News Ticker

DSR Pre-Race Report: Dallas NHRA FallNationals

Share

DSR 18NHRA Dallas Pre-Race Report

AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals
Event No. 9
Texas Motorplex – Ennis, Texas
October 16-18, 2020

Highlights:

  • Austin, Texas resident Tony Schumacher was recently named a Texas Motorplex Legend, and will be recognized for his accomplishments during the opening ceremonies of the 35th annual AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals on Sunday morning
    With six Texas Motorplex triumphs, Schumacher is the winningest Top Fuel driver in the history of the facility. Schumacher claimed his first NHRA national event win in 1999 at Dallas and went on to win his first of eight championships that year
    Schumacher is the second recipient of the award. Schumacher’s teammate Cory McClenathan, who recently returned to race with DSR for a four-event summer stint, was the first to receive the Texas Motorplex honors in 2019
  • DSR will be looking to secure its 12th consecutive Funny Car victory this weekend. The undefeated streak first began an entire year ago, dating back to the 2019 Dallas event when Matt Hagan raced to the FallNationals winner’s circle
    Each of DSR’s four Funny Car pilots have contributed at least two Wally trophies to the string of 11 wins. DSR previously set the consecutive win record in a single class at 10 races during the 2017 season with the same driver lineup
  • In addition to keeping the win streak alive, the DSR Funny Car contingent will also be battling it out for the point lead. Currently, Hagan occupies the No. 1 spot, with Jack Beckman, Tommy Johnson Jr. and Ron Capps rounding out the top four, respectively
    34 points (less than two elimination rounds) separate Hagan, Beckman and Johnson
    In the first eight races of the season, DSR drivers have gone head-to-head four times in the final round
  • Johnson enters the weekend as the most recent Funny Car winner on tour, and will be looking to pick up his third win of 2020 and first at Texas Motorplex
  • In Top Fuel, Leah Pruett leads the DSR dragster trio. Pruett currently sits third in the championship standings
  • For the fifth time this season, Pruett will have the opportunity to bring home two trophies as she will pull double-duty by competing in both Top Fuel and the Factory Stock Showdown Series alongside her teammate and St. Louis No. 1 qualifier, Mark Pawuk
    Pawuk occupies the No. 2 spot in the FSS championship rankings

DSR Driver Information:

Top Fuel:

ANTRON BROWNANTRON BROWN
Driver of the Matco Tools ‘Tools for the Cause’/Global Electronic Technology/Toyota Top Fuel Dragster

Dallas Event Highlights:
Two-time event champion (2012, 2016)
2016 No. 1 qualifier

2019 Dallas Recap:
Qualified eighth; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Richie Crampton in E1; defeated by Brittany Force in E2)

Last Event (St. Louis):
Qualified third; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Justin Ashley in E1; defeated by Steve Torrence in E2)

2020 Statistics:
Eight round wins; ranked seventh in points

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

Noteworthy:

  • Brown claimed his first NHRA national event win in 1999 at the Texas Motorplex while competing in the Pro Stock Motorcycle category
    The event win occurred at the discontinued 1999 Dallas I event

Quotable:
“Dallas has always been a great track for me. I remember back in 1999 when it all started for me, it was my first professional NHRA win. And I remember also helping to ‘seal the deal’ in a couple of my Top Fuel championships there by winning that race and getting one of those famous cowboy hats.

“Going into Dallas we’re going to keep our heads down, stay on the grind, and put our best foot forward. We’re going to try and continue to qualify in the ‘top three’ of the field and take it one round at a time. We’ll work hard, see what we can do and give it all we’ve got.”

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

2019 Dallas Recap:
Qualified second; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Kebin Kinsley in E1; defeated by Austin Prock in E2)

Last Event (St. Louis):
Qualified ninth; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Pat Dakin in E1; defeated by Tony Schumacher in E2)

2020 Season Statistics:
14 round wins; ranked third in points

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

Noteworthy:

  • Sits third in the Top Fuel point standings
  • Will compete in two different classes – Top Fuel and the Factory Stock Showdown Series – for the fifth time this season

Quotable:
“Busy week for all since the St. Louis incident. The team has been working diligently on preparing our spare car that Tony (Schumacher) had just gained possession of before Gainesville, and they’re getting a strong handle on it. Our spare has a fresh front-half on it now and we are not letting the ‘chassis roulette’ effect our championship hunt. Our eyes and focus are forward to Dallas and maintaining our strategy of qualifying well for the best Sunday result. I personally have been approaching a full recovery and am very much looking forward to getting back behind the wheel of both my Redeye Top Fueler and Dodge Drag Pak.”

TONY SCHUMACHERTONY SCHUMACHER
Driver of the Okuma/Sandvik Coromant
Toyota Top Fuel Dragster

Dallas Event Highlights:
Six-time event champion (1999, 2004, 2005, 2009, 2010, 2014)
2008 runner-up
Three-time No. 1 qualifier (2003, 2006, 2011)

2019 Dallas Recap:
DNS

Last Event (St. Louis):
Qualified No. 1; Semifinal finish (defeated Kebin Kinsley in E1, Leah Pruett in E2; defeated by Doug Kalitta in E3)

Career Statistics:
509 races; 84 wins; 88 No. 1 qualifiers

Noteworthy:

  • A native of Chicago, Schumacher now resides in Austin, Texas
  • Schumacher was recently named a Texas Motorplex Legend, and will be recognized during the opening ceremonies of the 35th annual AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals on Sunday morning
  • With six Texas Motorplex triumphs, Schumacher is the winningest Top Fuel driver in the history of the facility. He claimed his first national event win in 1999 at Dallas

Quotable:
“I had been in nine final rounds before my first win, which was against Scott Kalitta at Texas Motorplex in 1999. It came at a time that was so important because there were several drivers back in ‘99 that could’ve left that race with the points lead and I was one of them. Our team hadn’t won a race in our career and I was leading the points for the championship. For weeks, I kept hearing people say, ‘Is Tony gonna be the second driver in history to win a championship without winning a race?’ Earlier that season we reset the speed record (332.23 mph) in Phoenix, we had been to so many final rounds, we were always just a little ahead of everyone else. So many things were aligning that year. It was Gary Scelzi, Joe Amato, Kenny Bernstein, Doug Herbert, Mike Dunn, all the big heavy-hitters behind us waiting for us to make a mistake. And then finally, finally, we broke through for our very first win while racing in Dallas, and then went on to win my first Top Fuel championship that year. We won that race five more times after that, and actually in 2014, won the rescheduled Charlotte final in Dallas and then won the race that weekend, too. We took over the points lead and never looked back and I went on to claim my eighth championship. So, that facility has really been one where there has been monumental weight on me to perform well, and it has played a crucial part in my racing career.”

On being named the 2020 Texas Motorplex Legend:
“I have won Driver of the Year and AARBA awards during my so called ‘reign of terror.’ We won a lot of races and accolades but now to be recognized by a place like the Texas Motorplex means a lot. It is where I won my first race. I have won a lot of races there. It really means the most because I live in Austin, Texas and it is the closest track to my home now. It was a track that I raced Super Comp when I was coming up. There are only a few out there that you showed up for as a young kid from Chicago. The Texas Motorplex was one of those tracks. Billy Meyer built a track that everyone had to see.”

Funny Car:

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

Dallas Event Highlights:
Two-time runner-up (2009, 2015)

2019 Dallas Recap:
Qualified 12th; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Ron Capps in E1; defeated by Bob Tasca III in E2)

Last Event (St. Louis):
Qualified fifth; Semifinal finish (defeated Blake Alexander in E1, Daniel Wilkerson in E2; defeated by Tommy Johnson Jr. in E3)

2020 Season Statistics:
Two event wins; 18 round wins; ranked second in points

Career Statistics:
332 races; 32 wins; 27 No. 1 qualifiers

Noteworthy:
No. 2 ranked-Beckman has two wins in four final rounds in 2020. He sits 16 points out of first. Beckman previously maintained the No. 1 ranking during six of the first eight races, and has never dropped below second

Quotable:
“This year marks the 35th year of the Texas Motorplex, and let me tell you, I was there for ‘year one.’ I drove a thousand-mile round trip with a buddy of mine from the Air Force to be at the 1986 Nationals, and it was breathtaking. Texas Motorplex is a state-of-the-art facility and there was nothing like it at the time. It still makes the hair on my arms stand up just thinking about it. I’ve had so many awesome experiences at Dallas over the years. What I have not had, is a winner’s circle, and we fully intend to fix that this year.”

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

Dallas Event Highlights:
Three-time runner-up (2011, 2016-2017)
Two-time No. 1 qualifier (1997, 2005)

2019 Dallas Recap:
Qualified fifth; First round exit (defeated by Jack Beckman in E1)

Last Event (St. Louis):
Qualified 14th; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Cruz Pedregon in E1; defeated by Matt Hagan in E2)

2020 Season Statistics:
Two event wins; 13 round wins; ranked fourth in points

Career Statistics:
563 races; 66 wins (one Top Fuel); 24 No. 1 qualifiers

Noteworthy:

  • Capps was successful in picking up a Texas Motorplex win in 1998 at the discontinued Dallas 1 event, but is still searching for his first FallNationals victory

Quotable:
“I have to be honest, every time we’re talking about these upcoming races, I think some of us are taking this for granted. It was only a few months ago that we were all wondering what was going to go on with the NHRA season, and while it’s been a crazy year, we obviously hoped that we were going to see some of these race tracks back on our schedule. Props to NHRA for keeping us out racing. I’m always excited to go to Dallas and visit Billy Meyer’s Texas Motorplex. Billy is an old Funny Car driver and I always thought the world of him, especially when he built the ‘super track’ back in the day. It’s a great race track, the fans are unbelievable there. It’s great for our sport to get back there. 2020 has been weird, but look how it’s blossomed into having Camping World come on board, and the fact that I get to strap into the NAPA AUTO PARTS Funny Car a few more times this year is awesome. We’re pumped to get to Dallas and try and move our way back up into the point standings and see if we can run for the championship this year.”

MATT HAGANMATT HAGAN
Driver of the Pennzoil Synthetics Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

Dallas Event Highlights:
Three-time event champion (2010, 2016, 2019)
2012 runner-up

2019 Dallas Recap:
Qualified sixth; Event champion (defeated Blake Alexander in E1, J.R. Todd in E2, Robert Hight in E3, Bob Tasca III in E4)

Last Event (St. Louis):
Qualified sixth; Event runner-up (defeated Bob Bode in E1, Ron Capps in E2, Alexis DeJoria in E3; defeated by Tommy Johnson Jr. in E4)

2020 Season Statistics:
Two event wins; 18 round wins; ranked No. 1 in points

Career Statistics:
272 races; 35 wins; 39 No. 1 qualifiers

Noteworthy:

  • As the Funny Car point leader, Hagan has two wins in three final rounds in 2020. He raced to a runner-up finish during the previous event in St. Louis

Quotable:
“Rolling into Dallas as the new point leader, obviously there’s pressure all year long but now it’s time to make sure we keep that lead. We made up so much ground these last few races and were able to take the No. 1 spot from Jack Beckman. The points are still super tight though, and at the end of the day, Dallas is another race. Our car has been running really well all season long and (crew chief) Dickie Venables has a great handle on the tune-up. Going to a new track, new conditions, only two qualifying sessions, you just never know, but we’ll take it one round at a time. We’re running the Pennzoil scheme for the first time this year and it’s exciting to show them some new love, especially in their home state of Texas. We’re looking forward to doing big things, we’re blessed to do what we do, and I’m really proud of my team. Going to go out here and have some fun.”

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

Dallas Event Highlights:
1999 runner-up
2018 No. 1 qualifier

2019 Dallas Recap:
Qualified ninth; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Paul Lee in E1; defeated by John Force in E2)

Last Event (St. Louis):
Qualified eighth; Event champion (defeated Terry Haddock in E1, Paul Lee in E2, Jack Beckman in E3, Matt Hagan in E4)

2020 Season Statistics:
Two event wins; 16 round wins; ranked third in points

Career Statistics:
477 races; 20 wins (two Top Fuel); 21 No. 1 qualifiers (one Top Fuel)

Noteworthy:

  • Johnson enters the weekend as the most recent Funny Car winner on tour, and will be looking to pick up his third win of 2020 and first at Texas Motorplex
  • Johnson currently sits 34 points out of first

Quotable:
“Looking forward to Dallas, especially with the momentum coming off of the win at our last race in St. Louis. It’s getting down to crunch time, only three races left.

“Texas Motorplex is such a historic track. I’ve been going there for years, and there are quite a few sentimental memories there. This year, with the limited NHRA schedule, we weren’t sure what would end up back on our schedule, but I’m certainly happy we’re able to go to the Motorplex, the original all-concrete track. The conditions should be good for everybody. It’ll be interesting, we’ve had extreme heat followed by extreme cold at the last two races, so maybe we’ll meet somewhere in the middle this weekend. Our MD Anderson team needs to go rounds and we would love nothing more than to win it this weekend; that would help our cause a lot. Not only are we battling everyone else for the race win, but we’re battling our teammates for the points. It’s going to come down to the wire, but I’m looking forward to building off of the momentum we’ve got.”

Factory Stock Showdown Series:

MARK PAWUKMARK PAWUK
Driver of the Empaco Equipment Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak

2019 Dallas Recap:
Qualified ninth; Semifinal finish (defeated Doug Doll Jr. in E1, Arthur Kohn in E2; defeated by Chris Holbrook in E3)

Last Completed Event (Gainesville):
Qualified tenth; Quarterfinal finish (defeated David Kramer in E1; defeated by Stephen Bell in E2)

Last Event (St. Louis):
Qualified No. 1; Eliminations to be contested at upcoming Houston event

FSS Career Statistics:
17 races; three runner-ups; three No. 1 qualifiers
*includes St. Louis

Noteworthy:

  • Pawuk blasted to the top of Factory Stock Showdown field, earning the pole position in St. Louis. Weather conditions caused NHRA to postpone the Midwest Nationals elimination rounds to the upcoming Houston event.
  • Pawuk occupies the No. 2 spot in the FSS championship rankings

Quotable:
“As we start back-to-back-to-back races with our first stop in Dallas and then onto Houston and Vegas, our team has been making sure we have all of the necessary parts and pieces we need to get our Empaco Equipment Dodge Challenger Drag Pak through this three-race swing. We ran very well in St. Louis, qualifying No. 1. At Dallas this weekend, the temperatures are looking cool on Friday night when we run Q1 which is definitely an advantage for our Drag Paks with the 2.9 Whipple blowers that we have on them. I’m looking forward to both myself and Leah Pruett qualifying well and going rounds on race day. Last year at Dallas I made it to the semifinals and was narrowly defeated in the semis and Leah went onto the final. Would love to have a rematch of last year at Dallas, and for Leah, I’m glad she’s doing okay after the horrific Top Fuel crash she had in St. Louis. Looking forward to the Empaco Equipment/Ohio CAT/Mr. Heater Dodge continuing to run fast and go rounds on race day.”

LEAH PRUETTLEAH PRUETT
Driver of the Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak

Dallas Event Highlights:
2018 event champion

2019 Dallas Recap:
Qualified second; Event runner-up (defeated David Barton in E1, David Janac in E2, Randy Taylor in E3; defeated by Chris Holbrook in E4)

Last Completed Event (Gainesville):
Qualified 12th; First round exit (defeated by Arthur Kohn in E1)

Last Event (St. Louis):
Qualified seventh; Eliminations to be contested at upcoming Houston event

FSS Career Statistics:
21 races; three wins; one runner-up; two No. 1 qualifiers
*includes St. Louis

Quotable:
On preparing to run Factory Stock E1 at the previous event:
“I was way good to go (following the St. Louis Top Fuel crash). I was very truthful with the doctor if I felt anything because I don’t wanna jeopardize myself big picture if something was wrong and just lie so I could race in my Dodge Drag Pak. I just really felt fine, went to the factory car, got suited up, and drove that car to the lanes. I told them, ‘I put on my big-girl panties today and I came to race’ but if the other drivers didn’t want to race, I told them that I support that. I even wanted the lane I’d just crashed in because I wanted to slay this dragon immediately and expedite the road to recovery.”

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 353, and DSR is one of a very small handful of teams in the motorsports industry to surpass the 350 milestone. DSR owns 17 world championships in three different NHRA categories.

Headquartered in Brownsburg, Indiana, DSR currently fields eight professional teams competing in the NHRA Camping World 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 dragster driven by Leah Pruett, and the Okuma/Sandvik Coromant 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.

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

Share