Mopar®/Dodge Notes & Quotes: NHRA Finals, Pomona, California

6 years ago Racing

Tommy Johnson Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
No. 4 Qualifier – 3.887 seconds at 314.31 mph

“We came in here and kind of used this race as a test. We tested on Monday in Vegas with a 6-disc and decided to leave it in for here to kind of get ahead on next year. It ran flawless all weekend. The guys did a great job of adapting. That’s a big change. To put it in and win the first race with a 6-disc speaks volumes of what the next year is going to bring.

“We won one year ago at this race with Terry (Chandler, late mentor and friend who funded the team), and I really wanted to win this for her. I tried several times this year to get a win for her but we just couldn’t get it done. I thought this is the last one and we’re going to do it (win) this weekend. She was a great lady and we’re going to miss her dearly. Our entire team has had a lot of family deaths this year, three guys on my team lost a family member this year. Been a rough year for us but we kept fighting. After going into the sand the second round, it showed the kind of fight we had. We wanted to win this for Terry and that’s why I said, ‘This win is for Terry!'”

Ron Capps, NAPA Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
No. 6 Qualifier – 3.897 seconds at 328.22 mph

“It rattled (the tires) and I gave it a pedal. I saw Del (Worsham) out there. Del is one of the throwback, great racers still around. I love racing him; I get up to race him. Just I guess it wasn’t meant to be. We had a great season. It’s big. It hurts a lot to come all the way down here and win eight races and then lose the championship. But I want to thank everybody for coming out. We’re going to get ready for next year.”

Matt Hagan, Mopar® 80th/Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
No. 7 Qualifier – 3.898 seconds at 333.08 mph

“It’s one of those years where you come out strong, winning the first two races and feel it’s going to be the year. But then the heat comes on and things change and you make adjustments. You have to adapt and we did and learned a lot. I wouldn’t trade (crew chief) Dickie Venables or (assistant) Mike Knudsen for anybody out there. I feel like we’re growing as a group together. We have a lot of good chemistry and know each other’s ins and outs, and our every moves. I think it takes that to really click and win races and win championships. You’re not going to win them all the time but we’ve always been in the hunt, involved in the race. That means a lot to me because every time I strap in the car I know I’ve got a chance on Sunday to win. And drag racing is only going to get more competitive, there’s only going to be more cars come in and there’s only going to be more competition. You have to get after it. We’re always growing, adapting, R&D-ing. I think we have what it takes to come back and work harder, be a winner and come back strong. It’s a blessing and neat environment to be here at DSR and live out a dream to drive a racecar and be paid to do it. I couldn’t ask for any more opportunity than that.”

Leah Pritchett, Papa John’s Pizza/Mopar Pennzoil Top Fuel Dragster 
No. 3 Qualifier – 3.674 seconds at 325.61 mph

“Unfortunately, it was not the finish we wanted for Sunday, but today marks a dream that I’ve had for my entire life – to compete at all 24 events in a season, the whole season. This is the first time I’ve been able to do it. To finish in the fifth position for Don Schumacher Racing is incredible. This team has proven they are championship caliber and I think this season constitutes a very healthy warmup for championship contention for the 2018 season. We have no reason to hang our head. We have a couple of things to work on and couldn’t be more excited about this group staying together and fighting it out next year.”

Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
No. 1 Qualifier – 3.835 seconds at 334.98 mph

“I think the nice thing about this is we now know we have a car that can win any race. In the last few races, we haven’t had any of those lucky breaks in the rounds, and once in a while, you need those. I was so proud of the guys after the first round. We’re warming up for the second round and the clutch seized up. So we had to install a spare clutch cannon and they don’t always respond the same. So the fact that they were able to make the adjustments, we went out there and got the second-round win. And then in the semis against Tommy, the car just didn’t do exactly what it was supposed to do. It’s a bummer because that round would’ve been third place in the points. But I don’t think we have to change anything in the offseason. I think we get to freshen our inventory, go test and we’re ready to unload at the Winternationals.”

Tony Schumacher, U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster
No. 6 Qualifier – 3.721 seconds at 328.54 mph

“It was one of those seasons where you can look back on so many things that you could’ve done differently and ended up winning a bunch of races. It’s all about timing. Just look at the runs in the first round today – we would’ve won against all of the other seven cars from the lower half of the qualifying order, and it just seems like it was that way so many times this year. But we also were outrun by other great teams and drivers who had great runs at the right time against us this year. We need to step it up. For the next two months, we need to get it together and come out fighting next year. This U.S. Army team is a great team representing the greatest fighting force in the world and I’m as proud to be a part of it as I ever was. We celebrated Veterans Day here all weekend with a tribute to all the men and women who have served this great nation of ours and the reason this team goes racing.”

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

“As our 80th anniversary celebration draws to a close, we are very proud to have also been part of 21 victories across both Funny Car and Top Fuel with vehicles featuring Mopar HEMI® power. Congratulations to Tommy Johnson Jr. and team on capping off this special year with a win in their Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T at the NHRA Finals.”

Up Next: NHRA Winternationals
The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series returns to kick off the 2018 campaign with the 58th annual NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona on February 8 – 11, 2018.

For more information on Mopar and Dodge in NHRA, check out the Mopar brand’s official blog,
2017 NHRA Championship – Final Point Standings After Round 24 of 24
(Season Wins in Parentheses)

NHRA Funny Car
1. Robert Hight (4) – 2,686
2. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger R/T (8) – 2,588
3. Courtney Force – 2,543
4. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger R/T (2) – 2,519
5. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger R/T (4) – 2,470
6. Tommy Johnson Jr., Dodge Charger R/T (2) – 2,452
7. John Force (1) – 2,388
8. Tim Wilkerson – 2,296
9. J.R. Todd (2) – 2,282
10. Cruz Pedregon – 2,178

NHRA Top Fuel
1. Brittany Force (4) – 2,690
2. Steve Torrence (8) – 2,609
3. Doug Kalitta (1) – 2,553
4. Antron Brown (4) – 2,508
5. Leah Pritchett, Mopar HEMI (4) – 2,452
6. Clay Millican (1) – 2,419
7. Shawn Langdon – 2,406
8. Tony Schumacher, Mopar HEMI (1) – 2,395

9. Terry McMillen (1) – 2,310
10. Scott Palmer – 2,218



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