Mopar Dodge//SRT Drivers Pritchett and Capps Sweep Top Qualifying Spots at NHRA Finals
- Leah Pritchett takes Mopar Dodge Top Fuel dragster to tie for second quickest pass in NHRA Top Fuel history, fourth pole of season at NHRA Finals in Pomona, California
- Pritchett dominates, posting career best pass and collecting 12 of 16 possible qualifying points
- Ron Capps powers Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car to his first No. 1 qualifier spot of 2018, 22nd of career
- Poles for Pritchett and Capps give Mopar Dodge//SRT drivers 16 No.1 spots in NHRA nitro classes for 2018 season
- Funny Car drivers Jack Beckman and Tommy Johnson Jr. qualify No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, giving Mopar Dodge//SRT sweep of top three spots
- 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, features highlights from NHRA season
November 11, 2018, Pomona, California – Leah Pritchett and Ron Capps swept the top qualifying spots in Top Fuel and Funny Car, respectively, at the 54th Annual NHRA Finals in Pomona, California, putting Mopar and Dodge//SRT in the No. 1 spot for the 16th time this year in the NHRA Nitro classes.
The pole was Mopar Dodge//SRT driver Pritchett’s fourth of the year in her HEMI® engine-powered Top Fuel dragster, the 11th of her career and the seventh of the season for a Mopar-powered Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) Top Fuel driver. Capps earned his first No. 1 spot of 2018, 22nd of his career and the ninth of the 2018 campaign by a Mopar Dodge DSR Funny Car competitor.
Pritchett was dominant, pocketing all eight possible points during Friday qualifying to earn the preliminary pole on a 3.649-second elapsed time (ET) at 329.34 mph heading into Saturday. In the final pair of the final Top Fuel qualifying session of the 2018 season, Pritchett unleashed a monster 3.631/332.84 run that tied for second quickest in the history of NHRA Top Fuel, reset the Auto Club Raceway track speed record and cemented the pole. Pritchett also collected 12 of 16 possible bonus points during qualifying. She’ll face Bill Litton in round one.
Capps, third in the Funny Car points standings, improved steadily from the second session onward, ending his qualifying efforts with a 3.848 ET at 331.53 mph to stake his claim to the No. 1 spot. The Mopar-powered Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car driver locked in a date with No. 16 Ray Martin in the opening round.
Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car pilot Jack Beckman followed his DSR teammate Capps on the qualifying charts, taking the No. 2 spot with a 3.867/330.96 run in the final qualifying pair on Saturday. Beckman’s first-round battle will be against Jeff Arend.
Also in that final pair with Beckman was fellow DSR racer and Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T driver Tommy Johnson Jr., who held the provisional pole on Friday and was aiming for his fourth consecutive No. 1 spot until he was knocked off his perch by Capps. Johnson matched Beckman’s ET of 3.867 but took the third qualifying position based on his slower 326.40 mph, giving Mopar Dodge//SRT drivers a sweep of the top three Funny Car qualifying positions. Johnson, who was quickest in three rounds and earned 14 bonus points in qualifying, will open eliminations on Sunday against Cruz Pedregon.
Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car racer Matt Hagan saved his best for last, clocking a 3.946/323.50 run to move all the way up to the top half of the field in the No. 8 position. The two-time NHRA Funny Car World Champion seeks his fourth win of the season on Sunday, with Shawn Langdon as his first-round foe. Tony Schumacher also put his Mopar-powered U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster in the eighth position and will battle No. 9 Scott Palmer in round one.
Mopar Dodge//SRT Notes & Quotes
(best elapsed time in bold)
Leah Pritchett, Mopar Dodge Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified No. 1 will face No. 16 Bill Litton
Friday: (3.774 seconds at 312.64 mph – Q1); (3.649/329.34 – Q2)
Saturday: (4.535/168.05 – Q3); (3.631/332.84 – Q4)
“It was like a whole different level of fast tonight. I’ve been 334 miles per hour before, but this, at night, at Pomona; it’s incredible. Finally, for my crew chiefs, the car is communicating in a proper way, and it’s doing everything they’re throwing at it. Todd (Okuhara) knows he’s finally got his race car back. It feels like home. Here in Pomona, the fans give me that sense of home. For us to chase history on this track makes me feel like our team is very well on its way to earning a spot in history, which is what we’re working towards.
“Confidence level is high and a lot of that has to do with Vegas. We had great momentum there, we had confidence we were going to continue the momentum here in Pomona and we’ve done that, and it just builds on it. We’re not going to let it get away from us.”
Ron Capps, NAPA Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
Qualified No. 1 will face No. 16 Ray Martin
Friday: (6.172 seconds at 111.99 mph – Q1); (3.948/320.66 – Q2)
Saturday: (3.900/327.03 – Q3); (3.848/331.53 – Q4)
“I was joking around saying ‘Man, you’d think I’d never gotten one of these green hats before,’ because I was acting like such a spaz down there, but yea it’s been a while. These No. 1s are a feather in the cap. When they came on the radio after Q4 and told me what we’d run, I couldn’t believe it, but I’m so happy for (crew chief Rahn) Tobler. In Charlotte, we really showed that not only are we strong in the heat, but we’ve got the performance with the five-disc in cool conditions. We ran great, won the race, and we said we were so happy that we ran like that in those conditions because we were certain Pomona would be like that, and it is. We went 90-flat today in conditions we’ll see tomorrow, so the fans are in for unbelievable racing tomorrow.”
Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
Qualified No. 2 will face No. 15 Jeff Arend
Friday: (4.317 seconds at 217.04 mph – Q1); (3.901/323.35 – Q2)
Saturday: (3.912/325.77 – Q3); (3.867/330.96 – Q4)
“We stumbled a bit in Q1, and then three fantastic runs for our Infinite Hero SRT Dodge. Somebody’s going to get the first win on this new Charger body. Hagan’s come close; we want to close the deal tomorrow, and I think we’ve got the car. I know we’ve got the team to do it.”
Tommy Johnson Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
Qualified No. 3 will face No. 14 Cruz Pedregon
Friday: (3.960 seconds at 317.42 mph – Q1); (3.881/328.54 – Q2)
Saturday: (3.899/326.40 – Q3); (3.867/326.40 – Q4)
“We came in here trying to do what we wanted, to be as best as we can every single run. To be the worst of third in one session is pretty outstanding. Maybe that means No. 1 we haven’t been able to have success with, so we’ll go out here tomorrow to see if we can’t turn number three into a win.”
Matt Hagan, Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
Qualified No. 8 will face No. 9 Shawn Langdon
Friday: (4.256 seconds at 214.62 mph – Q1); (7.246/91.65 – Q2)
Saturday: (5.852/116.95 – Q3); (3.946/323.50 – Q4)
“This Mopar team, we struggled a little bit to start out this weekend, but they never gave up and dug deep. (Crew chief) Dickie Venables did a nice job running that 3.94. Good team collaboration with the NAPA guys and the Make-A-Wish boys coming over and helping get this thing straightened right out.”
Tony Schumacher, U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified No. 8 will face No. 9 Scott Palmer
Friday: (3.792 seconds at 326.24 mph – Q1); (6.748/98.23 – Q2)
Saturday: (3.762/329.02 – Q3); (3.722/329.75 – Q4)
“We’ll go fast tomorrow, but the bottom line as it is every weekend is that we’ll need to go rounds on Sunday. We need to win more rounds than anybody else. We’re chasing second place and we just need to go out and be fastest in the qualifying sessions tomorrow and then win rounds on Sunday. This track generally gets better as we go through the weekend, so we’ll be good tomorrow.”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 the “Chasing the Title” video series, which offers fans a unique, behind-the-scenes glimpse at DSR drivers and teams in action on and off the track.
For information on Mopar on and off the track, check out the Mopar brand’s official blog, http://blog.mopar.com.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, 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, as well as and the new Challenger R/T Scat Pack 1320. Infused with exclusive drag strip technology from the iconic Dodge Challenger SRT Demon, the Challenger R/T Scat Pack 1320 is a drag-oriented, street-legal muscle car and a blank canvas for the serious grassroots drag racer. 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.
Photos courtesy of MOPAR, driver photos: NHRA