Pritchett, Beckman Sweep Top Fuel, Funny Car No. 1 Qualifying Positions for Dodge//SRT Mopar in Dodge NHRA Nationals Presented by Pennzoil
· Leah Pritchett drives the HEMI®-fueled Dodge Top Fuel dragster of Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) to her first No. 1 qualifying position of 2019 for Sunday’s elimination rounds of the Dodge NHRA Nationals Presented By Pennzoil at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
· Jack Beckman captures No. 1 qualifier in Funny Car in his Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Funny Car Hellcat
· Matt Hagan starts eliminations in seventh spot in his Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody Funny Car
· Tommy Johnson, Jr. qualifies second in Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
· DodgeGarage.com, a digital content hub for muscle car and race enthusiasts, features highlights from NHRA season
· New @DodgeMoparMotorsports Instagram channel features Dodge//SRT Mopar drivers in NHRA action
November 2, 2019, Las Vegas, Nevada – Dodge//SRT Mopar drivers swept the No. 1 qualifying positions in the Top Fuel and Funny Car classes in the 19th annual Dodge NHRA Nationals Presented by Pennzoil. It sets the stage for Leah Pritchett (Top Fuel) and Jack Beckman (Funny Car) to close on the leaders in the NHRA Mello Yellow Drag Racing Series’ Countdown to the Championship before the final event of the 2019 season.
The other Mopar-powered Funny Car members of the Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) team – Matt Hagan, Ron Capps and Tommy Johnson, Jr. – can improve their standings with winning performances in the eliminations rounds on Sunday, Nov. 3.
Pritchett entered the weekend knowing she had to make a big move to have a shot at the championship. The first step came Saturday afternoon as she drove her Mopar Dodge Top Fuel Dragster from DSR quicker than any other driver with a pass of 3.654 seconds to claim her first No. 1 qualifying position of the season and 12th of her career. She faces Cameron Ferre in the opening round.
“To be No. 1 at the Dodge NHRA Nationals Presented by Pennzoil is phenomenal,” said Pritchett, the 2018 Dodge NHRA Nationals runner-up. “We have all of the support here. Our pit is full and we have all of the energy. We just got our first No. 1 of the season with a phenomenal pass. I knew when I hit 330-feet that we were going to be on a run. We were trying to be the quickest of every round, and we made three consistent runs out of four. We knew what this Mopar car was capable of and we put everything on the line to get those bonus points”
Beckman put down his top qualifying run in the final session Saturday afternoon in Las Vegas, driving the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car of DSR to the quickest lap ever at the track with a run of 3.835 seconds. Beckman also reset the track record for speed at 335.90 mph during Friday night’s qualifying.
“I just want the trophy tomorrow and that will make it a perfect weekend ” said Beckman, who entered the weekend 70 points out of first in the championship standings. “We really like these FCA sponsored events and hope to have the same outcome we did in Reading. Being No. 1 helps everyone’s attitude. When the crew chiefs tell the car to do something and it does exactly that, they’re way more confident, and I’m more confident as a driver. The better predictor of going deep rounds is to having a good car and we saw that the last two times we qualified No. 1, we had a good car that was doing what we wanted it to do”
Beckman was the fastest of seven Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Cars that qualified for Sunday’s 16-car field, edging out Tommy Johnson, Jr. for his fourth career No. 1 spot at The Strip and 27th of his career. The 2012 Funny Car champion has been the top qualifier in three of the previous six events. Beckman faces Terry Haddock in the first round on Sunday.
Johnson begins his quest for a third victory of 2019 with a first round matchup with Jim Campbell. Two-time Funny Car champion Matt Hagan, winner of this event in 2017, qualified his Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody Funny Car seventh and takes on fellow Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car pilot Paul Lee in the first round.
Ron Capps is chasing his fifth victory in this event after qualifying the Pennzoil Synthetics/Napa Auto Parts Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car in the 11th position. The 2016 Funny Car champion squares off with Bob Tasca III in the opening round.
Dodge Garage: Digital Hub for Drag Racing News
Fans can follow Dodge NHRA Nationals coverage at Dodge Garage, the one-stop portal for Dodge//SRT and Mopar drag racing news. The site includes daily updates and access to an online racing HQ, news, events, galleries, available downloads and merchandise.
@DodgeMoparMotorsports on Instagram
The @DodgeMoparMotorsports Instagram channel will 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.
Dodge//SRT Mopar Notes & Quotes
(qualifying times/speeds below)
Leah Pritchett, Mopar Dodge Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified No. 1, will face No. 16 Cameron Ferre
Friday: (3.723 seconds at 330.47mph – Q1) (3.681/328.38 – Q2); Saturday: (4.319/182.75 – Q3); (3.654/329.83– Q4)
“I know it doesn’t show it exactly on the track, but our performance has been steadily improving over the last few races. We’re just going to stay in our zone, keep our intensity tomorrow. I got out of my own head this weekend; turned on my music, hung with my friends, and didn’t overthink things and that’s what I plan to do.”
Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
Qualified No. 1, will face No. 16 Terry Haddock
Friday: (3.914 seconds at 328.62 mph – Q1) (3.872/335.90– Q2); Saturday: (3.957/323.04 – Q3); (3.835/331.94 – Q4)
“Seeing (John) Force’s 3.85 in Q3 was an eye-opener for everyone. No one thought you could run that quick, but the clocks didn’t lie because he ran that quick. So, we knew Q4 was going to be a little better, and obviously (co-crew chiefs Dean) ‘Guido’ (Antonelli) and (John) Medlen made perfect calls. We had been slow to 60-foot all weekend long and we were a little soft in the middle of the run, but we’re in Vegas, and you have to give it more of everything here, and once we did that our Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat came back to life. We just beefed everything up. The car is doing what it’s supposed to be doing. Getting those points was probably the biggest deal for us as far as protecting our position. We’re not looking over our shoulders because there are a ton of hungry competitors behind us, but we’re looking at Robert Hight. His car has been great and hasn’t stumbled much, but until we face him, all we can control is our own destiny.”
Tommy Johnson, Jr., Make-A-Wish Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
Qualified No. 2, will face No. 15 Jim Campbell
Friday: (3.879 seconds at 328.22 mph – Q1) (3.858/327.35 – Q2); Saturday: (3.911/323.04 – Q3); (3.840/ 331.04 – Q4)
“This is the best race car we’ve had in a long time, and The Strip is one of my favorite tracks on tour. Things always seem to go right when we come here, and we seem to be on track again. I’m looking forward to a strong finish on race day. I’m really happy with the way this Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car is running.”
Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody Funny Car
Qualified No. 7 will face No. 10 Paul Lee
Friday: (3.915 seconds at 330.31 mph – Q1) (3.921/326.00 – Q2); Saturday: (4.166/225.30 – Q3); (3.872/332.34 – Q4)
“Tomorrow is a big day. We wanted lane choice, and we accomplished that by the end of the day. We have a good Dodge Charger SRT car, and we need to make things happen tomorrow. It’s the most important race of the entire year for this Mopar team. We have a real opportunity to go some rounds. If we want to have a chance at the championship, we’ve got to do it this weekend.”
Ron Capps, Pennzoil Synthetics NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
Qualified No. 11, will face No. 6 Bob Tasca III
Friday: (3.915 seconds at 330.15 mph – Q1) (3.902/329.67 – Q2); Saturday: (3.986/323.35 – Q3); (3.924/327.66 – Q4)
“We’ve changed a lot of things in the last two races, and I always brag about (crew chief) Rahn Tobler. We didn’t qualify as good as we wanted to, and sometimes it’s a little scary when you’ve got your backs against the wall, but it’s going to be fun tomorrow to see what happens and we’re going to find our groove again.”