Dodge Charger Funny Car Driver Jack Beckman Claims Pole at NHRA Vegas

Dodge Charger Funny Car Driver Jack Beckman Claims Pole at NHRA Vegas

· Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) driver Jack Beckman claims fifth No. 1 of season in Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
· Pole is 20th of Beckman’s career, 14th of the season for Mopar Funny Cars
· Funny Car points leader Ron Capps pads lead, picks up bonus points in each qualifying session in powerful Dodge Charger
· Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger campaigner Matt Hagan dominates on day one in Vegas, settles into No. 2 spot in final qualifying
· Mopar-powered Leah Pritchett drives DSR Top Fuel dragster to No. 2 position
· History of Mopar at fall event in Las Vegas

Las Vegas, Nevada. (October 29, 2016) – Mopar vehicles made a strong impression in the first two days of the NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The event is the second-to-last race in the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship, and every point is more critical than ever before in the jockey for final positions in the standings. Jack Beckman and his Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car out of the Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) stable of nitro-powered race cars put forth a powerful performance that culminated in his fifth No. 1 of 2016, while Leah Pritchett, wheeling a DSR Mopar-powered Top Fuel Dragster, left all but one of her competitors in the dust with the claiming of the No. 2 spot.

Beckman’s pole was the 14th of the 2016 season for Mopar in 23 events.

The first day of qualifying ended with two Mopar race cars leading their respective fields; Matt Hagan blasted to a track-record shattering 3.882-second pass at 326.95 mph in his Mopar Express Lane Dodge to open qualifying with a shot straight to the top, and he closed out Friday at the event with an even better 3.872/ 329.18 to claim the provisional pole. In the Top Fuel category, it was Pritchett and her Mopar-powered rail flying to the head of the class. She clocked out for the day with a solid 3.705/326.63 to claim three bonus points as the quickest car of the session. Hagan picked up a total of six bonus points as the quickest Funny Car in both of the first two sessions of qualifying.

For Beckman, though, it wasn’t quite so easy. He came into the final round of qualifying in the No. 11 position after a series of passes that left the Infinite Hero Dodge Charger Funny Car team yearning for more. They finally threw down a number in the last round of qualifying as crew chief Jimmy Prock harnessed the horsepower of their Mopar Funny Car and recorded a track-record 3.871/327.43. The clean, swift pass sent Beckman up to the top of what was officially deemed the quickest Funny Car field in the history of NHRA. The No. 1 was the 20th of Beckman’s esteemed career that includes a Funny Car championship in 2012.

“Q3 was one of the weirdest Funny Car qualify sessions I’ve seen in 15 years,” said Beckman, who will race Jeff Arend in round one. “It rained on a hot day in Vegas, and all the delays that we had and all the weird stuff going on, and then it seemed like it was continuing on into Q4. Just seeing all kinds of stuff you don’t normally see, and then we got our act together. That was a sigh of relief, and I thought that would keep us in the top 4 but no way I thought it would keep us on the pole. The conditions were phenomenal and about as good as you’re going to see, but we’re still fighting altitude here. It’s tough, even with a nitro car, to make that sort of horsepower. It’s just an odd track to tune at. It’s probably not a huge shock that the other teams weren’t able to eclipse that, but I didn’t think it was going to stay.

“We’ve had an interesting qualifying session. We threw the six-disc clutch in for the first session. We thought if it ran well we’d keep it in, and if it didn’t, we’d just go back to our five-disc combination. It didn’t run well, we went back to our five-disc combination, and on the second qualifying run our numbers looked quicker than the run that we just made. All our computer data looked better. The mounts broke on the clutch box, it pulled back, disconnected the electrical wires and shut the car off. We came into Saturday not qualified, but it was overcast so we thought we could throw those numbers back in and challenge for the top. But there was a huge oil down, the sun came out, and the track changed by 10 degrees. So we backed the car way down and went a 3.94 and got in the field. I didn’t feel a lot of pressure going into that last run, I knew we were in there, but it’s pretty gratifying to leave with the green hat for being on the pole.”

Hagan kept his championship hopes alive and finished in the No. 2 position just behind his DSR teammate, and he will race fellow Mopar campaigner John Hale in the first round on Sunday. Hagan is No. 3 in the Funny Car points entering raceday. Tommy Johnson Jr. and the Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger, currently No. 2 in the standings and in the thick of the battle for the championship, qualified in the No. 10 position with a best time of 3.917, which sets him up for a first-round meeting with Del Worsham.

DSR’s Ron Capps and his Mopar Dodge Charger Funny Car have held the upper hand much of the season, and although he was not the top qualifier in Las Vegas, the seasoned veteran and incoming points leader quietly raked in bonus qualifying points as one of the top three quickest cars in each of the four sessions. In all, Capps tallied six of the 12 possible bonus marks and landed in the No. 4 position with Paul Lee as the first opponent in his way on race day.

Pritchett’s weekend began on a very positive note as she wheeled her HEMI®-powered DSR Top Fuel dragster to the provisional pole on Friday with a 3.705/326.63. She starts from the No. 2 position and will race Top Fuel newcomer Shawn Reed in the first round of eliminations.

“This girl cannot complain at all,” said Pritchett, who will finish in the prestigious top 10 in the Top Fuel ranks for the first time in her career. She is currently No. 9 in the standings. “We were fixing to throw down out there, thinking we were either going to be up in smoke or .68 or better – but I can’t complain at all. We’re just going to keep rolling and do what we do.”

In the Pro Stock ranks, Erica Enders and her Elite Performance Mopar Dodge Dart qualified in the No. 9 position. Enders will race Chris McGaha in the first round of eliminations, while her Elite Motorsports teammate Jeg Coughlin Jr., starting 14th, will bring his Magneti Marelli Offered by Mopar Dart up for a first round meeting with Alex Laughlin. No. 11 seed Allen Johnson, the 2012 event winner and driver of the Marathon Petroleum-branded Dodge Dart, is slated for a first-round meeting with Jason Line.

Mopar History in Las Vegas
The fall Las Vegas race has been on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule since 2001, and Mopar-branded vehicles have historically found success at the pristine drag strip located within a stone’s throw of the famed Las Vegas Strip.

The first win for Mopar at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway was in 2002, when Jerry Jenkins scored the Super Stock trophy in his 1968 Barracuda. In 2004 and 2005, Gary Scelzi and Ron Capps drove their respective Dodge Stratus Funny Cars to victory, and in 2006, it was a double-up for Mopar as Richie Stevens Jr. (Dodge Stratus) won Pro Stock and Jack Beckman (Dodge Charger) nabbed the Funny Car trophy. Capps won in 2011 and then again in 2012, when he shared the winner’s circle with Pro Stock’s Allen Johnson and his fearsome, championship-winning Dodge Avenger.

Championship eliminations for the 16th annual NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway are scheduled to begin at 11am PT Sunday.

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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, Mopar will look to once again vie for a NHRA World Championship title in both Pro Stock and Funny Car categories. While Mopar remains involved in a various professional motorsports series, it continues to honor its roots by being a proud supporter of Sportsman racing within the NHRA with its sponsorship of the HEMI Challenge and Mopar’s Tom Hoover Sportsman Challenge.

About Mopar Brand
Mopar (a simple contraction of the words MOtor and PARts) was trademarked in 1937 with the launch of an antifreeze product, but it truly made its mark in the 1960s during the muscle-car era. From Mopar Performance Parts to enhance speed and handling for both road and racing use, the brand soon expanded to include technical service and customer support.

Today, Mopar is the service, parts and customer-care brand of FCA US and distributes more than 500,000 parts and accessories in over 150 markets around the world. With more than 50 parts distribution centers and 25 customer contact centers globally, Mopar integrates service, parts and customer-care operations in order to enhance dealer and customer support worldwide. Mopar is the source for genuine parts and accessories for FCA brands.

Mopar parts are engineered together with the same teams that create factory-authorized specifications for FCA vehicles. This offers a direct connection that no other aftermarket parts company can provide. A complete list of Mopar accessories and performance parts is available at