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Seattle Pre-Race Report

CatSpot NHRA Northwest Nationals

Event 16 of 24 (Seattle)
Pacific Raceways
Kent, Washington
August 3-5, 2018

Noteworthy:

  • Antron Brown returns as the defending Top Fuel event champion and No. 1 qualifier
  • Tommy Johnson Jr. raced to a runner-up finish at Seattle in 2017 
  • Ron Capps enters the event fresh off of two consecutive runner-up finishes (Denver, Sonoma)
  • Brown has claimed the past two Top Fuel Seattle Wallys and is seeking his third consecutive Pacific Raceways win
  • Both Johnson (1993) and Capps (1995) captured their first NHRA victories in a professional category at Seattle (both in Top Fuel)
  • Both Capps and Johnson have been to the Seattle winners circle in both the Top Fuel and Funny Car categories
  • Tony Schumacher leads the TF class in number of No. 1 qualifiers (four) at Pacific Raceways: 2004, 2008, 2014, 2016

DSR-Owned Track Records:
Top Fuel, E.T.: 3.685-seconds, Antron Brown (2016)
Funny Car, speed: 334.15-mph, Jack Beckman (2016)


DSR Driver Information:
 
Top Fuel:

ANTRON BROWN
Driver of the Matco Tools Top Fuel Dragster

NHRA Seattle Event Highlights: 
  • Three-time event champion (2009, 2016, 2017) 
  • Two-time runner-up (2010, 2014) 
  • Two-time No. 1 qualifier (2011, 2017) 
2017 Seattle Recap:
Qualified No. 1; Event champion (defeated Ron Smith in E1, Mike Salinas in E2, Clay Millican in E3, Terry McMillen in E4)
 
Last event (Sonoma):
Qualified third; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Jim Maroney in E1; defeated by Blake Alexander in E2)

2018 Season Statistics:
14 round wins; ranked sixth in points
 
Career Statistics:
397 races; 65 wins (16 Pro Stock Motorcycle); 49 No. 1 qualifiers (11 PSM)

Noteworthy:
  • Pacific Raceways E.T. record holder (3.685-seconds, 2016) 
  • Has claimed the past two Top Fuel Seattle Wallys and is seeking his third consecutive Pacific Raceways win 

Quotable:
“We were confident going into Sonoma last weekend and we’re just as excited to get to Seattle. We had a really good car at Sonoma. Everything we worked on, we improved upon. Now we know we’ve got a car that can be a No. 1 qualifier. On race day, we didn’t change too much and we were as quick as everybody early in the run. We just had a hole out in our second-round run and got bit by that. With that being said, we’ll make that better at Seattle.

"We know a win’s just around the corner. We’re just one tab off here, one tab off there. But we’re getting all those dots aligned and pretty soon I think we’re going to go across that finish line and pull off a win. It’s been a challenging season and, for me, it’s making me a lot better, our team’s getting better, we’re all getting better together. I want to win so bad, like in Virginia, I threw a race away doing something I never do (red light), and that got me back in the mindset to just do what I do. I’m back in the zone and just need to keep that up and just not throw anything away, just do the same thing every time, and we’re going to get better together.

"The Countdown is coming and I see that we are going to peak at the right time. People don’t realize that we’re far from being a new team, but we’ve moved a lot of people on the team around at the beginning of the season. So I’m proud of where we’re at and how we’ve grown through all the struggles and challenges, and also through all the changes we’ve made to the car to make it better. We’re going to peak at the right time and I think we’re going to be deadly when the time comes.”


 
LEAH PRITCHETT
Driver of the Sparkling Ice Top Fuel Dragster 
2017 Seattle Recap:
Qualified third; Semifinal finish (defeated Shawn Reed in E1, Tony Schumacher in E2; defeated by Terry McMillen in E3)
 
Last event (Sonoma):
Qualified second; First round exit (defeated by Bill Litton in E1)

2018 Season Statistics:
22 round wins; ranked fourth in points
 
Career Statistics:
109 races; seven wins; ten No. 1 qualifiers

Quotable:
“Seattle is a pretty great landmark for me. It’s really where I integrated with DSR two years ago. I had been with them part-time and, when we hit that race in 2016, that was the very first step toward what we have today. We have gotten really good at having a lot of primary partners individually for each race and this one’s no different. There’s a new color people haven’t seen on the track in a long time. I’ll call it fuchsia for Sparkling Ice and this is their hometown race. I’m going to look at it exactly like Denver. We were in Mopar and Dodge’s country in Denver and we harnessed that energy. Lots of pressure but, honestly, I never felt it was the ‘P’ word; I preferred to call it energy. I’m looking forward to Seattle, Sparkling Ice’s hometown headquarters race, their one primary, and we’re looking to finish The Swing off just like we started it.”


 
TONY SCHUMACHER
Driver of the U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster
NHRA Seattle Event Highlights: 
  • Four-time event champion (2004, 2006, 2007, 2008) 
  • Three-time runner-up (2005, 2009, 2011) 
  • Four-time No. 1 qualifier (2004, 2008, 2014, 2016) 
 
2017 Seattle Recap:
Qualified sixth; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Troy Coughlin Jr. in E1; defeated by Leah Pritchett in E2)

Last event (Sonoma):
Qualified fourth; Event runner-up (defeated Shawn Reed in E1, Brittany Force in E2, Doug Kalitta in E3; defeated by Blake Alexander in E4)

2018 Season Statistics:
21 round wins; ranked second in points
 
Career Statistics:
495 races; 84 wins; 87 No. 1 qualifiers

Noteworthy:
  • Leads the TF class in number of No. 1 qualifiers (four) at Pacific Raceways: 2004, 2008, 2014, 2016

Quotable:
“We’ve won Seattle a lot of times. We’re second in points going to a race where we’ve won, then we’re going to go to Brainerd, where we’ve won, and then we’re going to Indy where we’ve won more than anybody. Then we get to the races that really count, and we know how to win when it matters. We have a good car and, most importantly, we have the confidence, now.

"We started the year with a crew chief who came over from Funny Car and he says, ‘Look, it’s going to take a little time.’ Well, it’s been a little time, we’re sitting second in the points and we’re running as well as anybody and better than most. We’re in a good place and we still keep making gains, we’re improving, and the most important races of the season are ahead of us.”



Funny Car:
 
JACK BECKMAN
Driver of the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger R/T
NHRA Seattle Event Highlights: 
  • 2007 event champion 
  • 2011 runner-up 
  • Two-time No. 1 qualifier (2013, 2015) 

2017 Seattle Recap:
Qualified fifth; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Del Worsham in E1; defeated by Courtney Force in E2)
 
Last event (Sonoma):
Qualified second; Quarterfinal finish (defeated J.R. Todd in E1; defeated by Tommy Johnson Jr. in E2)

2018 Season Statistics:
20 round wins; ranked fifth in points 
 
Career Statistics:
291 races; 27 wins; 24 No. 1 qualifiers

Quotable:
“We are back to having a good, predictable, quick race car. We got bit by clutch wear second round in Sonoma, but when you have a good car, you expect to go to a final round and we haven’t done that in the last few races. It’s actually nice we have three races in a row because as frustrating as it was to lose early in Denver and Sonoma, I’m pretty confident we can park this Infinite Hero Dodge in the winner’s circle in Seattle so I can’t wait to unload and start running again.”


 
RON CAPPS
Driver of the Pennzoil Synthetics/NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T
NHRA Seattle Event Highlights: 
  • Three-time event champion
    • 1998, 2016 (Funny Car) 
    • 1995 (Top Fuel, first professional event win) 
  • Four-time runner-up (2001, 2006, 2008, 2010) 
  • Two-time No. 1 Qualifier (1997, 2012) 
 
2017 Seattle Recap:
Qualified sixth; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Tim Wilkerson in E1; defeated by Tommy Johnson Jr. in E2)
 
Last event (Sonoma):
Qualified fifth; Event runner-up (defeated Richard Townsend in E1, Matt Hagan in E2, John Force in E3; defeated by Robert Hight in E4)

2018 Season Statistics:
23 round wins; ranked second in points
 
Career Statistics:
522 races; 59 wins (one Top Fuel); 21 No. 1 qualifiers
 
Noteworthy:
  • Enters the event fresh off of two consecutive runner-up finishes (Denver, Sonoma)
  • Captured his first NHRA victory in a professional category at Seattle (Top Fuel, 1995)
  • Has raced to victory in both the Top Fuel and Funny Car categories at Seattle 

Quotable:
“Seattle is going to be fun. We have a brand new special paint job that’s one of the coolest paint schemes I’ve gotten to drive. It has both Pennzoil and NAPA on it. That’s going to be a first for us and we are proud to represent Pennzoil. This is the time of year that we know we have to get into race form for the Countdown. It starts with the swing and we’ve always done real well. I joked about a month ago that we were over 300 points behind the points leader at that point and I said ‘you watch, we are going to be able to make a run for it.' It would be three years in a row if we could get the points lead going into the Countdown. We made up a big chunk (Sunday in Denver and Sonoma) and we just keep collecting those Mello Yello points. On top of that, just getting a better feel for the car and we are starting to click and it’s the perfect time of year to do that.”

 
 
MATT HAGAN
Driver of the Sandvik Coromant Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
NHRA Seattle Event Highlights: 
  • 2013 event champion 
  • 2012 runner-up 
 
2017 Seattle Recap:
Qualified second; Semifinal finish (defeated Gary Densham in E1, Alexis DeJoria in E2; defeated by Tommy Johnson Jr. in E3)
 
Last event (Sonoma):
Qualified fourth; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Jim Campbell in E1; defeated by Ron Capps in E2)

2018 Season Statistics:
23 round wins; ranked fourth in points 
 
Career Statistics:
231 races; 29 wins; 33 No. 1 qualifiers

Quotable:
“Rolling into Seattle, we’ve done well there before, we’ve won that race and we usually qualify well there. It just all depends on the weather. All in all, we figured out the body needs a little less primary, the headers are doing really good so we are making improvements. We’re trying to get ready for this Countdown, trying to get some momentum rolling. Three wins this year, but we want to win five or six, for sure. We need to win two or three in the Countdown. We’re just trying to get dialed in. The Western Swing is tough, man. Hopefully we can finish out strong here in Seattle.

“We’ve had a lot of luck running the Sandvik Coromant colors. We’ve put it in the winner’s circle twice with those guys. We just need to keep running strong for them.”


 
TOMMY JOHNSON JR.
Driver of the Make-A-Wish Foundation Dodge Charger R/T 
NHRA Seattle Event Highlights:
  • Two-time event champion
    • 1993 (Top Fuel, first professional event win) 
    • 2015 (Funny Car) 
  • 2017 runner-up 

2017 Seattle Recap:
Qualified third; Event runner-up (defeated Jim Campbell in E1, Ron Capps in E2, Matt Hagan in E3; defeated by Robert Hight in E4)
 
Last event (Sonoma):
Qualified seventh; Semifinal finish (defeated Cruz Pedregon in E1, Jack Beckman in E2; defeated by Robert Hight in E3)

2018 Season Statistics:
15 round wins; ranked seventh in points
 
Career Statistics:
437 races; 17 wins (two Top Fuel); 15 No. 1 qualifiers (one Top Fuel)

Noteworthy:
  • Captured his first NHRA victory in a professional category at Seattle (1993, Top Fuel)
  • Has been to the Seattle winner's circle in both the Top Fuel and Funny Car categories

Quotable:
“Seattle has always been one of my favorite tracks, I got my first Top Fuel win there and was able to come back and win in a Funny Car there as well. There’s just certain tracks that you seem to do better at than others and Seattle is one of mine so I look forward to it every season. Coming out of Sonoma, the way the car ran, I feel pretty confident that this might be our first win of the season.”

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