In Top Fuel, Leah Pritchett overcame a No. 9 qualifying spot outside of the top half of the field to defeat the higher-qualified Kebin Kinsley, posting a 3.831/324.20 run en route to leading from start to finish. In the quarterfinals against Clay Millican, the Mopar Dodge Top Fuel driver matched her opponent’s .072 reaction but dropped a cylinder right at launch, ending any chance at a deep Dallas run. Pritchett is fourth in the Top Fuel standings with her hopes for two titles still alive heading into the all-important final three-race stretch.
Tommy Johnson Jr. unleashed a 3.918-second run in the fourth and final qualifying session in his Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car to claim the sixteenth No. 1 qualifier spot of his career, his first of 2018 and first at Texas Motorplex. The DSR driver had a big advantage off the starting line in scoring a round one defeat of Terry Haddock, and posted a 3.937 ET — the quickest pass of the quarterfinals — to take out Cruz Pedregon.
In Johnson’s sixth semifinal appearance of the last seven events he recorded a clean, solid 3.964/321.58 run but was behind from the start against opponent J.R. Todd and was unable to make up any ground, ending his day. Johnson moved up to fourth in the Countdown playoff standings with his Dallas performance.
After a stellar final qualifying run late Saturday vaulted Tony Schumacher to the No. 3 spot on the elimination ladder, “The Sarge” laid down a smooth and steady opening-round win over No. 14 qualifier Shawn Reed. The Mopar-powered U.S. Army Top Fuel car crossed the finish line in 3.747-seconds at 325.69-mph to Reed’s 3.900-second pass. That set up a meeting with teammate Antron Brown. Schumacher was solid and steady once again with a run of 3.817-seconds at 323.89-mph while Brown smoked the tires midway down the track.
Trailing Steve Torrence by 125 points at the start of the day, Schumacher and the U.S. Army team were hoping to turn his playoff momentum in their favor with the chance to leave Texas Motorplex having significantly downsized that deficit. But it was not meant to be as Schumacher hazed the tires at halftrack and had to settle for a run of 4.917-seconds to Torrence’s 3.779 seconds pass.
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You can wish and hope that the planets line up, but that probably does it for us in the championship. The reality is that we needed to get to the final round today. We took out Courtney (Force) first round and had the ladder we needed with J.R. (Todd) second round. We were literally driving away and it put another hole out. It has not wanted to keep eight cylinders to the finish line all weekend and despite that, we had an incredibly fast car. We figured out how to make this thing a rocketship early in the run. We just need to figure out how to keep all the E3 spark plugs lit until the finish line. I’m excited. I think we’ll be racing for trophies the rest of the year and that motivates us. #nhra @infiniteherofoundation #fallnats
“Fast” Jack Beckman, a two-time runner-up at Dallas, qualified strong in his Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT Funny Car, collecting the No. 5 spot on his final qualifying attempt. A powerhouse matchup against Courtney Force awaited him in the opening round. The elite pair entered the race deadlocked at 10-10 in previous matchups, and were appropriately enough dead even off the starting tree with identical .082 reaction times, but Beckman was able to claim the early lead and hold off Force in a tight drag race with a winning 3.969/317.27 pass.
In the quarterfinals, the DSR driver faced J.R. Todd. Beckman trailed off the start but quickly reclaimed the lead before putting out a cylinder and veering toward the centerline, forcing him to back off as Todd went down the strip for the win. Beckman, the 2012 NHRA Funny Car champ, leaves Dallas eighth in the standings.
Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT Funny Car driver Matt Hagan will look to put his weekend at the NHRA FallNationals in the rearview mirror. The two-time Texas Motorplex winner struggled to make a full pass during qualifying, placing Hagan in an uncharacteristic spot — the 15th position — heading into eliminations on Sunday. Hagan, owner of three Funny Car wins in 2018, was able to put together a full 4.058-run in round one, but it was not enough to beat Bob Tasca III to the win stripe. Despite the early exit, two-time NHRA Funny Car World Champion Hagan remains seventh in the Countdown rankings.
Ron Capps placed his Mopar-powered NAPA Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car in the top half of the field, uncorking a 3.986/317.12 to earn the No. 7 spot in in the final qualifying session. He faced John Force in a marquee first-round matchup and in the 97th meeting of the two winningest Funny Car drivers. Capps was quicker off the start in his Dodge Charger R/T and held the lead up to the 600-foot mark, when Force began to pull away for the round win. Capps is sixth in the Funny Car standings.
Top Fuel Point Standings After Texas:
|POSITION||DRIVER||POINTS||POINTS BEHIND LEADER||VEHICLE|
|01||Steve Torrence||2346||0||Capco Racing/Torrence Motorsports|
|02||Clay Millican||2276||-70||Parts Plus/ Great Clips/ UNOH dragster|
|03||Tony Schumacher||2225||-121||U.S. Army Dragster|
|04||Leah Pritchett||2192||-154||Papa John’s Dragster|
|05||Antron Brown||2169||-177||Matco Tools Dragster|
|06||Doug Kalitta||2135||-211||Mac Tools Dragster|
|07||Mike Salinas||2119||-227||Scrappers Racing|
|08||Terry McMillen||2093||-253||Amalie Motor Oil Dragster|
|09||Brittany Force||2085||-261||Monster Energy Top Fuel Dragster|
|10||Scott Palmer||2085||-261||CatSpot/Tommy Thompson Motorsports|
Funny Car Points Standings After Texas:
|POSITION||DRIVER||POINTS||POINTS BEHIND LEADER||VEHICLE|
|01||Robert Hight||2270||0||Auto Club Chevy Camaro SS|
|02||J.R. Todd||2240||-30||DHL Toyota Camry|
|03||Courtney Force||2200||-70||Advance Auto Parts Chevy Camaro SS|
|04||Tim Wilkerson||2196||-74||Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford Shelby Mustang|
|05||Ron Capps||2182||-88||NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger R/T|
|06||Tommy Johnson Jr||2166||-104||Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T|
|07||Matt Hagan||2144||-126||Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT|
|08||John Force||2116||-154||PEAK Chevrolet Camaro SS|
|09||Jack Beckman||2113||-157||Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT|
|10||Shawn Langdon||2086||-184||Global Electronic Technology Toyota|
The Mopar and the Dodge//SRT drivers and teams will be back at it next weekend, October 12-14, returning to the zMAX Dragway in Charlotte, N.C. for the NHRA Carolina Nationals. They head into the second half of the NHRA Countdown to Championship with the fourth of six races on tap. Both Ron Capps and Jack Beckman have Funny Car wins at zMAX Dragway.