Notes & Quotes: NHRA Midwest Nationals

Leah Pritchett, Mopar® Dodge Top Fuel Dragster

No. 5 Qualifier – 3.718 ET

On her Factory Stock Showdown win:

“We carried that momentum from the U.S. Nationals really without a hiccup. We put it to it every single round and that’s extremely impressive and a testament to the durability of the racecars, the powerplant and the people that Schumacher has put in place to run this program. We are in a fantastic spot heading in, second place in the points. It’s like Christmas Eve going into the last races. I really wouldn’t want a different perspective. We have a little bit of freshening up to do, but overall, this has been an incredible weekend of just straight teamwork all the way around and the Mopar power just continues to show through and we continue to want to show up.”

On her Top Fuel semifinals appearance:

“Going to the semifinals in the Countdown against some of the stiffest competition is definitely nothing to hang our heads about. We weren’t the quickest or fastest this weekend, but we made great improvements. We made wholesale changes that we had to commit to, and there was no turning back. We nipped away at them, but it just wasn’t quite enough. The points are still tight, we still have a shot and this team errs to the side of positivity. We’ve got a couple of things in our back pocket that I can’t wait to try out at our next race. Overall, it was a successful weekend and we’re going to build on this.”

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

No. 4 Qualifier – 3.896 ET

“We had a really good car. We’re doing really well in the Countdown, it’s just that Robert Hight is becoming a real pain, but that’s a good motivator. I feel the four best cars in the Countdown were in the semis and I’m glad we’re one of them. We just need to pick it up one more notch and I think we’ll be the car to beat.”

Tony Schumacher, U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster
No. 6 Qualifier – 3.731 ET

“I’ve been around for 500 races. I understand that you don’t make it to the finals every time like I did in my first race. If you would have asked me after my first race, I would have said, ‘Gee, this is easy. I always get to the final.’ But after doing it for a long, long time, you realize this is a competitive sport with some incredible teams. Today was simply proof of that. Pat Dakin beat me today. He competes in about 10 events a year and has a quality team. He brings good stuff and knows how to race a car. When you get beat by him, you don’t hang your head. We need to regroup. A car can’t win the race smoking the tires. That’s what we’ve done four out of the last six elimination rounds. We can make some rounds, but can’t get away with it that many times. We’ve got to come up with a different plan.”

Matt Hagan, Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT® Hellcat Funny Car

No. 11 Qualifier – 3.967 ET

“We’re going to test tomorrow and change some stuff up. We’ve been up against it a little bit with what we’ve been trying to do, so we’re going to make some different changes and start moving forward with some things. At the end of the day, this is the same group of guys that I won a championship with, I runner-upped with, and we’ve won a bunch of races with. It’s a fuel car, stuff changes, things happen, you make adjustments and you bounce back from adversity. Like Dickie said, we’re going to grab this thing by the horns and wrestle it to the ground and come out with the best opportunity and chance we can for the next four races to turn on win lights for our sponsors and obviously try to win some races and try to win this championship. It’s not over. I’ve seen crazy, crazy stuff happen, but I’ve also seen stuff come together and click, and you’re like, ‘Wow! Where’s that been all season!’ I’m really looking forward to tomorrow and making some runs here, making some test hits and hopefully get a handle on this racecar.”

Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car

No. 8 Qualifier – 3.929 ET

“Broken blower drive shaft. It’s the shaft behind the upper pulley that spins the rotors in the supercharger, and it snapped. Wow. We’re finding a lot of ways to lose right now and that’s the problem with the Countdown, you can’t have these stumbles. We had a wonderful first round car even when we were struggling in the middle part of the season, and now three first round losses in a row. Barring a miracle, we’re not going to be running for a championship, we’re going to be running for trophies at the next four races. We are going to stay and test tomorrow. This is devastating, there’s no way to spin this and say, ‘Gee, we’re going to make the best of this.’ We’re going to do the best we can from here on out, but it’s a gut punch to get two first round losses to open up the Countdown. We’ll run our car tomorrow, we’ll try some things that we think might give us a benefit and now we’re in a situation where not only do we have to win the next couple of races, we have to rely on four or five other cars losing first or second round. It’s not impossible, but we’re going to just control our own destiny at this point.”

Ron Capps, NAPA Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
No. 2 Qualifier – 3.873 ET

“We talked about these non-Countdown cars being dangerous. They have a lot to prove and nothing to lose. Cruz (Pedregon) has won two championships. I didn’t feel like I missed the light. Sometimes, as a driver, you feel like you didn’t hit the light as good as you normally do. I try to be consistent. The worst part is that it hurts so bad because we had the best car on the ground. We were so consistent and good in qualifying with (crew chief Rahn) Tobler and this NAPA AutoCare team. We still have four races left and it seems like there will be first round losses by a lot of the Countdown hitters. I feel like I let down this entire team and everyone at DSR, and on top of that, we have to sit for almost two weeks. I can’t wait to get into the car on Friday at Dallas (the next event). These guys are my brothers and they’ll lift my spirits up.”

 

2018 NHRA Championship – Point Standings After Round 20 of 24 (Season Wins in Parentheses)

NHRA Funny Car

  1. Robert Hight – 2270
  2. J.R. Todd – 2240
  3. Courtney Force – 2200
  4. Tim Wilkerson – 2196
  5. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger R/T (2) – 2182
  6. Tommy Johnson Jr., Dodge Charger R/T – 2166
  7. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat (3) – 2144
  8. John Force – 2116
  9. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat (2) – 2113
  10. Shawn Langdon – 2086

 

NHRA Top Fuel

  1. Steve Torrence – 2346
  2. Clay Millican – 2276
  3. Tony Schumacher, Mopar Dodge HEMI® (1) – 2225
  4. Leah Pritchett, Mopar Dodge HEMI (2) – 2192
  5. Antron Brown – 2169
  6. Doug Kalitta – 2135
  7. Mike Salinas – 2119
  8. Terry McMillen – 2093
  9. Scott Palmer – 2085
  10. Brittany Force – 2085

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