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Sportsman Class Added to IHRA Summit SuperSeries

WEST PALM BEACH, FL –  Officials from the International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) announce the addition of a “Sportsman” class to the IHRA Summit SuperSeries program beginning in 2019.

The Sportsman class is open to door cars only (12.00 & slower in the ¼-mile and 7.50 & slower in the 1/8-mile).  The use of trans brakes, two steps, and delay boxes are prohibited in the Sportsman class.

Sportsman racers who win Summit SuperSeries track championships or Summit Team Finals events will be invited to compete at the Summit SuperSeries World Finals October 17-19 at Memphis International Raceway for their chance to win the first ever Sportsman National Champions and a $5,000 payout.

“The Sportsman class was added after receiving a lot of feedback from our dedicated members about forming no electronics class,” IHRA Vice President Skooter Peaco said. “We are excited to have these competitors running for a spot in the Summit SuperSeries World Finals in 2019 and making the 18th season of the Summit SuperSeries one for the record books by crowning our first Sportsman World Champion in October.”

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Mopar Dodge//SRT NHRA Sportsman Spotlight

Pomona, CA – Steve Wann from Modesto, California, drove his 1962 SS/DA Plymouth Sport Fury to the event win in Super Stock at the NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, California. Wann’s Sport Fury, powered by the Mopar 413 cubic-inch Max Wedge V8 engine, ran consistent nine-second ETs all weekend on his path to the winner’s circle. Wann, a past recipient, also earned the Dodge Top Finisher Award in Super Stock.

Jon Irving from Boulder City, Nevada, raced his 1971 D/SA Dodge Demon 340 to a semifinals finish in Stock Eliminator, collecting the Dodge Top Finisher award in the Stock class. Powered by a high-revving Mopar small-block under the factory dual-snorkel hood, Irving’s Demon 340 was consistent throughout the race weekend running in the 10-second range.

The Dodge Top Finisher program completed its second year, awarding $500 to Stock Eliminator and Super Stock drivers who advanced the furthest behind the wheel of a Mopar-powered Dodge, Chrysler, or Plymouth race car at all 24 NHRA national events during the 2018 season. More than 30 different NHRA Sportsman claimed Dodge Top Finisher honors during the year.

Johnson, Schumacher Take Runner-up Spots at Season-ending NHRA Finals

Pomona, CA – Tommy Johnson Jr. and Tony Schumacher raced Mopar Dodge//SRT to runner-up finishes in Funny Car and Top Fuel, respectively, at the season-ending 54th Annual NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, California, on November 11, 2018.

Mopar Dodge//SRT Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) drivers finished the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season with 11 total wins in the NHRA Nitro classes — eight in Funny Car and three in Top Fuel.

Johnson, coming off three consecutive No. 1 spots, started third after holding the provisional pole and earning 14 bonus points during qualifying. The two-time defending event champion at the season-ending Pomona race posted a 3.905-second elapsed time (ET) at 327.59 mph in his Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car, second quickest of the first round, to beat Cruz Pedregon. Johnson survived a scare in the second round against Courtney Force when his engine initially would not fire up, but once his Mopar HEMI® engine turned over, it lit up the board with a winning 3.913-second ET that was quickest of the round.

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DSR Pomona II Post-Race Recap – by the Numbers

Pomona, CA – DSR Pomona II Elimination Highlights:

Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel) and Tommy Johnson Jr. (Funny Car) race to runner-up finishes at the final event of the 2018 season
Schumacher visited the final round for the 153rd time in his career
Schumacher closes out a nearly 20-year partnership with the U.S. Army ranked second in the Top Fuel standings
Johnson moved to third in the standings and as the highest ranking DSR Funny Car driver, earns a Dodge Charger Hellcat to drive for a year
Leah Pritchett (Top Fuel) and Ron Capps (Funny Car) also finish ranked in the top five

Driver Information:

Top Fuel:

ANTRON BROWN
Driver of the Matco Tools Maximus 3.0/U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster

Qualified: No. 6 (3.704 E.T. at 329.50 MPH)

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TODD DRIVES CAMRY TO VICTORY IN POMONA; CAPTURES NHRA FUNNY CAR TITLE

POMONA, CA  –Camry driver J.R. Todd defeated Tommy Johnson in the Funny Car final in winning the Auto Club NHRA Finals Sunday to culminate a championship-winning performance at the Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, Sunday. He had clinched his first Funny Car championship in the opening round today.

Todd defeated Jim Campbell and Bob Tasca in the first two rounds before dispatching Ron Capps in the semifinals to set up his final round match-up with Johnson.  In the final, he had a .006 advantage at the tree and never trailed as he registered the quickest time of the day with a 3.872-scond pass with a final margin of victory of .023 seconds or approximately 11 feet.

“The DHL Toyota guys are great at what they do,” said Todd, who became the first African-American driver to win a Funny Car championship and just the second African-American driver ever to win a major U.S. auto racing title. “Todd Smith and Jon Oberhofer really have a handle on the tune-up. They were almost calling their shots today. When we ran the .889 in the semis, they said they were shooting for a .90, so they overachieved a little there. In the finals, I had it way out of the groove, driving like an idiot. I thought for sure I was going to smoke the tires. Then the win light came on and I thought to myself, ‘you’ve got to be kidding me’ and then to see that we ran a .87. That was a big-time run. They just have a really good handle on the car, racing smart. The Yella Fellas just do a great job of preparing our Camry. They definitely stayed focused with a lot of distractions around our pit area.”

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Quickest and fastest run of race day foils Scott Palmer’s dreams of a Pomona win

POMONA, CA – After posting a career-best pass of 3.726 seconds at 326.95 mph during qualifying for Sunday’s 54th annual Auto Club NHRA Finals, Scott Palmer was dreaming big heading into race day. Unfortunately, his first-round opponent was eight-time world champion Tony Schumacher, who ran his best pass of the meet and the quickest and fastest pass of race day to squash Palmer’s hopes.

“Running like we did yesterday does two things,” Palmer said. “It forces whoever you are racing to try extra hard because they know you have a super-fast car, so they either pull off a pass like Tony just did, or it goes the other way and they smoke the tires like (No. 1 qualifier) Leah Pritchett did because they’re trying too hard. Tony could have just as easily done that but credit to him, they kept it together.”

After similar launches, Palmer and Schumacher stayed side-by-side for a moment before the Army car began inching away from Palmer’s CatSpot Organic Cat Litter Top Fuel dragster. At the top end, Schumacher took the win with a 3.694 at 332.34 mph to Palmer’s 3.736 at 327.27 mph.

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Almost a Fairy Tale Ending for U.S. Army Era

Schumacher Comes Up Just Short in Final-Round Showdown at Pomona;  Pritchett, Brown Help Bring 18 Full Seasons of Army Racing to a Close

Pomona, CA – It was almost a miracle finish for the U.S. Army’s 18 full seasons in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Sunday when Tony “The Sarge” Schumacher came up just short in a final-round showdown with newly crowned Top Fuel world champion Steve Torrence to close this weekend’s Auto Club NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, California.

The Army’s partnership with Schumacher and his U.S. Army Dragster team for Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) started with a victory at the 2000 U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis and, on Veterans Day 2018, it came just half of a car length within closing on a winning note.

After racing past Scott Palmer, Bill Litton and Clay Millican in today’s opening three elimination rounds, Schumacher had a chance to not only finish the season and the Army era with an event title, but bring an end to Torrence’s unblemished record through this season’s six-event Countdown to the Championship playoffs. Torrence had swept the first five playoff events, clinching his first career world title at the penultimate event two weekends ago in Las Vegas, and had added another three round wins today to make it a record 23 consecutive round wins in playoff competition. The Texan kept his record perfect with a stellar .029-of-a-second reaction time off the starting line to Schumacher’s solid .053 of a second, and he beat the eight-time-champion Schumacher to the finish line despite The Sarge’s better run of 3.700 seconds at 331.61 mph to Torrence’s 3.702 seconds at 330.07 mph.

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