wilkerson’s pass 4.052. The margin of victory was 0.0102 seconds (approximately 5 feet).

Despite coming up short in his semifinal matchup with Capps, Johnson, Jr. was extremely happy with the performance of the DSR Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car. In the first round, he avenged his first-round loss in Houston to DSR teammate Matt Hagan with a run of 4.037 seconds and in round two, he defeated reigning Funny Car champion J.R. Todd with a smooth pass of 4.334 to win over Todd’s tire-smoking run of 10.638. By reaching the semifinal, Johnson jumped back up into the top-five in the championship standings heading to Richmond.

After finishing runner-up in Atlanta last May, Matt Hagan was looking to capture his second career victory at the track and score his second win of 2019. Qualifying proved to be difficult for everyone in the class Friday and Saturday with the changing weather conditions and the result was Hagan qualifying the Dayco Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car in the bottom half of the field for the first time this season. He squared off with Johnson in the first round and his run of 4.113 seconds at 287.35 mph couldn’t keep pace with his DSR teammate’s Hellcat Funny Car. Hagan continues to rank second in the championship standings through seven events.

Two-time Southern Nationals winner Jack Beckman made his best run of the weekend in Sunday’s opening-round match-up with 16-time Funny Car world champion John Force, but it wasn’t quick enough to advance. Beckman muscled the Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat down the Atlanta track at 4.040 seconds at 312.78 mph only to see Force deep stage, take the starting line advantage and lead throughout the run with his lap of 3.994 ET at 327.74 mph.

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

In Top Fuel, going back-to-back in Atlanta was the goal of the weekend for Leah Pritchett and her DSR team led by Neil Strausbaugh and Todd Okuhara. The 2018 Southern Nationals champion was looking to become only the fourth Top Fuel driver in the event’s 39-year history to score consecutive event wins in a rail car and first since Doug Kalitta accomplished the feat back in 2005 and 2006.

With Mother Nature knocking out the final qualifying session Saturday, Pritchett began her Atlanta title defense from the fourth position. She was machine-like in her opening round race with Audrey Worm, posting the fourth-best run of the session with her lap of 3.812 seconds at 317.79 mph to earn lane choice in round two. In the second round, Pritchett faced Jordan Vandergriff for the first time and she got the starting line advantage, but her run of 3.898/306.95 came up 0.0105 seconds (approximately 5 feet) short of earning her the victory. Pritchett gained two positions in the standings and heads to Richmond fourth.

Mopar Dodge//SRT NHRA Sportsman Spotlight
Jerry Hatch and Jack Zimmerman added their names to the list of Dodge Top Finisher award winners at Atlanta. Lubec, Maine, native Hatch steered his 1970 Dodge Challenger to a third-round finish to claim the honors in Super Stock, while Zimmerman, hailing from Clemons, North Carolina, earned the honors in Stock in his 1971 Dodge Challenger.

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

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

Ron Capps, NAPA Brakes Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 11 Qualifier – 4.149 ET)

Rd.1: (.064-second reaction time, 4.076 seconds at 315.78 mph) beat No. 6 Shawn Langdon (.060/4.414/202.09)
Rd.2: (.071/4.022/317.57) beat No. 3 John Force (.078/4.312/220.80)
Rd. 3: (.047/4.071/317.19) beat No. 10 Tommy Johnson, Jr. (064/4.091/310.27)
Rd. 4: (.064/4.068/315.34) beat No. 4 Tim Wilkerson (.090/4.052/310.05)

“Today was amazing. It still hasn’t hit me yet. We know we can win from any position, but (starting from 11th) we didn’t have all of the confidence in the world. The NAPA Brakes Dodge was a car you dream about driving. It was going down the lane every time when other people were struggling; cars are having a hard time getting grip and then you have Rahn Tobler pulling out ‘vintage Tobler.’ At the end of the year, you look back on the moments that define the season. We’ve been struggling this year and as a driver, I’ve learned the crew chiefs need you more than ever when they’re searching. Rahn Tobler has made it look easy a lot over the past decade and I’ve been the lucky guy behind the wheel, but you’ve got to be good when they need you the most.”

Tommy Johnson Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 7 Qualifier – 4.031 ET)

Rd.1: (.087-second reaction time, 4.037 seconds at 309.84 mph) beat No. 10 Matt Hagan (.082/4.113/287.35)
Rd. 2: (.079/4.334/218.62) beat No. 2 J.R. Todd (.072/10.638/76.09)
Rd. 3: (.064/4.091/310.27) lost to No. 11 Ron Capps (.047/4.071/317.19)

“I thought we were going to be able to break our Atlanta curse today. We had a good running Dodge Charger SRT in hot conditions and just lost a close one. I’m excited because the summer races are coming and we are running well. It was a good points day, we moved up today. We need to maintain our consistency and stay in this thing and continue to do better. The hot races are coming and with the way we are running, I think our win is coming.”

Matt Hagan, Dayco Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 10 Qualifier – 4.129 ET)

Rd.1: (.082-second reaction time, 4.113 seconds at 287.35 mph) lost to No. 7 Tommy Johnson, Jr. (.087/4.037/309.84)

“This was a tricky race track for us this weekend. Obviously, we had some issues that we just couldn’t overcome. Usually, our hot rod is like a bracket car; put a 94 on it and go racing. The weather threw us for a loop this weekend and we just got behind the eight ball a little bit.”

Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 14 Qualifier – 5.126 ET)

Rd.1: (.091-second reaction time, 4.040 seconds at 312.78 mph) lost to No. 3 John Force (.038/3.994/327.74)

“Tough weekend. Tough race track. There wasn’t a whole lot of success during qualifying in the Funny Car division and we never made it down. I think with us it was a case of too little, too late this weekend. We figured the car out for first round. We made the quickest run in the right lane and it doesn’t matter. It wasn’t quicker than the car in the other lane. We have to get better. And we want to get better and we will get better. I don’t know if that means staying and testing. Or just going and crunching notes before Richmond. We are so much better than this, but you can’t keep saying that when the race day results reflect it. We will fix the car. We figure out how a way to get win lights and we’ll get it back in the winner circle soon.”

Leah Pritchett, Mopar Dodge Top Fuel Dragster
(No. 4 Qualifier – 3.764 ET)

Rd.1: (.068-second reaction time, 3.812 seconds at 317.79 mph) beat No. 13 Audrey Worm (.157/4.008/289.88)
Rd.2: (.068 /3.898/306.95) lost to No. 5 Jordan Vandergriff (.085/3.871/313.15)

“I think the real winners here today have been the fans. In that second round race, they got to see a real close drag race. We don’t take any of our competition lightly, especially that team. This was our one and only run on a hot track this weekend. We have been wearing more clutch than we wanted to and it kind of bit us right there. This was the hottest track we’ve run on all year. We’re going to take what we learned in that run and take it with us to the races coming up in the summer. We know we have a really good race car. We are all keeping our heads held up high, but we are disappointed. We wanted to go back-to-back with wins here at Atlanta and the fans have fueled that fire. We gave it everything we had and we’re going to keep hunting for more.”

Up Next: Virginia NHRA Nationals
Mopar and Dodge//SRT competitors will head next to the second annual Virginia NHRA Nationals, May 17-19 at Virginia Motorsports Park in Richmond, Virginia. Two-time Funny Car world champion Matt Hagan will look to score his first Funny Car triumph in his home state of Virginia and second of 2019 aboard his Mopar-powered Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car.

2019 NHRA Championship — Point Standings After Round 7 of 24
(Season Wins in Parentheses)

NHRA Funny Car
1. Robert Hight (3) – 663
2. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat (1) – 472
3. John Force – 470
4. J.R. Todd (1) – 456
5. Tommy Johnson, Jr., Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat –445
6. Tim Wilkerson - 436
7. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat (1) – 430
8. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat – 425

9. Shawn Langdon (1) - 365
10. Bob Tasca III - 338

NHRA Top Fuel

1. Steve Torrence (2) – 579
2. Brittany Force (1) –483
3. Doug Kalitta (1) - 464
4. Leah Pritchett, Mopar HEMI – 433
5. Clay Millican – 427
6. Mike Salinas (1) – 384
7. Antron Brown – 373
8. Richie Crampton (1) – 329
9. Terry McMillen – 319
10. Austin Prock - 288


 

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Back-to-Back Wins with Virginia NHRA Nationals Triumph

Capps Races Dodge//SRT Mopar Funny Car to Back-to-Back Wins with Virginia NHRA Nationals Triumph

Ron Capps scores second NHRA Funny Car win of 2019 by racing Mopar-powered Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car to victory in Virginia NHRA Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park
Victory is third this year for a Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car driver
Tommy Johnson, Jr. reaches second consecutive semifinal aboard Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
Thomas Auger and Stephen Comella earn Dodge Top Finisher Awards



May 19, 2019 , Auburn Hills, Mich. -

Ron Capps became the first 2019 repeat winner in NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Funny Car competition Sunday, taking his Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) Mopar-powered Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car to victory in the second annual Virginia NHRA Nationals near Richmond.

Capps followed his Atlanta triumph two weeks ago with a run through the Funny Car field on an extremely warm day in Virginia to score his 63rd career victory, his 30th win with crew chief Rahn Tobler and his first Wally at Virginia Motorsports Park. The victory was also the third this season for a DSR Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car pilot.


En route to the historic win Capps knocked out fellow DSR and Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car driver Tommy Johnson, Jr. in the semifinals while Jack Beckman, Matt Hagan, Cruz Pedregon and Jim Campbell also competed Sunday in Mopar-powered Funny Cars. Leah Pritchett qualified her DSR HEMI-powered Mopar Top Fuel dragster sixth, but wasn’t able to advance past the first round.

The march to victory for Capps in his NAPA Dodge began with a stout run in the opening round of 3.997 seconds at 313.58 mph to dispatch Jim Campbell, who smoked the tires approximately 300 feet into his run. Up next for Capps was a battle with current point leader Robert Hight in round two. This one was all about reaching the finish line first and the former champions staged a classic pedalfest with both cars losing traction multiple times, but it was Capps that was able to reach 1000 feet first. His lap of 6.173 was enough to advance for another semifinal match-up with Tommy Johnson, Jr. where Capps took the starting line advantage and pulled away for the victory despite losing a cylinder as Johnson went up in smoke just after the hit and never recovered.

In his 121 st career final, Capps was not to be denied as he left first on reigning Funny Car champion J.R. Todd and posted his second-best run of the day at 4.097 to capture the win. The victory moves Capps up to eighth all-time in wins with 63 and allowed him to jump from seventh to third in the championship standings.

Tommy Johnson, Jr. continued his success in hot climate this weekend aboard the Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat. After a runner-up finish earlier this season in Las Vegas and a semifinal appearance two weeks ago in Atlanta, Johnson and the Make-A-Wish team have proven their Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car can handle the heat. He qualified second with his second run on Friday and took care of business seamlessly in his opening round match-up against Terry Haddock with his pass of 4.027 seconds at 316.52 mph. With track temperatures reaching over 140 degrees, Johnson and fellow Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car racer Jack Beckman were on the spot right away in round two when their machines quickly lost traction. Johnson was able to recover almost immediately and cruised to a victory over Beckman with his pass of 5.356. The victory set up a second consecutive semifinal matchup with Capps. Johnson lost traction early again, but this time he wasn’t able to recover and Capps knocked him out for the second consecutive event.

Beckman’s bid for a second Virginia NHRA Nationals triumph was a bumpy one as his Infinite Hero squad were faced with the hottest conditions of the season. They struggled to get their footing during qualifying, eventually settling in the No. 10 starting position to secure a first-round draw with teammate Matt Hagan where both cars lost traction early and the two world champions were quick to get back on the throttle. Beckman was able to rein-in his Hellcat first and take the win. Beckman’s luck ran out when he lost traction again during his second round race with Johnson and couldn’t get his machine to recover in time to advance.

Two-time NHRA Funny Car world champion Matt Hagan was looking for his second triumph of the 2019 this weekend in his home state of Virginia. After qualifying the DSR Shelor Motor Mile Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat seventh in the field, he matched up with teammate Jack Beckman and took the starting line advantage, but lost traction in a big way near the 800-foot mark. Beckman lost traction in his run as well, but Hagan wasn’t able to gather his machine back in time to capture the win. The two are now tied with 22 victories versus one another in their 44 career races.

In Top Fuel, Leah Pritchett and her Mopar Dodge team led by Neil Strausbaugh and Todd Okuhara ventured to Virginia with high hopes. After losing in the second round two weeks’ prior in Atlanta, Pritchett was looking to utilize some valuable high heat data to make a deep run Sunday. She qualified sixth and that put her opposite of her DSR teammate Antron Brown to start the day. Unfortunately for Pritchett, her day was over almost as soon as it started. The tandem were the first pair to make a pass Sunday and Pritchett’s machine lost traction almost immediately after her launch. Brown drove away with the victory posting a lap of 3.872 seconds at 312.42 mph compared to Pritchett’s run of 5.388 seconds at 139.06 mph.

The weekend was Pritchett’s third of 2019 where she pulled double duty as the reigning Factory Stock Showdown champion. She qualified her Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pack 12th before losing in the first round.

Mopar Dodge//SRT NHRA Sportsman Spotlight
Thomas Auger and Stephen Comella earned Top Dodge Finisher Awards in Richmond. Auger, from Marco Island, Florida, drove his 1963 H/SA Dodge 330 to a pair of round wins in Stock Eliminator before being beat off the starting line in round three. Comella raced his original 1968 SS/AH HEMI Dodge Dart to through six rounds of competition in Super Stock before earning a runner-up finish. This was the second Dodge Top Finisher Award for the Webster, New York, driver after he collected one earlier this year at the 50th Annual Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida.

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

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

Mark Bosanac, Head of Mopar Service, Parts & Customer Care, FCA – North America
“The win today by Ron Capps and his team is the third this season for the Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car body. Capp's Virginia triumph is yet another validation of the extensive testing and development involved in unleashing the Charger SRT Hellcat body on the drag strip.”


Ron Capps, NAPA Brakes Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 3 Qualifier – 3.927 ET)

Rd.1: (.081-second reaction time, 3.997 seconds at 313.58 mph) beat No. 14 Jim Campbell (.093/6.497/99.14)
Rd.2: (.067/6.173/251.11) beat No. 6 Robert Height (.092/6.204/270.75)
Rd. 3: (.063/4.212/301.94) beat No. 2 Tommy Johnson, Jr. (.096/10.184/90.53)
Rd. 4: (.038/4.097/310.98) beat No. 4 J.R. Todd (.071/No Time)

“I can’t say enough. I’m so lucky to be driving this car. Two wins in a row. This is what dreams are made of. I told (Rahn) Tobler and those guys that I’ve never won at this track. And today, we added another one to the list. That says something about the people that I’m surrounded by. My NAPA guys, Autocare Center boys, Pennzoil, US Compression, and especially Dodge today. We could not have won a couple of those rounds without that Hellcat and its downforce. Don Schumacher gives us everything we need. And Rahn Tobler, this is our 30th win together since 2012. That’s craziness.”

Tommy Johnson Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 2 Qualifier – 3.922 ET)

Rd.1: (.095-second reaction time, 4.027 seconds at 316.52 mph) beat No. 15 Terry Haddock (.133/4.132/296.24)
Rd. 2: (.087/5.356/212.03) beat No. 10 Jack Beckman (.077/8.238/102.56)
Rd. 3: (.096/10.184/90.53) lost to No. 3 Ron Capps (.063/4.212/301.94)


“To say it was a tricky racetrack today would be a huge understatement. We had a nice run there in the first round and then the track got really tricky for everyone. To be able to win the second round on a pedal job was good. I was hoping Capps would smoke his tires too and we could pedalfest it out, but credit to those guys for getting down the track. We know moving forward the race tracks are only going to get hotter, so I’m glad we’ve run well in the heat. I feel like we are really close to having the right tune up for it.”

Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 10 Qualifier – 4.005 ET)

Rd.1: (.093-second reaction time, 4.649 seconds at 251.44 mph) beat to No. 7 Matt Hagan (.082/4.113/287.35)
Rd.2: (.077/8.238/102.56) lost to No. 2 Tommy Johnson, Jr. (.087/5.356/212.03)

“Disappointing weekend. We got beat second round and only made it to the finish line one time, which means we really didn’t acquire any data here and as hot as this place was, we’re going to see a heck of a lot more of that in the summertime. We just had to cycle in a brand-new clutch disc and we really don’t have another option for its spot in the clutch pack, but we might have to rethink how we apply it. The silver lining is, we got a round win out of here so we didn’t take too bad of a beating in the points, but we’ve just got to figure out what this thing needs for power application, and we need to figure it out by Chicago.”

Matt Hagan, Shelor Motor Mile Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 7 Qualifier – 3.991 ET)

Rd.1: (.082-second reaction time, 4.113 seconds at 287.35 mph) lost to No. 10 Jack Beckman (.087/4.037/309.84)

“It was a really hot, greasy weekend here in Richmond. We were hoping to get us a home state win here in Virginia, but we just could not get our Shelor Motor Mile Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat down the track clean in that race with Jack. He had some trouble too, but not as much as we did. It’s usually a little muggy out here and the humidity is crazy. Thanks to all of our fans that came out all weekend and especially today for the show everyone in NHRA puts on for them. Really looking forward to getting to Chicago. I’ve had a lot of success there. We have won that race several times and set some world records there. And we are just going to keep digging and do everything we can to put this Mopar Funny Car in the winner’s circle very soon.”

Leah Pritchett, Mopar Dodge Top Fuel Dragster
(No. 6 Qualifier – 3.793 ET)

Rd.1: (.101-second reaction time, 5.388 seconds at 139.06 mph) lost to No. 11 Antron Brown (.064/3.872/312.42)

“The learning curve for these hot conditions is very steep. Unfortunately, we had to race our teammate in round one. We gave it everything we had. We knew they were bringing their A game, and we definitely thought that we were bringing ours. We had confidence in our tune-up. We’ve been chasing clutch wear issues and trying to make them as consistent as possible. At the beginning of this heat wave, we’re taking as much information as we can. This first round loss stings a little bit, but you won’t see another team work as hard as we are right now to find a solution and move past this as soon as possible.”

Up Next: Route 66 NHRA Nationals
Mopar and Dodge//SRT competitors will head next to the 22nd Annual Route 66 NHRA Nationals, May 31 – June 2 at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Illinois. Two-time Funny Car world champion Matt Hagan, a three-time Route 66 Nationals Funny Car winner, will be joined by DSR’s Hellcat Funny Car contingent of previous Route 66 winners – Ron Capps, Jack Beckman and Tommy Johnson, Jr.

2019 NHRA Championship — Point Standings After Round 8 of 24
(Season Wins in Parentheses)

NHRA Funny Car
1. Robert Hight (3) – 701
2. J.R. Todd (1) – 556
3. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat (2) – 548
4. Tommy Johnson, Jr., Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat – 527

5. John Force – 524
6. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat (1) – 506
7. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat – 477

8. Tim Wilkerson - 463
9. Shawn Langdon (1) - 404
10. Bob Tasca III - 369

NHRA Top Fuel
1. Steve Torrence (3) – 717
2. Brittany Force (1) –541
3. Doug Kalitta (1) - 498
4. Clay Millican – 489
5. Leah Pritchett, Mopar HEMI – 469
6. Antron Brown – 467
7. Mike Salinas (1) – 466
8. Richie Crampton (1) – 363
9. Terry McMillen – 352
10. Austin Prock - 341
 

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Route 66 NHRA Nationals

Johnson Qualifies No. 2 at Chicago, Leads Seven Mopar-powered Dodge Charger NHRA Funny Car Drivers into Elimination Rounds


Tommy Johnson Jr. will start No. 2 at Route 66 NHRA Nationals in his Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
Five Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car drivers qualify in top half of field at Route 66 Raceway near Chicago
Coming off back-to-back wins, Ron Capps posts his Mopar-powered NAPA Dodge third
Jack Beckman takes Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat to fifth starting position
Matt Hagan moves his Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat from 12th to seventh
Leah Pritchett will start eliminations from the eighth spot in her Mopar-powered Top Fuel dragster


June 1, 2019 , Joliet, Illinois -

Mopar-powered Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car driver Tommy Johnson Jr. raced to the No. 2 starting spot at the 22nd Annual Route 66 NHRA Nationals near Chicago, leading a large field of seven HEMI®-fueled Dodge drivers into the elimination rounds at Route 66 Raceway on Sunday.

Johnson and his three Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) Dodge//SRT Mopar teammates earned berths in the top half of the field, as well as Dodge driver Cruz Pedregon, putting Dodge//SRT Mopar drivers in five of the top eight positions.


An extended rain delay pushed the final qualifying session to an evening start, and Johnson took full advantage of the cooler temperatures and prime track conditions. After clocking a 3.933-second elapsed time (ET) to open Saturday as the only Funny Car to break into three seconds and earn the No. 3 spot, the Ottumwa, Iowa, native saved his best for last, unleashing a 3.882 ET at 326.84 mph to lock in the second position and end qualifying with a total of six bonus points.

Back-to-back NHRA event winner Ron Capps looks in strong position to keep the momentum going in his Mopar-powered Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat after earning the No. 3 spot for Sunday eliminations. Capps claimed the provisional pole on Friday with a sizzling 3.893-second elapsed time (ET) at 326.00 mph, the quickest and fastest run of the first session. He bettered that mark in his final qualifying hit with a 3.882, but it was only good enough for third in the ultra-quick final session. Capps also earned six bonus points during qualifying.

Jack Beckman banked two bonus points to open qualifying, part of a DSR Mopar Dodge 1-2-3 sweep in Q1 (Capps was No. 1, with Johnson No. 3.) The Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat driver and 2012 Funny Car World Champion wrapped up qualifying in fifth. Two-time Funny Car champion Matt Hagan was ranked 12th after the first three qualifying rounds, but he cranked up his Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat in the final session and uncorked a 3.936/323.97 pass to move up to No. 7.

Joining the DSR foursome in the race for the Route 66 Funny Car win tomorrow are a trio of Mopar-powered Dodge Charger pilots: Pedregon (No. 8), Paul Lee (No. 15) and Jim Campbell (No. 16).

Leah Pritchett, runner-up last year at Route 66 Raceway, placed her Okuma Mopar Dodge Top Fuel Dragster in the top half of the field in the eighth position. The DSR star notched her spot with a 3.776/327.82 in the opening qualifying session.

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

Tommy Johnson Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
Qualified No. 2, will face No. 15 Paul Lee

Friday: (3.951 seconds at 323.04 mph – Q1); (7.265/85.34 – Q2)
Saturday: (3.933/323.81 – Q3); (3.882/326.84 – Q4)

“I’m super excited about Q3. Those were conditions where nobody was getting down the track, and we set low E.T., but I’m almost more excited about tonight’s run. We’ve struggled with night qualifying and to come out here in conditions like that and go No. 2 with similar conditions to what we’ll see tomorrow was awesome. We’ve been to the final here a few times so tomorrow if we can continue to run like that, we should maybe get another one.”

Ron Capps, NAPA Brakes Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
Qualified No. 3, will face No. 14 Bob Bode

Friday: (3.893 seconds at 326.00 mph – Q1); (3.933/324.05 – Q2)
Saturday: (4.110/250.18 – Q3); (3.882/325.33 – Q4)

“Obviously, conditions change a lot. We saw (Austin) Prock, (Robert) Hight and my teammate Tommy Johnson and John Collins make big runs. I mean, everybody’s throwing these shots out there. To sit in the car and know that you have a chance to go up there and battle for the No. 1 spot – a horse to ride to get that No. 1 spot – and to end up third, we did a great job. We’re just trying to carry on these NAPA Brakes colors; the fans are enjoying it, and it’s been a lot of fun.”

Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
Qualified No. 5, will face No. 12 Blake Alexander

Friday: (3.940 seconds at 325.92 mph – Q1); (4.013/316.75 – Q2)
Saturday: (4.714/172.81 – Q3); (3.899/331.28 – Q4)

“We came off the trailer with the second-low E.T. run after testing in Richmond, and then we ended qualifying with a 3.89 which keeps us in the top-half of the field and I think that’s most important because tomorrow’s conditions are going to be unbelievable. It should be a cool, fast race track. We actually were going to face better conditions in Sunday than on any of our qualifying runs until we got this late Saturday rain-delayed run. I love the fact that we got test data. I feel really confident about our car. We’re getting a better handle on our car, I feel like I’m driving better, we’re getting close to that first win of the year.”

Matt Hagan, Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
Qualified No. 7, will face No. 10 Bob Tasca III

Friday: (4.004 seconds at 318.24 mph – Q1); (7.540/87.38 – Q2)
Saturday: (6.708/101.48 – Q3); (3.936/323.97 – Q4)

“We finally got our race car back that last lap. We were struggling with some power issues a little bit earlier, but we got that problem figured out. Anytime you have some issues come up, it kind of puts you a little behind the eight-ball, but honestly, the confidence I have in (crew chief) Dickie (Venables) and Mike (Knudsen), I know we’re going to have a great racecar on Sunday. It’ll be a good race against Bob Tasca. He’s got a good car over there. But, at the end of the day, I feel like we can turn the win lights on.”

Leah Pritchett, Okuma Mopar Dodge Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified No. 8, will face No. 9 T.J Zizzo

Friday: (3.776 seconds at 327.82 mph – Q1); (6.358/104.47 – Q2)
Saturday: (6.110/114.63 – Q3); (3.785/327.82 – Q4)

“Of course, this is a hometown race for Don Schumacher, but for what everyone at DSM is doing back home in Brownsburg is just phenomenal. We’re running it loud and proud, we made it down in two out of four hits and we’re looking forward to eliminations tomorrow.”

Tune-in Info
Action from the Route 66 NHRA Nationals will air on FS1 on Sunday, June 2, with coverage scheduled for 11:30 a.m. ET and the NHRA Sunday Finals broadcast kicking off at 5:30 p.m. ET. For complete information, visit www.nhra.com
 

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Johnson Captures First NHRA Funny Car Win

Johnson Captures First NHRA Funny Car Win of Season at Chicago, Third Consecutive for Dodge//SRT Mopar

Tommy Johnson Jr. powers to first victory since November 2017 at Route 66 NHRA Nationals near Chicago
Victory is third consecutive for a Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car driver following back-to-back wins by Johnson’s Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) teammate Ron Capps
Johnson collects 18th career win in second final of season, 50th final overall
Jack Beckman joins Johnson in putting a Mopar-powered Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car in semifinals at Route 66 Raceway
Capps bows out in quarterfinals at Chicago, ends impressive nine-round win streak
Matt Hagan advances to quarterfinals in Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
Leah Pritchett exits in round one in Okuma Mopar Dodge Top Fuel dragster
Mike Cotten and Mike Wagner race to Dodge Top Finisher honors


June 2, 2019 , Joliet, Illinois -

Tommy Johnson Jr. raced to his first win of the season at the 22nd Annual Route 66 NHRA Nationals near Chicago on Sunday, June 2, moving up to second in the Funny Car point standings and bringing home the third consecutive win this year for a Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat NHRA Funny Car driver.

The win was the 18th of Johnson’s career in his 50th overall final and second this season, and marked his first victory since the NHRA Finals in November 2017, ending a 32-race drought. The triumph was also the second for the Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat driver in five career final-round appearances at Route 66 Raceway.


The Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) pilot led a field of seven Dodge//SRT Mopar Funny Car drivers into eliminations, with five advancing out of the opening round and two into the semifinals. Johnson’s Chicago win marks the third in a row for Dodge//SRT Mopar following victories at Atlanta and Richmond by DSR teammate Ron Capps, and is the fourth in nine races this year for the Charger SRT Hellcat.

Johnson kicked off race day from the No. 2 spot after a strong qualifying effort that saw the 2015 Chicago event winner collect six bonus points. He posted a steady 3.946-second elapsed time (ET) in round one to defeat fellow Dodge Charger driver Paul Lee, and was even better in the quarterfinals with the quickest pass of the round at 3.941-seconds to outrun DSR Mopar Dodge teammate Matt Hagan.

Johnson left first in the semifinals against John Force with a quicker .081-second reaction time to Force’s slower .137 mark, earning him the holeshot win on a 3.972/321.81 run and a spot against No. 1 qualifier Robert Hight in the final round. Hight knocked out three Dodge machines on his path to the final but Johnson ended that trend in dramatic fashion, overcoming a “boom and bang” under the hood to hold off Hight, who smoked the tires early, at the stripe.

The 2012 Funny Car world champion and Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car driver “Fast” Jack Beckman lived up to his nickname when he unloaded with a 3.930 ET at 329.18 mph against Blake Alexander in round one, which held up to be the quickest and fastest of race day.

In round two, Beckman ripped off another impressive run, a winning 3.962 ET over Jeff Arend. The semifinal round pitted Beckman against current point standings leader Hight. Beckman suffered an uncharacteristic miscue when he stood on the throttle early and activated the red light, handing the round win to his opponent.

Hagan used the final qualifying session on Saturday to jump his Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car into the top half of the field at No. 7, and he carried that momentum into Sunday with a winning 3.954/328.46 first-round pass against Bob Tasca III. The three-time Chicago event winner was trailing in a close battle with DSR teammate Johnson in the quarterfinals when a dropped cylinder down track ended any hopes of yet another Route 66 Raceway victory by Hagan.

Back-to-back NHRA event winner Ron Capps, runner-up last year at Chicago, entered race weekend seeking his third consecutive victory. The Mopar-powered NAPA Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat driver collected six bonus points in qualifying to begin race day from the No. 3 seed. Capps defeated Bob Bode in round one but the DSR driver’s streak of nine consecutive round wins would come to an end in the Joliet quarterfinals when he was defeated by Force during the 102nd head-to-head race day matchup between the two stars.

Cruz Pedregon, one of five Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car drivers to qualify in the top half of the field, was also one of five Hellcat pilots to advance to the second round at Chicago. Pedregon took out Tim Wilkerson but bowed out against Hight in the quarterfinals. Dodge driver Jim Campbell also lost to Hight in round one.

In Top Fuel, Leah Pritchett, runner-up last year at Route 66 Raceway, qualified eighth in her Okuma Mopar Dodge Top Fuel dragster. She faced off with T.J. Zizzo in round one and was first to leave the starting line, but as Pritchett neared halftrack mechanical issues resulted in a fiery engine “boom” and caused a rear tire to blow. She skillfully avoided the wall and was able to guide her car safely to rest, but her competitor drove to the round win.

Dodge//SRT Mopar NHRA Sportsman Spotlight
Mike Cotten from Cave Creek, Arizona, qualified a strong No. 7 and drove his F/SA 1973 Plymouth Duster 340 to a solid round-four finish in Stock Eliminator at the Route 66 NHRA Nationals. Cotten was edged out of a semifinals appearance by about two feet, but earned the Dodge Top Finisher award in the class for his deep run in eliminations.

In the Super Stock class, Lapeer, Michigan, native Mike Wagner steered his 426 GEN III HEMI-powered FSS/D 2015 Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak to a round-two finish, good for Dodge Top Finisher honors.

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

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

Mark Bosanac, Head of Mopar Service, Parts & Customer Care, FCA – North America
“Congratulations to Tommy Johnson Jr. on his win today in Chicago. His victory is the third consecutive for a Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car driver this year, and we hope it’s just one of many more visits to the winner's circle this season for our drivers and teams."

Tommy Johnson Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 2 Qualifier – 3.882 ET)

Rd 1: (.081-second reaction time, 3.946 seconds at 325.85 mph) beat No. 15 Paul Lee (.078/4.673/180.72)
Rd 2: (.071/3.941/323.81) beat No. 7 Matt Hagan (.078/4.071/274.16)
Rd 3: (.081/3.972/321.81) beat No. 11 John Force (.137/3.953/322.42)
Rd 4: (.062/4.175/229.86) beat No. 1 Robert Hight (.049/4.438/202.55)

“I felt it (the car) start spinning the tires and I didn’t see him (opponent Hight), and it’s been a long time since I’ve won, so I was going to leg it to the lights, I didn’t care. We were going to get that win. I’m just happy for everyone – Make-A-Wish, Mopar, Hangsterfers, our new partner Okuma. I drove my Dodge Hellcat to the track this weekend and I just drove this one to the winner’s circle, baby!

“It makes your heart stop for a second because you’re sitting there coasting and you know he’s (Hight) got to be there somewhere. It’s the longest coasting you’ve ever done in your life. You’re thinking ‘come on, get there,’ and then I saw the light come on and I was just so thrilled for the guys and (team sponsor) Doug Chandler. He continued this program, so I’m happy we could get this win for him. We’ve been close a lot – seven times we were there in the final and couldn’t get it done so it was nice to finally do that. You keep trying to get these wins and you come up short, and you come up short, but you keep fighting. I can’t thank my guys enough. They’ve done a great job.”

Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 5 Qualifier – 3.899 ET)

Rd 1: (.069-second reaction time, 3.930 seconds at 329.18 mph) beat No. 12 Blake Alexander (.074/4.250/222.77)
Rd 2: (.087/3.962/329.75) beat No. 13 Jeff Arend (.110/4.028/317.49)
Rd 3: (-.044/4.352/206.86) lost to No. 1 Robert Hight (.055/4.105/239.40)

“I feel about three inches tall right now. My job as a driver is to go up there and drive the car well, and I didn’t, and what makes it sting even worse is, we had the better car that round. Not to say we would’ve won the race but we certainly would’ve won that round and I gave it away with a red light. There’s no silver lining on that. I’m not going to beat myself up for two days because that doesn’t work. I’m going to go home and be dad for two days then get back on an airplane and head to Topeka, so I’ll be ready to go. I’ll think positive thoughts, I’ll practice at home, I’ll visualize and if we’re holding the trophy Sunday at Topeka, that’s probably the best salve for this.”

Matt Hagan, Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 7 Qualifier – 3.936 ET)

Rd 1: (.113-second reaction time, 3.954 seconds at 328.46 mph) beat No. 10 Bob Tasca III (.078/4.014/320.28)
Rd 2: (.078/4.071/274.16) lost to No. 2 Tommy Johnson Jr. (.071/3.941/323.81)

“We struggled a little bit in qualifying, but we found the problems and addressed those issues and ended up having a really good race car on race day. I got through round one and didn’t have lane choice. I just let it get a little inside, and it got sucked in and kind of pulled the tires loose. Once you get these things inside, it’s hard to get them back. Just a little combination of everything. This one falls on me this weekend, so I’ll have to do better in Topeka for my team. We’re looking forward to racing the next couple of weekends in a row. We’ve got a lot of data to accumulate and a lot of different racetracks to hit. Ready to do a little work at home, and then get back here and get busy again.”

Ron Capps, NAPA Brakes Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 3 Qualifier – 3.882 ET)

Rd 1: (.083-second reaction time, 3.944 seconds at 325.53 mph) beat No. 14 Bob Bode (.116/4.349/215.51)
Rd 2: (.066/4.018/298.47) lost to No. 11 John Force (.054/3.961/325.53)

“The car fell off a lot during round two, and (crew chief Rahn) Tobler and the guys are trying to figure out what happened. It looks like it lost a little bit of fuel pressure, but we’ll find out and see what’s going on. The good thing is, we have back-to-back race weekends. Four races in a row can be fun if you’re running good and have a great car like we do. I’m excited to get back to our signature blue NAPA livery in Topeka and continue climbing back up in the Mello Yello points.”

Leah Pritchett, Okuma Mopar Dodge Top Fuel Dragster
(No. 8 Qualifier – 3.776 ET)

Rd 1: (.071-second reaction time, 4.736 seconds at 137.39 mph) lost to No. 9 T.J. Zizzo (.087/3.821/313.22)

“First and foremost, unfortunately, we did not get the win light, which is disappointing. But man, we were on one heck of a pass going for a low 3.70 before we had a part malfunction which led to a chain of events eventually resulting in all hell breaking loose and a cut tire among other things. Every safety mechanism we had in place on the car did its job. I was able to get the car straight and stopped. Our crew chiefs and engineers are all working toward making sure a situation like that doesn’t happen again. We had the best-case scenario in a worst-case storm in regards to safety. Sometimes people lose sight of these cars and the fast show we put on that it could end a different way. I’m thankful for the team that I have and the guys back at the shop for developing a great chassis and parts. We’re keeping our sights on win lights, but for now, we’re focused on fixing this problem.”

Up Next: NHRA Heartland Nationals
Dodge//SRT Mopar drivers will head next to the second of four consecutive events, the NHRA Heartland Nationals, scheduled for June 7-9 at Heartland Motorsports Park in Topeka, Kansas. DSR Funny Car drivers have enjoyed much success at the Midwest stop — Ron Capps owns four career wins at Topeka, while Jack Beckman has visited the winner’s circle twice and Matt Hagan once. For complete event information, visit www.nhra.com.

2019 NHRA Championship – Point Standings After Round 9 of 24
(Season Wins in Parentheses)


NHRA Funny Car
1. Robert Hight (3) – 818
2. Tommy Johnson, Jr., Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat (1) – 650
3. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat (2) – 610

4. John Force - 596
5. J.R. Todd (1) – 593
6. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat (1) – 559
7. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat – 553

8. Tim Wilkerson - 495
9. Shawn Langdon (1) - 435
10. Bob Tasca III - 401

NHRA Top Fuel

1. Steve Torrence (4) – 820
2. Doug Kalitta (1) - 574
3. Mike Salinas (1) – 573
4. Brittany Force (1) - 572
5. Antron Brown – 544
6. Clay Millican - 523
7. Leah Pritchett, Mopar HEMI – 497
8. Richie Crampton (1) – 410
9. Terry McMillen – 383
10. Austin Prock – 375
 

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NHRA Heartland Nationals Finals

Beckman Drives Dodge//SRT Mopar Funny Car to NHRA Heartland Nationals Finals in Topeka

Jack Beckman runs Don Schumacher Racing Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car to second final of 2019 at NHRA Heartland Nationals at Heartland Motorsports Park in Topeka, Kansas
For eighth time in 10 NHRA events this season, a Mopar-powered Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat driver races for Wally
Tommy Johnson, Jr. follows Chicago victory by reaching fourth consecutive semifinal aboard Mopar-powered Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
Reigning Factory Stock Showdown champion Leah Pritchett pulls double duty in her Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak and Mopar-powered Top Fuel dragster
Gene Mosbek drives his SS/FA 1964 Plymouth Savoy to victory in Super Stock class at Topeka, earns Dodge Top Finisher Award


June 9, 2019 , Auburn Hills, Mich. -

Jack Beckman finished runner-up Sunday in the 31st annual Menards NHRA Heartland Nationals in Topeka, Kansas, after becoming the fourth consecutive Mopar-powered Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat driver to reach the final round in Funny Car competition.

Beckman’s run to his 59th career final round appearance followed a semifinal run last weekend in Chicago. The road to the final for the driver of the Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat included encounters with a pair of former champions, including fellow DSR and Hellcat Funny car racer Matt Hagan, before Beckman lost in the final to current championship leader Robert Hight.


Tommy Johnson, Jr. reached the semifinals for the fourth consecutive race after knocking out DSR teammate Ron Capps. Cruz Pedregon and Jim Campbell also made Sunday’s field in Hellcat Funny Cars. Leah Pritchett qualified her DSR HEMI-powered Mopar Top Fuel dragster 10th, but was narrowly defeated by Doug Kalitta in the first round.

After qualifying 10th, Beckman found himself facing teammate Hagan in round one with both Mopar-powered machines making their quickest passes of the weekend, and it was Beckman that posted the win with his 3.912 E.T. versus Hagan’s 3.925. The two-time Topeka champion backed up his opening run with another stellar pass of 3.940 ET to knock out Tim Wilkerson and earn a semifinal contest with 16-time world champion John Force. Beckman’s consistency continued with his machine-like run of 3.970 to set up a rematch of the season-opening final in Pomona with Hight and mark eight times in the first 10 national events in which a Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car driver advanced to the final.

Looking for revenge from his early season defeat, Beckman dug deep to try and even the score, ripping off a .029-second reaction time, but his lead did not last long. Hight pulled ahead almost immediately and held on for the win, ending Beckman’s chances at his first Funny Car triumph of the season and 29th of his career.

Arguably the hottest driver in the Funny Car class coming into the weekend was last week’s Chicago winner Tommy Johnson, Jr. After reaching the semifinals in Atlanta and Richmond behind the wheel of the Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, Johnson sealed the deal last Sunday in the Route 66 Nationals. He was looking to make it back-to-back wins Sunday after qualifying fourth and underscored that statement with his best run of the weekend, 3.914 ET, in his round one victory over Terry Haddock setting up his 36th career matchup with DSR teammate Ron Capps.

After losing twice in the previous three races to Capps, Johnson got the starting-line advantage with his .039-second reaction time and took the holeshot victory after the two made identical 3.941 ET runs. In the semifinal, Johnson faced point leader Hight and his chance to defeat his opponent in consecutive events ended quickly when he left -0.102 early and turned on the red light before going up in smoke at the starting line. Johnson continues to rank second in the championship standings through 10 of 24 national events.

After qualifying in the top half of the field for the third consecutive event, Capps opened Sunday by powering the 11,000 horsepower NAPA Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat straight down track in 3.974 seconds to take the first round win and extend his record to a perfect 8-0 against fellow Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car driver Campbell. In round two, it was another battle between Hellcat Funny cars as Capps faced Johnson for the third time in the last four races, but he couldn’t overcome Johnson’s starting line advantage and his shot for a fifth Topeka triumph was over.

Driving the Shelor Motor Mile Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, Hagan secured a top-half qualifying position for his 250th Funny Car event and drew teammate Beckman in round one. Both Funny Car champions were nearly even launching off the line, and despite making his best pass of the weekend (3.925 seconds), Hagan was not able to outrun Beckman. In other first-round action with Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Cars competing, Cruz Pedregon lost to Bob Tasca III.

In Top Fuel, Leah Pritchett was looking to make a deep run aboard the DSR Shell ROTELLA Mopar Dodge Top Fuel dragster Sunday after qualifying 10th. She drew Doug Kalitta in the first round and despite posting a pass of 3.779 ET at 327.98 mph, her best run of the weekend, Kalitta claimed his 13th victory in 20 career races with Pritchett. This was the fourth weekend in 2019 where Pritchett pulled double duty, as the reigning Factory Stock Showdown champion also qualified her Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pack eighth before losing in the first round.

Mopar Dodge//SRT NHRA Sportsman Spotlight

Gene Mosbek from Pine Lake, Minnesota, qualified No. 52 and drove his SS/FA 1964 Plymouth Savoy to six win lights en route to coming out victorious in the Super Stock class during Sunday's NHRA Heartland Nationals. His victory came following a nearly perfect .001 reaction time as he used his 426 Cubic-Inch Max Wedge V8 to capture his sixth NHRA national event win and earn him the Dodge Top Finisher award in the class.

In the Stock Eliminator class, Austin Williams from Waxahachie, Texas, qualified his E/SA 1972 Plymouth Duster 340 No. 20 and raced his way into the fourth round to score the Dodge Top Finisher honors.

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

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

Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 10 Qualifier – 4.018 ET)

Rd.1: (.067-second reaction time, 3.912 seconds at 326.24 mph) beat to No. 7 Matt Hagan (.070/3.912/326.40)
Rd.2: (.060/3.940/325.45) beat to No. 2 Tim Wilkerson (.056/3.956/320.58)
Rd.3: (.080/3.970/326.56) beat to No. 3 John Force (.053/4.001/323.74)
Rd.4: (.029/3.969/323.97) lost to No. 9 Robert Hight (.065/3.895/330.88)

“This is the nice thing about having back-to-back races. After me fumbling in the semis at Chicago, we had the chance to redeem ourselves this weekend. We did not look good in qualifying, but lately, that’s kind of been our M.O. It doesn’t matter how well we run Friday and Saturday, (co-crew chiefs Dean) Guido (Antonelli) and John (Medlen) just seem to find a way on Sunday. We kept plugging away at it, and nobody likes to lose in the final round, but I see our stock on the uptick right now, and I can’t wait for next week in Bristol and then the week after that in Norwalk. I think we finally have a car that can contend for the championship.”

Tommy Johnson Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 4 Qualifier – 3.948 ET)

Rd.1: (.086-second reaction time, 3.918 seconds at 317.05 mph) beat No. 13 Terry Haddock (.103/4.174/286.68)
Rd. 2: (.039/3.941/320.66) beat No. 5 Ron Capps (.058/3.941/320.13)
Rd. 3: (-.102/13.237/75.91) lost to No. 9 Robert Hight (-.100/3.900/330.63)

“This was another weekend where we had a really good car. Big picture wise we made it to another semifinal and leave here sitting second in points. I hate it that I made a mistake there at the starting line. I was just pushing. We knew Robert (Hight) was running well and we had to push hard. I pushed just a little too much. The bottom line is the Make-A-Wish Dodge SRT Charger Hellcat is a really good car right now. We’ll head to Bristol and hopefully go to another final round.”

Ron Capps, NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 5 Qualifier – 3.952 ET)

Rd.1: (.098-second reaction time, 3.974 seconds at 317.57 mph) beat No. 12 Jim Campbell (.099/4.165/274.94)
Rd.2: (.058/3.941/320.13) lost No. 4 Tommy Johnson, Jr. (.039/3.941/320.66)

“We qualified well, ran well, we just got beat by another car that’s running really, really well. I always say every time we race Tommy Johnson, I’m racing (Make-A-Wish crew chief) John Collins and Rahn Tobler because I feel like we’re running our own car over there. That’s a huge compliment to both crew chiefs. It’s a bummer to have not collected more points in Topeka, but everyone is so bunched up in the Funny Car point standings right now. The good thing is, we go right to Bristol. We only have a few days off, and when you have a car that’s running as good as our NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, you love back-to-back weekends.”

Matt Hagan, Shelor Motor Mile Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 7 Qualifier – 3.987 ET)

Rd.1: (.070-second reaction time, 3.925 seconds at 326.40 mph) lost to No. 10 Jack Beckman (.067/3.912/326.24)

“Short race day, unfortunately. We had a really good race car, and it was running really well. I think it did everything (crew chief) Dickie Venables wanted it to do out there. It was just tough; we were going up against a really strong car. Not to take away from anybody else, but it makes it tough when you have to line up against a teammate first round.”

Leah Pritchett, Shell ROTELLA Mopar Dodge Top Fuel Dragster
(No. 10 Qualifier – 3.883 ET)

Rd.1: (.076-second reaction time, 3.779 seconds at 327.98 mph) lost to No. 5 Doug Kalitta (.072/3.737/331.69)

“We were definitely looking forward to the different conditions that we had today compared to what we had Friday and Saturday. This team is known for making very fast passes and things coming together. Unfortunately, today is a result of qualifying. We know that if we would have qualified better, we wouldn’t not have matched up in the first round with a final round type of competitor in Doug Kalitta. We were smart about our approach to today’s race and gave it all we had. We were just on the losing end of a really good drag race today. If there was ever more fuel to add to the drive for this team to have, this definitely adds to it. In the moments after, we are already thinking about how we can be better for next week. It’s disappointing we couldn’t make Sunday a long day, but there is a reason the season is 24 races. We learned a lot today and we will use that moving forward.”

Up Next: NHRA Thunder Valley NHRA Nationals
Mopar and Dodge//SRT competitors will head next to the 19th Annual NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals, June 14-16 at Bristol Dragway in Bristol, Tennessee. Ron Capps is the winningest Funny Car driver at Bristol and will be looking to make it three straight wins in Thunder Valley. Fellow Charger SRT Hellcat racers Tommy Johnson, Jr, a two-time Bristol winner, and 2015 Bristol winner Matt Hagan will also be chasing their second triumphs of 2019. For complete event information, please visit www.nhra.com.

2019 NHRA Championship — Point Standings After Round 10 of 24
(Season Wins in Parentheses)


NHRA Funny Car

1. Robert Hight (4) – 933
2. Tommy Johnson, Jr., Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat (1) – 725
3. John Force – 681
4. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat (2) – 666
5. J.R. Todd (1) – 656
6. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat – 645
7. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat (1) – 592

8. Tim Wilkerson - 556
9. Shawn Langdon (1) - 468
10. Bob Tasca III - 455

NHRA Top Fuel
1. Steve Torrence (5) – 949
2. Doug Kalitta (1) - 628
3. Brittany Force (1) –625
4. Antron Brown – 619
5. Mike Salinas (1) – 573
6. Clay Millican – 557
7. Leah Pritchett, Mopar HEMI – 529
8. Richie Crampton (1) – 467
9. Austin Prock - 452
10. Terry McMillen – 417
 

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NHRA Thunder Valley

Dodge//SRT Mopar Drivers Beckman and Capps Power to NHRA Thunder Valley Semifinal Finishes

Jack Beckman drives Don Schumacher Racing Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car to third consecutive semifinal of 2019 at NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway in Bristol, Tennessee
Ron Capps reaches third consecutive NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals semifinal and fourth 2019 semifinal aboard Mopar-powered Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
Leah Pritchett earns No. 2 qualifying position aboard Mopar Dodge Top Fuel Dragster, bows out in round one
Mike Cotten and Michael Volkman race to Dodge Top Finisher honors



June 16, 2019 , Auburn Hills, Mich. -

Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) teammates Jack Beckman and Ron Capps led the brigade of Dodge//SRT Mopar machines to semifinal finishes in the 19th Annual NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway in Bristol, Tennessee on Sunday, June 16.

Mopar-powered Dodge//SRT drivers Capps and Beckman now sit fourth and fifth, respectively, in the standings just behind DSR teammate Tommy Johnson, Jr., who currently holds the third position.

“Fast Jack” Beckman and his Infinite Hero Foundation team followed last week’s run to the final in the NHRA Heartland Nationals with another consistent weekend in Bristol. Beckman piloted the Mopar-powered Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car to the fourth position in qualifying and envisioned capturing his first Thunder Valley triumph with his strong run in the opening round of eliminations of 3.912 seconds at 326.24 mph to defeat Tim Wilkerson.


In round two, Beckman posted another stout run, a triumphant 4.076 ET over reigning Funny Car champion J.R. Todd. His third consecutive semifinal appearance pitted him against John Force where Beckman’s day ended approximately 60 feet after his launch when he lost traction. He tried to recover, but Force was gone..

Two-time defending Thunder Valley Nationals winner and NAPA Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car driver Ron Capps began his run for a third consecutive Father’s Day triumph from the No. 7 position. He began the day by making a smooth run of 4.005 seconds to dispatch Blake Alexander and advance to round two.

Capps faced Shawn Langdon in the second round and used the quickest run of the quarterfinals at 4.039 seconds to capture the victory. With the round win, he faced Bob Tasca III in the semifinal where the two were nearly even off the starting line, but when his machine lost a cylinder near the midway point of the run it drifted near the centerline forcing Capps to end his run.

Johnson earned his position in the top half of Sunday’s field by closing qualifying with an impressive run of 4.003 seconds to grab the eighth position. It marked the second time in the last five events where Johnson and DSR teammate Matt Hagan squared off in round one. Johnson was on the money in this race posting his best run of the weekend, 3.964 ET, to capture his third consecutive win over a slowing Hagan. The momentum from his first-round victory was short lived as Johnson went up in smoke after the hit against John Force to end his chances of a second victory in three races.

After qualifying the Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat ninth with his second round qualifying run of 4.012 seconds, two-time World Champion Hagan continued his recent trend of running into fellow DSR and Hellcat Funny Car racers during the early rounds of eliminations. He was paired against Johnson to open eliminations Sunday. Both left the starting line with identical .080-reaction times, but Hagan lost a cylinder near halftrack and his machine pulled hard toward the center line forcing him to take evasive action and his lap of 4.736 wasn’t enough to avoid his fifth consecutive loss against another Hellcat Funny Car.

In other first-round action with Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Cars competing, Cruz Pedregon lost to Robert Hight and Jim Campbell was defeated by Tasca.

In Top Fuel, Leah Pritchett scored five bonus points during qualifying aboard the Mopar Dodge Top Fuel dragster and started from the No. 2 position, her best of the season. Pritchett was eyeing her first career triumph at Bristol Dragway and first of the 2019 campaign. In her first-ever race versus Lex Joon, Pritchett left the starting line first but quickly had her hands full trying to pedal her machine down the track. Ultimately, she was able to get her dragster to recover, but not in time to catch Joon.

Dodge//SRT Mopar NHRA Sportsman Spotlight

In Stock Eliminator, Mike Cotten drove his F/SA 1973 Plymouth Duster 340 to a runner-up at the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals. The longtime Mopar Sportsman racer who hails from Cave Creek, Arizona, drove through six eliminator matchups of intense competition to reach his eighth final round appearance. Racing off an 11.18-second dial-in during the finals, Cotten had a great reaction time but unfortunately broke-out by a mere 0.007-second by running a 11.173 ET. With this performance, Cotton earned the Dodge Top Finisher award in the class.

Michael Volkman from Campobello, South Carolina, drove his 2000 GT/LA Chrysler Sebring to a round two finish in Super Stock at Bristol Dragway. Powered by a Mopar 318 cubic-inch V8, Volkman was looking to extend his quest for another victory until a redlight ended his day early. Volkman, a pervious multi-time Dodge Top Finisher winner in 2017 and 2018, once again collected the honors in Super Stock.

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

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

Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 4 Qualifier – 3.976 ET)

Rd.1: (.067-second reaction time, 3.912 seconds at 326.24 mph) beat to No. 13 Tim Wilkerson (.070/3.912/326.40)
Rd.2: (.060/4.076/315.64) beat to No. 5 J.R. Todd (.059/4.397/284.81)
Rd.3: (.073/7.532/319.90) lost to No. 1 John Force (.027/4.125/316.38)

“In the last three races, we have put seven round wins together and maybe more importantly we have a predictable car. Once you make it consistent you can lean on it and get quicker. What I see as confidence inspiring is that we are now able to make good runs on cool tracks and hot tracks. I don’t think it’s going to matter what conditions we face going forward, because I think we have a tune-up solution for that. I do know that if we keep running like this that our first race win of the season is going to come pretty soon. The good thing is that you don’t want to get to this part of the season and start struggling. We are on an upward trend and I expect that to continue.”

Ron Capps, NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 7 Qualifier – 4.002 ET)

Rd.1: (.080-second reaction time, 4.005 seconds at 314.53 mph) beat No. 10 Blake Alexander (.052/4.383/212.16)
Rd.2: (.089/4.039/312.28) beat No. Shawn Langdon (.068/4.080/309.27)
Rd.3: (.065/4.216/258.86) lost to Bob Tasca III (.060/4.048/317.87)

“Obviously, we’re a little bummed we couldn’t get back to the final and have a shot at going three-in-a-row. Still, we’re exceptionally pleased with how we did on Saturday, getting down the track and earning lane choice with a 4.002 in the heat. And then to go three rounds today was good. In the semis, the car got out there a little bit, and then Tasca pulled ahead, and I shut the car off early. We haven’t had a cylinder drop like that early into the run in a long time, so we’ll look at the data and see why it did that.”

Tommy Johnson Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 8 Qualifier – 4.003 ET)

Rd.1: (.080-second reaction time, 3.964 seconds at 311.92 mph) beat No. 9 Matt Hagan (.080/4.736/223.50)
Rd. 2: (.134/8.529/88.42) lost to No. 1 John Force (.083/4.044/318.32)

“The track caught us off guard there in that second round run. It’s been pretty tricky all weekend and we weren’t expecting that. We tuned for the conditions and we’ve had a pretty good handle on it all weekend. We know we have a really fast Hellcat right now. We just need to keep doing what we are doing and we’ll go some more rounds. I really thought with today’s conditions we had a great chance, but sometimes they’ll surprise you. We’ll get right back at it in Norwalk in a few days and see if we can end this four-race deal the same way we started it… with a victory.”

Matt Hagan, Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 9 Qualifier – 4.012 ET)

Rd.1: (.080-second reaction time, 4.736 seconds at 223.50 mph) lost to No. 8 Tommy Johnson, Jr. (.080/3.964/311.92)

“This was a really tough weekend and it all comes down to qualifying. We just have to have the results on Friday and Saturday to put us in a better position on Sunday. Top half would have been huge today. We struggled with that left lane and kind of fell victim to it. We’re going to test tomorrow and we are hoping we can make some runs to get ourselves squared away. That’s all we can really do is keep digging. We have a big responsibility to our sponsors in Mopar, Pennzoil and Sandvik and all the people that make this happen. We are going to have to turn things around and start making things happen.”

Leah Pritchett, Mopar Dodge Top Fuel Dragster
(No. 2 Qualifier – 3.757 ET)

Rd.1: (.072-second reaction time, 4.972 seconds at 162.39 mph) lost to No. 15 Lex Joon (.120/4.536/205.41)

“We really had some good momentum coming into race day from some solid qualifying runs. We have been chasing clutch-wear inconsistencies and just when we think we’ve got it under control, boom, it shows its face again. But, we will conquer it; this I know for sure, just as I will conquer patience in pedaling of the car in warmer conditions. It’s difficult when you see your opponent having trouble, too. You just want to get to the finish line first, and fight mode comes in. These challenges are definitely making us a stronger team, and we will prevail.”

Up Next: Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals
Up next for Mopar Dodge//SRT drivers and teams is the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio, scheduled for June 20-23. The event concludes a stretch of four consecutive races for NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series competitors. Mopar Dodge driver Leah Pritchett will once again pull double duty in the Top Fuel and Factory Stock Showdown classes, while Matt Hagan will attempt to defend his 2018 event win in the NHRA Funny Car class.

2019 NHRA Championship — Point Standings After Round 11 of 24
(Season Wins in Parentheses)


NHRA Funny Car
1. Robert Hight (4) – 990
2. John Force – 786
3. Tommy Johnson, Jr., Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat (1) – 783
4. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat (2) – 741
5. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat – 720

6. J.R. Todd (1) – 711
7. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat (1) – 624
8. Tim Wilkerson - 587
9. Bob Tasca III (1) - 574
10. Shawn Langdon (1) - 528

NHRA Top Fuel
1. Steve Torrence (5) – 1048
2. Doug Kalitta (1) - 709
3. Antron Brown – 676
4. Mike Salinas (2) – 691
5. Brittany Force (1) –663
6. Clay Millican – 611
7. Leah Pritchett, Mopar HEMI – 571
8. Richie Crampton (1) – 499
9. Austin Prock - 486
10. Terry McMillen – 470
 

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NHRA Nationals at Summit Raceway Park

Dodge//SRT Mopar Funny Car Racer Capps Powers to No. 1 Qualifying Position at Norwalk

Ron Capps races his NAPA Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car to No. 1 qualifying position in Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals at Summit Raceway Park in Norwalk, Ohio
Three Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car drivers qualified in top four positions
Leah Pritchett will start eliminations from the second spot in her Mopar-powered Top Fuel Dragster
Pritchett races Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak into Sunday’s Factory Stock Showdown field
Jack Beckman chases fourth Norwalk Funny Car triumph in his Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car from fourth position
Seven Mopar-powered Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat drivers make Funny Car field at Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals

June 22, 2019 , Norwalk, Ohio -

Ron Capps captured Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) its first No. 1 qualifying position of the season with four consistent runs behind the wheel of his Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car at the 13th Annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals at Summit Raceway Park in Norwalk, Ohio.

Capps and his DSR Dodge//SRT Mopar teammate, Jack Beckman, who qualified his DSR Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car fourth, lead seven Mopar-powered Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car drivers that qualified for Sunday’s elimination rounds.


Unseasonably cool temperatures Friday provided Capps, the 2016 Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals winner, and the rest of the field excellent conditions during the weekend’s first two qualifying sessions. After posting the third-best run in session one, Capps closed the second qualifying session with a blazing 3.879-second elapsed time (ET) at 329.18 mph pass. His speed continued Saturday earning a pair of qualifying points in the third session and topping the final session giving the two-time 2019 Funny Car winner a total of 10 bonus points during qualifying en route to his 23rd career No. 1 qualifying position and first in Norwalk.

Beckman continued his mission of becoming the fourth driver to capture an NHRA Wally behind the wheel of a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car. The three-time Norwalk winner was the pacesetter in the opening round of qualifying at the northern Ohio speedplant with a 3.955/322.65 run and followed with a faster run of 3.915/329.26. Beckman earned four bonus points and landed in the top-half of the ladder for the seventh time this season.

Tommy Johnson, Jr. is chasing his second 2019 Funny Car triumph and first victory at Norwalk this weekend. The pilot of the Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car made his best run during Friday’s second session to earn the eighth position. Matt Hagan, the 2018 Norwalk winner, stopped the clock at 3.975 racing his Sandvik Coromant Dodge SRT Charger Hellcat to claim the 11th position. Johnson will meet Tim Wilkerson in the first round while Hagan begins his run toward a second consecutive Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals victory racing Bob Tasca III.

In addition to the DSR foursome in the race for the Norwalk Funny Car win tomorrow, Paul Lee qualified third with his final qualifying session run of 3.914 while Mopar-powered Dodge Charger pilots Dale Creasey and Cruz Pedregon rank 14th and 15th, respectively.

Leah Pritchett is pulling double duty for the fifth time this season and put both her machines in elimination ladders on Sunday. Pritchett qualified the DSR Mopar-powered Top Fuel Dragster second with her run of 3.714/325.45 in Friday’s second qualifying session. With an impressive pass of 8.017/170.11 early Saturday afternoon driving her Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak, Pritchett grabbed the 12th slot as she continues defending her 2018 Factory Stock Showdown championship.

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


Ron Capps, NAPA Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
Qualified No. 1, will face No. 16 Bob Bode

Friday: (3.965 seconds at 322.65 mph – Q1); (3.879/329.18 – Q2) Saturday: (3.955/323.19 – Q3); (3.912/325.06– Q4)

“Everyone went up there to throw down and take the No. 1 spot from us in that last session. There’s nothing better than putting our Hellcat No. 1 and picking the pocket of (John) Force’s and his Chevy. I know that was an extra fist pump for (team owner) Don (Schumacher) last night in Q2. And then today in Q4, we knew Force went 91 right in front of us and then when I turned the corner after making the Q4 pass and the NHRA on FOX crew told me we had run a 3.912 and had snatched the three (bonus) points from Force, that was pretty cool. It’s just so much fun right now. I don’t want to get cocky or overconfident, but (crew chief Rahn) Tobler has had an extra pep in his step. He’s confident in the car.”

Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
Qualified No. 4, will face No. 13 Jonnie Lindberg

Friday: (3.955 seconds at 322.65 mph – Q1); (3.915/329.26 – Q2) Saturday: (4.405/202.85 – Q3); (3.965/318.69 – Q4)

“We were three out of four in qualifying, got some bonus points and maybe more important, we ran well enough on Friday that we got to play with some stuff on Saturday. This is the stuff that’s going to make a difference in the Countdown to the Championship. But first, we’ve got to get our first trophy out of the way, and I want to do that tomorrow.”

Tommy Johnson, Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
Qualified No. 8, will face No. 9 Tim Wilkerson

Friday: (5.345 seconds at 134.69 mph – Q1); (3.928/326.40 – Q2) Saturday: (6.994/95.85 – Q3); (3.953/322.65 – Q4)

“I know (crew chief) John (Collins) and the Make-A-Wish guys were looking for a little more in that final qualifying run. They were trying to step it up. We are doing a little testing. We have been running really well, but you don’t stay running well if you don’t try some things. The guys have been trying some things this weekend and we are learning some stuff. I’m sure we’ll put the car back the way it normally runs tomorrow and we’ll go out there and win some rounds.”

Matt Hagan, Sandvik Coromant Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
Qualified No. 11, will face No. 6 Bob Tasca III

Friday: (4.056 seconds at 322.50 mph – Q1); (3.975/325.22 – Q2) Saturday: (5.893/116.91 – Q3); (3.943/325.85 – Q4)

“We needed to bump up in that final qualifying session. If we didn’t we would have been racing Tommy (Johnson, Jr.) again in the first round. I’m tired of race my teammates. I think we’ve had that scenario the last four or five races. It was nice to change that. We’ll take that run for sure. It was important that we got down the track in that run and the results were all we could ask for.”

Leah Pritchett, Don Schumacher Racing/Mopar/Dodge Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified No. 2, will face No. 15 Luigi Novelli

Friday: (3.805 seconds at 324.44 mph – Q1); (3.714/325.45 – Q2) Saturday: (3.802/321.04 – Q3); (3.795/321.50 – Q4)

“We are very impressed with the moment this team has built through making four solid qualifying passes. Starting from the two spot is advantageous to having a good solid day. As a good friend once said, better done than said, so now it’s up to us to make four good hits tomorrow. I can’t think of a better way to end this four-race swing than by getting started with a first round win. Overall, the vibe is amazing. The attitudes are high. The support of John who is here. I can’t wait to get race day underway.”

Leah Pritchett, Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak
Qualified No. 12, will face No. 4 Bill Skillman

Friday: (8.133 seconds at 167.59 mph – Q1); (8.220/152.01 – Q2)
Saturday: (8.017/170.11– Q3);

“That 8.01 puts us in the field and this Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak gets to race on Sunday. That was some nerve-wracking stuff right there. The decision was between do you push hard to get in the show or do you try and make it down with a number that may or may not get you in the show. I’m super proud Kevin Helms and this team. We said we are going to give it everything we’ve got. It stuck on the starting line. Everything was good going down. All the points on target. 170 miles per hour at 8.01 and we get to race tomorrow.”
 

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Beckman Runner-Up in Mopar-powered Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat at Norwalk

Beckman Runner-Up in Mopar-powered Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat at Norwalk

Jack Beckman powers Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car to third 2019 final at Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio
DSR driver Tommy Johnson, Jr. races Mopar-powered Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car to sixth semifinal of 2019
Leah Pritchett charges Mopar Dodge Top Fuel Dragster to semifinals
Halfway through the 2019 season, Dodge//SRT Mopar drivers hold three of the top five positions in the Funny Car standings
Four Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Cars advance to the quarterfinals
Reigning Factory Stock Showdown champion Leah Pritchett qualifies Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak 13th, bows out in first round


June 23, 2019 , Norwalk, Ohio -

Jack Beckman advanced to his third final round of the season and 59th of his career, finishing runner-up in his Dodge//SRT Mopar machine in the 13th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio.

At the halfway point of the 2019 season, Dodge//SRT Mopar drivers own three of the top five positions in the Funny Car standings.

“Fast Jack” and his Infinite Hero Foundation team closed out an impressive four-race stretch, reaching the semifinals all four races, making two final rounds and climbing from seventh to fourth in the standings. Beckman wasn’t the only Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) driver to make a deep run Sunday. Tommy Johnson, Jr. powered his Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car to the semifinals for the sixth time this season and Leah Pritchett turned on a pair of win lights in her HEMI-powered Top Fuel dragster.

Beckman’s quest for a fourth Norwalk triumph opened with a pass of 3.950 seconds, the second-fastest run of the first round, to defeat Jonnie Lindberg. After dispatching Shawn Langdon with a solid run in round two, it was an all-DSR/Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat battle in the semifinals with Beckman and Johnson. The 2012 Funny Car world champion did lose traction about halftrack, but he kept his machine going down the track to defeat Johnson, who lost traction immediately, and reach his fourth career final at Summit Motorsports Park.

In the final, Beckman was up in smoke at the hit of throttle and Bob Tasca III raced away for the win.


Before Johnson’s day ended abruptly versus Beckman in the semifinal round, he continued his dominance over Tim Wilkerson with a run of 4.288/215.62 to advance and face fellow DSR and Hellcat teammate Capps in round two. Johnson was clean from start to finish clocking a run of 4.058 and was never challenged by the No. 1 qualifier who lost traction at the hit.

After qualifying second for the second consecutive event, Pritchett was focused on advancing past the first round for the first time in six races. She accomplished that mission by chasing down Luigi Novelli with her run of 3.807/327.11. It took the best run of the second round, 3.821, for Pritchett to knock out three-time Top Fuel world champion Antron Brown. In the semifinal round, Pritchett went up in smoke at the launch and she wasn’t able to recover and lost to Pat Dakin.

After earning his first No. 1 qualifier and 23rd of his career, 2016 Funny Car world champion Capps opened competition with a smooth run of 3.961/318.69 in his Pennzoil-backed Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat to dispatch Bob Bode in round one. His run for a second Norwalk triumph came to an end when he lost traction at the hit and was forced to watch DSR teammate Johnson drive to victory.

Two-time Funny Car world champion and 2018 Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals winner Matt Hagan qualified the Sandvik Coromant Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat 11th and was eyeing a strong finish to the four-race stretch. Hagan faced last week’s winner Bob Tasca III in the opening round and he uncharacteristically stood on the gas prematurely and activated the red light to automatically hand the victory to Tasca.

In other first-round action with Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Cars competing, Cruz Pedregon lost to John Force and Dale Creasy was defeated by fellow Hellcat competitor Paul Lee, who also fell to Tasca.

Mopar Dodge//SRT NHRA Sportsman Spotlight
In Factory Stock Showdown, Leah Pritchett raced the DSR Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak to the 13th position in the 16-car field at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals. The reigning FSS champion took on Bill Skillman in the first round and Pritchett had the early advantage with her .036-second reaction time. Skillman drove around her with his pass of 7.919/172.72. Pritchett’s run of 8.047/171.60 wasn’t enough to score the round win.

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

Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 4 Qualifier – 3.915 ET)

Rd.1: (.072-second reaction time, 3.950 seconds at 324.75 mph) beat to No. 13 Jonnie Lindberg (.082/9.971/71.79)
Rd.2: (.069/4.015/318.77) beat to No. 12 Shawn Langdon (.056/4.075/313.95)
Rd. 3: (.088/4.980/234.45) beat No. 8 Tommy Johnson, Jr. (.067/6.969/143.34)
Rd. 4: (.061/11.764/77.85) lost to No. 6 Bob Tasca III (.077/4.383/245.09)

“We had a really solid four-race swing, but we really need a trophy. That’s what sets in the minds of all the crew guys that ‘we can do this’. I’ll take all the runner-ups we can get in the Countdown, because then it’s about points. Right now, we really want that trophy and we are so close. It’s bittersweet to run this good, and then not put a good effort in the final round. In the last four races, we have won 10 rounds, which is about as good as anyone is doing in Funny Car. We are moving back up in the points. Our cars are making consistent runs and I think now we are one of the favored cars again. As a driver that always feels great. You drive better when you feel like you are on a faster horse. I feel that way right now and I wish we were racing next weekend.”

Tommy Johnson Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 8 Qualifier – 3.928ET)

Rd.1: (.071-second reaction time, 4.288 seconds at 215.62 mph) beat No. 9 Tim Wilkerson (.082/4.462/195.11)
Rd. 2: (.068/4.058/316.58) to No. 1 Ron Capps (.076/11.144/75.31)
Rd. 3: (.067/6.969/143.34) lost to No. 4 Jack Beckman (.088/4.980/234.45)

“We were hoping to have a shot at our first Norwalk win, but just overpowered the track there early and couldn’t get it back under me to chase down Jack. We can’t be too disappointed in the four-race stretch. We got a win and two semifinal appearances. We’ve got a really good Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat right now. It’s been a long four in a row and everybody is looking forward to a weekend off. We’ll regroup and come back swinging in Epping.”

Ron Capps, Pennzoil/NAPA Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 1 Qualifier – 3.879 ET)

Rd.1: (.107-second reaction time, 3.961 seconds at 318.69 mph) beat No. 16 Bob Bode (.097/10.304/87.07)
Rd.2: (.076/11.144/75.31) lost No. 8 Tommy Johnson, Jr. (.068/4.058/316.58)

“It hurts not to walk out of here with a Wally as good as this Hellcat was. That green hat we got for qualifying number one represents a crew chief and a crew that adapted to so many different conditions on Friday and Saturday. That’s a feather in the cap for those guys, but we really felt like we had a great car for race day. Smoking the tires at the hit of the throttle isn’t some our car does too often. We didn’t feel like we were pushing too hard. I think these little moments we are having at these tracks where we are exiting early are going to help us down the road. As we get rid of all these little issues, hopefully that will get us ready for the countdown.”

Matt Hagan, Sandvik Coromant Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 11 Qualifier – 3.975 ET)

Rd.1: (-.041-second reaction time, 5.190 seconds at 147.23 mph) lost to No. 6 Bob Tasca III (.071/3.957/324.59)

“I messed up bad today. Red lit, double-stepped it. I was up there ready to go, and it seemed like a long light to me. My foot said ‘go,’ and the tree hadn’t fallen yet. I was a little too amped up, I guess. We have a little break (in the schedule) coming up. We’ll get back into the groove of things and have a fresh start in Epping. I’ve got some time to let the dust settle. We didn’t have a great four-race swing, but we still have a lot of racing to do.”

Leah Pritchett, Don Schumacher Racing/Mopar/Dodge Top Fuel Dragster
(No. 2 Qualifier – 3.714 ET)

Rd.1: (.130-second reaction time, 3.807 seconds at 327.11 mph) beat to No. 15 Luigi Novelli (.010/4.600/167/53)
Rd.2: (.122/3.821/326.00) beat No. 7 Antron Brown (.042/3.981/304.39)
Rd.3: (.083/5.378/223.76) lost No. 14 Pat Dakin (.027/4.603/170.43)

“We’re definitely ending this four-race swing on a high note. We made six consistent full-pulls this weekend. That’s given this team not only the confidence that we’ve needed, but the performance heading into this next phase of the season. We haven’t been able to attribute what caused our tire-smoking situation yet; everything checks out. We made it to the semifinals today. That’s great for the guys and a great thing to build on heading into our next race.”

Up Next: NHRA New England Nationals
Following a week off, Mopar Dodge//SRT Top Fuel, Funny Car and Sportsman drivers and teams head to the East Coast for the New England NHRA Nationals in Epping, New Hampshire, scheduled for July 5 - 7. Mopar-powered Dodge drivers Matt Hagan (2017, 2018) and Ron Capps (2014, 2016) have won the Funny Car Wally four of the last five years.

2019 NHRA Championship — Point Standings After Round 12 of 24
(Season Wins in Parentheses)

NHRA Funny Car
1. Robert Hight (4) – 1,022
2. John Force – 869
3. Tommy Johnson, Jr., Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat (1) – 856
4. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat – 819
5. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat (2) – 809

6. J.R. Todd (1) – 764
7. Bob Tasca III (1) – 689
8. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat (1) – 656
9. Tim Wilkerson - 619
10. Shawn Langdon (1) - 580

NHRA Top Fuel
1. Steve Torrence (6) – 1164
2. Doug Kalitta (1) - 760
3. Brittany Force (1) –744
4. Antron Brown – 733
5. Mike Salinas (2) – 732
6. Leah Pritchett, Mopar HEMI – 651
7. Clay Millican – 649
8. Richie Crampton (1) – 532
9. Terry McMillen – 524
10. Austin Prock - 518
 

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Hagan Powers to Third Straight NHRA New England Nationals

Hagan Powers to Third Straight NHRA New England Nationals Triumph in Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car

Matt Hagan conquers NHRA New England Nationals for third consecutive year in Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
Victory at New England Dragway in Epping, New Hampshire is Hagan’s second of year, fifth overall for a Dodge//SRT Mopar Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) driver
Dodge//SRT Mopar drivers have won five of last six Funny Car event titles in New England
DSR drivers own positions 3-4-5 in Funny Car standings
Richard Kay, John Shaul race to Dodge Top Finisher Honors



July 7, 2019 , Auburn Hills, Mich. -

Matt Hagan continued his dominance at the NHRA New England Nationals, driving the Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat to his third consecutive Funny Car triumph at New England Dragway in Epping, New Hampshire.

While Hagan became the third driver to score multiple wins this season in the Funny Car class, his DSR teammates Tommy Johnson, Jr., Ron Capps, and Jack Beckman placed Dodge//SRT Mopar in three of the top five positions in the Funny Car standings following the New England event.

To score his 31st career Funny Car victory, Hagan was forced to take down the hottest competitors in the class. His run to victory started with a match-up versus fellow DSR and Charger SRT Hellcat pilot Beckman, who defeated Hagan in recent first round battles at Richmond and Topeka and would have again if the two-time Funny Car world champion wasn’t on his game. Hagan posted the quickest run of the weekend, a 3.958-second elapsed time (ET), to defeat a stout 4.016 run by Beckman.


Two-time 2019 winner and fellow Dodge//SRT Mopar driver Capps was the competition in round two. Again, Hagan and his Dickie Venables-tuned Charger SRT Hellcat was up to the task with Hagan leaving first and never trailing, posting a run of 3.991 to advance and face Bob Tasca III. In the semifinal, Tasca left first, but Hagan had the lead almost instantly and drove away for his 11th straight round win at Epping and 350th round win of his career to reach his 57th career final and fourth in 2019.

The two-time Funny Car champion was not going to be denied,and his .033-second reaction time in the final was proof. Hagan powered his way to victory over Shawn Langdon with a winning pass of 4.014/322.81 to notch his 12 consecutive round win at the Epping track.

The triumph for Hagan was the fifth win by a Dodge//SRT Mopar machine in the last six years at New England Dragway in the Funny Car class and fifth by a driver of a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat in 2019 competition.

Two-time NHRA New England Nationals champion Capps was on a mission to take his red, white and blue Mopar-powered Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat for a long Sunday drive after three consistent qualifying runs that landed the 2016 Funny Car world champion third on the elimination ladder. He flexed his muscle dispatching Mike Smith in the first round posting the first three-second run of the weekend with his pass of 3.980 to set up a second round battle with Hagan. In the race pitting winners of four of the previous five Funny Car Wally’s in Epping, Capps trailed slightly off the starting line and was on a good run before drifting toward the centerline near mid-track, forcing him to click off the run.

Beckman and his DSR Infinite Hero Foundation team have been the model of consistency over the past five races, advancing to a pair of finals and five consecutive semifinals. The 2012 Funny Car world champion used his first qualifying pass Friday to grab the 11th position on Sunday’s elimination ladder and made his best run of the weekend in his first round matchup with Hagan, but he wasn’t able to knock off his DSR teammate and advance.

For the second consecutive event, Johnson qualified his Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat eighth in the field and faced Tim Wilkerson in the first round. Johnson, who was chasing his second 2019 victory and first-ever at Epping, lost traction early and was not able to recover to extend his recent run of five semifinal appearances in the previous six races.

In other round action with Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Cars competing, Jim Campbell lost in round one to Shawn Langdon, while Cruz Pedregon advanced to round two before being eliminated by Tasca.

Dodge//SRT Mopar NHRA Sportsman Spotlight
Richard Kay from East Meadow, New York, drove his SS/BM 1969 Plymouth Valiant to a Super Stock runner-up finish at the NHRA New England Nationals. Powered by a 376 cubic-inch Mopar V8 engine, Kay raced his way through six rounds of competition to reach the finals. Kay is a prior recipient of the Dodge Top Finisher award.

In Stock Eliminator, John Shaul from Fultonham, New York, advanced to the third round with his A/SA 1964 Plymouth Fury, joining Kay as a Dodge Top Finisher honoree at Epping. Consistent low 10-second elapsed-times powered by his Mopar 426 Max Wedge V8 under the hood enabled Shaul’s Plymouth to turn on a pair of win lights.

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

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

Mark Bosanac, Head of Mopar Service, Parts & Customer Care, FCA – North America
“Matt Hagan’s victory today marks his third straight in New England and the fifth overall this season by a Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car driver. Hats off to Matt and the entire Don Schumacher Racing organization on delivering our brands yet another triumphant weekend at the drag strip.”

Matt Hagan, Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 6 Qualifier – 4.051 ET)

Rd.1: (.070-second reaction time, 3.958 seconds at 326.24 mph) beat No. 11 Jack Beckman (.060/4.016/322.04)
Rd. 2: (.056/3.991/325.22) beat No. 3 Ron Capps (.090/4.101/262.64)
Rd. 3: (.071/4.000/) beat No. 2 Bob Tasca III (.067/4.478/219.12)
Rd. 4: (.033/4.014/322.81) beat No. 5 Shawn Langdon (.055/4.046/317.49)

“I’m really excited that we were able to pull down another win for Mopar in this Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat. We needed this race to be a turning point for our season. You want to have that momentum going into the Western Swing, and then Indy and the Countdown. With this new combination we have, I feel like we’re making the right steps to move forward.

“It seems like I’ve had my teammates the past six races in a row. We can’t get away from them first round and they’re the hardest to get around and beat. I have so much respect for them; the drivers, the crew chiefs and the caliber of their cars. They’re always tough. I went through two teammates and Tasca, three really hard cars, to get to the final. My guys were flawless putting the car together today and I’m really proud of (crew chief) Dickie Venables and Mike Knudsen and the decisions they were making together today. We didn’t just get lucky; the car went down the race track every single time.”

Ron Capps, NAPA Batteries Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 3 Qualifier – 4.039 ET)

Rd.1: (.087-second reaction time, 3.980 seconds at 315.19 mph) beat No. 14 Mike Smith (.124/7.299/84.21)
Rd.2: (.090/4.101/262.64) lost to No. 6 Matt Hagan (.056/3.991/325.22)

“We have a great race car. One good thing about our performance is that we put a target on our backs. Any time we go up there we have to be at our very best, because we put that pressure on other teams and it’s great. If you look at qualifying here in New England, to make all three runs between a 4.03 and 4.05 and gain five bonus points, that’s the kind of consistency we are used to having. It just hurts a little more to go down on race day, because we really felt like we had a consistent car and I really felt like we had a car that could rounds today.”

Tommy Johnson Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 8 Qualifier – 4.069 ET)

Rd.1: (.069-second reaction time, 4.559 seconds at 186.38 mph) lost to No. 9 Tim Wilkerson (.073/4.259/233.72)

“You’ll have a tough weekend now and then, and I’m glad it’s now instead of later in the season. We’ll learn from this and try and make the car better. I thought we had a good handle on it, but we never seemed to hit our stride this weekend. But, we’ll regroup and move on to Denver and hopefully start the Western Swing off on a strong note.”

Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 11 Qualifier – 4.117 ET)

Rd.1: (.060-second reaction time, 4.016 seconds at 322.04 mph) lost to No. 6 Matt Hagan (.070/3.958/326.24)

“We qualified in the bottom half of the field. I’m not making excuses, but that rained out Q4 may have hurt us more than any other team. We had tried some stuff and wanted to go back to our combo for that final session, but we didn’t get the opportunity. We got a big dog, our teammate Matt Hagan, in the first round and we go out there and lay down the quickest losing time of the round. That gets you nothing. It’s frustrating to end our hot streak, but I don’t know that we ended it. We just suffered an early-round exit today. We still know that we have a great Hellcat. The guys will take a week off, go back and freshen up our parts and we are going to come out swinging at Denver.”

Up Next: Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals Presented by Pennzoil
In two weeks,
Dodge//SRT Mopar NHRA stars head west to begin the three-race Western Swing with the Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals Presentedowered by Pennzoil at Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, Colorado, set for July 19 -21.

Now in its 31st year of FCA US sponsorship, the weekend begins with the 18th annual Mopar Big Block Party Presented by Pennzoil on Thursday, July 18, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. in downtown Golden, Colorado. Leah Pritchett leads the HEMI-powered drivers and teams back into action in the Rocky Mountains, looking for a second consecutive victory aboard her Mopar Dodge1320 “Angry Bee” Top Fuel dragster.

2019 NHRA Championship — Point Standings After Round 13 of 24
(Season Wins in Parentheses)


NHRA Funny Car

1. Robert Hight (4) – 1,079
2. John Force – 903
3. Tommy Johnson, Jr., Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat (1) – 891
4. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat (2) – 870
5. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat – 851

6. J.R. Todd (1) – 825
7. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat (2) – 770
7. Bob Tasca III (1) – 770
9. Tim Wilkerson – 691
10. Shawn Langdon (1) – 675

NHRA Top Fuel
1. Steve Torrence (7) – 1278
2. Doug Kalitta (1) - 799
3. Antron Brown – 781
4. Brittany Force (1) –777
5. Mike Salinas (2) – 732
6. Clay Millican – 730
7. Leah Pritchett, Mopar HEMI – 651
8. Richie Crampton (1) – 612
9. Terry McMillen – 576
10. Scott Palmer 563
 
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