Beckman Takes Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT
Hellcat to No.1 in Qualifying at “Mopar Express Lane
NHRA SpringNationals Presented by Pennzoil”
- Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) driver Jack Beckman drove his Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car to his first No.1 qualifier position of the 2020 season at the Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals Presented by Pennzoil near Houston
- DSR Funny Car drivers are 1-2-3-4 in the standings and locked in a tight battle for the crown with just eight rounds of eliminations left in the 2020 season
- Opening round of Sunday’s Mopar Express Lane SpringNationals will have important championship implications for Beckman and DSR teammate Ron Capps as they will face-off against each other
- Funny Car points leader Matt Hagan heads into eliminations as No. 2 qualifier aboard his Pennzoil Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat at Houston Raceway Park
- Leah Pruett will start from No. 6 position in her black and yellow Pennzoil Top Fuel dragster
- Mopar Drag Pak of Mark Pawuk qualifies No.2 for Factory Stock Showdown
Baytown, Texas (October 25, 2020) – Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) pilot Jack Beckman drove his Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car to his first No. 1 qualifier position of the 2020 National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Drag Racing Series season at the Mopar Express Lane SpringNationals Presented by Pennzoil held at Houston Raceway Park.
Beckman dislodged teammate Matt Hagan and his Pennzoil Synthetics Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat from the provisional top spot on the Funny Car timing sheets with a 3.884-second elapsed time run at 328.14 mph to earn his 28th career No.1 qualifier position. It also provided Beckman with bonus points to keep him within three markers of the championship lead in second place as they head into the penultimate national event elimination battle of the season.
With just eight rounds of eliminations left in the 2020 NHRA season, the DSR Funny Car drivers are 1-2-3-4 in the standings with Hagan, Beckman, Tommy Johnson Jr. and Ron Capps respectively locked in a savage battle for the championship title. Beckman and Hagan have been trading places atop the standings multiple times over the last two months with Johnson and Capps close behind. The DSR stable is also chasing a win to extend their record streak of 12 consecutive victories that began in October of last year.
The first round of Sunday’s Mopar Express Lane SpringNationals will have important championship implications for Beckman and Capps. The two will meet in the opening round after Capps had two unsuccessful attempts to put in a clean qualifying pass that left him 16th on the ladder. With Capps sitting fourth in the standings, upsetting the No. 1 qualifier could provide the driver of the Pennzoil/NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat the chance to advance and fight for his fifth win at the venue and remain in championship contention. A round win by Beckman would eliminate Capps and set him on course to add to his category-leading three wins in nine events.
Hagan, for his part, also added three bonus points to his championship total with the quickest run of the first session posting a 3.907 sec./327.74 mph pass and heads into Sunday as No. 2 qualifier and points leader with two wins. He’ll line up his yellow and black Pennzoil and Mopar Express Lane paint-schemed Hellcat against Dave Richards in the first round.
Third in the Funny Car standings, Tommy Johnson Jr. earned a bonus point aboard his MD Anderson Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat for setting the third quickest lap of Q2 with a 3.973 sec./ 317.94 mph pass. He’ll be matched with Jim Campbell for the opening round.
From her third place spot in the Top Fuel standings, Leah Pruett is looking to keep her black and yellow Pennzoil dragster in championship contention after qualifying in the top half of the eliminations ladder. She posted the sixth quickest elapsed time run with a solid second lap of 3.767 seconds at 324.20 mph to give her lane choice over 11th seed Lee Callaway to start the day.
Earlier this month at the Mopar Express Lane NHRA Midwest Nationals near St. Louis, weather conditions delayed and shortened Factory Stock Showdown (FSS) qualifying, then ultimately forced the cancelation of elimination rounds. The NHRA opted to carry-over the showdown to this weekend with the addition of two qualifying session at Houston Raceway Park. While Mark Pawuk and his Empaco Equipment Mopar Drag Pak came into this event as the provisional No.1 qualifier, he just missed holding onto it but still put in two solid laps with 7.840 sec. and 7.865 sec.
Pawuk, who currently sits second in the FSS championship behind Aaron Stanfield, will start from the No. 2 position on the eliminations ladder with the 7.814 se. /175.48 mph run posted in Q1 (St. Louis) and will face-off against Lindsay Wheelock.
Pawuk’s DSR Mopar Drag Pak teammate Pruett, will also take her place on the eliminations ladder based on the 7.955 sec./172.32 mph qualifying time set at St. Louis which put her No.11 with a first round match-up with John Cerbone.
NHRA elimination rounds at the Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals Presented by Pennzoil will begin at 10 a.m. local time on Sunday, Oct. 25, with the television broadcast on FS1 beginning at 2 p.m. Eastern featuring live coverage of the final rounds.
ADDITIONAL NOTES and QUOTES:
Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 1 Qualifier – 3.884 seconds at 328.14 mph)
Qualifying 1: 4.093 sec./ 242.58 mph
Qualifying 2: 3.884 sec./ 328.14 mph
“If we beat four people tomorrow, they’ll hand us another trophy. I didn’t ever think, with 17 cars here, that (Ron) Capps would be the No. 16 qualifier. I’m going to have to go talk to those guys and see if they’ll block for us tomorrow. I don’t think (Rahn) Tobler and Ron (Capps) will have anything to do with that. I’m happy. We knew we are going to have to earn this. I’d rather take it from the No. 1 spot because Matt (Hagan) had a four point lead coming in. He stretched that out Q1 and now we tighten that back up a little bit. The streak of the Don Schumacher (Racing) cars is awesome, but it’s also ulcer inducing because it’s always one of our cars next to us when we go to the late rounds. Four win lights tomorrow is what we need.”
Matt Hagan, Pennzoil Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 2 Qualifier – 3.907 seconds at 327.74 mph)
Qualifying 1: 3.907 sec./327.74 mph
Qualifying 2: 7.053 sec./92.91 mph
“We’re going to race our race tomorrow. It will be what it will be and the cards will fall the way they fall. We were still pressing to go out and run good in Q2. I think the left lane is a little worse than the right (lane) and you want to have lane choice tomorrow. I’ll try to be shallow and it seems like a lot of reaction times are off during qualifying and mine seem ok so I’ll try to continue that tomorrow on Sunday and keep lane choice and try to have a long day tomorrow. We’re here in Pennzoil country and we want to sell Pennzoil oil and Shell gas and do well for those who support us.”
Tommy Johnson Jr., MD Anderson Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 6 Qualifier – 3.973 seconds at 317.94 mph)
Qualifying 1: 3.973 sec./ 317.94 mph
Qualifying 2: 3.986 sec./ 320.13 mph
“We’d like a bit more out of these qualifying runs, especially that second lap, but again at the same time we have good, solid, consistent car. It’s been very consistent making full runs in both lanes. Rarely do we see a track where lane choice may be critical, but I think tomorrow, when it’s going to be warmer, it might be critical. There’s definitely a favorite lane here. We have to keep the performance up, keep lane choice, put up four consistent runs and go to the winner’s circle and stay in this championship hunt.”
Ron Capps, Pennzoil NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 16 Qualifier – 5.295 seconds at 136.44 mph)
Qualifying 1: 5.295 sec./ 136.44 mph
Qualifying 2: 8.463 sec./ 79.20 mph
“I wasn’t aware that we were 16th until (FOX reporter) Amanda Busick told me at the end of the track. You know, it’s so difficult with just two qualifying runs. We need to try some things with some new parts we had built at our DSR shop and there’s really no time to do that on Sunday, so we have to try to implement those when we can during qualifying. I’m always confident we can win from any position. Unfortunately, we have to race a teammate first round in Jack Beckman. At this point, teammates don’t matter on Sunday morning as everybody is still fighting for a championship. I never would want to run our NAPA/Pennzoil car in the first place. Tonight, Rahn Tobler is going to work on getting the car back to what he’s comfortable with and we’ll go up there and run the best we think we can run down that lane and if they beat us, they beat us. Hopefully we’ll turn the win light on and try to do that a few more times on Sunday and try to get a win.”
Leah Pruett, Pennzoil Mopar Top Fuel Dragster
(No. 6 Qualifier – 3.767 seconds at 324.20 mph)
Qualifying 1: 5.136 sec./ 132.78 mph
Qualifying 2: 3.767 sec./ 324.20 mph
“I love living the truth and showing that the ‘Proof is in the Pennzoil’ and coming to the Pennzoil proving grounds and displaying the most intense, fastest accelerating vehicles in the world. We finished qualifying strong with a good Q2 lap. We had some software issues and driver issues on Q1. It’s always good when the car and team are on together. If they’re ever going to be off, it helps when they’re off together. We moved on and were first out in Q2 and laid down a very solid number at 3.76 to put us solidly in the field. We like what the outlook looks like for Sunday. But it is one run at a time and it’s so cool to see all the Shell employees that are here and it’s great for us to get to show off a great product. We feel good about eliminations. We felt like our momentum in Dallas got halted a little, but we were able to find and resolve the issue and that’s the key for this weekend and we’re very excited for our potential success.”
Mark Pawuk, Empaco Equipment Mopar Drag Pak– Factory Stock Shootout
(No. 2 Qualifier – 7.814 seconds at 175.48 mph)
Qualifying 1: (in St. Louis): 7.814 seconds /175.48 mph
Qualifying 2: 7.840 sec./174.41 mph
Qualifying 3: 7.865 sec./173.03 mph
“There’s been a bunch of cars running in the low to mid (7.)80s this weekend. We lost the No. 1 spot from St. Louis by three thou (thousandth of-a-second), but we ended up No. 2. Not too bad going into tomorrow. We need to keep going rounds and stay No. 2 in the points. If the driver does his job and the car stays consistent, anything can happen. I set the Pro Stock record here in 1990 and won my first NHRA Pro Stock Wally here at Baytown in ’92. Let’s hope some of that good luck carries over to tomorrow.”
Leah Pruett, Mopar Dodge Challenger Mopar Drag Pak – Factory Stock Shootout
(No. 11 Qualifier – 7.955 seconds at 172.32 mph)
Qualifying 1: (St. Louis): 7.955 seconds at 172.32 mph)
Qualifying 2: 7.960 sec./167.61 mph
Qualifying 3: 7.978 sec./170.19 mph
“There was a little bit of strategy going into this very eclectic race. Having a quick time of 7.95 that put us into the field and knowing the car count allowed us to try some things and we did that. Sometimes you find some beneficial things and other times you realize that wasn’t the right move. It’s very rare that you have availability to do that during qualifying and we were able to do that. There was one thing we missed during the week because of a shipping error that did not allow for a part to arrive and that was something else we wanted to try here at Houston. We got a good solid second lap and that sets us up for some hard eliminations tomorrow. We’re counting down the days of ‘El Bandito’ in the Factory Stock (Showdown) competition and I can’t wait to give it everything we got as we prepare for the next chapter of the Drag Pak in 2021.”NHRA Championship Points Standings:
(Following qualifying at the Mopar Express Lane
SpringNationals Presented by Pennzoil)
FUNNY CAR (season wins in parentheses)
1. Matt Hagan (Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat) – 802 (2)
2. Jack Beckman (Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat) – 799 (3)
3. Tommy Johnson Jr. (Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat) – 720 (2)
4. Ron Capps (Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat) – 619 (2)
5. Bob Tasca III – 575
5. Tim Wilkerson – 570
7. J.R. Todd – 564
8. Alexis DeJoria – 449
9. Paul Lee – 382
10. Cruz Pedregon – 368
TOP FUEL (season wins in parentheses)
1. Steve Torrance – 808 (4)
2. Doug Kalitta – 747 (1)
3. Leah Pruett (Mopar Dodge//SRT) – 650
4. Billy Torrance – 635 (1)
5. Shawn Langdon – 524 (1)
6. Antron Brown – 494
7. Justin Ashley – 485 (1)
8. Terry McMillen – 436
9. Clay Millican – 414
10. Tony Schumacher – 335
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