NHRA Houston Pre-Race Report

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Mopar Express Lane NHRA Spring Nationals Presented by Pennzoil
Event No. 10
Houston Raceway Park
Baytown, Texas
October 24-25, 2020


  • The DSR Funny Car championship battle continues to intensify heading into the Mopar Express Lane NHRA Spring Nationals Presented by Pennzoil, the penultimate event of the 2020 season, after No. 2 ranked Jack Beckman defeated point leader Matt Hagan in the Dallas final round at the previous event
  • A scant four points separate Hagan and Dallas
  • DSR carries a streak of 12 consecutive national event Funny Car wins into Houston
  • While they jostle for position atop the leaderboard, No. 1 ranked Hagan, No. 4 ranked Ron Capps, No. 2 ranked Beckman and No. 3 ranked Tommy Johnson Jr. will also be looking to extend DSR’s current undefeated Funny Car streak to a record 13 victories
  • Each driver has contributed at least two Wally trophies to the string of 12 wins that dates back to October 2019. DSR previously set the consecutive win record in a single class at 10 races during the 2017 season with the same driver lineup
  • Johnson is looking to deliver a ‘hometown victory’ for MD Anderson, headquartered in Houston
  • In Top Fuel, Leah Pruett occupies the No. 3 spot in the point standings. Sitting 148 points out of first, Houston is a ‘must-do-well’ for Pruett to remain solidly in championship contention.
  • Mark Pawuk leads the DSR Drag Pak Factory Stock Showdown duo in the championship rankings, sitting in the No. 2 spot. Pawuk’s No. 1 qualifier from the unfinished St. Louis race will carry over into Houston to start the weekend
  • Antron Brown won his first Top Fuel race at the 2008 Houston event
    Hagan won his first Funny Car Wally trophy at the 2010 event

On Saturday, just prior to the first nitro qualifying session, Beckman will join Infinite Hero Foundation representatives on the starting line to present an iBot, a personal mobility device, to Richard Carson, Army Combat Medic (retired). The iBOT donation is made possible thanks to the incredible generosity of DSR sponsor Doug Chandler and the TLC Foundation, the Parasol Foundation, and the incredible fans who give so generously to support the Infinite Hero Foundation.


Driver of the MD Anderson Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

Houston Event Highlights:

  • 2002 runner-up

2019 Houston Recap:
Qualified 11th; First round exit (defeated by Matt Hagan in E1)

Last Event (Dallas):
Qualified second; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Jim Campbell in E1; defeated by Bob Tasca III in E2)

2020 Season Statistics:
Two event wins; 17 round wins; ranked third in points

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

Currently ranked third, sitting 77 points out of first
Johnson is looking to deliver a ‘hometown victory’ for MD Anderson, headquartered in Houston

“If we have any shot at being in championship contention heading into the last race of the season in Vegas, then Houston is a must-win for our team. We didn’t have the weekend we were looking for in Dallas, so come Houston we will be pulling out all of the stops trying to put together a great weekend and a win to keep ourselves in it. It’s also going to be such a special weekend for us because it’s the hometown of MD Anderson and we would love nothing more than to win in their backyard. It’s a big weekend for us and we’re looking forward to it. We’ve got a great car, we’ve been running really well, we just need to put together four good runs on Sunday and I think we have a car that can win the race.”

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 354, 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