Mopar Dodge//SRT Driver Pritchett Primed for Double Duty in Top Fuel, Factory Stock Showdown at NHRA Gatornationals
· Test sessions have Top Fueler Leah Pritchett ready to race her Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak in Factory Stock Showdown class at Gainesville Raceway
· NHRA Pro Stock world champion Allen Johnson will also drive Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak in Factory Stock Showdown
· Geoff Turk cracks seven-second barrier at NMCA event, will look to repeat the feat at NHRA Gatornationals
· NHRA Funny Car points leader Matt Hagan to lead Mopar Dodge//SRT Don Schumacher Racing squad into Gatornationals
· Mopar Dodge//SRT display to feature popular Challenger SRT Demon simulators, elevated fan VIP viewing area at Gainesville Raceway
· New Dodge Garage (http://www.dodgegarage.com/), a digital content hub for muscle car and race enthusiasts launches; will include highlights from NHRA season
Auburn Hills, Michigan (March 14, 2018) – Mopar and Dodge//SRT racers are set to battle in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series and the SAM Tech NHRA Factory Stock Showdown at the NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway in Florida on March 15-18, with one driver — Leah Pritchett — bidding for Wally trophies in both series.
In addition to her customary seat in the Papa John’s/Mopar Dodge Top Fuel dragster, Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) driver Pritchett will also take the wheel of a supercharged Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak in the NHRA Factory Stock Showdown category. Pritchett used a rare break last week from the NHRA circuit to test and tune her 354-cubic-inch HEMI® engine-powered Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak at the National Muscle Car Association (NMCA) event in Bradenton, Florida.
Pritchett, with crew chief and new DSR employee Kevin Helms on hand, was able to put valuable track time under her belt at Bradenton before the first of seven NHRA Factory Stock Showdown events in which she will compete this year. Her Drag Pak will carry a unique Mopar and Dodge//SRT-themed livery, designed by motorsports lifestyle brand Hoonigan, all season.
“The double-duty aspect, I had a taste of it last year and honestly, I think it makes me a better racer overall,” said Pritchett, who raced in two Factory Stock Showdown events last year. “To have a three-time World Champion Sportsman racer like Kevin Helms (as crew chief) is definitely an ace in my pocket, and I’m just being a student of his. We have had a pretty good off-season of development. The test sessions we’ve had, I never experienced a crew chief that was a driver and tuner before, so the dynamic is very exciting and compelling to me.”
Joining Pritchett in the fierce, competitive field of 30-plus entries in Factory Stock Showdown will be a name familiar to Mopar and Dodge//SRT fans — 2012 NHRA Pro Stock World Champion Allen Johnson. Johnson will drive a Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak owned by Jeff Teuton, with additional vehicle preparation and support provided by Don Schumacher Motorsports (DSM) and Mopar Dodge//SRT engineers.
“I think it’s going to be very similar, almost like a drop back into time to the type of Pro Stock cars you would have seen in the 1970s,” said Johnson, whose father and engine builder Roy Johnson will also make the trip to Gainesville. “It’s given my dad a lot of energy. We obviously don’t have the crew we used to have, so it’s giving him a lot of work. I’m really excited. I’m also excited it’s only about six or seven races, compared to all 24.”
The final member of the Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak Factory Stock Showdown trio competing at Gainesville will enter the event fresh off a record-setting run. Geoff Turk made NMCA history last weekend at the Bradenton event, becoming the first driver in the series to break into the seven-second range with a 7.996-second elapsed time at 170.10 mph during qualifying for the event on March 10.
Turk is already unofficially the fastest in the NHRA Factory Stock Showdown class after running an 8.02-second elapsed time in his Blackbird Drag Pak at an NHRA Division 3 event last October, and will attempt to match last weekend’s performance by becoming the first NHRA Factory Stock driver to run in the seven-second zone this weekend at Gainesville.
Funny Car Points Leader Matt Hagan Leads Mopar Dodge//SRT Don Schumacher Racing Teams into Gatornationals
Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T driver Matt Hagan will lead the DSR squad into the NHRA Gatornationals as the current points leader in the NHRA Funny Car class.
Hagan notched a season-opening win at the NHRA Winternationals in February, and is seeking his first career win at Gainesville Raceway. Hagan’s DSR teammates follow close behind him in the standings, with Ron Capps third entering this weekend, Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T driver Tommy Johnson Jr. fifth and Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T pilot Jack Beckman a spot down in sixth.
In Top Fuel, Pritchett is looking for her first win of the season as well as the first of her career at the NHRA Gatornationals, while her Mopar-powered teammate and U.S. Army Top Fuel driver Tony Schumacher owns five Gainesville wins, most in the class.
Mopar Dodge//SRT Display to Feature Challenger SRT Demon Simulators
The Mopar Dodge//SRT display — one of the largest on NHRA Manufacturers Midway at nearly 5,000 square-feet — will feature the crowd-favorite Dodge Challenger SRT Demon simulators, giving enthusiasts a virtual seat behind the wheel of the 840-horsepower, most powerful muscle car in history. An elevated viewing area atop the Dodge rig section of the combined display will also debut for the first time at the NHRA Gatornationals, giving VIP fans the chance to get a unique aerial view of the midway and track not offered at any other display.
Fans can also enter to win prizes, learn more about Mopar parts and accessories and meet their favorite NHRA stars at the Mopar Dodge//SRT autograph session, scheduled for 10 a.m. ET on Saturday, March 17. The session will feature a very special guest — NHRA legend and iconic Mopar Dodge drag racer “Big Daddy” Don Garlits.
Dodge Garage: New Digital Hub for Drag Racing News
Fans now have a new one-stop destination for Mopar and Dodge drag racing news. Dodge Garage (http://www.dodgegarage.com) is a digital content hub and premier destination for drag racing and muscle car enthusiasts.
Fans can view daily updates and get access to an online racing HQ, news, events, galleries, available downloads and merchandise. Dodge Garage features include exclusive content such as a three-part video series, “Chasing the Title,” that offers fans a unique, behind-the-scenes glimpse at Pritchett and her DSR team in action.
Dodge//SRT offers a complete lineup of performance vehicles that stand out in their own segments. Dodge is FCA North America’s mainstream performance brand, and SRT is positioned as the ultimate performance halo of the Dodge brand, together creating a complete and balanced performance brand with one vision and one voice.
For more than 100 years, the Dodge brand has carried on the spirit of brothers John and Horace Dodge, who founded the company in 1914. Their influence continues today. New for 2018, the 840-horsepower Dodge Challenger SRT Demon, the fastest quarter-mile production car in the world and most powerful muscle car ever, is taking the world by storm, along with the new 2018 Dodge Durango SRT, America’s fastest, most powerful and most capable three-row SUV, and the 707-horsepower Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody. These new SRT ultimate performance models join a brand lineup that includes the Durango, Grand Caravan, Journey, Charger and Challenger, including the 707-horsepower Challenger SRT Hellcat and the Charger SRT Hellcat, the quickest, fastest and most powerful sedan in the world.