Mopar Dodge//SRT NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series: Notes & Quotes:

Drivers Wrapped Up The Season Last Weekend, Here Is What They Thought About The Season And The Race In Pomona.

With the 2018 Mello Yello Drag Racing season in the books after series finale in Pomona, here is what the Mopar drivers had to say about their year as well as the Auto Club Finals.

Tommy Johnson Jr. piloting his Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car. (Mopar).

Tommy Johnson Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 3 Qualifier – 3.867 ET)

Rd.1: (.089-second reaction time, 3.905 seconds at 327.59 mph) beat No. 14 Cruz Pedregon (.104/4.034/281.36)
Rd.2: (.048/3.913/324.90) beat No. 6 Courtney Force (.075/3.942/321.50)
Rd.3: (.065/3.913/325.06) beat No. 2 Jack Beckman (.086/3.919/322.42)
Rd.4: (.055/3.889/327.51) lost to No. 4 J.R. Todd (.049/3.872/329.10)

“It was a great weekend, we just came up a little bit short. I’m proud of my guys; we have such a strong race car. To come out here and finish the season on a competitive note, finish third in points, it’s hard to be ashamed of finishing third so, I’m extremely happy. You always want a better year, unless you’re No. 1, but all in all, not a bad year. I thank Dodge and Mopar for putting the HELLCAT on the line for the highest finishing driver. That certainly was in the back of our mind and we’ll put it to good use this year.”

Tony Schumacher Piloting His U.S. Army Top Dragster. (Mopar).

Tony Schumacher, U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster
(No. 8 Qualifier – 3.722 ET)

Rd.1: (.059-second reaction time, 3.694 seconds at 332.34 mph) beat No. 9 Scott Palmer (.066/3.736/327.27)
Rd.2: (.086/4.667/156.10) beat No. 16 Bill Litton (NO TIME)
Rd.3: (.065/3.705/332.26) beat No. 5 Blake Alexander (.080/3.764/322.88)
Rd.4: (.053/3.700/331.61) lost to No. 2 Steve Torrence (.029/3.702/330.07)

“It was a fantastic race. Honestly, a .053 (of a second) light, a 70 (3.70-second) run wins holeshot races. For someone who had a .029, he either rolled it in or took a solid guess. He did a great job. Just such a big round for both of us, it was miraculous. We both ran 330 (mph). The winner of that round was the fans. It was a close, just outstanding. I was on both sides of those many, many times, and I plan on being on both sides of them many, many more. Obviously, we won the first race the Army was ever here with us. We won 80 along the way. We wanted to win this one today for them. We gave it everything we had and came up a few inches short. We’ve done a great job for each other. We did everything we set out to do together 19 years ago. It’s been a privilege and an honor to represent the greatest men and women in the world.”

Ron Capps’ NAPA Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car. (NHRA)

Ron Capps, NAPA Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 1 Qualifier – 3.848 ET)

Rd.1: (.100-second reaction time, 3.904 seconds at 325.61 mph) beat No. 16 Ray Martin (NO TIME)
Rd.2: (.061/3.921/323.04) beat No. 9 Shawn Langdon (.053/3.967/322.81)
Rd.3: (.060/3.932/316.97) lost to No. 4 J.R. Todd (.053/3.889/328.14)

“We really wanted to put our Funny Car into second place since we didn’t have a chance at the championship this year. That was (crew chief Rahn) Tobler and our whole team’s goal, but we’ll be back strong next season. We’re going to switch to the HELLCAT Funny Car body next year, and it was nice to give this old Charger it’s last win at Charlotte and make that great qualifying run in Pomona and end the season on a good note.”

“Fast Jack” Beckman piloting his Infinite Hero Foundation Charger SRT HELLCAT. (Mopar).

Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT Funny Car
(No. 2 Qualifier – 3.867 ET)

Rd.1: (.069-second reaction time, 4.912 seconds at 255.00 mph) beat No. 15 Jeff Arend (.072/8.366/61.13)
Rd.2: (.089/3.936/318.99) beat No. 10 John Force (.029/4.023/321.81)
Rd.3: (.086/3.919/322.42) lost to No. 3 Tommy Johnson Jr. (.065/3.913/325.06))

“It’s like I said at the DSR meet-and-greet today, this isn’t where we wanted to be this morning coming back to Pomona, sitting in eighth place and not in contention for the championship. We’ve had a good car, we’ve had our ups and downs, but so has everybody. But, we’ve changed lives. We’ve raised over $400,000 in the coin program, we’ve raised more through the auctions, and we get to see the veterans’ lives that we’ve changed. We’re doing great things for a lot of people. I think the momentum is starting to shift back to DSR and you know this is going to give us the fuel in the off-season to work that much harder. We’re going to get back to where we need next year.”

Leah Pritchett piloting her Dodge//SRT Top Fuel Dragster. (Mopar).

Leah Pritchett, Mopar Dodge Top Fuel Dragster
(No. 1 Qualifier –  3.631 ET)

Rd.1: (.081-second reaction time, NO TIME) lost to No. 16 Bill Litton (.142/3.979/309.56)

“Our 2018 was something to be very proud of. We learned more this year than we did the previous year. Ultimately, we finished better than we did the previous year. We feel really good about the offseason even though we didn’t go rounds here this weekend. We know why and it wasn’t a tune-up failure or driver failure – it was a mechanical failure. That’s not going to stop the momentum for 2019 and that’s not just the words behind it. What we’ve proven to ourselves and the world in the last two-and-a-half races shows that the last four-and-a-half months are coming together. It took that long to get our last two races to be in the ZIP code that we want, which happens to be in a different ZIP code than everybody else when it comes to power. I think we’ve been able to return to what this team has stood for for a long time with big power and big numbers. Finally we have that back and we’re just missing one small variable that we’ll pick up during the offseason.

“When we take a step back after what happened today, yeah, we had a phenomenal season with nothing to hang our heads about at all. And what’s exciting about it is what happens next. The attitude among everyone on this team is so positive and uplifting and progressive, you can’t help but think we had a great season and we’re going to have an even more incredible one next season because of that attitude.”

Matt Hagan piloting his Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT Funny Car. (Mopar).

Matt Hagan, Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT Funny Car
(No. 8 Qualifier – 3.946 ET)

Rd.1: (.058-second reaction time, 4.115 seconds at 255.19 mph) lost to No. 9 Shawn Langdon (.064/3.918/326.71)

“Not the ending to the season that we wanted. We came into the Countdown in second. We made some changes and it didn’t go our way. We kind of got stuck in a rut and it spun away from us, but at the end of the day, I’m really proud of my guys. They put together a great race car for me every lap. They’ve worked hard and did a phenomenal job of keeping me safe and keeping me moving forward. We’ve got a good group. It’s one of those things where we have some work to do in the off-season, but I’m excited for what 2019 will hold. We’ll continue to work hard and do a good job for our sponsors.”

Up Next: NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona
The 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series blasts off in a little under three months at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, California, for the NHRA Winternationals, scheduled for February 7-10. Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT driver Matt Hagan is the defending event champion in Funny Car at the season-opening race.

Robert S. Miller

Robert S. Miller is a diehard Mopar enthusiast who lives and breathes all that is Mopar. The Michigander is not only the Editor for MoparInsiders.com, 5thGenRams.com, and HDRams.com but an automotive photographer. He is an avid fan of offshore powerboat racing, which he travels the country to take part in.

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