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Don Schumacher Racing Pre-Race Report: Pomona NHRA Finals

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DSR 18Pomona II Pre-Race Report

Auto Club NHRA Finals
Event 24 of 24 (Pomona II)
Countdown Event 6 of 6
Auto Club Raceway at Pomona
November 15-17, 2019

Highlights:

  • Sitting second in the Funny Car points, Jack Beckman leads DSR in the NHRA Countdown to the Championship standings
  • No. 3 ranked Funny Car pilot Matt Hagan enters the race weekend with back-to-back victories at the previous two events
  • Both Beckman and Hagan are within two rounds of point leader Robert Hight
  • Tommy Johnson Jr. was the Funny Car event runner-up in 2018 and is seeking his fifth consecutive Pomona II final round appearance
  • Leah Pritchett (Top Fuel) and Ron Capps (Funny Car) were No. 1 qualifiers at the 2018 event
  • Beckman, Capps, and Pritchett consider Pomona to be a hometown track. Beckman resides in Norco; Capps resides in Carlsbad; Pritchett grew up in nearby Redlands

DSR-Owned Track Records:
– Funny Car, E.T.: 3.822 seconds, Matt Hagan (Pomona I 2017)
– Funny Car, speed: 336.32 mph, Hagan (Pomona I 2018)

DSR Driver Information:

Top Fuel:

ANTRON BROWNANTRON BROWN
Driver of the Matco Tools Diagnostics Top Fuel Dragster

Antron Brown

Antron Brown

Countdown to the Championship standing: 8th

Pomona II Event Highlights:

  • Three-time event champion
    – Top Fuel (2009, 2010)
    – Pro Stock Motorcycle (1999)
  • Two-time runner-up
    – Top Fuel (2015)
    – Pro Stock Motorcycle (2004)
  • 2015 No. 1 qualifier

2018 Pomona II Recap:
Qualified sixth; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Doug Kalitta in E1; defeated by Brittany Force in E2)

Last Event (Las Vegas II):
Qualified 11th; First round exit (defeated by Terry McMillen in E1)

2019 Season Statistics:
24 round wins; ranked eighth in points

Career Statistics:
429 races; 66 wins (16 Pro Stock Motorcycle); 49 No. 1 qualifiers (11 PSM)

Noteworthy:

  • Has been successful in earning victories in both Top Fuel and Pro Stock Motorcycle at the Pomona II event
  • Brown’s Matco Tools Diagnostics livery is helping to promote the launch of the newest member of the Maximus Family, the Maximus Flash+.

About Maximus Flash+:

  • Recently reviewed in Tech Shop and PTen Magazine
  • In-shop Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) level flashing and reprogramming
  • Live support from experts to help diagnose and complete a job
  • OEM solutions for various makes and models of vehicles

Quotable:
“We definitely want to end the year on a high note. It’s the NHRA Finals, and you’ve got to bring your A+ game. Our Matco Tools Toyota team has been working hard, and we just want to go out there and showcase the work we’ve put into it. The Countdown wasn’t good to us this year. We came into it third, and we’re looking for a strong finish.”

LEAH PRITCHETTLEAH PRITCHETT
Driver of the MOPAR Dodge Top Fuel Dragster

Leah Pritchett

Leah Pritchett

Countdown to the Championship standing: 5th

Pomona II Event Highlights:

  • 2018 No. 1 qualifier

2018 Pomona II Recap:
Qualified No. 1; First round exit (defeated by Bill Litton in E1)

Last Event (Las Vegas II):
Qualified No. 1; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Cameron Ferre in E1; defeated by Doug Kalitta in E2)

2019 Season Statistics:
22 round wins; Ranked fifth in points

Career Statistics:
140 races; eight wins; 12 No. 1 qualifiers

Noteworthy:

  • Started from the No. 1 position in 2018
  • As a native of nearby Redlands, Calif., Pritchett considers Auto Club Raceway at Pomona to be a hometown track

Quotable:
“Doesn’t take a math whiz to figure out that this race is on deck to be the most meaningful of the season. The potential for greatness is there for the taking, and we are ready to grab it. All we can do is focus on being as quick and consistent as possible. Capturing a low qualifying time to better position ourselves for race day is key more than ever. We are due for our best Countdown showing, which means better than the semis. All we can do is race smart, win the race, and let the competition cards fall where they may.”

Funny Car:

JACK BECKMANJACK BECKMAN
Driver of the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

Jack Beckman

Jack Beckman

Countdown to the Championship standing: 2nd

Pomona II Event Highlights:

  • 2006 runner-up
  • Three-time No. 1 qualifier (2006, 2016, 2017)

2018 Pomona II Recap:
Qualified second; Semifinal finish (defeated Jeff Arend in E1, John Force in E2; defeated by Tommy Johnson Jr. in E3)

Last Event (Las Vegas II):
Qualified No. 1; Semifinal finish (defeated Terry Haddock in E1, Robert Hight in E2; defeated by Jonnie Lindberg in E3)

2019 Season Statistics:
38 round wins; ranked second in points

Career Statistics:
323 races; 29 wins; 27 No. 1 qualifiers

Noteworthy:

  • Sitting second in the Funny Car points, Beckman leads DSR in the NHRA Countdown to the Championship standings
  • Trails point leader Robert Hight by 46 points
  • As a resident of Norco, Beckman considers Pomona to be a hometown track

Quotable:
“We have to do our best to optimize points starting with Q1. I think we’ve got a car that’s clearly capable of doing that. We’ve been No. 1 qualifier three times in the last six events. I think right now we’re clearly a front-runner to contend for the championship, not just in our points position, but in our performance lately. So, my job is to do my job. If we get another opportunity like we had in Vegas where we are paired up with (Robert) Hight early, we get a chance to control our own destiny. If we win the race and Robert is not in the final next to us, we win the championship. I’m not looking at Matt (Hagan) or John Force behind us because we want to finish first; we’re not trying to defend the second-place position. So, our goal right now is to maximize qualifying points, execute perfectly on race day, and hope that the ladder falls in such a way that we pair up with Robert before the final round.”

RON CAPPSRON CAPPS
Driver of the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

Ron Capps

Countdown to the Championship standing: 6th

Pomona II Event Highlights:

  • 2008 runner-up
  • Four-time No. 1 qualifier (1999, 2012, 2015, 2018)

2018 Pomona II Recap:
Qualified No. 1; Semifinal finish (defeated Ray Martin in E1, Shawn Langdon in E2; defeated by J.R. Todd in E3)

Last Event (Las Vegas II):
Qualified 11th; First round exit (defeated by Bob Tasca III in E1)

2019 Season Statistics:
32 round wins; ranked sixth in points

Career Statistics:
554 races; 64 wins (one Top Fuel); 24 No. 1 qualifiers

Noteworthy:

  • Earned the No. 1 qualifier at the 2018 event
  • As a resident of Carslbad, Capps considers Pomona to be a hometown track

Quotable:
“Unfortunately, we sort of struggled in Dallas and Vegas, but we tested on Monday in Vegas and feel like we’ve got our NAPA car back. Mathematically, we’re not out of the championship and you never know what can happen in Pomona. We’ve seen stranger things. So, we’re just going to try and win every single point we can. There are more points for each round of qualifying, more points for qualifying position, and more points for each round on race day. Our goal is to win the race and move me as far left on the stage for the banquet Monday night as possible.”

MATT HAGANMATT HAGAN
Driver of the MOPAR Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody

Matt Hagan

Matt Hagan

Countdown to the Championship standing: 3rd

Pomona II Event Highlights:

  • Three-time event champion (2011, 2013, 2014)
  • 2011 No. 1 qualifier

2018 Pomona II Recap:
Qualified eighth; First round exit (defeated by Shawn Langdon in E1)

Last Event (Las Vegas II):
Qualified seventh; Event champion (defeated Paul Lee in E1, Tommy Johnson Jr. in E2, Bob Tasca III in E3, Jonnie Lindberg in E3)

2019 Season Statistics:
36 round wins; ranked third in points

Career Statistics:
263 races; 33 wins; 35 No. 1 qualifiers

Noteworthy:

  • Enters the weekend having raced to back-to-back victories at the previous two events; trails Hight by 56 points
  • Celebrates a birthday on November 18 (NHRA Awards Ceremony)

Quotable:
“Winning Dallas was definitely the shot in the arm we needed. You’re always hoping for the best, and you have that ‘never give up’ mentality. We struggled at the beginning, but it’s one of those things where the points are so close once they’re reset that it really only takes a race or two to get back in there. If we would’ve done better from the get-go, we might be leading in the points, but ‘woulda, shoulda, coulda.’ We’re happy to be in this position where we have a shot right now. The only thing we can do is control our own destiny; do the best job we can and let the points fall where they may.”

TOMMY JOHNSON JR.TOMMY JOHNSON JR.
Driver of the Make-A-Wish Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

Tommy Johnson Jr.

Countdown to the Championship standing: 8th

Pomona II Event Highlights:

  • Two-time event champion (2016, 2017)
  • Three-time runner-up (2002, 2015, 2018)

2018 Pomona II Recap:
Qualified third; Event runner-up (defeated Cruz Pedregon in E1, Courtney Force in E2, Jack Beckman in E3; defeated by J.R. Todd in E4)

Last Event (Las Vegas II):
Qualified second; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Jim Campbell in E1; defeated by Matt Hagan in E2)

2019 Season Statistics:
32 round wins; ranked eighth in points

Career Statistics:
469 races; 19 wins (two Top Fuel); 18 No. 1 qualifiers (one Top Fuel)

Noteworthy:

  • Has been to the Pomona II final round the past four years in a row, winning in 2016 and 2017, and finishing as the runner-up in 2015 and 2018

Quotable:
“I can’t wait to get to Pomona. We’ve had such success there, we’ve been to the final round the past four years and won it two of those times. It’s a good race for our team, and the way our car ran in Vegas, I think that we have a really good shot at finishing the season off well, and we’ll try and get as high as we can in the points.”

ABOUT DON SCHUMACHER RACING
Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) is the winningest team in NHRA Drag Racing history, having claimed more than 335 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.

Follow Don Schumacher Don Schumacher Racing at ShoeRacing.com, on Twitter and Instagram at @shoeracing and Facebook.com/shoeracing.

Photo Credit: Auto Imagery via Don Schumacher Racing, Driver photos: NHRA

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