DSR St. Louis Qualifying Report

AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals
Event 20 of 24 (St. Louis)
NHRA Countdown, Event 2 of 6
Gateway Motorsports Park
Madison, Illinois
September 21-23, 2018

DSR St. Louis Saturday Highlights:
  • The DSR Top Fuel contingent will start race day from the top half of the field
  • Jack Beckman, Ron Capps and Tommy Johnson Jr. will begin their St. Louis Funny Car title chase from top half starting positions
  • Capps and Johnson earn bonus points for making ‘top three’ passes on Saturday
  • Capps earned bonus points during all four qualifying rounds
  • Leah Pritchett made the first official seven-second Factory Stock Showdown Series pass (7.936) to claim the No. 2 starting position
  • Mark Pawuk made the second official sub-eight second FSXX run, resetting the class E.T. record to earn the No. 1 qualifying spot (7.929)
  • Pawuk and Pritchett earned round one FSXX victories

Driver Information:

Top Fuel:

Driver of the Matco Tools/U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified: No. 7 (lane choice)

The Competition: No. 10 Doug Kalitta

The Results: 
Q1: 3.794 E.T. at 321.81 MPH
Q2: 3.961 E.T. at 291.82 MPH
Q3: 6.427 E.T. at 104.03 MPH
Q4: 3.750 E.T. at 320.58 MPH

“We needed that run in Q3 so we could have gone for it. In hindsight we made some good leeway. The car was on a run of 3.72 or 3.73 but we dropped a hole out the back door. We’re getting a handle on why we are losing so many cylinders, so that’s a good thing. We just got to keep rolling. Tomorrow is race day. We’ve got ourselves in a good spot in the top half of the field. We just proved it in that final session that we can run with anybody. We are moving in the right direction and I feel confident. We’ve got lane choice in the first round and we’ll just go out and do what we do. If you want to win something, you’ve got to beat everybody."

Driver of the Papa John's Pizza Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified: No. 5 (lane choice)

The Competition: No. 12 Scott Palmer

The Results:
Q1: 3.872 E.T. at 308.57 MPH
Q2: 3.761 E.T. at 325.69 MPH
Q3: 3.771 E.T. at 325.30 MPH
Q4: 3.718 E.T. at 330.96 MPH


“Coming into St. Louis, we made some very large wholesale changes. We have stayed committed to them and it’s very pleasing to see the car cooperating to the changes. We went out in Q4 to run a 3.71 (seconds) and that’s exactly what we did. Picking up six one-hundredths when it counts. We’re just chipping away at it. This is really exciting for the fans and the sport that we’re putting these fast numbers down when it we really need to. Tomorrow is race day. We know the car is cooperating. We’ve opened up our tuning window and I can’t wait to get after it tomorrow. This is when you step up for the Countdown.”

Driver of the U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified: No. 6 (lane choice)

The Competition: No. 11 Richie Crampton

The Results:
Q1: 3.778 E.T. at 324.83 MPH (Two bonus points for second quickest run of the session)
Q2: 3.762 E.T. at 328.06 MPH
Q3: 3.779 E.T. at 326.79 MPH
Q4: 3.731 E.T. at 330.72 MPH

Bonus Points: Two

“The last qualifying run was a big one for this U.S. Army Racing team. We have been extremely slow. We were five one-hundredths off and we can’t win a race that way. We made some big changes on that last run and it was an awesome, awesome run. We are heading the right direction. Tomorrow is a long day. No one is safe. I understand there are some cars running better than we are, but this is the beginning. This is when we get the best."

Funny Car:

Driver of the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

Qualified: No. 8 (lane choice)

The Competition: No. 9 John Force

The Results:
Q1: 4.021 E.T. at 312.64 MPH
Q2: 3.929 E.T. at 326.00 MPH
Q3: 4.166 E.T. at 230.17 MPH
Q4: 3.931 E.T. at 324.12 MPH

“Been a little bit off our game the last couple of races. We haven’t had a bad car – we still have all of the same talent and parts – we just haven’t been making good runs and have had little things bite us. This might be a race where having lane choice makes a difference, and I’m glad we got it. I know we’re only qualified eighth, but we made a couple of really stellar runs here. We have a great race car. It always takes a lucky break or two to put it in the winner’s circle and I think tomorrow could be it.”

Driver of the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T

Qualified: No. 2 (lane choice)

The Competition: No. 15 Cruz Pedregon

The Results: 
Q1: 3.966 E.T. at 319.22 MPH (Two bonus points for second quickest run of the session)
Q2: 3.909 E.T. at 323.89 MPH (Two bonus points for second quickest run of the session)
Q3: 3.921 E.T. at 321.96 MPH (Two bonus points for second quickest run of the session)
Q4: 3.873 E.T. at 327.19 MPH (Two bonus points for second quickest run of the session)

Bonus Points: Eight

“So far, we’re hitting the goals that we keep striving for. We get here on Friday, and you obviously want to qualify, and you want to qualify top-half and so far, we’ve done that. This weekend, we picked up two bonus points every round. The fans here in St. Louis got to see some of the best side-by-side qualifying; shots taken at the pole, shots taken each round for qualifying points, it’s been awesome. It was a big plus for us to get those eight bonus points; that’s almost half a round, that’s big. Tomorrow is when it all counts. It doesn’t matter who you race, it really doesn’t. The cars that aren’t part of the Countdown are the ones you have to really be careful of because they’ve got nothing to lose. We’ve got to just keep our head down and do what we normally do on Sunday. I’m just so happy for (assistant crew chief) Dustin (Heim) and (crew chief Rahn) Tobler and the NAPA AutoCare team because they give me a great car every run and make it look easy for me.”

Driver of the Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

Qualified: No. 11

The Competition: No. 6 Tim Wilkerson

The Results: 
Q1: 4.103 E.T. at 253.33 MPH
Q2: 8.167 E.T. at 73.07 MPH
Q3: 4.121 E.T. at 296.24 MPH
Q4: 3.967 E.T. at 320.13 MPH

“Definitely pressure, it’s one of those things where you hate to be in that position in the Countdown, but that’s just life. We know how to bounce back. (Crew chief) Dickie (Venables) stepped up and made that good run to get us in the field. We get to race tomorrow, that’s the biggest thing. We didn’t want to sit out and watch everyone else accumulate points. Feeling it, got the blood pumping and was ready to do whatever it took to get it down through there no matter what.”

Driver of the Make-A-Wish Foundation Dodge Charger R/T 
Qualified: No. 4 (lane choice)

The Competition: No. 13 Del Worsham

The Results:
Q1: 4.033 E.T. at 313.07 MPH
Q2: 3.918 E.T. at 326.40 MPH
Q3: 3.956 E.T. at 324.44 MPH
Q4: 3.896 E.T. at 327.11 MPH (One bonus point for third quickest run of the session)

Bonus Points: One 

On his wild Q4 pass:
“I tell you what, that might be about as close as I ever got to lifting. It picked the front end up and I knew it was trucking, and I thought ‘oh man, just please stay over here.’ It went a little left, I turned the wheel, when it sat it down it shot me right back in the groove. Great job by the guys. That was awesome. (Crew chief) John (Collins) said if it makes it, it won’t run a 91, and he was right.”

Factory Stock Showdown Series:

Driver of the Empaco Equipment Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak
Qualified: No. 1 (lane choice)

The Results:

Q1: 9.931 E.T. at 154.37 MPH
Q2: Cancelled
Q3: 7.929 E.T. AT 171.77 MPH (FSXX E.T. record)

E1: 8.764 E.T. at 111.85 MPH defeated Bye

“What a great weekend so far for DSR’s Factory Stock program with Leah (Pritchett) going to the No. 2 spot and me setting low E.T. and getting the national record. She was the first one in the sevens and then I was the quickest, so great start for our team. First round we had a Bye. Unfortunately, I got loose and didn’t want to push it since we already had a spot in the second round. I didn’t want to cross the center line and take the chance of getting disqualified. Looking forward to tomorrow and would love to bring another win for Don Schumacher Racing, Mopar and for SAM Tech sponsoring our series, it’s very much appreciated.”

Driver of the Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak
Qualified: No. 2 (lane choice)

The Results:

Q1: 16.322 E.T. at 78.96 MPH
Q2: Cancelled
Q3: 7.936 E.T. at 172.98 MPH (first official sub-eight second FSXX run)

E1: 7.948 E.T. at 172.70 MPH defeated Allen Johnson 16.672 E.T. at 68.78 MPH

“An incredible day. The momentum continues for the ‘El Bandito’ Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak. It wasn’t a fluke by any means. We’d been so close to breaking into the sevens at a national event, and we did it today.

"First round matchup, you can never take Allen Johnson lightly by any means. We did what we set out to do. If you’re going to call a 94 safe, I guess that’s what that would be. It’s just a testament to the power this Mopar car is making and (crew chief) Kevin Helms and the crew is putting to the track. It’s a little tricky out there just past halftrack on these small tires, but just like anything else, you take it to the finish line. Looking forward to, for the sixth time in a row, going to the second round in this series. Sunday, race day, race day, race day.”

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