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DSR Houston Pre-Race Report

MOPAR Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals Presented by Pennzoil
Event 5 of 24 (Houston)
Houston Raceway Park
Baytown, Texas
April 12-14, 2019

Noteworthy:

  • Leah Pritchett reset the Houston Raceway Park E.T. record to capture the Top Fuel pole in 2018 
  • Antron Brown won his first Top Fuel title at the 2008 Houston event 
  • Matt Hagan won his first Funny Car Wally at the 2010 event 
  • Jack Beckman will wheel a special one-race-only MD Anderson tribute livery in honor of the late Terry Chandler
    • Note: the MD Anderson Funny Car livery will be unveiled on the starting line during Q1

DSR-Owned Track Records:
Top Fuel, E.T.: 3.680 seconds, Leah Pritchett (2018)

DSR Driver Information:
 
Top Fuel:

ANTRON BROWN
Driver of the Matco Tools Top Fuel Dragster

Houston Event Highlights: 
  • Two-time event champion (2008, 2014)
    • Raced to his career-first Top Fuel victory in 2008 
  • Three-time runner-up
    • Top Fuel (2010, 2012) 
    • Pro Stock Motorcycle (2004) 
  • Two-time No. 1 qualifier 
    • Top Fuel (2009) 
    • Pro Stock Motorcycle (2001) 
2018 Houston Recap:
Qualified fifth; First round exit (defeated by Terry McMillen in E1)

Last Event (Las Vegas I):
Qualified ninth; First-round exit (defeated by Mike Salinas, Billy Torrence in E1)

2019 Season Statistics:
Two round wins; Ranked tenth in points

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

Quotable:
“My first Top Fuel win was at Houston back in 2008, so that track always brings back great memories. I still remember racing Larry Dixon, a champion and one of the drivers I always looked up to, in the finals there. To beat him in the finals was a moment I'll never forget. Houston is one of those tracks that's a lot of fun to go to. Looking forward to getting down there. They've made some great track improvements. It's one of those races I just feel comfortable at."


 
LEAH PRITCHETT
Driver of the Pennzoil Top Fuel Dragster 
Houston Event Highlights: 
  • 2017 event champion 
  • 2018 No. 1 qualifier 
2018 Houston Recap:
Qualified No. 1; Semifinal finish (defeated Terry Brian in E1, Steve Torrence in E2; defeated by Terry McMillen in E3)
 
Last Event (Las Vegas I):
Qualified fourth; First round exit (defeated by Clay Millican, Terry Totten in E1)

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

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

Quotable: 
"Even at the celebration of Pennzoil and Houston partnering together at the track earlier this year I could already feel the excitement building, knowing that collectively this race is going to be a huge deal. The transition of partners for the track and transformation of colors everywhere immediately created a sense of home turf. That’s a feeling few get to experience, and I am incredibly thankful to be a part of that equation to represent Pennzoil in such a historic year. Pennzoil has consistently proven to be such an active partner in DSR's on-track success that performing on a track coated in their colors is just the next step of being a part of the Pennzoil nation. My sole focus in Houston is to bring home the Wally gold for our golden Pennzoil partners. I cannot wait to give this Pennzoil takeover everything we've got!"



Funny Car:

JACK BECKMAN
Driver of the MD Anderson Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

Houston Event Highlights: 
  • Three-time runner-up (2009, 2014, 2015) 
  • 2015 No. 1 Qualifier 
2018 Houston Recap:
Qualified fourth; Semifinal finish (defeated Richard Townsend in E1, Del Worsham in E2; defeated by Robert Hight in E3)

Last Event (Las Vegas):
Qualified No. 11; Semifinal finish (defeated Cruz Pedregon, Phil Burkhart Jr. in E1, John Force, Ron Capps in E2; defeated by J.R. Todd, Tommy Johnson Jr. in E3)

2019 Season Statistics:
Eight round wins; Ranked second in points 
 
Career Statistics:
303 races; 28 wins; 24 No. 1 qualifiers

Noteworthy:
  • Will wheel a special one-race-only MD Anderson tribute livery in honor of the late Terry Chandler 
    • Livery will be revealed on the starting line when the team pulls up for Q1 

Quotable:
“I’m a cancer survivor; my mom didn’t beat it. It’s something that hit my house hard and then came back years later. I drive for a man who is a cancer survivor, who went to MD Anderson for treatment, and that’s part of the reason he’s still here.
 
“I drive the car as a tribute to Terry Chandler, a woman who didn’t survive cancer. The folks at MD Anderson did everything they could for her so I feel a debt of gratitude to the people who work there, and I feel for the people who are patients there. I can’t think of a better way to pay it forward and pay it back than to fly their colors into the winner’s circle at Houston.”


 
RON CAPPS
Driver of the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
Houston Event Highlights: 
  • Four-time event winner (2006, 2007, 2015, 2017) 
  • 2012 runner-up 
2018 Houston Recap:
Qualified 14th; First-round exit (defeated by Matt Hagan in E1)

Last Event (Las Vegas I):
Qualified second; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Bob Tasca III, Terry Haddock in E1; defeated by Tommy Johnson Jr., Jack Beckman in E2)

2019 Season Statistics:
Three round wins; Ranked eighth in points 

Career Statistics:
534 races; 61 wins (one Top Fuel); 22 No. 1 qualifiers

Quotable:
“We’re excited about this year’s race. Houston has always been great for us and I’ve had a lot of success there in the past, but this year with Pennzoil as part of the race track and our partnership with Shell, Pennzoil and MOPAR, we’re looking to show off a little more than usual. There’s nothing better than to get in the winner’s circle when you have one of your sponsors at that race. That being said, we left the Four-Wide in Vegas with a lot of momentum. We feel a lot more comfortable with the changes to our tune-up; trying to get the engine and the clutch matched together better, and we’re really getting a good feel for this Dodge Hellcat body. Even though we lost a close race in the second quad in Vegas, we feel really good about the changes we made. I think this back-to-back race at Houston is going to be a real momentum builder.”


 
MATT HAGAN
Driver of the Pennzoil Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
Houston Event Highlights: 
  • 2010 event champion
    • Career-first Funny Car win 
2018 Houston Recap:
Qualified third; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Ron Capps in E1; defeated by Tim Wilkerson in E2)

Last Event (Las Vegas I):
Qualified fifth; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Gary Densham, Jim Campbell in E1; defeated by Tim Wilkerson, J.R. Todd in E2)

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

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

Quotable:
“I can’t wait to get to Houston. It’s a Pennzoil sponsored track, a MOPAR sponsored race, I’m going to be back in the Pennzoil chrome car. To have those two brands as partners and to be able to run the Pennzoil brand in their backyard is going to be huge. I cannot wait to hit the gas on this new yellow race track. I’ve been in Vegas the past few days and traveled over to Houston yesterday. I’ve got some really cool gigs lined up this week leading into the event – early morning TV shows, a tour of some of Texas’ best BBQ joints. It’ll be a busy week, got a lot on my schedule, but it’ll be an exciting week and hopefully we can go out and win the race.”


 
TOMMY JOHNSON JR.
Driver of the Make-A-Wish Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat 
NHRA Houston Event Highlights: 
  • 2002 event runner-up 
2018 Houston Recap:
Qualified seventh; First round exit (defeated by J.R. Todd in E1)

Last Event (Las Vegas I):
Qualified tenth; Event runner-up (defeated Bob Tasca III, Terry Haddock in E1, John Force, Ron Capps in E2, Jack Beckman, Tim Wilkerson in E3; defeated by J.R. Todd in E3)

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

Quotable:
“Looking forward to Houston this week especially since it’s a Pennzoil and MOPAR race. The way our car is running, we’ve seem to put all of our early-season problems behind us and now we’re coming off of a runner-up from the past race. Pretty confident a win is coming shortly. Our team is doing so well, and hopefully Houston is where we can get it done and collect the first of many Wally trophies this season.”

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