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DSR Las Vegas Four-Wide Nationals Pre-Race Report


NHRA Four-Wide Nationals (Las Vegas I)
Pre-Race Report


NHRA Four-Wide Nationals
Event 4 of 24 (Las Vegas I)
The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Las Vegas, Nev.
April 6-8, 2018

Noteworthy:

  • Don Schumacher Racing ‘doubled up’ winning in both Top Fuel and Funny Car at the 2017 event, marking the organization’s 300th victory
    • Funny Car winner- Tommy Johnson Jr., DSR win No. 299
    • Top Fuel winner- Antron Brown, DSR win No. 300
  • All DSR Top Fuel final in 2017 (Brown vs. Tony Schumacher)
  • Brown has won the Spring Las Vegas event for the past two years, and is looking for his third consecutive victory in 2018
  • Jack Beckman enters the event fresh off of his first Funny Car victory of 2018 (Gatornationals)
  • Matt Hagan enters as the Funny Car points leader, and most recent Las Vegas Funny Car winner (Fall, 2017)
  • Inaugural Las Vegas Four-Wide event
    • Beckman has had great success mastering the Charlotte Four-Wide with two wins and one runner-up finish
  • Brown will make his Papa John’s Charity Challenge debut on Saturday
  • Schumacher leads the Top Fuel class in number of victories (eight) at LVMS:
    • Spring: 2004, 2009, 2013, 2014
    • Fall: 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010
  • Schumacher leads the class in number of No. 1 qualifiers (10) at LVMS:
    • Spring: 2006, 2007, 2008
    • Fall: 2003, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2017
  • Johnson celebrates a birthday on Friday, April 6

DSR-Owned Track Records:
Top Fuel, E.T.: 3.673-seconds, Schumacher (Las Vegas II, 2017)
Funny Car, E.T.: 3.854-secs, Beckman (Las Vegas II, 2017)
Funny Car, speed: 335.57-mph, Beckman (Las Vegas II, 2017)

DSR Driver Information:

Top Fuel:

ANTRON BROWN
Driver of the Matco Tools/U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster
Also competing in the Papa John's Charity Challenge to benefit
Infinite Hero Foundation and Overcome Academy


NHRA Las Vegas I Event Highlights:
  • Returns as the defending Top Fuel event champion
    • Is looking for his third consecutive Las Vegas I Top Fuel title after winning the 2016 and 2017 events
  • Three-time event winner (2011, 2016, 2017)
  • Three-time runner-up (2008, 2012, 2013)
  • Two-time No. 1 qualifier (2012, 2013)
2017 Las Vegas I Recap:
Qualified eighth; Event champion (defeated Scott Palmer in E1, Steve Torrence in E2, Leah Pritchett in E3, and Tony Schumacher in E4)

Last event (Gainesville):
Qualified third; Semifinal finish (defeated Audrey Worm in E1, Leah Pritchett in E2; defeated by Richie Crampton in E3)

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

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

Notable:
  • Will make his Papa John’s Charity Challenge debut at the 2018 event
    • Brown will face off against ‘Papa’ John Schnatter to benefit the Infinite Hero Foundation and Overcome Academy
    • Brown will hit the track in a 2015 Toyota Camry
  • Four-time LVMS winner:
    • Spring (2011, 2016, 2017)
    • Fall (2013)
  • Has finished as the runner-up in both Top Fuel (2008) and Pro Stock Motorcycle (2001) at LVMS

Quotable:
“I’ll tell you what, I’m just very excited to get out there. It’s going to be a cool twist to have a battle royale and see who’s the best of the best out in the West. I’m really pumped up. I saw the track when I was out there for the Pennzoil 400, and it looks phenomenal. The four lanes are brand new, super smooth and now they’re bringing the ‘Bellagio of drag racing’ to The Strip. I can’t wait to get out there and see if we can stand on top of that mountain. Can’t tell you how thrilled I am to run four-wide on the West Coast.”



LEAH PRITCHETT
Driver of the Papa John's Pizza Top Fuel Dragster

2017 Las Vegas I Recap:
Qualified fifth; Semifinal finish (defeated Troy Buff in E1, Brittany Force in E2; defeated by Antron Brown in E3)

Last event (Gainesville):
Qualified sixth; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Terry Haddock in E1; defeated by Antron Brown in E2)

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

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

Quotable:
“Our team has a proven track record of having a strong grasp on the various Vegas race conditions, which brings confidence heading west after a promising Gatornationals performance. There are currently no ‘four-wide’ practice trees to help prepare, so I’ve been watching replays on tape and through my mind, to make the four-wide become as real today and next week as it was almost a year ago in Charlotte.

“Some drivers feel strongly one way or another towards four-wide racing as a whole, but for me, I take the approach of, ‘How you can excel at something you don’t embrace?’ Can it throw all of us off our very much dialed-in precision routine? Yes. Are there larger chances for error? Yes. Does race-day mentality change once past the Christmas tree? Yes. Does it require a maximum level of focus? Of course. But that’s what the four-wide racing brings, beyond just the cars being physically lined up four-wide across.

“I feel Vegas is the perfect venue to debut the second four-wide event, as it’s the opposite side of the country from Charlotte, and the two races are close enough to each other that it won’t seem so foreign when we get to Charlotte. To all of our west coast fans that have never experienced this, you’re really not going to want to forget your earplugs this time.”



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

NHRA Las Vegas I Event Highlights:
  • Four-time event winner (2004, 2009, 2013, 2014)
  • 2017 runner-up
  • Three-time No. 1 qualifier (2006, 2007, 2008)

2017 Las Vegas I Recap:
Qualified second; Event runner-up (defeated Terry Haddock in E1, Terry McMillen in E2, Doug Kalitta in E3; defeated by Antron Brown in E4)

Last event (Gainesville):
Qualified fourth; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Brittany Force in E1; defeated by Shawn Reed in E2)

2018 Season Statistics:
Four round wins; ranked fourth in points

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

Noteworthy:
  • Leads the Top Fuel class in number of victories (eight) at LVMS:
    • Spring: 2004, 2009, 2013, 2014
    • Fall: 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010
  • Leads the class in number of No. 1 qualifiers (10) at LVMS:
    • Spring: 2006, 2007, 2008
    • Fall: 2003, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2017

Quotable:
"I’ve always thoroughly enjoyed racing in Las Vegas. I have a lot of friends and family there and always seem to have a good time. Making this spring race a four-wide is all the more reason to get excited about showing up and racing in Vegas. It’s about the only place I’d think it makes sense to add a second four-wide event. It’s that kind of a place. It’s one of the tracks where I’ve won a number of races, one of the few places I’ve actually clinched championships, so when you have success at a place like that, you don’t care what they throw at you. It’s a place that near and dear to my heart."



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

NHRA Las Vegas I Event Highlights:
  • 2016 No. 1 Qualifier
  • Made his NHRA debut at the 2005 event (Top Fuel)

2017 Las Vegas I Recap:
Qualified fifth; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Cruz Pedregon in E1; defeated by Jonnie Lindberg in E2)

Last event (Gainesville):
Qualified No. 1; Event champion (defeated Jim Campbell in E1, Del Worsham in E2, Shawn Langdon in E3, Matt Hagan in E4)

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

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

Notable:
  • Enters the event as the most recent Funny Car winner
  • Owns the Las Vegas Funny Car E.T. and speed records
    • E.T.: 3.854-secs, Las Vegas II, 2017
    • Speed: 335.57-mph, Las Vegas II, 2017
      • Career-best
  • Raced to his first professional victory (Funny Car) at the 2006 Fall event

Quotable:
“There are a hundred reasons to be excited about rolling into Vegas for this race. It’s the first time at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway that we’ll have a four-wide event. I can’t wait to see the upgrades they’ve made to the track.

"The Infinite Hero team just came off of our first win of the year, a huge victory at the Gatornationals. It’ll be exciting to try and continue that momentum at Vegas.”



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

NHRA Las Vegas I Event Highlights:
  • 2009 winner
  • Two-time event runner-up (2006, 2007)

2017 Las Vegas I Recap:
Qualified fourth; First round exit (defeated by Jonnie Lindberg in E1)

Last event (Gainesville):
Qualified seventh; Semifinal finish (defeated Bob Tasca III in E1, defeated Courtney Force in E2; defeated by Matt Hagan in E3)

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

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

Notable:
  • Five-time Las Vegas winner:
    • Spring: 2009
    • Fall: 2001, 2006, 2011, 2012

Quotable:
“Man, we’ve been looking forward to going back to Las Vegas since it was announced that they were going to turn the track into a four-wide venue. The two Vegas events are always something we look forward to, especially with the October race being so crucial to winning an NHRA world championship.

“This inaugural four-wide race is going to be so much fun for not just us racers, but for our West Coast fans that haven’t had a chance to experience four-wide racing live and in-person.”



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

NHRA Las Vegas I Event Highlights:
  • 2009 event runner-up
  • 2015 No. 1 qualifier

2017 Las Vegas I Recap:
Qualified second; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Del Worsham in E1; defeated by John Force in E2)

Last event (Gainesville):
Qualified sixth; Event runner-up (defeated Tim Wilkerson in E1, defeated Robert Hight in E2, defeated Ron Capps in E3; defeated by Jack Beckman in E4)

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

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

Noteworthy:
  • Returns as the most recent Las Vegas winner (Las Vegas II, 2017)
  • Enters the event as the Funny Car points leader
  • Has held the Funny Car points lead throughout the entire 2018 season

Quotable:
"It’s going to be a new event in Vegas. Obviously, something we’re used to with Charlotte, but it’s Vegas, so a little different altitude; everything’s a little different.

“Coming out of Moab, Utah doing some Jeep stuff with ‘Chibo’ from Pennzoil, and Mopar and Jeep. It’s been a cool thing and gets me pumped to roll into Vegas and hopefully do big things. We just came off of a win in Vegas at the last race there, ‘two-wides’ in the Fall, and hopefully we can pull down a win here at Four-Wide. Need to focus; it’s going to be chaotic event, but we’ll get out there and hopefully get it done.”



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

NHRA Las Vegas I Event Highlights:
  • Two-time event winner (2001, 2017)

2017 Las Vegas I Recap:
Qualified sixth; Event champion (Defeated Jim Campbell in E1, Robert Hight in E2, John Force in E3, Jonnie Lindberg in E4)

Last event (Gainesville):
Qualified fifth; Quarterfinal finish (Defeated Cruz Pedregon in E1; defeated by Shawn Langdon in E2)

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

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

Notable:
  • Returns as the defending event champion
  • Celebrates a birthday on Friday, April 6

Quotable:
“It’s neat to be part of a first event like this, and it’s going to be really cool. This will be a unique one. I’ve heard from a lot of fans on the West Coast at the first two races who are excited to see four-wide racing for the first time.

“It definitely takes a lot more thinking as a driver, because there’s a lot more going on. You have to have your act together and be aware of what’s going on. Me, personally, I like it. It adds a new level of difficulty, but if you can overcome that and excel at it, it gives you an advantage. There’s certain things you have to add to your routine just because of this event. It’s just another level of having to remind yourself. You can easily fall back into habits that can really bite you.

“I’m looking forward to going back to Vegas after winning there last season. It has always been one of my favorite tracks, and I’ve always done really well there. It’ll be a bit different this time around, running ‘four wide’ instead of the normal two, but I don’t mind four-wide racing at all. I feel sometimes it gives certain people an advantage so I enjoy that. We’ll see if we can’t go back and repeat and kick the wins off this season. We’ll just do it four at a time instead of two.”​
 

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