DSR Gainesville Pre-Race Report

NHRA Gatornationals
Event 3 of 24 (Gainesville)
Gainesville Raceway
Gainesville, Fla.
March 13-15, 2020

Highlights:

  • NHRA’s winningest team is approaching 350 victories (currently at 347), and by campaigning cars in three different categories (Top Fuel, Funny Car, Factory Stock) during the weekend, achieving that milestone is within reach during the NHRA Gatornationals
    • DSR last ‘tripled-up’ at the 2006 Las Vegas II event with winning entries coming from the Top Fuel, Funny Car, and Pro Stock categories
  • Tommy Johnson Jr. enters the weekend as the most recent Funny Car winner on tour after having raced to victory at the previous event in Phoenix
  • Johnson’s NHRA career began at the 1984 Gatornationals when he made his racing debut while competing in Super Gas at 15-years-old
  • Funny Car point leader Jack Beckman won the season-opener in Pomona and finished as the runner-up in Phoenix. He is seeking his third consecutive final round in 2020
  • Doug Chandler’s ‘giving cars,’ with Beckman behind the wheel of the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge, and Johnson piloting the MD Anderson Dodge, have won the last three events, beginning with Pomona II 2019
  • Matt Hagan is seeking his third consecutive Funny Car No. 1 qualifier
  • Funny Car ace Ron Capps spent his most recent off-weekend at the 62nd annual March Meet in Bakersfield, Calif. where he took home the trophy in the AA/Fuel Altered class for the first time
  • Antron Brown made his NHRA debut at the 1998 event, competing in Pro Stock Motorcycle
  • The first of eight Factory Stock Showdown events of 2020 will be contested at the Gatornationals. DSR’s Dodge Challenger Drag Pak duo is comprised of Mark Pawuk, and 2018 FSS series champion Leah Pruett
  • Pruett will pull double-duty in Gainesville, competing in both the Top Fuel and Factory Stock Showdown categories
    Note:
    At this weekend’s event, DSR will debut a season-long trackside program to benefit MD Anderson. For a minimum donation of 50 dollars, fans have the opportunity to place an ‘in honor of’ sticker on Johnson’s MD Anderson Dodge Funny Car for that particular race weekend. Fans may pose for a photo by the sticker. Proof of donation is required. Please ask for Judy at the MD Anderson Funny Car pit. To donate, visit http://www.mdanderson.org/myfundraising and use the DSRFC solicitation code. (Image of the sticker is available at the bottom of this report)

DSR Driver Information:

Funny Car:
TOMMY JOHNSON JR.
Driver of the MD Anderson Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

2019 Gainesville Recap:
Qualified third; Quarterfinal finish (defeated John Smith in E1; defeated by Jack Beckman in E2)

Last Event (Phoenix):
Qualified fourth; Event champion (defeated Paul Lee in E1, Bob Tasca III in E2, Ron Capps in E3, Jack Beckman in E4)

2020 Season Statistics:
One event win; five round wins; ranked second in points

Career Statistics:
472 races; 20 wins (two Top Fuel); 18 No. 1 qualifiers (one Top Fuel)

Noteworthy:

  • Enters the weekend as the most recent Funny Car winner on tour after having raced to victory at the previous event in Phoenix
  • Johnson’s NHRA career began at the 1984 Gatornationals when he made his racing debut while competing in Super Gas at 15-years-old

Quotable:
“Gainesville is one of my favorite races on the tour. It’s kind of where it all started for me, and there are several reasons why I love that race starting all the way back there in 1984. I’m looking forward to it, especially coming off that win in Phoenix. We have a lot of momentum, a great car, and Gainesville is one of the ‘crown jewels’ on the NHRA tour. It’s one of the races you want to win, and I haven’t been able to do that yet. It’s not one of my better tracks, but it’s time to change that. Last year, we ran well, but we had an issue where we were blowing the body off early in the year. This year, we’re coming in with a much better record from the first two races. Hopefully, we can carry the momentum that we gained in Phoenix, and if our car can continue to run as good as it has been, this may be the year where we can finally get that win.”

With a minimum donation of 50 dollars to MD Anderson, fans can elect to place an ‘in honor of’ sticker on Johnson’s car for the race weekend.

About Don Schumacher Racing:
Established in 1998 as a single-car Top Fuel team, Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) has grown to become the winningest organization in NHRA Drag Racing history. Including team owner Don Schumacher’s five NHRA Funny Car titles from the 1970s, DSR’s current win count stands at 347, and DSR is looking forward to reaching the ‘350 milestone’ early in the 2020 season. DSR owns 17 world championships in three different NHRA categories.

Headquartered in Brownsburg, Indiana, DSR currently fields six professional teams competing in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. In Top Fuel, the Matco Tools/Global Electronic Technology/Toyota dragster driven by three-time world champion Antron Brown, and the Mopar/Pennzoil/Okuma dragster driven by Leah Pruett. In Funny Car, the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat driven by 2016 world champion Ron Capps, the Mopar Express Lane/Pennzoil/Sandvik Coromant Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat piloted by two-time series title-holder Matt Hagan, and in Doug Chandler’s ‘giving cars,’ 2012 NHRA world champion Jack Beckman in the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge, and Tommy Johnson Jr. behind the wheel of the MD Anderson Dodge.

DSR also campaigns two Factory Stock Showdown entries. The duo is piloted by Pruett, the 2018 Factory Stock Showdown Series champion, and former Pro Stock racer Mark Pawuk.

Follow Don Schumacher Racing at Shoeracing.com, on Twitter and Instagram at @shoeracing and Facebook.com/shoeracing.

Read full DSR article here

DSR Gainesville Pre-Race Report