This weekend’s 60th annual Winternationals at the historic Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, California, kicks off the 2020 National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Mello Yello Drag Racing Series 24-event season and Mopar Dodge//SRT got right back to work and to the top of the timesheets. Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) driver Matt Hagan drove his Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car straight to the provisional No.1 qualifier position with his official first run of the season.
Hagan and his DSR HEMI®-powered machine, which sports a new blue and white Mopar scheme that will be seen at 10 events throughout the year, wasted no time taking his Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat to the top of the timesheets with a 3.867-second / 331.20-mph pass. While his second qualifying run didn’t go quite as planned, Hagan is pleased with the quick start to the weekend and season.
“There’s a lot of confidence unloading off the trailer like that and being able to run a good number,” said the 2011 and 2014 NHRA Funny Car World Champion. “We had a great test session in Vegas and laid down some good numbers. I was up there just pressing this last run. I was trying to run a 0.081 or 82 and it just didn’t stick. All in all, I think we have a really good car, everybody is confident. I think there are still some low numbers to be had tomorrow.”
The battle for the 2020 Funny Car Championship is no laughing matter as all four Don Schumacher Racing entries expect to be fiercely competitive and at the top of the leaderboard throughout the season aboard the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat powered by the iconic HEMI engine.
Runner-up in the 2019 Funny Car Championship last year, Jack Beckman picked up right where he left off as he took his Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat for a 3.868-second / 326.95-mph run that put him in the provisional No. 2 qualifier spot. He posted a Q2 run with a session best 0.57 reaction time and a 3.885-second run at 328 mph.
Tommy Johnson Jr. also had a good first day back on track putting his MD Anderson Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat fourth on the Friday qualifying sheets with a 3.910-second pass at 332.92 mph.
2017 Funny Car Champion Ron Capps had a bit more difficult a start to the season after being unable to test alongside his DSR teammates in Las Vegas last week after his team’s trailer caught fire en route. The team regrouped quickly and Capps drove his HEMI-powered Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat to the eighth spot in Friday qualifying with a 3.947-second run at 324.12 mph.
DSR’s Mopar Dodge//SRT Top Fuel Dragster was back on track with driver Leah Pruett at the helm and a bright new white and blue Mopar paint scheme. Looking to build on her career-best fourth place ranking in the Top Fuel championship last season, Pruett’s Mopar Dodge//SRT Top Fuel Dragster finished the first day of qualifying action at Pomona fourth with a best run of 3.715 seconds / 324.75 mph.