June 16, 2019 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) teammates Jack Beckman and Ron Capps led the brigade of Dodge//SRT Mopar machines to semifinal finishes in the 19th Annual NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway in Bristol, Tennessee on Sunday, June 16.

Mopar-powered Dodge//SRT drivers Capps and Beckman now sit fourth and fifth, respectively, in the standings just behind DSR teammate Tommy Johnson, Jr., who currently holds the third position.  

“Fast Jack” Beckman and his Infinite Hero Foundation team followed last week’s run to the final in the NHRA Heartland Nationals with another consistent weekend in Bristol. Beckman piloted the Mopar-powered Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car to the fourth position in qualifying and envisioned capturing his first Thunder Valley triumph with his strong run in the opening round of eliminations of 3.912 seconds at 326.24 mph to defeat Tim Wilkerson.

In round two, Beckman posted another stout run, a triumphant 4.076 ET over reigning Funny Car champion J.R. Todd. His third consecutive semifinal appearance pitted him against John Force where Beckman’s day ended approximately 60 feet after his launch when he lost traction. He tried to recover, but Force was gone..      

Two-time defending Thunder Valley Nationals winner and NAPA Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car driver Ron Capps began his run for a third consecutive Father’s Day triumph from the No. 7 position. He began the day by making a smooth run of 4.005 seconds to dispatch Blake Alexander and advance to round two.

Capps faced Shawn Langdon in the second round and used the quickest run of the quarterfinals at 4.039 seconds to capture the victory. With the round win, he faced Bob Tasca III in the semifinal where the two were nearly even off the starting line, but when his machine lost a cylinder near the midway point of the run it drifted near the centerline forcing Capps to end his run.

Johnson earned his position in the top half of Sunday’s field by closing qualifying with an impressive run of 4.003 seconds to grab the eighth position. It marked the second time in the last five events where Johnson and DSR teammate Matt Hagan squared off in round one. Johnson was on the money in this race posting his best run of the weekend, 3.964 ET, to capture his third consecutive win over a slowing Hagan. The momentum from his first-round victory was short lived as Johnson went up in smoke after the hit against John Force to end his chances of a second victory in three races.

After qualifying the Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat ninth with his second round qualifying run of 4.012 seconds, two-time World Champion Hagan continued his recent trend of running into fellow DSR and Hellcat Funny Car racers during the early rounds of eliminations. He was paired against Johnson to open eliminations Sunday. Both left the starting line with identical .080-reaction times, but Hagan lost a cylinder near halftrack and his machine pulled hard toward the center line forcing him to take evasive action and his lap of 4.736 wasn’t enough to avoid his fifth consecutive loss against another Hellcat Funny Car.
 
In other first-round action with Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Cars competing, Cruz Pedregon lost to Robert Hight and Jim Campbell was defeated by Tasca.

In Top Fuel, Leah Pritchett scored five bonus points during qualifying aboard the Mopar Dodge Top Fuel dragster and started from the No. 2 position, her best of the season. Pritchett was eyeing her first career triumph at Bristol Dragway and first of the 2019 campaign. In her first-ever race versus Lex Joon, Pritchett left the starting line first but quickly had her hands full trying to pedal her machine down the track. Ultimately, she was able to get her dragster to recover, but not in time to catch Joon.

Dodge//SRT Mopar NHRA Sportsman Spotlight
In Stock Eliminator, Mike Cotten drove his F/SA 1973 Plymouth Duster 340 to a runner-up at the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals. The longtime Mopar Sportsman racer who hails from Cave Creek, Arizona, drove through six eliminator matchups of intense competition to reach his eighth final round appearance. Racing off an 11.18-second dial-in during the finals, Cotten had a great reaction time but unfortunately broke-out by a mere 0.007-second by running a 11.173 ET. With this performance, Cotton earned the Dodge Top Finisher award in the class.
 
Michael Volkman from Campobello, South Carolina, drove his 2000 GT/LA Chrysler Sebring to a round two finish in Super Stock at Bristol Dragway. Powered by a Mopar 318 cubic-inch V8, Volkman was looking to extend his quest for another victory until a redlight ended his day early. Volkman, a pervious multi-time Dodge Top Finisher winner in 2017 and 2018, once again collected the honors in Super Stock.
 
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. 4 Qualifier – 3.976  ET)

Rd.1: (.067-second reaction time, 3.912 seconds at 326.24 mph) beat to No. 13 Tim Wilkerson (.070/3.912/326.40)
Rd.2: (.060/4.076/315.64) beat to No. 5 J.R. Todd (.059/4.397/284.81)
Rd.3: (.073/7.532/319.90) lost to No. 1 John Force (.027/4.125/316.38)

“In the last three races, we have put seven round wins together and maybe more importantly we have a predictable car. Once you make it consistent you can lean on it and get quicker. What I see as confidence inspiring is that we are now able to make good runs on cool tracks and hot tracks. I don’t think it’s going to matter what conditions we face going forward, because I think we have a tune-up solution for that. I do know that if we keep running like this that our first race win of the season is going to come pretty soon. The good thing is that you don’t want to get to this part of the season and start struggling. We are on an upward trend and I expect that to continue.”

Ron Capps, NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 7 Qualifier – 4.002 ET)

Rd.1: (.080-second reaction time, 4.005 seconds at 314.53 mph) beat No. 10 Blake Alexander (.052/4.383/212.16)
Rd.2: (.089/4.039/312.28) beat No. Shawn Langdon (.068/4.080/309.27)
Rd.3: (.065/4.216/258.86) lost to Bob Tasca III (.060/4.048/317.87)

“Obviously, we’re a little bummed we couldn’t get back to the final and have a shot at going three-in-a-row. Still, we’re exceptionally pleased with how we did on Saturday, getting down the track and earning lane choice with a 4.002 in the heat. And then to go three rounds today was good. In the semis, the car got out there a little bit, and then Tasca pulled ahead, and I shut the car off early. We haven’t had a cylinder drop like that early into the run in a long time, so we’ll look at the data and see why it did that.”
 
Tommy Johnson Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 8 Qualifier – 4.003 ET)

Rd.1: (.080-second reaction time, 3.964 seconds at 311.92 mph) beat No. 9 Matt Hagan (.080/4.736/223.50)
Rd. 2: (.134/8.529/88.42) lost to No. 1 John Force (.083/4.044/318.32)

“The track caught us off guard there in that second round run. It’s been pretty tricky all weekend and we weren’t expecting that. We tuned for the conditions and we’ve had a pretty good handle on it all weekend. We know we have a really fast Hellcat right now. We just need to keep doing what we are doing and we’ll go some more rounds. I really thought with today’s conditions we had a great chance, but sometimes they’ll surprise you. We’ll get right back at it in Norwalk in a few days and see if we can end this four-race deal the same way we started it… with a victory.” 
 
Matt Hagan, Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 9 Qualifier – 4.012 ET)

Rd.1: (.080-second reaction time, 4.736 seconds at 223.50 mph) lost to No. 8 Tommy Johnson, Jr.  (.080/3.964/311.92)
 
“This was a really tough weekend and it all comes down to qualifying. We just have to have the results on Friday and Saturday to put us in a better position on Sunday. Top half would have been huge today. We struggled with that left lane and kind of fell victim to it. We’re going to test tomorrow and we are hoping we can make some runs to get ourselves squared away. That’s all we can really do is keep digging. We have a big responsibility to our sponsors in Mopar, Pennzoil and Sandvik and all the people that make this happen. We are going to have to turn things around and start making things happen.”
 
Leah Pritchett, Mopar Dodge Top Fuel Dragster
(No. 2 Qualifier – 3.757 ET)

Rd.1: (.072-second reaction time, 4.972 seconds at 162.39 mph) lost to No. 15 Lex Joon (.120/4.536/205.41)
 
“We really had some good momentum coming into race day from some solid qualifying runs. We have been chasing clutch-wear inconsistencies and just when we think we’ve got it under control, boom, it shows its face again. But, we will conquer it; this I know for sure, just as I will conquer patience in pedaling of the car in warmer conditions. It’s difficult when you see your opponent having trouble, too. You just want to get to the finish line first, and fight mode comes in. These challenges are definitely making us a stronger team, and we will prevail.”
 
Up Next: Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals                       
Up next for Mopar Dodge//SRT drivers and teams is the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio, scheduled for June 20-23. The event concludes a stretch of four consecutive races for NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series competitors. Mopar Dodge driver Leah Pritchett will once again pull double duty in the Top Fuel and Factory Stock Showdown classes, while Matt Hagan will attempt to defend his 2018 event win in the NHRA Funny Car class.
 
2019 NHRA Championship — Point Standings After Round 11 of 24
(Season Wins in Parentheses)


NHRA Funny Car
1.  Robert Hight (4) – 990
2.  John Force – 786
3.  Tommy Johnson, Jr., Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat (1) – 783
4.  Ron Capps, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat (2) – 741
5.  Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat – 720

6.  J.R. Todd (1) – 711
7.  Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat (1) – 624
8.  Tim Wilkerson - 587
9.  Bob Tasca III (1) - 574
10.  Shawn Langdon (1) - 528
 
NHRA Top Fuel
1. Steve Torrence (5) – 1048
2.  Doug Kalitta (1) -  709
3.  Antron Brown – 676
4.  Mike Salinas (2) – 691
5. Brittany Force (1) –663
6.  Clay Millican – 611
7.  Leah Pritchett, Mopar HEMI – 571
8.  Richie Crampton (1) – 499
9. Austin Prock - 486
10.  Terry McMillen – 470

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.