Auto Club NHRA Finals
Event 24 of 24 (Pomona II)
NHRA Countdown, Event 6 of 6
Auto Club Raceway at Pomona
November 9-11, 2018
DSR Pomona II Saturday Highlights:
- Leah Pritchett (Top Fuel) and Ron Capps (Funny Car) qualify No. 1 for the final race of the 2018 season
- Pritchett reset the Auto Club Raceway at Pomona Top Fuel speed record (332.84-mph), and her 3.631 Q4 E.T. ties for the second quickest pass in NHRA history
- All seven Don Schumacher Racing entries will start race day from the top half of the field
- Funny Car drivers Jack Beckman and Tommy Johnson Jr. qualify No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, giving DSR a sweep of the top three spots
- Pritchett ran quickest of the session during three out of four qualifying sessions
- Johnson ran low E.T. during the first three Funny Car qualifying rounds; and third low E.T. of Q4, collecting 14 out of a possible 16 bonus points
DSR Domination Continues on Saturday at Auto Club NHRA Finals
POMONA, California (November 10, 2018) – Leah Pritchett and Ron Capps swept the top qualifying spots in Top Fuel and Funny Car, respectively, at the 54th annual Auto Club NHRA Finals in Pomona, California.
Pritchett’s No. 1 qualifier was her fourth of the year and the 11th of her career. Capps earned his first No. 1 spot of 2018, and 22nd of his career.
Behind the wheel of her Mopar Dodge Top Fuel dragster, Pritchett was dominant, pocketing all eight possible points during Friday qualifying to earn the preliminary pole on a 3.649-second at 329.34-mph pass heading into Saturday. In the final pair of the last Top Fuel qualifying session of the 2018 season, Pritchett unleashed a monster 3.631-second at 332.84-mph run that tied for second quickest in the history of NHRA, reset the Auto Club Raceway Top Fuel track speed record and cemented the pole. Pritchett also collected 12 of 16 possible bonus points during qualifying. She’ll face Bill Litton in round one.
“It was like a whole different level of fast tonight,” said Pritchett of her record-breaking Q4 pass. “I’ve been 334-miles per hour before, but this, at night, at Pomona; it’s incredible. Finally, for my crew chiefs, the car is communicating in a proper way, and it’s doing everything they’re throwing at it. (Crew chief) Todd (Okuhara) knows he’s finally got his race car back.
“It feels like home,” added the Indiana resident of her native Redlands, California roots. “Here in Pomona, the fans give me that sense of home. For us to chase history on this track makes me feel like our team is very well on its way to earning a spot in history which is what we’re working towards.”
Capps, third in the Funny Car points standings, improved steadily from the second session onward, ending his qualifying efforts with a 3.848-second at 331.53-mph pass to stake his claim to the No. 1 spot. While the driver of the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T has collected three wins over the course of the 2018 season, Saturday’s No. 1 qualifier was his first of the year.
“I was joking around saying ‘man, you’d think I’d never gotten one of these green hats before’ because I was acting so giddy down there at the top end, but yeah, it’s been a while,” remarked Capps. “These No. 1s are a feather in the cap.
“When they came on the radio after Q4 and told me what we’d run, I couldn’t believe it, but I’m so happy for (crew chief) Rahn Tobler. In Charlotte, we really showed that not only are we strong in the heat, but we’ve got the performance with the five-disc in cool conditions. We ran great, won the race, and we said we were so happy that we ran like that in those conditions because we were certain Pomona would be like that, and it is.”
Capps locked in a date with No. 16 qualifier Ray Martin in the opening round.
TOMMY JOHNSON JR.
Driver of the Make-A-Wish Foundation Dodge Charger R/T
Qualified: No. 3 (lane choice)
The Competition: No. 14 Cruz Pedregon
Q1: 3.960 E.T. at 317.42 MPH (Four bonus points for quickest run of the session)
Q2: 3.881 E.T. at 328.54 MPH (Four bonus points for quickest run of the session)
Q3: 3.899 E.T. at 326.40 MPH (Four bonus points for quickest run of the session)
Q4: 3.867 E.T. at 326.40 MPH (Two bonus points for third quickest run of the session)
Bonus Points: 14
“We came in here trying to do what we wanted – to be as best as we can every single run. To be the worst of third in one session is pretty outstanding. Maybe that means No. 1 we haven’t been able to have success with so we’ll go out here tomorrow to see if we can’t turn number three into a win.”
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 SRT Hellcat, 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 also campaigns two Sportsman teams. The two-car Factory Stock Showdown duo is piloted by Pritchett and veteran Pro Stock racer Mark Pawuk. Both drivers compete in Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Paks.
DSR has won 333 NHRA national event titles and 17 world championships.
Follow Don Schumacher Racing at Shoeracing.com, on Twitter and Instagram at @shoeracing and Facebook.com/shoeracing.