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DSR Gainesville Pre-Race Report



Gainesville Pre-Race Report

NHRA Gatornationals
Event 3 of 24 (Gainesville)
Gainesville Raceway
Gainesville, Fla.
March 16-18, 2018

Noteworthy:

  • Tony Schumacher returns as the defending Top Fuel event champion and No. 1 qualifier
  • With five victories, Schumacher is the winningest Top Fuel driver in Gainesville Raceway history
  • Matt Hagan enters the 2018 event as the Funny Car points leader
  • Tommy Johnson Jr. enters Gainesville fresh off of a Funny Car final round appearance from the previous race in Phoenix
  • Leah Pritchett is competing in three events during the weekend: Top Fuel, Factory Stock Showdown, and the Papa John’s Charity Challenge
  • All DSR Top Fuel final in 2017 (Tony Schumacher vs. Antron Brown)
  • The late Terry Chandler will be honored with the 2018 Patricia Garlits Memorial Award ahead of the race weekend
  • Antron Brown made his NHRA debut at the 1998 event competing in Pro Stock Motorcycle
  • At age 15, Tommy Johnson Jr. became the youngest driver to enter a national event when he competed in the 1984 Gatornationals in the Super Gas category


DSR-Owned Track Records:
Top Fuel, E.T.: 3.682-secs, Tony Schumacher (2017)
Top Fuel, speed: 329.26-mph, Tony Schumacher (2017)

DSR Driver Information:

Top Fuel:


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

NHRA Gatornationals Event Highlights:
  • 2013 event winner
  • Four runner-up finishes (2006, 2010, 2014, 2017)
  • Has qualified No. 1 in both Top Fuel (2010) and Pro Stock Motorcycle (2001)

2017 Gainesville Recap:
Qualified third; Runner-up finish (defeated Chris Karamesines in E1, Troy Coughlin Jr. in E2, Doug Kalitta in E3; defeated by Tony Schumacher in E4)

Last event (Phoenix):
Qualified eighth; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Mike Salinas in E1; defeated by Greg Carrillo in E2)

2018 Season Statistics:
Three round wins; ranked fifth in points

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

Noteworthy:
  • Made his NHRA debut at the 1998 Gatornationals competing in Pro Stock Motorcycle

Quotable:
"I’m just really excited to get out to the Gatornationals. It is a big deal; it’s one of the biggest races of our season, and the Gators are known for setting MPH records and world records. This Matco Tools team is looking forward to getting back out there and making it do what it do."


LEAH PRITCHETT
Driver of the Papa John's Pizza/FireAde Top Fuel Dragster
Also Competing in the Factory Stock Showdown and
Papa John's Charity Challenge


2017 Gainesville Recap:
Qualified seventh; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Scott Palmer in E1; defeated by Doug Kalitta in E2)

Last event (Phoenix):
Qualified fourth; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Troy Buff in E1; defeated by Scott Palmer in E2)

2018 Season Statistics:
One round win; ranked seventh in points

Career Statistics:
96 races; five wins; seven No. 1 qualifiers

Noteworthy:
  • Competing in three events at the 2018 Gatornationals:
    • Top Fuel
    • Factory Stock Showdown
    • Papa John’s Charity Challenge
  • First Factory Stock Showdown and Papa John’s Charity Challenge event of 2018

Quotable:
“I always dig doing things differently, and to their maximum capabilities.

“The constant variable is always the mindset of being the baddest and fastest no matter what; whether it’s a car I dedicate my life and all hours to, or one that I haven’t even touched before.

“I’m a proud Gemini, whereby nature, I’m good at doing multiple things to the max, and this weekend, it’s all about the trifecta.”


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

NHRA Gatornationals Event Highlights:
  • Five-time event winner (2004, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2017)
  • Four-time runner-up (2000, 2011, 2012, 2015)
  • Three-time No. 1 qualifier (2006, 2011, 2017)
  • Reset the track Top Fuel E.T. and speed record in 2018:
    • E.T.: 3.682-seconds
    • Speed: 329.26-mph

2017 Gainesville Recap:
Qualified No. 1; Event champion (defeated Smax Smith in E1, Clay Millican in E2, Steve Torrence in E3, Antron Brown in E4)

Last event (Phoenix):
Qualified No. 1; First round exit (defeated by Greg Carrillo in E1)

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

Career Statistics:
482 races; 83 wins; 85 No. 1 qualifiers

Noteworthy:
  • Leads the Top Fuel class in number of wins at Gainesville (five): 2004, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2017

Quotable:
“If you aren’t excited about going to the Gatornationals, you are in the wrong business. It’s one of my favorite races. The fans. The history. It’s what it’s all about. You know the legend of Big Daddy [Don Garlits] stretches far and wide in our sport and his impact is felt every place we go, but especially in Gainesville. I knew it was special last year when we had to step up to make history, beat Antron Brown, a three-time world champion. Those are the bottom-of-the-ninth situations everyone dreams about being in. And then to come through with a group of guys surrounding you, who are capable of stepping up, that’s what you work so hard for. Winning the Gatornationals for a fifth time was really special. Over the years, I’ve been fortunate to be put on a list with “Big Daddy” Don Garlits and Joe Amato. Those guys are legends. And throw in Larry Dixon, who is just a tough competitor who I battled with for so long and had a true rivalry with for a long time. To do something that no one else has done is a huge accomplishment.”


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

NHRA Gatornationals Event Highlights:
  • 2016 No. 1 Qualifier

2017 Gainesville Recap:
Qualified eighth; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Tim Wilkerson in E1; defeated by John Force in E2)

Last event (Phoenix):
Qualified third; First round exit (E1: Broke)

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

Career Statistics:
278 races; 26 wins; 23 No. 1 qualifiers

Quotable:
"The Gatornationals is the East Coast season-opener. It’s one of the biggest races of the year, and I’m really excited to get back there. Our Infinite Hero team has come close [to winning] a few times there before, and this year we’re looking to get the job done."


RON CAPPS
Driver of the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T

NHRA Gatornationals Event Highlights:
  • Three-time event winner (2006, 2007, 2015)
  • Two-time runner-up (2000, 2016)

2017 Gainesville Recap:
Qualified sixth; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Alexis DeJoria in E1; defeated by Matt Hagan in E2)

Last event (Phoenix):
Qualified second; Qaurterfinal finish (defeated Tim Wilkerson in E1; defeated by Shawn Langdon in E2)

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

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

Quotable:
"For me, the Gatornationals is still one of the original ‘big three.’ It’s one of the NHRA races that I read about as a kid. As far as racing today is concerned, the Gatornationals from a team standpoint, is one of the biggest races we have, and it’s certainly one of the ones you want to win as much as any other place we go. It definitely sets the pace for you and your team throughout these next 10 or so races."


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

NHRA Gatornationals Event Highlights:
  • Two-time No. 1 qualifier (2010, 2011)

2017 Gainesville Recap:
Qualified third; Semifinal finish (defeated Dave Richards in E1, Ron Capps in E2; defeated by Jonnie Lindberg in E3)

Last event (Phoenix):
Qualified ninth; Quarterfinal finish (defeated J.R. Todd in E1; defeated by Courtney Force in E2)

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

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

Noteworthy:
  • Enters the event as the Funny Car points leader

Quotable:
"We’ve got eight inches of snow on the ground here [Christiansburg, Va.] and I’m ready to get to some warm weather. Gainesville can’t come soon enough. We’ve won one race so far this year and we’re leading points going into Gainesville. We need to keep that going. I’ve never won Gainesville, so obviously that would be something I’d like to check off the list. That track has never really treated me that well in the past, so hopefully we can find a combination and I can get up on the wheel, turn some win lights on and do big things.

"My folks are going to be down in Fla. at that time. They’ve got a place in West Palm. My dad owns a minor league team, so I’m going to go down there and watch the team play before I head up to Gainesville and get ready to go racing. Hopefully my folks will be able to come in [to town] on Sunday and I can win in front of them."


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

2017 Gatornationals Recap:
Qualified fifth; Semifinal finish (Defeated Cruz Pedregon in E1, Jim Campbell in E2; defeated by John Force in E3)

Last event (Phoenix):
Qualified sixth; Runner-up (Defeated Robert Hight in E1, Richard Townsend in E2, Shawn Langdon in E3; defeated by Courtney Force in E4)

2018 Season Statistics:
Three round wins; Ranked fifth in points

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

Noteworthy:
  • At age 15, Tommy Johnson Jr. became the youngest driver to enter a national event when he competed in the 1984 Gatornationals in the Super Gas category

Quotable:
"Gainesville is a special place for me because it was the first national event I ever raced in. Looking forward to going back there this year coming off of a runner-up in Phoenix. Hope to carry the momentum. Our car is starting to run better and better and hopefully we can reduce some of the parts damage we had in Phoenix, improve the performance, and go one round further."​
 

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