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DSR Charlotte I Pre-Race Report


Charlotte I Pre-Race Report

NHRA Four-Wide Nationals
Event 6 of 24 (Charlotte I)
zMAX Dragway
Concord, N.C.
April 27-29, 2018

Noteworthy:

  • Charlotte I marks Leah Pritchett’s 100th professional event
  • Ron Capps returns as defending event champion
  • All DSR Funny Car final at the 2017 event (Capps vs. Jack Beckman)
  • Tony Schumacher enters the event tied for the Top Fuel points lead (with Steve Torrence)
  • Jack Beckman enters the event as the Funny Car points leader
  • Pritchett will pull double-duty, competing in both Top Fuel and Factory Stock Showdown


DSR Driver Information:

Top Fuel:

ANTRON BROWN
Driver of the Matco Tools/U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster

NHRA Charlotte I Highlights:
  • Two-time event winner (2014, 2015)
  • 2016 runner-up
  • Has been to the final round three times in the past four years (2014, 2015, 2016)

2017 Charlotte I Recap:
Qualified third; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Ike Maier, Pat Dakin in E1, defeated by Tony Schumacher, Terry McMillen in E3)

Last event (Houston):
Qualified fifth; First round exit (defeated by Terry McMillen in E1)

2018 Season Statistics:
Seven round wins; ranked third in points

Career Statistics:
387 races; 65 wins (16 Pro Stock Motorcycle); 49 No. 1 qualifiers (11 PSM)

Notable:
  • Leads the Top Fuel class in most victories (five) at zMAX Dragway:
    • Spring: 2014, 2015
    • Fall: 2011, 2015, 2016

Quotable:
“Charlotte has always been a real special place for us. We just love going there. It's one of those big arena-type tracks. When you go there, it's the biggest race track on the tour. It's just a terrific place to race - the Taj Mahal of race tracks. When you go there, you want to show out. Our Matco Tools/U.S. Army/Toyota team know how much that track means and what a big event the Four-Wides is.

“Running two four-wide races within a month is just going to make it even more competitive. Everyone is going to be more comfortable having run more four-wide rounds and be able elevate their game. The main thing is just making it to the finals. Once you get to the finals, it's anybody's game. We were close in Las Vegas, we just had a couple of mishaps and now we need to capitalize on it (this weekend). Hopefully, Charlotte can be our break-out race to get things going for the rest of the season."



LEAH PRITCHETT
Driver of the Pennzoil Top Fuel Dragster

2017 Charlotte I Recap:
Qualified ninth; Semifinal finish (defeated Terry Haddock, Shawn Langdon in E1, Dom Lagana, Clay Millican in E2; defeated by Steve Torrence, Tony Schumacher in E3)

Last event (Houston):
Qualified No. 1; Semifinal finish (defeated Terry Brian in E1, Steve Torrence in E2; defeated by Terry McMillen in E3)

2018 Season Statistics:
Five round wins; ranked sixth in points

Career Statistics:
99 races; five wins; eight No. 1 qualifiers

Notable:
  • Charlotte I marks Pritchett’s 100th professional event (two Funny Car appearances)
  • Competing in both Top Fuel and the Factory Stock Showdown Series
  • Pro Mod winner at the 2012 event

Quotable:
"The NHRA is the epitome of the most powerful cars in the world. 22,000 horsepower side-by-side at a normal race, but this weekend in Charlotte we double that and go four-wide pushing that number to 44,000 horsepower on the track at the same time. It is so intense. Your senses are totally engaged from the smell of the nitro, the burn in your eyes from the fumes, the rumble of the launch shaking the ground and the sound of pure horsepower. Seeing that amount of power push through these engines that is transferred through these cars with massive Goodyear slicks to go from zero to 335 mph in just over three and half seconds. It’s quite a scene and something everyone should experience.”



TONY SCHUMACHER
Driver of the U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster

NHRA Charlotte I Event Highlights:
  • Two-time runner-up (2012, 2017)

2017 Charlotte I Recap:
Qualified sixth; Event runner-up (defeated Ike Maier, Pat Dakin in E1, Doug Kalitta, Antron Brown in E2, Leah Pritchett, Terry McMillen in E3; defeated by Steve Torrence in E3)

Last event (Houston):
Qualified third; Semifinal finish (defeated Bill Litton in E1, Clay Millican in E2, defeated by Brittany Force in E3)

2018 Season Statistics:
Eight round wins; tied for the points lead (with Steve Torrence)

Career Statistics:
485 races; 83 wins; 86 No. 1 qualifiers

Notable:
  • Tied for the Top Fuel points lead (with Steve Torrence)
  • Finished as the runner-up at the 2017 event
  • Two-time zMAX Dragway event winner:
    • Fall (2008, 2014)
      • Fall 2008 was the facility’s inaugural event

Quotable:
"I think we are definitely more used to four-wide racing than we used to be. It’s almost to the point where I’ve gotten used to it. I know how to stage the car. I know how to race. It doesn’t matter what lane I’m in. We’ll get one soon. Our U.S. Army car is extremely good. We are getting beat on little tiny things and once we get those fixed, we’re going to be a hard car to stop.

“I love racing at Charlotte. It’s an incredible facility and the best part is I won the first race they ever had when it opened. I’m really looking forward to getting my first four-wide victory there.

“We’ve had an incredible start to the year other than a couple of minor setbacks. I’m surrounded by a great group of guys. We are meshing as a team under the direction of Mike Neff and moving in a great direction at a rapid pace. I truly believe we are going to win a lot of races this year and we’re all focusing on that starting in Charlotte on Sunday.”



Funny Car:

JACK BECKMAN
Driver of the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger R/T

NHRA Charlotte I Event Highlights:
  • Two-time event winner (2011, 2015)
  • 2017 event runner-up

2017 Charlotte I Recap:
Qualified tenth; Event runner-up (defeated Tommy Johnson Jr., Jim Campbell in E1, Robert Hight, John Force in E2, J.R. Todd, Matt Hagan in E3; defeated by Ron Capps)

Last event (Houston):
Qualified fourth; Semifinal finish (defeated Richard Townsend in E1, Del Worsham in E2; defeated by Robert Hight in E3)

2018 Season Statistics:
10 round wins; ranked No. 1 in points

Career Statistics:
281 races; 27 wins; 24 No. 1 qualifiers

Notable:
  • Enters the event as the Funny Car points leader
  • Three-time zMAX Dragway event champion:
    • Spring (2011, 2015)
    • Fall (2008)

Quotable:
“Not only is our Infinite Hero team leading the (Funny Car) points standings, but we’re looking for some four-wide redemption after coming oh-so-close in Vegas.”



RON CAPPS
Driver of the NAPA Brakes Dodge Charger R/T

NHRA Charlotte I Event Highlights:
  • 2017 event winner
  • 2014 No. 1 qualifier

2017 Charlotte I Recap:
Qualified sixth; Event champion (defeated Chad Head, Del Worsham in E1, Robert Hight, John Force in E2, Jack Beckman, J.R. Todd, Matt Hagan in E3)

Last event (Houston):
Qualified 14th; First round exit (defeated by Matt Hagan in E1)

2018 Season Statistics:
Five round wins; ranked seventh in points

Career Statistics:
512 races; 58 wins (one Top Fuel); 21 No. 1 qualifiers

Notable:
  • Returns as the defending event champion
  • Two-time zMAX Dragway event winner:
    • Spring (2017)
    • Fall (2012)

Quotable:
“Well, you can always tell its race week leading up to a zMAX Dragway race, and boy are my NAPA Brakes team and I looking forward to getting to the Four-Wide this weekend.

“This was a fun part of the season last year. We went on a four-race win streak, including the race here and vaulted ourselves right up to first place.

“While the beginning of the season hasn’t gone exactly the way we wanted it to, and like I told the media last weekend in Houston, our NAPA team is not ever going to give up. It’s going to be a fun challenge to battle our way back into the Winner’s Circle and I can’t think of a better time to do that than the Charlotte Four-Wide this weekend.”



MATT HAGAN
Driver of the Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T

NHRA Charlotte I Event Highlights:
  • 2013 winner

2017 Charlotte I Recap:
Qualified fourth; First round exit (defeated Bob Bode, Cruz Pedregon in E1, Jonnie Lindberg, Tim Wilkerson in E2; defeated by Ron Capps, Jack Beckman in E3)

Last event (Houston):
Qualified third; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Ron Capps in E1; defeated by Tim Wilkerson in E2)

2018 Season Statistics:
Nine round wins; ranked second in points

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

Notable:
  • Posted the first 3-second Funny Car run in NHRA history at Charlotte II in 2011 (3.995)
  • Three-time zMAX Dragway event winner
    • Spring (2013)
    • Fall (2011, 2014)

Quotable:
“Looking forward to racing close to home this weekend. I live about three hours away so lots of family coming out.

“Vegas (four-wide) didn’t go so well, so we’re hoping Charlotte goes a little better. Just got to put that behind you, do your thing, go up there and treat it like another race.

“During qualifying it’s just one round in each lane, so that sets everybody back a little bit since you don’t know what lane you’re going to get on Sunday, and only having one shot at it. It would be nice to go down every lap and see if we can get some data out of all four lanes.

“Overall, I think our car has been running pretty good. Hopefully we run fast, do big things, and turn on three win lights on Sunday.”



TOMMY JOHNSON JR.
Driver of the Make-A-Wish Foundation Dodge Charger R/T

2017 Charlotte I Recap:
Qualified seventh; First round exit (defeated by Robert Hight, Jack Beckman in E1)

Last event (Houston):
Qualified seventh; First round exit (defeated by J.R. Todd in E1)

2018 Season Statistics:
Six round wins; Ranked sixth in points

Career Statistics:
427 races; 17 wins (two Top Fuel); 15 No. 1 qualifiers (one Top Fuel)

Notable:
  • Two-time zMAX Dragway No. 1 qualifier and runner-up:
    • Fall: 2015, 2016

Quotable:
“I’m looking forward to Charlotte, the second Four-Wide of the year. We’ve had a little practice at the Vegas four-wide, so going into this one, it should be even smoother. We performed extremely well in Las Vegas and felt like we should’ve won that race. Looking forward to trying to get the four-wide win in Charlotte, based on how well we did at the first one this season.”​
 

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