* Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) pilot Matt Hagan and Pennzoil Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat earned No.1 qualifier position for 35th annual AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals.
* Hagan is defending winner and hopes to extend DSR's record win streak of 11 Funny Car event titles which he launched last year at Texas Motorplex
* Hagan leads DSR teammates in battle for Funny Car world championship
* DSR's Tommy Johnson Jr. qualifies No.2 with his MD Anderson Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car following his Mopar Express lane NHRA Midwest Nationals win.
* Leah Pruett qualifies her Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye dragster fifth and heads into eliminations third in the Top Fuel championship points
* Pruett pulls double duty for the fifth time this season as she qualifies her Mopar Dodge Challenger Drak Pak 13th for Factory Stock Showdown (FSS)
* Mopar Drag Pak teammate Mark Pawuk qualifies No.6 for FSS eliminations
Ennis, Texas - Three events remain in the 2020 National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Drag Racing Series season and a fierce battle for the Funny Car world championship intensifies amongst the Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) quartet of Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat machines as Matt Hagan laid down two stout qualifying passes aboard his Pennzoil Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat to earn the No.1 qualifier position honor and maintain the Funny Car points lead heading into Sunday's 35th annual AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals near Dallas, Texas.
Hagan's fourth No.1 qualifier position of the 2020 NHRA season, the 40th of his career, also puts him in prime position to defend his 2019 Texas Motorplex Wally trophy and extend his team's record win streak of 11 consecutive Funny Car victories which was launched with his win here last year.
Hagan's efforts in qualifying earned him five bonus points as he posted the second quickest run in the first session, a 3.890-second elapsed time pass at 323.97 mph, and the best run of the second session, a 3.860 sec./328.54 mph lap, to stay atop the standings and ahead of teammates Jack Beckman, Tommy Johnson Jr. and Ron Capps, who are 2-3-4 respectively. In fact, all four DSR Dodge Charger Funny Cars earned at least one bonus point for posting a top-3 qualifying run and are seeded in the top-half of the eliminations ladder, thus avoiding any first round pairings against a teammate.
Hagan will begin his race day against No. 16 seed Todd Simpson after finishing runner-up in the previous national event to his teammate Johnson Jr.
Winner of the Mopar Express Lane NHRA Midwest Nationals near St. Louis two weeks ago, Johnson Jr. kept the positive momentum going through the first qualifying session where he posted the quickest lap aboard his MD Anderson Dodge Charger and earned the No. 2 spot on the eliminations ladder. He'll see Jim Campbell as his first round opponent.
Fourth in points and also on Sunday's eliminations ladder, Capps will line-up his Dodge Charger next to Terry Haddock for the opening round, while sixth-seed, Jack Beckman, will match-up against No. 11 seed Cruz Pedregon.
Two weeks removed from a harrowing incident aboard her DSR dragster in eliminations, Leah Pruett showed everyone that her unwavering focus remains on battling for an event win this season and to continue to vie for the Top Fuel championship. Pruett qualified her Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye dragster fifth and will see Scott Palmer in the next lane for the first round of Top Fuel action.
For a fifth event this season, Pruett will pull double duty as she also competes in Factory Stock Showdown (FSS) aboard her Mopar Dodge Challenger alongside teammate Mark Pawuk.
Pawuk qualified No. 6 aboard his Empaco Equipment Mopar Drag Pak and will face John Cerbone in the first round of eliminations, while Pruett is seeded 13th and will see No. 4 Arthur Kohn as her first round pairing.
Elimination rounds for the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals will begin at 10 a.m. local time on Sunday, Oct. 18, with the television broadcast on FS1 to air from 2-5 p.m. ET featuring live coverage of the final round of eliminations at Texas Motorplex.
ADDITIONAL NOTES and QUOTES:
Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No.6 Qualifier - 3.917 seconds at 328.70 mph)
Qualifying 1: 3.917 sec./ 328.70 mph
Qualifying 2: 3.978 sec./ 316.23 mph
'So we unloaded with a nice run and that always takes the pressure off. Even though there's only 16 cars you always want to qualify well and you want bonus points and we did that on the first run. We tried some different parts on the second run and we're not quite sure what happened. All of our backup parts should be good and predicable. Something probably didn't do what it was supposed to do in the bellhousing department. We'll go back and look at all the data and figure it out and have a hot race car for tomorrow. I'm looking for four win lights for the Infinite Hero Dodge.'
Matt Hagan, Pennzoil Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car (No. 1 Qualifier - 3.860 seconds at 328.54 mph)
Qualifying 1: 3.890 sec./ 323.97 mph
Qualifying 2: 3.860 sec./ 328.54 mph
'We made two great runs with this Pennzoil Dodge. It was a bit of a cluster up there for the second run. We were trying to make a clutch call and Dickie (Venables) was trying to put a timing map in, and I was like take a deep breath, it's going to be alright. And it was. I have a great race car under me and I'm trying to drive the wheels off of it and it's amazing to see all these fans here at the Texas Motorplex and it sort of feels normal and I love it. We'll try to make four good laps tomorrow and stay in the championship hunt for Dodge and Mopar and all those who support us.'
Tommy Johnson Jr., MD Anderson Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car (No. 2 Qualifier - 3.914 seconds at 315.78 mph)
Qualifying 1: 3.871 sec./ 315.34 mph
Qualifying 2: 3.914 sec./ 315.78 mph
'We were going for it on the second lap and it laid over a little bit on the top end there. No biggie, still two good laps. I knew they were taking as swing as we had nothing to lose. We have a good, solid race car for MD Anderson. We're strong contenders for tomorrow. We're in top half of the field again and we've put ourselves in a strong position and we're doing everything we can to make it a good race day and championship chase.'
Ron Capps, NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car (No. 4 Qualifier - 3.885 seconds at 326.79 mph)
Qualifying 1: 8.473 sec./ 74.92 mph
Qualifying 2: 3.885 sec./ 326.79 mph
We certainly didn't start off the way we wanted to and this current format with only two qualifying runs on Saturday, you hate to lose one. It actually shook the tires on the first run, but (Rahn) Tobler and our NAPA team tried a few things that we were hoping would increase the performance. It didn't work on that run, but a lot of times we seem to learn more from things that don't work than do. He put it back to normal and it went right down the track at a great 3.88 that put us No. 4 in qualifying. That's a great job to bounce back and that gives us a lot of confidence going into race day tomorrow. We're looking to make a move and work our way back up in the points.'
Leah Pruett, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye Top Fuel Dragster (No. 5 Qualifier - 3.732 seconds at 318.77 mph)
Qualifying 1: 4.104 sec./ 203.92 mph
Qualifying 2: 3.732 sec./ 318.77 mph
'It was a very progressive qualifying day for the SRT Hellcat Redeye team. Especially after St. Louis and having to front half a car and put it together for battle this weekend here at Dallas. The first hit we had some fuel system issues and made a couple of tuning adjustments and sent it right down Broadway. For me, that was very rewarding for me after the last race. If you didn't have any apprehension, you wouldn't be humane. We feel human today and we feel like we got our momentum back and we're looking forward to hitting four jackpots tomorrow with this Mopar dragster.'
Mark Pawuk, Empaco Equipment Mopar Drag Pak- Factory Stock Shootout (No. 6 Qualifier - 7.934 seconds at 174.21 mph)
Qualifying 1: 7.934 sec./ 174.21 mph
Qualifying 2: 7.934 sec./ 174.21 mph
'It was another decent qualifying outing for the Empaco Equipment Dodge Drag Pak with DSR. We qualified sixth. We did ok on Friday, but made a better run today. We made some changes to the car and we were in the top four today. Hopefully the driver does his job and we can continue to go some rounds and rack up some Factory Stock Showdown points and continue the momentum that we started at Indy at the U.S.Nationals and we want to keep it going for three more weeks.'
Leah Pruett, Mopar Dodge Challenger Mopar Drag Pak - Factory Stock Shootout
(No. 13 Qualifier - 8.001 seconds at 172.56 mph)
Qualifying 1: 8.002 sec./ 172.56 mph
Qualifying 2: 8.001 sec./ 170.82 mph
'We made a lot of major changes between Q1 and Q2, from Friday to Saturday, and we had nearly the same result. Where we qualified was in the No. 13 spot. We know what our handicap is and we're not able to adjust for that this season. We will try to put as much power to the ground as we can and Mark's (Pawuk) car is carrying the Mopar flagship and it's important to keep him fighting for the Factory Stock championship. I love this class. It's a lot of fun and I love running for Mopar and to compete and win.'
NHRA Championship Points Standings:
(Following qualifying at the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals)
FUNNY CAR (season wins in parentheses)
1. Matt Hagan (Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat) - 702 (2)
2. Jack Beckman (Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat) - 678 (2)
3. Tommy Johnson Jr. (Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat) - 665 (1)
4. Ron Capps (Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat) - 548 (2)
5. Tim Wilkerson - 518
6. J.R. Todd - 506
7. Bob Tasca III - 498
8. Alexis DeJoria - 409
9. Paul Lee - 351
10. Cruz Pedregon - 335
TOP FUEL (season wins in parentheses)
1. Steve Torrance - 684 (3)
2. Doug Kalitta - 673 (1)
3. Leah Pruett (Mopar Dodge//SRT) - 596
4. Billy Torrance - 538 (1)
5. Justin Ashley - 463 (1)
6. Antron Brown - 458
7. Shawn Langdon - 451 (1)
8. Terry McMillen - 436
9. Clay Millican - 381
10. Tony Schumacher - 274
DodgeGarage: Digital Hub for Drag Racing News
Fans can follow all the NHRA's action this season at DodgeGarage, the one-stop portal for Dodge//SRT and Mopar drag-racing news. The site includes daily updates and access to an online racing HQ, news, events, galleries, available downloads, and merchandise. For more information, visit www.dodgegarage.com.
@DodgeMoparMotorsports on Instagram
The @DodgeMoparMotorsports Instagram channel continues to share content capturing Dodge//SRT Mopar drivers on the track. Fans can see action from the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series and NHRA Sportsman grassroots racers competing in classes such as Factory Stock Showdown, Stock and Super Stock, as well as additional motorsports series.
Official Driving School of Dodge//SRT
Dodge is the official sponsor of the Bondurant School of High Performance Driving in Chandler, Arizona, where guests get behind the wheels of the fastest street-legal cars in the world with professional instruction and time on the track. Customers who buy a new SRT model receive one full-day session as part of the Dodge//SRT Package and have the opportunity to learn how to get the optimum performance from their new vehicles in a controlled environment. For more information, visit dodgegarage.com/track-experience.
Mopar (a simple contraction of the words MOtor and PARts) is the service, parts and customer-care brand for FCA vehicles around the globe. Born in 1937 as the name of a line of antifreeze products, the Mopar brand has evolved over more than 80 years to represent both complete care and authentic performance for owners and enthusiasts worldwide.
Mopar made its mark in the 1960s during the muscle-car era, with Mopar Performance Parts to enhance speed and handling for both road and racing use, and expanded to include technical service and customer support. Today, the Mopar brand's global reach distributes more than 500,000 parts and accessories in more than 150 markets. With more than 50 parts distribution centers and 25 customer-contact centers globally, Mopar integrates service, parts and customer-care operations in order to enhance customer and dealer support worldwide.
Complete information on the Mopar brand is available at www.mopar.com. Mopar is part of the portfolio of brands offered by global automaker Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. For more information regarding FCA (NYSE: FCAU/ MTA: FCA), please visit www.fcagroup.com.
For more than 100 years, the Dodge brand has carried on the spirit of brothers John and Horace Dodge. Their influence continues today as Dodge shifts into high gear with muscle cars and SUVs that deliver unrivaled performance in each of the segments where they compete.
2021 marks the year that Dodge is distilled into a pure performance brand, offering Hellcat-powered, 700+ horsepower SRT versions of every model across the lineup. For the 2021 model year, Dodge delivers the drag-strip dominating 807-horsepower Dodge Challenger SRT Super Stock, the new 797-horsepower Dodge Charger SRT Redeye, the most powerful and fastest mass-produced sedan in the world, and the new 710-horsepower Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat, the most powerful SUV ever. Combined, these three muscle cars make Dodge the industry's most powerful brand, offering more horsepower than any other American brand across its entire lineup.
In June 2020, Dodge was named the '#1 Brand in Initial Quality,' making it the first domestic brand ever to rank No. 1 in the J.D. Power Initial Quality Study (IQS). Dodge is part of the portfolio of brands offered by global automaker Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. For more information regarding FCA (NYSE: FCAU/ MTA: FCA), please visit www.fcagroup.com.
Follow Dodge, SRT and FCA news and video on:
Company blog: http://blog.fcanorthamerica.com
Media website: http://media.fcanorthamerica.com
Dodge brand: www.dodge.com
Dodge Garage: www.dodgegarage.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/dodge or https://www.facebook.com/FiatChrysler.NorthAmerica/
Instagram: www.instagram.com/dodgeofficial or www.instagram.com/FiatChrysler_NA
Twitter: www.twitter.com/dodge or www.twitter.com/FiatChrysler_NA
YouTube: www.youtube.com/dodge or www.youtube.com/fcanorthamerica