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DSR Topeka Pre-Race Report

Menards NHRA Heartland Nationals
presented by Minties

Event 10 of 24 (Topeka)
Heartland Motorsports Park
Topeka, Kan.
June 7-9, 2019

Noteworthy:

  • No. 2 ranked Funny Car driver Tommy Johnson Jr. enters the NHRA Heartland Nationals as the most recent winner on tour
  • Don Schumacher Racing is seeking its fourth consecutive Funny Car victory of the season during this weekend’s event
  • Topeka marks NHRA Funny Car event No. 250 for Matt Hagan
  • Leah Pritchett will once again pull double-duty as she competes for both the Top Fuel and Factory Stock Showdown trophies
  • As a native of Ottumwa, Iowa, Heartland Motorsports Park is a home track for Johnson


DSR-Owned Track Records:
Funny Car, E.T.: 3.802 seconds, Matt Hagan (2017)
Funny Car, speed: 338.85 mph, Matt Hagan (2017)

DSR Driver Information:
 
Top Fuel:

ANTRON BROWN
Driver of the Matco Tools Top Fuel Dragster

Topeka Event Highlights: 
  • 2017 event champion
  • 2016 event runner-up
  • Four-time No. 1 qualifier (2009, 2010, 2012, 2015)
2018 Topeka Recap:
Qualified 12th; First round exit (defeated by Leah Pritchett in E1)

Last Event (Chicago):
Qualified second; Semifinal finish (defeated Brittany Force in E1, Jordan Vandergriff in E2; defeated by Steve Torrence in E3)

2019 Season Statistics:
11 round wins; Ranked fifth in points

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

Noteworthy:
  • Leads the Top Fuel class in number of No. 1 qualifiers (4) at Heartland Motorsports Park: 2009, 2010, 2012, 2015

Quotable:
"We’re going into Topeka with our heads up. I always love going to that track, especially pulling up on Gary Ormsby Drive. Gary’s one of my heroes and someone I’ve always looked up to in the Top Fuel class.
 
"Our Matco Tools/Toyota/Hangsterfers/Pennzoil team has been on the rise. I definitely think we have a car that could’ve won the race at these past few events. The team is performing at a high level right now; our car is quick, we’ve been getting great qualifying bonus points, now we just need some things to go our way. We need to get into that winner’s circle. We’re going to go out there, have fun, race hard and see where the chips fall."


 
LEAH PRITCHETT
Driver of the Shell ROTELLA Top Fuel Dragster 
2018 Topeka Recap:
Qualified fifth; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Antron Brown in E1; defeated by Tony Schumacher in E3)
 
Last Event (Chicago):
Qualified eighth; First round exit (defeated by T.J. Zizzo in E1)

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

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

Noteworthy:
  • For the fourth time this season, Pritchett will pull double-duty as she competes for both the Top Fuel and Factory Stock Showdown Topeka trophies

Quotable: 
“As a member of the Shell family learning about their brands and using their products for multiple years in all my home vehicles, it excites me to extend that into the Topeka race. 

"No secret that whenever I have an off-weekend, I’m headed wakesurfing. When I’m hauling a Mastercraft XStar boat by Wolf Watersports to the Havasu lake in my 1500 pickup from Anderson Auto Group, I need that truck running perfect all of the time. The toughest pickup trucks and SUVs need the toughest oil. With Shell ROTELLA Gas Truck, I know I’m getting the protection I need from a product I trust. Can’t wait to have Shell ROTELLA by our side this weekend when we hit the track in Topeka.”



Funny Car:

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

Topeka Event Highlights: 
  • Two-time event champion (2012, 2015)
  • 2016 runner-up
  • 2011 No. 1 qualifier
2018 Topeka Recap:
Qualified 12th; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Bob Tasca III in E1; defeated by J.R. Todd in E2)

Last Event (Chicago):
Qualified fifth; Semifinal finish (defeated Blake Alexander in E1, Jeff Arend in E2; defeated by Robert Hight in E3)

2019 Season Statistics:
12 round wins; ranked seventh in points 
 
Career Statistics:
309 races; 28 wins; 24 No. 1 qualifiers

Quotable:
"I think it was clear we had the car to win Chicago and likely would have if not for an error on my part by red-lighting in the semis, and that’s a bitter pill for a driver. My job is to not let the team down, and I absolutely did there. If there’s any silver lining, I have a chance to redeem myself in a few days. I think we finally have our hot rod with a good tune-up back just in time for the hot part of the season and the part of the year where we’re going to have a ton of races in close proximity. I can’t wait to strap back into my Infinite Hero Dodge Charger Hellcat in Topeka. I’ve won there before, and I think we can win there again this weekend."


 
RON CAPPS
Driver of the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
Topeka Event Highlights: 
  • Four-time event champion (1998, 2006, 2009, 2017)
  • Two-time runner-up (2000, 2012)
2018 Topeka Recap:
Qualified seventh; First round exit (defeated by Shawn Langdon in E1)

Last Event (Chicago):
Qualified third; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Bob Bode in E1; defeated by John Force in E2)

2019 Season Statistics:
14 round wins; ranked third in points 

Career Statistics:
540 races; 63 wins (one Top Fuel); 22 No. 1 qualifiers

Quotable:
"For me, Topeka has always been a place that has a lot of memories. I remember winning in 1998 against the late Al Hoffman. We ran the final round at 1:18 in the morning. I remember seeing the win lights while exploding the engine, and it was a grand style to win a race. At that time, Al Hoffman was one of the only guys that could beat John Force, so it was an exciting win for us. Since then, a lot of trips to the Topeka winner’s circle and it’s just always been a great race for me. They’ve always had a really, really good track surface as we saw last year when the temperatures cooled off and it showed it’ll hold anything. Right now, I’m really excited about going back to our blue and gold NAPA colors, especially with the consistency (crew chief) Rahn Tobler seems to have right now."


 
MATT HAGAN
Driver of the Shelor Motor Mile Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
Topeka Event Highlights:
  • 2016 event champion
  • 2017 event runner-up
  • Two-time No. 1 qualifier (2016, 2017)

2018 Topeka Recap:
Qualified eighth; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Tim Wilkerson in E1; defeated by Courtney Force in E2)

Last Event (Chicago):
Qualified seventh; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Bob Tasca III in E1; defeated by Tommy Johnson Jr. in E2)

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

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

Noteworthy:
  • Topeka marks NHRA Funny Car event No. 250 for Matt Hagan
  • Holds Heartland Motorsports Park's Funny Car E.T. and speed records (3.802 seconds, 2017, 338.850 mph, 2017)
    • Career-best speed
  • During the 2016 event, Hagan became the first Funny Car driver to break the 335 mph barrier (335.57 mph)
Quotable:
"Topeka has always been good to us. I’ve set some records there and won that race before. We’ve even seen a tornado come through – sirens, hail, a lot going on, so you never know what you’re going to get in Topeka, Kansas but that race track is known to be good, it’s known to be fast. We have a great history there, and we’re ready to pull down another win real soon."


 
TOMMY JOHNSON JR.
Driver of the Make-A-Wish Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat 
Topeka Event Highlights:
  • Two-time event runner-up (1999, 2005)
2018 Topeka Recap:
Qualified sixth; Quarterfinal finish (defeated John Force in E1; defeated by Robert Hight in E2)

Last Event (Chicago):
Qualified second; Event champion (defeated Paul Lee in E1, Matt Hagan in E2, John Force in E3, Robert Hight in E4)

2019 Season Statistics:
15 round wins; ranked second in points 
 
Career Statistics:
455 races; 18 wins (two Top Fuel); 18 No. 1 qualifiers (one Top Fuel)

Noteworthy:
  • Enters the NHRA Heartland Nationals as the most recent Funny Car winner on tour (Chicago)
  • As a native of Ottumwa, Iowa, Heartland Motorsports Park is a home track for Johnson
Quotable:
"I always like going to Topeka because it’s like going home for me. It’s close to where I grew up. I’ve always had a lot of memories from that track. It’s where I got my four-second ring in Top Fuel. I’ve had some success there reaching the finals, but I’ve never won it. My sister has won that race, so it’s one on my list to get to try and match hers."

 
Factory Stock Showdown Series:
MARK PAWUK
Driver of the Empaco Equipment MOPAR Dodge Challenger Drag Pak
Last Event (Richmond): 
Qualified 13th; First round exit (defeated by Pete Gasko Jr.)
 
FSXX Career Statistics:
Eight races; Two runner-ups; One No. 1 qualifier

 
LEAH PRITCHETT
Driver of the MOPAR Dodge Challenger Drag Pak
Last Event (Richmond): 
Qualified 12th; First round exit (defeated by Scott Libersher in E1)
 
FSXX Career Statistics:
12 races; Three wins; Two No. 1 qualifiers 

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