The National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Mello Yello Drag Racing Series returns to Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis for the third-consecutive race at the famed drag strip. It also marks the fifth race of the 2020 season, which was disrupted by the COVID-19 (or Coronavirus) pandemic and the Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) Mopar-backed teams are looking to earn the team’s 350th victory in NHRA competition.
At the most recent event (Indy 2), drivers Jack Beckman and Matt Hagan advanced to the Funny Car final round before the race was postponed due to rain. Had the finals run on schedule, DSR would have been ensured a seventh consecutive Funny Car Wally trophy and the team’s 349th win. The finals are rescheduled for the NHRA U.S. Nationals during Labor Day weekend.
The Dodge NHRA Indy Nationals Presented by Pennzoil (Indy 3) will take place Aug. 6th to the 9th, an event with limited fans in attendance in accordance with Indiana state and health guidelines. Mopar and Dodge//SRT will have signage and a display in the midway to showcase production vehicle offerings to fans. Dodge’s sponsorship of the event is the most recent addition to the reworked 2020 schedule in response to the ever-changing challenges presented by the ongoing pandemic
Let’s take a look at what lies in store for the DSR Dodge/Mopar race teams…
CORY MCCLENATHAN – Driver of the Nordic Boats/Revchem Composites Top Fuel Dragster:
McClenathan had raced with DSR until he retired in 2010. He currently has 34 victories under his belt and ranks 9th on the NHRA’s all-time Top Fuel wins list. If Cory can win this weekend, he will tie Top Fuel and Mopar legend Don Garlits’ 35 NHRA wins. McClenathan returns for a third race attempt after failing to qualify for the Indy 2 event.
“We feel pretty confident that we got all of the bugs worked out of the car after our last outing, but we’re testing this week, just to make sure. I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to getting back out there this weekend, and I look forward to making Nordic Boats, Revchem Composites, Fatheadz, and all of our wonderful partners who have allowed us this opportunity to have another shot at it this weekend proud.” – Cory McClenathan
LEAH PRUETT – Driver of the Mopar Dodge SRT Hellcat Redeye Top Fuel Dragster:
Pruett comes into the fifth race of the season, second place in the Top Fuel points standings. At the last Indy race, she went to the third round of eliminations before being defeated by Justin Ashley. Leah is looking to continue her recent success and is aiming for taking over the points lead for the first time this season.
“I don’t care if you run at Indianapolis a hundred times a year or just once during Labor Day weekend, racing at Indy carries a certain weight and prestige. To see Dodge step up (as title sponsor) makes my heart even happier than it already is when it’s pounding hard from nitro and 11,000-horsepower. It just reinforces what a great company it is and where their values lay; with their fan base and their customers. Given the circumstances, knowing the importance it has to fans attending a race in-person or watching on TV and helping to get the series back on track, it’s great to see Dodge bring this extra level of support to the series.
On being back in the Mopar Dodge SRT Hellcat scheme:
“It’s always a highlight to be able to run a prominent Dodge banner, especially when it’s at a Dodge-sponsored event. It makes it feel like a homecoming and you want to win on your home turf. You really feel ownership and pride from the minute you arrive at the track, and especially ‘from burnout to turn out’. There is something just straight cool about rolling out with this new SRT Hellcat Redeye scheme that just epitomizes raw power.
“It’s one thing to look good and it’s another to perform well while looking that good. Those are two attributes that Dodge has cornered all of the time. I’m very happy with how we debuted the SRT Hellcat Redeye (at Indy 2) with a No. 2 qualifying spot and a semifinal finish. We’re looking to continue that momentum and take that a step further this weekend at the Dodge Indy Nationals presented by Pennzoil. This is our second shot to put this Hellcat Top Fuel dragster in the winner’s circle. It looks good in the shop, it looks good in the pit and on the track, but it won’t look any better than in the winner’s circle and that’s where our focus is at.” – Leah Pruett
JACK BECKMAN – Driver of the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat:
“Fast Jack” Beckman went to the final round against teammate Matt Hagan, before having the round postponed till the NHRA U.S. Nationals during Labor Day weekend. Currently, Beckman sits in the first-place in the Funny Car points standings and is looking to keep his momentum going at the third straight race at Indy.
“It’s odd, I kind of feel like a cross between Batman and Bill Murray in the movie Groundhog Day. We’re going back to Indy for the third time in a row, and it’s kind of like ‘wow I’ve seen this movie before.’ And the Batman part is, I feel like because the season and schedule has changed so many times, I’ve got my bag packed, I’ve got my airline ticket, and as soon as we get that ‘go sign,’ it’s time to head to the airport and get back out there. I’m thankful that we’re racing. I’m looking forward to being able to have more fans in the stands at this race, and I’m hopeful that not only can we bag our first Indy trophy of the year – because we’re also still in line for the final of the Indy 2 race which will take place later – but that we prove that the things we’ve just sorted out with our Infinite Hero Dodge are exactly what we needed to be back at the top of the heap.” – Jack Beckman
RON CAPPS – Driver of the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat:
Capps has been victorious at every track on the current NHRA tour with the exception of Indianapolis. He has been focused on that elusive first Lucas Oil Raceway triumph for some time. The NAPA Auto Parts team currently sits sixth in the points standings with three-round wins. Capps was the 2017 runner-up at this event.
“This is pretty unique to go to Indianapolis three times in a row like we are. I’m so happy that Dodge and Pennzoil stepped up to sponsor the event. We didn’t quite get our season started the way we had hoped, and we lost a little bit of ground, but we have a great race car, we just haven’t been qualifying in the right spots. Our focus this weekend is to get going on the right foot and get back up into the points where we need to be. The fact that Dodge and Pennzoil, two of our big supporters, are the title rights sponsors and the fact that NHRA has so many different categories of cars scheduled to compete this weekend, it almost feels like we’re going to the U.S. Nationals. The fans that are going to come out are really going to enjoy it. I’m looking forward to getting back and having another shot at trying to win at Indy, and I know my NAPA team is equally as excited to get back out on the race track and get back to the performance that we are used to having.” – Ron Capps
MATT HAGAN – Driver of the Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye:
At the most recent event (Indy 2), Hagan and his teammate Jack Beckman advanced to the Funny Car final round before the race was postponed due to rain. The finals are rescheduled for the NHRA U.S. Nationals during Labor Day weekend. From his Indy 1 victory, Hagan enters the weekend as the most recent Funny Car race winner, and is looking for his second consecutive Indianapolis victory; he is a two-time No. 1 qualifier in 2020.
“I just can’t say enough about Dodge stepping up and sponsoring this race. It’s pretty cool to see Dodge and Mopar show their support and really stand behind what we’re out here trying to do which is put fans in the stands and race cars on the racetrack, and it has been nothing shy of amazing what the response from the fans has been to this Hellcat Redeye paint scheme. I’ve had some incredible paint schemes and so far, this has to be one of my favorites, it’s just incredible.
“The momentum that we have with this new-look SRT Hellcat Redeye body is just amazing. We’ve been carrying the momentum since the beginning of the year from the work my guys put in over the winter and kept up through the break. We started with two No. 1 qualifiers and a semifinal appearance, then added a win and another final round appearance in the last two races back. The work that my team at DSR and Mopar has put into the preparation is really paying off right now on the racetrack.” – Matt Hagan
TOMMY JOHNSON JR. – Driver of the MD Anderson Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat:
Seeking his third final round appearance of the season after finishing as the runner-up at Indy 1, and Funny Car event champion in Phoenix. As a resident of nearby Avon, Indiana, Johnson considers Indianapolis to be a hometown event. The MD Anderson Cancer Center team currently sits second in the Funny Car points.
Dodge NHRA Indy Nationals Presented by Pennzoil TV Schedule:
|SUNDAY QUALIFYING||Sunday, August 9||11:00am – 1:00pm||FS1|
|FINALS||Sunday, August 9||1:00pm – 4:00pm||FOX|