DSR Norwalk Qualifying Report
NHRA Norwalk Nationals
Event 12 of 24 (Norwalk)
Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park
June 22-24, 2018
Note: Friday and Saturday’s second qualifying sessions (Q2 and Q4) were cancelled due to inclement weather.
DSR Norwalk Qualifying Highlights:
- The DSR Top Fuel contingent qualifies all entries in the top half of the field
- Ron Capps and Matt Hagan make the quickest and second-quickest runs of Saturday, earning bonus points
- Capps and Hagan will start Sunday from the ‘top three’ on the Funny Car ladder
- In the Factory Stock Showdown series, Leah Pritchett and hometown racer Mark Pawuk advance to the quarterfinals
Driver of the Matco Tools/U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified: No. 5 (lane choice)
The Competition: No. 12 Blake Alexander
Q1: 3.805 E.T. at 323.27 MPH
Q3: 3.822 E.T. at 327.27 MPH
“We can get down the racetrack. We learned today that we need to be just a little more aggressive on the starting line. The Matco Tools/U.S. Army/Toyota boys are excited. (Crew chiefs) Mark (Oswald) and Brad (Mason) are biting back at this track that has a lot of teeth. This is a fun event and we have such great support here being in Matco’s backyard. The direction we are heading is a good one and tomorrow is going to be a battle.”
Driver of the FireAde Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified: No. 8 (lane choice)
The Competition: No. 9 Doug Kalitta
Q1: 4.099 E.T. at 271.73 MPH
Q3: 3.838 E.T. at 324.98 MPH
“We were really looking forward to getting that final session in. We’ve been working through some data issues and feel like we had a handle on them heading into the final session. We made a lot of changes after our (first) run today, but Mother Nature had other ideas and we didn’t get another chance. Every run is important to us. All aspects matter. From the seat time to finding that baseline, every lap is critical. We were hoping to see where we were tonight, but we’ll just have to come back tomorrow and give it everything we have against Doug Kalitta. These guys are working extremely hard and I’m going to keep working on that tree.”
Driver of the U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified: No. 4 (lane choice)
The Competition: No. 13 Kyle Wurtzel
Q1: 3.792 E.T. at 330.63 MPH (Two bonus points for second quickest run of the session)
Q3: 3.793 E.T. at 329.02 MPH
Bonus Points: Two
“We were trying to run a little quicker today, but I’ll take that run any day of the week. We went right down the track. The (data) lines look beautiful. Everything about the U.S. Army car is perfect. All the parts are good. We understand it’s not supposed to be cloudy and cool tomorrow, so that particular run is going to play right into our hands. Bottom line is that I don’t care what kind of weather we have tomorrow because I know I’m surrounded by an incredible team. (Crew chiefs) Mike Neff and Phil Shuler are bad to the bone and we’re going to come out tomorrow and play the game.”
Driver of the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger R/T
Qualified: No. 11
The Competition: No. 6 Tim Wilkerson
Q1: 4.101 E.T. at 308.57 MPH
Q3: 4.128 E.T. at 264.70 MPH
“We’re not going to be a top-half car (in the qualifying field), and that hasn’t slowed us down. We’ve only got two first-round losses all year long and one of them was (due to) a mechanical issue. I don’t think it matters where we qualify. Some might think we dug ourselves a little hole, but I think on race day we’re a team that finds a way to win rounds.”
Driver of the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T
Qualified: No. 2 (lane choice)
The Competition: No. 15 Jeff Diehl
Q1: 3.961 E.T. at 320.28 MPH (Two bonus points for second quickest run of the session)
Q3: 3.976 E.T. at 322.65 MPH (Three bonus points for quickest run of the session)
Bonus Points: Five
“Obviously having one shot on Friday, that’s why I brag about (crew chief) Rahn Tobler and what he’s done going back to the car that we had before. The weather was changing minute-to-minute, and to go up there and run the 3.96 that put us No. 2 was classic Rahn Tobler. To unload on Saturday for Q3 and to go up there again with the weather changing like it was, and to get our three bonus points for going quickest of the round with another great run, it’s just proof that we made the right choice. It just feels like we’re going to get our momentum back that we’ve had the last two years. It’s going to be a lot of fun. I look forward to Sunday.”
Driver of the Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T
Qualified: No. 3 (lane choice)
The Competition: No. 14 Tommy Johnson Jr.
Q1: 3.981 E.T. at 325.22 MPH (One bonus point for third quickest run of the session)
Q3: 3.989 E.T. at 323.43 MPH (Two bonus points for second quickest run of the session)
Bonus Points: Three
“Our Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger is running strong. (Crew chief) Dickie (Venables) is making good calls out there. I really feel like we’re getting some confidence back this weekend.
“I think everybody is getting used to these conditions now. It’s just taken some runs and taken some time to do it, but we’re getting right back up to where we need to be. We talked about needing to be ‘top five’ qualifier at every race because that just puts us in a good position. It’s not always going to happen, but our goal is to go down the race track on the first run and set ourselves up for the rest of the weekend.”
TOMMY JOHNSON JR.
Driver of the Make-A-Wish Foundation Dodge Charger R/T
Qualified: No. 14
The Competition: No. 3 Matt Hagan
Q1: 6.489 E.T. at 101.17 MPH
Q3: 4.209 E.T. at 245.81 MPH
“It’s been a long weekend with only making two runs down the track. We’re getting closer on this tune-up each time we get an opportunity on the track and I think we’ll be fine for first round tomorrow.”
Factory Stock Showdown Series:
Driver of the Empaco Equipment Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak
Qualified: No. 2
The Competition: No. 10 Arthur Kohn
Q1: 8.102 E.T. at 169.06 MPH
Q2: 8.120 E.T. at 169.08 MPH
E1: 8.167 E.T. at 167.76 MPH defeated Arthur Kohn 8.196 E.T. at 165.99 MPH
E2: To be contested on Sunday
“What a great way to rebound after a rough start in Bristol where we didn’t qualify. We come here to my home track in Norwalk, Ohio, qualify No. 2 and take the points leader out in the first round. I’m really looking forward to racing on Sunday.”
Driver of the Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak
Qualified: No. 3
The Competition: No. 11 Leonard Libersher
Q1: 8.117 E.T. at 170.02 MPH
Q2: 8.206 E.T. at 169.25 MPH
E1: 8.185 E.T. at 169.15 MPH defeated Leonard Libersher 8.222 E.T. at 166.27 MPH
E2: To be contested on Sunday
“For the Mopar Drag Paks to lock up the ‘top four’ qualifying spots is something of history. So far, the Cobra Jets and Copo Camaros have dominated this category and I think this weekend showed all of the hard work and dedication out of Detroit and out of the Schumacher camp, and a cohesive effort together with Mopar to bring that power to life out on the track.
“Today, a first round win, just like everybody, you’re waiting all day for it. There were rain delays and you’re constantly changing your tune up and I’m really proud of our Mopar team for putting up some stout numbers. Of course, we’re going to have some stout competition in our second round of eliminations, but we race the track and that competition.
“To be totally honest, a win light in Top Fuel and a win light in Factory Stock, they’re different, but they both glow the same, and they both mean the same to me. It’s a lot of hard work and dedication for both programs.
“Shout out to Antron Brown; going to have to kick him a couple extra dollars (laughs). He keeps on having to warm up my Top Fuel car, but that means we’re going rounds. We’re going to have a big break after Norwalk. The next time we race Factory Stock is Indy, so we want to leave here with a lot of momentum. I think Saturday going into Sunday, we have the momentum, and we’re going to keep charging hard.”
ABOUT DON SCHUMACHER RACING
Don Schumacher Racing, headquartered in Brownsburg, Ind., fields seven professional NHRA teams. In Top Fuel, the U.S. Army dragster driven by eight-time world champion Tony Schumacher, the Matco Tools/U.S. Army dragster driven by three-time world champion Antron Brown and the Mopar/Papa John’s Pizza/Pennzoil/FireAde/U.S. Army dragster driven by Leah Pritchett; and in Funny Car, 2016 world champion Ron Capps in the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T; two-time world champion Matt Hagan in the Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T, and 2012 NHRA world champion Jack Beckman in Terry and Doug Chandler’s Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge and the Chandlers’ Make-A-Wish Dodge driven by Tommy Johnson Jr.
DSR also campaigns two Sportsman teams. The two-car Factory Stock Showdown duo is piloted by Pritchett and veteran Pro Stock racer Mark Pawuk. Both drivers compete in Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Paks.
DSR has won 323 NHRA national event titles and 16 world championships.
Photo Credit: Auto Imagery via Don Schumacher Racing