DSR Pomona I Qualifying Recap

NHRA Winternationals
Event 1 of 24 (Pomona I)
Auto Club Raceway at Pomona
Pomona, Calif.
Feb. 9-11, 2018

DSR Pomona I Qualifying Highlights:
  • Matt Hagan claims first Funny Car No. 1 qualifier of 2018
  • Hagan reset the track speed record (336.32-mph)
  • Hagan earned bonus points all four qualifying rounds
  • Hagan ran low E.T. in Q3 and Q4
  • Leah Pritchett leads DSR in Top Fuel (No. 4)
  • All DSR Top Fuel drivers made at least one bonus-point worthy run
Matt Hagan Earns First Funny Car No. 1 Qualifier of 2018

Pomona, California (February 10, 2018) – Matt Hagan will start the first race of the 2018 NHRA season from the No. 1 spot after powering his Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T to a blistering 3.822-second at 336.32-mph pass on Saturday evening.

The run not only earned him the coveted green ‘No. 1 hat,’ but also reset the Auto Club Raceway at Pomona speed record.

Before running low E.T. and top speed of the weekend in Q4, Hagan and the team, powered by Pennzoil, also made bonus point-worthy runs in the previous three qualifying sessions, including running quickest of the session in Q3.

“My guys are just killing it,” said Hagan, who entered the 2018 NHRA Winternationals as the defending event champion.

“I can’t say enough about [my crew chief] Dickie Venables. We’re so blessed and lucky to have him in our corner. He’s worth his weight in gold. I get to crawl in that hot rod he tunes, put my mouthpiece in and hang on. It’s always a fun ride.”

In 2017, Hagan started the Winternationals from the No. 1 spot and went on to win the event. He is confident in Venables’ abilities to repeat history on Sunday.

“Dickie has a gut instinct for how the track is, and what decisions are going to be made. He’s been doing that since he was my age so he has a lot of experience and that’s just stuff you can’t get overnight.”

“Race day is always race day; you never know what’s going to happen, but so far so good.”

Hagan will have lane choice over No. 16 qualifier Jim Campbell in round one on Sunday.

Qualified: No. 1 (E1 lane choice)

The Competition: No. 16 Jim Campbell

The Results:
Q1: 3.917 E.T. at 328.94 MPH (One bonus point for third quickest run of the session)
Q2: 3.877 E.T. at 329.99 MPH (Two bonus points for second quickest run of the session)
Q3: 3.859 E.T. at 331.20 MPH (Three bonus points for quickest run of the session)
Q4: 3.822 E.T. at 336.32 MPH (Three bonus points for quickest run of the session)

Bonus Points: Nine

DSR Driver Information:

Top Fuel:
ANTRON BROWN
Driver of the Matco Tools/U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified:
No. 6 (E1 lane choice)

The Competition: No. 9 Mike Salinas

The Results:
Q1: 3.717 E.T. at 332.51 MPH (Three bonus points for quickest run of the session)
Q2: 3.750 E.T. at 322.96 MPH
Q3: 3.723 E.T. at 329.99 MPH
Q4: 4.291 E.T. at 182.80 MPH

Bonus Points: Three

Quotable:
“We’re looking good. We’re just excited to go out there tomorrow, go with our race-day setup. We had a little misfortune on that last run but we had some dividends where we picked up on the front half of the run. It was a good mid-60 run if it would’ve gone all the way down the track. The car shut down and stopped itself from hurting itself, which is a good thing. But it was a deal that we never break and it would’ve been a good run that definitely would’ve moved up to No. 2, for sure. We’ll just keep moving forward, picking on it and getting better and better with it. Tomorrow will be a bit warmer, mid-70s, so we should have a nice, smooth run, and we’ll take it from there and hit it hard.”
LEAH PRITCHETT
Driver of the Mopar Dodge Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified:
No. 4 (E1 lane choice)

The Competition: No. 11 Scott Palmer

The Results:
Q1: 3.783 E.T. at 328.62 MPH
Q2: 5.293 E.T. at 130.38 MPH
Q3: 3.687 E.T. at 330.32 MPH (Two bonus points for second quickest run of the session)
Q4: 3.810 E.T. at 300.93 MPH

Bonus Points: Two

Quotable:
“It’s a pretty interesting start to the season. We set our goals pretty high – we have a lot to back up from last year. Ultimately, what happened today happened today and not tomorrow. What we concurred post-Q4 was simple math that had to do with turns of individual valves that relate to CC fuel flow in the heads that relate to jetting, all within the first three-hundredths of a second. There’s one setting that went outside the comfort zone from a fuel standpoint that caused us to drop a hole at the step and caused a lot of extra work on a Saturday night for this team. But the shining light of it is we feel we now understand, due to math, why it did what it did on that run, and why the 3.68 we ran in the first run today wasn’t the 3.66 or 3.65 we were trying to run. It all relates back to STEM, even in the smallest increments of time. Now, everything we experienced all throughout qualifying makes sense and, again, it happened today and not tomorrow.”
TONY SCHUMACHER
Driver of the U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified:
No. 8

The Competition: No. 7 Terry McMillen (lane choice)

The Results:
Q1: 3.792 E.T. at 328.46 MPH
Q2: 3.732 E.T. at 331.20 MPH (Two bonus points for second quickest run of the session)
Q3: 3.767 E.T. at 316.15 MPH
Q4: 8.131 E.T. at 82.42 MPH

Bonus Points: Two

Quotable:
“That was a crazy run. I don’t know what blew apart on McMillen’s car, but I was happy I was under a canopy. I saw parts flying by on the left side. I had already smoked the tires and it was all over for me. I’m just watching parts come off that car. A long time ago, we were just in those open cockpits and parts were laying in our lap after incidents like that. I was thankful for what my dad and Mike Green and all the guys at DSR did for our cars with that canopy for safety. Mike Neff and Phil Shuler are doing a great job. We didn’t qualify as well as we wanted to but, you know what, the car is excellent. I trust in them and I look forward to the race tomorrow and get this run for the championship started.”
Funny Car:

JACK BECKMAN
Driver of the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger R/T
Qualified:
No. 3 (E1 lane choice)

The Competition: No. 14 Bob Tasca III

The Results:
Q1: 3.964 E.T. at 324.90 MPH
Q2: 3.860 E.T. at 332.84 MPH (Three bonus points for quickest run of the session)
Q3: 3.863 E.T. at 332.43 MPH (Two bonus points for second quickest run of the session)
Q4: 8.038 E.T. at 76.76 MPH

Bonus Points: Five

Quotable:
“I’m totally satisfied. We went three for four and when you’ve ran as good as we’ve ran, you can afford to take a shot on the hero runs. We probably just put in a little bit too much on that run and that’s fine. We know where the limit is. I don’t know that we’ll take under these cool of conditions tomorrow but each day has gotten cooler and better out here. So bring it on. There’s a whole lot of bad Funny Cars ready to run tomorrow.”
RON CAPPS
Driver of the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T
Qualified:
No. 5 (E1 lane choice)

The Competition: No. 12 Shawn Langdon

The Results:
Q1: 3.882 E.T. at 331.12
MPH (Three bonus points for quickest run of the session)
Q2: 3.884 E.T. at 328.62 MPH (One bonus point for third quickest run of the session)
Q3: 4.248 E.T. at 216.27 MPH
Q4: 3.914 E.T. at 323.89 MPH

Bonus Points: Four

Quotable:
“We’re still in the early stages of running the six-disc clutch. We came here only with three full runs on it and we are very happy with it and we unloaded with two 3.88s in a row on Friday. It’s good data and that’s what [crew chief, Rahn] Tobler has been looking for. I’ve said it time and time again, I don’t care where we qualify at, going into a race day with Rahn Tobler, I also feel like a step up on top of whoever we’re going to race. And I still feel that way. He’s got a little more data that he needs to get under the car and a few more runs to see that the six-disc is trying to tell. He’s playing with the clutch discs and floaters and just trying to find a happy medium right now. We did try to run a lower 3.80 in that last qualifying session. The conditions were there and we wanted to go out and see what it could put down. Unfortunately, it just slowed down a little bit but it’s all just data. We’re going to go into race day and him and I are going to do what we do. That’s come together and race, race hard. I’m so pumped up to be back at Pomona. It was such a fun season last year with all the wins, all the final rounds but this is a renewed vengeance to come back out here and prove that we need to be back at number one.”
TOMMY JOHNSON JR.
Driver of the Make-A-Wish Foundation Dodge Charger R/T
Qualified:
No. 9

The Competition: No. 8 Cruz Pedregon (E1 lane choice)

The Results:
Q1: 5.401 E.T. at 132.97 MPH
Q2: 3.932 E.T. at 320.36 MPH
Q3: 7.752 E.T. at 82.70 MPH
Q4: 8.765 E.T. at 40.24 MPH

Quotable:
“We tested better than this. The conditions threw us a little curve. This is only our second race with the six-disc clutch so we’re still learning. I’m confident tomorrow that the guys will figure out what throwing us the wrong direction in qualifying so we can get it fixed for tomorrow. We want to come back out here like we did at the NHRA Finals where we went right down the track. We ran really well and got the win. There’s no reason we can’t work hard tonight and find out what’s causing our problems and do the same thing tomorrow.”

Photos courtesy of Auto Imagery. Hi res available upon request.

About Don Schumacher Racing
Don Schumacher Racing, headquartered in Brownsburg, Ind., fields seven professional NHRA teams. In Top Fuel, the U.S. Army dragster driven by eight-time world champion Tony Schumacher, the Matco Tools/U.S. Army dragster driven by three-time world champion Antron Brown and the Mopar/Papa John's Pizza/Pennzoil/FireAde/U.S. Army dragster driven by Leah Pritchett; and in Funny Car, 2016 world champion Ron Capps in the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T; two-time world champion Matt Hagan in the Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T, and 2012 NHRA world champion Jack Beckman in Terry and Doug Chandler's Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge and the Chandlers' Make-A-Wish Dodge driven by Tommy Johnson Jr.

DSR has won 318 NHRA national event titles and 16 world championships.
Media Contact:
Allison McCormick
Public Relations Manager
Don Schumacher Racing
[email protected]
(305) 764-5377​
 

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