Mopar Racing–Pair of DSR 2015 Dodge Charger R/T Funny Cars Qualify Top-Three for NHRA FallNationals

Pair of DSR 2015 Dodge Charger R/T Funny Cars Qualify Top-Three for NHRA FallNationals;
Beckman and Hagan Looking to Go Big in Texas with Three Playoff Eliminations Left

Jack Beckman and Matt Hagan respectively qualified their Dodge Charger R/T Funny Cars second and third for 30th annual AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals
All four DSR Mopars are positioned in the top-five for the “NHRA “Countdown to the Championship” with three race days left in the season
Allen Johnson qualifies the Magneti Marelli HEMI-powered Dodge Dart tenth for eliminations at Texas Motorplex

Ennis, Texas (Oct. 17, 2015) – Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) pilots Jack Beckman and Matt Hagan respectively qualified their 2015 Dodge Charger R/T Funny Cars second and third for Sunday’s elimination rounds at the 30th anniversary edition of the AAA Texas National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) FallNationals, the fourth of six “Countdown to the Championship” playoff events, taking place at Texas Motorplex near Dallas, Texas. The two Mopar drivers are also respectively second and third in the Countdown standings with three race days left to battle for world championship title, which means the importance of a win to either this Sunday definitely lends credence to the expression “everything is bigger in Texas.”

Once qualifying was complete, Beckman was just 18 points behind leader Del Worsham. He earned five valuable bonus points on Friday by driving the Infinite Hero 2015 Dodge Charger R/T to a 4.000-second elapsed time run at 313.29 mile per hour for the top pass of the first session and then a 3.919-second/ 323.97 mph pass in the cool 74 degree Fahrenheit evening session to narrowly miss earning the provisional pole position by two-thousandths of a second to Worsham who set the track record at 3.917 seconds.

On Saturday, Beckman followed up those runs with another sub-four second run at 3.990/315.64 run in the third session to earn another three bonus markers.

“I feel great going into race day,” said Beckman whose No. 2 seeding for eliminations will give him Tony Pedregon as a first round opponent. “We got bonus points on three of our four qualifying runs that gave us the luxury of pushing it harder in today’s last session. Sometimes stepping over the line actually tells you how much you can push the car. I’m very optimistic about tomorrow. Del (Worsham) is doing fantastic and they’re the ones we’re chasing right now. If the day goes perfect tomorrow, the soonest we could meet them would be the final round but there are three of four other cars out there who can join the chase out here in the Countdown.”

Reigning World Champion Matt Hagan had four strong consistent passes through qualifying with his best run coming on Friday evening aboard his Pennzoil-schemed Dodge Charger R/T with a 3.921 sec /323.43 mph pass to give him the provisional third place seeding for eliminations. On his final run, Hagan took his Mopar for another sub-four second pass with a 3.971/324.36 for the third quickest of the session behind Worsham and teammate Beckman once again, for two extra bonus points.

“Everything that we have been able to do this weekend can be attributed to what (Crew Chief) Dickie Venables decided to do after re-evaluating some things and looked at the numbers and decided to make some changes in the bell-housing during the week off,” Hagan said. “The car seems to be responsive to what he wants to do. It’s going down the race track and it’s going quick. It’s back to being consistent and hopefully we’ll have four good laps on Sunday.”

Third in points and approximately five rounds from the Countdown leader, Hagan is looking to make some big gains in eliminations to vie for a third Funny Car world title with two events left.

“I know we need to make some stuff happen this weekend,” said Hagan who will see Blake Alexander as his first opponent. “At the end of the day it’s going to be what it’s going to be. Dickie is going do to the best job that he can and I’m going to get up on the wheel.”

Not far below his DSR stablemates on the qualifying sheets is Ron Capps who rounded out the top-five with a three second run of his own aboard the 2015 Dodge Charger R/T. Capps is also fifth in points with two wins this season and hoping to stay within shooting distance of the top spot with a successful run for the Texas title. The veteran’s best pass of 3.942/324.67 pairs him up with Cruz Pedregon for the opening round.

Tommy Johnson Jr. started the weekend off with a 4.028/314.97 pass to put him third on the provisional ladder and earn an all-important bonus point and then finished off even stronger with two more points thanks to a 3.951-second run at 321.27 mph, the second quickest of the final session, to seed himself sixth overall and face Chad Head in the first round.

“Right away, we showed signs of running well,” said Johnson Jr. who sits fourth in the Countdown. “We missed it on Friday night, but we were actually trying a new approach in the track conditions. To lay down a 3.95 that last session and basically be tied for low of the round, that gives you a lot of confidence going into Sunday. It’s funny to come into Saturday a little frustrated and then to leave that night pretty excited for Sunday. I can tell you one thing: we’re going to continue to push.”

After two Pro Stock semi-final appearances to kick off the NHRA “Countdown to the Championship”, Allen Johnson lost a little ground in the third playoff eliminations but is looking to make some big Texas-sized gains at the NHRA FallNationals on Sunday to move up from his fifth place position in the championship standings.

After posting the sixth quickest time of the first Pro Stock session at Texas Motorplex with an elapsed time pass of 6.542 seconds at 210.54 mph, the Mopar team battled some tune-up issues but remained in the top-ten each session. The “Magneti Marelli Offered by Mopar” Dodge Dart posted its best run of 6.509/211.89 in the third session despite being down on power and will start from the tenth spot on the eliminations ladder.

“We lost a motor in the first session and then another in the third while on an awesome run,” said Johnson who hopes to continue to battle for his second world championship title through to the final elimination in Pomona. “For some reason we are burning up engines. We had three spark plugs with nothing on them when we came back to the pits after the third run so that explains the speed on the back half. We’ve got the car working really well but now we’re having tune-up problems. I’m glad to have it cooler and dry and we’ve been pushing the envelope but engines don’t like to be pushed too much. None of our four runs were clean but the Magneti Marelli Dodge Dart is still in the top-ten so we just have to get that figured out.

“The car is actually making some of the best runs we’ve had in a while so if we can just get the engine to cooperate all the way down the track we should be in good shape,” added Johnson who will line up next to Vincent Nobile for the opening round of the FallNationals. “We’ve got a great car ready for tomorrow with a great set up. We just have some adjustments to make to get the e.t. lower and hopefully we can get the engine to perform like it should and see if we can’t go from tenth position all the way to the finals.”

Fellow HEMI-powered driver V. Gaines is seeded 13th for eliminations with his best run of 6.543 sec./209.39 mph aboard his Dodge Dart and will be matched-up with points leader Erica Enders-Stevens in the first round. Rookie Alan Prusiensky drove his 2012 Dodge Avenger to a best effort of 6.691/208.26 in qualifying to take 15th place on the eliminations ladder and will be paired with Jason Line. Deric Kramer’s best run came in the first session with a 6.572/210.67, but he will make the field in the 16th place spot and have his Dodge Dart in the lane next to No.1 qualifier Drew Skillman who earned the pole with a 6.471 sec. /213.47 mph run.