Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) teammates Matt Hagan and Leah Pritchett powered their Pennzoil Dodge//SRT Mopar machines to semifinal finishes in Funny Car and Top Fuel, respectively, at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway.
Starting from the sixth position, Pennzoil Mopar Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT Funny Car driver Hagan finished second out of four drivers in the opening round of the unique “four-wide” racing format to advance deeper in eliminations on the strength of a 3.953 second elapsed time (ET) at 325.14 mph, his quickest pass of the weekend. In the next four-driver pairing, Hagan posted the quickest pass to continue on to the final four.
Hagan, the 2013 winner at Charlotte, matched up with Force, Robert Hight and Shawn Langdon in the final foursome of the day. Chasing his second win of the season, the two-time Funny Car World Champion smoked the tires early and was forced to settle for a semifinals finish, with Langdon taking the event win. Hagan remains second in the Funny Car point standings.
Pritchett was hoping to end the day at zMAX Dragway with her first Four-Wide Wally trophy, but a loss of traction in the final round dashed her hopes at her first triumph of the year.
Pritchett and her Pennzoil Mopar Dodge team posted the third-best run of the final qualifying session to secure a spot in the top half of the field. In round one, Pritchett led her four with a solid 3.775 E.T. In the second elimination session, a blower belt caused the seven-time Top Fuel winner to slow to a 3.947 but it was enough to earn a spot in the final elimination four where she eventually fell to reigning Top Fuel world champ Steve Torrence and Clay Millican, recording a semifinal finish.
“Fast Jack” Beckman looked to be on a bee-line to the winner’s circle in the early going on Sunday at zMAX Dragway in his Mopar-powered Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT Funny Car. After banking five total bonus points en route to the second qualifying spot, DSR driver Beckman was quickest in his first foursome grouping in eliminations, clocking a 3.925 ET at 324.83 mph to advance.
Unfortunately, the 2012 Funny Car World Champion’s run ended in round two, thanks to a dropped cylinder that forced Beckman to pedal his car to a losing 7.194 ET finish. Beckman’s performance moved him up in the Funny Car standings, where he now sits tied for fourth.
Tommy Johnson Jr. entered the weekend seeking his first zMAX Dragway win and qualified the Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT in fourth with a 3.978 E.T., the quickest of the first round, to score the victory over his competition. In round two, Johnson found himself stacked against three former world champions. His machine was on a good pass before hazing the tires just past half-track, allowing his lane four opponent to pull ahead and nab the win, ending Johnson’s day.
As the number ten qualifier, NAPA Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT Funny Car driver Ron Capps faced tough competition in his round-one elimination four, which included teammate Jack Beckman, Tim Wilkerson, and Dave Richards. Capps stood on the gas and his machine lost traction shortly after, slowing to a 5.172-second pass which wasn’t enough to set off the win light.
In NHRA Factory Stock Showdown competition, defending class champion Pritchett, once again pulling double duty in her Top Fuel and Factory Stock Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak machines at Charlotte, qualified in the ninth position. Pritchett left first in the opening round with a stellar .011 reaction time in her Drag Pak and maintained the lead at the half-track before opponent Bill Skillman was able to get past and beat her 7.945/173.21 run to nudge out Pritchett by three feet for the win.
NHRA Funny Car Points Standings:
1. Robert Hight (3) – 582
2. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT (1) – 440
3. John Force – 417
4t. J.R. Todd (1) – 394
4t. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT – 394
6. Tommy Johnson, Jr., Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT – 371
7. Tim Wilkerson – 339
8. Shawn Langdon (1) – 338
9. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT – 318
10. Bob Tasca III – 282
NHRA Top Fuel Points Standings:
1. Steve Torrence (1) – 460
2. Doug Kalitta (1) – 426
3. Clay Millican – 394
4. Mike Salinas (1) – 384
5. Brittany Force (1) – 382
6. Leah Pritchett, Mopar HEMI – 378
7. Antron Brown – 317
8. Terry McMillen – 309
9. Richie Crampton (1) – 296
10. Billy Torrence (1) – 265