News

Don Schumacher Racing Pomona 1 Pre-Race Report

Pomona I Pre-Race Report

NHRA Winternationals
Event 1 of 24 (Pomona I)
Auto Club Raceway at Pomona
Pomona, Calif.
Feb. 9-11, 2018
 
Noteworthy:

  • Both Leah Pritchett and Matt Hagan won the 2017 event from the No. 1 seed 
  • Tommy Johnson Jr. returns as the most recent Pomona Funny Car champion, having won the 2017 NHRA World Finals
  • Tony Schumacher is tied with Don Garlits for the most wins (six) at Pomona:
    • Spring: 2004, 2008 
    • Fall: 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 
  • Tony Schumacher leads the Top Fuel class in number of No. 1 qualifiers (10) at Pomona:
    • Spring: 2005, 2006, 2007, 2013 
    • Fall: 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 
  • Antron Brown earned his first No. 1 qualifier in the Top Fuel category at the 2008 Pomona I event
  • Jack Beckman and the Infinite Hero team will debut the 2018 Terry Chandler-tribute challenge coin at the Pomona I event
  • Jack Beckman, Ron Capps and Leah Pritchett consider Pomona to be a hometown track. Beckman resides in Norco; Capps resides in Carlsbad; Pritchett grew up in nearby Redlands
  • Team patriarch and Funny Car pioneer Don Schumacher won the 1973 event  

DSR-Owned Track Records:
Funny Car, E.T.: 3.822-secs, Matt Hagan (Pomona I 2017)
Funny Car, speed: 335.57-mph, Matt Hagan (Pomona I 2017)
 
DSR Driver Information:
 

ANTRON BROWN
Driver of the Matco Tools/U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster 

NHRA Winternationals Event Highlights: 
  • Earned his first No. 1 qualifier in the Top Fuel category at the 2008 Pomona I event
  • Two-time No. 1 qualifier (2008, 2009) 
  • Two-time runner-up (2012, 2015) 
2017 Pomona I Recap:
Qualified third; Semifinal finish (defeated Steve Chrisman in E1, Troy Coughlin Jr. in E2; defeated by Doug Kalitta in E3)
 
2017 Season Statistics:
Four event wins; 53 round wins; finished fourth in points
 
Career Statistics:
382 races; 65 wins (16 Pro Stock Motorcycle); 49 No. 1 qualifiers (11 PSM)
 
Noteworthy:
  • Has won in both the Top Fuel and Pro Stock Motorcycle categories at Pomona 
  • Three-time Pomona winner (One PSM); All three wins occurred during the November World Finals event
Quotable:
“Back in the trenches again. Going into Pomona we haven’t changed too much. We’ve got a good grasp on everything, and we’ve gone through all of the parts and pieces and we’re just going to pick up where we left off last year."

"We had a really good setup the last time we were in Pomona. We ran a 3.67 our last pass down the track, so our whole mindset is to pick up where we left off. Of course, it’ll be warmer there now. The temps will be in the mid-to-high 80’s, which will make it challenging, but our Matco Tools/U.S. Army team is always looking for that challenge.”
 
 
LEAH PRITCHETT
Driver of the Mopar Dodge Top Fuel Dragster 
NHRA Winternationals Event Highlights: 
  • Returns as the defending Top Fuel event champion 
  • 2017 Top Fuel No. 1 qualifier  
2017 Pomona I Recap:
Qualified No. 1; Event champion (E1: bye, defeated Steve Torrence in E2, Tony Schumacher in E3, and Doug Kalitta in the final round)
 
2017 Season Statistics:
Four event wins; 47 round wins; finished fifth in points
 
Career Statistics:
94 races; five wins; seven No. 1 qualifiers
 
Noteworthy:
  • Pomona is a home track for Pritchett who grew up in nearby Redlands, Calif. 
  • 2018 marks Pritchett’s second full-time season with Don Schumacher Racing 
  • Only driver in Top Fuel history to win the first two events (Pomona I and Phoenix) from the No. 1 seed
Quotable:
"Ready to get our racing on. The crew chiefs' developments over the off-season showed true potential during testing. We made progress on the track where we needed it most. That was our focus. We left testing with a good feeling about the season-opener. I'm excited about merging the best of last year's data with our new changes, but most of all, I'm excited about getting back into competition, which is expected to be fierce." 

 
TONY SCHUMACHER
Driver of the U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster
NHRA Winternationals Event Highlights: 
  • Two-time event winner (2004, 2008) 
  • Four-time No. 1 qualifier (2005, 2006, 2007, 2013) 
  • Raced to a runner-up finish in 2013 
2017 Pomona I Recap:
Qualified fifth; Semifinal finish (defeated Scott Palmer in E1, Brittany Force in E2; defeated by Leah Pritchett in E3)
 
2017 Season Statistics:
One event win; 30 round wins; finished eighth in points
 
Career Statistics:
480 races; 83 wins; 84 No. 1 qualifiers
 
Noteworthy:
  • Tied with Don Garlits for the most wins (six) at Pomona:
    • Spring: 2004, 2008 
    • Fall: 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 
  • Leads the class in number of No. 1 qualifiers (10) at Pomona:
    • Spring: 2005, 2006, 2007, 2013 
    • Fall: 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 
  • Has raced to a Pomona final round 11 times 
Quotable:
“Testing went really well. We have a new crew chief working with Phil [Shuler, assistant crew chief]. There are always concerns at the beginning that it’s going to be different, and those concerns are past us." 

"We did some good testing. Mike [Neff, crew chief] as a Funny Car guy coming over to Top Fuel did a heck of a job jelling with Phil. Mike is aggressive and new to these kinds of cars, and brings some new ideas. Mike and Phil have been doing a great job, and I think that will translate into being successful on the track in Pomona.” 

 
JACK BECKMAN
Driver of the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger R/T
NHRA Winternationals Event Highlights: 
  • 2016 No. 1 qualifier 
2017 Pomona I Recap:
Qualified eighth; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Cruz Pedregon in E1; defeated by Matt Hagan in E2)
 
2017 Season Statistics:
Two event wins; 38 round wins; finished fourth in points
 
Career Statistics:
276 races; 26 wins; 23 No. 1 qualifiers
 
Noteworthy:
  • The Norco, Calif. resident considers Auto Club Raceway at Pomona a home track 
  • Will debut the 2018 Terry Chandler-tribute Infinite Hero Foundation challenge coin at Pomona 
  • Returns as the most recent Pomona Funny Car No. 1 qualifier, having claimed the top spot at the 2017 NHRA World Finals
Quotable:
“We struggled the first three days of testing. Nobody wants to stay on Super Bowl Sunday after we’d already made 11 runs. It’s not just the three days of testing, but the guys then had to service every single part we used up. The fact that the Infinite Hero team recognized that the bigger picture is winning the championship and that starts with testing, speaks volumes. On the fourth day we unloaded with a half-track shutoff that went in the 3’s [seconds, E.T.] and more important, made five runs in a row with two different cars that went down the track. I can’t wait for Pomona now. We have a car that’s ready to win the race.”
 
 
RON CAPPS
Driver of the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T
NHRA Winternationals Event Highlights: 
  • Three-time event winner (1998, 2009, 2016) 
  • Four-time runner-up (2006, 2010, 2013, 2015) 
2017 Pomona I Recap:
Qualified fourth; Semifinal finish (defeated Bob Bode in E1, Del Worsham in E2; defeated by Matt Hagan in E3)
 
2017 Season Statistics:
Eight event wins; 52 round wins; finished second in points
 
Career Statistics:
507 races; 58 wins (One Top Fuel); 21 No. 1 qualifiers
 
Noteworthy:
  • Seven Winternationals final round appearances  
  • As a resident of Carlsbad, located in the greater San Diego area, considers Auto Club Raceway at Pomona to be a home track 
Quotable:
"Testing went great. I’ve always bragged about how Rahn Tobler approaches not just the race, but everything involved- the preparation, the off-season, everything. Yes, we do have a big change going from the five to the six disc clutch, but it’s been seamless. Testing showed that.
 
"We tried hard to focus on going down the track in the heat of the day, which was [Tobler's] choice. Running two 80’s [E.T.] in the heat and then making another great run when it cooled off, I feel great going into Pomona. I really feel like this NAPA team is going to have as good, or better, season this year as we did last year with this six disc.
 
"The Winternationals have been really good to me in the past. There’s nothing like showing up at the birthplace of drag racing to start the year off. Pomona is close to home for me, and it’s always good when you can celebrate with your family and friends in the winner’s circle."
 
 
MATT HAGAN
Driver of the Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T 
NHRA Winternationals Event Highlights: 
  • Returns as the defending Funny Car event champion 
  • 2017 Funny Car No. 1 qualifier 
  • Reset the track Funny Car E.T. and speed records in 2017:
    • E.T.: 3.822-secs 
    • Speed: 335.57-mph 
  • Won the 2005 event  
  • Two-time runner-up (2011, 2014) 
2017 Pomona I Recap:
Qualified No. 1; Event champion (defeated Jeff Diehl in E1, Jack Beckman in E2, Ron Capps in E3 and Courtney Force in the final round)
 
2017 Season Statistics:
Four event wins; 39 round wins; finished fifth in points
 
Career Statistics:
216 races; 26 wins; 30 No. 1 qualifiers
 
Noteworthy:
  • Has raced to the Pomona winner’s circle five times:
    • Spring: 2015, 2017 
    • Fall: 2011, 2013, 2014 
Quotable:
“Dickie Venables and the guys worked really hard during the off-season; hats off to them. Couldn’t have asked for a better test session. We shook down the car and tested everything we wanted to. Then we brought our other car out and it ran an .85 [E.T.] so I think Dickie’s really happy with our car’s performance. It was a very productive week in Phoenix.
 
“Of course, you can go from hero to zero in a few seconds, and as much as you think you’ve got stuff dialed in, you get to a different track and it all changes, but we know we have a good baseline to work off of going into the season.
 
“Pomona has been very good to us. We need to go in there, get qualified and take it from there. I know Dickie is going to put a great car underneath me and it’s my job to drive my ass off. That’s the game plan; just get in there, get back in the groove. It’ll be cool to see all the fans again.
 
“I love my car’s new look. This Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T is decked out in black and red. It looks lean and mean, and that’s exactly how we try and run.”
 
 
TOMMY JOHNSON JR.
Driver of the Make-A-Wish Foundation Dodge Charger R/T 
NHRA Winternationals Event Highlights: 
  • 2005 event champion 
  • 2001 No. 1 qualifier 
2017 Pomona I Recap:
Qualified tenth; Quarterfinalist (defeated Alexis DeJoria in E1; defeated by John Force in E2)
 
2017 Season Statistics:
Two event wins; 36 round wins; finished sixth in points
 
Career Statistics:
422 races; 17 wins (Two Top Fuel); 15 No. 1 qualifiers (One Top Fuel)
 
Noteworthy:
  • Returns as the most recent Pomona Funny Car champion, having won the 2017 NHRA World Finals
  • Has raced to the Pomona winner’s circle three times:
    • Spring: 2005 
    • Fall: 2016, 2017  
Quotable:
“We did exactly what we wanted to do in testing. We worked out some bugs and the car performed really well. As far as adapting from the five disc to the six disc clutch setup, we’re really happy with what we’ve seen.
 
“It feels good to go back to Pomona considering the last time we were there, we won, so hopefully we will carry that momentum into this weekend.
 
“I was able to win the Winternationals once before, and it just kicks the season off on a really high note and sets the tone for the rest of the year. It’s important to come out of Pomona with a strong showing.” 

Our Sponsors

Join Shoe's News

Thank You!

Thank you for signing up to receive Shoe’s News.