DSR Pre-Race Report: Indianapolis (1 Viewer)

Indianapolis Pre-Race Report

NHRA U.S. Nationals
Event 18 of 24 (Indianapolis)
Lucas Oil Raceway
Aug. 30 - Sept. 2, 2019


  • Leah Pritchett (Top Fuel) and Ron Capps (Funny Car) enter the race weekend as the most recent winners on tour
  • Capps is seeking his third consecutive final round appearance of 2019
  • Capps has been victorious at every track on the current NHRA tour with the exception of Indianapolis and is focused on that elusive first U.S. Nationals win during his 25th season of nitro racing
  • Matt Hagan raced to the Indy Funny Car final in 2018
  • Hagan made his NHRA Funny Car debut at the 2008 U.S. Nationals
  • Tommy Johnson Jr. returns to the annual one-off Riley Kids livery, a DSR/U.S. Nationals tradition benefiting Riley Hospital for Children since 2014
  • Antron Brown has both Top Fuel and Pro Stock Motorcycle victories at Indianapolis
  • Pritchett and Mark Pawuk return to Factory Stock Showdown competition; Pritchett will pull double-duty, competing in both Top Fuel and Factory Stock
  • Pritchett drove from the pole to her career-first FS/XX triumph at the 2018 event; Pawuk recorded a runner-up finish
  • Team patriarch Don Schumacher raced his Funny Car to the winner’s circle at the 1970 event
  • All DSR drivers have clinched a berth in the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship and will be jockeying for final playoff starting positions
  • Hometown event for DSR which is headquartered two miles away from the famed Indy dragstrip
DSR is hosting its annual Open House to benefit Riley Children’s Foundation, this Friday, 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., 1681 E. Northfield Dr., Brownsburg. The Open House will feature a driver autograph session, car show, food trucks, and a silent auction. To bid on Open House auction items, please visit: https://e.givesmart.com/events/dD4/
DSR-Owned Track Records:
Funny Car, E.T.: 3.799 seconds, Matt Hagan (2017)
Funny Car, speed: 338.77 mph, Hagan (2017)

DSR Driver Information:

Top Fuel:
Driver of the Matco Tools Top Fuel Dragster
Indianapolis Event Highlights:
  • Three-time event champion
    • Top Fuel (2011)
    • Pro Stock Motorcycle (2000, 2004)
  • Four-time No. 1 qualifier (2009, 2011-2013)
2018 Indianapolis Recap:
Qualified third; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Brittany Force in E1; defeated by Doug Kalitta in E2)

Last Event (Brainerd):
Qualified 12th; First round exit (defeated by Billy Torrence in E1)

2019 Season Statistics:
20 round wins; Ranked fifth in points

Career Statistics:
423 races; 66 wins (16 Pro Stock Motorcycle); 49 No. 1 qualifiers (11 PSM)

  • Has both Top Fuel and Pro Stock Motorcycle victories at Indianapolis
  • Hometown event for the Pittsboro, Ind. resident
“The U.S. Nationals is a big race, and our Matco Tools Toyota team is primed and ready. We stayed behind in Brainerd and tested. We got our car back on the right track, and it was the perfect way to get some good momentum going into Indy. This is the biggest race of the year. If you win Indy, it’s almost like winning the championship. Our main focus is to qualify well and bring a win home. If we can bring a win home, that will set us up for a good Countdown run, and it all starts here in Indy.”
Driver of the MOPAR Dodge Top Fuel Dragster
2018 Indianapolis Recap:
Qualified sixth; First round exit (defeated by Doug Kalitta in E1)

Last Event (Brainerd):
Qualified fourth; Event champion (defeated Kyle Wurtzel in E1, Billy Torrence in E2, Austin Prock in E3, Mike Salinas in E4)

2019 Season Statistics:
16 round wins; Ranked seventh in points

Career Statistics:
134 races; eight wins; 11 No. 1 qualifiers

  • Enters the event as the most recent Top Fuel winner on the tour
  • Will pull double-duty, competing in Top Fuel while defending her 2018 Factory Stock Showdown series event title

“Feeling good with our Top Fuel MOPAR-momentum. (Crew chief) Todd (Okuhara), Neal (Strausbaugh), and the crew have got a confident handle on our hot rod entering the longest, most prestigious, points-heavy race of the regular season. Also, racing el Bandito in Factory Stock Showdown competition again has me back on double-duty, and I’m more focused than ever to bring out the highest potential and results with both of these MOPAR teams. Indy, we are ready.”
Funny Car:
Driver of the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
Indianapolis Event Highlights:
  • 2015 event champion and No. 1 qualifier
  • Two-time runner-up (2008, 2013)
2018 Indianapolis Recap:
Qualified 11th; First round exit (defeated by Courtney Force in E1)

Last Event (Brainerd):
Qualified second; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Terry Haddock in E1; defeated by Ron Capps in E2)

2019 Season Statistics:
25 round wins; ranked fifth in points

Career Statistics:
317 races; 28 wins; 24 No. 1 qualifiers

“I really thought we’d have a win or two under our belts going into the 18th race of the season, so that aspect has been disappointing. What hasn’t been disappointing is overall performance. We’re a top-five car, we’ve been to three final rounds, and at our last race in Brainerd we set top E.T. and speed of the meet, so we know we have a car that is capable of running quick. We also have a consistent car. What we need to have is a consistently quick car, and I think we’re always one race away from that. Every time we unload the trailer, it could be our weekend. There’s no reason not to be optimistic with the Infinite Hero team. Frankly, I’ll take six runner-up’s in the Countdown if that’s what’s needed to get the championship, but at some point, we want to have a trophy sitting on the shelf to show that this year has been successful, and if we can Indy, that literally fixes everything.”

Driver of the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
Indianapolis Event Highlights:
  • 2017 event runner-up
2018 Indianapolis Recap:
Qualified 13th; First round exit (defeated by Tommy Johnson Jr. in E1)

Last Event (Brainerd):
Qualified seventh; Event champion (defeated J.R. Todd in E1, Jack Beckman in E2, Shawn Langdon in E3, Tommy Johnson Jr. in E4)

2019 Season Statistics:
27 round wins; ranked fourth in points

Career Statistics:
548 races; 64 wins (one Top Fuel); 23 No. 1 qualifiers

  • Enters the race weekend as the most recent Funny Car winner on tour
  • Has raced to the final at the past two events (Brainerd, Seattle)
  • Capps, who is celebrating his 25th season driving a nitro car, is laser-focused on his first U.S. Nationals victory
“You can always judge how a season is going by seeing where you’re at come Indy. For our NAPA team, it’s been a great season so far, but coming into what we consider to be our ‘Super bowl’ event, everything is heightened. Indy is points-and-a-half, and we’re trying to move up in the Mello Yello standings. Second place is the goal going into the Countdown to the Championship. Besides that, this is a race I’ve never gotten to win. We’ve come very close in the past, had great race cars where I thought we had the best chance ever to be able to hold a U.S. Nationals Wally, but for whatever reason, it just hasn’t happened. Indy is a long, grueling race weekend but I definitely like our chances at finally getting that win this year.

“Our team is in a good spot, and it’s hard to not look ahead to the playoffs and think about what it will take to win a championship, but right now, (crew chief) Rahn Tobler, and our NAPA AutoCare team, and myself are focused on qualifying well Friday night and holding the Wally on Monday evening.”

Driver of the MOPAR Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody
Indianapolis Event Highlights:
  • 2016 event champion
  • 2018 runner-up
  • Five-time No. 1 qualifier (2010, 2013-2014, 2016-2017)
2018 Indianapolis Recap
Qualified third; Event runner-up (defeated Jonnie Lindberg in E1, Courtney Force in E2, Shawn Langdon in E3; defeated by J.R. Todd in E4)

Last Event (Brainerd):
Qualified No. 1; Semifinal finish (defeated Dale Creasy Jr. in E1, Bob Tasca III in E2; defeated by Tommy Johnson Jr. in E3)

2019 Season Statistics:
23 round wins; ranked sixth in points

Career Statistics:
257 races; 31 wins; 35 No. 1 qualifiers

  • 2018 event runner-up
  • Recorded his career-best E.T. and speed during the 2017 event, resetting both ends of the Lucas Oil Raceway Funny Car track records
  • Made his NHRA Funny Car debut at the 2008 U.S. Nationals
“Indy is our biggest race of the year. I won it a few years back, and we’ve come close a time or two since. It’s going to be a long week. We start with our annual Riley Children’s Hospital visit on Wednesday, and then we have our Open House at DSR all day on Friday and then start making runs later that evening. Our car has been running strong, we’ve had some wins, a couple of semifinals, finals and I think that we’re in a good spot. Capps just won, T.J. and Jack have been running well, so all in all, DSR cars are coming around when they need to. It’s time for us to put some more W’s on the board and have a good Indy race and then get ready for the Countdown.”

Driver of the Riley Kids Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
Indianapolis Event Highlights:
  • 2002 event runner-up
  • Two-time No. 1 (1999-2000)
2018 Indianapolis Recap:
Qualified fourth; Semifinal finish (defeated Ron Capps in E1, Tim Wilkerson in E2; defeated by J.R. Todd in E3)

Last Event (Brainerd):
Qualified fifth; Event runner-up (defeated Tim Wilkerson in E1, Robert Hight in E2, Matt Hagan in E3; defeated by Ron Capps in E4)

2019 Season Statistics:
29 round wins; ranked second in points

Career Statistics:
463 races; 19 wins (two Top Fuel); 18 No. 1 qualifiers (one Top Fuel)

  • Since 2014, the Doug Chandler-funded Make-A-Wish Dodge has donned a special Riley Kids livery during the annual Indy event as a way to bring exposure to the locally-based Riley Hospital for Children
  • As a resident of nearby Avon, Ind., Johnson considers Indianapolis to be a hometown event
  • Secured his first Top Fuel No. 1 qualifier at Indianapolis in 2000
“Really looking forward to Indy; it’s the biggest drag race of them all and the one you want to win. Right now, the way our car is running, coming off that runner-up in Brainerd and seeing the way our new chassis is performing, I’d say this year we have our best shot at taking home the Indy crown.

“I’m especially looking forward to Friday night; we’ll be the last pair to run, and we’re going for that No. 1 spot. We’ll see if we can’t put together a strong weekend and finish off our regular season on a really good note. We have a competitive car that’s capable of winning the race.”
Factory Stock Showdown Series:

Driver of the Empaco Equipment MOPAR Dodge Challenger Drag Pak
Indianapolis Event Highlights:
  • 2018 event runner-up
2018 Indianapolis Recap:
Qualified second; Event runner-up (defeated Joseph Welch in E1, Leonard Libersher in E2, Arthur Kohn in E3; defeated by Leah Pritchett in E4)

Last NHRA Event (Norwalk):

FSXX Career Statistics:
10 races; two runner-ups; one No. 1 qualifier
Driver of the MOPAR Dodge Challenger Drag Pak
Indianapolis Event Highlights:
  • 2018 event champion and No. 1 qualifier
2018 Indianapolis Recap:
Qualified No. 1; Event champion (defeated Aaron Stanfield in E1, Kevin Skinner in E2, Stephen Bell in E3, Mark Pawuk in E4)

Last Event (Norwalk):
Qualified 13th; First round exit (defeated by Bill Skillman in E1)

FSXX Career Statistics:
14 races; three wins; two No. 1 qualifiers

  • Returns as the defending event champion
  • The 2018 Indy race was the first time Pritchett visited the winner's circle in a Factory Stock machine; the triumph kicked off a string of three consecutive FS/XX wins and helped secure the 2018 series crown
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