RECAP: NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Arizona Nationals:

A Wild Weekend For The Mopar Teams...

Matt Hagan, Sandvik Coromant/Mopar Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT Funny Car
(No. 2 Qualifier – 3.881 ET)
Rd.1: (.081-second reaction time, 3.919 seconds at 324.12 mph) beat No. 15 Phil Burkart (.150/5.662/126.26)
Rd.2: (.084/3.894/327.19) beat No. 7 Shawn Langdon (.060/3.951/326.48)
Rd.3: (.092/3.921/321.96) beat No. 6 Bob Tasca III (.054/3.983/320.13)
Rd.4: (.048/3.890/325.06) beat No. 5 J.R. Todd (.077/No Time)

This is huge because it’s the first win with the new HELLCAT body. Mopar put so much into designing this new body, and it’s great to be able to put it in the winner’s circle for them.
Hats off to Dickie Venables. The guy won the race, that’s for sure. He had a race car underneath me that was going down the race track every lap. That gave me a lot of confidence. He gave me the car to win; this Wally goes to him for sure, as well as my entire team. To be able to drive for Don (Schumacher) for 10 years and be able to win 30 races is awesome. It’s pretty cool, out of DSR’s 150 Funny Car wins, I have 30 of them. It just goes to show you I’ve been put around really good people, and talented crew chiefs that work hard. Dickie is one of the best out here and I’m really glad to have him in our corner. – Matt Hagan

Leah Pritchett, Mopar Dodge Top Fuel Dragster
(No. 7 Qualifier – 3.744 ET)

Rd.1: (.109-second reaction time, 3.722 seconds at 329.67 mph) beat No. 10 Cameron Ferre (.098/4.263/207.82)
Rd.2: (.072/3.731/308.64) beat No. 2 Terry McMillen (.072/5.011/146.69)
Rd.3: (.052/3.721/332.10) beat No. 3 Antron Brown (.070/3.763/325.85)
Rd.4: (.071/9.568/75.68) lost to No.1 Billy Torrence (.073/3.965/326.40)

We are extremely proud of the momentum this Mopar team has been able to create here in Phoenix. We consider this weekend a win. We had a such a consistent car today in the first three rounds and unfortunately, we had some traction issues in the final. To really compare how we are now, compared to  where we were to start the season has us all really excited about heading to Gainesville. I couldn’t be more proud of this team. Not only their hard work, but literally their attitude. They’ve had to go through so much to get everything right and I’m extremely impressed. I am so happy with the direction that we are going and looking forward to being able to push a little more – Leah Pritchett

Tommy Johnson Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT Funny Car
(No. 4 Qualifier – 3.911 ET)

Rd.1: (.102-second reaction time, No Time) beat No. 13 Jim Campbell (.103/No Time/Central Line Foul)
Rd.2: (.059/5.048/134.74) lost to No. 5 J.R. Todd (.052/3.967/323.27)

It was a rough day. Two separate back-to-back problems happening in the same day. I thought we had a really good HELLCAT today. It was actually running well before the axle broke. It shows you what kind of team we have. To come back from that and make it back up for second round. It just a shame we had a totally unrelated issue and were not able to make the run we were hoping to. We’ve got two weeks off. We’ll head back to the shop, regroup and come out in Gainesville swinging. – Tommy Johnson, Jr

Ron Capps, Pennzoil Synthetics/NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT Funny Car
(No. 9 Qualifier – 3.951 ET)

Rd.1: (.078-second reaction time, 3.968 seconds at 319.98 mph) lost to No. 8 John Force (.076/3/3.933/317.19)

Today was a product of where we qualified. Anytime you have to race a good car like John Force’s car, it’s going to be tough. Even our losing first-round run probably would have won six of those other matchups that session. This weekend has been a little bit of a struggle for us. This sport is about tackling the next thing thrown at you and (crew chief) Rahn Tobler is always so good at that. We had a couple of issues with the race car, and we’re still trying to feel out this new 2019 DSR chassis. I love this new HELLCAT body, and I’m still trying to get used to it as well. – Ron Capps

Jack Beckman piloting his Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT Funny Car. (Mopar).

Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT Funny Car
(No. 14 Qualifier – 5.022 ET)

Rd.1: (.096-second reaction time, 3.901 seconds at 321.03 mph) beat No. 3 Tim Wilkerson (.173/4.736/168.41)
Rd.2: (.076/3.963/321.73) lost to No. 6 Bob Tasca III (.073/3.950/321.96)

Losing is always frustrating. I feel like we had the better car and we lost to (Bob) Tasca by half a car length out there. The silver lining is, we didn’t have the better car going into first round, and our guys put their heads together and came up with a great tune-up and we went right down the less-preferred lane and got a win light against Tim Wilkerson. At the end of the day, you take your lessons, you take your lumps and you move on. I’m hoping it was just a case where we might have lost the battle here. We’re heading into the 50th annual Gatornationals as the defending champion, hopefully that will help us win the war. – Jack Beckman

2019 NHRA Championship — Point Standings After Round 1 of 24
(Season Wins in Parentheses)

2019 NHRA Funny Car Point Standings:
1.  Robert Hight (1) – 205
2.  Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat (1) – 160
3.  Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat – 151
4.  Tommy Johnson, Jr., Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat – 132

5.  Bob Tasca III – 129
6t. J.R. Todd – 126
6t. John Force – 126
8.   Shawn Langdon – 111
9.  Ron Capps, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat – 89
10.  Cruz Pedregon – 86
2019 NHRA Top Fuel Point Standings:
1.  Billy Torrence (1) – 178
2.  Doug Kalitta (1) – 172
3.  Leah Pritchett, Mopar HEMI – 145
4.  Steve Torrence – 137
5.  Terry McMillen – 132
6.  Mike Salinas – 122
7.  Antron Brown – 115
8.  Austin Prock – 106
9.  Jordan Vandergriff – 77
10. Richie Crampton – 66

The next NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing stop is the 50th annual NHRA Gatornationals, March 14-17 at Gainesville Raceway in Gainesville, Florida. Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT Funny Car driver, Jack Beckman is the defending Gatornationals champion. 

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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