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Dallas Pre-Race Report

AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals

Event 21 of 24 (Dallas)
NHRA Countdown, Event 3 of 6
Texas Motorplex
Ennis, Texas
October 5-7, 2018

Noteworthy:

  • Double-duty driver Leah Pritchett sits one point out of first place in the Factory Stock Showdown Series heading into Dallas, the final FSXX event of the year
  • Pritchett has corralled back-to-back wins in her Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak Factory Stock entry at the previous two events
  • Antron Brown will wheel a pink Matco Tools 'Tools for the Cause' dragster benefitting the Breast Cancer Research Foundation during the month of October, beginning with Dallas
  • Ron Capps has earned Dallas final round appearances the past two years, finishing as the runner-up in 2016 and 2017
  • Tony Schumacher leads the Top Fuel class in the number of wins (six) at Texas Motorplex
  • Both Brown (Pro Stock Motorcycle) and Schumacher (Top Fuel) claimed their first national event wins in 1999 at Texas Motorplex
  • A native of Chicago, Schumacher now resides in Austin, Texas  

DSR-Owned Track Records:
Top Fuel, speed: 330.55-mph, Antron Brown (2016)

DSR Driver Information:
 
Top Fuel:

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

Countdown to the Championship Ranking: No. 5

Dallas Event Highlights: 
  • Three-time event champion
    • Top Fuel (2012, 2016) 
    • Pro Stock Motorcycle (1999, discontinued Spring event) 
  • 2016 No. 1 qualifier 
2017 Dallas Recap:
Qualified third; Semifinal finish (defeated Shawn Reed in E1, Leah Pritchett in E2; defeated by Shawn Langdon in E3)
 
Last event (St. Louis):
Qualified seventh; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Doug Kalitta in E1; defeated by Clay Millican in E2)

2018 Season Statistics:
25 round wins; ranked fifth in points
 
Career Statistics:
402 races; 66 wins (16 Pro Stock Motorcycle); 49 No. 1 qualifiers (11 PSM)

Noteworthy:
  • Has won in both Top Fuel and Pro Stock Motorcycle at Texas Motorplex 
  • First NHRA event win occurred at the 1999 Dallas I event (PSM) 
  • Matco is running the 'Tools for the Cause' campaign throughout the month of October in which 15% of the purchase price of 'Tools for the Cause' merchandise will be donated directly to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
    • Since 'Tools for the Cause' began in 2012, Matco has donated over $828,000 to breast cancer research

Quotable:
“I look forward to going to Dallas. It’s always a good race for us – our Matco Tools/U.S. Army/Toyota team has won a couple of times out there and it’s been a race that’s helped us lock down the Countdown a couple of times, too (2016 and 2012). This closes out the first half of the Countdown, so it’s another key race. We need to get our minds right and just go out there and try to go rounds and try to win the race. Back in 1999, the first national event Wally I ever held up was in Dallas in Pro Stock Motorcycles, so it’s always been a very special place for me.”


 
LEAH PRITCHETT
Driver of the Mopar Dodge Top Fuel Dragster 
Countdown to the Championship Ranking: No. 4

2017 Dallas Recap:
Qualified sixth; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Scott Palmer in E1; defeated by Antron Brown in E2)
 
Last event (St. Louis):
Qualified fifth; Semifinal finish (defeated Bye in E1, Blake Alexander in E2; defeated by Steve Torrence in E3)

2018 Season Statistics:
28 round wins; ranked fourth in points
 
Career Statistics:
114 races; seven wins; ten No. 1 qualifiers

Noteworthy:
  • Will pull double-duty for the seventh and final time this year, competing in both Top Fuel and the Factory Stock Showdown Series
  • Sits one point out of first heading into final NHRA Factory Stock Showdown event 
  • Has corralled back-to-back wins in her Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak Factory Stock entry

Quotable:
"More than anything, not only am I pumped for this race, but proud of the journey of both these teams (Top Fuel and Factory Stock Showdown) to get to the position we are in going into Ennis. Unique barely describes the upcoming weekend. Everything we’ve been working towards comes to this weekend, in both categories.
 
"Obviously for Factory Stock, we have an extremely solid shot at winning a championship being only one point out of first place. Our strategy is to continue doing what we’ve done, not play ladder games, just run as fast as we can every time, and ultimately the game plan is to win the race, which would win us the championship.
 
"Still in strong contention in Top Fuel. Ennis is huge because it holds a very strong potential to be a turning point in the Countdown. Same mindset, win the race. We’re coming into Ennis with a new front-half after noticing issues in St. Louis from an incident. I think this excites me more than the magnitude of the race because I know with new pipe, our crew chiefs will have their cooperative hot rod back. That brings a new level of confidence that I can’t wait to energize with in the car. At this point for both classes, we still cannot worry about what the competition is doing, and we will remain focused on our own path to being the quickest in every way."

 
 
TONY SCHUMACHER
Driver of the U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster
Countdown to the Championship Ranking: No. 3

Dallas Event Highlights: 
  • Six-time event champion (1999, 2004, 2005, 2009, 2010, 2014) 
  • 2008 runner-up  
  • Three-time No. 1 qualifier (2003, 2006, 2011) 
 
2017 Dallas Recap:
Qualified second; First round exit (defeated by Terry Haddock in E1)

Last event (St. Louis):
Qualified sixth; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Richie Crampton in E1; defeated by Pat Dakin in E2)

2018 Season Statistics:
27 round wins; ranked third in points
 
Career Statistics:
500 races; 84 wins; 87 No. 1 qualifiers

Noteworthy:
  • Leads the Top Fuel class in the number of wins (six) at Texas Motorplex: 1999, 2004, 2005, 2009, 2010, 2014
  • First NHRA event win occurred at the 1999 Dallas event  
  • A native of Chicago, Schumacher now resides in Austin, Texas 

Quotable:
“The mindset of our U.S. Army team is the same as it’s been since we started doing this 18 years ago and that is to go out and be the best that we can be each and every time we hit the track, whether it’s testing, qualifying, or racing on Sundays. If there are races left on the schedule, and we’re still within striking distance, then anything is possible. This team has proven that time and again over the years. The competitiveness from top to bottom is better than it’s ever been. There are a lot of quality teams we have to do battle against week in and week out, and that’s absolutely great for the fans, for our sport. No one is safe on any given weekend, although after the first two Countdown events, a couple of teams have created a little separation from the rest of us, for now. Dallas is our next stop and the game plan remains the same as it ever was. We need to develop some consistency and be machine-like and take matters into our own hands.”



Funny Car:
 
JACK BECKMAN
Driver of the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
Countdown to the Championship Ranking: No. 9

Dallas Event Highlights: 
  • Two-time runner-up (2009, 2015) 

2017 Dallas Recap:
Qualified third; Semifinal finish (defeated J.R. Todd in E1, Daniel Wilkerson in E2; defeated by Ron Capps in E3)
 
Last event (St. Louis):
Qualified eighth; First round exit (defeated by John Force in E1)

2018 Season Statistics:
24 round wins; ranked ninth in points 
 
Career Statistics:
296 races; 28 wins; 24 No. 1 qualifiers

Quotable:
"In most other forms of sports, a comeback is possible within the same event. Boxing, baseball, football, you can be down and get back up and get back in the game. In drag racing, it’s totally different. If you go down early, you’re done for the event, and we’ve done that three races in a row. It has to stop. If we want to have any shot at the championship, Dallas is our race. I thought St. Louis we needed to make it to the final round to get back into contention, and we didn’t win a single round, so that’s negative three rounds by my count. We’ve got to figure it out in Dallas. We stayed in St. Louis on Monday to test and made four runs. We did well, but that was St. Louis. Dallas is a different weekend, different weather, different race track. We have to be perfect."

 
 
RON CAPPS
Driver of the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T
Countdown to the Championship Ranking: No. 5

Dallas Event Highlights: 
  • 1998 event champion  
  • Three-time runner-up (2011, 2016, 2017) 
  • Two-time No. 1 qualifier (1997, 2005) 
 
2017 Dallas Recap:
Qualified second; Event runner-up (defeated Del Worsham in E1, John Force in E2, Jack Beckman in E3; defeated by Robert Hight in E4)
 
Last event (St. Louis):
Qualified second; First round exit (defeated by Cruz Pedregon in E1)

2018 Season Statistics:
29 round wins; ranked fifth in points
 
Career Statistics:
527 races; 60 wins (one Top Fuel); 21 No. 1 qualifiers

Noteworthy:
  • Earned final round appearances at Dallas the past two years, finishing as the runner-up in 2016 and 2017
  • Capps' only Dallas event win (1998) occurred during the discontinued Spring event

Quotable:
"One thing we know for sure when October comes around is that we're going to be coming up on our race at the Texas Motorplex. We always look forward to going to what was purposely built as the first ‘super track’ by former Funny Car racer Billy Meyer.
 
"Every season it seems like the race at the Texas Motorplex plays a huge role in the championship for Funny Car and the NHRA. In 2016, we left the Motorplex with what was considered for our team a gut-wrenching race day and we battled through a lot of things to get as many points in the Mello Yello standings as we did. That helped us win the 2016 world championship title. Last year, the Motorplex once again played a huge role for our team as we battled Robert Hight and (Hight’s crew chief) Jimmy Prock. We met up with them in the final round, and once again we left there as the points leaders, just as we did the year before. This season we lost a little bit of ground at the previous race in St Louis, but our NAPA AutoCare team is looking to have another great result at the Motorplex and put ourselves back in the championship points hunt.
 
"As an NHRA Drag Racer, you don't find very many tracks that are built like the Texas Motorplex. It’s still considered one of the best race tracks we attend and race at. (NAPA crew chief) Rahn Tobler and our team have shown we still have one of the most consistent race cars in the Funny Car division, and I'm looking forward to getting back on the race track and continuing our success."

 
 
MATT HAGAN
Driver of the Pennzoil Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
Countdown to the Championship Ranking: No. 7

Dallas Event Highlights: 
  • Two-time event champion (2010, 2016) 
  • 2012 runner-up 
 
2017 Dallas Recap:
Qualified thirteenth; First round exit (defeated by Jonnie Lindberg in E1)

Last event (St. Louis):
Qualified eleventh; First round exit (defeated by Tim Wilkerson in E1)

2018 Season Statistics:
27 round wins; ranked seventh in points 
 
Career Statistics:
236 races; 29 wins; 34 No. 1 qualifiers

Quotable:
"Looking forward to the Dallas race. We’ve done well there, we’ve won that race before and we’d sure like to get another winner’s cowboy hat.
 
"We stayed behind in St. Louis to test and it was really productive, and brought some good, positive energy. Moving forward, things should improve. We just didn’t have the greatest track record with the combo we were running, so obviously we needed to change that up and we did in testing in St. Louis. With points and a half at (the season-closer) Pomona, there’s still almost five races left if you think about it. There’s still a lot of racing left. We’re not out of the hunt and we have a great opportunity to battle back and look like heroes, but we have to have a good race in Dallas to do that; it can’t just be a first or second round sort of Sunday."


 
TOMMY JOHNSON JR.
Driver of the Make-A-Wish Foundation Dodge Charger R/T 
Countdown to the Championship Ranking: No. 6

Dallas Event Highlights:
  • 1999 runner-up 

2017 Dallas Recap:
Qualified seventh; First round exit (defeated by John Force in E1)
 
Last event (St. Louis):
Qualified fourth; Semifinal finish (defeated Del Worsham in E1, Bob Tasca III in E2; defeated by Robert Hight in E3)

2018 Season Statistics:
25 round wins; ranked sixth in points 
 
Career Statistics:
442 races; 17 wins (two Top Fuel); 15 No. 1 qualifiers (one Top Fuel)

Quotable:
"Looking forward to Dallas. I’ve been racing there for so long, since it opened, basically. So many memories from over the years there. It’s going to be a critical race for the Countdown. We made good progress, we’ve had a really good race car and we feel we’re very competitive and capable of winning at any time. If we can just pick it up a notch and continue to put ourselves in the hunt, I think a championship is possible but Dallas will be a very key race. We haven’t had much success there the past few years in the Countdown so it’s important that we turn it around this year."

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