DSR Indy 2 Post-Race Recap
Lucas Oil NHRA Summernationals at Indianapolis
Event 4 of 18
Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis
July 18-19, 2020
Lucas Oil NHRA Summernationals at Indianapolis Update:
- Due to persistent rain showers, Sunday’s final elimination round at the Lucas Oil NHRA Summernationals at Indianapolis has been postponed until the NHRA U.S. Nationals, September 4-6. A date has not yet been announced for the rescheduled final round.
- Jack Beckman and Matt Hagan both advanced to the Funny Car final round, and will battle it out for the trophy during the to-be-announced rescheduled date and time.
DSR Elimination Highlights:
- By advancing to the final round, Jack Beckman and Matt Hagan ensure DSR will win a Funny Car trophy when the final round is contested during the NHRA U.S. Nationals
- Sunday marked the eighth consecutive event where DSR campaigned a Funny Car in the final round, and had the finals run on schedule, would have ensured a seventh consecutive Funny Car Wally trophy and win No. 349 for DSR
- Beckman, Tommy Johnson Jr., and Hagan maintained their stronghold on the Funny Car category, and occupy the first three spots in the point standings
- Hagan ran low E.T. of every round on race day
- Leah Pruett advanced to the semifinals in Top Fuel and moved into the No. 2 spot on the leaderboard
Driver of the Matco Tools/Global Electronic Technology/Toyota Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified: No. 4 (3.856 E.T. at 316.15 MPH)
E1: 3.851 E.T. at 310.05 MPH defeated Pat Dakin’s 3.880 E.T. at 317.05 MPH
E2: 3.927 E.T. at 308.35 MPH defeated by Terry McMillen 3.796 E.T. at 321.96 MPH
Antron Brown, who pulled double-duty as a Top Fuel driver and Jr. Dragster crew chief on his sons’ entries, earned a fourth-seeded qualifying position to start race day and drew Pat Dakin as his round-one competition. Behind the wheel of the Matco Tools/Global Electronic Technology/Toyota dragster, Brown was first out of the gate and clocked a 3.851 E.T. to defeat Dakin’s 3.880-second pass. In round two, Brown squared off against fellow Hoosier, Terry McMillen. Brown had previously defeated McMillen in the first round one week prior, but this time it was McMillen who would set off the win light. He led from start to finish as Brown slowed to a 3.927 approaching the finish line.
“Race day didn’t go the way we wanted it to, that’s for sure. After talking to (crew chiefs) Brian (Corradi) and Mark (Oswald), the track got tighter, better with the cloud cover and we just nuked the clutch out of it. That being said, we’re going to get ready and we’re in a good spot in the points. We have to progress and take it one race at a time. We’re now running four races here in Indy, two of them are done. There’s plenty left on this 2020 schedule. We didn’t lose any ground to Doug (Kalitta), the points leader, and the main goal is to get better each race. We’re doing that. We’re making some great strides. We qualified well with both cars. What doesn’t break you makes you stronger and we’re ready to get another crack at this track in three weeks. We’ll be ready.”
Driver of the Mopar Dodge SRT Hellcat Redeye Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified: No. 2 (3.850 E.T. at 314.31 MPH)
E1: 3.820 E.T. at 316.97 MPH defeated Lex Joon 4.104 E.T. at 242.71 MPh
E2: 3.818 E.T. at 314.46 MPH defeated Billy Torrence 3.793 E.T. at 320.36 MPH
E3: 4.530 E.T. at 171.62 MPH defeated by Justin Ashley 4.049 E.T. at 237.09 MPH
Leah Pruett and her red-hot Mopar Dodge SRT Hellcat Redeye dragster looked solid throughout qualifying. Pruett earned bonus points during both sessions for making a ‘top three’ run each time and started her race day from the No. 2 spot on the Top Fuel ladder.
In round one of eliminations, Pruett picked off opponent Lex Joon with a winning 3.820 E.T. to his 4.104-second effort. The second round found Pruett squaring off against last week’s race winner, Billy Torrence. Against Torrence, Pruett used her ultra-quick reflexes to secure the holeshot victory, setting off the win light with her 3.818 versus Torrence’s 3.793. In the semifinals, dropped cylinders caused Pruett to slow to a 4.530 E.T., and her opponent Justin Ashley was able to claim the round win. By advancing to the semifinals, Pruett moved into the No. 2 spot in the Top Fuel point standings.
“I do feel that we have the best horse on the property between qualifying well and going rounds on Sunday. Unfortunately, we had a couple of holes (cylinders) out early against Justin (Ashley) in the semis and we kicked the belt off. They had issues too, so that makes it a bit tougher. What works best is when the crew chiefs, team and me are on the same page and I felt we were today. I will say this is the best-looking Top Fuel car on the property. I’m excited for the Hellcat Redeye colors to run again, and we’ll keep picking up momentum and building on what we’ve learned the last two weekends and be ready to go in three weeks.”
Driver of the Global Electronic Technology/Toyota Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified: No. 5 (3.878 E.T. at 309.34 MPH)
E1: 4.447 E.T. at 195.25 MPH defeated by Terry McMillen 3.765 E.T. at 320.66 MPH
Tony Schumacher entered the second event of his two-race cameo appearance with one goal in mind – capturing his 11th Indianapolis trophy. The winningest Top Fuel driver in NHRA history made the second-quickest lap of Q2 to qualify his Global Electronic Technology/Toyota dragster fifth to start race day. Schumacher drew Terry McMillen as his round-one opponent, and the veteran drivers were nearly even leaving the starting line. Unfortunately, Schumacher’s race day aspirations went up in smoke when he hazed the tires near halftrack and was forced to watch his opponent drive away with the win.
“It’s been a fantastic couple of weeks. I’ve really enjoyed racing and being back at the track. We really should have taken the right lane, but hindsight is 20/20 and boy you have to give credit to Terry (McMillen). They made a phenomenal run with low E.T. of the weekend. When you run against our DSR cars that’s what you do. We’ve seen that in the past.
“I had a great time representing Global Electronic Technology. It’s a great company and Steve and Samantha Bryson gave me an amazing opportunity that I’m very thankful for. Also, Mark Weiler and the Rydin Decal folks, and it was great to meet and work with everyone at Toyota. Andre Jackson and that entire group is fantastic, and the Quality Mat folks in Texas. We all worked very well together, and I would love to be back out here again soon.”
Driver of the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
Qualified: No. 6 (4.059 E.T. at 299.66 MPH)
E1: 4.032 E.T. at 310.77 MPH defeated Chad Green 4.323 E.T. at 293.86 MPH
E2: 3.991 E.T. at 317.72 MPH defeated Tim Wilkerson 4.009 E.T. at 316.82 MPH
E3: 3.969 E.T. at 321.65 MPH defeated Tommy Johnson Jr. 4.027 E.T. at 309.56 MPH
E4: Rescheduled for the U.S. Nationals
In the first four races of 2020, ‘Fast’ Jack Beckman has been to the final round three times. He started the year with a win at the season-opener and went on to finish as the runner-up at the next event. On Sunday during the NHRA Summernationals at Indianapolis, Beckman advanced to the final round for the third time and was prepared to go head-to-head with DSR Dodge Hellcat teammate and last week’s winner, Matt Hagan, in the final round before Mother Nature threw a wrench in the plans and canceled the remainder of racing for the day.
Beckman’s march to the final, his fifth at Lucas Oil Raceway, began by defeating newbie Chad Green in round one to set up a meeting with Tim Wilkerson in round two. Against Wilkerson, Beckman’s slight starting line advantage coupled with a 3.991-second pass enabled him to get the win over his opponent’s competitive 4.009-second effort. The semifinals featured a match-up between Doug Chandler’s ‘giving cars’ with Beckman’s 3.969 E.T. besting teammate Tommy Johnson Jr.’s 4.027 E.T. By winning the round, Beckman not only earned a berth to the finals but moved back into the Funny Car point lead, a position he had given up to Johnson on Saturday due to Johnson’s strong qualifying performance. Beckman will battle it out with Hagan for the Summernationals Funny Car trophy when racing resumes at the NHRA. U.S. Nationals on Labor Day weekend.
“In a lot of ways these races will have a little asterisk next to them, what’s not going to be different is the trophy. It’s the exact same size as every other Wally we’ve earned. It’s going to mean just as much. We’re going to work just as hard for it. Whether we run tonight, tomorrow, or in three weeks it really doesn’t matter to me. We have a car and a team that can adjust. We struggled in qualifying and the team worked hard and figured it out. The car came around and we’re in another final round and someone is getting a trophy. I don’t care when they run it, we’re gonna run our tails off.”
Driver of the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
Qualified: No. 4 (4.054 E.T. at 312.86 MPH)
E1: 3.967 E.T. at 324.59 MPH defeated by Matt Hagan 3.931 E.T. at 321.58 MPH
For the second week in a row, Ron Capps found himself locked-into a first-round battle more akin to a final round. Despite a solid qualifying effort which placed him fourth to start race day, Capps began his morning having to face teammate and last week’s race winner, Matt Hagan, in round one of eliminations. The two heavy-hitters lined up opposite each other in their DSR Dodge Charger SRT Hellcats and Capps nabbed the holeshot advantage off the starting line. He drove his NAPA AUTO PARTS machine across the finish line in 3.967 seconds at 324.59-mph, but it wasn’t enough to outrun Hagan’s 3.931 E.T., which held up to be low of the round. Just like last week when Capps had one of the best E.T.s of the session, his 3.967 ended up being the third-quickest pass out of the 16 first-round contenders, once again proving drag racing is sometimes a ‘right place at the right time’ type of sport.
“We had a really great hot rod and were really happy with how we ran in qualifying. Sometimes with luck of the draw you end up racing Matt Hagan and (crew chief) Dickie Venables first round and that is just how it goes. You know when you pull up to the line they are going to swing at it, so we had to swing right back, and we did. It was a great run. The NAPA guys and (my crew chief) Rahn Tobler did a great job getting our car ready. Our run would have beaten just about any other car in that round with us running third-lowest E.T. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t the run we needed today. We have shown as a team that we can run with the best, and I’m really looking forward to getting back here in three weeks.”
Driver of the Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye
Qualified: No. 13 (4.275 E.T. at 283.73 MPH)
E1: 3.931 E.T. at 321.58 MPH defeated Ron Capps 3.967 E.T. at 324.59 MPH
E2: 3.949 E.T. at 323.81 MPH defeated J.R. Todd 4.028 E.T. at 317.19 MPH
E3: 3.946 E.T. at 324.36 MPH defeated Bob Tasca III 4.010 E.T. at 320.13 MPH
E4: Rescheduled for the NHRA U.S. Nationals
Matt Hagan’s dominance of the Funny Car category continued on Sunday at the NHRA Summernationals at Indianapolis. While last week’s race winner struggled to get his footing during Saturday’s two rounds of qualifying, Hagan and the Mopar team came back with a vengeance on race day. Hagan’s deep run through the Funny Car field began with a monster match-up with fellow DSR Dodge pilot Ron Capps in the opening session. Crew chief Dickie Venables knew the NAPA team was going to come out swinging in E1, so he turned up the wick and tuned Hagan to a stout 3.931 to upset the higher-qualified Capps. Hagan, a two-time world champion, faced another heavy-hitter in former world champion J.R. Todd in the quarterfinals. Once again, Hagan’s Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye-themed machine was red-hot. Hagan crossed the finish line in 3.949 seconds to defeat Todd’s 4.028-second pass.
In the semifinals, Hagan appeared to be unstoppable. He powered his Hellcat to its third consecutive sub-four second run to claim the round win against No. 1 qualifier Bob Tasca III and earn a bid to the final round for the second consecutive week. After clocking low E.T. during all three elimination rounds on Sunday, Hagan looks prime to repeat last week’s winning performance when the final round of the NHRA Summernationals is contested during the NHRA U.S. Nationals.
“We were on a roll today coming off the win last weekend. We have a beautiful car with the red chrome Hellcat Redeye. It’s definitely one of my favorites in the 12 or 13 years I’ve been with DSR. I’d love nothing more than to put it in the winner’s circle for Dodge and Mopar and then the rain rolled in. You never know what will happen with the weather and I’m glad we have lane choice, but Jack’s (Beckman) car is really good. That’s a strong team. All of the DSR cars are. We’re ready to go. No matter if we race tomorrow or in three weeks, I have all the confidence in Dickie Venables and this team.”
TOMMY JOHNSON JR.
Driver of the MD Anderson Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
Qualified: No. 2 (4.017 E.T. at 300.86 MPH)
E1: 4.123 E.T. at 278.06 MPH defeated Bob Bode 4.275 E.T. at 235.31 MPH
E2: 3.979 E.T. at 317.57 MPH defeated Cruz Pedregon 5.902 E.T. at 118.04 MPH
E3: 4.027 E.T. at 309.56 MPH defeated by Jack Beckman 3.969 E.T. at 321.65 MPH
Fresh off a runner-up finish from the pole at last weekend’s Indianapolis event, Tommy Johnson Jr. looked prime for another long race day of going rounds. He started Sunday morning from the No. 2 position on the ladder, and his strong showing in qualifying moved him temporarily into the Funny Car point lead ahead of teammate Jack Beckman.
Johnson began his elimination run by defeating Bob Bode in the first round and powering the MD Anderson Dodge to the second-quickest pass of round two to trailer Cruz Pedregon. The semifinal round featured a DSR ‘giving car’ match-up with Johnson set to square off against Beckman. Johnson was out of the gate first and made a solid pass, but his 4.027 couldn’t keep up with Beckman’s 3.969 E.T. By taking the round win, Beckman moved back into the Funny Car point lead with Johnson, the 2020 Phoenix winner, now occupying second place.
“It was another good weekend for this MD Anderson Dodge team and we’re just keeping our momentum going. Another solid qualifying effort and some more round wins. We just didn’t have enough in the semis against (Jack) Beckman, but I’m very happy with how our team is performing. (Matt) Hagan’s car is running great and it’s shaping up as a three-way DSR Funny Car battle for the championship and I’m glad we’re a part of it. It’s fun. We’re getting quite a bit of data for racing here and in hot, humid conditions, and that will continue to benefit us during these summer months. We get a few weekends off and the team needs that before we get to go after that Wally trophy here at Indy in three weeks. “
Factory Stock Showdown Series:
Driver of the Empaco Equipment Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak
Qualified: No. 12 (8.078 E.T. at 170.28 MPH)
E1: 8.135 E.T. at 169.85 MPH defeated by Arthur Kohn 8.057 E.T. at 170.88 MPH
Mark Pawuk debuted a new look on his Empaco Equipment Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak at the first Factory Stock Showdown Series event of 2020. He showed off the new livery by qualifying twelfth out of a stacked 24-car field. Pawuk faced Arthur Kohn in round one and was quick on the tree but his 8.135 E.T. wasn’t enough to outrun his opponent’s 8.057-second pass.
“It’s great to be back behind the wheel of our Empaco Challenger Drag Pak this weekend here at Indy. We qualified in a very tough field. We left well, but unfortunately we’re struggling to keep up. We’re going to keep working hard to find a way to create more power and see what we can do to be more competitive. It was awesome to see fans in the stands with everything going on with COVID. It’s nice to be out at the track and I can’t wait to make more laps at Atlanta and Indy in late August.”
Driver of the Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak
Qualified: No. 16 (8.146 E.T. at 168.32 MPH)
E1: 8.200 E.T. at 168.07 MPH defeated by Chris Holbrook 7.980 E.T. at 174.55 MPH
Leah Pruett pulled ‘double duty’ for the first time in 2020, campaigning a pair of Mopar machines in Top Fuel and Factory Stock Showdown competition. She qualified her Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak sixteenth with her second qualifying effort and faced the No. 1 qualifier in round one of eliminations. Against Chris Holbrook, Pruett clocked a 8.200 E.T. and was outpaced by her opponent who ran the second-quickest E.T. of the session.
“No matter what category you’re in, one day of qualifying with just two hits is a challenge. We got our two Drag Paks qualified and we had to race the No. 1 qualifier (Chris) Holbrook. We tuned for the changing air and weather conditions. The package that we currently have is making it challenging to turn on win lights. We’re working very hard to change that, but in the interim, we’re doing the best job with what we can. The result is that win lights will be hard to find. This is a very different class than Top Fuel where we can see the progression from run to run. This particular class, progression happens on the dyno, at the shop, in making laps and with rule changes. We know that we don’t have an upper hand and it speaks a lot for Dodge and Mopar and our team to be fighting this fight and it’s a difficult run. We do see the light at the end of the tunnel and we know we can achieve what we have in the past with these Drag Paks.”NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship Standings:
1. Doug Kalitta – 364
2. Leah Pruett – 269
3. Billy Torrence – 242
4. Steve Torrence – 232
5. Justin Ashley – 231/251*
6. Antron Brown – 230
7. Shawn Langdon – 183
7. Clay Millican – 183
9. Terry McMillen – 177
10. Brittany Force – 153
1. Jack Beckman – 372/392*
2. Tommy Johnson Jr. – 355
3. Matt Hagan – 329/349*
4. Tim Wilkerson – 239
5. Bob Tasca III – 230
6. Ron Capps – 196
6. J.R. Todd – 196
8. Alexis DeJoria – 186
9. John Force – 173
10. Cruz Pedregon – 149
*Denotes potential point total based on winning the to-be-contested Indy 2 final round.
ABOUT DON SCHUMACHER RACING
Established in 1998 as a single-car Top Fuel team, Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) has grown to become the winningest organization in NHRA Drag Racing history. Including team owner Don Schumacher’s five NHRA Funny Car titles from the 1970s, DSR’s current win count stands at 347, and DSR is looking forward to reaching the ‘350 milestone’ early in the 2020 season. DSR owns 17 world championships in three different NHRA categories.
Headquartered in Brownsburg, Indiana, DSR currently fields eight professional teams competing in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. In Top Fuel, the Matco Tools/Global Electronic Technology/Toyota dragster driven by three-time world champion Antron Brown, the Nordic Boats/Revchem Composites/Hawkeye Industries dragster driven by Cory McClenathan, the Mopar/Pennzoil/Okuma dragster driven by Leah Pruett, and the Global Electronic Technology machine driven by eight-time world champion Tony Schumacher. 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 two-time series title-holder Matt Hagan, and in 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 MD Anderson Dodge.
DSR also campaigns two Factory Stock Showdown entries. The duo is piloted by Pruett, the 2018 Factory Stock Showdown Series champion, and former Pro Stock racer Mark Pawuk.
Photo Credit: Auto Imagery via Don Schumacher Racing