Mopar®/Dodge Notes & Quotes: U.S. Nationals, Indianapolis

6 years ago Racing

Ron Capps, NAPA Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
No. 8 Qualifier – 3.871 seconds at 330.55 mph

“This race is such a big deal. Leaving here as the regular season points leader going into the Countdown to the Championship in Charlotte is the silver lining in a cloud right now. We’re just a little disappointed. We had a shot at winning Indy and it comes once a year. You get so involved in this historic race and to get up that far and lose a close race like we did hurts a little more than most races. But I’ve never been so happy so quickly after a loss like that because I know going into the Countdown, we’ve got our racecar back. We really sort of struggled through the West Coast Swing, but then found a few things that I think are going to help us in the championship run.”

Leah Pritchett, Papa John’s Pizza/Mopar® Pennzoil Top Fuel Dragster 
No. 2 Qualifier – 3.667 seconds at 329.50 mph

“We had a lot of momentum coming into this race and we kept it going as long as possible. We experienced some rather unusual circumstances in the semifinal and it slowed our momentum, but it definitely didn’t stop it. This race is actually a turning point for us. It’s something that we really needed. We hadn’t been able to get a grip on the warner track tune-up from a fuel and clutch standpoint and this race made us dig deep and figure it out.

“Our heads are not hung low. To go to the semifinals at the U.S. Nationals is farther than I’ve ever been at this race in any category. It’s something to be proud of.”

Matt Hagan, Mopar 80th/Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
No. 1 Qualifier – 3.799 seconds at 338.77 mph

“Little gremlins are eating us alive right now. We’ll probably take a hit in the points because of it, going out first round two races in a row. The car’s qualified great, it runs great. The last two races we’ve qualified one and two. It’s just hard to take these kinds of hits and not be upset about it. We all care, we all get frustrated, but we’ve got to get ready to run for a championship. That means getting these little bugs and things out of the way and making things happen for these next six races. There are no do-overs.”

Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
No. 5 Qualifier – 3.859 seconds at 333.16 mph

“We came within two win lights of having the most perfect drag racing weekend you can have. It’s always frustrating to not close the deal, we just barely lost to our teammate out there and that’s a tough loss coming off a day like we had and a car like we have. But that is our silver lining. This car has been fantastic, we’re making good tune-up calls; I feel comfortable in the cockpit. Now when they re-set the points, we are right on (Ron Capps’) rear bumper and I like our odds of winning the championship.”

Tommy Johnson Jr., Riley Hospital for Children Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
No. 12 Qualifier – 3.988 seconds at 324.20 mph

“Indy was really frustrating, very disappointing. We came in here on a really hot streak, tested well and felt confident in our chances for this weekend. We had a problem the first three runs of qualifying that set us back and put us in a hole. We did our best to climb out of it, but it was just too big of a task.

“It’s the biggest drag race of the year and one of our biggest disappointments of the year. Hopefully, it builds a fire under us and we come out swinging at Charlotte.”

Tony Schumacher, U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster
No. 4 Qualifier – 3.680 seconds at 330.31 mph

“We had a really good car, and that was just a rough way to end our Indy. I sometimes dislike racing against cars that, on paper, you should beat. You line up against the Kalitta team or any of our DSR teams and we rarely have any issues. When you have to rise to the occasion, it just seems like we do better. It’s crazy to think that we get beat more often by teams that we probably shouldn’t. I’m not making any excuses. We just got beat. I don’t want to take anything away from Kebin (Kinsley). They are all good people over there with that team.”

Pietro Gorlier, Head of Parts and Service (Mopar) FCA – Global

“Every racer dreams of winning the NHRA U.S. Nationals, and it is thrilling to see Mopar power in the winner’s circle at such an incredible event. Congratulations to Larry Gilley in Stock Eliminator, Kevin Helms in Super Stock, and their entire teams on these historic victories.”

Up Next: NHRA Carolina Nationals

In two weeks, the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship begins at zMAX Dragway outside of Charlotte. Last year, Mopar Funny Car driver Tommy Johnson Jr. finished as the event runner-up in the Carolina Nationals. Jack Beckman and Matt Hagan have each won at the Charlotte-area track three times, while Ron Capps has visited the winner’s circle there twice. Mopar-powered Tony Schumacher has also won at the facility twice in Top Fuel.

The 10th annual Carolina Nationals are slated for September 15-17. FOX Sports 1 will provide qualifying coverage throughout the weekend, with the elimination rounds airing LIVE on FS1 at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, September 17.

For more information on Mopar and Dodge in NHRA, check out the Mopar brand’s official blog,

2017 NHRA Championship – Point Standings After Round 18 of 24

(Re-set for Countdown to the Championship, Season Wins in Parentheses)

NHRA Funny Car

  1. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger R/T (6) – 2,100
  2. Robert Hight (2) – 2,080
  3. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger R/T (3) – 2,070
  4. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger R/T (2) – 2,060
  5. Tommy Johnson Jr., Dodge Charger R/T (1) – 2,050
  6. Courtney Force – 2,040
  7. John Force (1) – 2,030
  8. J.R. Todd (2) – 2,020
  9. Tim Wilkerson – 2,010
  10. Cruz Pedregon – 2,000

NHRA Top Fuel

  1. Steve Torrence (7) – 2,100
  2. Antron Brown (4) – 2,080
  3. Leah Pritchett, Mopar Hemi® (4) – 2,070
  4. Tony Schumacher, Mopar HEMI (1) – 2,060
  5. Doug Kalitta – 2,050
  6. Brittany Force (1) – 2,040
  7. Clay Millican (1) – 2,030
  8. Terry McMillen – 2,020
  9. Scott Palmer – 2,010
  10. Shawn Langdon – 2,000



More Racing Articles