Hagan Leads Mopar in Qualifying at NHRA Four-Wide Nationals in Charlotte, Turk Qualifies for Factory Stock Showdown

Hagan Leads Mopar in Qualifying at NHRA Four-Wide Nationals in Charlotte, Turk Qualifies for Factory Stock Showdown

Matt Hagan qualifies Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T fourth in Funny Car to lead Mopar-backed Nitro teams
Four Mopar-powered Don Schumacher Racing Funny Cars qualify in top 10
Six Dodge Charger R/T Funny Cars qualify for 16-car field
Mopar Top Fuel drivers Tony Schumacher and Leah Pritchett will begin day from No. 6 and No. 9 spots, respectively
Pritchett pilots Dodge Challenger to win over Papa John’s founder and CEO, John Schnatter, in second Charity Challenge race of 2017
Geoff Turk qualifies 2015 Dodge Challenger Drag Pak for Factory Stock Showdown
Super Stock driver Jerry Hatch’s 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T 440 Six Pack wins Best Appearing Car
Dodge Challenger SRT Demon simulators unveiled on Manufacturers Midway and covered by FS1
April 29, 2017 (Concord, N.C.) – Mopar HEMIĀ® power claimed four of the top 10 spots in Funny Car qualifying for the Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway near Charlotte, while Mopar-powered Top Fuel machines will start sixth and ninth on the unique four-wide eliminations ladder. Only three rounds are required to crown the event champion in the classes that make up the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.

Matt Hagan turned in the best qualifying time among Mopar drivers in the Funny Car ranks with a pass of 3.898 seconds at 331.28 mph during round two in his Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T. His No. 4 qualifying effort is best among teams not in the John Force Racing camp. His Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) Mopar teammates in Funny Car, Ron Caps, Tommy Johnson Jr. and Jack Beckman, will begin from the sixth, seventh and 10th spots, respectively.

A total of six Dodge Charger R/T Funny Cars qualified for Sunday’s elimination rounds out of a 19-car field.

The DSR Mopar Top Fuel cars also turned in respectable qualifying efforts with eight-time champion Tony Schumacher taking the No. 6 qualifying spot in his U.S. Army Dragster, while points leader Leah Pritchett will begin from the ninth spot in her Papa John’s Pizza/Mopar Pennzoil machine. A large Top Fuel contingent of 18 cars attempted to qualify.

The Four-Wide Nationals also are the site of the second of five Factory Stock Showdowns in 2017. Geoffrey Turk of Yorkville, Illinois, qualified sixth in the eight-car field, before bowing out in round one after a pass of 9.266 seconds at 163.99 mph in a difficult far left lane. Eighteen cars made qualifying attempts. In addition, Super Stock driver Jerry Hatch’s SS/EA 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T powered by 440 Six Pack engine won the Best Appearing Car award. Longtime racer Hatch hails from Lubec, Maine, and is in his second full-time campaigning the Challenger. He has won 12 track championships in his career.

The Four-Wide Nationals are a unique spectacle in drag racing, where not only does each driver in the Pro classes need to stage his or her own car properly, but also has the added distraction of vehicles in three other lanes. Instead of pairs as is the norm in drag racing, for Sunday the qualifying field is divided into four quads with the top two from each advancing throughout the day until one car emerges as the winner out of the four in the final round. Friday’s qualifying rounds featured good conditions, but Saturday’s heat and humidity prevented any major movement in the qualifying order.

Leah Pritchett Defeats Papa John’s Pizza Founder John Schnatter in Second Charity Challenge of 2017
The Four-Wide Nationals also featured the second “Charity Challenge” match race of 2017 between Pritchett and Papa John’s Pizza founder and CEO, John Schnatter. Pritchett bested Schnatter during the Gatornationals in March, and this weekend was again piloting a Dodge Challenger configured for drag racing and featuring a supercharged Mopar Gen III HEMI engine. She defeated Schnatter’s 1971 Camaro with a time of 9.896 seconds at 153.35 mph to Schnatter’s pass of 12.331 at 112.42. Each Charity Challenge match race benefits the Infinite Hero Foundation. The next competition will take place during the Route 66 NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway in Elwood, Illinois, slated for July 6 – 9.

Dodge Challenger SRT Demon Simulators Unveiled
This week on Manufacturers Midway, Dodge unveiled the most high-octane drag racing simulation experience ever created. Drivers have the ability to sit in, feel and drive the highly anticipated Dodge Challenger SRT Demon. The simulators feature the latest state-of-art motion technology, producing incredibly realistic, never-before-seen special effects. Drivers drag race head-to-head starting from behind a real “Christmas Tree” staging light set up to see who has the fastest reaction time and quarter-mile time. On Saturday afternoon Mopar Funny Car drivers Matt Hagan and Tommy Johnson Jr. sampled the simulators along with former driver and current FOX Sports color commentator Tony Pedregon for a piece on FS1.

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

Matt Hagan, Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
Qualified No. 4, will face No. 5 Tim Wilkerson, No. 12 Cruz Pedregon, No. 13 Bob Bode
Friday: (4.593 seconds at 184.40 mph – Q1); (3.898/331.28 – Q2)
Saturday: (4.088/313.73 – Q3); (5.086/151.94 – Q4)

“It’s been kind of a rough weekend, we’ve just not performed the way we wanted to with this Mopar Funny Car, but race day is race day, that’s why you jump in the car and you never know what you’re going to get. One thing this racetrack has been to me is it’s been kind and it’s been brutal. I’ve been on both sides of it with explosions and made highlight reels and everything else. But when we get it right it’s been really kind to me, too. I know it looks like we’re struggling a little bit right now in this heat, we made a good lap last night to put us fourth so all in all it just takes a couple of good runs and a couple of good luck runs during the day tomorrow.

“I’m just excited to hit the gas. You’ve got this new Demon (simulator) out there and people are excited about that. They’re paying attention to Mopar and we want to put on a show for them tomorrow. I think we’ll be all right, we’ve just got to have a couple decent little runs and a little luck come our way.”

Leah Pritchett, Papa John’s Pizza/Mopar Pennzoil Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified No. 9, will face No. 1 Clay Millican, No. 8 Shawn Langdon, No. 16 Terry Haddock
Friday: (3.770 seconds at 322.73 mph – Q1); (3.770/320.51 – Q2);
Saturday: (6.491/91.84 – Q3); (3.785/320.13 – Q4)

“Qualifying for us was a little bit abnormal, we were down on power, which is not something that is an issue of ours. Our Mopar HEMI, with (crew chief) Todd (Okuhara) is good at making a lot of power. We ran on Friday and he’s throwing everything at it and rpms are just not there, it’s just not making power. We knew we weren’t going to better our time from Friday, our focus in qualifying was to weed out the issue of not having enough power. So it took us two runs to do it and we know what our issue was, we had a bad mag that wasn’t putting out all the power. So leading into tomorrow I actually feel really good because we know we have our hot rod back.”

(On the Charity Challenge)
“We live and breathe drag racing, and whether the cause is for the Wally at the end of the day or to help foundations like the Infinite Hero Foundation is something that’s truly amazing. I’m the lucky one, it’s hard for me to wrap my head around all the incredible things that we get to do, but this tops the charts right here.”

Ron Capps, NAPA Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
Qualified No. 6, will face No. 3 John Force, No. 11 Del Worsham, No. 14 Chad Head
Friday: (3.905 seconds at 321.12 mph – Q1); (3.904/324.12 – Q2)
Saturday: (3.964/320.89 – Q3); (3.920/321.88 – Q4)

Tommy Johnson Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
Qualified No. 7, will face No. 2 Robert Hight, No. 10 Jack Beckman, No 15 Jim Campbell
Friday: (3.993 seconds at 312.86 mph – Q1); (3.922/319.52 – Q2)
Saturday: (3.994/311.05 – Q3); (3.952/316.52 – Q4)

Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
Qualified No. 10, will face No. 2 Robert Hight, No. 7 Tommy Johnson Jr., No. 15 Jim Campbell
Friday: (3.970 seconds at 323.12 mph – Q1); (4.379/203.28 – Q2)
Saturday: (4.725/173.01 – Q3); (4.384/205.04 – Q4)

Tony Schumacher, U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified No. 6, will face No. 3 Antron Brown, No. 11 Pat Dakin, No. 14 Ike Maier
Friday: (3.778 seconds at 324.51 mph – Q1); (3.740/323.81- Q2)
Saturday: (3.789/319.45 – Q3); (6.772/98.95 – Q4)

Tune-In Info
FOX Sports 1 will broadcast the elimination rounds from the eighth annual NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at 5:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, April 30.

For more information on Mopar and Dodge in NHRA, check out the Mopar brand’s official blog, http://blog.mopar.com.
About Mopar Motorsports
The Mopar brand’s commitment to professional motorsports competition was established in the 1950s when a partnership ignited with drag racing pioneer Don Garlits, resulting in the breaking of numerous speed and performance barriers in HEMI-powered vehicles over the next several decades. In 2016, thanks to Don Schumacher Racing driver Ron Capps, Mopar captured its fourth NHRA Funny Car World Championship in the last six years. As Mopar celebrates 80 years as a brand in 2017, it will focus its NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series efforts on NHRA Funny Car and, with rising star Leah Pritchett, NHRA Top Fuel Dragster. Mopar will also bolster its commitment to NHRA Sportsman racing with new contingency rewards, factory support and at-track technical advice and guidance.

Mopar-First Features
During the brand’s 80 years, Mopar has introduced numerous industry-first features including:
Vehicle-information apps: first to introduce smartphone vehicle-information applications, a new channel of communication with consumers
wiADVISOR: first to incorporate a tablet-based service lane tool
Electronic Vehicle Tracking System (EVTS): first to market with a new interactive vehicle tracking device that sends owner a text when vehicle is driven too fast or too far based on pre-set parameters
Wi-Fi: first to offer customers the ability to make their vehicle a wireless hot spot
Electronic owner manuals: first to introduce traditional owner manuals in a DVD and brief user-g