Monthly Archives: March 2018

Defending Funny Car Winner Tommy Johnson Jr. Excited For Four-Wide Racing At DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals

Category : DSR news

LAS VEGAS – Already a fan of four-wide racing and running at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Funny Car’s Tommy Johnson Jr. is excited to see what that means for him when those aspects are combined for the first time at the upcoming 19th annual DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, April 6-8 in Las Vegas.

It is the debut of NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series four-wide racing, one of the biggest spectacles in motorsports, on the West Coast, and Johnson, the defending winner of the Las Vegas spring race, is one of many who can’t wait for the highly-anticipated race. Add in five career final round appearances at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Johnson believes something special could take place in his 10,000-horsepower Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car.

“It’s neat to be part of a first event like this and it’s going to be really cool,” Johnson said. “This will be a unique one. I’ve heard from a lot of fans on the West Coast at the first two races who are excited to see four-wide racing for the first time. It really opens everybody’s eyes when they see it. But there’s tracks on tour that just seem to fit you and Vegas is that track. It’s a fun race, fun town and a great facility.”

Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Johnson (Funny Car) and Tanner Gray (Pro Stock) were last year’s winners of the event that will be televised on FOX Sports 1, including finals coverage starting at 6 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, April 8. It is the fourth of 24 races during the 2018 NHRA season, providing fans out West the chance to see four 10,000-horsepower nitro machines go down the track simultaneously.

It’s a thrill unlike anything in drag racing and Johnson has always enjoyed the intricacies of the unique race, which also takes place in Charlotte at zMAX Dragway. With double the amount of cars, it presents new challenges and difficulties, but Johnson, currently sixth in Funny Car points, likes the extra elements of facing off with three other cars.

“It definitely takes a lot more thinking as a driver because there’s a lot more going on,” said Johnson, who has 17 career wins. You have to have your act together and be aware of what’s going on. Me, personally, I like it. It adds a new level of difficulty, but if you can overcome that and excel at it, it gives you an advantage. There’s certain things you have to add to your routine just because of this event. It’s just another level of having to remind yourself. You can easily fall back into habits that can really bite you.”

It’s been a solid start to 2018 even as the team, led by crew chief John Collins, started using a new six-disc clutch set-up this season, reaching the final round in Phoenix and qualifying well at Gainesville. Johnson also knows what an early-season win can do for a team, especially in a loaded Funny Car class that features Don Schumacher Racing teammates Matt Hagan, the current points leader, Ron Capps and Gainesville winner Jack Beckman, as well as Phoenix winner Courtney Force, defending champ Robert Hight, Shawn Langdon, Del Worsham and Jonnie Lindberg.

“Winning an event early really takes the pressure off,” said Johnson, who finished a career-best second in 2016. “It allows you to do different things. We’re still learning the six-disc, but we’re making big progress. At Gainesville, we learned something very huge. We came into this season knowing we’re going to be learning the first part of the season, but right now we’re on a good track. I’m happy with the progress we’ve made and I think we’re running better than maybe we would have expected.”

Brown earned his second straight win at the spring Vegas race in Top Fuel in 2017, and is seeking his first win in 2018 against the likes of points leader Steve Torrence, Gainesville winner Richie Crampton and defending world champ Brittany Force.

Gray became the youngest Pro Stock winner in NHRA history a year ago and just won in Gainesville. He’ll face off with points leader Bo Butner, Jason Line and Erica Enders.

The event also features the K&N Horsepower Challenge for eight top Pro Stock drivers. Bragging rights and a hefty $50,000 paycheck is on the line for the Saturday specialty race. Greg Anderson has won two straight K&N Horsepower Challenge races.

The event also features competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, as well as the Mickey Thompson Tires NHRA Top Fuel Harley Drag Racing Series. After nitro qualifying on Friday, the Segal Motorsports Fire Starter, American Freedom Fighter & Lucas Oil Muy Caliente Jet Cars will thrill the fans. Known for their pre-run flame shows and after burner pops, jet cars are thrust driven vehicles propelled by jet engines.

As always, fans will have the opportunity to interact with their favorite drivers as they’re granted an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet. This unique opportunity in motorsports gives fans direct access to the teams, allowing them to see firsthand the highly-skilled mechanics service their hot rods between rounds, and get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers. Fans also will want to visit NHRA’s popular Nitro Alley and Manufacturers Midway, where sponsors and race vendors create a carnival atmosphere, with interactive displays, simulated competitions, merchandise, food and fun for the entire family.

Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature two rounds at 12:30 and 3:30 p.m. on Friday, April 6 and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, April 7, at 12:10 and 2:45 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 12 p.m. on Sunday, April 8.

To purchase general-admission or reserved seats, call (800) 644-4444 or visit www.NHRA.com/tickets. Kids 12 and under are free in general admission areas with a paid adult. To honor the Salute to First Responders, military and first responders can save 20 percent on general admission tickets at the gate. For more information about the NHRA visit www.NHRA.com.


DSR Gainesville Post Race Recap

Category : DSR news

DSR Gainesville Post Race Recap
NHRA Gatornationals
Event 3 of 24 (Gainesville)
Gainesville Raceway
Gainesville, Fla.
March 16-18, 2018


DSR Gainesville Race Day Highlights:

  • Jack Beckman wins the 2018 NHRA Gatornationals (Funny Car)
  • Beckman becomes the third consecutive Funny Car driver to win from the No. 1 spot
  • Beckman recorded his first career win at Gainesville Raceway
  • Beckman’s win was DSR’s 320th national event victory
  • All DSR Funny Car final round (Jack Beckman vs. Matt Hagan)
  • Hagan retained the Funny Car points lead

(Excerpt)

TOMMY JOHNSON JR.
Driver of the Make-A-Wish Foundation Dodge Charger R/T
Qualified: No. 5 (3.933 E.T. at 327.27 MPH)

The Results:
E1: 3.995 E.T. at 325.69 MPH defeated Cruz Pedregon 4.083 E.T. at 298.87 MPH
E2: 4.841 E.T. at 172.10 MPH defeated by Shawn Langdon 4.025 E.T. at 313.37 MPH

Race Recap:
After qualifying in the top half of the field, the most recent Funny Car runner-up faced Cruz Pedregon in round one. Johnson was first out of the gate and never trailed, driving Terry and Doug Chandler’s Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T to the win with a clean and straight pass.

In round two, Johnson once again had the starting line advantage. Unfortunately for Johnson, his opponent Shawn Langdon was able to pull ahead early into the run and take the win against Johnson’s tire smoking effort.

Quotable:
“We’re making a little progress, but we’re going to have to keep working at it. We’ve got good data on the six-disc [clutch]. When track conditions are good we run well and qualify well. We just need to keep learning what adjustments to make when the track conditions change and it gets hot out.

“So, we’re making some strides, we’re still going a round or two. If we can continue this progress, we’ll get better and better.

“I’m looking forward to going back to Vegas. We went there and won last year, and it’s always one of my favorite tracks, where we seem to do well. It’s a good racetrack to go to and rebound, get some round wins, get some more data on the six-disc clutch and hopefully top it off with another win.”

NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Points Standing:
182 points, ranked No. 6
Leads seventh ranked Shawn Langdon by eight points
Trails fifth ranked Robert Hight by three points


Jack Beckman Wins the NHRA Gatornationals

GAINESVILLE, Florida (March 18, 2018) – Jack Beckman got to cross an item off of his bucket list on Sunday afternoon – winning the NHRA Gatornationals. Entering the weekend, the drag racing veteran had 26 Funny Car event wins to his credit, but none of them were from historic Gainesville Raceway.

After making four solid qualifying runs, and setting off four win lights on Sunday, Beckman can officially add ‘winning the Gatornationals’ to his impressive resume.

“The Gatornationals came on the schedule in 1970 when NHRA went from four races to seven. That was the super season, the first year they crowned a Funny Car champion. 1970 was a big year for our sport, and [the Gatornationals have] been at this track ever since then, and I’ve never gotten close. It was such a bucket list thing,” said Beckman, who started race day from the No. 1 spot, making him the third consecutive Funny Car driver to win from the top seed.

Along his way to the Winner’s Circle, Beckman defeated Jim Campbell, Del Worsham and Shawn Langdon before squaring off against his DSR teammate, Matt Hagan, in the final round. It was Beckman’s 54th Funny Car final, and first at the Gatornationals.

Hagan and Beckman made nearly identical runs in their Dodge Charger R/T Funny Cars powered by Pennzoil, but Beckman’s reaction time advantage earned him the win, with his 4.035-second pass edging Hagan’s 4.034.

Not only did Beckman get to finally achieve his goal of winning ‘the Gators,’ but Sunday’s victory was also a sentimental one for the driver of Terry and Doug Chandler’s Infinite Hero Foundation Funny Car.

“I flew in a day earlier, and on Thursday I went to the Hall of Fame [dinner]. I got to present Johnny Gray with the Pat Garlits award in honor of Terry Chandler, whose name is still on the side of our car and is the one who made all of this possible. There are 21 of us who have jobs today because of Terry Chandler and how big her heart was, and now her husband Doug wants to carry it on. He’s loving it because he knows Terry is looking down and saying, ‘Alright — my boys did it.’”

Sunday’s win was the 27th of Beckman’s professional career and first of 2018. He moved from sixth to ranked second in the NHRA Funny Car points standings.
Qualified: No. 1 (3.911 E.T. at 332.18 MPH)

The Results:
E1: 3.934 E.T. at 327.43 MPH defeated Jim Campbell 4.183 E.T. at 305.29 MPH
E2: 3.937 E.T. at 318.54 MPH defeated Del Worsham 4.032 E.T. at 315.56 MPH
E3: 4.478 E.T. at 199.35 MPH defeated Shawn Langdon 9.414 E.T. at 81.39 MPH
E4: 4.035 E.T. at 323.58 MPH defeated Matt Hagan 4.034 E.T. at 322.04 MPH

NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Points Standing:
247 points, ranked No. 2
Leads third ranked Courtney Force by 28 points
Trails points leader Matt Hagan by 21 points

Driver Information:

Top Fuel:

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

Qualified: No. 3 (3.751 E.T. at 327.74 MPH)

The Results:
E1: 5.162 E.T. at 191.05 MPH defeated Audrey Worm 8.482 E.T. at 63.53 MPH
E2: 3.793 E.T. at 324.20 MPH defeated Leah Pritchett 3.779 E.T. at 327.51 MPH
E3: 6.132 E.T. at 196.62 MPH defeated by Richie Crampton 5.097 E.T. at 204.85 MPH

Race Recap:
After qualifying third, the 2013 NHRA Gatornationals Top Fuel event champion faced rookie Audrey Worm in round one. Brown, the 2017 Gatornationals runner-up, had the advantage at the step. The car smoked the tires early into the run, and Brown pedaled it down the Gainesville Raceway stretch to pick up an ugly round win over Worm who encountered problems right at the hit.

In the quarterfinals, the three-time Top Fuel champion went to battle with his DSR/Army Racing teammate, Leah Pritchett. Both drivers made solid runs, but Brown was able to edge past Pritchett for the win.

Brown’s day ended with a semifinal matchup versus Richie Crampton. For the third round in a row, Brown had the better reaction time. Unfortunately, his dragster went up in smoke almost immediately and Crampton was able to pick up the round win.

Quotable:
“It was tricky out here. The track got hot. It just kept getting worse and worse during the day. We were trying to keep up with it and we were getting close. We made a good lap in the second round and then we backed it off for the third round. We just didn’t back it off enough. With that being said, we’re going rounds and we’re picking things off one at a time. We just need to keep improving.”

“Our Matco Tools/U.S. Army Toyota team is starting to get our feet under them. We’re taking it one step at a time and it’s coming. We’re going to be fine. We just need a little bit of time.”

NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Points Standing:
210 points, ranked No. 2
Leads third ranked Clay Millican by six points
Trails first ranked Steve Torrence by seven points

LEAH PRITCHETT
Driver of the Papa John’s Pizza/FireAde Top Fuel Dragster
Also Competed in the Factory Stock Showdown

Top Fuel:
Qualified: No. 6 (3.811 E.T. at 325.77 MPH)

The Results:
E1: 3.735 E.T. at 321.50 MPH defeated Terry Haddock 4.032 E.T. at 284.75 MPH
E2: 3.779 E.T. at 327.51 MPH defeated by Antron Brown 3.793 E.T. at 324.20 MPH

Race Recap:
Pritchett clocked a 3.735-second at 321.50-mph pass in the Papa John’s/FireAde Top Fuel dragster to knock out Terry Haddock in the opening round of eliminations. She showcased her quick reflexes with a .053 reaction time at the starting tree, the quickest light of the round.

Pritchett’s day ended in the quarterfinals with a 3.779-sec run. Despite making the second quickest pass of the session, it wasn’t enough to overcome teammate Antron Brown’s even quicker and faster 3.793-sec run.

Quotable:
“We are still making progress. I feel like we have our gremlins out of the way. Our hot rod is back and it showed it on the track today. I take the blame for losing to my U.S. Army teammate Antron Brown. He came out stronger. It’s extremely frustrating. I missed it. I’ve been on it all weekend in both cars and missed it when it counted most. We win together as a team and it feels great. The highs are high and the lows are low. Having to sit on that for two weeks waiting for Las Vegas isn’t going to be fun, but we get to switch gears and put ourselves in the Four-Wide mindset. This has been an exciting, very high-paced weekend in Gainesville. I’m disappointed it ended early, and on my shoulders, but we’ll bounce back.
“To be able to come out on Sunday and post our best two runs of the weekend shows that we qualified with strategy. That’s what this entire season is all about. Today’s runs were an accumulation of what was learned in the four qualifying runs. That shows that the overall big picture is what’s important. We aren’t out here to show out on occasion, we are here for the long haul.”

NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Points Standing:
147 points, ranked No. 8
Leads ninth ranked Brittany Force by 30 points
Trails seventh ranked Scott Palmer by 14 points

Factory Stock Showdown:
Qualified: No. 7 (8.109 E.T. at 168.22 MPH)

The Results:
E1: 8.183 E.T. at 166.50 MPH defeated Daniel Condon 8.204 E.T. at 165.52 MPH
E2: 8.353 E.T. at 163.91 MPH defeated by Randy Taylor 8.189 E.T. at 165.99 MPH

Race Recap:
Pritchett was first off of the starting line in both rounds of Factory Stock Showdown competition. Despite her reaction time advantage, her second round opponent Randy Taylor was able to take the lead and cross the line first, ending Pritchett’s first Factory Stock Showdown event of the year with a quarterfinal finish.

TONY SCHUMACHER
Driver of the U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified: No. 4 (3.785 E.T. at 329.67 MPH)

The Results:
E1: 3.717 E.T. at 329.26 MPH defeated Brittany Force 3.742 E.T. at 329.10 MPH
E2: 4.604 E.T. at 200.77 MPH defeated by Shawn Reed 4.027 E.T. at 245.58 MPH

Race Recap:
After resetting the Gainesville Raceway speed record earlier in the weekend and running low E.T. of the first qualifying session, the defending event champion looked prime for a repeat.

Schumacher began his race day with a round one matchup versus Brittany Force. Force made her best run of the weekend, but it was no match for Schumacher’s 3.717-second pass, which held up to be best of the raceday.

The winningest Top Fuel driver in Gainesville Raceway history faced Shawn Reed in the quarterfinals. Schumacher was first off of the line but an electrical short inside the cockpit prevented him from making a clean run, and it was Reed’s race to win.

Quotable:
“We had an electric issue right when I staged the car. I’ve never had that happen before. I hit the gas and the timers never worked. I smoked the tires because none of the timers were doing anything. I pedaled it once. Pedaled twice and I wasn’t going to catch him, so I shut it off. That’s when I saw the smoke and small fire inside the cockpit. I smacked it and put it out with my hands, but just like that our day was over. It’s frustrating to have something like that happen. We worked hard all weekend to put ourselves in a good position today and that showed in the first round when we made our best pass of the weekend. This U.S. Army team won’t quit. We all want to win so bad. We’ll get back after it and just keep plugging away. This was a great weekend for the fans of NHRA and we were just hoping to make Gatornationals history today. We’ll have to come back next year and try again.”

NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Points Standing:
198 points, ranked No. 4
Leads fifth ranked Doug Kalitta by 16 points
Trails third ranked Clay Millican by six points

Funny Car:

RON CAPPS
Driver of the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T

Qualified: No. 7 (3.944 E.T. at 325.06 MPH)

The Results:
E1: 3.959 E.T. at 324.28 MPH defeated Bob Tasca III 3.981 E.T. at 325.30 MPH
E2: 4.060 E.T. at 317.64 MPH defeated Courtney Force 8.255 E.T. at 88.83 MPH
E3: 9.134 E.T. at 81.86 MPH defeated by Matt Hagan 4.056 E.T. at 310.91 MPH

Race Recap:
The three-time Gatornationals Funny Car champion earned a spot in the top half of the field after running low E.T. of qualifying rounds three and four, picking up six valuable bonus points.

On race day, Ron Capps’ first opponent was Bob Tasca III. Tasca and his team weren’t taking Capps lightly, when they clocked their best run of the weekend (3.981), but it was no match for Capps’ 3.959.

In round two, the 2016 World Champion had lane choice versus Courtney Force. Capps was first off of the starting line and never trailed for the win. He drove his NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T down Gainesville Raceway in 4.060-seconds and into the semifinal round.

It was a battle of the DSR Dodges in round three as Capps took on his teammate Matt Hagan. Capps pulled away first but hazed the tires early. Unfortunately for Capps, Hagan was able to make a clean pass, setting off the win light and ending Capps’ day.

Quotable:
“You know, it’s such a big race, the Gatornationals. These big races seem to take a little bit more to get over. And the further you go on Sunday, like we did getting to the semifinals, you feel like you have a good shot. The way I look at it, the more runs we give [crew chief] Rahn Tobler, the more competitive our car is going to get, and I really felt like we had a handle on it. For some reason, it smoked the tires at the hit of the throttle, and we haven’t done that in a long time.

“We’ll have to look and see what it did and go on to the next race. It was a tough track, tough weekend for crew chiefs, with the weather changing day in and day out. We’ll take the semifinals and go on, but we really felt it was our shot to get the NAPA AutoCare guys into the Winner Circle.”

NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Points Standing:
218 points, ranked No. 4
Leads fifth ranked Robert Hight by 33 points
Trails third ranked Courtney Force by one point

MATT HAGAN
Driver of the Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T

Qualified: No. 6 (3.941 E.T. at 328.22 MPH)

The Results:
E1: 3.976 E.T. at 328.38 MPH defeated Tim Wilkerson 7.821 E.T. at 131.27 MPH
E2: 4.027 E.T. at 291.26 MPH defeated Robert Hight 4.067 E.T. at 265.53 MPH
E3: 4.056 E.T. at 310.91 MPH defeated Ron Capps 9.134 E.T. at 81.86 MPH
E4: 4.034 E.T. at 322.04 MPH defeated by Jack Beckman 4.035 E.T. at 323.58 MPH

Race Recap:
Hagan’s run to the final round in his Mopar Express Lane Dodge included a first-round win over Tim Wilkerson and then a wild, fiery ride against Robert Hight in the quarterfinals. Hight’s engine exploded near the 660-ft mark, with his Funny Car body flying apart. As Hagan raced by in the right lane his engine did the same, sending the car body flying high in the air, but Hagan was able to cross the line at 4.027/291.26 to earn a hard-fought round win.
The Mopar Express Lane Dodge team and crew chief Dickie Venables thrashed and dug deep to get a backup car ready for Hagan to face DSR teammate and Mopar-powered Dodge Charger R/T driver Ron Capps in the semifinals. The hard work paid off as Hagan posted a solid 4.056/310.91 to advance to his 49th career final round and reach a remarkable milestone, his 500th career round of racing.

Quotable:
“We had a pretty great race day, to be honest. I’ve never been to the finals in Gainesville. We kind of started off with a whole new game plan from qualifying and the track conditions were pretty good. We obviously had a huge blow up in the second round. Then to watch these guys pull the other car back out and put it together in the amount of time they had, and to turn a win light on against Capps then to be able to go to a final, it was huge and it speaks for itself.
“These guys put a great race car together. We ran a really close race out there. It was within one [thousandths of a second] but it was one of those deals where I just got left on by Jack Beckman. It’s one of those deals were you put that in the bank there and you don’t forget it. You have to go home and work on that and not let these guys down who worked all day long to get you there. We’ll take these next few weeks and revaluate and focus and move forward.”

NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Points Standing:
268 points, ranked No. 1
Leads second ranked Jack Beckman by 21 points

TOMMY JOHNSON JR.
Driver of the Make-A-Wish Foundation Dodge Charger R/T
Qualified: No. 5 (3.933 E.T. at 327.27 MPH)

The Results:
E1: 3.995 E.T. at 325.69 MPH defeated Cruz Pedregon 4.083 E.T. at 298.87 MPH
E2: 4.841 E.T. at 172.10 MPH defeated by Shawn Langdon 4.025 E.T. at 313.37 MPH

Race Recap:
After qualifying in the top half of the field, the most recent Funny Car runner-up faced Cruz Pedregon in round one. Johnson was first out of the gate and never trailed, driving Terry and Doug Chandler’s Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T to the win with a clean and straight pass.

In round two, Johnson once again had the starting line advantage. Unfortunately for Johnson, his opponent Shawn Langdon was able to pull ahead early into the run and take the win against Johnson’s tire smoking effort.

Quotable:
“We’re making a little progress, but we’re going to have to keep working at it. We’ve got good data on the six-disc [clutch]. When track conditions are good we run well and qualify well. We just need to keep learning what adjustments to make when the track conditions change and it gets hot out.

“So, we’re making some strides, we’re still going a round or two. If we can continue this progress, we’ll get better and better.

“I’m looking forward to going back to Vegas. We went there and won last year, and it’s always one of my favorite tracks, where we seem to do well. It’s a good racetrack to go to and rebound, get some round wins, get some more data on the six-disc clutch and hopefully top it off with another win.”

NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Points Standing:
182 points, ranked No. 6
Leads seventh ranked Shawn Langdon by eight points
Trails fifth ranked Robert Hight by three points

Full Article / DSR


DSR Gainesville Qualifying Report

Category : DSR news

DSR Gainesville Qualifying Report
NHRA Gatornationals
Event 3 of 24 (Gainesville)
Gainesville Raceway
Gainesville, Fla.
March 16-18, 2018


DSR Gainesville Qualifying Highlights:
(Excerpt)

  • Jack Beckman claimed his first No. 1 qualifier of 2018
  • All DSR entries qualified in the top half of the field
  • Ron Capps ran low E.T. during Saturday’s two qualifying sessions
  • Jack Beckman Starts Race Day from the No. 1 Spot

TOMMY JOHNSON JR.
Driver of the Make-A-Wish Foundation Dodge Charger R/T
Qualified: No. 5 (Lane Choice)

The Competition: No. 12 Cruz Pedregon

The Results:
Q1: 10.788 E.T. at 78.82 MPH
Q2: 3.933 E.T. at 327.27 MPH
Q3: 5.494 E.T. at 127.07 MPH
Q4: 10.082 E.T. at 79.97 MPH

Quotable:
“We’re struggling with the changes. The six-disc clutch is still new to us. This is the first hot track conditions we’ve seen with it so we’re making ground. We made a nice run in the best conditions of the weekend so tomorrow will be more like we’ve seen today. So we’re have to learn from what we did during these two runs and put that together to make a nice solid day.”


GAINESVILLE, Florida (March 17, 2018) – No one was able to top Jack Beckman and the Infinite Hero Foundation Funny Car team during day two of the NHRA Gatornationals. The Dean Antonelli, John Medlen, Neal Strausbaugh-led team’s 3.911-second Q2 pass held up to be best of the weekend, earning Beckman his first No. 1 qualifier of the year, and 24th of his career. It is the 2012 Funny Car World Champion’s second pole at Gainesville Raceway.

After two class-best runs on Friday, Beckman made two more respectable runs during the third and fourth qualifying rounds on Saturday. While not low E.T. of the session, their 4.025-second pass was fourth best of the round, and their 4.007 from Q4 earned the team one bonus point for third quickest.

“Our two runs today we went 4.00,” said Beckman, a 26-time Funny Car winner. “The first one, we dropped a hole at 300-feet, and in the second one we just backed it up too much. We were still ‘top four’ in both sessions and made it down the track every run.”

With four solid runs in the books and conditions that promise to be similar to Friday, Beckman feels confident in his team’s abilities to put Terry and Doug Chandler’s Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger R/T in the Winner’s Circle on Sunday.

“I love the fact that we did everything pretty darn good for four runs over the course of the two days here. I think it gives us a leg up going into tomorrow. We’ll have lane choice and we’ll get to pick when we’re going to run. We could make a poor decision, but I like that it’s our decision to make.

“I think by and large, you make your own luck. The team services the car perfectly, the crew chiefs put their heads together, go over data from past runs with similar conditions and make an educated tune-up there, and then you try and outdrive the person in the other lane. You race the race track. We have to do everything a little bit better than they do, but in our lane.

“It is a difficult track. The conditions for first round will be very similar to yesterday’s first qualifying session, and I think we will tune off of that one.”

Beckman’s campaign for his first Gatornationals Wally begins with a matchup versus No. 16 qualifier, Jim Campbell.

Qualified: No. 1 (Lane Choice)

The Competition: No. 16 Jim Campbell

The Results:
Q1: 3.958 E.T. at 325.61 MPH (Three bonus points for quickest run of the session)
Q2: 3.911 E.T. at 332.18 MPH (Three bonus points for quickest run of the session)
Q3: 4.025 E.T. at 316.15 MPH
Q4: 4.007 E.T. at (One bonus point for third quickest run of the session)

Bonus Points: Seven

Original Article

(Photo Credit: Auto Imagery)

 


DSR Gainesville Friday Qualifying Report

Category : DSR news

Gainesville Friday Qualifying Report
NHRA Gatornationals
Event 3 of 24 (Gainesville)
Gainesville Raceway
Gainesville, Fla.
March 16-18, 2018


DSR Gainesville Friday Qualifying Highlights:

  • Jack Beckman leads Friday qualifying at the Gatornationals
  • Beckman earned his third provisional No. 1 qualifier of 2018
  • Beckman ran low E.T. of the session in both of Friday’s qualifying rounds
  • Tony Schumacher reset the Gainesville Raceway track speed record (329.67-mph, Q1)
  • Jack Beckman Races to the Top Spot Friday at the Gatornationals

TOMMY JOHNSON JR.
Driver of the Make-A-Wish Foundation Dodge Charger R/T
Q1: 10.788 E.T. at 78.82 MPH
Q2: 3.933 E.T. at 327.27 MPH

Provisional Qualifying Position: No. 5


GAINESVILLE, Florida (March 16, 2018) – Jack Beckman and the Infinite Hero Foundation team led Funny Car qualifying on Friday at the Gatornationals.

Living up to his nickname, ‘Fast Jack,’ is ‘three for three’ in 2018, having finished Friday from the top spot at every event of the year so far. After running low E.T. in the opening qualifying round of the weekend, Beckman followed up his session-best run with another class-best effort powered by Pennzoil. His 3.911-second Q2 pass secured his third provisional No. 1 qualifier of 2018 and brought his year’s bonus point total to 16.

“I actually thought today was going to be quicker,” said Beckman of the Friday Funny Car field. “When we rolled up for Q1, and low E.T. at that point was a 3.96, I thought ‘well, everybody just must be missing it.’ Then we ran a 3.95. I don’t know if that was a reflex reaction, slowing our car down after watching everyone spin out there.”

“I truly thought someone was going to run in the 80’s during session one, and no one did it all day Friday. Gainesville is typically crazy good; it’s sea level, not hot out, it’s a good race track, so I’m surprised Funny Cars didn’t run quicker today.”

“We know the weather is good; I think we were just tip-toeing because we didn’t want to overpower the race track. Everything points to, as long as we don’t have intense sunshine, people being able to lean on it a little harder tomorrow.”

Q1: 3.958 E.T. at 325.61 MPH (Three bonus points for quickest run of the session)
Q2: 3.911 E.T. at 332.18 MPH (Three bonus points for quickest run of the session)

Provisional Qualifying Position: No. 1

Bonus Points: Six


DSR Gainesville Pre-Race Report

Category : DSR news

Gainesville Pre-Race Report
NHRA Gatornationals
Event 3 of 24 (Gainesville)
Gainesville Raceway
Gainesville, Fla.
March 16-18, 2018


Noteworthy:

  • Tony Schumacher returns as the defending Top Fuel event champion and No. 1 qualifier
  • With five victories, Schumacher is the winningest Top Fuel driver in Gainesville Raceway history
  • Matt Hagan enters the 2018 event as the Funny Car points leader
  • Tommy Johnson Jr. enters Gainesville fresh off of a Funny Car final round appearance from the previous race in Phoenix
  • Leah Pritchett is competing in three events during the weekend: Top Fuel, Factory Stock Showdown, and the Papa John’s Charity Challenge
  • All DSR Top Fuel final in 2017 (Tony Schumacher vs. Antron Brown)
  • The late Terry Chandler will be honored with the 2018 Patricia Garlits Memorial Award ahead of the race weekend
  • Antron Brown made his NHRA debut at the 1998 event competing in Pro Stock Motorcycle
  • At age 15, Tommy Johnson Jr. became the youngest driver to enter a national event when he competed in the 1984 Gatornationals in the Super Gas category

DSR-Owned Track Records:
Top Fuel, E.T.: 3.682-secs, Tony Schumacher (2017)
Top Fuel, speed: 329.26-mph, Tony Schumacher (2017)

DSR Driver Information:
Funny Car:

TOMMY JOHNSON JR.
Driver of the Make-A-Wish Foundation
Dodge Charger R/T

2017 Gatornationals Recap:
Qualified fifth; Semifinal finish (Defeated Cruz Pedregon in E1, Jim Campbell in E2; defeated by John Force in E3)

Last event (Phoenix):
Qualified sixth; Runner-up (Defeated Robert Hight in E1, Richard Townsend in E2, Shawn Langdon in E3; defeated by Courtney Force in E4)

2018 Season Statistics:
Three round wins; Ranked fifth in points

Career Statistics:
424 races; 17 wins (two Top Fuel); 15 No. 1 qualifiers (one Top Fuel)

Noteworthy:
At age 15, Tommy Johnson Jr. became the youngest driver to enter a national event when he competed in the 1984 Gatornationals in the Super Gas category

Quotable:
“Gainesville is a special place for me because it was the first national event I ever raced in. Looking forward to going back there this year coming off of a runner-up in Phoenix. Hope to carry the momentum. Our car is starting to run better and better and hopefully we can reduce some of the parts damage we had in Phoenix, improve the performance, and go one round further.”

(Excerpt | Full Article)


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/Sandvik Coromant 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 319 NHRA national event titles and 16 world championships.


Media Contact:
Allison McCormick
Public Relations Manager
Don Schumacher Racing
McCormickA@ShoeRacing.com
(305) 764-5377