Notes & Quotes: Virginia NHRA Nationals

Leah Pritchett, FireAde/Mopar® Dodge Top Fuel Dragster
(No. 5 Qualifier – 3.830 ET)

“That run against Clay (Millican) was our redemption round for last week at Chicago. Our power source shut off down the track and the car started feeling erratic. I wasn’t sure Clay red-lighted, so I stayed in it as long as I could, to make sure I got that win light, even though the car was acting up.

“What was difficult about our loss in the second round is that there is nothing we would’ve changed. For us, everything looked perfect. All of a sudden, to smoke at halftrack, that’s not a typical thing. I knew we put in a really hot tuneup. And then for it to surprisingly smoke like that, it was eventful. For us, we’re not letting it get us down even though we can’t change the circumstance of what happened. We feel good about what we came to race with. Ultimately, that’s going to set us up for championship contention, and we’ll take a lot of character and morale to Bristol.”

Tony Schumacher, U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster
(No. 1 Qualifier – 3.777 ET)

“It was on a 77, 78 run and we spun the tires. There was no reason that far down the track to spin the tires. It was already through the clutch. And there’s nothing we would’ve done differently that could’ve changed what happened. It’s frustrating because we’ve got an amazing U.S. Army car and we’re running great. And it goes out there and it spins the tires on us on an amazing racetrack. We were on a great run, one that would’ve won the round easily, low for the session. And it spins the tires, like it hits a bump where there isn’t a bump. There are really only two explanations for it – I either drove through oil, or I drove through oil (laughs). And then we put a hole out and we lost by just a few feet at the line. It’s frustrating, but we know we’ve got a good car and sooner or later things are going to start going our way on Sundays.”

Ron Capps, NAPA Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 3 Qualifier – 4.039 ET)

“This is what NHRA Drag Racing is. You just never know. As well as we qualified, we never thought that we even had a chance at smoking the tires. The car has been so solid. When you run Tim Wilkerson, you know that it’s going to be a tough race. The car was running really well, and then it started slowly spinning the tires a little past halftrack and then slowly went into more tire smoke, and then I saw Wilkerson out next to me.

“Being the first pair out, we were pretty bummed. We feel like we beat ourselves. We didn’t feel like the car was even going to be close to smoking the tires, but watching the rest of the Funny Car session that first round, it was really whoever could get down that track would win. The heat, the humidity; it was a tough first round.”

Matt Hagan, Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 11 Qualifier – 4.088 ET)

“Very, very tough weekend for Don Schumacher Racing. All four Funny Cars went out first round. We’re still looking at the data. The car is responding to everything we’re asking it to do. Talking to (crew chief) Dickie (Venables), I asked him if he was confident in everything we’re doing, and he said he is. We just needed more data and more runs in these conditions to be able to fill in these graph sheets. Now that we have less glue and a different prep on the race track, we’ve had to revamp how we run these cars. It’s just taking more runs to get there. Some people are making some hero runs here and there, but really, no one has it totally figured out. We’re really trying hard to get it pinned down to where we can get some more consistency and try and find some more downforce.”

Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 5 Qualifier – 4.053 ET)

“The only silver lining today is just about all of the other Funny Cars near us in points lost early. It is the ‘upset nationals’ here at Richmond. Did not see that coming. Never bet on a Funny Car race; qualifying doesn’t matter, you don’t race them on paper. Anybody can win on Sunday. We were picking away towards getting back to our optimal tune-up. We did not see (our car) going up there and throwing us a curveball. We will check the data and we can redeem ourselves in just a few days.”

Tommy Johnson Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 10 Qualifier – 4.083 ET)

“It was a frustrating weekend. We were off a little bit all weekend. We actually feel good and confident with the new car. We’re starting to figure it out. Heading into Bristol, it’s one of our favorite tracks and we’ve had a lot of success there. I think it’s probably going to be a good weekend for the Make-A-Wish team.”

2018 NHRA Championship – Point Standings After Round 10 of 24

NHRA Funny Car

  1. Courtney Force – 856
  2. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger R/T – 683
  3. Robert Hight – 665
  4. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger R/T – 633
  5. J.R. Todd – 615
  6. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger R/T – 576
  7. Tommy Johnson Jr., Dodge Charger R/T – 554
  8. John Force – 468
  9. Shawn Langdon – 461
  10. Cruz Pedregon – 454

NHRA Top Fuel

  1. Steve Torrence – 827
  2. Clay Millican – 719
  3. Doug Kalitta – 665
  4. Tony Schumacher, Mopar Dodge HEMI® – 641
  5. Leah Pritchett, Mopar Dodge HEMI – 639
  6. Antron Brown – 530
  7. Terry McMillen – 521
  8. Brittany Force – 518
  9. Richie Crampton – 387
  10. Scott Palmer – 383

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