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DSR Vegas 1 Post-Race Report

NHRA Four-Wide Nationals
Event 4 of 24 (Las Vegas I)
The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
April 5-7, 2019

DSR Las Vegas I Elimination Highlights:

  • Tommy Johnson Jr. raced to a runner-up finish during his 450thprofessional event
  • Johnson and Jack Beckman advanced to the Funny Car final elimination quad 
  • All four DSR Dodge Hellcats set off the win lights in round one 
  • Longtime Jack Beckman/DSR supporters Rodger and Karen Comstock generously donated $15,000 to the Infinite Hero Foundation on behalf of MTS and Descansando Properties during Sunday’s DSR pre-race ceremonies (accompanying photo beneath driver standings)


Driver Information:

Top Fuel:
ANTRON BROWN
Driver of the Matco Tools Top Fuel Dragster
 
Qualified: No. 9 (3.772 E.T. at 324.28 MPH)

The Results:
E1: 4.072 E.T. at 237.75 MPH defeated by Mike Salinas 3.747 E.T. at 328.86 MPH, Billy Torrence 3.966 E.T. at 271.95 MPH

Race Recap:
Antron Brown’s Four-Wide Nationals draw pitted him against Mike Salinas and Billy Torrence to start race day. The four-time Vegas winner’s day was cut short when he stood on the throttle in round one and immediately dropped a cylinder. His Matco Tools Toyota slowed to a 4.072 E.T. and his opponents were able to cross the finish line first and snag Brown’s opportunity for a spot in round two.

Quotable:
“We just need someone to throw us a bone. The engine has been flawless all weekend long and for it to drop a hole on the first run, we’re just kicking ourselves in the butt. We threw away a great opportunity to advance to another round. This is a race that we felt we had the opportunity to win. With that said, we’re looking forward to having one of our team members, Matt Sackman, who does the cylinder heads on our car, take our Matco Tools Toyota down the race track and get his Top Fuel license. And we’ll gather some data for Houston. We want to thank our friends at Hangsterfer’s for giving Matt this opportunity.

"Houston is on our radar and we have to unleash and unload. We need to be in attack mode and its game-on right now. We’re ready and we’re thankful to have another race next weekend and we want to do well for Matco and for Pennzoil at their home track.”


LEAH PRITCHETT
Driver of the John Schnatter Top Fuel Dragster
 
Qualified: No. 4 (3.743 E.T. at 328.06 MPH)

The Results:
E1: 6.768 E.T. at 114.02 MPH defeated by Clay Millican 3.777 E.T. at 328.14 MPH, Terry Totten 4.053 E.T. at 301.54 MPH

Race Recap:
Leah Pritchett entered the fourth race of the season ranked second in the championship standings and seeking her first Las Vegas triumph. With three qualifying bonus point-earning runs to begin the weekend, Pritchett positioned herself to close the gap during eliminations. Unfortunately, Pritchett’s John Schnatter Top Fuel dragster lost traction almost immediately in lane three during the opening quad. While Clay Millican and Terry Totten made clean runs down the track, Pritchett coasted to the finish with a lap of 6.768 seconds at 114.02 mph.

Quotable:
“We had a consistently solid race car all during qualifying and were definitely ready to take on the competition at the first four-wide of the year. We had an extra 150 motor rpm and we’re still trying to figure out why it made the car much happier than we wanted it to be and it smoked the tires at the hit. The data will be very valuable as we lead into Houston. We’ll take what we learned here and we’re just so thankful to have been able to make this race. So, thank you John Schnatter.

"Our heads are high. We won’t let this get us down. The Vegas Four-Wide didn’t get us. We got ourselves. We’ll turn this around real quick and we’re looking forward to Houston to do well for Pennzoil in the chrome dragster.”


Funny Car:
 
JACK BECKMAN
Driver of the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
 
Qualified: No. 11 (3.956 E.T. at 321.27 MPH)

The Results:
E1: 3.958 E.T. at 322.88 MPH defeated Cruz Pedregon 3.981 E.T. at 322.19 MPH, Phil Burkhart Jr. 4.172 E.T. at 263.56 MPH
E2: 4.010 E.T. at 318.32 MPH defeated John Force 4.025 E.T. at 321.81 MPH, Ron Capps 4.037 E.T. at 315.05 MPH
E3: 4.370 E.T. at 213.16 MPH defeated by J.R. Todd 3.970 E.T. at 319.07 MPH, Tommy Johnson Jr. 3.975 E.T. at 313.29 MPH

Race Recap:
Jack Beckman raced the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat to his second final round appearance of 2019. After qualifying No. 11, the 2012 Funny Car world champion advanced into the second round with his lap of 3.958 seconds, besting Cruz Pedregon and Phil Burkart, Jr.
 
In the second round, Beckman defeated John Force and Ron Capps and followed fellow DSR teammate Tommy Johnson Jr. into the final eliminations quad with his pass of 4.010 seconds. Beckman, who won his first-ever Funny Car Wally at The Strip in 2006, came up short in his bid for a second career victory in Las Vegas following winner J.R. Todd and Johnson to the stripe with his run of 4.370.  Beckman ranks second in the Funny Car championship standings.  

Quotable:
“We salvaged a pretty darn good weekend after qualifying 11th. I don’t feel that was indicative of how good of a car we had. We were just wearing way too much clutch and it slows it down. We addressed it for race day and then we had to pull some of that back because the race track was the hottest we’ve seen all year. I’m so proud of this team for making good, logical choices in getting us to the final round and giving us a chance to win. At the end of the day, that’s all you really want is a chance to race in the final and get a win. In the finals, it put a hole out and (crew chief) John Medlen shut the car off. There’s no point in risking damage and hurting parts when we weren’t going to get the trophy. The cool news is in five days we’ll unload and start making qualifying runs at Houston with a really cool looking body and we’re going to change some more lives for a great cause.”

 
RON CAPPS
Driver of the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
 
Qualified: No. 2 (3.897 E.T. at 325.92 MPH)

The Results:
E1: 4.280 E.T. at 265.06 MPH defeated Bob Tasca III 4.332 E.T. at 268.65 MPH, Terry Haddock 4.302 E.T. at 289.88 MPH
E2: 4.037 E.T. at 315.05 MPH defeated by Tommy Johnson Jr. 3.994 E.T. at 315.93 MPH, Jack Beckman 4.010 E.T. at 318.32 MPH

Race Recap:
Ron Capps and the NAPA AUTO PARTS Funny Car team were quick and consistent throughout qualifying, including posting a 3.897 at 325.92-mph during Q2 on Friday. The run allowed Capps to bank two bonus points and earned the NAPA team the No. 2 qualifying spot, their best starting position to date in 2019.
 
During the first round of eliminations, Capps clocked a 4.280 E.T. to defeat Bob Tasca III and Terry Haddock and secure a lane in the next round. His second-round quad featured a monster matchup loaded with heavy hitters, including two of his Don Schumacher Racing teammates – Jack Beckman and Tommy Johnson Jr. – and fellow Funny Car veteran, John Force. Capps wheeled his 11,000-horsepower machine down the track in 4.037 seconds, but it wasn’t enough to outrun his teammate’s 3.994 and 4.010 second passes.

Quotable:
“We came in here with a plan to get back to where we were in the past. The first three races of the season didn’t show the potential of our NAPA AUTO PARTS team. We qualified second this weekend and were super happy with the car. (Crew chief Rahn) Tobler is still trying to feel things out with this car and to go down the track on each run, and that last quad we lost was super close. It hurts more if you go out there and smoke the tires and beat yourself. We didn’t have lane choice and went out there and made a good pass.
 
“The NHRA Four-Wide Nationals in Las Vegas is a fun race with a lot going on. It’s exciting. We won the Four-Wide at zMax Dragway a few years ago and maybe we can do that again later this month at Charlotte. I feel we got our NAPA car back with the performance and we’re looking forward to Houston for Pennzoil and Charlotte after that.”

 
MATT HAGAN
Driver of the Pennzoil Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
 
Qualified: No. 5 (3.924 E.T. at 327.03 MPH)

The Results:
E1: 4.073 E.T. at 288.03 MPH defeated Gary Densham 4.330 E.T. at 223.62 MPH, Jim Campbell 4.832 E.T. at 168.14 MPH
E2: 4.017 E.T. at 303.57 MPH defeated by Tim Wilkerson 3.996 E.T. at 312.21 MPH, J.R. Todd 4.030 E.T. at 314.24 MPH

Race Recap:
Two-time Funny Car world champion Matt Hagan’s bid to capture his second victory of 2019 came up short in the second round of the Four-Wide Nationals. Hagan qualified the Pennzoil Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car fifth and raced to an opening round win with his pass of 4.073 at 288.03-mph to defeat J.R. Todd, Gary Densham and Jim Campbell. In the second round, Hagan posted an impressive lap of 4.017, but lost on a holeshot to Todd.

Quotable:
“We had a great race car here in Las Vegas this weekend with this chrome Pennzoil Dodge. Four-wide racing is always kind of crazy and we ended up losing on a little holeshot and it’s just one of those things. The car has been running and handling great. I’m bummed about the holeshot loss, but I feel really good moving into Houston. It’s Pennzoil’s home track and we have a lot of gigs going on and we’ll do some fun stuff this this week. I’m really happy with the race car, now the driver needs to get his act together.”

 
TOMMY JOHNSON JR.
Driver of the Make-A-Wish Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
 
Qualified: No. 10 (3.952 E.T. at 319.45 MPH)

The Results:
E1: 4.234 E.T. at 229.27 MPH defeated Bob Tasca III 4.332 E.T. at 268.65 MPH, Terry Haddock 4.302 E.T. at 289.88 MPH
E2: 3.994 E.T. at 315.93 MPH defeated John Force 4.025 E.T. at 321.81 MPH, Ron Capps 4.037 E.T. at 315.05 MPH
E3: 3.975 E.T. at 313.29 MPH defeated Jack Beckman 4.370 E.T. at 213.16 MPH, Tim Wilkerson 4.401 E.T. at 205.35 MPH; defeated by J.R. Todd 3.970 E.T. at 319.07 MPH

Race Recap:
Tommy Johnson Jr. raced to a runner-up finish on Sunday at his 450thprofessional event. For the second year in a row, Johnson and the John Collins-led Make-A-Wish Foundation Funny Car team raced for the Vegas Four-Wide Nationals Wally trophy by advancing to the final eliminations quad.
 
After registering a winning E.T. in round one, Johnson faced tough competition in his round two matchup. The stacked quad featured Jack Beckman and Ron Capps behind the wheel of their DSR Dodges, and Funny Car juggernaut John Force. Johnson was quick off the starting line clocking the best reaction time of the group, and powered his Hellcat to the quickest lap of the round, lighting up the scoreboard with a 3.994 E.T.
 
The final eliminations quad pitted Johnson against fellow ‘giving car’ pilot Jack Beckman, reigning world champion J.R. Todd, and No. 1 qualifier Tim Wilkerson. Johnson laid down another solid pass and maintained pace with Todd until just before the finish line when Todd pulled ahead and captured the win. Johnson’s performance was recorded as a runner-up finish and the two-time LVMS winner jumped up to third in the Funny Car rankings.

Quotable:
“It was an interesting day for sure. For all four cars to lose traction in the first round, but get the win and set low E.T. in the second round was really good. We were confident going into the final round. We knew we had a good race car. We just came up a tick short. We got our car back and we’re really close to getting a win. It was a good points day and we moved up to third. I feel we got the bad luck out of the way and I’m looking forward to the next few races with Houston and Charlotte in April. We have a really good car with this Make-A-Wish Dodge.”

NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship Standings:

Top Fuel
1. Doug Kalitta - 319
2. Mike Salinas - 286
3. Steve Torrence - 256
4. Leah Pritchett - 244
5. Richie Crampton - 233
6. Clay Millican - 231
6. Billy Torrence - 231
8. Brittany Force - 224
9. Terry McMillen - 198
10. Antron Brown - 184

Funny Car
1. Robert Hight - 363
2. Jack Beckman - 297
3. Tommy Johnson Jr. - 283

4. J.R. Todd - 280
5. Matt Hagan - 271
6. John Force - 258
7. Tim Wilkerson - 246
8. Ron Capps - 205
9. Bob Tasca III - 198
10. Cruz Pedregon - 179 
 
Longtime Jack Beckman/DSR supporters Rodger and Karen Comstock generously donated $15,000 to the Infinite Hero Foundation on behalf of MTS and Descansando Properties during Sunday’s DSR pre-race ceremonies

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