The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series continues its west, on the series “Western Swing” of the 2019 season. The Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) teams are looking to continue their success, after Tommy Johnson’s big win at the Dodge NHRA Mile-High Nationals in Denver. The teams are now in Sonoma, California for the NHRA Sonoma Nationals at Sonoma Raceway. This marks the 15th event of the 24 events of the season.
LEAH PRITCHETT – Driver of the Okuma Top Fuel Dragster
There were high hopes for Leah in Denver, looking to repeat her successful run with her “Angry Bee” 1320 paint scheme. While she did qualify second for the event, she was eliminated in the quarterfinals by Clay Millican. Currently, ranked seventh in the points, Pritchett is looking for first win of the season. The Okuma/Mopar Top Fuel Dragster driver has had some good luck at Sonoma in the past, with a No. 1 qualifier and breaking the track record with a 3.669-second run in 2017.
“Sonoma is more than the second race on The Swing; it’s the other side of the pendulum. Going from choked out air to the land of horsepower. It’s very exciting for our team as we take our Okuma-enhanced Top Fueler to the track to continue our consistent progress. Although there are 1,200 miles, there are only four days between runs. Our team is prepared to apply last year’s proven quick combo with this year’s improvements to one of the most important races of the year as we fight to raise our Countdown positioning, as well as hunt for our first Wally of the season.” – Leah Pritchett
JACK BECKMAN – Driver of the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT Funny Car
Currently, fifth place in the Funny Car points standings with 21 round wins, “Fast Jack” Beckman is looking to for a good weekend in Sonoma. Last year, he qualified second and was eliminated by teammate Tommy Johnson, Jr. in the quarterfinals, which was the same situation that happened in Denver. Beckman has shown he can get it done in Sonoma, winning the event in 2015.
“I love Sonoma. I have so much history there in my Sportsman car. It’s a place I’ve been going to since 1992. I’ve won there in Sportsman. I’ve won there in a pro car. We’re just having a tough time getting this monkey off our back and getting our first trophy of the year. I can’t think of a better place to do that than in wine country and celebrating with some ice cream at the end of the day as a tribute to Eric Medlen. We’ll go in Thursday for the Eric Medlen Nitro Night, and we’ll end the weekend with the ice cream tribute to him, and somewhere in between there I’d like to be holding a trophy.” – Jack Beckman
RON CAPPS – Driver of the NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT Funny Car
Ron Capps is no stranger to victory at Sonoma, as a four-time event champion (1997, 2010, 2011, and 2013) and a four-time runner-up (2002, 2005, 2016, and 2018), he has proven he can easily make it to the finals. The NAPA Auto Parts driver currently sits fourth in the points standings and would love to get another win this season.
“For me, Sonoma is all about the friends, the family, Riebe’s NAPA AUTO PARTS and tri-tip dinners, and I just can’t wait to get there. My mom had back surgery, and Momma Capps hasn’t been to a race in a long time. She missed Pomona, and I’m excited for her to get back to the track. My family and all the friends I went to high school with and having my motorhome at the track, it’s a home atmosphere, and it’s treated me so well with so many wins. To be inducted into the Sonoma Hall of Fame a few years ago was a highlight of my life. To be on that wall with the likes of Roger Penske and John Cardinale is just great.” – Ron Capps
MATT HAGAN – Driver of the Mopar Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT Widebody
Hot off the debut of his new Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT Widebody Funny Car, is looking to make some headway in his rollercoaster of a season. Currently ranked eighth in points, Hagan has two wins this season under his belt and is eager for a third. In last year’s Sonoma race, he went to the quarterfinals before being eliminated by teammate Ron Capps.
“Sonoma is always a great race track. We had a great car in Denver, but we had a parts failure so we’d really like to get to Sonoma and start with fresh parts and pieces. We’re going to take the momentum we had from Epping and move on. We’ll be back to sea level, back in the MOPAR car again. I’ve never won Sonoma so hopefully, this will be the year we can pull down a win.” – Matt Hagan
TOMMY JOHNSON JR. – Driver of the Make-A-Wish Foundation Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT
Coming off his win last week, Tommy Johnson Jr. is looking to gain some ground on Robert Hight in the points standings. Currently sitting in the second position in the points, Johnson is still 149 behind the leader. Last year at Sonoma, Johnson went to the semifinals before being eliminated by Hight. The Make-A-Wish team looks to continue their success throughout the western swing.
“Sonoma is a great race on the tour. Everyone always looks forward to going there, not only for the race but to enjoy wine country. Coming off the win in Denver, our team has a lot of momentum, and it’s the first time ever that I’ve had the opportunity to ‘sweep the Swing,’ and we need to keep that going and get a win in Sonoma. I know a lot of the crew chiefs are looking forward to getting out of the thin air in Denver and getting back to sea-level racing and I know we are too. Even though the car ran really well in Denver, I think we have a good car no matter the conditions so I’m looking forward to Sonoma and seeing if we can continue that momentum.” – Tommy Johnson, Jr.
2019 NHRA Mello Yellow Drag Racing Championship — After Round 14 of 24
(Season Wins in Parentheses)
NHRA Funny Car Points Standings:
1. Robert Hight (4) – 1159
2. Tommy Johnson, Jr., Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT (2) –1010
3. John Force – 958
4. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT (2) – 927
5. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT – 904
6. Bob Tasca III (1) – 865
7. J.R. Todd (1) – 857
8. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT (2) – 794
9. Tim Wilkerson – 724
10. Shawn Langdon (1) – 727
NHRA Top Fuel Points Standings:
1. Steve Torrence (8) – 1407
2. Brittany Force (1) – 852
3. Antron Brown – 839
4. Doug Kalitta (1) – 831
5. Clay Millican – 813
6. Mike Salinas (2) – 763
7. Leah Pritchett, Okuma/Mopar – 714
8. Richie Crampton (1) – 666
9. Scott Palmer – 613
10. Terry McMillen – 607
TV Schedule For Sonoma Nationals:
|FRIDAY NIGHT NITRO LIVE||Friday, July 26, 2019||7:00pm – 8:00pm ET||FS1|
|SUNDAY LIVE||Sunday, July 28, 2019||2:30pm – 3:30pm ET||FS1|
|FINALS – NITRO||Sunday, July 28, 2019||5:00pm – 7:00pm ET||FOX|
|PRO STOCK||Sunday, July 28, 2019||10:00pm – 11:00pm ET||FS1|