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DSR Bristol Pre-Race Report

NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals
Event 11 of 24 (Bristol)
Bristol Dragway
Bristol, Tenn. 
June 14-16, 2019

Noteworthy:

  • Ron Capps returns as the two-time defending event champion, having raced to Thunder Valley Funny Car victory in 2017 and 2018
  • With five Bristol Dragway triumphs, Capps is the winningest Funny Car driver in the track’s history
  • Jack Beckman enters the weekend following a runner-up finish from the previous event (Topeka)
  • Tommy Johnson Jr. has raced to a semifinal finish or better - including a Chicago victory - at the last four races
  • DSR has placed a Funny Car in the final round at the past four consecutive events
  • Bristol Dragway is a hometown track for lifelong Virginia resident Matt Hagan


DSR-Owned Track Records:
Funny Car, E.T.: 3.884 seconds, Ron Capps (2016)

DSR Driver Information:
 
Top Fuel:

ANTRON BROWN
Driver of the Matco Tools Top Fuel Dragster

Bristol Event Highlights: 
  • 2011 event runner-up
  • 2010 No. 1 qualifier 
2018 Bristol Recap:
Qualified third; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Richie Crampton in E1; defeated by Steve Torrence in E3)

Last Event (Topeka):
Qualified fourth; Semifinal finish (defeated Scott Palmer in E1, Doug Kalitta in E2; defeated by Steve Torrence in E3)

2019 Season Statistics:
13 round wins; Ranked fourth in points

Career Statistics:
416 races; 66 wins (16 Pro Stock Motorcycle); 49 No. 1 qualifiers (11 PSM)

Quotable:
“Every time you look up into the grandstands at Bristol, you see the names of NHRA legends, and you’re reminded of the history that they made at this historic place. Bristol is one of those what I call ‘racing capitals’ that we go to where people just love when we come into town. We light that nitro up in between those mountains, and that’s what really gets me up going to Bristol. They call it Thunder Valley for a reason. It’s the whole atmosphere there. And looking at this weekend, the forecast is calling for cooler temps than we normally see when we race there. Friday night is definitely going to be a triple throw-down session, and it’ll really set the tone for the weekend.
 
“Coming off of Topeka, our Matco Tools Toyota team is definitely headed in the right direction. We just need to keep pushing forward and keep on marching and do what we do. I’m feeling really confident in my team. They’ve been giving me a great race car, and we’ve just been growing and getting stronger each and every week. We’re hoping we can put four good qualifying laps together, gain some bonus points there, and have a great race day. That’s our mindset going in. Looking forward to getting out to Bristol and having some fun.”


 
LEAH PRITCHETT
Driver of the MOPAR Dodge Top Fuel Dragster 
Bristol Event Highlights:
  • 2017 event runner-up
2018 Bristol Recap:
Qualified ninth; First round exit (defeated by Mike Salinas in E1)
 
Last Event (Topeka):
Qualified tenth; First round exit (defeated by Doug Kalitta in E1)

2019 Season Statistics:
Nine round wins; Ranked seventh in points 

Career Statistics:
128 races; seven wins; 11 No. 1 qualifiers

Quotable: 
“The beauty of back-to-back races is you can take that information from the previous race and apply it to the next, and for us, that’ll be Saturday of Topeka. We weren’t able to use that race day info come Sunday in Kansas because the conditions were so different, but it’s not like we’ll throw that information away; we recycle it. Going into Bristol, we’ll have a bit of a head start, using what we learned during qualifying in Topeka and applying it to qualifying in Bristol. Just getting into the show isn’t cutting it. We need to be in the top-half of the field and really gunning for low E.T. to get a good spot to start eliminations. We’re happy to be back in our consistent MOPAR Top Fuel Dragster this weekend and make that power on the mountain. Sometimes when you come off a challenging situation like we had in Topeka, there’s nothing better than getting back on the horse, back on the track, and that’s what we’re doing. Switching up the mojo here a little bit, and we’re definitely due for a win.”



Funny Car:

JACK BECKMAN
Driver of the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

Bristol Event Highlights: 
  • Two-time event runner-up (2011, 2017)
2018 Bristol Recap:
Qualified seventh; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Shawn Langdon in E1; defeated by J.R. Todd in E2)

Last Event (Topeka):
Qualified tenth; Event runner-up (defeated Matt Hagan in E1, Tim Wilkerson in E2, John Force in E3; defeated by Robert Hight in E4)

2019 Season Statistics:
15 round wins; ranked sixth in points 
 
Career Statistics:
310 races; 28 wins; 24 No. 1 qualifiers

Noteworthy:
  • Beckman enters the weekend following a runner-up finish from the previous event

Quotable:
“We had a nice weekend in Topeka. We got to make eight runs, and we collected great data. I don’t know if that will hold for Bristol, it’ll depend on weather and track conditions there, but man, it never hurts to go deep in eliminations like we did last weekend. Our first trophy of the year is coming soon.”


 
RON CAPPS
Driver of the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
Bristol Event Highlights: 
  • Five-time event champion (2001, 2006, 2012, 2017, 2018)
  • 2015 event runner-up 
  • 2016 No. 1 qualifier
2018 Bristol Recap:
Qualified 11th; Event champion (defeated John Force in E1, Robert Hight in E2, J.R. Todd in E3, Bob Tasca III in E4)

Last Event (Topeka):
Qualified fifth; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Jim Campbell in E1; defeated by Tommy Johnson Jr. in E2)

2019 Season Statistics:
15 round wins; ranked fourth in points 

Career Statistics:
541 races; 63 wins (one Top Fuel); 22 No. 1 qualifiers

Noteworthy:
  • Returns as the two-time defending event champion, having raced to Thunder Valley Funny Car victory in 2017 and 2018
  • With five Bristol Dragway triumphs, Capps is the winningest Funny Car driver in the track’s history

Quotable:
“I’ve won Bristol with different crew chiefs. You sort of feel the mojo. I went to the media tour for the first race there and ever since then everything has been awesome for me at that track. I got to know a bunch of fans in the area and every race you roll in there, and you just feel like you have something special going on. It’s one of my ‘top three’ tracks that I’ll mention to someone who has never been to a drag race. I love the history, and I guess with all that combined together, it likes me.”
 
“It’s always hot there, so I seem to do well in the demanding conditions. Last year it was so hot, and the track was tricky, and it was just a battle of attrition. It demands a lot out of the teams in those conditions, and that’s where I seem to thrive. When it’s the end of the day, and everyone is worn out, and you have to dig a little deeper to get the job done and rise to the occasion, I really love it when it’s like that.”
  

 
MATT HAGAN
Driver of the MOPAR Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
Bristol Event Highlights:
  • 2015 event champion
  • 2016 event runner-up
2018 Bristol Recap:
Qualified ninth; First round exit (defeated by Tommy Johnson Jr. in E1)

Last Event (Topeka):
Qualified seventh; First round exit (defeated by Jack Beckman in E1)

2019 Season Statistics:
12 round wins; ranked seventh in points 

Career Statistics:
250 races; 30 wins; 34 No. 1 qualifiers

Noteworthy:
  • Bristol Dragway is a hometown track for lifelong Virginia resident Matt Hagan
Quotable:
“Bristol is one of the most important races all season to me. It’s my home track; my family is there; my dad is there. When I won that race, I broke down crying. It was such a big moment for me, and it was really special. Thunder Valley carries a lot of passion for me. When you’re surrounded by all the people you love, have all those people supporting you and watching you, it’s just a really special weekend.”


 
TOMMY JOHNSON JR.
Driver of the Make-A-Wish Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat 
Bristol Event Highlights:
  • Two-time event champion (2014, 2016)
2018 Bristol Recap:
Qualified eighth; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Matt Hagan in E1; defeated by Courtney Force in E2)

Last Event (Topeka):
Qualified fourth; Semifinal finish (defeated Terry Haddock in E1, Ron Capps in E2; defeated by Robert Hight in E3)

2019 Season Statistics:
17 round wins; ranked second in points 
 
Career Statistics:
456 races; 18 wins (two Top Fuel); 18 No. 1 qualifiers (one Top Fuel)

Noteworthy:
  • In the past four events, Johnson has raced to victory once and three semifinal finishes
Quotable:
“I’m really looking forward to Bristol. I’ve won that race a few times, and we just always seem to do well there. I seem to do well on Father’s Day weekend, in particular. It’s one of those races I look forward to every year and coming off the way the cars been running, I like our chances. It would be nice to get back to the final round again. We’ve been to the semis the last four races in a row, so we want to keep that going.”

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