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DSR Richmond Pre-Race Report

NHRA Virginia Nationals
Event 8 of 24 (Richmond)
Virginia Motorsports Park
North Dinwiddie, Va.
May 17-19, 2019

Noteworthy:

  • Ron Capps enters the race weekend as the most recent Funny Car winner on tour after picking up his 62nd event win 
  • Leah Pritchett will pull double-duty for the third time in 2019 as she continues to defend her Factory Stock Showdown Series title while chasing her first Top Fuel championship
  • Richmond is a 'home track' for lifelong Virginia resident Matt Hagan 

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

Richmond Event Highlights: 
  • 2009 event runner-up 
2018 Richmond Recap:
Qualified tenth; Semifinal finish (defeated Mike Salinas in E1, Bill Litton in E2; defeated by Steve Torrence in E3)

Last Event (Atlanta):
Qualified ninth; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Clay Millican in E1; defeated by Brittany Force in E2)

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

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

Noteworthy:
  • 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:
“The car is there and now we’re getting our bearings right. We had a new combination starting in Pomona and the more laps we get, the more we figure it out. We’ve learned a lot and to see the way the team has gelled together has been amazing. We’re getting things worked out and it’s shown a lot of potential.
 
“The Richmond track is super smooth and the Franklin family does an incredible job. We’re going to go out and hit it hard, and it’s going to be nice. We felt Atlanta was our race to win, so we’re ready to race in Richmond right now. When you’re on the verge of something and it’s there, you want to race right now.”


 
LEAH PRITCHETT
Driver of the MOPAR Dodge Top Fuel Dragster 
2018 Richmond Recap:
Qualified fifth; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Clay Millican in E1; defeated by Doug Kalitta in E2)
 
Last Event (Atlanta):
Qualified fourth; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Audrey Worm in E1; defeated by Jordan Vandergriff in E2)

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

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

Quotable: 
“Virginia might be for lovers, but we plan on bringing all of the fight. We feel confident that our Top Fuel program is back and primed in a position to bring us our first gold man of the year. 
 
“In Factory Stock, an additional rule change has been made ensuring further parity in the class. For the first time all year, I honestly feel we have a shot at going rounds and winning this race without miracle acts now that we have these larger pulley changes. We have a lot of ground to make up, but it starts with qualifying well and that’s what we’re focused on.”



Funny Car:

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

Richmond Event Highlights: 
  • 2008 runner-up 
  • 2009 No. 1 qualifier 
2018 Richmond Recap:
Qualified fifth; First round exit (defeated by Del Worsham in E1)

Last Event (Atlanta):
Qualified 14th; First round exit (defeated by John Force in E1)

2019 Season Statistics:
Nine round wins; ranked eighth in points 
 
Career Statistics:
307 races; 28 wins; 24 No. 1 qualifiers

Quotable:
“We’ve had three subpar outings in a row for a variety of reasons and it’s frustrating. When you know you have a team capable of winning a race and you’re struggling to get to the semifinals, you’re underachieving. The fix for that isn’t qualifying No. 1, it isn’t another final round, it’s the yellow ‘event winner’ hat.
 
“We’re going back to Richmond. This is the second year since it came back on tour. Last year it was the smoothest track we’d raced on in over a decade but it didn’t have a whole lot of rubber for grip down on it. So, it’ll be interesting to see how much its evolved over the last year and if our crew chiefs can use some of the data that we have to run even more consistently there.”


 
RON CAPPS
Driver of the NAPA Brakes Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
Richmond Event Highlights: 
  • Two-time runner-up (2000, 2007) 
2018 Richmond Recap:
Qualified third; First round exit (defeated by Tim Wilkerson in E1)

Last Event (Atlanta):
Qualified 11th; Event champion (defeated Shawn Langdon in E1, John Force in E2, Tommy Johnson Jr. in E3, Tim Wilkerson in E4)

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

Career Statistics:
538 races; 62 wins (one Top Fuel); 22 No. 1 qualifiers

Noteworthy:
  • Driving a special NAPA Brakes livery to support the NAPA Brakes program
    • The NAPA Brakes livery was supposed to be a one-race-only look (Atlanta), but a victory in Atlanta and overwhelming fan response led to the addition of the Richmond race
    • 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 and NAPA AutoCare Centers
  • Enters the race weekend as the most recent Funny Car winner on tour after picking up his 62nd event win in Atlanta
  • Has won at every track along the current NHRA tour with the exception of Richmond and Indianapolis
Quotable:
“Obviously coming off a win is always big. It’s great to have momentum anytime you can get it, especially in the Funny Car class. We’ve seen some teams’ kind of run away with it but the NAPA team has battled. I wouldn’t say we’re out of the trenches, but we’ve battled to stay afloat. We knew a win was coming soon, and the confidence I have in our NAPA AutoCare team is always huge. No matter where we qualify, we can win from any position and that’s exactly what happened at our last race in Atlanta.
 
“For me, Richmond is a track that means a lot. It’s one of the first places I went as a rookie in Top Fuel. We traveled from California out there; I drove the 18-wheeler, worked on the car and drove the Top Fuel car, and we ended up staying on the road for about a week. We met some people down the road that owned a grocery store that took us in and we became friends with them, so it’s always meant a lot to be able to go there and race. Richmond is one of two tracks on our circuit that I personally have never won at. It sure would mean a lot to get a win there and carry on the momentum we have right now. We know that track is as good as it gets. It’s probably one of the best on our whole circuit, surface-wise, so the fans are going to see some great side by side racing.”


 
MATT HAGAN
Driver of the Shelor Motor Mile Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
2018 Richmond Recap:
Qualified 11th; First round exit (defeated by Jonnie Lindberg in E1)

Last Event (Atlanta):
Qualified tenth; First round exit (defeated by Tommy Johnson Jr. in E1)

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

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

Noteworthy:
  • Richmond is a 'home track' for Virginia native, and current Christiansburg, Va. resident Matt Hagan

Quotable:
“Headed into Richmond and I’m really excited about it. It’s a home track for me. I started Pro Mod racing there back in the day and just have a lot of good memories from that track. This will be our second year back in Dinwiddie and it’s a great facility, but the best part is my friends and family can drive there. We’re going to be running the Shelor Motor Mile car this weekend which is really cool because it’s in the area and my family has had a lot of support at DSR. It’s a great opportunity for everyone that runs up I-81 to see Shelor and then see the car on the race track.
 
“Hopefully we can turn on four win lights this weekend. We’re still No. 2 in points and have a great race car, we’re just coming off of a little bit of a rocky deal in Atlanta. We got a little bit behind the eight ball during qualifying and that first round loss was tough but going into Richmond I feel confident. We have one of the best cars we’ve had in a long time. I’m excited, every time I put my helmet on and get into my car I know we’re capable of winning the race.
 
“I’m glad Capps pulled out a win in Atlanta. Robert (Hight) is still leading the points but it was good Capps was able to take the win there. Still a long season left to go. Our Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat is running great, our guys are working so hard; they’ve done such a good job. I think between me, (crew chief) Dickie (Venables) and (assistant crew chief) Mike Knudsen, we’re going to turn on a lot of win lights and win some more races here soon. I can’t wait to say hi to all of our local Virginia supporters. Plus, it’s going to be a MOPAR race, so all around good vibes this weekend.”


 
TOMMY JOHNSON JR.
Driver of the Make-A-Wish Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat 
Richmond Event Highlights:
  • 2007 No. 1 qualifier 
2018 Richmond Recap:
Qualified tenth; First round exit (defeated by John Force in E1)

Last Event (Atlanta):
Qualified seventh; Semifinal finish (defeated Matt Hagan in E1, J.R. Todd in E2; defeated by Ron Capps in E3)

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

Quotable:
“Looking forward to Richmond. Last year, we debuted a new car and didn’t have the success we would’ve liked. We switched back to a five-disc clutch there and since then, we’ve been able to figure it all out, so I’m looking forward to getting back and running there. It was extremely hot last year and right now our car is running really well in the heat. If things are consistent and the same as last year, we should have a very good weekend. It’s one of the best tracks on tour, surface-wise, and I’m very much looking forward to it.”

  
Factory Stock Showdown Series:
MARK PAWUK
Driver of the Empaco Equipment MOPAR Dodge Challenger Drag Pak
2018 Richmond Recap:
N/A

Last Event (Charlotte I): 
DNQ


  
LEAH PRITCHETT
Driver of the MOPAR Dodge Challenger Drag Pak
2018 Richmond Recap:
N/A

Last Event (Charlotte I): 
Qualified ninth; First round exit (defeated by Bill Skillman in E1)

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