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Don Schumacher Racing Pre-Race Report: Indy 3

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DSR 18Indy 3 Pre-Race Report

Dodge NHRA Indy Nationals presented by Pennzoil
Event No. 5
Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis
August 8-9, 2020

Highlights:

  • NHRA’s winningest team is approaching 350 victories (currently at 348), and by campaigning cars in two different categories (Top Fuel and Funny Car), achieving that milestone is within reach this weekend
  • At the most recent event (Indy 2), Jack Beckman and Matt Hagan advanced to the Funny Car final round before the race was postponed due to rain. Had the finals run on schedule, DSR would have been ensured a seventh consecutive Funny Car Wally trophy and win No. 349. The finals are rescheduled for the NHRA U.S. Nationals during Labor Day weekend.
  • From his Indy 1 victory, Hagan enters the weekend as the most recent Funny Car race winner, and is looking for his second consecutive Indianapolis victory; he is a two-time No. 1 qualifier in 2020
  • Beckman, the current Funny Car point leader, is looking for his second triumph in 2020 after having raced to the Pomona win, and a runner-up finish in Phoenix. He has been to the final round in three out of the first four events of 2020
  • Tommy Johnson Jr. is seeking his third final round appearance after finishing as the runner-up at Indy 1, and Funny Car event champion in Phoenix
  • A DSR Funny Car has won the last six completed events, dating back to October 2019, and DSR has campaigned a Funny Car in the final round for the past eight races
  • Leah Pruett enters the weekend occupying the No. 2 position on the Top Fuel leaderboard and will be focused on narrowing the gap to the points lead
  • Hometown event for DSR which is headquartered two miles away from the famed Indy dragstrip
  • Home track for Antron Brown and Johnson, who both reside in the greater Indianapolis area

DSR-Owned Track Records:
Funny Car, E.T.: 3.799 seconds, Matt Hagan (2017)
Funny Car, speed: 338.77 mph, Matt Hagan (2017)

DSR Driver Information:

Top Fuel:
ANTRON BROWNANTRON BROWN
Driver of the Matco Tools/Global Electronic Technology
Toyota Top Fuel Dragster

Indianapolis Highlights:

  • Three-time U.S. Nationals champion
    – Top Fuel (2011)
    – Pro Stock Motorcycle (2000, 2004)
  • Four-time No. 1 qualifier (2009, 2011-2013)

Last Event (Indy 2):
Qualified fourth; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Pat Dakin in E1; defeated by Terry McMillen in E2)

2020 Statistics:
Five round wins; ranked sixth in points

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

Noteworthy:

  • Hometown event for Brown, who resides in the greater Indianapolis area with his family

Quotable:
“It’s been great having the races in Indianapolis. Just to come back and get a chance to do what we do has been awesome. That’s all we can ask for right now. We’re grateful to be able to come back to racing. After everything that’s happened, it’s been easier on most of the teams being based here. It’s always great to be able to be with your family. And, of course, Indianapolis is the mecca of racing. To be here and see all the interest from the fans has been great. Last race, we had fans come in here from the east coast, telling us they’re here for us and showing some amazing support. That’s an incredible feeling just to know that they made the trip to see us; it’s pretty awesome.”

CORY MCCLENATHANCORY MCCLENATHAN
Driver of the Nordic Boats/Revchem Composites
Top Fuel Dragster

Indianapolis Highlights:

  • Two-time U.S. Nationals champion (1996, 1999)
  • Two-time runner-up (1997, 2010)

Last Event (Indy 2):
DNQ

Career Statistics:
34 wins; 38 No. 1 qualifiers

Noteworthy:

  • With 34 victories, McClenathan ranks ninth on the NHRA’s all-time Top Fuel wins list
  • Looking to tie legend Don Garlits’ 35 NHRA wins
  • Raced with DSR until he retired in 2010; came out of retirement to rejoin DSR last month, and is currently competing on a race-by-race basis

Quotable:
“We feel pretty confident that we got all of the bugs worked out of the car after our last outing, but we’re testing this week, just to make sure. I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to getting back out there this weekend, and I look forward to making Nordic Boats, Revchem Composites, Fatheadz, and all of our wonderful partners who have allowed us this opportunity to have another shot at it this weekend proud.”

LEAH PRUETTLEAH PRUETT
Driver of the Mopar Dodge SRT Hellcat Redeye Top Fuel Dragster

Last Event (Indy 2):
Qualified second; Semifinal finish (defeated Lex Joon in E1, Billy Torrence in E2; defeated by Justin Ashley in E3)

2020 Season Statistics:
Six round wins; ranked second in points

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

Quotable:
“I don’t care if you run at Indianapolis a hundred times a year or just once during Labor Day weekend, racing at Indy carries a certain weight and prestige. To see Dodge step up (as title sponsor) makes my heart even happier than it already is when it’s pounding hard from nitro and 11,000-horsepower. It just reinforces what a great company it is and where their values lay; with their fan base and their customers. Given the circumstances, knowing the importance it has to fans attending a race in-person or watching on TV and helping to get the series back on track, it’s great to see Dodge bring this extra level of support to the series.

On being back in the Mopar Dodge SRT Hellcat scheme:
“It’s always a highlight to be able to run a prominent Dodge banner, especially when it’s at a Dodge-sponsored event. It makes it feel like a homecoming and you want to win on your home turf. You really feel ownership and pride from the minute you arrive at the track, and especially ‘from burnout to turn out’. There is something just straight cool about rolling out with this new SRT Hellcat Redeye scheme that just epitomizes raw power.

“It’s one thing to look good and it’s another to perform well while looking that good. Those are two attributes that Dodge has cornered all of the time. I’m very happy with how we debuted the SRT Hellcat Redeye (at Indy 2) with a No. 2 qualifying spot and a semifinal finish. We’re looking to continue that momentum and take that a step further this weekend at the Dodge Indy Nationals presented by Pennzoil. This is our second shot to put this Hellcat Top Fuel dragster in the winner’s circle. It looks good in the shop, it looks good in the pit and on the track, but it won’t look any better than in the winner’s circle and that’s where our focus is at.”

Funny Car:

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

Indianapolis Highlights:

  • 2015 U.S. Nationals champion
  • Two-time No. 1 qualifier (2015, 2019)
  • Three-time runner-up (2008, 2013, 2019)

Note: Beckman advanced to the final round at Indy 2 but the event was put on hold due to inclement weather. The final round is rescheduled for the U.S. Nationals, Labor Day weekend.

Last Event (Indy 2):
Qualified sixth; Final round contender (defeated Chad Green in E1, Tim Wilkerson in E2, Tommy Johnson Jr. in E3) E4 – TBD

2020 Season Statistics:
One event win; 11 round wins; ranked first in points

Career Statistics:
328 races; 31 wins; 27 No. 1 qualifiers

Noteworthy:

  • At the most recent event (Indy 2), Beckman and his teammate Matt Hagan advanced to the Funny Car final round before the race was postponed due to rain. The finals are rescheduled for the NHRA U.S. Nationals during Labor Day weekend.
  • As the current Funny Car point leader, Beckman is looking for his second triumph in 2020 after having raced to the Pomona win, and a runner-up finish in Phoenix. He has been to the final round in three out of the first four events of 2020
  • Has maintained the Funny Car point lead since the start of the 2020 season

Quotable:
“It’s odd, I kind of feel like a cross between Batman and Bill Murray in the movie Groundhog Day. We’re going back to Indy for the third time in a row, and it’s kind of like ‘wow I’ve seen this movie before.’ And the Batman part is, I feel like because the season and schedule has changed so many times, I’ve got my bag packed, I’ve got my airline ticket, and as soon as we get that ‘go sign,’ it’s time to head to the airport and get back out there. I’m thankful that we’re racing. I’m looking forward to being able to have more fans in the stands at this race, and I’m hopeful that not only can we bag our first Indy trophy of the year – because we’re also still in line for the final of the Indy 2 race which will take place later – but that we prove that the things we’ve just sorted out with our Infinite Hero Dodge are exactly what we needed to be back at the top of the heap.”

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

Indianapolis Highlights:

  • 2017 U.S. Nationals runner-up

Last Event (Indy 2):
Qualified fourth; First round exit (defeated by Matt Hagan in E1)

2020 Season Statistics:
Three round wins; ranked sixth (tied) in points

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

Noteworthy:

  • Capps has been victorious at every track on the current NHRA tour with the exception of Indianapolis and is focused on that elusive first Lucas Oil Raceway triumph during his 26th season of nitro racing

Quotable:
“This is pretty unique to go to Indianapolis three times in a row like we are. I’m so happy that Dodge and Pennzoil stepped up to sponsor the event. We didn’t quite get our season started the way we had hoped, and we lost a little bit of ground, but we have a great race car, we just haven’t been qualifying in the right spots. Our focus this weekend is to get going on the right foot and get back up into the points where we need to be. The fact that Dodge and Pennzoil, two of our big supporters, are the title rights sponsors and the fact that NHRA has so many different categories of cars scheduled to compete this weekend, it almost feels like we’re going to the U.S. Nationals. The fans that are going to come out are really going to enjoy it. I’m looking forward to getting back and having another shot at trying to win at Indy, and I know my NAPA team is equally as excited to get back out on the race track and get back to the performance that we are used to having.”

MATT HAGANMATT HAGAN
Driver of the Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye

Indianapolis Highlights:

  • Two-time Indy champion (2016, Indy 1 2020)
  • 2018 runner-up
  • Five-time No. 1 qualifier (2010, 2013-2014, 2016-2017)

Note: Hagan advanced to the final round at Indy 2 but the event was put on hold due to inclement weather. The final round is rescheduled for the U.S. Nationals, Labor Day weekend.

Last Event (Indy 2):
Qualified 13th; Final round contender (defeated Ron Capps in E1, J.R. Todd in E2, Bob Tasca III in E3) E4 – TBD

2020 Season Statistics:
One event win; nine round wins; ranked third in points

Career Statistics:
268 races; 34 wins; 38 No. 1 qualifiers

Noteworthy:

  • At the most recent event (Indy 2), Hagan and his teammate Jack Beckman advanced to the Funny Car final round before the race was postponed due to rain. The finals are rescheduled for the NHRA U.S. Nationals during Labor Day weekend.
  • From his Indy 1 victory, Hagan enters the weekend as the most recent Funny Car race winner, and is looking for his second consecutive Indianapolis victory; he is a two-time No. 1 qualifier in 2020
  • Made his NHRA Funny Car debut at the famed Indianapolis venue during the 2008 U.S. Nationals

Quotable:
“I just can’t say enough about Dodge stepping up and sponsoring this race. It’s pretty cool to see Dodge and Mopar show their support and really stand behind what we’re out here trying to do which is put fans in the stands and race cars on the racetrack, and it has been nothing shy of amazing what the response from the fans has been to this Hellcat Redeye paint scheme. I’ve had some incredible paint schemes and so far, this has to be one of my favorites, it’s just incredible.

“The momentum that we have with this new-look SRT Hellcat Redeye body is just amazing. We’ve been carrying the momentum since the beginning of the year from the work my guys put in over the winter and kept up through the break. We started with two No. 1 qualifiers and a semifinal appearance, then added a win and another final round appearance in the last two races back. The work that my team at DSR and Mopar has put into the preparation is really paying off right now on the racetrack.”

TOMMY JOHNSON JR.TOMMY JOHNSON JR.
Driver of the MD Anderson Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

Indianapolis Highlights:

  • Two-time runner-up (2002, Indy 1 2020)
  • Three-time No. 1 qualifier (1999-2000, Indy 1 2020)

Last Event (Indy 2):
Qualified No. 2; Semifinal finish (defeated Bob Bode in E1, Cruz Pedregon in E2; defeated by Jack Beckman in E3)

2020 Season Statistics:
One event win; 10 round wins; ranked second in points

Career Statistics:
474 races; 20 wins (two Top Fuel); 19 No. 1 qualifiers (one Top Fuel)

Noteworthy:

  • Seeking his third final round appearance of the season after finishing as the runner-up at Indy 1, and Funny Car event champion in Phoenix
  • As a resident of nearby Avon, Ind., Johnson considers Indianapolis to be a hometown event

Quotable:
“I’m excited to go racing again, and it’s especially nice and convenient to be able to do so here in Indy considering I only live three miles from the race track. We had an extremely successful outing at our first two races back after the hiatus. We were runner-up at Indy 1 and went to the semifinals at Indy 2, and had it not been for a dropped cylinder both times, I think we could’ve picked up a pair of wins. When you have such a great race car like we have right now, you just want to run it as much as possible, and then on top of that, we’ve really become familiar with this track after having so many runs down it these past few weeks. (Crew chiefs) John (Collins) and Rip (Reynolds) and the guys have been working hard at the shop to figure out our issue with dropped cylinders, and if we can cure that, then all things lead to a win. It would be nice to get win No. 2 of the season and take over that points lead from our teammate. It looks like we’re pretty much going to have a three-man-race between Jack (Beckman), Matt (Hagan), and myself. I’m glad we’re in the hunt and now I just want to be at the top of it.”

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 348, and DSR is looking forward to reaching the ‘350 milestone’ early in the season. DSR owns 17 world championships in three different NHRA categories.

Headquartered in Brownsburg, Indiana, DSR currently fields six 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, and the Mopar/Pennzoil/Okuma dragster driven by Leah Pruett. 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.

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

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