DSR NHRA Vegas Pre-Race Report

DSR NHRA Vegas Pre-Race Report

Dodge NHRA Finals Presented by Pennzoil
Event No. 11 of 11
The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Las Vegas, Nev.
October 31 – November 1, 2020

Highlights:

  • All eyes on Don Schumacher Racing’s Funny Car contingent as drag racing’s winningest organization is poised to capture its 18th series title this weekend at the 2020 NHRA season finale in Las Vegas
  • A fierce three-way battle awaits No. 1 ranked Funny Car driver Matt Hagan, No. 2 ranked Tommy Johnson Jr., and No. 3 ranked Jack Beckman heading into the Dodge NHRA Finals Presented by Pennzoil as they battle to earn DSR’s sixth Funny Car world championship
  • Hagan owns two world titles (2011, 2014), Beckman one (2012), Ron Capps one (2016), and Gary Scelzi (2005)
  • 43 points separate the three championship contenders
    • Hagan (842 points)
    • Johnson (800 points)
    • Beckman (799 points)
  • Las Vegas features a unique point-and-a-half format where each elimination round is worth 30 points. A total of 183 points are up-for-grabs in each Camping World category
  • Johnson enters the final event of 2020 as the most recent Funny Car winner on tour, and has raced to victory at two of the last three events
  • Don Schumacher Racing’s foursome of Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car drivers will be aiming to ‘sweep the season’ as they attempt to pick up DSR’s 14th consecutive Funny Car triumph, an undefeated streak that dates back to October 2019
  • DSR Funny Car drivers have competed head-to-head in final round competition at six of the first 10 events of 2020
  • In Top Fuel, Tony Schumacher will be looking to pick up his second consecutive victory after earning the W last weekend in Houston
  • Leah Pruett will pull double-duty for the final time in 2020, competing in both the Top Fuel and Factory Stock Showdown categories. Pruett is currently ranked fourth in the Top Fuel point standings and will be looking to crack back into the ‘top three’ in Vegas to improve upon her career-best season-ending position of fourth (2018, 2019)
  • Factory Stock Showdown driver Mark Pawuk will be focused on closing out the season solidly in the No. 2 spot

(EXCERPT)

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

Ranked 2nd in the standings; 800 points

Crew chiefs: John Collins/Rip Reynolds

2020 Season Statistics:

  • Wins: three (Phoenix, St. Louis, Houston)
  • Runner-ups: one
  • No. 1 qualifiers: three
  • 21 round wins

Career Statistics:
480 races; 22 wins; 21 No. 1 qualifiersBest points finish: 2nd (2016)

Las Vegas II Event Highlights:
2006 runner-up
Two-time No. 1 qualifier (2015, 2018)
2019 Las Vegas II Recap:
Qualified second; Quarterfinall finish (defeated Jim Campbell in E1; defeated by Matt Hagan in E2)

Last Event (Houston):
Qualified sixth; Event champion (defeated Jim Campbell in E1, J.R. Todd in E2, Matt Hagan in E3, Ron Capps in E4)

Noteworthy:

  • Won two of the last three events; tied with Beckman for most Funny Car wins in 2020 (three)
  • Johnson is seeking that elusive first Funny Car world championship and would love nothing more than to close out the seven-year ‘giving car’ program by sending team sponsor Doug Chandler out as a champion

Quotable:

“It’s been an interesting year for sure and it’s coming to the last race of the season. There’s lots of mixed emotions. Honestly, I’m happy. We’re coming into this last race with a shot at the championship and I’m happy that we even got a season because it looked like maybe after the second race of the year we wouldn’t have a season at all.

“I’m excited to come into Vegas with a shot at this championship and the team has had a great season. It’s a track where I have had some success and do pretty well at. I’m a round-and-a-half behind Matt (Hagan), and Jack (Beckman) is right on our heels. To see the dominance that the Don Schumacher Funny Cars have had all season is really exciting. I think we are all excited to see if we can’t close out the season and sweep all the races with the DSR Funny Cars.

“I’m going to go out there and enjoy it and at the same time, give it all we’ve got and ride the momentum we’ve got coming off the win and the last few races on the tour. I’m happy for the guys. I’m happy for our MD Anderson Dodge Funny Car team. We’ve had a great season and would love nothing more than to be able to cap it off with a win and have a few things go our way and maybe sneak away with the championship as well.”


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 356, and DSR is one of a very small handful of teams in the motorsports industry to surpass the 350 milestone. DSR owns 17 world championships in three different NHRA categories.

Headquartered in Brownsburg, Indiana, DSR currently fields seven 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, the Mopar/Pennzoil dragster driven by Leah Pruett, and the Okuma/Sandvik Coromant machine driven by eight-time world champion, Tony Schumacher. In Funny Car, the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat driven by 2016 world champion Ron Capps, the Mopar Express Lane/Pennzoil 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.

Link to original DSR release