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DSR Chicago Pre-Race Report

Route 66 NHRA Nationals
Event 9 of 24 (Chicago)
Route 66 Raceway
Joliet, Ill. 
May 31 - June 2, 2019

Noteworthy:

  • With back-to-back victories at the past two events, Ron Capps enters the race weekend seeking his third consecutive win
  • Capps has raced to the Chicago final round the past three years in a row, winning in 2017 and finishing as the runner-up in 2016 and 2018
  • Capps will continue to campaign the lucky ‘NAPA Brakes’ livery in Joliet. NAPA Brakes was intended to be a one-time look for Capps but has extended to its third race due to Capps’ recent on-track successes
  • Leah Pritchett made a run to the Chicago Top Fuel final in 2018, finishing as the event runner-up
  • Matt Hagan nabbed the 2018 Funny Car pole 
  • Antron Brown has both Top Fuel and Pro Stock Motorcycle Route 66 Raceway Wally trophies
  • Hometown track for Chicago native and 2019 Motorsports Hall of Fame of America inductee, Don Schumacher


DSR Driver Information:
 
Top Fuel:

ANTRON BROWN
Driver of Matco's Tools for the Cause Top Fuel Dragster
Matco's Tools for the Cause to benefit the Fisher House Foundation

Chicago Event Highlights: 
  • Five-time event champion
    • Top Fuel (2012, 2014, 2016) 
    • Pro Stock Motorcycle (2000, 2001) 
  • Three-time runner-up:
    • Top Fuel (2009, 2017) 
    • Pro Stock Motorcycle (2002) 
  • Two-time Top Fuel No. 1 qualifier (2009, 2015) 
2018 Chicago Recap:
Qualified seventh; First round exit (defeated by Leah Pritchett in E1)

Last Event (Richmond):
Qualified 11th; Event runner-up (defeated Leah Pritchett in E1, Brittany Force in E2, Mike Salinas in E3; defeated by Steve Torrence in E4)

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

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

Noteworthy:
  • Has wins in both Top Fuel and Pro Stock Motorcycle at Route 66 Raceway 
  • Driving a special Matco's Tools for the Cause livery to benefit the Fisher House Foundation
    • Starting May 1, Matco will donate 15% of net sales of Tools for the Cause items to the Fisher House Foundation through the end of 2019
    • For nearly 30 years, the Fisher House program has provided “a home away from home” for families of patients receiving medical care at major military and VA medical centers. These homes offer free, temporary lodging to military and veterans’ families, allowing them to be close to their loved one during a medical crisis and focus on what’s important—the healing process
    • Families served by Fisher House Foundation: More than 368,000 families since inception in 1990
Quotable:
"Chicago is the hometown track for the bossman, Don Schumacher, and I have a feeling that all of our DSR cars are going to show out there. We've had a lot of success in Chicago. I think we're on the cusp of some great things and Chicago would be a great place to kick it off. We just need to keep our heads down and keep improving. I've got a fire in me right now because I want to win so bad."


 
LEAH PRITCHETT
Driver of the Okuma Top Fuel Dragster 
Chicago Event Highlights:
  • 2018 runner-up 
2018 Chicago Recap:
Qualified tenth; Event runner-up (defeated Antron Brown in E1, Kyle Wurtzel in E2, Blake Alexander in E3; defeated by Clay Millican in E4)
 
Last Event (Richmond):
Qualified sixth; First round exit (defeated by Antron Brown in E1)

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

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

Quotable: 
"Extremely excited about debuting our new Okuma partnership on the track in Chicago, especially with night qualifying. The team has been working hard at a couple of key ‘hot racetrack setup’ elements since Richmond, including during testing, which has given us an extra boost of confidence for the results we want and know we can to deliver for Okuma."



Funny Car:

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

Chicago Event Highlights: 
  • 2016 event champion  
2018 Chicago Recap:
Qualified third; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Dale Creasy Jr. in E1; defeated by John Force in E2)

Last Event (Richmond):
Qualified 10th; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Matt Hagan in E1; defeated by Tommy Johnson Jr. in E2)

2019 Season Statistics:
10 round wins; ranked seventh in points 
 
Career Statistics:
308 races; 28 wins; 24 No. 1 qualifiers

Quotable:
“Our Infinite Hero team is struggling right now, and nobody’s going to make excuses. What we’re trying to do is make progress and figure out what this car wants. We debuted the new chassis earlier this season during the Las Vegas event and we still don’t quite have good data on it, so we stayed Monday after Richmond and made some test runs. Our goal is, we need to win a race pronto. We’re going into hotter race tracks, Chicago starts the first of four-in-a-row, and you can’t have issues when we start ripping through these summer races. I have a lot of confidence going into Chicago. We could very easily come out of there with the trophy, and I think the time we spent on Monday in Richmond and the extra sacrifice made by the crew chiefs and the crew are going to start to pay dividends, hopefully sooner rather than later.”


 
RON CAPPS
Driver of the NAPA Brakes Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
Chicago Event Highlights: 
  • Two-time event champion (2005, 2017) 
  • Four-time runner-up (2002, 2007, 2016, 2018) 
  • 2013 No. 1 qualifier 
2018 Chicago Recap:
Qualified second; Event runner-up (defeated Justin Schriefer in E1, Shawn Langdon in E2, John Force in E3; defeated by Robert Hight in E4)

Last Event (Richmond):
Qualified third; Event champion (defeated Jim Campbell in E1, Robert Hight in E2, Tommy Johnson Jr. in E3, J.R. Todd in E4)

2019 Season Statistics:
13 round wins; ranked third in points 

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

Noteworthy:
  • With back-to-back victories at the past two events, Capps enters the race weekend seeking his third consecutive win
  • Capps has raced to the Chicago final round the past three years in a row, winning in 2017 and finishing as the runner-up in 2016 and 2018
  • Capps will continue to campaign the lucky ‘NAPA Brakes’ livery in Joliet. NAPA Brakes was intended to be a one-time look for Capps and has extended to three races due to Capps’ recent on-track successes
  • About the NAPA Brakes program
    • From May 1 – May 31, customers can get a $75 Prepaid Visa Card with qualifying NAPA Brake parts purchase of $250 or more at participating NAPA AUTO PARTS stores. The promotion is available until the end of June at NAPA AutoCare Centers

Quotable:
“Chicago is a track that was really built as a ‘super track’ and was way ahead of its time when it first debuted. The stadium-like feel of the track, the track surface, and the massive amounts of fans that come from all over to that race make it truly special. I’ve been really, really lucky to have a lot of trips to the Chicago finals throughout my career with different crew chiefs. It’s only fitting that we’re heading there with our win streak of two races with the NAPA Brakes body. It was only supposed to be one race in Atlanta, and we won there, and then they let us run it again in Richmond, and we won there too. After talking to the folks at NAPA, they let us decide if we wanted to continue to run it so, we let the fans choose on social media if they wanted us to go back to the blue-and-gold car or give it another shot with the NAPA Brakes car. The response was overwhelming; a huge thank you to our NAPA Nation NHRA fans for weighing-in. Ultimately, the general consensus was that they wanted us to bring the NAPA Brakes black-and-gold car out, so we’ll see if we can get it in the winner’s circle again and keep the streak alive.
 
“Obviously, we couldn’t be happier with where we are at this point in the season. We’ve made a big jump in the Mello Yello points and we’re going to keep chugging away and making up ground toward the teams that are ranked ahead of us.”


 
MATT HAGAN
Driver of the MOPAR Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
Chicago Event Highlights: 
  • Three-time event champion (2010, 2013, 2014) 
  • 2015 runner-up 
  • Two-time No. 1 qualifier (2016, 2018) 
2018 Chicago Recap:
Qualified No. 1; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Jonnie Lindberg in E1; defeated by Bob Tasca in E2)

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

2019 Season Statistics:
11 round wins; ranked sixth in points 

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

Noteworthy:
  • 2018 No. 1 qualifier 

Quotable:
“I’ve had a lot of success in Chicago. I’ve won that race and reset records there. It’s a big, big venue. It’s usually pretty warm when we’re there, but hopefully, we’ll set some records again this year.
 
“The last few races we’ve been racing a little too aggressive, pushing too hard. We just need to start racing the race track and getting our car down. It’s not taking huge numbers to win these races, it’s more about getting down the track. Congrats to the NAPA team for winning two-in-a-row. They’re consistent, and that’s what we need – to get our consistency back. We’ve got a good crew, great car, we just need to start racing the race track.”


 
TOMMY JOHNSON JR.
Driver of the Make-A-Wish Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat 
Chicago Event Highlights:
  • 2015 event champion 
  • Three-time runner-up (2003, 2014, 2017) 
  • Two-time No. 1 qualifier (2006, 2014) 
2018 Chicago Recap:
Qualified tenth; First round exit (defeated by Shawn Langdon in E1)

Last Event (Richmond):
Qualified second; Semifinal finish (defeated Terry Haddock in E1, Jack Beckman in E2; defeated by Ron Capps in E3)

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

Quotable:
“Chicago is one of those tracks where we seem to turn a corner for the season, and this season we’ve already been running well. So maybe this year, we’ve started turning that corner a little sooner than normal. I’ve won Chicago in the past and been runner-up there a few times, so I’m looking forward to getting back there. We’re coming up on the summer months and our team seems to excel in the heat, so hopefully, we can kick off this four-in-a-row with a win.”

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