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DSR Chicago Post-Race Recap (1 Viewer)


DSR Chicago Post-Race Recap

JEGS Route 66 NHRA Nationals
Event 9 of 24 (Chicago)
Route 66 Raceway
Joliet, Illinois
June 1-3, 2018

DSR Chicago Elimination Highlights:

  • DSR put Leah Pritchett and Ron Capps in the Top Fuel and Funny Car final rounds at team owner Don Schumacher’s hometown event near Chicago
  • Pritchett reached her second final round appearance in the last three races
  • Capps raced to his first runner-up finish of the 2018 NHRA season
  • Pritchett moved to third in the Top Fuel points standings
  • Jack Beckman remains ranked second in Funny Car points after a quarterfinal finish
Driver Information:

Top Fuel:

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

Qualified: No. 7 (3.781 E.T. at 327.19 MPH)

The Results:
E1: 5.402 E.T. at 134.91 MPH E.T. defeated by Leah Pritchett 3.769 E.T. at 329.67 MPH

Race Recap:
Antron Brown, a five-time Route 66 Raceway winner lined up opposite of his Army Racing teammate Leah Pritchett in round one. Brown had the starting line advantage but was up in smoke early into the run. Brown pedaled it in an attempt to recover but was unable to catch up with Pritchett, who made a clean, straight pass down the track and across the stripe.

"This wasn’t the way we wanted to end our weekend here in Chicago, but my Matco Tools/U.S Army/Toyota team made some good progress in qualifying. It’s not showing on race day, but it will very, very soon. We were very close to making the clean pass that we needed today and it's clear that we are making the strides that we need to make. Out of the last nine runs, we’ve gotten down the track seven times. So, we’ve got to continue taking the positives and keep working hard to move forward. We are looking forward to getting to Virginia and getting back after it."


Driver of the Papa John's Pizza Top Fuel Dragster

Qualified: No. 10 (3.797 E.T. at 328.30 MPH)

The Results:
E1: 3.769 E.T. at 329.67 MPH defeated Antron Brown 5.402 E.T. at 134.91 MPH E.T.
E2: 3.929 E.T. at 298.93 MPH defeated Kyle Wurtzel 5.171 E.T. at 137.16 MPH
E3: 3.832 E.T. at 326.16 MPH defeated Blake Alexander 3.896 E.T. at 325.06 MPH
E4: 4.501 E.T. at 192.08 MPH defeated by Clay Millican 3.894 E.T. at 289.32 MPH

Race Recap:
Leah Pritchett raced to her fourth career runner-up finish on Sunday afternoon in Joliet.

The final-round appearance was the second of the year for Pritchett in her Papa John’s Pizza Top Fuel dragster, including a victory at the NHRA Atlanta event in May.

Starting tenth and from the bottom half of the field for just the second time this year, Pritchett opened Sunday in strong fashion by defeating higher-qualified teammate Antron Brown with her quickest pass of race weekend, a 3.769-second E.T. at 329.67 mph. The Mopar-powered Top Fuel pilot next took out Kyle Wurtzel, leading from start to finish on a 3.929-sec pass that was quickest of the quarterfinals.

In a rematch of the Atlanta final round, Pritchett faced Blake Alexander in the semifinals. The Papa John's dragster pilot trailed her opponent just slightly at the start, but quickly zoomed ahead with a 3.832-sec run, once again outrunning Alexander, and advancing her to her first-ever final at Route 66 Raceway.

In the final that pitted the two most recent Top Fuel winners on the NHRA tour, Pritchett was unable to score the event win against Clay Millican after smoking the tires and slowing near the 330-foot mark, but the runner-up performance boosted the six-time Top Fuel winner from fifth to third in the overall Top Fuel point standings

“The silver lining about today is when we’re on together, we’re on together. I think the most impressive thing was three full pulls in eliminations under conditions we didn’t have before. The car reacted to what we were telling it to do. Unfortunately, in the final round, we had issues from the start. Sometimes when you’re winning you get used to that. The more we do well, the more appreciative and in the moment I get. Going rounds today the enjoyment factor was really high.”


Driver of the U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified: No. 3 (3.771 E.T. at 325.61 MPH)

The Results:
E1: 4.718 E.T. at 162.43 MPH defeated by Billy Torrence 3.784 E.T. at 330.15 MPH

Race Recap:
After qualifying inside of the ‘top three,’ Tony Schumacher faced Billy Torrence in round one. Schumacher was seeking his sixth Route 66 NHRA Nationals victory at his hometown track, but unfortunately for ‘The Sarge,’ the Army Racing machine smoked the tires at halftrack, enabling Torrence to take the win with a clean 3.784-second pass.

“We had a really good U.S. Army race car here this weekend and weren’t able to take advantage of it. Some might call it ‘snake-bit’, but we know we have to find ways to overcome all circumstances in order to go rounds and ultimately win a race. It was great to be back home and see a lot of family, friends and great fans of NHRA. The frustrating part is that we were able to make some progress with the U.S. Army car the last couple of days and we were hoping to make four good runs today. We’ll get right back after it next week in Richmond. I do want to say thanks to Mark Warnick, who is leaving our Army Team and DSR after being with us for 15 years. He won a championship with the Army team in 2014 and was a huge part of our success the past five seasons.”

Funny Car:


Driver of the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger R/T

Qualified: No. 3 (3.944 E.T. at 322.81 MPH)

The Results:
E1: 4.213 E.T. at 237.25 MPH defeated Dale Creasy 6.907 E.T. at 81.20 MPH
E2: 4.451 E.T. at 241.11 MPH defeated by John Force 4.208 E.T. at 303.09 MPH

Race Recap:
Mopar-powered Infinite Hero Foundation driver Jack Beckman started race day from the top half of the field and with the advantage of lane choice versus his first-round competitor, Dale Creasy Jr. Beckman held a 4-0 lead over Creasy in previous matchups and was able to extend his undefeated record on Sunday. During their round one meeting, Beckman was out of the gate first and had the immediate lead over Creasy whose parachutes deployed early into the run, allowing Beckman to drive away with the round win.

The quarterfinals found the 2016 Route 66 NHRA Nationals Funny Car champion lined up opposite of John Force. Beckman once again had the starting line advantage and held the lead early into the run before losing traction near the 330-foot mark. He finessed the throttle, but Force, who dropped a cylinder later in the run, was able to pull away for the win.

“Little bit of a frustrating weekend, and unfortunately for our Infinite Hero team, we’ve had a few of those lately. We’re having some issues fine-tuning the new car with the new clutch, and with four races in a row, you just don’t want to stumble too much. We’re still showing signs of brilliance. The guys are doing a great job digging into the data. I overdrove the car a couple of times today. Fresh pipes, super responsive steering; I’ve got to back myself down a bit. This is a perfect example of where we have to come together as a team of 11 and step up our game.”


Driver of the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T

Qualified: No. 2 (3.921 E.T. at 325.92 MPH)

The Results:
E1: 4.092 E.T. at 308.50 MPH defeated Justin Schriefer 4.305 E.T. at 222.73 MPH
E2: 4.104 E.T. at 311.77 MPH defeated Shawn Langdon 4.154 E.T. at 307.16 MPH
E3: 4.058 E.T. at 313.80 MPH defeated John Force 4.120 E.T. at 310.34 MPH
E4: 4.310 E.T. at 230.21 MPH defeated by Robert Hight 4.073 E.T. at 310.63 MPH

Race Recap:
Ron Capps raced to a runner-up finish at the JEGS Route 66 NHRA Nationals on Sunday afternoon. The driver of the Mopar-powered NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T entered the weekend as the defending event champion and came up just short of picking up his third Route 66 Raceway Wally.

Capps’ campaign for the Joliet trophy began with a round one matchup versus Justin Schriefer. An impressive qualifying performance allowed Capps and his team to start race day from the No. 2 spot and with the advantage of lane choice versus their first challenger. Schriefer lost traction early into the run enabling Capps to drive around his competition and onto victory.

In the quarterfinals, Capps faced Shawn Langdon and was quick on the throttle, leaving the line first and never trailing for the win. A 4.104 E.T. provided him with lane choice over his semifinal opponent, John Force.

In the 93rd meeting between the veteran drivers, the second most head-to-head matchups of any two drivers in the pro classes, Capps once again had the advantage at the tree. He powered the NAPA Dodge to his best pass of the day, activating the win light with a 4.058 E.T.

Next up for the 2016 Funny Car world champion was a final round battle with the reigning world champ, Robert Hight. It was Capps’ third consecutive Joliet final round appearance and first of 2018. Hight pulled away first and was able to seize the victory over Capps’ tire-smoking effort.

A solid Route 66 Raceway showing enabled Capps and the Rahn Tobler-led NAPA AUTO PARTS Funny Car team to bank nearly 100 points over the course of the weekend, and bumped Capps up from seventh to sixth in the NHRA Mello Yello Funny Car points ranking.

“It’s so nice to have our NAPA car back to where it was when we won the championship in 2016, and our eight wins last year. I always brag about the NAPA Know How that Rahn Tobler has, and this weekend, I could tell we’re back to where the car is doing exactly what he wants it to. For me, that means it’s going to be a lot of fun because we’re going to win a lot of rounds this summer. We’re going to fight to get back up and get the point lead going into Indy. We’re back a little ways, but we’re making up ground. Great weekend for the NAPA AutoCare guys."

Driver of the Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T

Qualified: No. 1 (3.917 E.T. at 326.79 MPH)

The Results:
E1: 4.017 E.T. at 320.74 MPH defeated Jonnie Lindberg 4.442 E.T. at 246.57 MPH
E2: 4.149 E.T. at 282.95 MPH defeated by Bob Tasca III 4.084 E.T. at 307.86 MPH

Race Recap:
Matt Hagan spearheaded the dominant DSR 1-2-3 qualifying performance at Joliet, racing his Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car to the No. 1 spot. The two-time Funny Car World champ had the early advantage over Jonnie Lindberg in round one and never looked back with a winning 4.017-second at 320.74-mph run that earned him lane choice over Bob Tasca III in the quarterfinals.

Hagan, a three-time winner at Route 66 Raceway, and Tasca both left the starting with identical .074 marks. The two were locked together neck-and-neck for much of the race, but Tasca began to slowly edge ahead and was able to outrun Hagan’s 4.149-sec pass.

“Unfortunately, not what we wanted out of race day. Went out there and (the car) just kind of came loose, it was looping the tires. We’re having to make bigger wholesale changes during race day, and I feel like our Mopar Dodge is responding to the changes. All in all, I feel like we’re closing the gap on a lot of things, and we’re making it happen. We have some momentum going into these next three races coming up.”

Driver of the Make-A-Wish Foundation Dodge Charger R/T
Qualified: No. 10 (4.011 E.T. at 323.35 MPH)

The Results:
E1: 5.874 E.T. at 97.84 MPH defeated by Shawn Langdon 4.475 E.T. at 250.00 MPH

Race Recap:
Steady improvement during qualifying provided Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car driver Tommy Johnson Jr. with encouragement heading into a first-round eliminations fight with Shawn Langdon. Gunning for his second career win at Joliet, Johnson left first with a .076 reaction time to Langdon’s slower .097. That promising start ended with a boom under the hood near the 300-foot mark that cracked Johnson’s Funny Car body nearly in half, with the vehicle slowing to a stop and Johnson emerging quickly and safely.

"A little frustrating, the track surface was giving everyone fits first round. The cars won’t stay hooked up. We went out there and it spun the tires. I couldn’t see Shawn (Langdon) at that point, but it’s race day so you try and get back in it and do everything you can to get it down to the finish line. I just touched the throttle and it blew up. It’s unfortunate, but we’ll regroup and go on to the next one."

NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship Points Standings:

Top Fuel
1 Steve Torrence – 712
2 Clay Millican – 687
3 Leah Pritchett – 582
4 Tony Schumacher – 578
5 Doug Kalitta – 570
6 Brittany Force – 471
7 Terry McMillen – 464
8 Antron Brown – 456
9 Scott Palmer – 350
10 Richie Crampton – 329

Funny Car
1 Courtney Force – 728
2 Jack Beckman – 647
3 Robert Hight – 624
4 Matt Hagan – 601
5 J.R. Todd – 539
6 Ron Capps – 535
7 Tommy Johnson Jr. – 522

8 Cruz Pedregon – 433
9 Shawn Langdon – 429
10 John Force – 383​
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