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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Fast Start for Mopar Dodge//SRT with Provisional No.1 Qualifier Position to Launch 2020 NHRA Season

February 7, 2020 , Pomona, Calif. - This weekend’s 60th annual Winternationals at the historic Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, California, kicks off the 2020 National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Mello Yello Drag Racing Series 24-event season and Mopar Dodge//SRT wasted no time getting right back to work and to the top of the timesheets. Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) driver Matt Hagan drove his Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car straight to the provisional No.1 qualifier position with his official first run of the season.

Hagan and his DSR HEMI®-powered machine, which sports a new blue and white Mopar scheme that will be seen at 10 events throughout the year, wasted no time taking his Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat to the top of the timesheets with a 3.867-second / 331.20-mph pass. While his second qualifying run didn’t go quite as planned, Hagan is pleased with the quick start to the weekend and season.

“There’s a lot of confidence unloading off the trailer like that and being able to run a good number,” said the 2011 and 2014 NHRA Funny Car World Champion. “We had a great test session in Vegas and laid down some good numbers. I was up there just pressing this last run. I was trying to run a 0.081 or 82 and it just didn’t stick. All in all, I think we have a really good car, everybody is confident. I think there are still some low numbers to be had tomorrow.”

The battle for the 2020 Funny Car Championship is no laughing matter as all four Don Schumacher Racing entries expect to be fiercely competitive and at the top of the leaderboard throughout the season aboard the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat powered by the iconic HEMI engine.

Runner-up in the 2019 Funny Car Championship last year, Jack Beckman picked up right where he left off as he took his Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat for a 3.868-second / 326.95-mph run that put him in the provisional No. 2 qualifier spot. He posted a Q2 run with a session best 0.57 reaction time and a 3.885-second run at 328 mph.

Tommy Johnson Jr. also had a good first day back on track putting his MD Anderson Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat his fourth on the Friday qualifying sheets with a 3.910-second pass at 332.92 mph.

2017 Funny Car Champion Ron Capps had a bit more difficult a start to the season after being unable to test alongside his DSR teammates in Las Vegas last week after his team’s trailer caught fire en route. The team regrouped quickly and Capps drove his HEMI-powered Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat to the eighth spot in Friday qualifying with a 3.947-second run at 324.12 mph.

DSR’s Mopar Dodge//SRT Top Fuel Dragster was back on track with driver Leah Pruett at the helm and a bright new white and blue Mopar paint scheme. Looking to build on her career-best fourth place ranking in the Top Fuel championship last season, Pruett’s Mopar Dodge//SRT Top Fuel Dragster finished the first day of qualifying action at Pomona fourth with a best run of 3.715 seconds / 324.75 mph.



NHRA qualifying resumes at Auto Club Raceway with two more sessions on Saturday, Feb. 8, and with televised coverage beginning at 7 p.m. (ET) on FOX Sports1.



@DodgeMoparMotorsports on Instagram

The @DodgeMoparMotorsports Instagram channel continues to share content capturing Dodge//SRT Mopar drivers in action in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, NHRA Sportsman grassroots racers competing in classes such as Factory Stock Showdown, Stock and Super Stock, as well as additional motorsports series.

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

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

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

Dodge//SRT
For more than 100 years, the Dodge brand has carried on the spirit of brothers John and Horace Dodge. Their influence continues today as Dodge proudly offers a complete lineup of performance vehicles that stand out in their own segments. For 2020, Dodge literally expands its high-performance Charger model lineup, adding a Widebody exterior to America’s only four-door muscle car. The 2020 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat maintains its reign as the most powerful and fastest mass-produced sedan in the world.

The 2020 Dodge lineup also features the 2020 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye, 2020 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat, the Challenger R/T Scat Pack Widebody and the 2020 Challenger R/T Scat Pack 1320. The 2020 Dodge Durango SRT, the fastest, most powerful and most capable American three-row SUV, completes the brand's performance lineup. These visceral performance models join a 2020 brand lineup that includes the Durango, Grand Caravan, Journey, Charger and Challenger. Dodge is part of the portfolio of brands offered by global automaker Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. For more information regarding FCA (NYSE: FCAU/ MTA: FCA), please visit www.fcagroup.com.
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Mopar Dodge//SRT Funny Cars Seeded 1-2 for First Race of 2020 NHRA Season

    • Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) drivers Matt Hagan and Jack Beckman qualified their Mopar Dodge//SRT Funny Cars No. 1 and No. 2 for Sunday’s 60th annual NHRA Winternationals
    • DSR teammates Tommy Johnson Jr. and Ron Capps secured qualifying positions in the top-half of the Funny Car eliminations ladder
    • DSR Top Fuel driver Leah Pruett earns a third seed start for elimination rounds in qualifying with her Mopar Dodge//SRT Dragster
    • Larry Gilley and Mike Loge win Dodge Top Finisher honors in NHRA Sportsman competition

February 8, 2020 , Pomona, Calif. - It was a strong and fast start for Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) veteran pilots Matt Hagan and Jack Beckman as they drove their Mopar Dodge//SRT Hellcat Funny Cars to the No.1 and No.2 qualifier positions, respectively, in anticipation of Sunday’s first race day of the 2020 National Hot Rod Association Mello Yello Drag Racing season at the 60th annual Winternationals.


Hagan kept his Mopar Dodge//SRT Charger Hellcat Funny Car atop the timesheets at the historic Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, California, through four qualifying sessions to earn his first No.1 qualifier position of the new year after running low E.T. on his first and last runs.

“This Mopar Funny Car is just flying out there,” said Hagan, who improved on Friday’s provisional top spot pass of 3.867 seconds /331.20 mph with a 3.841-second elapsed time qualifying run a top speed of 333.25 mph on his final run. “When your team puts a hot rod underneath you like that, it’s always fun.”

“Going into race day tomorrow, my lights are good, the car is running great, the guys are doing a phenomenal job, and we came off of a really strong season last year, so we’re just focused on keeping the ball rolling,” added Hagan who collected eight qualifying points for his efforts and will face off against Alex Miladinovich in the first round of eliminations.

Following up his win at Pomona to cap off the 2019 season, Beckman showed that he is looking to keep that momentum going into a new season. After driving the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat to a provisional second spot on Friday with a 3.868 seconds / 326.95 mph, he earned the second place starting position on Sunday.

"Other than this head cold, it's been a perfect weekend so far,” said Beckman, who collected a category best total of nine qualifying points with his qualifying performance. “We've gotten bonus points every single session. I'll drive with a plugged up head all year long if it means I get a hot rod like this.”

“We might have to throw out all the data that we've accumulated so far,” added Beckman, who will face Steven Densham in first elimination round action. “It's going to be interesting. That's why you want to qualify high. You get a better first round draw so that if you get a hiccup you still have to get that first win light and data."

The MD Anderson Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat of Tommy Johnson Jr. also had solid qualifying runs, saw improvement through each session and, after posting a 3.881-second / 321.50-mph final pass earned a fourth seed starting matchup against Cruz Pedregon.

“I've got a really good solid car that's been really consistent,” said Johnson “We just missed it a little bit in Q3 but the other three were really good solid runs, nice and consistent to be able to tune it and adjust it. I think that will be important tomorrow because the weather change will be so drastic that you need a tuneable and adjustable race car.”

DSR teammate Ron Capps made big strides this weekend, even winning the “NHRA Never Rest” award after using all four sessions to mount a comeback from the trailer fire that cost the team a car and valuable testing time in Las Vegas.

“Obviously it was a check-out run the first lap and then to go out and get qualified that second lap, I was so emotional,” said Capps, who improved steadily through qualifying to earn a seventh place seed for eliminations with a 3.911-second E.T at 328.38 mph. “I just wanted to make sure these guys, as hard as they’ve worked, to get the car down the track and get qualified, that’s always the goal.”

“The Cinderella story would be for us to win the race, but right now it’s one step at a time,” added Capps, who will line up his HEMI®-powered Charger Hellcat against Bob Tasca III in the first round.

In Top Fuel action, Leah Pruett moved her DSR Mopar Dodge//SRT Dragster up a step from a provisional fourth place on Friday to secure the third spot on the eliminations ladder with a best qualifying run of 3.687 seconds at 328.06 mph. She’ll face opponent Jim Maroney for a first round match up.

Eliminations rounds at the 60th annual NHRA Winternationals will be televised beginning at 5 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, Feb. 9, on FOX Sports 1 (FS1).

Sportsman Spotlight

Larry Gilley and Mike Loge were winners of the Dodge Top Finisher honors in Stock Eliminator and Super Stock, respectively, in NHRA Sportsman competition.
Gilley, who hails from Hilmar, California, drove his E/SA 1969 Dodge Dart GTS to a round-four finish in Stock Eliminator at the 60th annual NHRA Winternationals.

Powered by a Mopar 340 small block, Gilley ran a string of consistent high 10-second elapsed times during competition. During round four, both he and his opponent had the same reaction times, but unfortunately Gilley lost by a mere 0.0193 seconds. For his great driving and tuning efforts, Gilley will receive $500 from Dodge for advancing the furthest in his class.

In Super Stock, Loge, a lifelong Mopar racer and resident of Antioch, California, raced his SS/MA 1972 Plymouth ‘Cuda 340 to a round-four finish and looked strong throughout the race weekend, losing by only 0.0318 seconds to his competitor. He will also receive a $500 bonus from Dodge for going the furthest in his class during the NHRA Winternationals.

The Dodge Top Finisher award, now in its fourth 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.



@DodgeMoparMotorsports on Instagram
The @DodgeMoparMotorsports Instagram channel continues to share content capturing Dodge//SRT Mopar drivers in action in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, NHRA Sportsman grassroots racers competing in classes such as Factory Stock Showdown, Stock and Super Stock, as well as additional motorsports series.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Fast Start for 'Fast Jack' and Mopar Dodge//SRT with Funny Car National Event Win at NHRA Winternationals to Kick Off 2020 Season

    • Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) Funny Car driver Jack Beckman drives his Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat to a win at the 60th annual NHRA Winternationals to start the 2020 National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) season
    • No.1 qualifier Matt Hagan takes the DSR Mopar Dodge//SRT Charger Hellcat Funny Car to a semifinal appearance at historic Auto Club Raceway
    • DSR teammates Tommy Johnson Jr. and Ron Capps see their runs for the Funny Car national title cut short in the quarterfinals
    • Top Fuel DSR driver Leah Pruett takes her Mopar Dodge//SRT Top Fuel Dragster to a semifinal appearance

February 9, 2020 , Pomona, Calif. - A fast start to the 2020 National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Mello Yello Series season was exactly what “Fast Jack” Beckman was looking for as he drove his Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat to a national event win at the 60th annual NHRA Winternationals to kick off the year on the heels of his runner-up finish in the 2019 Funny Car Championship.

From his No.2 qualifying position, the Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) driver knew the stage was set for him to have a strong eliminations performance at the historic Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, California, and commence his drive for the 2020 Funny Car Championship immediately.

Beckman drove past Alexis DeJoria, DSR teammate Ron Capps and Steve Densham to earn a berth in the final round versus John Force.

Force had a slight starting line advantage, but Beckman quickly powered his Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat to an exciting side-by-side battle before steadily making gains and taking the lead in the final stretch.

“It was just the perfect storm,” said Beckman, who garnered his 31st career Funny Car national title, his second at Pomona after his first came in the 2019 season finale. “I had never won a Nitro title here at Pomona until November of last year and now I've got two in a row. It's beyond magical. I've said it before; you don't know if your last win is your last win. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that this ain't our last win. The Infinite Hero team is just on it. Our car has been amazing.”

DSR teammate and No.1 qualifier Matt Hagan knew he had a strong car and that the improvements made to the Mopar Dodge//SRT Charger Hellcat Funny Car throughout the off-season and qualifying put him in a position to repeat winning performances he had at the Winternationals in 2015, 2017 and 2018.

Hagan worked his way through eliminations to a semifinal match-up against John Force, to whom he ceded lane choice. The left lane was unkind to the DSR driver and tire shake ended his hopes to advance further, but didn’t dampen his enthusiasm about starting off the 2020 NHRA season on a good note.

This weekend’s efforts put Hagan top-three in the Funny Car Championship points to kick start what will surely be a very competitive season.

Seeded fourth, the MD Anderson Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat of Tommy Johnson Jr. started the day off with his best run of the weekend to put Cruz Pedregon behind him and move on to the next round to face John Force. After a strong showing all weekend long, a dropped cylinder right off the startline in the quarterfinals put the brakes on his efforts.

After qualifying seventh for eliminations, Ron Capps, a three-time winner at the Winternationals (1998, 2009 and 2016), and his DSR crew earned the “NHRA Never Rest” award for the coming back from the adversity of a trailer fire that claimed a car, equipment and a chance to test prior to this first national event of the year. After clawing their way through qualifying, Capps and his HEMI®-powered Charger SRT Hellcat still had a tough road through the ladder.

The first round win light came on after leaning on the throttle a few times and a little sideways driving, but things didn’t get any easier as Capps faced teammate Beckman in the second round. Flames once again ruined the day for the Capps after losing a cylinder early on and then an explosion at the 300-foot mark ended his run for a final round appearance.

In Top Fuel action, Leah Pruett drove her DSR Mopar Dodge//SRT Dragster from a third-seed placement on the eliminations ladder to post her quickest pass of the weekend for a first round win with a 0.084-second reaction time and elapsed time run of 3.659 seconds, the best of race day, at 328.14 mph.

Pruett then earned a quarterfinal win over Shawn Reed to send her to the semifinals against Austin Prock. While they both left the line with identical 0.062-second reaction times, Pruett’s HEMI-powered Mopar lost traction early to give Prock the edge and the round win.

Mopar Dodge//SRT teams and drivers now have two weeks to prepare for the second of 24 events on the 2020 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule, the NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park near Phoenix, scheduled for February 21-23.

NOTES and QUOTES:

Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
(No. 2 Qualifier – 3.856 seconds at 328.56 mph)

Round 1: (.067-second reaction time, 4.291 seconds at 294.18 mph) beat No. 15 Steven Densham (.070/7.622/92.71)
Round 2: (.057/3.871/329.34) beat No. 7 Ron Capps (.083/4.625/156.01)
Round 3: (.073/3.843/332.92) beat No. 11 Alexis DeJoria (.078/9.729/78.34)
Round 4: (.081/3.837/333.33) beat No. 5 John Force (.065/3.897/332.34)

"To beat John Force in the final makes it a pretty cool weekend. It's my home track. I probably spent more time down there on the start line than anybody else. I feel comfortable here with lot of friends and family out here today. It was just the perfect storm. I had never won a Nitro title here at Pomona until November of last year and now I've got two in a row. It's beyond magical. I've said it before, you don't know if your last win is your last win. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that this ain't our last win. The Infinite Hero team is just on it. Our car has been amazing. We legitimately treated pre-season testing as testing. We changed some stuff in the cylinder heads, we ran our spare parts, we ran a whole lot of different disc packages in there, and then we went back to the November tune-up for here. We'll phase in all the new stuff in as the season progresses. [That work] shows. We were top two every run in qualifying and except for the first round, we were low E.T. or second low of every single round. Our car was just absolutely amazing. As a driver, you don't want to limp your way into the winners circle. You want to dominate. It was awesome for us.”

Matt Hagan, Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 1 Qualifier – 3.841 seconds at 333.25 mph)
Round 1: (.081-second reaction time, 3.914 seconds at 330.39 mph) beat No. 16 Alex Miladinovich (.090/5.859/124.03)
Round 2: (.076/4.042/284.03) beat No. 9 Tom Wilkerson (.085/6.083/113.18)
Round 3: (.087/8.859/78.06) lost to No. 5 John Force (.032/3.923/331.28)

“I had great qualifying and test session and came out here and ran really well. We ended up going to the semis which was a good healthy weekend for us. All-in-all just a great way to start the season so I’m excited rolling into Phoenix. We’re going to make sure that we end up having some more good runs along the way. The car is working really well. We were No. 1 qualifier here in Pomona and I think we’re going to carry that momentum into Phoenix. Hopefully we can turn on some more win lights for Mopar Dodge, for Pennzoil, and for Sandvik and hopefully get a win soon.”

Tommy Johnson Jr., MD Anderson Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 4 Qualifier – 3.881 seconds at 321.50 mph)
Round 1: (.073-second reaction time, 3.873 seconds at 324.83 mph) beat No. 13 Cruz Pedregon (.048/4.383/221.42)
Round 2: (.083/8.431/80.69) lost to No. 5 John Force (.058/4.011/275.06)

“We had a great car all through qualifying, low E.T. in the first round, so that [dropping a cylinder] was the last thing we expected out of this thing. Obviously something went wrong. It just doesn’t go from running that good to just dropping a cylinder right at the hit. We’ll look at all the data, find out what happened, and go into Phoenix with a lot of confidence on how well we ran this weekend.”

Ron Capps, NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 7 Qualifier – 3.991 seconds at 328.38 mph)
Round 1: (.080-second reaction time, 5.241 seconds at 166.52 mph) beat No. 10 Bob Tasca III (.104/9.056/82.90)
Round 2: (.083/4.625/156.01) lost No. 2 Jack Beckman (.057/3.871/329.34)

“We’re a little behind everyone else that had the luxury of going to pre-season testing in Vegas. I brag about the NAPA Know How our team has, and how (Rahn) Tobler is so well prepared and has our team so well prepared for situations like this. We would’ve loved to have made some more runs this weekend, but going .94 and a .91 right after that was such good medicine for these guys. Then, fast forward to Sunday and we beat (Bob) Tasca who’s been running really well; that was a big win. We wanted to end our ‘Cinderella weekend’ with a trophy but getting the ‘Never Rest’ award from NHRA was cool. To go out there, qualify top-half, get lane choice, win first round; we checked all of the boxes except winning the race. That’s pretty good considering these guys have spent a week tearing this thing apart and building a new setup.”

Leah Pruett, Mopar Dodge//SRT Top Fuel Dragster
(No. 3 Qualifier – 3.687 seconds at 328.06 mph)
Round 1: (.084-second reaction time, 3.659 seconds at 328.14 mph) beat No. 12 Jim Maroney (.064/4.503/179.71)
Round 2: (.130/3.685/326.40) beat No. 6 Shawn Reed (.041/4.466/169.23)
Round 3: (.062/4.927/140.69) lost to No. 2 Austin Prock (.062/3.678/330.63)

“Our heads are held very high. It’s not easy to manage the amount of horsepower that this team is able to create, but how we manage it will reflect the potential that this team is capable of performing with throughout the year. We’ve found our groove, each crew guy is getting more comfortable with the car, and the results have shown that. This is a much better beginning to the season than we had last season, and we expect a good result at the end. For now, we’re extremely excited about what we can continue to pick away at. Managing the horsepower and the potential is going to be the highlight. We’re not struggling; we’re seeing a lot of great potential. Going into Phoenix next, we definitely plan on finishing the job there in our Mopar dragster.”

NHRA Championship Points Standings:

FUNNY CAR (season wins in parentheses):

  1. Jack Beckman (Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat) - 126 (1)
  2. John Force - 94
  3. Matt Hagan (Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat) - 86
  4. Alexis DeJoria - 67
  5. Robert Hight - 61
  6. Tommy Johnson Jr. (Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat) - 56
  7. Ron Capps (Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat) - 54
  8. Tim Wilkerson - 52
  9. Paul Lee - 34
  10. J.R. Todd - 33
TOP FUEL (season wins in parentheses):
  1. Doug Kalitta - 117
  2. Austin Prock - 99
  3. Brittany Force - 87
  4. Leah Pruett (Mopar Dodge//SRT) - 80
  5. Clay Millican - 53
  6. Justin Ashley - 52
  7. Shawn Reed - 51
  8. Shawn Langdon - 38
  9. Terry McMillen - 34
  10. Antron Brown - 32

@DodgeMoparMotorsports on Instagram
The @DodgeMoparMotorsports Instagram channel continues to share content capturing Dodge//SRT Mopar drivers in action in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, NHRA Sportsman grassroots racers competing in classes such as Factory Stock Showdown, Stock and Super Stock, as well as additional motorsports series.

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

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

Mopar is the source for genuine parts and accessories for all FCA US LLC vehicle brands. Mopar parts are engineered together with the same teams that create factory-authorized specifications for FCA vehicles, offering a direct connection that no other aftermarket parts company can provide. Complete information on the Mopar brand is available at www.mopar.com.
Dodge//SRT
For more than 100 years, the Dodge brand has carried on the spirit of brothers John and Horace Dodge. Their influence continues today as Dodge proudly offers a complete lineup of performance vehicles that stand out in their own segments. For 2020, Dodge literally expands its high-performance Charger model lineup, adding a Widebody exterior to America’s only four-door muscle car. The 2020 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat maintains its reign as the most powerful and fastest mass-produced sedan in the world.

The 2020 Dodge lineup also features the 2020 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye, 2020 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat, the Challenger R/T Scat Pack Widebody and the 2020 Challenger R/T Scat Pack 1320. The 2020 Dodge Durango SRT, the fastest, most powerful and most capable American three-row SUV, completes the brand's performance lineup. These visceral performance models join a 2020 brand lineup that includes the Durango, Grand Caravan, Journey, Charger and Challenger. Dodge is part of the portfolio of brands offered by global automaker Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. For more information regarding FCA (NYSE: FCAU/ MTA: FCA), please visit www.fcagroup.com.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Tommy Johnson Jr. Earns NHRA Arizona Nationals Win in All-Mopar Dodge//SRT Funny Car Final Round Battle

    • Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) Funny Car driver Tommy Johnson Jr. earns National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Arizona Nationals title win aboard MD Anderson Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

    • All-Mopar Dodge//SRT Funny Car final round sees Johnson Jr. defeat DSR teammate Jack Beckman at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park near Phoenix

    • Defending Arizona Nationals winner Matt Hagan and his Mopar Dodge//SRT Charger Hellcat Funny Car earn second consecutive No.1 qualifier of the 2020 season but fall short of a chance to repeat with a first round loss

    • All four DSR Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat sit top-five in Funny Car championship points

    • Top Fuel DSR driver Leah Pruett qualifies her Mopar Dodge//SRT Dragster third for second consecutive race and earns a quarterfinal appearance


February 23, 2020 , Phoenix, Arizona - It was an all-Mopar Dodge //SRT Funny Car final round showdown at the Arizona Nationals with Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) driver Tommy Johnson Jr. earning his first victory of the 2020 National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Mello Yello Series season over his teammate, Jack Beckman.

From his No. 4 qualifier position, Johnson Jr. drove his MD Anderson Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat past Paul Lee and Bob Tasca, then used a holeshot win over DSR teammate Ron Capps to set up a final elimination battle against Beckman. Johnson powered past his DSR opponent, who lost traction early, to make his way to the winner’s circle in the second event of the season.


With the win, Johnson’s collected his 18th career Funny Car national event Wally trophy, his second at Phoenix’s Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, and his first final round victory over Beckman in five final-elimination encounters.

The early season win provided some relief for Johnson and his team, who were looking to recover quickly from a difficult 2019 Countdown to the Championship that followed a promising regular season.

“We had such a good car last year and we didn’t finish well at all, so to come out strong and get that out of the way right off the bat and know how good a car you have right now is great,” said Johnson who jumps four spots into second place in the Funny Car championship standings with his efforts this weekend.

“Now we just shift to maintaining it and learn from the mistakes you make. I think we learned really well what we did wrong last year, and what we needed to do to fix it. It’s nice to be able to know that you did fix it.”

In the final against Johnson Jr., Beckman initially had the advantage as they launched off the starting line but lost traction in the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat and, while he made efforts to pedal it, was unable to recover control quickly enough.

Coming off consecutive wins in both the 2019 season finale and the 2020 season opening national event at Pomona, Beckman’s runner-up finish to his teammate keeps him atop the Funny Car championship standings with 220 points.

The defending Arizona Nationals title winner, Matt Hagan, drove his Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car to the provisional pole position with Friday’s second qualifying run and an elapsed time pass of 3.859 seconds at 331.61 mph. That time stood through Saturday’s qualifying session, shortened to just one run due to rain, to give him his second No.1 qualifier of the year, the 38th of his career and his second at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park.

In eliminations, Hagan beat his first round challenger, Jeff Diehl, off the starting line but, as he began to power down the lane, his HEMI®-powered ride began to pull toward the centerline where it clipped a timing block to disqualify the run and bring his race day to a premature end. Despite the quick exit, Hagan remains fifth in points.

After qualifying eighth, Ron Capps, drove his Dodge SRT Hellcat through the eliminations ladder with a win over J.R. Todd in the first round, followed by a quarterfinal victory against Jeff Diehl. That quarterfinal victory earned Capps a 750th career round win since making his professional debut in 1995 at this track while racing Top Fuel and earning his first round win against Joe Amato.

Capps then faced-off against his DSR teammate and eventual event winner, Johnson Jr., in the semifinals for a solid side-by-side battle to the stripe. While he didn’t get the win, the result propelled Capps to the fourth spot in the Funny Car points standings.

In Top Fuel action, for a second consecutive national event, Leah Pruett drove her DSR Mopar Dodge//SRT dragster to the third spot on the eliminations ladder to put herself in a good position to have a solid race-day showing. Bolstered by the memory of her first career Top Fuel victory at Phoenix in 2016, a No. 1 qualifier position in 2017, and runner-up finish last season in 2019, Pruett made quick work of getting through the first round and past Doug Foley with a solid 3.654-second run to make her way to the quarterfinals to face Billy Torrance. Once again, Pruett made another solid run with a 3.688 second elapsed time run, but it wasn’t quite enough to beat her opponent to move further through elimination rounds. Pruett remains third in the Top Fuel standings.

With DSR Mopar Dodge//SRT entries top-five in championship points and looking to continue to build on the momentum generated from two back-to-back Funny Car wins and No.1 qualifier positions to open the season, they now prepare to head to the east coast for the third of 24 events on the 2020 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule, the NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla., March 13 – 15.

NOTES and QUOTES:
Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
(No. 6 Qualifier –3.889 seconds at 329.42 mph)

Round 1: (.090-second reaction time, 4.051 seconds at 318.02 mph) beat No. 11 Cruz Pedregon (.065/ 6.254 sec/ 109.34 mph)
Round 2: (0.095 /3.895/329.42) beat No. 14 Jim Campbell (0.088/ 8.959 /70.61)
Round 3: (0.076/3.882/329.91) beat No. 2 John Force (0.068/3.917/326.63)
Round 4: (0.030/6.156 /119.31) loss to No. 4 Tommy Johnson Jr. (0.065/3.883/326.40)

"How do you hang your head? We still have the best car and the points are showing that. We didn't have the best car here this weekend. We actually struggled a little bit, but it goes to show you great teams pull out all the stops on race day and figure out how to make it happen. I'm happy for my teammate and his MD Anderson car. We didn't give it to them. They earned it. But we're going to be tough to beat the entire rest of the year."

Matt Hagan, Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 1 Qualifier – 3.859 seconds at 331.61 mph)

Round 1: (.0103-second reaction time, 9.999 seconds at no speed) lost to No. 16 Jeff Diehl (0.138 No Time)

“My guys did a heck of a job today; the car was on a really good run. It was just one of those deals where it got inside on me, and I couldn’t get it back. I thought I lifted soon enough not to hit anything, but a header brushed a timing block, and that DQ’d us. But, a heck of a job for this Mopar team to run such a good number like that on race day. We were No. 1 qualifier, have such a good race car, and I hate that I let my team down like that. It’s race day; I was just trying to get to the finish line first. All in all, we’ve got a great car, things are going in the right direction, the guys are working hard, the parts and pieces are working well, and it’s all coming together.”

Tommy Johnson Jr., MD Anderson Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 4 Qualifier – 3.868 seconds at 323.81 mph)

Round 1: (0.058-second reaction time, 3.878 seconds at 325.85 mph) beat No. 13 Paul Lee (0.111/3.898/320.05)
Round 2: (0.075 3.864 323.74) beat No. 5 Bob Tasca (-0.053/3.918/331.77)
Round 3: (0.079 /3.871/319.98) beat No. 8 Ron Capps (0.089/3.864/328.06)
Round 4: (0.065/3.883/326.40) beat No. 6 Jack Beckman (0.030/6.156 /119.31)

“We had a good car the last qualifying run and it showed us that we had a solid car. Coming up here today we had a lot of confidence. To go out there first round and lay down a solid number really happy with that. We weren’t low e.t. first round but we were real close and to come out second round and set low e.t. so we knew we had a solid car. As a driver, going into each round knowing you’ve got a car that’s going to perform, it makes your job a little easier and gives you a little less stress. The guys did a great job. I mean, even in Pomona we had a good car and just dropped a cylinder second round. We even had a little issue with that in qualifying here and they worked hard to fix that and now it’s running really well and consistent. They did their homework over the off-season.”

[On how satisfying it is to get that first win so early in the season]
“Yes. Especially since we weren’t happy with the way finished last year so it is (satisfying). I was actually very relieved when I turned the corner down there and it felt like it was a little bit of pressure relief. We had such a good car last year and we didn’t finish well at all so to come out strong and get that out of the way right off the bat and know how good a car you have right now. Now we just shift to maintaining it and learning from the mistakes you make. You try to learn from them. I think we learned really well what we did wrong last year, and what we needed to do to fix it. It’s nice to be able to know that you did fix it.”

Ron Capps, NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 8 Qualifier – 3.896 seconds at 327.66mph)

Round 1: (0.070-second reaction time, 3.905 seconds at 329.02 mph) beat No. 9 J.R. Todd (0.097 /6.383/103.46)
Round 2: (0.100 /4.184/232.19) beat No. 16 Jeff Diehl (-0.005/8.236 /82.57)
Round 3: (0.089/3.864/328.06) lost to No. 4 Tommy Johnson Jr. (0.079 /3.871/319.98)

"For this team, considering where we were and how few runs we had coming in here, we've made huge strides for Rahn Tobler. Even though we lost that close race in the semifinals, he was ecstatic and it really feels like we have his race car back and that makes everyone around here feel good. We had a really large clutch wear problem that we've been fighting and he finally got it down to where he was comfortable and when he does that, the car goes out and runs 3.80s like that. Just a close drag race. I accidentally went in and lit the pre-stage and stage lights against TJ and just kind of sat there. Him and I have raced and been teammates for a long time. He gave me a second before he went in. It was just letting two cars do the talking. The good thing was it was a DSR car going into the final against our teammate (Jack Beckman). Unfortunately, we lost a close one. But, I feel really comfortable and good and Rahn Tobler is happy and excited to get to Gainesville."

Leah Pruett, Mopar Dodge//SRT Top Fuel Dragster
(No. 3 Qualifier – 3.680 seconds at 328.06 mph)

Round 1: (0.081-second reaction time, 3.654 seconds at 331.12 mph) beat No. 14 Doug Foley (0.087/5.328/127.81)
Round 2: (0.205/3.688/324.20) lost to No. 6 Billy Torrance (0.100/3.703/328.78)

“We closed out our Sunday much earlier in the afternoon than we had wanted. Phenomenal performance by the Mopar team in E1 with that 65. I’m disappointed in myself with what happened in E2. Putting that double-bulb on, that was unintentional. I got antsy, and I two-stepped it and was late on the tree. On the return of that, I can guarantee, Gainesville will be nothing but ‘heads down,’ and I’ve got two cars to run. It would be amazing to put them both in the winner’s circle, but the car and the team are doing a phenomenal job. I’m trying to perfect my weaponry – my driving perspective, and I didn’t conquer that this weekend in the second round of eliminations, but one thing is for sure, I guarantee you that I will.”

NHRA Championship Points Standings:

FUNNY CAR (season wins in parentheses):
1. Jack Beckman (Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat) – 220 (1)
2. Tommy Johnson Jr. (Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat) – 175 (1)
3. John Force – 173
4. Ron Capps (Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat) – 128
5. Matt Hagan (Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat) – 124

6. Tim Wilkerson – 107
7. Robert Hight – 100
8. Alexis DeJoria – 99
9. Bob Tasca III – 87
10. Paul Lee – 65
J.R. Todd – 65

TOP FUEL (season wins in parentheses):
1. Doug Kalitta – 212 (1)
2. Brittany Force – 153
3. Leah Pruett (Mopar Dodge//SRT) – 137
4. Austin Prock – 131
5. Steve Torrance – 121 (1)
6. Justin Ashley – 108
7. Antron Brown – 103
8. Shawn Langdon – 91
9. Clay Millican – 85
10. Shawn Reed – 82
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Clean Up Time for Ron Capps' and Team


Mar 6, 2020

With a convenient break before the #Gatornats, Ron Capps' and team are all hands on-deck in their clean up and recovery process from a trailer fire before the beginning of the 2020 season
 
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