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DSR Norwalk Pre-Race Report


Norwalk Pre-Race Report


NHRA Norwalk Nationals
Event 12 of 24 (Norwalk)
Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park
Norwalk, Ohio
June 22-24, 2018

Noteworthy:

  • Jack Beckman returns as the defending Funny Car event champion
  • Beckman leads the Funny Car class in number of victories (three) at Norwalk
  • Matt Hagan claimed the Funny Car pole in 2017
  • Leah Pritchett will pull double-duty, competing in both Top Fuel and the Factory Stock Showdown series for the fourth time in 2018
  • Tony Schumacher and Ron Capps enter Norwalk as the most recent event winners on tour

DSR-Owned Track Records:
Funny Car, E.T.: 3.865-seconds, Matt Hagan (2017)

DSR Driver Information:

Top Fuel:

ANTRON BROWN
Driver of the Matco Tools Top Fuel Dragster

NHRA Norwalk Event Highlights:
  • 2014 event champion
  • Two-time runner-up (2010, 2015)
2017 Norwalk Recap:
Qualified fifth; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Dom Lagana in E1, defeated by Leah Pritchett in E2)

Last event (Bristol):
Qualified third; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Richie Crampton in E1; defeated by Steve Torrence in E2)

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

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

Quotable:
"They have a new track surface in Norwalk and from what I’ve been hearing the track is going to be phenomenal. It’s all concrete and that’s going to give us better traction even if it’s going to be warm and hot out there. I’m really excited to get back out there because Norwalk is one of the tracks we really enjoy going to with the whole family. Matco’s world headquarters is right there in Stow and we’ll have a lot of guests, so it’s definitely a track where we want to do well at."



LEAH PRITCHETT
Driver of the FireAde Top Fuel Dragster

2017 Norwalk Recap:
Qualified fourth; Semifinal finish (defeated Ike Maier in E1, Antron Brown in E2; defeated by Doug Kalitta in E3)

Last event (Bristol):
Qualified ninth; First round exit (defeated by Mike Salinas in E1)

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

Career Statistics:
105 races; six wins; eight No. 1 qualifiers

Notable:
  • Will pull double-duty in Bristol, competing in both Top Fuel and the Factory Stock Showdown series for the fourth time in 2018
    • Driving the Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak

Quotable:
“When you race at Norwalk, you know summer is here, and you’re approaching a crucial point in the season. We’re at the halfway point, and I wish that I had a little more momentum, but I feel like the team and the car still has that momentum. Last weekend (in Bristol) was a slight bump in the road, but it seems like most of our mechanical gremlins are out of the way.

“We run at 6:00 and 9:00 on Friday, which means we’re going to be hauling down the track at 9:30 p.m. I love night runs; I get excited about them. We’re night racing, I’m a night owl.



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

NHRA Norwalk Event Highlights:
  • 2007 event champion

2017 Norwalk Recap:
Qualified eighth; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Mike Salinas in E1; defeated by Doug Kalitta in E2)

Last event (Bristol):
Qualified No. 2; Event champion (defeated Terry McMillen in E1, Pat Dakin in E2, Steve Torrence in E3, Mike Salinas in E4)

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

Career Statistics:
491 races; 84 wins; 87 No. 1 qualifiers

Notable:
  • Schumacher enters Norwalk fresh off of his first event win of 2018 (Bristol)

Quotable:
“I’ve had season’s where we’ve won 15 races before. I think my legacy will be when people ask me later in my life what was it that helped you get through all that. It’s that I was good at adversity. We’ve talked about this so many times. We’re going to win races and we are going to go through dry spells while you are learning. But you don’t fire people or point fingers. You rise to the occasion. You lead the team. You keep their confidence up. We’ve been saying for weeks, guys we’ve got a great car. When the time comes, we’ll be there. We’re always in the fight at the end of the year, let’s just get through this. You can sit there and complain and come up with excuses why we weren’t winning rounds and ultimately races, but the bottom line is we just had to figure it out. We needed to be patient. We needed to use all the brainpower that DSR has and we needed to figure out how to get the job done. We did it. And we did it having a great final round. We figured out how to get down a slippery race track and we are going to be hard to beat for a long time.

"I would not want to race against us for the next bunch of races. We have a great U.S. Army car. Seriously, I’m calm and cool. And I know how to drive a race car, but (crew chiefs) Mike (Neff) and Phil (Shuler) just got what they needed in Bristol. If you have ever talked with Mike, he’s just chill, but when he gets what he needs we’ll just continue rise. We all know that when we figure it out, we are going to go on a tear and we’re going to win some races. We got Bristol and now we want Norwalk. The U.S. Army boys have a handle on this race car and we’re going work as hard as we can to keep this momentum going.”



Funny Car:

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

NHRA Norwalk Event Highlights:
  • Three-time event champion (2009, 2015, 2017)

2017 Norwalk Recap:
Qualified ninth; Event champion (defeated Cruz Pedregon in E1, Matt Hagan in E2, Tommy Johnson Jr. in E3, Robert Hight in E4)

Last event (Bristol):
Qualified seventh; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Shawn Langdon in E1; defeated by J.R. Todd in E2)

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

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

Notable:
  • Returns as the defending Funny Car event champion
  • Leads the Funny Car class in number of victories (three) at Norwalk: 2009, 2015, 2017

Quotable:
“Not only will Norwalk mark the halfway point in the season, but we’re in that ‘summer swing’ where the races go by super-fast. It’s not the time to be struggling with the tune-up, yet we’ve been wrestling with the Infinite Hero Dodge for the last five races. After a brand-new clutch, a brand-new race car, as well as the changes to the track preparation, we have struggled to find our consistency from earlier in the year. That being said, I totally know that our guys will figure this thing out quickly and hopefully get us back in the winner’s circle in Ohio.”



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

NHRA Norwalk Event Highlights:
  • 2016 event champion
  • Three-time runner-up (2011, 2013, 2014)

2017 Norwalk Recap:
Qualified 13th; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Jonnie Lindberg in E1; defeated by Tommy Johnson Jr. in E2)

Last event (Bristol):
Qualified 11th; Event champion (defeated John Force in E1, Robert Hight in E2, J.R. Todd in E3, Bob Tasca III in E4)

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

Career Statistics:
518 races; 59 wins (one Top Fuel); 21 No. 1 qualifiers

Notable:
  • Enters Norwalk as the most recent Funny Car winner on tour (Bristol)

Quotable:
"At this time of the year I always get excited about our schedule, and one of the biggest reasons is our race in Norwalk, Ohio. If you've been to that track you know why. The Bader family makes it such a great race for the fans, but even more so for the racers. The fact that they have put a brand new concrete track down between last year's race and this year's race is going to be awesome. It doesn't look like it's going to be as hot as last year, which is going to be great for the fans, but again, even greater for the crew chiefs and the drivers because we could see some track records fall.

"Our NAPA team has had success there, with a lot of final rounds. (In 2016) we finally got to the winner's circle and getting the coveted ice cream scoop trophy from the Bader family is something that definitely stands out, so we're looking forward to going in there and continuing what we did in Bristol. We’re going to be consistent and try to get our NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger where it belongs, and that's at the top of the pack."



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

NHRA Norwalk Event Highlights:
  • Two-time No. 1 qualifier (2015, 2017)

2017 Norwalk Recap:
Qualified No. 1; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Jeff Diehl in E1; defeated by Jack Beckman in E2)

Last event (Bristol):
Qualified ninth; First round exit (defeated by Tommy Johnson Jr. in E1)

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

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

Quotable:
“Coming off of two first round losses is very, very humbling. We need to turn the corner at Norwalk. We need to show everyone that we still have a race car. We’re rolling into the heat of summer. We’re going to have to start pulling everything back and looking at just getting down the race track, instead of running fast. That’s the game plan. If you look at last weekend, it took 4.20’s to win pretty much all day. We need to get some momentum going before we roll into the Western Swing.”



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

2017 Norwalk Recap:
Qualified fifth; Semifinal finish (defeated J.R. Todd in E1, Ron Capps in E2; defeated by Jack Beckman in E3)

Last event (Bristol):
Qualified eighth; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Matt Hagan in E1; defeated by Courtney Force in E2)

2018 Season Statistics:
11 round wins; Ranked seventh in points

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

Quotable:
“Norwalk is one of my favorite tracks on tour, and after last weekend when we ran pretty well with the new conditions, I’m excited about our chances. I think we’re pretty close to turning the corner, and Norwalk would be a great place to kick that off. The Baders are a great family, they’ve got a great facility, and I look forward to an entertaining weekend there.”​
 

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