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DSR Charlotte II Pre-Race Report – by the Numbers

Concord, NC – Noteworthy:

Following her Factory Stock Showdown Series title clinch at the previous event, Leah Pritchett will attempt to make NHRA history by becoming the first woman to secure titles in two different categories within the same season as she works towards a Top Fuel championship
Most recent Funny Car No. 1 qualifier Tommy Johnson Jr. has raced to the semifinals or better at six of the last seven events
Antron Brown leads the Top Fuel class in most victories (five) at zMAX Dragway:Spring: 2014, 2015
Fall: 2011, 2015, 2016
Since the Fall event’s commencement in 2008, DSR’s current roster of drivers have earned nine wins in the past 10 years
DSR Driver Information:

Top Fuel:

ANTRON BROWN
Driver of the Matco Tools ‘Tools for the Cause’/U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster


Countdown to the Championship Ranking: No. 5

Charlotte II Event Highlights: Three-time event champion (2011, 2015, 2016)
2008 runner-up
2017 Charlotte II Recap:
Qualified fourth; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Terry McMillen in E1; defeated by Clay Millican in E2)

Last event (Dallas):
Qualified eleventh; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Doug Kalitta in E1; defeated by Tony Schumacher in E2)

2018 Season Statistics:
26 round wins; ranked fifth in points

Career Statistics:
403 races; 66 wins (16 Pro Stock Motorcycle); 49 No. 1 qualifiers (11 PSM)

Noteworthy:Leads the class in most victories (five) at zMAX Dragway:Spring: 2014, 2015
Fall: 2011, 2015, 2016
With his pink car, promoting the Matco Tools ‘Tools for the Cause’ campaign in which 15% of the purchase price of ‘Tools for the Cause’ merchandise will be donated directly to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.Since ‘Tools for the Cause’ began in 2012, Matco has donated over $828,000 to breast cancer research

Quotable:
“The key in Charlotte will be to start off strong in the first round of qualifying. That’s what sets up the whole race weekend. If you start off with a good first-round qualifying run, then you can build off that and get better every run. For us, we’ve been missing that. If you start up behind the eight ball, then you go out Friday night and you can’t do what you want to do. You can’t cue it up and go for that number one spot, you’re forced to focus on just getting a good quality run that can put you in the top half of the field. If you can get that quality run in the first round, then the whole team can get in sync moving forward instead of playing catch-up and that’s what wins you races like we did in Seattle.”

LEAH PRITCHETT
Driver of the Papa John’s Pizza/FireAde Top Fuel Dragster
Countdown to the Championship Ranking: No. 4

2017 Charlotte II Recap:
Qualified third; First round exit (defeated by Wayne Newby in E1)

Last event (Dallas):
Qualified ninth; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Kebin Kinsley in E1; defeated by Clay Millican in E2)

2018 Season Statistics:
29 round wins; ranked fourth in points

Career Statistics:
115 races; seven wins; ten No. 1 qualifiers

Noteworthy:Following her Factory Stock Showdown Series title clinch at the previous event, Pritchett will attempt to make NHRA history by becoming the first woman to secure titles in two different categories within the same season as she works towards a Top Fuel championship

Quotable:
“Perspective is everything. The opportunity to be in contention for two world championships at the same time during crunch time is a limited rare segment in life that I will never forget, always cherish, and most importantly, take note of everything that took place leading up to it with both teams. It feels so incredibly great for the Factory Stock Showdown team and Mopar, but you have to check it because we are not done yet. I’d like to think I did a good job of balancing the two teams throughout the year. Even with the Factory Stock championship holding weight at one race, I didn’t feel it was any heavier or took away from Top Fuel because each one of these Countdown races carry championship-caliber weight.

“We are physically halfway through the Countdown, but not technically, given Pomona allocating points-and-a-half. We know the competition on both sides of our standings is strong, but I know my Papa John’s Pizza/FireAde team is steadfast on elevating our performance. I hear and see the changes, upgrades, and strategy, which is why I know although it’s a tough feat, we’re definitely not counting ourselves out, and neither should anyone else. As long as there is a chance, there is a way, and we will endlessly pursue it. It is incredible to have one championship locked up, but that momentum is not stopping there. It is just impeccable timing for it to jump tracks and infuse itself into TF4. I can say that because it is not lack of brain power, effort, or execution, but instead unique scenarios that have held us back, and with us dotting our I’s and crossing our T’s harder than ever, we undoubtedly have a shot. Todd (Okuhara, crew chief) and Joe (Barlam, assistant crew chief) are championship leaders and I am looking forward to the power we can put down this weekend, and tunnel-visioning my focus solely on this team.”

TONY SCHUMACHER
Driver of the U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster

Countdown to the Championship Ranking: No. 3

Charlotte II Event Highlights: Two-time event champion (2008, 2014)
Two-time runner-up (2012, 2013)
2011 No. 1 qualifier

2017 Charlotte II Recap:
Qualified ninth; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Shawn Langdon in E1; defeated by Doug Kalitta in E2)

Last event (Dallas):
Qualified third; Semifinal finish (defeated Shawn Reed in E1, Antron Brown in E2; defeated by Steve Torrence in E3)

2018 Season Statistics:
29 round wins; ranked third in points

Career Statistics:
501 races; 84 wins; 87 No. 1 qualifiers

Quotable:
“We certainly had visions of being in a different position coming into Charlotte and the second half of the Countdown. I’ve been fortunate in my career to be part of some incredibly big moments and an incredible comeback. We are down to 12 rounds and realistically, all we can do is go win this weekend. I really feel like we have figured out two dramatic issues with our U.S. Army car, and that should enable us to run at the level we need to run. We may have figured them out too late to win the championship, but I know this team will go out and make those guys ahead of us earn everything they get.

“Charlotte will always have a special place for me. Winning that first race back in 2008 and passing Joe Amato for the most wins in Top Fuel. At the time you are just thinking about winning, but later on you kind of look back and see just how important those milestones are. We sure would like to get another win for the U.S. Army there this weekend.”

Funny Car:
JACK BECKMAN

Driver of the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
Countdown to the Championship Ranking: No. 8

Charlotte II Event Highlights: 2008 winner
2010 runner-up
2017 Charlotte II Recap:
Qualified fourth; First round exit (defeated by Jim Campbell in E1)

Last event (Dallas):
Qualified fifth; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Courtney Force in E1; defeated by J.R. Todd in E2)

2018 Season Statistics:
25 round wins; ranked eighth in points

Career Statistics:
297 races; 28 wins; 24 No. 1 qualifiers

Quotable:
“Heading into Charlotte which will be the fourth of six races in the Countdown and represents only three races left in the season, I think realistically, the goal for our Infinite Hero team is race wins. I think our second-round loss at Dallas was probably our last shot at winning a championship this year. The ladder lined up the way that way we needed it to, we’ve just been struggling to keep all eight cylinders lit to the finish line. Silver lining in the cloud, we spent some extra time looking at the data and we feel like we have the fastest race car for the first part of the track, we just have to figure out how to get all of the way to the finish line at full power. I think once we do that, we’ll be standing in the winner’s circle on Sunday.”

RON CAPPS
Driver of the NAPA NIGHTVISION Lamps Dodge Charger R/T

Countdown to the Championship Ranking: No. 6

Charlotte II Event Highlights: 2012 event champion

2017 Charlotte II Recap:
Qualified tenth; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Tim Wilkerson in E1; defeated by J.R. Todd in E2)

Last event (Dallas):
Qualified seventh; First round exit (defeated by John Force in E1)

2018 Season Statistics:
29 round wins; ranked sixth in points

Career Statistics:
528 races; 60 wins (one Top Fuel); 21 No. 1 qualifiers

Noteworthy:Piloting a special one-race-only NAPA NIGHTVISION Lamps scheme in conjunction with NAPA AUTO PARTS’ NAPA NIGHTVISION Lamp Program, a month-long promotional campaign which offers customers NAPA’s newest premium product line at a discounted price while benefitting the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund (IFHF).Customers can save up to ten dollars per pair of lamps
For every pair sold, a donation will be made to IFHF

Quotable:
“Well here we are starting the second half of the Countdown to the Championship. The most common thing you hear drivers talk about at the beginning of the Countdown is how good and consistent you need to be in these last six races. We have dug ourselves a little bit of a hole and we have a lot of ground to make up. The way we’re approaching this is to go win the next three races, because if we win the next three races that means that somebody else can’t. We obviously need some teams ahead of us to stumble a little bit, and if they do we’re going to be right there to take advantage. Unfortunately, we lost a close opening round last weekend in Dallas and our day was done, as well as any chance of reining in more points for the Countdown that day. But as (crew chief) Rahn Tobler and our NAPA AutoCare team and I discussed last night, we are more than capable of winning the next three races, and with the season-ending race in Pomona awarding points-and-a-half, we need to be within striking distance by the time we get there.

“The greatest thing about this weekend at zMAX, is us running the NAPA NIGHTVISION Lamps special edition paint scheme, and our NAPA team has had great success with special edition cars in the past. I’m excited about spreading the word about NAPA NIGHTVISION Lamps, and helping families be safer on the roads at night, but I’m most excited about getting to Charlotte and getting together with my team to overcome a little adversity in the points and make a run for the 2018 NHRA championship.”

MATT HAGAN
Driver of the Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

Countdown to the Championship Ranking: No. 7

Charlotte II Event Highlights: Two-time event champion (2011, 2014)
Two-time runner-up (2009, 2013)
2011 No. 1 qualifier

2017 Charlotte II Recap:
Qualified eleventh; First round exit (defeated by Robert Hight in E1)

Last event (Dallas):
Qualified fifteenth; First round exit (defeated by Bob Tasca III in E1)

2018 Season Statistics:
27 round wins; ranked seventh in points

Career Statistics:
237 races; 29 wins; 34 No. 1 qualifiers

Quotable:
“Obviously it hasn’t been the Countdown we had hoped for with three first round losses, but we’re looking at things positively. I’m not a very negative person so I always try to look at the bright side of things and realize that we’re changing over combinations and we’re working on some new things and those will take time, and effort and energy to grow. We have a great support team at Don Schumacher Racing with the braintrust of crew chiefs so it does build confidence that we’re going to have the opportunity to turn on some win lights and win a Wally or two during these next three races. We want to finish the year as strong as we can. No matter what, you’re not going to derail this train and we’ve just got to keep working hard. We’ll keep our heads up, keep digging. The goal is to get this new Hellcat body in the winner’s circle before the year is over. I’m hoping Charlotte will show us a little bit of love this weekend and we’ll do big things.”

TOMMY JOHNSON JR.
Driver of the Make-A-Wish Foundation Dodge Charger R/T

Countdown to the Championship Ranking: No. 4

Charlotte II Event Highlights:Two-time runner-up (2015, 2016)
Two-time No. 1 qualifier (2015, 2016)

2017 Charlotte II Recap:
Qualified third; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Dave Richards in E1; defeated by Robert Hight in E2)

Last event (Dallas):
Qualified No. 1; Semifinal finish (defeated Terry Haddock in E1, Cruz Pedregon in E2; defeated by J.R. Todd in E3)

2018 Season Statistics:
25 round wins; ranked fourth in points

Career Statistics:
442 races; 17 wins (two Top Fuel); 15 No. 1 qualifiers (one Top Fuel)

Noteworthy:Has raced to the semifinals or better at six of the last seven events
Coming off of a No. 1 qualifier at the previous event in Dallas

Quotable:
“I’m excited for Charlotte after coming off of a No. 1 qualifier last race and another semifinal appearance. We just continue to be strong and go rounds. We need to just pick it up one notch. Charlotte’s been good to us in the past in the Countdown, so if we can get to the finals and maybe have a little luck with a couple of guys in front of us going out, we can make up some ground where we’re really in the running for the championship. We’ve still got a good shot at it so we need to focus on maintaining that.”

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