The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series returns to action this weekend at Heartland Motorsports Park in Topeka, Kansas for the Menards NHRA Heartland Nationals Presented by Minties. There is a lot of excitement at Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) as the Mopar-backed team seeks out if fourth consecutive Funny Car victory.
So let’s take a look at the DSR teams, as they head to Topeka this weekend…
LEAH PRITCHETT – Driver of the Shell ROTELLA Top Fuel Dragster:
Leah Pritchett returns to the Pennzoil colors this weekend, looking to make up some ground in the Top Fuel points after some disappointing results as of lately. Currently, sitting in the seventh place in points, the team returns to Topeka where they went to the third round of eliminations in 2018 when she was defeated by teammate Tony Schumacher. For the fourth time this year, Pritchett will pull double-duty as she competes for both the Top Fuel and Factory Stock Showdown Topeka trophies.
“As a member of the Shell family learning about their brands and using their products for multiple years in all my home vehicles, it excites me to extend that into the Topeka race.
“No secret that whenever I have an off-weekend, I’m headed wakesurfing. When I’m hauling a Mastercraft XStar boat by Wolf Watersports to the Havasu lake in my 1500 pickup from Anderson Auto Group, I need that truck running perfect all of the time. The toughest pickup trucks and SUVs need the toughest oil. With Shell ROTELLA Gas Truck, I know I’m getting the protection I need from a product I trust. Can’t wait to have Shell ROTELLA by our side this weekend when we hit the track in Topeka.” – Leah Pritchett
JACK BECKMAN – Driver of the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT:
“Fast Jack” Beckman returns to the track he has had a lot of success with, in his career. As a two-time event champion (2012 & 2015) and runner-up in 2016, Beckman looks to better his 2018 run where he ran to the quarter-finals by J.R. Todd. Currently in the seventh place in the points standings, Beckman and his team are looking to put their Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge in the winner circle once again.
“I think it was clear we had the car to win Chicago and likely would have if not for an error on my part by red-lighting in the semis, and that’s a bitter pill for a driver. My job is to not let the team down, and I absolutely did there. If there’s any silver lining, I have a chance to redeem myself in a few days. I think we finally have our hot rod with a good tune-up back just in time for the hot part of the season and the part of the year where we’re going to have a ton of races in close proximity. I can’t wait to strap back into my Infinite Hero Dodge Charger Hellcat in Topeka. I’ve won there before, and I think we can win there again this weekend.” – Jack Beckman
RON CAPPS – Driver of the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT:
Another DSR driver, who has had huge success at Topeka is none other than Ron Capps. The NAPA Auto Parts driver is a four-time event champion (1998, 2006, 2009, & 2017), with two runner-up finishes at Heartland Motorsports Park as well (2000 & 2012). The NAPA Auto Parts team seem to have dailed-in their new Charger SRT HELLCAT Funny Car, winning two of the last three races and moving them into third place in the Funny Car standings.
“For me, Topeka has always been a place that has a lot of memories. I remember winning in 1998 against the late Al Hoffman. We ran the final round at 1:18 in the morning. I remember seeing the win lights while exploding the engine, and it was a grand style to win a race. At that time, Al Hoffman was one of the only guys that could beat John Force, so it was an exciting win for us. Since then, a lot of trips to the Topeka winner’s circle and it’s just always been a great race for me. They’ve always had a really, really good track surface as we saw last year when the temperatures cooled off and it showed it’ll hold anything. Right now, I’m really excited about going back to our blue and gold NAPA colors, especially with the consistency (crew chief) Rahn Tobler seems to have right now.” – Ron Capps
MATT HAGAN – Driver of the Shelor Motor Mile Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT:
Matt Hagan comes into Topeka seeking a win in his 250th start in NHRA competition. The team with be wearing their Sheldor Motor Mile colors and look to move up the standings, from their current sixth place position. Hagan is the 2016 winner of this event and also placed as the runner-up in 2017. Both of those years, the team were the No. 1 qualifier at Topeka as well. The team also holds Heartland Motorsports Park’s Funny Car E.T. and speed records with 3.802-seconds and 338.850mph respectfully. It was in Topeka, that Hagan became the first Funny Car driver to break the 335mph barrier as well.
“Topeka has always been good to us. I’ve set some records there and won that race before. We’ve even seen a tornado come through – sirens, hail, a lot going on, so you never know what you’re going to get in Topeka, Kansas but that race track is known to be good, it’s known to be fast. We have a great history there, and we’re ready to pull down another win real soon.” – Matt Hagan
TOMMY JOHNSON JR. – Driver of the Make-A-Wish Foundation Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT:
Fresh of his win in Chicago, Tommy Johnson Jr. is currently sitting second in the Funny Car standings. Johnson is a two-time runner-up at Heartland Motorsports Park. The Make-A-Wish Foundation driver looks for a repeat of his success from last week, at his home track.
“I always like going to Topeka because it’s like going home for me. It’s close to where I grew up. I’ve always had a lot of memories from that track. It’s where I got my four-second ring in Top Fuel. I’ve had some success there reaching the finals, but I’ve never won it. My sister has won that race, so it’s one on my list to get to try and match hers.” – Tommy Johnson, Jr.
Menards NHRA Heartland Nationals Presented by Minties TV Schedule:
|SATURDAY NIGHT NITRO||Saturday, June 8||10:00pm – 11:00pm ET||FS1|
|NHRA SUNDAY LIVE||Sunday, June 9||12:00pm – 1:00pm ET||FS1|
|FINALS||Sunday, June 9||5:30pm – 8:30pm ET||FS1|
Source: Don Schumacher Racing