NHRA Gatornationals Pre-Race Report

NHRA Gatornationals Pre-Race Report

AMALIE Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals
Event No. 7
Gainesville Raceway
September 25-27, 2020

Highlights:

  • DSR’s Funny Car contingent will be looking to extend its streak of nine consecutive wins at the Gatornationals. All four DSR Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat pilots have claimed at least one victory throughout the first six races of 2020
    • The only other time in the series’ history that a team swept 10 consecutive race wins in a single category was during the 2017 season when the same lineup of current DSR Dodge drivers contributed to that streak
  • DSR is currently in championship contention in each of the three categories it competes in – Top Fuel, Funny Car, and the Factory Stock Showdown Series
  • DSR occupies the top three spots in the Funny Car point rankings with Jack Beckman leading the class. Matt Hagan and Tommy Johnson Jr. sit No. 2 and 3, respectively, and Ron Capps rounds out the top five
  • Leah Pruett arrives in Gainesville second in the Top Fuel championship standings with a runner-up finish at the NHRA U.S. Nationals
    • Pruett will once again pull double-duty, competing in both the Top Fuel and Factory Stock categories, and will have the opportunity to compete for two trophies over the course of the weekend
  • Mark Pawuk occupies the No. 2 spot on the Factory Stock leaderboard after a runner-up finish at the previous event

(EXCERPT)

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 (U.S. Nationals):
Qualified No. 1; First round exit (defeated by Dale Creasy Jr. in E1)

2020 Season Statistics:
One event win; 11 round wins; ranked third in points

Career Statistics:
476 races; 20 wins (two Top Fuel); 21 No. 1 qualifiers (one Top Fuel)

Noteworthy:

  • Johnson’s NHRA career began at the 1984 Gatornationals when he made his racing debut while competing in Super Gas at 15-years-old
  • Johnson has one event win and one runner-up in 2020; has qualified No. 1 at three of the last four events; currently sits third in points
  • Seeking his first Gainesville Funny Car trophy

Quotable:
“Gainesville is always a special race for me, it’s where my career started back in 1984. The Gatornationals was the first national event I ever raced. Even though we’re racing there in September and not in March, it’s still the anniversary of the event, so I’m looking forward to it. Gainesville is one of the premier races on the tour, it’s one I’ve never won and I’d really like to get a Gainesville trophy. I’ve got a funny feeling that this may be the year.

“We’re excited to be going to our first race outside of Indianapolis, and going somewhere new for the first time in months. We’re looking forward to a great fan turnout. There’s a lot more pressure on this particular event this year as we’re nearing the points closeout, rather than the points battle just beginning, so it’s a little different than normal.”


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 351, 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 article