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DSR Pre-Race Report: Phoenix

NHRA Arizona Nationals
Event 2 of 24 (Phoenix)
Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park
Chandler, Ariz.
February 21-23, 2020

Highlights:

  • Jack Beckman enters the NHRA Arizona Nationals as the most recent winner and Funny Car point leader
  • Beckman is looking to extend his win streak to three consecutive victories (currently: Pomona II 2019 and Pomona I 2020)
  • Matt Hagan returns to Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park as the defending event champion
    • Hagan’s 2019 Phoenix win marked Funny Car victory No. 150 for DSR 
  • Hagan was No. 1 qualifier at the previous event and raced to a semifinal finish 
  • Leah Pruett’s 2019 Top Fuel runner-up was her third Phoenix final round in four years, having won in 2016 and 2017
    • Pruett’s 2016 victory was her first in Top Fuel 
  • All current DSR drivers have been to the Phoenix winner’s circle at least once 
  • Funny Car stars Ron Capps and Tommy Johnson Jr. both made their professional debuts at Phoenix while competing in Top Fuel (Capps: 1995, Johnson: 1989)
  • Antron Brown earned his Top Fuel license in 2008 at the Phoenix track 


DSR Driver Information:
 
Top Fuel:

ANTRON BROWN
Driver of the Matco Tools/Global Electronic Technology
Toyota Top Fuel Dragster

Phoenix Event Highlights: 
  • Three-time event champion (2009, 2012, 2014) 
  • 2011 runner-up  
2019 Phoenix Recap:
Qualified third; Semifinal finish (defeated Steve Torrence in E1, Austin Prock in E2; defeated by Leah Pruett in E3)

Last Event (Pomona I):
Qualified ninth; First round exit (defeated by Shawn Reed in E1)

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

Noteworthy:
  • Antron Brown's career-bests were clocked at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park:
    • E.T. 3.667, 2017; speed 333.66 mph, 2018 
  • Earned his Top Fuel license in 2008 at the Phoenix facility 

Quotable:
“I always look forward to Phoenix. Wild Horse Pass is always a really good race track this time of year; you can really throw down. Not to mention, my Top Fuel career essentially started in Phoenix. I got my Top Fuel license there back at the beginning of 2008, the start of my nitro career, so lots of great memories at that track, and I’m looking forward to making a lot of new ones there. We always have a lot of great Matco Tools distributor support in Phoenix, and I’m looking forward to my tool truck ride and seeing a lot of our great Matco customers. Just ready to get out there and make it happen. Looking forward to starting our season off right with a good showing in Phoenix. Pomona didn’t go the way we had planned, but it’s time to rebound. I’m reenergized, refueled, pumped-up, and ready to get out there with my team. We’re going to go out there, be competitive, and have some fun.”


LEAH PRUETT
Driver of the Mopar Dodge Top Fuel Dragster

Phoenix Event Highlights:
  • Two-time event champion (2016, 2017) 
  • 2019 runner-up 
  • 2017 No. 1 qualifier 
2019 Phoenix Recap:
Qualified seventh; Event runner-up (defeated Cameron Ferre in E1, Terry McMillen in E2, Antron Brown in E3; defeated by Billy Torrence in E4)

Last Event (Pomona I):
Qualified third; Semifinal finish (defeated Jim Maroney in E1, Shawn Reed in E2; defeated by Austin Prock in E3)

2020 Season Statistics:
Three round wins; ranked fourth in points

Career Statistics:
142 races; eight wins; 12 No. 1 qualifiers 

Noteworthy:
  • Won her first Top Fuel event at the 2016 NHRA Arizona Nationals 
  • Pruett’s 2019 Top Fuel runner-up was her third Phoenix final round in four years, having won in 2016 and 2017

Quotable:
“Exceptionally excited about Phoenix for a host of reasons. The fact that we have a race car that is continuously performing at its potential has delivered a degree of confidence in my crew chiefs that I have not seen in a long time. Additionally, the fans that attend the Arizona Nationals have become almost family. When a team performs well at a particular track year after year, you kind of become the people’s champion, and there really is no comparable feeling than not only wanting to succeed for ourselves and partners but to uphold their expectations and be the ultimate very best we can. We might not have mineshaft conditions as in before, but we will be digging hard for that Wally gold.”


Funny Car:

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

Phoenix Event Highlights:
  • Three-time event champion (2008, 2010, 2011) 
2019 Phoenix Recap:
Qualified 14th; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Tim Wilkerson in E1; defeated by Bob Tasca III)

Last Event (Pomona I):
Qualified second; Event champion (defeated Steven Densham in E1, Ron Capps in E2, Alexis DeJoria in E3, John Force in E4)
 
2020 Season Statistics:
One event win; four round wins; ranked first in points

Career Statistics:
325 races; 31 wins; 27 No. 1 qualifiers

Noteworthy:
  • Enters the NHRA Arizona Nationals as the most recent winner and Funny Car point leader
  • Looking to extend his win streak to three consecutive event victories (currently: Pomona II 2019, Pomona I 2020)
Quotable:
"Normally after a performance like ours at Pomona, I would’ve wanted to get right back in the car for the next race the following weekend, but I was kind of glad we had a week off because it gave me time to try and shake this cold I’ve been dealing with. I’m ultra-excited for the way our Infinite Hero Hellcat has been performing, and the way that our team serviced it flawlessly even with the quick turnarounds on Sunday in Pomona. We’re at the top of our game, and I can’t think of a better way to show it than to get another win in Phoenix."
 
 
RON CAPPS
Driver of the Pennzoil Synthetics/NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

Phoenix Event Highlights: 
  • Three-time event winner (2003, 2009, 2013) 
  • Four-time runner-up (1998, 2000, 2005, 2017) 
  • Three-time No. 1 qualifier (2000, 2009, 2016) 
2019 Phoenix Recap:
Qualified ninth; First round exit (defeated by John Force in E1)

Last Event (Pomona I):
Qualified seventh; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Bob Tasca III in E1; defeated by Jack Beckman in E2)

2020 Season Statistics:
One round win; ranked seventh in points

Career Statistics:
556 races; 64 wins (one Top Fuel); 24 No. 1 qualifiers

Noteworthy:
  • Made his professional debut at Phoenix in 1995 while competing in Top Fuel; 2020 marks Capps' 26th professional season
Quotable:
“Man, are we glad to see the Arizona Nationals on the schedule. We’re pretty pumped up for Phoenix for many reasons. Our NAPA AutoCare team had an incredible bounce-back after having our trailer catch on fire on the way to pre-season testing. After all of that, to qualify top-half in Pomona and to get to the quarterfinals was a perfect example of why you hear me brag about the NAPA Know How of our crew chief Rahn Tobler and the NAPA AutoCare team. We had a little mishap in the second round of eliminations, so the team spent the early part of last week getting our primary car put back together and ready for this weekend’s race. The other reason we’re pumped for this weekend is because we get to run the special Pennzoil/NAPA paint scheme for the first time this year. The car will have quite a bit of a different look to it than it has for the past few years, and I’m excited for the fans to see it when we unload on Friday. The first time we brought a Pennzoil/NAPA car out, we put it in the winner’s circle. We always have a great time representing Pennzoil along with NAPA AUTO PARTS. I always have confidence going into each and every race, and the Phoenix track has always been good to us. We’d love nothing more than to celebrate with our Pennzoil and NAPA friends in the winner’s circle on Sunday.”
  


MATT HAGAN
Driver of the Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

 

Phoenix Event Highlights:
  • Three-time event champion (2015, 2017, 2019) 
  • 2013 runner-up 
  • 2015 No. 1 qualifier 
2019 Phoenix Recap:
Qualified second; Event champion (defeated Phil Burkhart in E1, Shawn Langdon in E2, Bob Tasca III in E3, J.R. Todd in E4)

Last Event (Pomona I):
Qualified No. 1; Semifinal finish (defeated Alex Miladinovich in E1, Tim Wilkerson in E2; defeated by John Force in E3)

2020 Season Statistics:
Two round wins; ranked third in points

Career Statistics:
265 races; 33 wins; 37 No. 1 qualifiers

Noteworthy:
  • Returns to Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park as the defending event champion 
  • Hagan’s 2019 Phoenix win marked Funny Car victory No. 150 for DSR, and 30th overall for the two-time world champ
  • No. 1 qualifier at previous event (Pomona I) and raced to a semifinal finish 
Quotable:
“All around, good vibes heading into Phoenix. I’m ready to get into some drier air for my sinuses. I’ve been fighting a cold for the past few weeks now, so I’m hoping the desert air will dry me up and I’ll feel like a human again. But, I’m excited to crawl back into my race car; I feel like I’m on top of my game. I’ve rested up the last week or so and am ready to get back into the groove of things.
 
“Semifinal finish in Pomona, probably should’ve been in the finals, but ‘shoulda, coulda, woulda.’ Congrats to my teammate Jack Beckman for winning the race and keeping it in the DSR camp and bringing it home. The momentum between what we’ve got going on, and what Jack’s got going on, I feel like we have a good shot at bringing another Wally home to DSR this weekend. I can’t wait to get out to the dry Phoenix weather and get going.”
 
 
TOMMY JOHNSON JR.
Driver of the MD Anderson Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat 

Phoenix Event Highlights:
  • 2006 event champion   
  • 2018 runner-up 
  • 2017 No. 1 qualifier 
2019 Phoenix Recap:
Qualified fourth; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Jim Campbell in E1; defeated by J.R. Todd in E2)

Last Event (Pomona I):
Qualified fourth; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Cruz Pedregon in E1; defeated by John Force in E2)
 
2020 Season Statistics:
One round win; ranked sixth in points

Career Statistics:
471 races; 19 wins (two Top Fuel); 18 No. 1 qualifiers (one Top Fuel)

Noteworthy:
  • Made his professional debut at the 1989 Phoenix event while competing in Top Fuel; The 2020 Arizona Nationals marks Johnson's 31st 'nitro-versary' 
Quotable:
“We had a really good weekend in Pomona. We didn’t get the results we were looking for, but our MD Anderson Dodge Hellcat ran really well all weekend, with the exception of round two on Sunday. I feel confident. We had a car that was competitive right from the start with that first qualifying run. It was very consistent, and running low E.T. of first-round gives me a lot of confidence going into Phoenix. The Arizona Nationals is a race I enjoy, I’ve won it in the past, and have done well there. Now that all the rust is knocked off for everyone, I’m excited to get going and see if we can add some more round wins and match our teammate Jack (Beckman) by getting a win in Phoenix.”

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