Another national event Funny Car win was within sight as the second all-Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat final-round showdown in as many weeks had Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) teammates Matt Hagan and Jack Beckman set to go head-to-head at the Lucas Oil NHRA Summernationals, when the skies opened up above the Indianapolis drag strip and spoiled the day.
Hagan, coming off an event win last week in another all-Mopar final against teammate Tommy Johnson Jr., worked his way through eliminations after qualifying 13th and was headed back into a battle for the Wally trophy with a new red, black and chrome Dodge//SRT Hellcat Redeye livery. For his part, after qualifying sixth, Beckman was poised for his 66th career and third final round appearance in four races this season and was looking to add to the pair of wins he already had under his seatbelt in the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.
The National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Mello Yello Drag Racing Series has rescheduled the rained-out final to take place during the U.S. Nationals Sept. 3th to 6th at Lucas Oil Raceway.
To get to the finals, Hagan defeated DSR teammate Ron Capps, JR Todd, and Bob Tasca, while Beckman sent Chad Green, Tim Wilkerson, and DSR teammate Johnson home early.
No. 2 qualifier Johnson began his day with wins over Bob Bode and Cruz Pedregon for a semifinal round match against Beckman. Johnson, who earned a Wally at Phoenix earlier this year, had the early lead but saw his 4.027-second run overshadowed by Beckman’s 3.969 seconds to move on to the final. Johnson, however, remains second to Beckman in the Funny Car standings.
The Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat of Capps had a solid qualifying performance that put the DSR driver No.4 on the ladder and gave him lane choice over his first-round opponent. Unfortunately, for the second week in a row, that first-round pairing was against a DSR teammate and last week’s race winner, Hagan. While Capps’ 3.967-second/ 324.59-mph run was the third quickest of the round, it wasn’t enough to oust Hagan and his 3.931-second/321.58-mph effort.
In Top Fuel competition, No. 2 qualifier Leah Pruett and her red-hot Mopar Dodge//SRT Hellcat Redeye dragster looked solid throughout the weekend and early elimination rounds with a first-round victory over Lex Joon and a holeshot to beat Billy Torrence to advance to a semifinal appearance against Justin Ashley. Misfiring cylinders ended her hopes of beating Ashley but still put Pruett in second in the Top Fuel rankings.
Next on the updated 2020 NHRA schedule will be a third consecutive national event to take place at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis, replacing the previously slated 32nd edition of the Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway near Denver, Colorado, on Aug 7th to 9th. The Dodge-sponsored event, which boasts the longest continuous sponsorship in the NHRA and one of the longest in all of motorsports, has been postponed due to pandemic-related issues but hopes to be rescheduled for a later date this season.
NHRA Championship Points Standings:
(These points are totals up to the final rounds of the fourth event of the 2020 season)
FUNNY CAR (season wins in parentheses)
1. Jack Beckman (Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat) – 372 (1)
2. Tommy Johnson Jr. (Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat) – 355 (1)
3. Matt Hagan (Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat) – 329 (1)
4. Tim Wilkerson – 239
5. Bob Tasca III – 230
6. Ron Capps (Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat) – 196
6. J.R. Todd – 196
8. Alexis DeJoria – 186
9. John Force – 173
10. Cruz Pedregon – 149
TOP FUEL (season wins in parentheses)
1. Doug Kalitta – 364 (1)
2. Leah Pruett (Mopar Dodge//SRT) – 269
3. Billy Torrance – 237 (1)
4. Steve Torrance – 232(1)
5. Justin Ashley – 231
6. Antron Brown – 230
7. Shawn Langdon – 183
7. Clay Millican – 183
9. Terry McMillen – 177
10. Brittany Force – 153