The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series heads to Pacific Raceways in Kent, Washington this weekend, for the 2019 NHRA Magic Dry Organic Absorbent Northwest Nationals. The event marks the 16th event of the season, and Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) driver Ron Capps returns as the defending champion of this event from last year.
So let’s take a look at the DSR teams, as they are ready for the third event of the “western swing”…
LEAH PRITCHETT – Driver of the Sparkling Ice +Caffeine Top Fuel Dragster
Pritchett is still looking for her first win of the 2019 season and this weekend’s race might be a great chance for her to get the win. She did go to the finals last year but came up short against the Toyota-powered DSR Top Fuel Dragster of her teammate Anton Brown. Leah will also be on-site at the Covington Safeway (17023 SE 272nd St, Covington, WA 98042), today, July 31, from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. PT, meeting up with fans. Currently, Leah is seventh in the Top Fuel points standings.
“The guys have done a phenomenal job. We have a great race car, and we won’t let early exits in Denver and Sonoma get us down. They don’t call it ‘the Swing’ for nothing. We would love nothing more than to end it on a high note in Seattle. This week, we’ve been dedicated to figuring out our race day issues via engineering. We’ll be back on the track this weekend with new colors, new luck, and a new clutch package.” – Leah Pritchett
JACK BECKMAN – Driver of the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT
“Fast Jack” Beckman, comes to Pacific Raceways sitting fourth in the point standings. Beckman has had success at this race before, taking home the Wally in 2007 and being the runner-up in 2011. Last year, the Infinite Hero Foundation team went out in the first round of eliminations against Shawn Langdon. The team qualified third last week in Sonoma and went to the quarterfinals before losing to teammate Matt Hagan.
“At this point, I think everyone on the Infinite Hero team would agree our single-minded goal is just to get a trophy. Winning requires a series of things – a good game plan, and a good execution. I have to drive well, (crew chiefs Dean) ‘Guido’ (Antonelli) and John (Medlen) have to tune well, the crew has to service the car well and then that intangible, sometimes you just have to have a bit of racing luck. I think we’ve been good, and we’ve been ready to win a race, but we just haven’t had much racing luck lately. You can never count on that, so we’re just going to go back to proper execution, and the chips are going to fall where they may, but I hope we end up with the trophy in Seattle.” – Jack Beckman
RON CAPPS – Driver of the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT
Ron Capps returns to the track he has had a huge amount of success throughout his career. He has won four times at Pacifica Raceway, once in Top Fuel and three times in Funny Car. He has also been a four-time runner-up at this event, so saying there is a good chance that Capps and his NAPA Auto Parts team will be in the finals, is more of an understatement. He currently is fifth in the Funny Car points standings.
“It’s disappointing not winning at Denver and Sonoma, but we’re returning to Seattle as the defending event champions. I’ve been going to Seattle for a long time, dating back to when I was a crew member with Blaine and Alan Johnson and Jim Rizzoli on a Top Alcohol Dragster. My first professional win ever was at Seattle in 1995 when I was in Top Fuel, and it holds so many great memories. We always kick-off the race with a busy week with the NAPA folks. We fly into Portland on Wednesday and do an event Wednesday night with the NAPA Oregonians and then a great cruise through Lake Washington and Puget Sound on Thursday night with a few hundred Washington NAPA friends.
“Pacific Raceways is a fun track. It’s a throwback and sees very competitive racing. We’re hoping to finish strong on the Western Swing with a win at Seattle. We’ll unload Friday at Seattle and go for the pole.” – Ron Capps
MATT HAGAN – Driver of the Sandvik Coromant Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT Widebody
Hagan and his Sandvik Coromant/Mopar team are sitting in the eighth place in the Funny Car points standings. Last weekend, Hagan went to the finals before losing to point leader Robert Hight. But that isn’t stopping the 2013 winner of this event.
“Seattle has been a place where we’ve done well, we’ve won there before. Looking forward to carrying this momentum from the Sonoma final into Seattle. We have a good combo; the car is reacting well to the changes (crew chief) Dickie (Venables) is making, and it’s driving great. We fixed a few things coming out of Denver going into Sonoma, and we feel confident that we have those issues addressed. I really feel like we have a car that can go out and win the race this weekend, and I feel like we’re setting ourselves up to do well this last half of the year.” – Matt Hagan
TOMMY JOHNSON JR. – Driver of the Make-A-Wish Foundation Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT
The Make-A-Wish Foundation team has been strong as of late. Johnson is sitting in second place in the points but needs to gain some ground on last week’s winner and point leader Robert Hight. Tommy has won twice at Pacific Raceways, once in Top Fuel and once in Funny Car. He did win the event in 2017, so the team is very familiar with the winner circle here.
“The Seattle race is one of my favorites on the tour. I’ve won it in Top Fuel, and I’ve won it in Funny Car. It’s one of those races you go to, and things seem to go well for you, so I always look forward to going to Seattle. It’s about as far as you can get from home, but things always seem to bode well for me there. I’d like to get another Funny Car win there.” – Tommy Johnson, Jr.
2019 NHRA Mello Yello Championship After Round 15 of 24
(Season Wins in Parentheses)
NHRA Funny Car
1. Robert Hight (5) – 1283
2. Tommy Johnson, Jr., Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT (2) –1084
3. John Force – 1035
4. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT – 964
5. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT (2) – 962
6. Bob Tasca III (1) – 924
7. J.R. Todd (1) – 889
8. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT (2) – 888
9. Shawn Langdon (1) – 786
10. Tim Wilkerson – 757
NHRA Top Fuel Points Standings:
1. Steve Torrence (8) – 1486
2. Clay Millican – 914
2. Antron Brown – 914
4. Brittany Force (1) – 894
5. Doug Kalitta (1) – 887
6. Mike Salinas (2) – 802
7. Leah Pritchett, Sparkling Ice– 749
8. Richie Crampton (1) – 719
9. Austin Prock – 641
9. Terry McMillen – 641
TV Schedule This Weekend:
|FRIDAY NITRO LIVE||Friday, August 2||6:30pm – 8:00pm ET||FS1|
|SATURDAY NITRO LIVE||Saturday, August 3||5:00pm – 6:30pm ET||FS1|
|SATURDAY NITRO LIVE||Saturday, August 3||10:30pm – 11:30pm ET||FS1|
|FINALS||Sunday, August 4||4:00pm – 7:00pm ET||FOX|