Dodge//SRT Mopar Drivers and Teams Fueled for Championship Push at Dodge NHRA Nationals
AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Oct. 30, 2019 /PRNewswire/ --
The 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Funny Car championship is going to come down to the outcome of the final two events of the season. Dodge//SRT Mopar drivers Matt Hagan, Jack Beckman and Ron Capps, all former Funny Car world champions, can enhance their chances of lifting the championship hardware again by hitting the jackpot in the Dodge NHRA Nationals Powered by Pennzoil at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend, Nov. 1-3, 2019.
The Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) trio ranks fourth, second and sixth, respectively, in the standings and each has a previous championship run in the past six seasons. A victory in the Dodge NHRA Nationals bodes well from a historical perspective also, with two of the previous three Funny Car champions clocking wins at the fall stop in Las Vegas. The success of the HEMI®-powered Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Cars in 2019, nine wins and 18 total final appearances, as well as in the Countdown, two wins and a runner-up, enhances their odds of tightening the points chase.
DSR’s Leah Pritchett remains alive in her quest for her first Top Fuel world championship. She ranks fifth in the standings and is 104 points out of first. A first Las Vegas triumph, along with early exits by the point leaders, would likely cut that margin in half and increase her shot at the title.
Closing the points gap in Las Vegas is important for the Dodge//SRT Mopar drivers. The final race of the 2019 NHRA season, the Auto Club NHRA Finals in Pomona, California, on Nov. 14-17, pays 1.5 times the points of the other races in the Countdown.
The Countdown started slow for two-time Funny Car champion Hagan, with second- and first-round defeats in Reading and St. Louis. Crew Chief Dickie Venables got things turned around on the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody Funny Car in Charlotte as Hagan made a run to the semifinals, then picked up his third win of 2019 in the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals at Texas Motorplex in the most recent event. His 32nd career Funny Car triumph was the result of consistency on race day as Hagan posted runs in the 3.90-second range throughout the day to score the first-ever victory in a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody Funny Car.
Winning in the Countdown has been a key to securing the championship. In five of the previous six Countdowns, the champion has won at least one race. In four of those years, the eventual champion picked up three or more wins. Hagan won three times during his title march in 2014, and he may have to duplicate that run in order to erase the 112-point deficit he currently faces.
Beckman, the 2012 Funny Car champion, opened the Countdown with an impressive victory at the Mopar Express Lane NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway near Reading, Pennsylvania. The Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car was locked down en route to his 29th career triumph and first of the season after reaching five previous finals. After a tough first-round loss in St. Louis, Beckman and his DSR team bounced back in Charlotte earning the No. 1 qualifier position and advancing the final.
Through four races in the 2019 Countdown, Beckman has matched the final-round stats recorded during his 2012 championship campaign. Scoring another win and a runner-up would greatly increase his chances as he trails Robert Hight by 60 points heading into Las Vegas.
Capps, the 2016 champion, opened his quest for a second title with a new track record and the No. 1 qualifier in Reading. He advanced to the semifinals in the first race and then again in Charlotte, but he lost a tough first-round battle with Beckman in Dallas, which has him 135 points out of first. The best case scenario for Capps is to continue this year’s Countdown trend and become the fifth different winner in five races and also have the drivers in front of him stumble.
Despite being 194 points out of first, Tommy Johnson, Jr. doesn’t mind his longshot odds. After having the best regular season of his career that included a pair of wins behind the wheel of the Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car, the Countdown has been a struggle. He has scored only two round wins in the first four events, but going his way are his recent late-season heroics. Coming on strong late seems to be part of his DNA as evidenced by concluding 2015 with a pair of runner-ups and winning the 2016 and 2017 season finales.
Fox Sports 1 will air coverage of qualifying Friday evening from 7 - 8:30 p.m. Eastern. The network will broadcast coverage of eliminations Sunday from 4-7 p.m. Eastern.
Higher Education at 300 mph: Mopar CAP Students to Visit Dodge NHRA Nationals
For the fourth NHRA national event in 2019, education will take center stage with the Mopar Career Automotive Program (CAP) “Assemble Your Future” initiative and the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Youth & Education Services (YES) program.
Mopar Career Automotive Program (CAP), through a partnership with Pennzoil, will host next-generation service technician students at The Strip at Las Vegas Friday, Nov. 1, as part of the “Assemble Your Future” initiative. More than 30 students from ATI’s Automotive Training Technician program are expected to attend and have the opportunity to interact with area FCA US dealership representatives and get an inside look at the NHRA, visiting with Hagan and Pritchett and touring the DSR pit areas.
Established in 1984, the program prepares students to begin their automotive technician careers upon graduation from a certified, two-year training institution, such as a university, college, community college or technical center. Currently, FCA has more than 9,000 active students enrolled in its Mopar CAP program, with students completing more than 100,000 class courses. There are an estimated 750,000 auto technicians working nationally, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Across the industry, another 46,000 will need to be hired between 2019 and 2026 to meet increased demand.
The program included similar Mopar CAP “Assemble Your Future” initiative programs at NHRA national events in 2019 in Houston, Denver and Reading. For more information on the Mopar CAP program, visit www.MoparCAP.com.
As part of the NHRA YES initiative, more than 2,000 local Las Vegas high school students are scheduled to hear from Dodge//SRT Mopar driver Hagan, who will focus on the importance of math, science and other skills that can lead to new career opportunities.
Dodge Garage: Digital Hub for Drag Racing News
Fans can follow NHRA’s Countdown to the Championship at Dodge Garage, the one-stop portal for Dodge//SRT and Mopar drag racing news. The site includes daily updates and access to an online racing HQ, news, events, galleries, available downloads and merchandise.
@DodgeMoparMotorsports on Instagram
The @DodgeMoparMotorsports Instagram channel will share content capturing Dodge//SRT Mopar drivers in action in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, NHRA Sportsman grassroots racers competing in classes such as Factory Stock Showdown, Stock and Super Stock, as well as additional motorsports series.
Dodge//SRT offers a complete lineup of performance vehicles that stand out in their own segments. Dodge is America’s 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. For 2020, Dodge literally expands its high-performance Charger model lineup, adding a Widebody exterior to America’s only four-door muscle car. Powered by the 707-horsepower supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI® Hellcat V-8 engine, the 2020 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat maintains its reign as the most powerful and fastest mass-produced sedan in the world.
The 2019 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, and the Challenger R/T Scat Pack Widebody, featuring fender flares from the SRT Hellcat Widebody, which add 3.5 inches of width to the 485-horsepower Scat Pack’s standard body. Also new for 2019 is the Challenger R/T Scat Pak 1320 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., completes the brand’s 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.
Follow Dodge, SRT and FCA US news and video on:
Company blog: http://blog.fcanorthamerica.com
Media website: http://media.fcanorthamerica.com
Dodge brand: www.dodge.com
Dodge Garage: www.dodgegarage.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/dodge or https://www.facebook.com/FiatChrysler.NorthAmerica/
Instagram: www.instagram.com/dodgemoparmotorsports, www.instagram.com/dodgeofficial or www.instagram.com/FiatChrysler_NA
Twitter: www.twitter.com/dodge or www.twitter.com/FiatChrysler_NA
YouTube: www.youtube.com/dodge or www.youtube.com/fcanorthamerica
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.