News

DSR Epping Pre-Race Report

NHRA New England Nationals
Event 13 of 24 (Epping)
New England Dragway
Epping, N.H.
July 5-7, 2019

Highlights:

  • Matt Hagan returns as the defending Funny Car event champion and seeks his third consecutive Epping victory after racing to the win in 2017 and 2018
  • Hagan claimed the No. 1 qualifier honors at the 2018 event
  • Antron Brown has been to the Epping final round the past three years, winning in 2016 and finishing as the runner-up in 2017 and 2018
  • Ron Capps will banner a special patriotic NAPA Batteries paint scheme to raise awareness for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund (additional details provided below)

Important note regarding Leah Pritchett:
Since the start of the 2019 season, the NHRA New England Nationals has been an open event on Leah Pritchett’s schedule. She is unfunded at this race and will not compete at New England Dragway this weekend. Pritchett and her team will return to the track at the next event on the NHRA schedule, the Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals Presented by Pennzoil, where they will continue their quest to contend for the 2019 Top Fuel championship.

Quotable:
“There’s never any good time for bad news, but unfortunately, our Top Fuel team will not be racing in Epping this weekend. We started the year knowing we could potentially miss a small handful of races due to a shortage of funds, but through the hard work of so many, we haven’t missed one yet, until now. We're a championship contending team, and as much as it pains us to have to sit this one out, we know it is a necessary decision as we prepare to hit the Western Swing hard with everything we’ve got. We appreciate everyone’s continued support and look forward more than ever to returning to racing in Denver and continuing the points battle.”
-Leah Pritchett, DSR Top Fuel Dragster driver
 



DSR Driver Information:
 
Top Fuel:

ANTRON BROWN
Driver of the Matco Tools Top Fuel Dragster



Epping Event Highlights: 

  • 2016 event champion
  • Two-time runner-up (2017, 2018)
  • 2014 No. 1 qualifier
2018 Epping Recap:
Qualified 12th; Event runner-up (defeated Clay Millican in E1, Brittany Force in E2, Leah Pritchett in E3; defeated by Steve Torrence in E4)

Last Event (Norwalk):
Qualified seventh; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Scott Palmer in E1; defeated by Leah Pritchett in E2)

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

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

Noteworthy:
  • Has been to the Epping final round the past three years, winning in 2016 and finishing as the runner-up in 2017 and 2018

Quotable:
“Epping has always been a really good event for our Matco Tools/Toyota team. I’m looking forward to going out there and getting after it in qualifying. We’ll have a little heat and temperature this weekend, and we run well in those conditions. The track surface is phenomenal; it always yields good E.T.s, even when it’s hot. The fans there are fantastic. We want to do well at this race to get some momentum going heading into the Western Swing.”


Funny Car:

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



2018 Epping Recap:
Qualified second; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Jeff Diehl in E1; defeated by Tim Wilkerson in E2)

Last Event (Norwalk):
Qualified fourth; Event runner-up (defeated Jonnie Lindberg in E1, Shawn Langdon in E2, Tommy Johnson Jr. in E2; defeated by Bob Tasca III in E4)

2019 Season Statistics:
20 round wins; ranked fourth in points 
 
Career Statistics:
312 races; 28 wins; 24 No. 1 qualifiers

Quotable:
“I feel like right now we have one of the best cars in Funny Car. Even though we have yet to win a race, in the last four events we’ve won ten rounds, and we’ve climbed from seventh up to fourth in the points. We’ve got a much better handle on our hot rod, but we still have a couple of things to prove. One is, we need to make it consistent for four rounds on Sunday. One time or another, it’s gone out and smoked the tires, and we’re going to have to be better than that. The second thing is, we’re going to be contenders all the way through the end of the year, and I think the only way to throw our ring in the hat and make a statement like that is by bagging our first trophy. 
 
“We’re entering the first race of the second half of the year, and it couldn’t come too soon for me. I literally can’t wait to get back out there and get strapped into the Infinite Hero Foundation Hellcat. It’s a fast hot rod, it’s a consistent hot rod, and everybody is motivated.”
 

 

RON CAPPS
Driver of the NAPA Batteries Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat


Epping Event Highlights: 

  • Two-time event champion (2014, 2016)
  • 2016 No. 1 qualifier
2018 Epping Recap:
Qualified fourth; Semifinal finish (defeated Courtney Force in E1, Robert Hight in E2; defeated by Matt Hagan in E3)

Last Event (Norwalk):
Qualified No. 1; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Bob Bode in E1; defeated by Tommy Johnson Jr. in E2)

2019 Season Statistics:
18 round wins; ranked fifth in points 

Career Statistics:
543 races; 63 wins (one Top Fuel); 23 No. 1 qualifiers

Noteworthy:
  • Ron Capps' NAPA Batteries Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat will feature a patriotic livery to support the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund
    • NAPA continues to be a committed partner of the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund (IFHF) which serves United States military personnel experiencing Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS). Throughout the month of July, NAPA AUTO PARTS is celebrating Military Month where with the purchase of select products, a donation will be made to the Intrepid Fallen Hero Fund
  • In addition to Military Month, during the month of July customers can get $25 back (Mail-In Rebate) on any NAPA Automotive Battery
Quotable:
“New England Dragway has such an old-school vibe and the fact that this place is always a sell-out every time we’re there tells you we needed to race there. I’m so happy NHRA put us back in that area and added that race to the circuit because the fans in that area were starved for their NHRA races.
 
“We’ve been lucky enough to win Epping a couple of times. In 2016 we set a track record, were No. 1 qualifier and won the race. A clean sweep like that is rare but also memorable. Winning there twice has been great, but the fans are what stand out the most to me there; they’re so loyal.
 
“We are once again bringing a very special paint scheme to Epping. It helps raise awareness for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, an extraordinary organization that raises a lot of money for returning veterans. Our NAPA Batteries Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat is a beautiful car, I get to wear a special firesuit, and I’m excited about trying to get in the winner’s circle this weekend.”
  

 
MATT HAGAN
Driver of the MOPAR Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat


Epping Event Highlights:

  • Two-time event champion (2017, 2018)
  • 2018 No. 1 qualifier
2018 Epping Recap:
Qualified No. 1; Event champion (defeated Terry Haddock in E1, Tommy Johnson Jr.in E2, Ron Capps in E3, Tim Wilkerson in E4)

Last Event (Norwalk):
Qualified 11th; First round exit (defeated by Bob Tasca III in E1)

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

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

Noteworthy:
  • Returns as the defending Funny Car event champion and seeks his third consecutive Epping victory after racing to the win in 2017 and 2018
Quotable:
“Excited to be heading to Epping, N.H. The track is always good there, the fans in that area are amazing, and I’m ready to get some lobster in my belly.
 
“We’re looking to Epping to be a turning point for our MOPAR Dodge Hellcat team. I two-stepped it at the last race, and we’ve just been struggling, so overall confidence is a little lacking, but I think Epping is where we can turn things around. We have some new things in the bellhousing we’re trying. We expect to see big things, and we expect to get out of first round. That’s been plaguing us lately, and it’s got us a little frustrated, but as a team, we’ve rallied together, and we’re ready to turn it around in Epping and move forward for the rest of the year.”


 
TOMMY JOHNSON JR.
Driver of the Make-A-Wish Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat 


Epping Event Highlights:

  • Two-time runner-up (2015, 2016)
  • 2015 No. 1 qualifier
2018 Epping Recap:
Qualified eighth; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Cruz Pedregon in E1; defeated by Matt Hagan in E2)

Last Event (Norwalk):
Qualified eighth; Semifinal finish (defeated Tim Wilkerson in E1, Ron Capps in E2; defeated by Jack Beckman in E3)

2019 Season Statistics:
20 round wins; ranked third in points 
 
Career Statistics:
458 races; 18 wins (two Top Fuel); 18 No. 1 qualifiers (one Top Fuel)

Quotable:
“Epping is one of my favorite races of the year. The track has that old-school feel to it, and we’ve done well there in the past. We haven’t won it yet, but we always seem to be pretty competitive there. Our car is on a pretty good streak right now so if we can go there and capitalize on what we learned during testing in Norwalk and continue the momentum we’ve got, maybe this will be the year we get the Epping win.”

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