Story, video highlights from DSR getting 300th title at Las Vegas

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Story, video highlights from DSR getting 300th title at Las Vegas

Category : DSR Article

Matco, Make-A-Wish teams sweep Las Vegas nitro titles
to give DSR monumental 300 NHRA Mello Yello event titles

LAS VEGAS (April 2, 2017) – Don Schumacher Racing entered 2017 with 293 NHRA event titles and it seemed inevitable to happen sometime this year in the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season.

But not even the most optimistic at DSR expected it to happen in the fourth race of the 24-event Mello Yello Series season.

That’s what happened Sunday in Las Vegas, when Tommy Johnson Jr. and Terry Chandler’s Make-A-Wish 2017 Dodge Charger R/T team won its first Funny Car title of the year for DSR’s 299th that was followed by an all-DSR final in which three-time and reigning Top Fuel champion Antron Brown and the Matco Tool team beat teammate Tony Schumacher’s U.S. Army team for No. 300.

The 68th double-up of nitro titles by DSR at the same race since 2003 was also the third time in four NHRA races this year when DSR won both Top Fuel and Funny Car titles.

Coincidentally, the same teams earned DSR its 199th and 200th wins; Johnny Gray was in what is now the Make-A-Wish Funny Car sponsored by his sister, Terry Chandler, and Brown was at the wheel of the Matco dragster.


DSR GETS 300th WIN

The first win by DSR was when team owner Don Schumacher drove and owned a Funny Car in 1970 and the joy has not diminished after 299 more.

“I never imagined I’d win my first Wally let alone 300,” he said during a joyful celebration in the winner’s circle with Johnson and Brown.

“It’s not because of Don Schumacher, it’s because we have the best drivers and crew chiefs in the business and winning contributions from everyone at DSR from the fabrication and machine shops to our management, hospitality, marketing, public relations and social media teams.”

DSR leaves Las Vegas with the top three spots in Top Fuel but a switch was made at the top with eight-time world champion Tony Schumacher passing teammate Leah Pritchett with Brown in third. Each of the DSR drivers have won at least one title this year.

Brown also won the Las Vegas title last spring with crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald.

“It started out as a very challenging weekend because we had something that had been plaguing us, but the Matco Tools/U.S. Army boys just went to work,” said Brown, who won 39 of his 46 Top Fuel titles and six of his 16 Pro Stock Motorcycle titles with DSR.

“Today, it was tough battles. In the second round against (Steve) Torrence, in the semis against my teammate Leah (Pritchett) – those guys and her are doing a phenomenal job this year. And Tony, those Army boys kicked our tails in Gainesville (two weeks ago in the final round).

“When you race two of your teammates, you know you’ve got a battle on your hands because we all have the same quality parts and pieces that Don provides for us. So when you go up against them, you’ve got to throw everything at it. Especially Tony, he hasn’t won eight championships for nothing, believe me. He knows how to race, how to get wins.

“But Brian and Mark and all of our boys had to push hard. We qualified eighth this weekend and to get that win today was pretty spectacular. I feel like I just won my first race, that’s how tough the competition is this year.”

In Funny Car, Johnson with crew chief John Collins and assistant Rip Reynolds defeated rookie Jonnie Lindberg in the final round for Johnson’s 16th career title and first at Las Vegas since 2001. The victory enabled Johnson to move up to second in points, trailing leader and teammate Matt Hagan by 44.

“It started off Friday with qualifying and just a very tricky racetrack and very few cars got down it,” Johnson said. “You kind of went into Saturday going, ‘boy, I hope we can figure this thing out.’ The weather changed a little bit. We’re not used to running those conditions, but when the weather changed to a little warmer racetrack with sun on it it kind of came to everybody. John and Rip just made the appropriate changes like we normally would to the car and went right down the racetrack.

“Today was a pretty trying day too because it was pretty hot. It’s probably the hottest track we’ve seen this season yet and we’re at a little bit of altitude so it changes the tune-up and it kind of changes the clutch curve so the guys really have to work at it and the guys did a great job.

“I do well when I come here. It’s a great facility and great people come out to watch. But yet, when you show up you just come in the gate and you have a good feeling because you’ve had some success here and you know I’ve got one win prior to this.

“I saw John dive into the computer box (before the final) for adjustments. He was confident about it. It’s kind of neat to have chemistry like that with your crew chief. I can tell by the look on his face and the way he carries himself if he’s confident or if he’s scratching his head a little bit. When I saw him shut the lid on the box, I went, ‘oh yeah, we’re going to be good.”

The Mello Yello Series is off for two weeks before returning for the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

RESULTS FROM LAS VEGAS

QUALIFYING TOP FUEL
Winner: Antron Brown (Don Schumacher Racing)
No. 1 qualifier: Steve Torrence (CAPCO Contractors), 3.720 sec., 327.03

ANTRON BROWN: Matco Tools/U.S. Army/Toyota
Crew chiefs: Brian Corradi, Mark Oswald; assistant: Brad Mason
Qualified: No. 8
SUNDAY ELIMINATIONS
First round: BROWN (3.752, 325.53 mph) def. Scott Palmer (5.501, 125.27)
Second round: BROWN (3.822, 318.24) def. Steve Torrence (4.035, 276.41)
Semifinals: BROWN (3.797, 320.89) def. Leah Pritchett (3.919, 311.20)
Final: BROWN (3.747, 321.04) def. Tony Schumacher (3.809, 325.14)
QUALIFYING
FRIDAY: 3.794 sec., 319.90 mph, (Session 1); 4.277, 190.03, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 3.793, 321.88, (Session 3); 3.792, 321.27, (Session 4)
2016 Las Vegas 1: Qualified No. 3, won in final round over Troy Buff
2016 Las Vegas 2: Qualified No. 4, lost in semifinals to J.R. Todd
Career at Las Vegas 1: Wins 3 (2011, 2016, 2017); Runner-ups 3 (2013, 2012, 2008, 2001-PSM); Poles 3 (2014, 2013, 2010,

TONY SCHUMACHER, U.S. Army
Crew chief: Mike Green; assistant: Phil Shuler
Qualified: No. 2
SUNDAY ELIMINATIONS
First round: SCHUMACHER (3.767 sec., 327.98 mph) def. Terry Haddock (did not start)
Second round: SCHUMACHER (3.865, 316.45) def. Terry McMillen (3.916, 311.70)
Semifinals: SCHUMACHER (3.775, 320.97) def. Doug Kalitta (3.782, 326.87)
Final: Antron Brown (3.747, 321.04) def. SCHUMACHER (3.809, 325.14)
QUALIFYING
FRIDAY: 3.753 sec., 323.66 mph, (Session 1); 3.739, 326.87, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 7.397, 86.06, (Session 3); 3.579, 325.37, (Session 4)
Career at Las Vegas 1: Wins 4 (track record; 2014, 2013, 2009, 2004); Runner-ups 0; Poles 3 (2006-08)
Career at Las Vegas: Wins 8 (track record; 2014, 2013, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2006, 2005, 2004); Runner-ups 3 (2012, 2003, 2002; Poles 9 (track record; 2012, 2010, 2006-08, 2006-2008, 2003)

LEAH PRITCHETT, Papa John’s Pizza
Crew chief: Todd Okuhara; assistant: Joe Barlam
Qualified: No. 5
SUNDAY ELIMINATIONS
First round: PRITCHETT (3.756 sec., 328.30 mph) def. Troy Buff (5.415, 128.19)
Second round: PRITCHETT (3.770, 328.06) def. Brittany Force (4.872, 153.39)
Semifinals: Antron Brown (3.797, 320.89) def. PRITCHETT (3.919, 311.20)
QUALIFYING
FRIDAY: 3.780 sec., 314.68 mph, (Session 1); 8.808, 71.28, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 3.778, 324.98, (Session 3); 3.898, 265.43, (Session 4)
2016 Las Vegas 1 (with Bob Vandergriff Racing): Qualified No. 11, lost in second round to Antron Brown
2016 Las Vegas 2: Qualified No. 2, lost in semifinals to event winner Steve Torrence
Career at Las Vegas 1:Gainesville: Wins 0; Runner-ups 0; Poles 0
Career at Las Vegas: Wins 1 (2011 NHRA Pro Mod), Runner-ups 0, Poles 0
FUNNY CAR
Winner: Tommy Johnson Jr. (Don Schumacher Racing)
No. 1 qualifier: Courtney Force (John Force Racing), 3.867 sec.-track record, 327.66 mph

TOMMY JOHNSON JR., Make-A-Wish 2017 Dodge Charger R/T
Crew chief: John Collins; assistant: Rip Reynolds
Qualified: No. 6
SUNDAY ELIMINATIONS
First round: JOHNSON (3.943 sec., 320.97) def. Jim Campbell (4.71, 181.
Second round: JOHNSON (4.068, 268.71) def. Robert Hight (redlight)
Semifinals: JOHNSON (3.997, 319.45) def. John Force (4.128, 282.13)
Final: JOHNSON (3.933, 323.66) def. Jonnie Lindberg (4.016, 320.14)
QUALIFYING
FRIDAY: 8.874 sec., 77.44 mph, (Session 1); 8.939, 76.60, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 3.972, 321.27, (Session 3); 3.887, 328.46, (Session 4)
2016 Las Vegas 1: Qualified No.11, lost in first round to Alexis event winner DeJoria
2016 Las Vegas 2: Qualified No.10, lost in first round to Del Worsham
Career at Las Vegas 1: Wins 2 (2001, 2017); Runner-ups 1 (2002); Poles 0

MATT HAGAN, Mopar Express Lane 2017 Dodge Charger R/T
Crew chief: Dickie Venables; assistant: Michael Knudsen
Qualified: No. 2
SUNDAY ELIMINATIONS
First round: HAGAN (3.970 sec., 330.63 mph) def. Del Worsham (6.251, 118.97)
Second round: John Force (3.987, 321.81) def. HAGAN (4.043, 318.24)
QUALIFYING
FRIDAY: 10.804 sec., 78.27 mph, (Session 1); 3.868, 330.63, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 10.423, 77.81, (Session 3); 3.922, 330.96, (Session 4)
2016 Las Vegas 1: Qualified No. 10, lost in first round to John Force
2016 Las Vegas 2: Qualified No. 2, lost in semifinals to event winner John Force
Career at Las Vegas 1: Wins 0; Runner-ups 1 (2009); Poles 1 (2015)
Career at Las Vegas: Wins 0; Runner-ups 2 (2010, 2009); Poles 3 (2015, 2014, 2009)

JACK BECKMAN, Infinite Hero 2017 Dodge Charger R/T
Crew chiefs: John Medlen, Dean Antonelli, Neal Strausbaugh
Qualified: No. 5
SUNDAY ELIMINATIONS
First round: BECKMAN (7.322 sec., 90.06 mph) def. Cruz Pedregon (redlight)
Second round: Jonnie Lindberg (4.017, 325.32) def. BECKMAN (4.096, 312.42)
QUALIFYING
FRIDAY: 8.661 sec., 71.92 mph, (Session 1); 4.351, 223.28, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 3.921, 327.03, (Session 3); 3.886, 329.18, (Session 4)
2016 Las Vegas 1: Qualified No.1, lost in second round to Chad Head
2016 Las Vegas 2: Qualified No. 1, lost second round to Courtney Force
Career at Las Vegas 1: Wins 0; Runner-ups 0, Poles 1( 2016)
Career at Las Vegas: Wins 1 (2006); Runner-ups 2 (2012, 2009); Poles 2 (both in 2016)

RON CAPPS, NAPA AUTO PARTS 2017 Dodge Charger R/T
Crew chief: Rahn Tobler; assistant: Eric Lane
Qualified: No. 4
SUNDAY ELIMINATIONS
First round: Jonnie Lindberg (4.332 sec., 250.37 mph) def. CAPPS (5.607, 125.26)
QUALIFYING
FRIDAY: 3.917 sec., 324.12 mph, (Session 1); 8.289, 81.03, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 3.951, 320.13, (Session 3); 3.877, 322.04, (Session 4)
2016 Las Vegas 1: Did not qualify (No. 17)
2016 Las Vegas 2: Qualified No. 4, lost in semifinals to Courtney Force
Career at Las Vegas 1: Wins 1 (2009); Runner-ups 2 (2006-07); Poles 0
Career at Las Vegas: Wins 5 (ties track record; 2012, 2011, 2009, 2005, 2001); Runner-ups 2 (2007, 2006); Poles 1 (2011)

2017 NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES STANDINGS
(Official after Las Vegas 1; 4 of 24 events; wins in parenthesis; DSR drivers in CAPS)

Top Fuel
1. TONY SCHUMACHER (1) 382 —–
2. LEAH PRITCHETT (2) 376 -6
3. ANTRON BROWN (1) 357 -25
4. Doug Kalitta 301 -81
5. Brittany Force 258 -124
6. Steve Torrence 251 -131
7. Clay Millican 187 -195
8. Troy Coughlin Jr. 176 -206
9. Terry McMillen 164 -218
10. Scott Palmer 148 -236

Funny Car
1. MATT HAGAN (2) 368 —–
2. TOMMY JOHNSON JR. (1) 324 -44
3 John Force (1) 314 -54
4. RON CAPPS 275 -93
5. Courtney Force 218 -150
6. JACK BECKMAN 205 -163
7. Robert Hight 201 -167
8. Jonnie Lindberg 183 -185
9. Jim Campbell 180 -188
10. J.R. Todd 170 -198

About Don Schumacher Racing
Don Schumacher Racing, headquartered near Indianapolis in Brownsburg, Ind., fields eight professional NHRA teams in the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.

In Top Fuel, the U.S. Army dragster driven by 8-time world champion Tony Schumacher, the reigning and 3-time world champion Matco Tools/U.S. Army dragster driven by Antron Brown, the Papa John’s Pizza dragster with driver Leah Pritchett and 2013 world champion Shawn Langdon.

In Funny Car, two-time world champion Matt Hagan in the Mopar Express Lane 2016 Dodge Charger R/T, reigning world champion Ron Capps’ NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge, 2012 NHRA world champion Jack Beckman in the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge, and the Make-A-Wish Dodge driven by Tommy Johnson Jr.

DSR has won 300 NHRA national event titles and 16 world championships.

Follow Don Schumacher Racing at ShoeRacing.com, on Twitter at @shoeracing and Facebook.com/shoeracing.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Jeff Wolf (wolfj@shoeracing.com), 702.524.1368
Leah Vaughn (vaughnl@shoeracing.com), 618.516.19