DSR Seattle Post-Race Recap
Magic Dry Organic Absorbent NHRA Northwest Nationals
Event 16 of 24 (Seattle)
Pacific Raceways – Kent, Wash.
Aug. 2-4, 2019
DSR Seattle Elimination Highlights:
- Ron Capps raced to his third final round appearance of the 2019 season; it was the fifth consecutive event where DSR has placed a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car in the finals
- Capps’ run to the final advanced him to fourth in points and allowed him to clinch a berth in the NHRA Countdown to the Championship
- Jack Beckman’s semifinal finish also helped him secure a berth in the NHRA Countdown to the Championship; Beckman is currently ranked fifth
- Countdown contender (Sonoma clinch) Tommy Johnson Jr. leads the DSR Funny Car brigade and leaves Seattle ranked third in the championship standings
- Antron Brown closes out the Western Swing by moving into second in the Top Fuel standings
Driver of the Matco Tools Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified: No. 11 (3.769 E.T. at 325.69 MPH)
E1: 3.798 E.T. at 321.12 MPH defeated Richie Crampton 4.990 E.T. at 142.64 MPH
E2: 4.044 E.T. at 266.69 MPH defeated by Steve Torrence 3.785 E.T. at 325.53 MPH
Three-time Top Fuel defending event champion Antron Brown qualified 11th for the NHRA Northwest Nationals and was hoping to become the first driver to win four consecutive Seattle trophies in any NHRA pro category on Sunday.
Brown extended his Pacific Raceways round win streak to 13 after a round-one win against Richie Crampton. The Matco Tools Toyota pilot’s Seattle reign of dominance came to an end when his streak was finally snapped by Steve Torrence in a second-round match-up between the two Top Fuel point leaders. Against the reigning world champ, Brown was up in smoke early and Torrence put together a clean pass for the win. Brown finished the Western Swing ranked second in the championship point standings.
“We made some good strides here in our Matco Tools Toyota. We’ve been making some moves and we’re definitely headed in the right direction. I can’t wait to get to Brainerd and really just get back after it. It should be cooler in Brainerd and the track should be good. We’ve always run well there. We’re not in a bad spot right now. We had a really consistent car here and we’ll take all the positives away from here. We leave here in second place, so we’re making points moves, but we really just need to consistently make the semis and get to the finals. We have to raise our performance a little bit and we’ll be right where we need to be at the right time.”
Driver of the Sparkling Ice +Caffeine Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified: No. 5 (3.725 E.T. at 323.58 MPH)
E1: 3.762 E.T. at 325.30 MPH defeated by Austin Prock 3.761 E.T. at 326.95 MPH
Behind the wheel of her Sparkling Ice +Caffeine Top Fuel dragster, Leah Pritchett earned a starting position in the top half of the field and faced Austin Prock in round one on race day. Pritchett was hoping to avenge last week’s first-round loss to Prock and came oh-so-close with her solid 3.762-second pass, but Prock’s slight starting line advantage gave him the extra boost needed to cross the line first for the win.
“We definitely wanted to shine bright for Sparkling Ice. We have a great hot rod, and we really wanted redemption against Prock after Sonoma. Unfortunately, we were on the short end of it once again. The Swing has definitely taken its toll, but we’re coming out of it stronger than we were going into it which gives us momentum heading into Brainerd. My favorite thing about this team is they don’t hang their heads low. I keep chipping away at trying to be a better leaver and Prock has definitely got most everyone’s number out there and come race day they’re able to tune it up. Missing the tune-up that Q2 session for qualifying positions really played a large part, but (crew chiefs) Todd (Okuhara) and Neal (Strausbaugh) have got this hot rod figured out, and I couldn’t be prouder to represent Sparkling Ice +Caffeine. We’ll keep pouring on that caffeine and stepping up our game for some round wins. Can’t thank the fans enough as we close out this swing and head onto Brainerd.”
Driver of the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
Qualified: No. 8 (3.917 E.T. at 326.79 MPH)
E1: 3.937 E.T. at 327.59 MPH defeated Tommy Johnson Jr. 5.182 E.T. at 141.86 MPH
E2: 3.973 E.T. at 323.04 MPH defeated Bob Tasca III 4.017 E.T. at 321.50 MPH
E3: 4.480 E.T. at 197.65 MPH defeated by John Force 4.014 E.T. at 320.97 MPH
The results through the first 16 events maintain that Jack Beckman and his Infinite Hero Foundation team will be a factor in the 2019 NHRA championship, but the 2012 Funny Car world champion admits they first must win a race. The 2007 NHRA Northwest Nationals winner qualified eighth for Sunday’s elimination rounds where he drove the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat to victory over fellow DSR Dodge Hellcat driver Tommy Johnson Jr. with a smooth pass of 3.937 seconds. Beckman then defeated Bob Tasca III to reach his fifth semifinal in eight events where his opponent was John Force. After the two had identical reaction times, Beckman slowed when his machine lost traction allowing Force to pull away for the victory.
Beckman’s semifinal run helped him clinch a berth in the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship for the 12th time in his career.
“A frustrating end again. We have a top-five car. We ran into another top-five, and it just becomes a battle of tuners and drivers up there. Neither one of us ran particularly great, but our car just smoked the tires. And we know we have a car that is capable of winning a championship. We need to prove that we have a car that can win a race right now. The silver lining is that we leave here top-five in points. We gained some ground on the guys in front of us. The crew chiefs have a week off to go over some things and get us organized to go into Brainerd with the right frame of mind.”
Driver of the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
Qualified: No. 7 (3.898 E.T. at 326.24 MPH)
E1: 3.939 E.T. at 327.35 MPH defeated Tim Wilkerson 4.205 E.T. at 253.95 MPH
E2: 3.992 E.T. at 322.58 MPH defeated J.R. Todd 5.277 E.T. at 153.40 MPH
E3: 3.974 E.T. at 323.58 MPH defeated Matt Hagan 3.982 E.T. at 327.27 MPH
E4: 4.018 E.T. at 309.91 MPH defeated by John Force 3.971 E.T. at 320.58 MPH
The defending NHRA Northwest Nationals Funny Car event champion raced to his third final round of the season on Sunday at Pacific Raceways but came up just short of picking up his second consecutive Seattle victory, and third win of the year.
After qualifying in the top half of the field for the eighth time in the last nine events, Capps and the NAPA AUTO PARTS Funny Car team looked prime for a long day of going rounds. Capps’ deep run through the Funny Car field began with a first-round matchup against veteran racer Tim Wilkerson. After defeating Wilkerson with a stout 3.939-second E.T., the defending Seattle champ faced J.R. Todd, the defending world champ. Crew chief Rahn Tobler tuned the NAPA Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat to another sub-four second pass to outrun Todd’s tire-smoking pass.
In the semifinals, Capps’ fifth of the season, the MOPAR-powered driver catapulted the NAPA Dodge to the quickest run of the session – a 3.974 E.T. – to upset his higher qualified teammate Matt Hagan and set-up a final-round battle with John Force. The stakes were high for the two winningest drivers in NHRA Funny Car history – Capps was looking for his fifth Seattle victory, and Force was hoping to finally lock down win No. 150. Capps had a slight starting line advantage over Force, but his 4.018-second pass was unable to chase down Force’s 3.971 and deny him of the milestone victory.
Capps’ final round appearance helped him clinch a berth in the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship for the 12th time in his career, and he is on-track to finish in the Top 10 for the 15th consecutive season.
“I’m very happy with the way the swing ended. Rahn Tobler did a little bit of testing on Saturday, and that really showed a lot of progress. And he was typical NAPA Know How on Sunday going down the track when it got hot. We beat some great race cars to reach the final round.
“Honestly, we thought we had the run to win, but for some reason, our car did not run in the middle of the track like it had all day. It was down a little bit on the mile-per-hour. I didn’t hear or see John Force until about half-track, and he popped out about a car length on us. Overall, it was a great weekend; we collected some good points. It hurts to give up the 150th win to Force, but I think we are in a good position moving forward.”
Driver of the Sandvik Coromant Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody
Qualified: No. 3 (3.888 E.T. at 329.75 MPH)
E1: 3.988 E.T. at 328.22 MPH defeated Gary Densham 4.058 E.T. at 308.99 MPH
E2: 3.970 E.T. at 325.53 MPH defeated Shawn Langdon 5.067 E.T. at 148.69 MPH
E3: 3.982 E.T. at 327.72 MPH defeated by Ron Capps 3.974 E.T. at 323.58 MPH
Starting from third, Matt Hagan entered race day at the NHRA Northwest Nationals as the highest-qualified DSR entry. The two-time 2019 event champ parked the Sandvik Coromant Dodge in the winner’s circle earlier this year in Phoenix and was hoping for a repeat on Sunday.
Hagan successfully defeated Gary Densham and Shawn Langdon in the first two rounds of competition, but his chances at a second Pacific Raceways Wally trophy were dashed when he met teammate and defending event champ Ron Capps in the semifinals. Against Capps, Hagan powered to his fourth consecutive three-second run of the weekend, but his solid 3.982-second pass fell short against the eventual race runner-up’s 3.974 E.T.
“I think our Swing has been pretty good. Denver was a mixed bag because that’s Denver, but we went to the finals in Sonoma and semifinals here in Seattle. Our Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody is running really, really good. I’m really happy with the performance. It’s been consistent and is reacting to everything (crew chief) Dickie (Venables) is telling it to do. When you get beat on the backside of a good drag race like what happened to us against Capps, that’s a whole lot easier to swallow than when you’re out here smoking the tires or not going down the race track. As these races progress, and as we move toward the Countdown, I feel really good about what we’re doing with this race team and race car.”
TOMMY JOHNSON JR.
Driver of the Make-A-Wish Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
Qualified: No. 9 (3.919 E.T. at 327.19 MPH)
E1: 5.182 E.T. at 141.86 MPH defeated by Jack Beckman 3.937 E.T. at 327.59 MPH
After opening the Western Swing with a triumph at the Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals, Tommy Johnson Jr. was hoping to bookend The Swing with another win on Sunday at Pacific Raceways. Behind the wheel of the Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, Johnson made his best lap of the weekend to close Saturday and set up his seventh 2019 matchup with teammate and fellow Hellcat Funny Car driver, Jack Beckman. Johnson defeated “Fast Jack” in the second round in Denver and was looking to make it two straight. He had a slight advantage at the start, but that lead was short-lived when his machine went up into tire-smoke just after 200 feet. Johnson, who clinched his spot in the Countdown last weekend in Sonoma, is ranked second in the standings with two races remaining before the points are reset for the six-race championship battle.
“Our qualifying position bit us more than anything. It hurt not having lane choice in the first round. The track became a one-lane-track pretty fast during that first round and not having lane choice was definitely a disadvantage. We’ll go home and put a new front-half on this car and go into Brainerd with a fresh car, and get our consistency back, and get back on a high note. I’d grade the swing a B for us, overall, with a win and a semifinal finish. You never like a first-round loss, and if we could have gone some rounds today, it would have been an A.”
NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship Standings:
1. Steve Torrence – 1587*
2. Antron Brown – 966
3. Clay Millican – 955
4. Brittany Force – 953
5. Doug Kalitta – 940
6. Mike Salinas – 883
7. Leah Pritchett – 786
8t. Richie Crampton – 753
8t. Austin Prock – 753
10. Terry McMillen- 676
1. Robert Hight – 1341*
2. John Force – 1155*
3. Tommy Johnson Jr – 1117*
4. Ron Capps – 1057*
5. Jack Beckman – 1039*
6. Bob Tasca III – 985*
7. Matt Hagan – 965
8. J.R. Todd – 949
9. Shawn Langdon – 840
10. Tim Wilkerson – 792
*Clinched berth in NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship
ABOUT DON SCHUMACHER RACING
Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) is the winningest team in NHRA Drag Racing history, having claimed more than 325 NHRA national event titles and 17 world championships since opening its doors in 1998.
Headquartered in Brownsburg, Indiana, DSR fields seven professional teams competing in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing series. In Top Fuel, the Matco Tools dragster driven by three-time world champion Antron Brown, the MOPAR/Pennzoil/Sparkling Ice dragster driven by Leah Pritchett and eight-time world champion Tony Schumacher’s machine. In Funny Car, the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat driven by 2016 world champion Ron Capps, the Mopar Express Lane/Pennzoil/Sandvik Coromant Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat piloted by Matt Hagan, and in Terry and Doug Chandler’s ‘giving cars,’ 2012 NHRA world champion Jack Beckman in the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge, and Tommy Johnson Jr. behind the wheel of the Make-A-Wish Dodge.
DSR also campaigns two Factory Stock Showdown entries. The duo is piloted by Pritchett, the 2018 Factory Stock Showdown Series champion, and former Pro Stock racer Mark Pawuk.
Photo Credit: Auto Imagery via Don Schumacher Racing