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DSR Pre-Race Report: Norwalk (1 Viewer)

Norwalk Pre-Race Report

NHRA Nationals
Event 12 of 24 (Norwalk)
Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park
Norwalk, Ohio
June 21-23, 2019

Noteworthy:

  • Matt Hagan returns to Norwalk as the defending Funny Car event champion
  • Jack Beckman leads the Funny Car class in number of victories (three) at the Norwalk track: 2009, 2015, 2017
  • Leah Pritchett will pull double-duty, competing in both the Top Fuel and Factory Stock Showdown Series categories
  • Mark Pawuk raced to his career-first Factory Stock Showdown final round at the 2018 event
  • As a resident of Akron, Ohio, Pawuk considers Norwalk to be his home track
  • Ron Capps celebrates a birthday on June 20
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
Norwalk Event Highlights:

  • 2014 event champion
  • Two-time runner-up (2010, 2015)
2018 Norwalk Recap:
Qualified fifth; First round exit (defeated by Blake Alexander in E1)
Last Event (Bristol):
Qualified fourth; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Audrey Worm in E1; defeated by Mike Salinas in E2)
2019 Season Statistics:
14 round wins; Ranked fourth in points
Career Statistics:
417 races; 66 wins (16 Pro Stock Motorcycle); 49 No. 1 qualifiers (11 PSM)
Quotable:
“We're fourth in points. It’s a tight race right now, and we really want to get some round wins in so we can go for that No. 2 spot. There’s a lot of racing left, and we’ve just got to keep pushing and marching forward, and I’m excited to get right back after it in Norwalk.”


LEAH PRITCHETT
Driver of the John Schnatter Top Fuel Dragster
2018 Norwalk Recap:
Qualified eighth; Semifinal finish (defeated Doug Kalitta in E1, Clay Millican in E2; defeated by Blake Alexander in E3)
Last Event (Bristol):
Qualified second; First round exit (defeated by Lex Joon in E1)
2019 Season Statistics:
Nine round wins; Ranked seventh in points
Career Statistics:
129 races; seven wins; 11 No. 1 qualifiers
Noteworthy:
  • Leah Pritchett will pull double-duty, competing in both the Top Fuel and Factory Stock Showdown Series categories
Quotable:
“Coming up on the last race of this June swing, we’d like nothing better than to swing 180-degrees in both categories. Both the Top Fuel and Factory Stock teams have been working hard, and we’ve been testing in between races. We’ve been trying to refine our power management with the Factory Stock cars on hot tracks. With the fuel team, we’ve been chipping away at our tune-up, and it’s definitely coming together. We’re looking forward to bringing all of the knowledge we’ve accrued in the previous three races, and we hope to have a fantastic ending to June. I’m proud to be back with John Schnatter’s support in the fuel car. This team’s drive and thirst for the win lights is stronger than ever. I feel great about Norwalk, and I’m looking forward to seeing all the fans. We had awesome momentum in Topeka, and we’re going to pick up where we left off there and put this MOPAR power to the ground.”

Funny Car:
JACK BECKMAN
Driver of the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
Norwalk Event Highlights:

  • Three-time event champion (2009, 2015, 2017)
2018 Norwalk Recap:
Qualified 11th; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Tim Wilkerson in E1; defeated by Matt Hagan in E2)
Last Event (Bristol):
Qualified fourth; Semifinal finish (defeated Tim Wilkerson in E1, J.R. Todd in E2; defeated by John Force in E3)
2019 Season Statistics:
17 round wins; ranked fifth in points
Career Statistics:
311 races; 28 wins; 24 No. 1 qualifiers
Noteworthy:

  • Leads the Funny Car class in number of victories (three) at the Norwalk track: 2009, 2015, 2017
Quotable:
“Each track has its own unique flavor, and Norwalk is big on their pound of ice cream deal (for $1). So, if you win there, not only do you leave with a Wally, but you get an engraved, pewter ice cream scooper. The Bader family knows how to keep fans happy and really pack the grandstands. As a driver, that really means something, and I always enjoy going to Norwalk.
“People always ask if I prefer the four-in-a-row or prefer time off in between races. I don’t care; I’m excited either way. I feel like all of us on this team are slightly frustrated because we’re good enough to win a race, but we haven’t closed the deal yet. If there’s such a thing as extra incentive for a team like Infinite Hero, I think everyone’s got it right now going into Norwalk.”


RON CAPPS
Driver of the Pennzoil Synthetics/NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
Norwalk Event Highlights:

  • 2016 event champion
  • Three-time runner-up (2011, 2013, 2014)
2018 Norwalk Recap:
Qualified second; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Jeff Diehl in E1; defeated by J.R. Todd in E2)
Last Event (Bristol):
Qualified seventh; Semifinal finish (defeated Blake Alexander in E1, Shawn Langdon in E2; defeated by Bob Tasca III in E3)
2019 Season Statistics:
17 round wins; ranked fourth in points
Career Statistics:
542 races; 63 wins (one Top Fuel); 22 No. 1 qualifiers
Noteworthy:
  • With a birthday on June 20th, Capps is celebrating his birthday weekend in Norwalk
Quotable:
“We’ve got a great Pennzoil/NAPA paint scheme we’re bringing back out this weekend in Norwalk. We won the Seattle race with it last year, and we’re excited to bring it back. Norwalk is another one of those tracks that ranks high up there in difficulty; the heat and humidity is always there. I enjoy these summer months though, and the camaraderie of our team coming together and trying to be perfect because you have to be perfect on these 130-degree race tracks.”

MATT HAGAN
Driver of the Sandvik Coromant Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
Norwalk Event Highlights:
  • 2018 event champion
  • Two-time No. 1 qualifier (2015, 2017)
2018 Norwalk Recap:
Qualified third; Event champion (defeated Tommy Johnson Jr. in E1, Jack Beckman in E2, J.R. Todd in E3, Courtney Force in E4)
Last Event (Bristol):
Qualified ninth; First round exit (defeated by Tommy Johnson Jr. in E1)
2019 Season Statistics:
12 round wins; ranked seventh in points
Career Statistics:
251 races; 30 wins; 34 No. 1 qualifiers
Noteworthy:
  • Returns to Norwalk as the defending Funny Car event champion
Quotable:
“We’ve learned a lot of things over these past few races, and we’re moving forward. I feel really good about moving into Norwalk and closing out this four-race swing on a high note. It’s been a real tough uphill battle, but we’re going to finish strong.”

TOMMY JOHNSON JR.
Driver of the Make-A-Wish Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
2018 Norwalk Recap:
Qualified 14th; First round exit (defeated by Matt Hagan in E1)
Last Event (Bristol):
Qualified eighth; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Matt Hagan in E1; defeated by John Force in E2)
2019 Season Statistics:
18 round wins; ranked third in points
Career Statistics:
457 races; 18 wins (two Top Fuel); 18 No. 1 qualifiers (one Top Fuel)
Quotable:
“Norwalk is such a fun race for everybody. It’s a great facility and a great family that owns it. The way you end this four-in-a-row is important; you can gain a lot of momentum. You can have a great four-in-a-row or a bad one, and I think we’ve had a really good one. We started off with a win and the car has been running spectacularly lately so I’d love nothing more than to finish it with a win and really solidify ourselves in the middle of the season as one of the major contenders.”
Factory Stock Showdown Series:
MARK PAWUK
Driver of the Empaco Equipment MOPAR Dodge Challenger Drag Pak
Last Event (Topeka):
Qualified 11th; First round exit (defeated by Randy Taylor in E1)
FSXX Career Statistics:
Nine races; Two runner-ups; One No. 1 qualifier
Noteworthy:
  • Raced to his career-first Factory Stock Showdown final round at the 2018 event
  • As a resident of Akron, Ohio, Pawuk considers Norwalk to be his home track
LEAH PRITCHETT
Driver of the MOPAR Dodge Challenger Drag Pak
Last Event (Topeka):
Qualified eighth; First round exit (defeated by Joseph Welch in E1)
FSXX Career Statistics:
13 races; Three wins; Two No. 1 qualifiers
 

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