Notes & Quotes: NHRA Route 66 Nationals

5 years ago Racing

Leah Pritchett, Papa John’s Pizza/Mopar® Dodge Top Fuel Dragster

No. 10 Qualifier – 3.797 ET

“We felt like we made so many wholesale changes to find our power and today we got it back. I think the most impressive thing was the three full pulls in eliminations under conditions we didn’t have before. The car reacted to what we were telling it to do, and that will put a smile on everyone’s face all the way until the win light comes on. Three round wins, it’s incredible, the chemistry of the team and the problems we’ve been overcoming. Unfortunately, in the final round, we had problems from the start. The silver lining is when we’re on together, we’re on together, the driver and the car, and you see the smiling faces, but when we’re off together, we’re off together.”

On two finals in the last three races:

“Sometimes, when you’re winning, you get used to that. The more we do well, the more appreciative and in the moment I get. It’s been a long time. When we won in Atlanta, that was a great sense of satisfaction with Lucy (the Make-A-Wish child who cheered on Pritchett at the event). Going rounds today – I can’t compare the two, but the enjoyment factor was really high up there.”

On the next event at Richmond:

“I think it’s going to go well, we’ll have an even playing field for everyone, not having good track data there. I hear it’s supposed to be fast, and this team, we can go back to some of our ways where we know how to lay down some numbers. We’ve struggled with that this year, getting that power back, and now that we’ve found it in the heat, I’m looking forward to applying it. We’re not going to let this final round stop us at all. Our heads are not hanging low at all. We’ll keep (our heads) grounded and down; hopefully, on this swing, we’ll be raising another Wally.”

Ron Capps, NAPA Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car

No. 2 Qualifier – 3.921 ET

“It’s so nice to have our NAPA car back to where it was when we won the championship in 2016, and our eight wins last year. For me, that means it’s going to be a lot of fun because we’re going to win a lot of rounds this summer. We’re going to fight to get back up and get the point lead going into Indy. We’re back a little ways, but we’re making up ground. Great weekend for (our) guys.”

Matt Hagan, Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car

No. 1 Qualifier – 3.917 ET

“Unfortunately, not what we wanted out of race day. Went out there and (the car) just kind of came loose, it was looping the tires. We’re having to make bigger wholesale changes during race day, and I feel like our Mopar Dodge is responding to the changes. All in all, I feel like we’re closing the gap on a lot of things, and we’re making it happen. We have momentum going into these next three races coming up.”

Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car

No. 3 Qualifier – 3.944 ET

“Little bit of a frustrating weekend, and unfortunately for our Infinite Hero team, we’ve had a few of those lately. We’re having some issues fine-tuning the new car with the new clutch, and with four races in a row, you just don’t want to stumble too much. We’re still showing signs of brilliance. The guys are doing a great job digging into the data. I overdrove the car a couple of times today. Fresh pipes, super responsive steering; I’ve got to back myself down a bit. This is a perfect example of where we have to come together as a team of 11 and step up our game.”

Tommy Johnson Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car

No. 10 Qualifier – 4.011 ET

“A little frustrating, the track surface was giving everyone fits first round. The cars won’t stay hooked up. We went out there and it spun the tires. I couldn’t see Shawn (Langdon) at that point, but it’s race day, so you try and get back in it and do everything you can to get it down to the finish line. It’s unfortunate, but we’ll regroup and go on to the next one.”

Tony Schumacher, U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster

No. 3 Qualifier – 3.749 ET

“We had a really good U.S. Army racecar here this weekend and weren’t able to take advantage of it. The frustrating part is that we were able to make some progress with the U.S. Army car the last couple of days and we were hoping to make four good runs today. We’ll get right back after it next week in Richmond. I do want to say thanks to Mark Warnick, who is leaving our Army Team and DSR after being with us for 15 years. He won a championship with the Army team in 2014 and was a huge part of our success the past five seasons.”

2018 NHRA Championship – Point Standings After Round 9 of 24 (Season Wins in Parentheses)

NHRA Funny Car

  1. Courtney Force (3) – 728
  2. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger R/T (1) – 647
  3. Robert Hight (1) – 624
  4. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger R/T (1) – 601
  5. J.R. Todd (2) – 539
  6. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger R/T – 535
  7. Tommy Johnson Jr., Dodge Charger R/T – 522
  8. Cruz Pedregon (1) – 433
  9. Shawn Langdon – 429
  10. John Force – 383

NHRA Top Fuel

  1. Steve Torrence (3) – 712
  2. Clay Millican (2) – 687
  3. Leah Pritchett, Mopar Dodge HEMI® (1) – 582
  4. Tony Schumacher, Mopar Dodge HEMI – 578
  5. Doug Kalitta (1) – 570
  6. Brittany Force (1) – 471
  7. Terry McMillen – 464
  8. Antron Brown – 456
  9. Scott Palmer – 350
  10. Richie Crampton (1) – 329



More Racing Articles