June 9, 2019 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - Jack Beckman finished runner-up Sunday in the 31st annual Menards NHRA Heartland Nationals in Topeka, Kansas, after becoming the fourth consecutive Mopar-powered Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat driver to reach the final round in Funny Car competition. 

Beckman’s run to his 59th career final round appearance followed a semifinal run last weekend in Chicago. The road to the final for the driver of the Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat included encounters with a pair of former champions, including fellow DSR and Hellcat Funny car racer Matt Hagan, before Beckman lost in the final to current championship leader Robert Hight.
 
Tommy Johnson, Jr. reached the semifinals for the fourth consecutive race after knocking out DSR teammate Ron Capps. Cruz Pedregon and Jim Campbell also made Sunday’s field in Hellcat Funny Cars. Leah Pritchett qualified her DSR HEMI-powered Mopar Top Fuel dragster 10th, but was narrowly defeated by Doug Kalitta in the first round.

After qualifying 10th, Beckman found himself facing teammate Hagan in round one with both Mopar-powered machines making their quickest passes of the weekend, and it was Beckman that posted the win with his 3.912 E.T. versus Hagan’s 3.925. The two-time Topeka champion backed up his opening run with another stellar pass of 3.940 ET to knock out Tim Wilkerson and earn a semifinal contest with 16-time world champion John Force. Beckman’s consistency continued with his machine-like run of 3.970 to set up a rematch of the season-opening final in Pomona with Hight and mark eight times in the first 10 national events in which a Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car driver advanced to the final.
 
Looking for revenge from his early season defeat, Beckman dug deep to try and even the score, ripping off a .029-second reaction time, but his lead did not last long. Hight pulled ahead almost immediately and held on for the win, ending Beckman’s chances at his first Funny Car triumph of the season and 29th of his career.

Arguably the hottest driver in the Funny Car class coming into the weekend was last week’s Chicago winner Tommy Johnson, Jr. After reaching the semifinals in Atlanta and Richmond behind the wheel of the Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, Johnson sealed the deal last Sunday in the Route 66 Nationals. He was looking to make it back-to-back wins Sunday after qualifying fourth and underscored that statement with his best run of the weekend, 3.914 ET, in his round one victory over Terry Haddock setting up his 36th career matchup with DSR teammate Ron Capps.
 
After losing twice in the previous three races to Capps, Johnson got the starting-line advantage with his .039-second reaction time and took the holeshot victory after the two made identical 3.941 ET runs. In the semifinal, Johnson faced point leader Hight and his chance to defeat his opponent in consecutive events ended quickly when he left -0.102 early and turned on the red light before going up in smoke at the starting line. Johnson continues to rank second in the championship standings through 10 of 24 national events.
 
After qualifying in the top half of the field for the third consecutive event, Capps opened Sunday by powering the 11,000 horsepower NAPA Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat straight down track in 3.974 seconds to take the first round win and extend his record to a perfect 8-0 against fellow Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car driver Campbell. In round two, it was another battle between Hellcat Funny cars as Capps faced Johnson for the third time in the last four races, but he couldn’t overcome Johnson’s starting line advantage and his shot for a fifth Topeka triumph was over.

Driving the Shelor Motor Mile Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, Hagan secured a top-half qualifying position for his 250th Funny Car event and drew teammate Beckman in round one. Both Funny Car champions were nearly even launching off the line, and despite making his best pass of the weekend (3.925 seconds), Hagan was not able to outrun Beckman. In other first-round action with Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Cars competing, Cruz Pedregon lost to Bob Tasca III.

In Top Fuel, Leah Pritchett was looking to make a deep run aboard the DSR Shell ROTELLA Mopar Dodge Top Fuel dragster Sunday after qualifying 10th. She drew Doug Kalitta in the first round and despite posting a pass of 3.779 ET at 327.98 mph, her best run of the weekend, Kalitta claimed his 13th victory in 20 career races with Pritchett. This was the fourth weekend in 2019 where Pritchett pulled double duty, as the reigning Factory Stock Showdown champion also qualified her Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pack eighth before losing in the first round.

Mopar Dodge//SRT NHRA Sportsman Spotlight
Gene Mosbek from Pine Lake, Minnesota, qualified No. 52 and drove his SS/FA 1964 Plymouth Savoy to six win lights en route to coming out victorious in the Super Stock class during Sunday's NHRA Heartland Nationals. His victory came following a nearly perfect .001 reaction time as he used his 426 Cubic-Inch Max Wedge V8 to capture his sixth NHRA national event win and earn him the Dodge Top Finisher award in the class.

In the Stock Eliminator class, Austin Williams from Waxahachie, Texas, qualified his E/SA 1972 Plymouth Duster 340 No. 20 and raced his way into the fourth round to score the Dodge Top Finisher honors. 
 
The Dodge Top Finisher award, now in its third year, awards $500 to Stock Eliminator and Super Stock drivers who advance the furthest behind the wheel of a Mopar-powered Dodge, Chrysler, or Plymouth race car at all 24 NHRA national events.
 
Dodge//SRT Mopar NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series: Notes & Quotes

Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 10 Qualifier – 4.018  ET)

Rd.1: (.067-second reaction time, 3.912 seconds at 326.24 mph) beat to No. 7 Matt Hagan (.070/3.912/326.40)
Rd.2: (.060/3.940/325.45) beat to No. 2 Tim Wilkerson (.056/3.956/320.58)
Rd.3: (.080/3.970/326.56) beat to No. 3 John Force (.053/4.001/323.74)
Rd.4: (.029/3.969/323.97) lost to No. 9 Robert Hight (.065/3.895/330.88)

“This is the nice thing about having back-to-back races. After me fumbling in the semis at Chicago, we had the chance to redeem ourselves this weekend. We did not look good in qualifying, but lately, that’s kind of been our M.O. It doesn’t matter how well we run Friday and Saturday, (co-crew chiefs Dean) Guido (Antonelli) and John (Medlen) just seem to find a way on Sunday. We kept plugging away at it, and nobody likes to lose in the final round, but I see our stock on the uptick right now, and I can’t wait for next week in Bristol and then the week after that in Norwalk. I think we finally have a car that can contend for the championship.”

Tommy Johnson Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 4 Qualifier – 3.948 ET)

Rd.1: (.086-second reaction time, 3.918 seconds at 317.05 mph) beat No. 13 Terry Haddock (.103/4.174/286.68)
Rd. 2: (.039/3.941/320.66) beat No. 5 Ron Capps (.058/3.941/320.13)
Rd. 3: (-.102/13.237/75.91) lost to No. 9 Robert Hight (-.100/3.900/330.63)  

“This was another weekend where we had a really good car. Big picture wise we made it to another semifinal and leave here sitting second in points. I hate it that I made a mistake there at the starting line. I was just pushing. We knew Robert (Hight) was running well and we had to push hard. I pushed just a little too much. The bottom line is the Make-A-Wish Dodge SRT Charger Hellcat is a really good car right now. We’ll head to Bristol and hopefully go to another final round.”
 
Ron Capps, NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 5 Qualifier – 3.952 ET)

Rd.1: (.098-second reaction time, 3.974 seconds at 317.57 mph) beat No. 12 Jim Campbell (.099/4.165/274.94)
Rd.2: (.058/3.941/320.13) lost No. 4 Tommy Johnson, Jr. (.039/3.941/320.66)

“We qualified well, ran well, we just got beat by another car that’s running really, really well. I always say every time we race Tommy Johnson, I’m racing (Make-A-Wish crew chief) John Collins and Rahn Tobler because I feel like we’re running our own car over there. That’s a huge compliment to both crew chiefs. It’s a bummer to have not collected more points in Topeka, but everyone is so bunched up in the Funny Car point standings right now. The good thing is, we go right to Bristol. We only have a few days off, and when you have a car that’s running as good as our NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, you love back-to-back weekends.”
 
Matt Hagan, Shelor Motor Mile Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 7 Qualifier – 3.987 ET)

Rd.1: (.070-second reaction time, 3.925 seconds at 326.40 mph) lost to No. 10 Jack Beckman (.067/3.912/326.24)
 
“Short race day, unfortunately. We had a really good race car, and it was running really well. I think it did everything (crew chief) Dickie Venables wanted it to do out there. It was just tough; we were going up against a really strong car. Not to take away from anybody else, but it makes it tough when you have to line up against a teammate first round.”
 
Leah Pritchett, Shell ROTELLA Mopar Dodge Top Fuel Dragster
(No. 10 Qualifier – 3.883 ET)

Rd.1: (.076-second reaction time, 3.779 seconds at 327.98 mph) lost to No. 5 Doug Kalitta (.072/3.737/331.69)
 
“We were definitely looking forward to the different conditions that we had today compared to what we had Friday and Saturday. This team is known for making very fast passes and things coming together. Unfortunately, today is a result of qualifying. We know that if we would have qualified better, we wouldn’t not have matched up in the first round with a final round type of competitor in Doug Kalitta. We were smart about our approach to today’s race and gave it all we had. We were just on the losing end of a really good drag race today. If there was ever more fuel to add to the drive for this team to have, this definitely adds to it. In the moments after, we are already thinking about how we can be better for next week. It’s disappointing we couldn’t make Sunday a long day, but there is a reason the season is 24 races. We learned a lot today and we will use that moving forward.”
 
Up Next: NHRA Thunder Valley NHRA Nationals
Mopar and Dodge//SRT competitors will head next to the 19th Annual NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals, June 14-16 at Bristol Dragway in Bristol, Tennessee. Ron Capps is the winningest Funny Car driver at Bristol and will be looking to make it three straight wins in Thunder Valley. Fellow Charger SRT Hellcat racers Tommy Johnson, Jr, a two-time Bristol winner, and 2015 Bristol winner Matt Hagan will also be chasing their second triumphs of 2019. For complete event information, please visit www.nhra.com
 
2019 NHRA Championship — Point Standings After Round 10 of 24
(Season Wins in Parentheses)

NHRA Funny Car

1.  Robert Hight (4) – 933
2.  Tommy Johnson, Jr., Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat (1) – 725
3.  John Force – 681
4.  Ron Capps, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat (2) – 666
5.  J.R. Todd (1) – 656
6.  Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat – 645
7.  Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat (1) – 592

8.  Tim Wilkerson - 556
9.  Shawn Langdon (1) - 468
10. Bob Tasca III - 455
 
NHRA Top Fuel
1. Steve Torrence (5) – 949
2. Doug Kalitta (1) -  628
3. Brittany Force (1) –625
4.  Antron Brown – 619
5.  Mike Salinas (1) – 573
6.  Clay Millican – 557
7.  Leah Pritchett, Mopar HEMI – 529
8.  Richie Crampton (1) – 467
9.  Austin Prock - 452
10. Terry McMillen – 417

About Dodge
Dodge//SRT offers a complete lineup of performance vehicles that stand out in their own segments. Dodge is America’s mainstream performance brand and SRT is positioned as the ultimate performance halo of the Dodge brand, together creating a complete and balanced performance brand with one vision and one voice.
 
For more than 100 years, the Dodge brand has carried on the spirit of brothers John and Horace Dodge, who founded the brand in 1914. Their influence continues today. New for 2019, the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye is possessed by the Demon. Its 797-horsepower supercharged HEMI® high-output engine makes it the most powerful, quickest and fastest muscle car reaching 0-60 miles per hour (mph) in 3.4 seconds and the fastest GT production car with a ¼-mile elapsed time (ET) of 10.8 seconds at 131 mph. It also reaches a new top speed of 203 mph. Joining the Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye is the 2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat with its more powerful 717-horsepower engine, the Challenger R/T Scat Pack Widebody, which features fender flares from the SRT Hellcat Widebody and adds 3.5 inches of width to Scat Pack’s footprint, as well as and the new Challenger R/T Scat Pack 1320. Infused with exclusive drag strip technology from the iconic Dodge Challenger SRT Demon, the Challenger R/T Scat Pack 1320 is a drag-oriented, street-legal muscle car and a blank canvas for the serious grassroots drag racer.  The 2019 Dodge Durango SRT, America’s fastest, most powerful and most capable three-row SUV with a best-in-class tow rating of 8,700 lbs. fills out the brands’ performance lineup. These visceral performance models join a 2019 brand lineup that includes the Durango, Grand Caravan, Journey, Charger and Challenger — a showroom that offers performance at every price point.


 
About Mopar
Mopar (a simple contraction of the words MOtor and PARts) is the service, parts and customer-care brand for FCA vehicles around the globe. Born in 1937 as the name of a line of antifreeze products, the Mopar brand has evolved over more than 80 years to represent both complete care and authentic performance for owners and enthusiasts worldwide.

Mopar made its mark in the 1960s during the muscle-car era, with Mopar Performance Parts to enhance speed and handling for both road and racing use, and expanded to include technical service and customer support. Today, the Mopar brand’s global reach distributes more than 500,000 parts and accessories in over 150 markets around the world. With more than 50 parts distribution centers and 25 customer contact centers globally, Mopar integrates service, parts and customer-care operations in order to enhance customer and dealer support worldwide.

Mopar is the source for genuine parts and accessories for all FCA US LLC vehicle brands. Mopar parts are engineered together with the same teams that create factory-authorized specifications for FCA vehicles, offering a direct connection that no other aftermarket parts company can provide. Complete information on the Mopar brand is available at www.mopar.com.