Beckman Races Dodge//SRT Mopar Funny Car to Semis at NHRA Gatornationals
- Defending NHRA Gatornationals champion Jack Beckman races Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat to semifinals
- Five Mopar-powered Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Cars reach second round of Gatornationals
- Three Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car drivers rank in top-five of point standings
- Leah Pritchett drives DSR Mopar Dodge Top Fuel dragster to second round, ranks second in championship standings
- Dwayne Scheitlin, Stephen Comella take Dodge Top Finisher Awards in NHRA Sportsman classes in Gainesville
- 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
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 19, 2019) – Mopar-powered Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car driver “Fast Jack” Beckman reached the semifinals Sunday in the 50th Annual NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville (Florida) Raceway and now ranks second in the NHRA Mello Yello Funny Car championships standings.
Beckman was looking to become the seventh driver to win back-to-back Gatornationals this weekend behind the wheel of his Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car and was joined in Sunday’s second round by four other Charger SRT Hellcat drivers — Matt Hagan, Ron Capps, Tommy Johnson, Jr. and Cruz Pedregon. Leah Pritchett raced her Mopar Dodge Top Fuel dragster into the second round as well and holds the second position in the Top Fuel championship standings through the first three events.
The run to the semifinals for Beckman began with the 2018 Gatornationals champion defeating reigning NHRA Funny Car world champion J.R. Todd in the opening round. Next, it was an all-Hellcat matchup between Beckman and Tommy Johnson Jr.’s Make-A-Wish Charger SRT Hellcat. Johnson defeated John Smith in round one, but Beckman came out on top in round two by 0.0007 seconds (approximately 4 inches). Beckman’s six-round winning streak in Gainesville came to a close versus Tim Wilkerson in the semis.
Hagan entered the Gatornationals as the most recent winner in the class and he raced the Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car past Jonnie Lindberg in the opening round before losing to John Force. Pedregon was victorious over Shawn Langdon before bowing out to Wilkerson and Capps drove the NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat to a first-round win over Bob Tasca III before being defeated by Hight. Jim Campbell was the sixth Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car driver in competition Sunday and was defeated in the first round by Force.
In Top Fuel, Pritchett was looking to become only the third female driver to hoist a Gatornationals Top Fuel Wally and positioned herself by qualifying the Dodge Mopar Top Fuel dragster No. 4 in the field. She was machine-like in her opening round match up with Pat Dakin, but was defeated by eventual Gatornationals Top Fuel champion Richie Crampton on a hole shot in round two.Dodge//SRT Mopar NHRA Sportsman Spotlight
In Stock Eliminator, Dwayne Scheitlin from Brighton, Colorado, drove his 1970 A/SA Dodge Challenger R/T to a second round finish at the 50th Annual NHRA Gatornationals. Powered by a Mopar 440 Six Pack cubic-inch big-block V8, Scheiltlin had dialed a 10.14 ET but just missed his mark by 0.010 of a second and ended up running a 10.15 ET during eliminations.
Stephen Comella from Webster, New York, drove his 1968 SS/AH HEMI Dodge Dart to a semifinal finish in Super Stock. Comella just barely redlighted with a very close -0.001 reaction time to give his opponent Kevin Riner the win.
Both Scheitlin and Comella will receive $500 for being the Dodge Top Finisher by advancing the furthest in Stock Eliminator and Super Stock, respectively. The Dodge Top Finisher program, now in its third year, recognizes Mopar-powered Dodge, Chrysler, or Plymouth racers in Stock and Super Stock at all 24 NHRA national events.Dodge//SRT Mopar NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series: Notes & Quotes
Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 6 Qualifier – 3.900 ET)
Rd.1: (.082-second reaction time, 3.905 seconds at 326.79 mph) beat No. 11 J.R. Todd (.061/4.353/255.53)
Rd.2: (.076/3.963/321.73) beat to No. 3 Tommy Johnson, Jr. (.069/3.892/327.03)
Rd.3: (.069/4.211/267.27 lost to No. 2 Tim Wilkerson (.065/3.896/329.02)
“There is no Don Schumacher Racing driver that says we had a great weekend if you are not holding the trophy. We had a good weekend. It didn’t start off that way. We struggled the first three qualifying runs and finally got to the finish line on the last qualifying run. I think that’s all the guys needed. For Guido and John, now they had data. We stepped on it. We had a great running car. I don’t know if we stepped on it too far in the semifinals. We’ll have to look at the data. Tim Wilkerson was running phenomenal. We had to go up there and turn all the screws up. The upside is that we leave here in a good position with points, but the downside is you want every single trophy you can get your hands on. We’ll see if we can get that trophy in Las Vegas.”
Tommy Johnson Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 3 Qualifier – 3.896 ET)
Rd.1: (.088-second reaction time, 3.933 seconds at 326.56 mph) beat No. 14 John Smith (.071/5.306/150.05)
Rd.2: (.069/3.892/327.03) lost to No. 6 Jack Beckman (.063/3.898/329.67)
“We were on the wrong side of the closest race of the weekend. I’m happy our Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat is running so well. It’s frustrating that we keep having gremlins jump up and bite us but I’m proud of the team for how hard they’ve worked. They keep pushing and the car keeps on performing. It’s just a matter of time. You continue to run that good, things will eventually go your way instead of going against you. I’m ready for Vegas. It’s one of my favorite tracks. Everything comes in threes, we’ve gone through our three and we’re moving on.”
Matt Hagan, Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 5 Qualifier – 3.900 ET)
Rd.1: (.079-second reaction time, 3.941 seconds at 322.58 mph) beat No. 12 Jonnie Lindberg (.084/3.950/322.44)
Rd.2: (.082/9.028/77.04) lost to No. 4 John Force (.110/4.471/185.95)
“We had to have a blower swap right there (ahead of round two) and it had way too much power, knocked it off at the starting line, but now at least we know we’ve got a really good blower. At the end of the day, I really wanted to win this race. It’s the 50th anniversary, it’s the Gatornationals. We didn’t win the 50th, but we’d like to try and come back and win the 51st. But all in all, we’ve got a good Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat. I feel good rolling into Vegas. (Crew chief) Dickie Venables has a good handle on this combo that we’re running.”
Ron Capps, NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 8 Qualifier – 3.933 ET)
Rd.1: (.084-second reaction time, 3.910 seconds at 324.59 mph) beat to No. 9 Bob Tasca III (.051/3.969/316.90)
Rd.2: (.071/10.137/77.38) lost to No. 1 Robert Hight (.067/3.870/330.88)
“We were trying to find ourselves this weekend. We came here after a great test session in Phoenix with our brand-new DSR chassis. It’s not like we were that far off this weekend, it’s just (crew chief Rahn) Tobler’s been fighting some new car blues. This is just something you go through when you bring out a new car. Sometimes everything comes out perfect and sometimes you’ve just got to chase adjustments here and there. We ran into (crew chief) Jimmy Prock and Robert Hight in round two and they’ve got a great running car. Smoking the tires at the hit is not something Rahn Tobler is known to do and as soon as I got back to the pit from that run, he felt like he already knew why it did that. That’s what I love about racing with Tobler; he’s constantly thinking. Win or lose, he’s already thinking of how to get better. He catches things that will make us better in the future. Unfortunately, this 50th anniversary would’ve been a nice race to win but it’s a long season and I can’t get wait to get back out west and race at the Vegas Four-Wide.”
Leah Pritchett, Mopar Dodge Top Fuel Dragster
(No. 4 Qualifier – 3.724 ET)
Rd.1: (.073-second reaction time, 3.724 seconds at 329.67 mph) beat No. 13 Pat Dakin (.108/7.999/80.28)
Rd.2: (.080/3.739/328.78) lost to No. 12 Richie Crampton (.022/3.785/319.37)
“The worst part is you hear the car next to you and you know that you got beat on a holeshot and you don’t need anyone telling you that. I don’t feel like I was super late. It was more of a case of him swinging super hard and I got hit with the punch. That’s the way it is. You take the highs super high and the lows you just deal with for a quick moment and then try and rebound. If I let that get me down that will just hinder our progression moving forward at the next race.”
“This Mopar Dodge dragster is really good. We brought in a new crew member, Jim Underco, this weekend and he gelled with our team and they are doing a great job. The parts we’re using are doing great. The time slips are looking fantastic. It’s all there. We definitely felt like we should have won that round, but that’s drag racing.”
Up Next: Denso Spark Plugs NHRA Nationals
Dodge//SRT and Mopar competitors will head next to the 20th annual NHRA Nationals, April 5-7 at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Five-time Las Vegas Funny Car winner Ron Capps will look to win for the sixth time and claim his first Four-Wide triumph at LVMS.
2019 NHRA Championship – Point Standings After Round 3 of 24
(Season Wins in Parentheses)
NHRA Funny Car
1. Robert Hight (2) – 330
2. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat – 225
3. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat (1) – 215
4. John Force – 200
5. Tommy Johnson, Jr., Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat – 191
6. Tim Wilkerson – 165
7. Bob Tasca III – 163
8. J.R. Todd – 159
9. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat – 146
10. Shawn Langdon – 143
NHRA Top Fuel
1. Doug Kalitta (1) – 246
2. Leah Pritchett, Mopar HEMI – 204
3. Steve Torrence – 197
4t. Billy Torrence (1) – 178
4t. Richie Crampton (1) – 178
6. Terry McMillen – 166
7. Mike Salinas – 161
8. Clay Millican – 157
9. Antron Brown – 150
10. Austin Prock – 138
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.
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 courtesy of NHRA