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Mopar Mega Block Party, Dodge Challenger SRT Demon Match Races Highlight Dodge NHRA Nationals
Leah Pritchett to Unveil Mopar 80th Anniversary Graphics on Top Fuel Dragster at Block Party

Mopar Mega Block Party to kickoff Dodge NHRA Nationals, scheduled for September 21-24 at Maple Grove Raceway
2nd Annual Mopar Mega Block Party on Thursday, September 21, to feature home run derby, car show, bands, autograph session and more at FirstEnergy Stadium
Mopar Top Fuel driver Leah Pritchett to unveil dragster with special wrap celebrating brand’s 80th anniversary during Block Party event
Mopar drivers Matt Hagan and Leah Pritchett to drive the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon in match races during race weekend
Hagan and Pritchett to serve as event grand marshals and honorary starters
Mopar to recognize retiring NHRA Pro Stock driver Allen Johnson at Block Party
Mopar and Dodge displays will be featured on Manufacturers Midway at track


September 13, 2017 , Auburn Hills, Mich. -



The Mopar Mega Block Party will jump start the Dodge NHRA Nationals for the second consecutive year, with a full slate of fan-friendly activities set for Thursday, September 21, at FirstEnergy Stadium in Reading, Pennsylvania. The free-to-the-public event is scheduled from 4-10 p.m. Eastern and will feature a home run derby, the unveiling of Top Fuel driver Leah Pritchett’s dragster featuring a wrap celebrating the Mopar brand’s 80th anniversary, Dodge Challenger SRT Demon simulators, an NHRA driver autograph session and much more.

The Dodge NHRA Nationals event is slated for September 21-24 at famed Maple Grove Raceway near Reading, with the Dodge brand also marking its second year of sponsoring the prestigious race, part of the six-event NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoffs.


2nd Annual Mopar Mega Block Party
The Mopar Mega Block Party will once again offer NHRA drivers and personalities the opportunity to translate their reflexes and steely nerves from the racetrack to the baseball diamond in a home run derby. Mopar Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car drivers Matt Hagan, Jack Beckman and Tommy Johnson Jr., Mopar Top Fuel pilots Leah Pritchett and Tony Schumacher, and Mopar Dodge Dart Pro Stock stalwart Allen Johnson will participate alongside NHRA on FOX play-by-play announcer Dave Rieff and color commentator and former driver Tony Pedregon.

NHRA announcer Alan Reinhart is scheduled to call all the action. Donations to the Make-A-Wish and Infinite Hero Foundations will be made in the name of the winner of the elimination-style competition.



The Mopar Mega Block Party also will feature plenty of classic and modern HEMI® power with a massive all-Mopar car show hosted by the Modern Mopar car club, opportunities for fans to drive the popular Dodge Challenger SRT Demon simulators, appearances by Raminator Monster Trucks, concerts by Liquid A, Go-Go Gadjet and TJ Bebb, on-site food and drink vendors, kids’ activities, giveaways and much more. In addition, Mopar NHRA drivers will be on-hand to sign autographs, with several race cars on-site for fans to take an up-close look. A massive fireworks display will be part of the evening as well.

Festivities kick off at 4 p.m. Eastern, with home run derby batters scheduled to take the plate at 5 p.m. and the autograph signing set for 6:30-7:30 p.m. A Mega Fireworks show sponsored by Pennzoil will launch at 8:45 p.m., with a closing concert to follow.

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

Hagan and Pritchett to Square off in Dodge Challenger SRT Demon Match Races
In addition to driving their 11,000-horsepower, nitro-fueled machines throughout the weekend, Matt Hagan and Leah Pritchett will participate in match races in the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon, the most powerful muscle car ever, with 840 horsepower and 770 lb.-ft. of torque.

Pritchett helped with R&D on the powerful new machines, and bested Hagan twice during the pair’s first two showdowns earlier this year during the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway near Denver. Pritchett will look to keep her streak alive, while Hagan will be out for revenge as he tries to even the score.

Mopar to Honor Retiring Pro Stock Driver Allen Johnson at Block Party
The 2017 edition of the Dodge NHRA Nationals will also represent 2012 Pro Stock champion Allen Johnson’s last trip to Maple Grove Raceway as a Pro driver, following the longtime Mopar brand ambassador’s retirement announcement at the U.S. Nationals earlier this month. To date, Johnson has claimed 27 victories and 37 No. 1 qualifier positions in his 22-year career. Mopar will honor Johnson’s long-standing commitment to the brand during the Mopar Mega Block Party at FirstEnergy Park on Thursday evening with a special ceremony and presentation.

Hagan, Pritchett Named Event Grand Marshals
Hagan and Pritchett will also help the racing action get underway in Reading as event grand marshals and honorary starters. Hagan, driver of the Mopar 80th/Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T, has won the Funny Car title twice and is a 25-time race winner in the category, Pritchett has had a superb season thus far in her first full year with Mopar power as she pilots the Papa John’s Pizza/Mopar Pennzoil dragster. She has won four races this season alone and taken her place as one of the brightest stars on the NHRA landscape.

Mopar and Dodge on Manufacturers Midway
Both the Mopar and Dodge display trailers will be present on Manufacturers Midway throughout the Dodge NHRA Nationals. The Dodge display will feature more opportunities for fans to test their skills in wheel-standing simulations of the quickest production car ever built – the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon. A variety of games and giveaways will be available at both the Mopar and Dodge displays, while fans can also get an up-close look at what’s new from each brand. In addition, Mopar Funny Car driver Jack Beckman will host Nitro School from the Mopar display alongside NHRA announcer Alan Reinhart at 10:45 a.m. Eastern on Saturday, September 23. The displays are present at 15 of 24 events on the NHRA national event calendar this season.
 

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Hagan Leads Mopar After First Day of Qualifying at Dodge NHRA Nationals

Matt Hagan uses Mopar HEMI® power to claim provisional No. 2 spot in Funny Car during qualifying for 33rd annual Dodge NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway
Leah Pritchett sits fifth to lead Mopar in Top Fuel
Pritchett is carrying special wrap celebrating Mopar’s 80th anniversary
Pritchett defeats Hagan in Dodge Challenger SRT Demon match race
Second annual Mopar Mega Block Party kicks off event at FirstEnergy Stadium in Reading, NHRA on FOX’s Dave Rieff wins home run derby
Retiring Mopar Pro Stock driver Allen Johnson receives special honors as he makes 500th start this weekend

September 22, 2017 , Mohnton, Pa. -

The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship continues this weekend with the 33rd annual Dodge NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway near Reading. After the first day of qualifying, Matt Hagan and the Mopar 80th/Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car team from Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) sit in the second position to lead the Mopar HEMI®-powered contingent.


Hagan turned in a 3.874-second pass at 335.82 mph during the second qualifying session to claim the provisional No. 2 spot. His DSR teammate Ron Capps currently sits No. 3 in his Dodge Charger R/T, while Jack Beckman is fourth in the Infinite Hero Dodge from DSR. Tommy Johnson Jr. and the Make-A-Wish team rounded out the Mopar Funny Car squads with a 10th-place effort through two sessions.

The Mopar Top Fuel teams from the DSR shop are fifth and sixth, with Leah Pritchett claiming the No. 5 position in a special Mopar 80th Anniversary dragster she is campaigning throughout the weekend at Maple Grove. Tony Schumacher sits sixth in the U.S. Army car.


Pritchett Defeats Hagan in Dodge Challenger SRT Demon Match Race
On Friday afternoon, Pritchett and Hagan also took part in the first of two head-to-head match races slated for the weekend in 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demons. Pritchett got off the line first and continued to lead her Mopar teammate at the finish. The two also squared off in the street-legal beasts during the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals earlier this season at Bandimere Speedway near Denver, where Pritchett defeated Hagan twice. The next matchup between the two drivers is scheduled for Saturday afternoon at Maple Grove Raceway between the third and fourth Pro qualifying sessions.

Second Annual Mopar Mega Block Party
Crowds filled FirstEnergy Stadium in Reading on Thursday night to kick off the Dodge NHRA Nationals with the second annual Mopar Mega Block Party. The evening featured the unveiling of Pritchett’s Mopar 80th Anniversary Top Fuel dragster, a home run derby where NHRA on FOX play-by-play announcer Dave Rieff bested Mopar drivers, staff and other NHRA personalities to raise money for the Infinite Hero and Make-A-Wish Foundations, and special recognition for retiring Mopar Pro Stock driver Allen Johnson.



Johnson is making his 500th start this weekend and was honored with a video tribute and unique helmet celebrating special moments in his career. Greg Anderson is the only active Pro Stock driver with more starts than Johnson. Autograph sessions, live bands, an all-Mopar car show featuring close to 100 vehicles and an enormous fireworks display were also part of the festivities.

Mopar/Dodge Notes & Quotes

Matt Hagan, Mopar 80th/Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
“We got some bonus points (three) and it was a good opening day for our Mopar Express Lane Dodge. We have a lot of great information to with those two good runs like that. It’s just what we needed to do. It will be hot again tomorrow for everybody and we run a little earlier. I hope we can at least stay where we are (second). We just want to keep working at it. It’s a big weekend for us with Dodge and Mopar."



Leah Pritchett, Mopar 80th Anniversary Top Fuel Dragster
“This competition is extremely fierce. We feel good about tomorrow, we’re going to push again and couldn’t be more excited to run the Mopar 80th Anniversary Top Fuel dragster at the Dodge NHRA Nationals, and get another win in the Demon against my teammate Matt Hagan. I think it’s super cool, this is the only place in the world that people are able to see two Demons run side by side. For Matt and I to be able to do that is something very special.”

Tune-in Info
The 33rd annual Dodge NHRA Nationals continue on Saturday, September 23, with FOX Sports 1 slated to broadcast the final two qualifying sessions Sunday, September 24, at 1:30 a.m. ET.
 

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On Thursday, September 21, the Mopar Mega Block Party at FirstEnergy Stadium in Reading featured participation by close to 100 vehicles in an all-Mopar car show hosted by the Modern Mopar car club.

Leah Pritchett is driving the Mopar 80th Anniversary Top Fuel dragster during the 33rd annual Dodge NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway near Reading. Pritchett is currently qualified fifth.
 

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Hagan Qualifies Dodge Charger Funny Car No. 2

Hagan Qualifies Dodge Charger Funny Car No. 2 to Lead Mopar at Dodge NHRA Nationals


Matt Hagan qualifies Mopar HEMI®-powered Funny Car from Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) No. 2 at Maple Grove Raceway for 33rd annual Dodge NHRA Nationals
Three Mopar-powered Funny Cars from DSR qualify in top five
Six Mopar Dodge Funny Cars will compete in 16-car field
Tony Schumacher leads Mopar in Top Fuel with fifth-place qualifying effort
Hagan defeats Mopar Top Fuel driver Leah Pritchett in Dodge Challenger SRT Demon match race
Tom Baker Jr.’s Super Stock 1970 Plymouth Barracuda wins Best Appearing Car


September 23, 2017 , Mohnton, Pa. -

Led by Funny Car driver Matt Hagan and the Mopar 80th/Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T crew, Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) teams featuring Mopar HEMI® power made a number of strong qualifying runs in unseasonably warm conditions during the 33rd annual Dodge NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway. The solid efforts set up the opportunity for each team to go deep into Sunday’s elimination rounds in both Funny Car and Top Fuel at the second event of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship playoffs.

Hagan made a best lap of 3.874 seconds at 335.82 mph during the second qualifying session on Friday evening at the famed track near Reading, a time which held throughout two more summer-like sessions on Saturday. Hagan has been No. 1 qualifier four times this season and missed out on his fifth top spot this weekend by .030. He was the No. 1 qualifier at Maple Grove during the 2016 campaign.

Two of Hagan’s DSR teammates also put their Dodge Charger R/T Funny Cars in the quickest five positions, as Ron Capps qualified third and Jack Beckman turned in a fifth-place effort in the Infinite Hero car. Last year’s event winner, Tommy Johnson Jr., will start from the 11th spot in his Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T from DSR.

A total of six Mopar Dodge Funny Cars will compete in the 16-car field.

In Top Fuel, Mopar driver Tony Schumacher made a 3.736-second pass at 330.23 mph on Saturday afternoon in the DSR-prepared U.S. Army dragster, putting him No. 5. Leah Pritchett meanwhile qualified sixth in the the Mopar 80th Anniversary dragster from DSR at the Dodge-branded event.

A sellout crowd was on hand for Saturday’s qualifying sessions.



Hagan Bests Pritchett in Second Dodge Challenger SRT Demon Match Race of Weekend
On Saturday afternoon, Pritchett and Hagan also took part in their second match race of the weekend in equally prepared 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demons. Pritchett won the matchup of the 840-horsepower machines on Friday, but two-time Funny Car champion Hagan came back to even the score with a victory in round two. The results on the season are now 3-1 in Pritchett’s favor, as she defeated Hagan in a pair of Demon match races earlier this season during the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway.



Tom Baker Jr.’s Barracuda Wins Best Appearing Car
Tom Baker Jr’s SS/GA 1970 Plymouth Barracuda took home the Best Appearing Car honors from the 33rd annual Dodge NHRA Nationals. The car, known as “Trippin’ Fish,” has been in Baker’s family since 1976. Baker hails from Kingsville, Maryland, and attended the very first Dodge NHRA Nationals in the car, driven to the race by his dad before it was converted into a race car.

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




Matt Hagan, Mopar 80th/Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
Qualified No. 2, will face No. 15 Jeff Diehl
Friday: (3.933 seconds at 329.58 mph – Q1); (3.874/335.82 – Q2)
Saturday: (3.927/334.65 – Q3); (3.948/329.91 – Q4)

“The race car’s running great. We’ve had four good runs (all in the three-second range). It’s been pretty warm out all four runs and the car’s going down the racetrack. So I can’t ask for much more than that, other than to get out here and just have a good race day tomorrow.”

Leah Pritchett, Mopar 80th Anniversary Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified No. 6, will face No. 11 Terry McMillen
Friday: (4.080 seconds at 218.23 mph – Q1); (3.741/328.14 – Q2)
Saturday: (3.776/327.11 – Q3); (10.214/72.39 – Q4)

“We feel like Q3 was probably one of our stronger (runs), we learned a lot from it. We feel good about race day, we feel like we've overcome what happened in Charlotte (first-round loss). We think we’re long past that and it’s going to be a tough Sunday but we’re ready for it.”

Ron Capps, NAPA Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
Qualified No. 3, will face No. 14 Jim Campbell
Friday: (4.697 seconds at 171.42 mph – Q1); (3.877/327.43 – Q2)
Saturday: (3.981/324.20 – Q3); (3.901/332.10 – Q4)

Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
Qualified No. 5, will face No. 12 Cruz Pedregon
Friday: (3.914 seconds at 330.55 mph – Q1); (3.925/327.82 – Q2)
Saturday: (4.527/186.67 – Q3); (3.936/331.20 – Q4)

Tommy Johnson Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
Qualified No. 11, will face No. 6 Alexis DeJoria
Friday: (5.058 seconds at 148.49 mph – Q1); (3.957/326.00 – Q2)
Saturday: (4.208/236.80 – Q3); (4.003/317.64 – Q4)



Tony Schumacher, U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified No. 5, will face No. 12 Scott Palmer
Friday: (3.747 seconds at 329.42 mph – Q1); (4.247/189.20 – Q2)
Saturday: (3.736/330.23 – Q3); (6.724/98.12 – Q4)

Tune-in Info
FOX Sports 1 will broadcast the elimination rounds of the 33rd annual Dodge NHRA Nationals LIVE at 2:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, September 24.
 

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Ron Capps qualified No. 3 for the Dodge NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway in his Mopar Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car.

Tommy Johnson Jr. will start from the 11th position on the elimination ladder in this wekeend's Dodge NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway near Reading, Pennsylvania.
 

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Capps Wins Dodge NHRA Nationals

Capps Wins Dodge NHRA Nationals in Mopar-powered Dodge Charger Funny Car


Mopar Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car driver Ron Capps wins 33rd annual Dodge NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway near Reading, Pennsylvania
Win is seventh of season for Capps and 13th for Mopar HEMI® power from Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) in Funny Car this year
Victory is 56th of Capps’ career in Funny Car category
Mopar HEMI-powered Dodge Funny Cars from DSR have reached 17 final rounds in 20 events to date in 2017
Three Mopar Dodge Funny Cars from DSR reach semifinals, all go to at least second round
Leah Pritchett and Tony Schumacher finish in second round in Mopar Top Fuel dragsters
Capps regains Funny Car points lead at conclusion of second event in NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship playoffs, Schumacher sits fifth to lead Mopar in Top Fuel
Three Mopar-powered cars reach quarterfinals of Super Stock Eliminator
Scott Goshert wins Dodge Top Finisher in Stock Eliminator, Richard Kay takes Super Stock Eliminator award

September 24, 2017 , Mohnton, Pa. -

Mopar HEMI® power claimed its 13th NHRA Funny Car win of 2017 on Sunday at Maple Grove Raceway, as Ron Capps drove his Dodge Charger R/T from Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) to the winner’s circle at the Dodge NHRA Nationals. Capps bested Courtney Force in the final round at the Reading-area track to pick up his seventh victory of the season and the 18th for HEMI power from DSR in both Nitro categories overall.

The win in the Dodge-branded event also put Capps, the defending NHRA Funny Car champion, back in the points lead after the second of six events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship playoffs.

Capps bested Courtney Force from the right lane in the final round with a pass of 3.968 seconds at 326.48 mph to Force’s 3.993 at 311.70. Capps left the starting line with a .043-second reaction time, while Force had a reaction time of .067. The cars were side-by-side for the length of the drag strip when Force’s parachutes deployed just before the finish line.

Capps defeated three Mopar Dodge drivers on his march to the final, starting with Jim Campbell in a wild first round. Campbell had a cylinder out while Capps’ car went up in smoke at the finish, but still turned on the win light. Capps next took on DSR teammate Tommy Johnson Jr. and won on a clean pass as Johnson lost traction near half-track. Capps then defeated another DSR teammate in the form of Matt Hagan. The cars were close until Hagan’s chutes came out down track, allowing Capps to pull away and reach the final round for the 10th time this season, where he collected the 56th win of his Funny Car career and his first at Maple Grove. It was also the 17th time at least one Mopar Dodge Funny Car has reached the final round through 20 events this year.

After a difficult opening to the Countdown to the Championship at zMAX Dragway near Charlotte last week, where no Mopar-powered car got past the second round in either Funny Car or Top Fuel, in Reading three Mopar HEMI-powered Funny Cars from DSR reached the semifinals.

Matt Hagan, whose team has struggled recently, won his first-round matchup over Jeff Diehl as Hagan powered his Mopar 80th/Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T to the finish line when Diehl smoked his tires at the 330-foot mark. Hagan next defeated Tim Wilkerson to set up a matchup with DSR teammate Capps, where his day came to an end.


Jack Beckman and the Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car team narrowly defeated Cruz Pedregon in round one, which also served as Beckman’s 600th elimination round. He next took down Jonnie Lindberg on a clean pass when Lindberg immediately smoked the tires. Beckman then raced Courtney Force in the semis, but was late leaving the starting line and could never catch up.

Defending event winner Johnson beat Alexis DeJoria in round one when both cars smoked the tires, but Johnson made it to the finish line first in the Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car from DSR. His day was then ended by teammate Capps in round two.

In Top Fuel, Leah Pritchett raced her specially wrapped Mopar 80th Anniversary dragster past Terry McMillen on a clean, side-by-side pass in round one, setting up a showdown with Steve Torrence. Pritchett left the starting line first but suffered a massive explosion down track, giving the win to her opponent.

Tony Schumacher and the Mopar-powered U.S. Army Top Fuel team from DSR defeated Scott Palmer in the first round when Palmer had clutch issues and was unable to make a pass. Schumacher was ultimately defeated in round two by event winner Brittany Force.

The 33rd annual Dodge NHRA Nationals took place under sunny skies and very warm conditions, forcing teams and drivers alike to learn on the fly as the event has had cool, overcast and rainy weather for several years. Massive crowds were on hand each day, setting a four-day attendance record.

Mopar/Dodge Notes & Quotes

Pietro Gorlier, Head of Parts and Service (Mopar) FCA – Global
“It’s very exciting for Mopar to claim victory at a race sponsored by the Dodge brand. Congratulations to Ron Capps and his entire Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car team on this important win at the Dodge NHRA Nationals. We’re looking forward to seeing even more HEMI power in the winner’s circle throughout the fall months as we chase another title in the Countdown to the Championship playoffs.”



Ron Capps, NAPA Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 3 Qualifier – 3.877 seconds at 327.43 mph)

Rd. 1: (.080-second reaction time, 4.166 seconds at 233.96 mph) defeated No. 14 Jim Campbell (.092/4.213/285.95)
Rd. 2: (.070/3.987/326.32) defeated No. 11 Tommy Johnson Jr. (.082/5.135/146.21)
Semis: (.050/3.944/324.67) defeated No. 2 Matt Hagan (.063/3.990/311.20)
Final: (.043/3.968/326.48) defeated No. 6 Courtney Force (.067/3.993/311.70)

“What a deal today. We fell behind a little bit, we got lucky a little bit in the first round, but we feel like we make our luck. The harder we work, the luckier we get for sure.

“Every time I’ve driven through the gate here, I say, ‘I love you, I love you, I love you Maple Grove. Give me some love back’ and I’ve always left here a little short. Getting the points lead back was secondary to winning here. It was an ecstatic feeling in the shutdown area.”

Matt Hagan, Mopar 80th/Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 2 Qualifier – 3.874 seconds at 335.82 mph)

Rd. 1: (.071-second reaction time, 3.912 seconds at 334.65 mph) defeated No. 15 Jeff Diehl
(.145/5.875/122.90)
Rd. 2: (.076/3.955/324.36) defeated No. 10 Tim Wilkerson (.078/3.995/322.65)
Semis: (.063/3.990/311.20) lost to No. 3 Ron Capps (.050/3.944/324.67)

“We went some rounds today, we got out of the first round. That was big. But we’ve just had awful, awful luck. If we hadn’t had bad luck we wouldn’t have any. I don’t know how you change your luck, but we’ve just been having some mistakes here and there and little things are just eating us alive. We had a cable in the parachute break off and put the chutes out. The car’s running good; we’ve had a great race car. We just can’t make it work on race day. So we’ll get back after it again next weekend and see what we can do. We’ll see if we can make up some ground.”

Leah Pritchett, Mopar 80th Anniversary Top Fuel Dragster
(No. 6 Qualifier – 3.741 seconds at 328.14 mph)

Rd. 1: (.074-second reaction time, 3.760 seconds at 328.70 mph) defeated No. 11 Terry McMillen (.075/3.786/322.58)
Rd. 2: (.057/3.825/274.22) lost to No. 3 Steve Torrence (.091/3.767/325.92)

“We got the short end of the stick on the luck meter. The Mopar team and guys are doing a phenomenal job. I think one of the biggest successes of this weekend is finding what’s wrong with our race car gremlin-wise and we showed it today. We feel comfortable that we finally have our hot rod back. .

“We’re right there on par with all of our competition in the hot weather and still believe we’ve got one of the best race cars in the cool weather, which shines a very bright light. We’re looking forward to St. Louis. This weekend for Mopar, we had all the power and put it to the track.”

Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 5 Qualifier – 3.914 seconds at 330.55 mph)

Rd. 1: (.085-second reaction time, 3.938 seconds at 330.63 mph) defeated No. 12 Cruz Pedregon (.092/4.027/318.39)
Rd. 2: (.066/3.952/326.40) defeated No. 4 Jonnie Lindberg (.083/11.160/95.71)
Semis: (.148/3.948/327.74) lost to No. 8 Courtney Force (.073/3.968/329.50)

“I’m not going to candy-coat it. It’s 100 percent driver error. It was my worst light of the year. It was a very inopportune time to have my worst light of the year. We had a great car. I’ve always said we may not be the quickest car in hero conditions (cool weather), but throw a little bit of heat on the track and this Infinite Hero car’s right at the top of the heap. We showed it today. I let the team down. That’s a bitter feeling. That’s tough, knowing everybody did their best and if I’d have done any other light this year would have won that race. So I’m going to shake it off, I’m going to think positive, we are going to take this thing to St. Louis with a winning mindset and see if we can get the trophy there.”

Tommy Johnson Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 11 Qualifier – 3.957 seconds at 326.00 mph)

Rd. 1: (.051-second reaction time, 4.226 seconds at 226.62 mph) defeated No. 6 Alexis DeJoria (.084/4.684/266.27)
Rd. 2: (.082/5.135/146.21) lost to No. 3 Ron Capps (.070/3.987/326.32)

“We’ve got some issues with the clutch and we’ve just struggled to get a handle on the clutch and the racetrack. It’s was a difficult weekend and the guys kept working hard to try and fix it. If we’re going to have a shot at the championship, we have to fix it. I’m sure (crew chief) John (Collins) and (assistant) Rip (Reynolds) and all the guys will really regroup this week and see if we can’t pinpoint the problem. We’ve just got to win out. The championship is still doable but it’s going to take at least four finals and we need to win them to get back on track.”

Tony Schumacher, U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster
(No. 5 Qualifier – 3.736 seconds at 330.23 mph)

Rd. 1: (.089-second reaction time, 3.754 seconds at 327.98 mph) defeated No. 12 Scott Palmer (no time - mechanical)
Rd. 2: (.066/3.873/311.49) lost to No. 4 Brittany Force (.077/3.743/330.47)

“We have a really good U.S. Army car and unfortunately we’ve just had something happen at the wrong time and it’s put us in positions Sunday where we are facing cars in the second round that we should be racing in the semifinal or final. If we can qualify inside the top three, chances at winning increase. I know right now the focus is going to be other drivers as far as the Countdown goes, but if you look back over history the past couple of decades more often than not, the U.S. Army team has been right there until the end of the title hunt.”

Mopar/Dodge NHRA Sportsman Spotlight
Mopar-powered drivers made a strong showing in the Stock Eliminator and Super Stock Eliminator categories during the Sportsman portion of the Dodge NHRA Nationals, with Scott Goshert and Richard Kay turning in the top performances for the Mopar brand.


In Stock Eliminator, Goshert drove his E/SA 1971 Plymouth Duster to the third round. The native of Laureldale, Pennsylvania made a pass of 10.896 seconds at 120.80 mph on a 10.72 dial-in. He had a .028-second reaction time.


The best Mopar performance in Super Stock Eliminator belonged to Richard Kay, who reached the quarterfinals in his SS/BM 1969 Plymouth Valiant. Kay turned in his best pass of the weekend in the round, running 8.780 to match his dial-in. The driver from East Meadow, New York, reached a speed of 150.88 and left the starting line with a .027 reaction time. He was bested by less than a foot at the finish. Three Mopar-powered vehicles appeared in the quarterfinals of the category.

Goshert and Kay each received the Dodge Top Finisher award, a program which provides $500 to the Stock Eliminator and Super Stock Eliminator competitors who advance the farthest in a Dodge or Plymouth vehicle at all 24 national events. It is part of the Mopar and Dodge brands’ deep commitment to Sportsman racers.
Super Stock class eliminations also took place in Reading, where five cars featuring Mopar power collected wins.

Gary Wolkwitz from Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, won SS/AH in his ’68 Dodge Dart, Kingsville, Maryland’s Thomas Baker Jr. took SS/GA in a ’70 Plymouth Barracuda, Tom Sheehan of Belle Vernon, Pennsylvania, won GT/NA in a 2000 Chrysler Sebring, Jonathan Allegrucci of Scott Township, Pennsylvania, drove his ’15 Challenger to the FSS/D win, and David Collette from Perryville, Maryland, claimed the FSS/F Wally in his ’11 Challenger.

Up Next: NHRA Midwest Nationals
The Countdown the Championship playoffs continue next week with a trip to the St. Louis area for the sixth annual NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park. Last season Jack Beckman bested teammate Tommy Johnson Jr. to win an all-Mopar Funny Car final round. Mopar teammate Matt Hagan also claims both ends of the Funny Car track record, turning in a pass of 3.883 seconds at 330.47 mph in 2015.

Mopar-powered Ron Capps has won at Gateway three times in Funny Car, with Beckman having claimed two victories at the track. Last year’s Top Fuel runner-up, Mopar driver Tony Schumacher, has also won at the facility twice.

The NHRA Midwest Nationals will take place from September 29 – October 1, and will also feature the fifth and final Factory Stock Showdown of 2017. The entire event will receive coverage on FOX Sports 1, with LIVE coverage of the elimination rounds scheduled for the network at 2 p.m. ET on Sunday, October 1.



2017 NHRA Championship — Point Standings After Round 20 of 24
(Season Wins in Parentheses)


NHRA Funny Car
2. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger R/T (7) – 2,273
1. Robert Hight (3) – 2,265
3. Courtney Force – 2,234
4. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger R/T (3) – 2,183
5. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger R/T (2) – 2,173
6. Tommy Johnson Jr., Dodge Charger R/T (1) – 2,159

7. J.R. Todd (2) – 2,135
8. John Force (1) – 2,116
9. Tim Wilkerson – 2,098
10. Cruz Pedregon – 2,065

NHRA Top Fuel
1. Steve Torrence (7) – 2,259
2. Doug Kalitta – (1) 2,237
3. Brittany Force (2) – 2,236
4. Antron Brown (4) – 2,208
5. Tony Schumacher, Mopar HEMI (1) – 2,174
6. Clay Millican (1) – 2,171
7. Leah Pritchett, Mopar HEMI (4) – 2,162
8. Terry McMillen – 2,083
9. Scott Palmer – 2,074
10. Shawn Langdon – 2,068
 

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Ron Capps defeeated Courtney Force in the final round of Funny Car to win the 33rd annual Dodge NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway.

Matt Hagan went to the semifinals in the Mopar 80th/Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car during the Dodge NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway near Reading.

Tommy Johnson Jr. drove his Mopar-powered Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T Funny car to a second-round finish at the 33rd annual Dodge NHRA Nationals.
 
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