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DSR Heads to Texas looking to round up a few championships

Langdon eyes Texas FallNationals event title for jump in Countdown points with Red Fuel team near Dallas

BROWNSBURG, IN – At the halfway point in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Countdown to the DSRChampionship playoff, Shawn Langdon and the Sandvik Coromant/Red Fuel Powered by Schumacher dragster are seventh in points, less than four rounds out of the top-three alongside Don Schumacher Racing teammates Antron Brown and Tony Schumacher.

Shawn is focused on adding another win to his 10 career NHRA Top Fuel titles before the season’s end in November and getting one for primary sponsor Sandvik Coromant this weekend would be an added bonus.

“A win would do a lot for us right now,” Shawn said. “It would probably mean a jump in the standings that are so tight right now from third through 10th and coming over here to DSR, I would really like to get a win with this team before the season is over. That’s the ultimate goal and it would mean a lot to me to be able to get a win here for all the folks at Sandvik. It’s the last race with them on as primary sponsor for this year and they have a lot of guests coming out so we’d love to show them into the winner’s circle.”

The FallNationals at the Texas Motorplex near Dallas is host to the fourth of six playoff races and Shawn would like to earn his first career win at the facility.

The series took last weekend off after three consecutive weekends of racing where the Red Fuel team led by crew chiefs Todd Okuhara and Phil Shuler had an opening round loss and two quarterfinal finishes.

“We’re getting better with each run,” Shawn said. “Reading was just an incredibly tricky race for crew chiefs. It was cold and conditions that we rarely see and we won’t have to worry about that this weekend. It’s going to be warm in Texas and we’re ready to get back to conditions that we typically see and go out and see what we can do with this Sandvik dragster.”

Friday qualifying for the FallNationals begins at 3:30 and 6:30 p.m. (CT) before final qualifying on Saturday that leads to championship eliminations on Sunday.

Brown not looking too far ahead as Matco Tools team delivers red-hot pink Top Fueler to Dallas on record three-race win streak

– As a standout collegiate sprinter, Antron Brown never looked to the runners in lanes next to him. His mental blinders would keep him focused 100 percent on the reaching the finish line as quickly as possible.

That is the 2012 NHRA Top Fuel world champion’s approach to this weekend’s NHRA FallNationals at the Texas Motorplex near Dallas, and it will be for the following two races in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship playoff.

What the Matco Tools’ “Tools for the Cause” Top Fuel dragster team has accomplished through 21 events this year is out of the minds of Antron, crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald with assistant Brad Mason and the Matco crew.

Antron’s has a career-best seven event wins this year that has moved his career total to 54 including 38 in Top Fuel since joining the category in 2008. Don Schumacher Racing’s Matco team set the Top Fuel elapsed time record of 3.680 seconds in August at Brainerd, Minn., when it also produced its first 330-mph run. The team takes a 44-14 record in eliminations to Dallas where he won his first NHRA Wally trophy in 1999 while competing in the Pro Stock Motorcycle category.

The Matco team won two weeks ago near Reading, Pa., to become the first nitro team in the nine-year history of the six-race playoff to win the first three Countdown titles and arrives at the Motorplex with a 94-point lead over Don Schumacher Racing teammate Tony Schumacher.

“It was huge for us to get that win there,” he said of the track near his hometown of Chesterfield, N.J., where he won for the first time. “You know, this year has been kind of crazy because we’ve been winning at the tracks that we normally don’t win at. Our team is just in that element right now where we’ve got that full mindset of focus where we’ve been hungry all year long, and we’ve been in attack mode. We’ve been attacking every race.

“What we tend to do is just focus on the things that are right in front of us.

“You’re only going to be as good as what you’ve prepared yourself to be. There’s no magic switch to switch on. There’s no extra adrenaline to kick up here. You’ve got to go in there already ready like you’ve been practicing all year for this, and that’s what our team has been doing.

“The higher stakes, if you’ve prepared yourself for it, you’re able to handle and adapt to it a lot quicker and better. We go out there and do what we know how to do and prepare for it before it comes.”

He has added motivation this weekend to race all four rounds on Sunday to bring more attention to his pink Matco Tools’ “Tools for the Cause” dragster to further awareness for Breast Cancer Awareness month and Matco’s program to raise funds for the Susan G. Komen foundation. His rail is adorned with the names of 262 people submitted by Matco Tools distributors, employees and field personnel affected by breast cancer.

“My mother-in-law is a breast cancer survivor, so this cause is very close to my family. I am so honored to take the names of 262 fighters down the track with me this month.”

Hagan looking for Texas-sized performance during NHRA FallNationals near Dallas with special Pennzoil Funny Car

– The old adage that everything is bigger in Texas will be true for Matt Hagan and the Pennzoil/Mopar/Rocky Boots team at this weekend’s NHRA FallNationals at the Texas Motorplex near Dallas.

The team led by crew chief Dickie Venables with assistant Michael Knudsen know a big performance will be key to winning to back-to-back championships in the six-race Countdown to the Championship playoff.

An added bonus is Matt and the team will be flying the renown yellow colors of Pennzoil as primary sponsor on the 10,000-horsepower Dodge Charger R/T this weekend. Don Schumacher Racing announced that DSR made the switch to Pennzoil earlier this season.

“Having Pennzoil on board is huge,” Matt said. “They’ve been so hands-on all season long helping out our crew chiefs and really concentrating on performance and what they can do to help us. So to give back to all of the folks from Pennzoil with a win would just be incredible.”

This weekend’s event at the Motorplex is the fourth stop in the Countdown and the Pennzoil team is ranked third in Funny Car points standings, four-and-a-half rounds of racing behind leader Del Worsham.

Matt is putting the past three NHRA Mello Yello series races in the rearview mirror and taking it one round at a time.

“We can’t change what’s in the past so moving forward we just have to take it one round at a time. I have confidence in Dickie (Venables) and he has confidence in this team to get their jobs done and in me to get my job done. We just have to go out there and do it. We’re ready. We don’t want to sit and think about it any longer, we just want to go out and do it.”

Capps, NAPA ready to keep climbing NHRA points near Dallas

– Ron Capps and the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car team face a crucial visit this weekend to the Texas Motorplex near Dallas.

The NHRA FallNationals that begins Friday is the fourth of six events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Countdown to the Championship playoff and Ron knows his team led by crew chief Rahn Tobler is ready to make another move up the standings.

The NAPA team qualified second at the last Mello Yello event two weeks ago near Reading, Pa., and advanced to the semifinals to move from sixth to fifth in the championship standings and cut Del Worsham’s points lead to 105 points, about five rounds.

While that is a large deficit, Ron believes his NAPA team can chip away at it and get his first NHRA world championship.

“This is drag racing and anything can happen,” he said. “We know we have a good NAPA Dodge and that showed with our performances at the last two races.”

Ron’s run three weeks ago near St. Louis was his career best of 3.937 seconds and top speed at 327.19 mph. Two weeks ago near Reading, Pa., the NAPA team qualified second and produced its best time of the weekend at 3.969.

After using his driving experience to feather the throttle to overcome briefly losing traction to win in the first round, he used a 3.969 to advance to the semifinals for the third time this year. But his day was ended when Don Schumacher Racing teammate Jack Beckman unloaded an NHRA record 3.897 en route to winning the event title at Maple Grove Raceway.

“That was a heck of a run by Jack and no one was going to beat him,” said Ron, who has won twice in five championship rounds this year.

“This NAPA team will never give up. There are 150 points we can win at each of the last three races and we’re just focusing on this weekend at the Motorplex,” he said of where he won in 1998 and was runner-up in 2011.

Ron’s visit to Dallas begins Thursday night with a special dinner hosted by Bob Gant, NAPA Dallas Distribution Center president and general manager, for the NAPA team and several key NAPA customers and employees.

“Bob is one of our biggest supporters and comes to a lot of races,” Ron said. “The forecast this weekend is for it to be in the 80s so I’m sure he’ll be wearing shorts.”

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