- Leah Pritchett drives Mopar Dodge 1320 Top Fuel dragster to second consecutive pole of season, second in a row at Bandimere Speedway
- Pritchett adds track speed record to 2017 ET record, earns 11 of 12 qualifying bonus points
- Matt Hagan to drive brand-new Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car body in its first race day start
- Don Schumacher Racing Mopar Dodge Funny Car drivers Tommy Johnson Jr. and Ron Capps start No. 6 and No. 7, respectively
- Hagan takes down Pritchett in final Dodge Challenger SRT Demon grudge match race
- More info on Mopar in NHRA available at http://blog.mopar.com
- Dodge Garage (http://www.dodgegarage.com/), a digital content hub for muscle car and race enthusiasts launches; will include highlights from NHRA season
MORRISON, Colo. (July 22, 2018) – Leah Pritchett proved that her Mopar Dodge 1320 Top Fuel dragster with the “Angry Bee” logo packs plenty of sting, improving on her class-best Friday run and setting the track speed record at Bandimere Speedway near Denver to keep the No. 1 spot locked down at the Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals Powered by Mopar.
Pritchett dominated during qualifying, securing her second consecutive No. 1 at the venue, second consecutive of the season and tenth of her career. The Mopar Dodge 1320 Top Fuel driver clocked the best pass of each round in three out of four qualifying sessions, yielding 11 out of a possible 12 bonus points and lane choice over first-round opponent Terry Totten.
Pritchett closed out Friday evening sitting in the top spot with her 3.806-second elapsed time (ET) at 317.19 mph. Right out of the gate on Saturday, the Todd Okuhara/Joe Barlam-led team threw down a stout 3.813/319.90 run. Pritchett, who entered the event with the track E.T. record after securing the No. 1 spot in 2017, added track speed record to her impressive list of accomplishments when she blasted to a 3.799-second at 327.19-mph in Q4, which held up to be low E.T. of the weekend.
Matt Hagan will steer the brand-new Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car body to its first race day start from the No. 12 spot on Sunday. The two-time Funny Car champion worked to break in the new body over his first three qualifying attempts and appeared to make progress in his final run, taking the Hellcat to its first full pull with a 4.093 ET at 310.55.
Hagan will meet John Force in round one tomorrow in search of his third-consecutive win of the season and first overall at “Thunder Mountain.”
Jack Beckman, a three-time event champion in Denver, saved his usual mountain magic for his final pass. The Mopar driver jumped his Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car from seventh all the way up to the second position with a 3.973 mark. Beckman will line up against Todd Simpson.
Mopar-powered DSR Dodge Funny Car drivers Tommy Johnson Jr. and Ron Capps joined teammate Beckman in the top half of the field. Johnson, runner-up last year at the big event for the Dodge and Mopar brands, also made his move in the final qualifying round, using a 4.003 ET to move his Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T to No. 6. Johnson will open Sunday against Bob Tasca. Capps qualified No. 7 at 4.007 and will draw J.R. Todd.
Tony Schumacher, also a three-time winner at Bandimere Speedway, collected one bonus point and jumped to fifth with a 3.870 ET at 324.59 mph in Q3. Schumacher improved in Q4 with a 3.834 in his Mopar-powered U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster, but was knocked down to No. 7 in the lighting quick final qualifying session. “The Sarge” will face Doug Kalitta in round one tomorrow.
Teammates Hagan and Pritchett wrapped up their two-round grudge match races in Dodge Challenger SRT Demon vehicles at Bandimere, with Hagan evening the scales at 1-1. Pritchett left early earning a red light foul, and Hagan motored down track to take the win. The series kicked off at Denver in 2017, with Pritchett claiming both wins over Hagan.Mopar Dodge//SRT Notes & Quotes
(best elapsed time in bold)
Leah Pritchett, Mopar Dodge 1320 Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified No. 1, will face No. 16 Terry Totten
Friday: (3.970 seconds at 310.34 mph – Q1); (3.806/317.19 – Q2)
Saturday: (3.813/319.90 – Q3); (3.799/327.19 – Q4)
“We were definitely putting the coals to it for sure, licking our chops. We’re on the mountain, it’s our sponsor’s race, we’re giving it every single thing we’ve got. Just like when we went No. 1 in Epping, that last run was pretty interesting, and Q4 right here was real interesting.
“We got a new front-half on our dragster after Epping, that’s typical after a certain number of runs, and I’m sure glad we did. At about halftrack I wasn’t sure if the front wheels were on the ground, that thing was just dancing and dancing, but I knew that we were cooking and getting it. The scoreboards are so far from the finish line at this track that you can pull the chutes, lift off the throttle and look right up at them. When I saw that 79, there’s very few times that you get to feel what your crew gets to feel when they see a number like that light up. It’s incredible, this game has been all about fuel curve for us and Todd and Joe have been patient with it and stepping up to it in the right ways.
“We’ve mastered qualifying, but tomorrow is an absolute brand-new day. None of us have run during the day this weekend so we’re taking this data and we’re going to go right back to an entire year ago and take that data too. I couldn’t be more incredibly proud of my team. They’ve worked very hard to get us back where we were at, and the momentum that we had and we’re looking forward to rolling up this mountain.”
Matt Hagan, Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
Qualified No. 12 will face No. 5 John Force
Friday: (4.933 seconds at 161.48 mph – Q1); (7.104/94.80 – Q2)
Saturday: (4.933/161.48 – Q3); (4.093/310.55 – Q4)
“It was good to get in the field solid. We’ve been struggling all weekend up here with the altitude. We just don’t have the tune-up for it but that’s something good to work off of for tomorrow. Obviously conditions and temperatures will be a little different, so we’ve just got to go racing, man. I think that we know how to race and we race smart. We’ll get a game plan together tonight and make things happen for our Mopar Funny Car powered by Pennzoil.”
Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
Qualified No. 2, will face No. 15 Todd Simpson
Friday: (4.262 seconds at 294.56 mph – Q1); (4.217/255.19 – Q2)
Saturday: (4.049/316.67 – Q3); (3.973/316.67 – Q4)
“I had to shut it off really early. It was skating around from half-track on and it was going to go over the centerline and I was going to be the guy steering it over there if I didn’t click it. Sometimes discretion is the better part of valor. We’ve improved every single run. We have a hot Mopar at the Dodge Mile High Nationals. Can’t wait for Sunday!”
Tommy Johnson Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
Qualified No. 6, will face No. 11 Bob Tasca III
Friday: (4.079 seconds at 294.50 mph – Q1); (4.031/305.29 – Q2)
Saturday: (8.870/81.72 – Q3); (4.003/312.42 – Q4)
“That should have been our Q3 run. We had a mechanical issue in Q3 and had a cylinder out and I shut it off. But, I’m really confident in our car. We’ve improved almost every run throughout the problems. In Q3 we went quicker in every run and the guys got a really good handle on it. Going into tomorrow I’m pretty confident we got a really good consistent car and right in the hunt.”
Tony Schumacher, U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified No. 7, will face No. 10 Doug Kalitta
Friday: (4.980 seconds at 152.04 mph – Q1); (4.036/299.40 – Q2))
Saturday: (3.870/324.59 – Q3); (3.834/325.37 – Q4)
“It’s a great first-round matchup (versus Doug Kalitta). Those are the rise-to-the-occasion moments that are always good. Makes it good for the fans, makes it good for the teams, gets everybody pumped up. All I can say is, we’re going to show up for the game.”
Ron Capps, NAPA Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
Qualified No. 7, will face No. 10 J. R. Todd
Friday: (4.007 seconds at 320.81 mph – Q1); (4.622/182.33– Q2)
Saturday: (4.024/316.30 – Q3); (4.008/316.15 – Q4)
“I brag about being able to go out and run in conditions that really equal Wallys. That’s the heat we’re going to see on Sunday, like we haven’t seen. I feel great. Would have been nice to get a three second run but I’ll take a Wally on Sunday and a yellow hat over a three second run.”Dodge Garage: Digital Hub for Drag Racing News
Fans now have a 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.
For information on Mopar on and off the track, check out the Mopar brand’s official blog, http://blog.mopar.com.
Three hours of eliminations coverage from the Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals Powered by Mopar will air live on the national Fox Network starting at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday, July 22.About Dodge//SRT
Dodge//SRT offers a complete lineup of performance vehicles that stand out in their own segments. Dodge is 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 brand in 1914. Their influence continues today. New for 2019, the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye is possessed by the Demon. Its 797-horsepower supercharged HEMI® high-output engine makes it the most powerful, quickest and fastest muscle car reaching 0-60 miles per hour (mph) in 3.4 seconds and the fastest GT production car with a ¼ mile elapsed time (ET) of 10.8 seconds at 131 mph. It also reaches a new top speed of 203 mph. Joining the Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye is the 2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat with its more powerful 717-horsepower engine, as well as the Challenger R/T Scat Pack Widebody, which features fender flares from the SRT Hellcat Widebody and adds 3.5 inches of width to Scat Pack’s footprint. The 2019 Dodge Durango SRT, America’s fastest, most powerful and most capable three-row SUV with a best-in-class tow rating of 8,700 lbs. fills out the brands’ performance lineup. These visceral performance models join a 2019 brand lineup that includes the Durango, Grand Caravan, Journey, Charger and Challenger — a showroom that offers performance at every price point.About Mopar
Mopar (a simple contraction of the words MOtor and PARts) is the service, parts and customer-care brand for FCA vehicles around the globe. Born in 1937 as the name of a line of antifreeze products, the Mopar brand has evolved over more than 80 years to represent both complete care and authentic performance for owners and enthusiasts worldwide.
Mopar made its mark in the 1960s during the muscle-car era, with Mopar Performance Parts to enhance speed and handling for both road and racing use, and expanded to include technical service and customer support. Today, the Mopar brand’s global reach 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 customer and dealer support worldwide.
Mopar is the source for genuine parts and accessories for all FCA US LLC vehicle brands. Mopar parts are engineered together with the same teams that create factory-authorized specifications for FCA vehicles, offering a direct connection that no other aftermarket parts company can provide. Complete information on the Mopar brand is available at www.mopar.com.
Photo credit: Mopar, driver photos NHRA