Mopar Drivers Capps and Schumacher Each Qualify No. 2 for NHRA FallNationals

Mopar Drivers Capps and Schumacher Each Qualify No. 2 for NHRA FallNationals

Ron Capps qualifies No. 2 for NHRA FallNationals in Mopar HEMIĀ®-powered Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car from Don Schumacher Racing (DSR)
Tony Schumacher turns in second-place qualifying effort in DSR-prepared Mopar Top Fuel dragster
Mopar driver Leah Pritchett qualifies sixth in Top Fuel
Five Mopar Dodge Funny Cars qualify for 16-car field, three of the four Mopar Funny Cars from DSR qualify in top seven
October 14, 2017, Ennis, Texas – During the majority of qualifying for the 32nd annual NHRA FallNationals, it looked as if Ron Capps would finally break through to start No. 1 during Sunday elimination rounds for the first time this year. In the end though, Capps and his Mopar HEMIĀ®-powered Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car team from Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) had to settle for the No. 2 qualifying position at Texas Motorplex, the site of the fourth event in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship playoffs this weekend.

Capps’ DSR teammate Tony Schumacher meanwhile turned in a solid second-place qualifying effort in the U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster featuring Mopar power.

Capps, the 2016 NHRA Funny Car champion and current Countdown points leader, laid down his best lap during the second qualifying session early on Friday evening at the all-concrete drag strip near Dallas. Capps and his DSR team made a 3.872-second pass at 329.58 mph, which held as the top time until Q4 on Saturday when Robert Hight bested Capps by just .001. Capps still netted three qualifying bonus points for setting the lowest elapsed time of Q2, meaning he gave up just one marker overall to Hight, who sits second in the standings.

In the Top Fuel category eight-time champion Schumacher qualified No. 2 in the Mopar-powered U.S. Army dragster from DSR after turning in a lap of 3.692 at 327.66 during Q2 on Friday evening. Schumacher earned two bonus points for making the second quickest run of the session. His teammate Leah Pritchett also had a solid weekend of qualifying and will begin Sunday from the sixth position in the Papa John’s Pizza/Mopar Pennzoil Top Fuel dragster. She earned a total of seven bonus points over the course of the four qualifying sessions.

Two of the remaining three DSR Mopar Funny Cars qualified in the top seven. Jack Beckman turned in a third-place effort in the Infinite Hero Dodge and earned five bonus points overall, while Tommy Johnson Jr.’s Make-A-Wish-branded Dodge Funny Car will start from the seventh spot. Last year’s event winner, Matt Hagan, qualified an uncharacteristic 13th in the Mopar Pennzoil Dodge from DSR. He defeated Capps in an all-Mopar final in 2016.

The qualifying sessions were conducted under primarily hot and humid conditions, but overnight rains are expected to lower temperatures to the mid to high 60s by Sunday afternoon.

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

Ron Capps, NAPA Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
Qualified No. 2, will face No. 15 Del Worsham
Friday: (8.981 seconds at 77.02 mph – Q1); (3.872/329.58 – Q2)
Saturday: (5.729/127.50 – Q3); (4.870/161.19 – Q4)

“It’s going to be very fast, it’s going to be probably very close racing, and for the fans it’s going to be great side-by-side racing. For the drivers and crew chiefs it’s going to be throw everything you’ve got at it and we’ll see who’s left standing at the end of the day. But it’s going to be a game-changer for somebody. Hopefully we can do what we did last year and improve on our points lead, but to hold onto that No. 1 spot until that last session, that is the reason drag racing’s so neat. You can’t count anything out until it’s done. It makes the hair on your neck stand up, but in a good way. It’s a lot of fun.”

Tony Schumacher, U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified No. 2, will face No. 15 Terry Haddock
Friday: (3.793 seconds at 324.75 mph – Q1); (3.692/327.66 – Q2)
Saturday: (4.293/187.73 – Q3); (4.646/158.20 – Q4)

“Tomorrow, we’ll go out and give it everything we’ve got. If we can’t get into the points lead by the end of this thing, we want to knock out the leader and make it more difficult for him to take away a championship from DSR. Tomorrow is going to be very fast. It’s going to be 20 to 30 degrees cooler. We know how to go fast. We’ve been doing this a long time.”

Leah Pritchett, Papa John’s Pizza/Mopar Pennzoil Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified No. 6, will face No. 11 Scott Palmer
Friday: (3.767 seconds at 323.89 mph – Q1); (5.269/132.50 – Q2)
Saturday: (3.780/323.35 – Q3); (3.748/323.12 – Q4)

“We’re looking for all four hits tomorrow. That .74 (in Q4) was a hit right there. We were trying to give the track the business. It’s given us a little bit to work with and we’re going to give everybody a lot to work with tomorrow.”

Matt Hagan, Mopar Pennzoil Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
Qualified No. 13, will face No. 4 Jonnie Lindberg
Friday: (12.388 seconds at 70.34 mph – Q1); (4.283/211.03 – Q2)
Saturday: (3.991/324.51 – Q3); (7.615/81.09 – Q4)

“Jonnie (Lindberg)’s a tough competitor, he’s an up-and-coming driver, a young kid. He reminds me of myself back 10 years ago. So it will be fun to race him. (Team owner) Jim Head and those guys, they’ve been running strong. They’ve got a good race car. They’ll have lane choice but I think lanes are pretty equal. We’re just excited to have this Pennzoil car qualified and need to be in the winner’s circle. I think we’re kind of due a win so we’ve just got to keep making some wholesale changes and I think tomorrow is going to be one of those (crew chief) Dickie Venables throw down kind of days with the conditions that we’re going to see.”

Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
Qualified No. 3, will face No. 14 J.R. Todd
Friday: (3.914 seconds at 329.50 mph – Q1); (3.873/332.34 – Q2)
Saturday: (6.907/89.47 – Q3); (3.971/317.19 – Q4)

Tommy Johnson Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
Qualified No. 7, will face No. 10 John Force
Friday: (4.149 seconds at 236.96 mph – Q1); (3.930/327.59 – Q2)
Saturday: (5.622/125.25 – Q3); (3.969/323.81 – Q4)

Tune-in Info
FOX Sports 1 will broadcast the elimination rounds of the 32nd annual NHRA FallNationals LIVE at 2:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, October 15.

For more information on Mopar and Dodge in NHRA, check out the Mopar brand’s official blog,
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 on a smartphone app