Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals Presented by Pennzoil
Event No. 10
Houston Raceway Park
October 24-25, 2020
DSR Qualifying Highlights:
- Last week’s winner, No. 2 ranked Funny Car driver Jack Beckman, earns the Houston pole
- Beckman will face tough competition in his round-one match-up with DSR Dodge teammate Ron Capps
- Matt Hagan qualified the Pennzoil Dodge second, and will be looking to maintain the Funny Car point lead on Sunday
- Tommy Johnson Jr., also a top Funny Car championship contender, powered the MD Anderson Dodge to the third-quickest pass of Q2 to earn a qualifying position in the top-half of the field
- DSR will be looking to extend its undefeated Funny Car streak to 13 consecutive events with a win at the Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals Presented by Pennzoil
- Tony Schumacher continued to be dominant in qualifying. His Okuma/Sandvik Coromant Toyota Top Fuel dragster was second-quickest in both qualifying sessions to earn Schumacher a ‘top three’ starting position for the third consecutive event
- Antron Brown and Leah Pruett joined Schumacher in the ‘quick half’ of the field, earning the No. 4 and 6 qualifying positions, respectively
- No. 2 ranked Factory Stock Showdown competitor Mark Pawuk will start race day from the second-seeded position
On Saturday, just prior to nitro Q1, Richard Carson, Army Combat Medic (retired), was presented with an iBOT personal mobility device. The iBOT donation was made possible thanks to Doug Chandler and the TLC Foundation, the Parasol Foundation, and the incredible fans who generously support the Infinite Hero Foundation. An image of the presentation is included below, immediately following the qualifying results.
Beckman Earns Houston Pole; Funny Car Championship Battle Continues to Heat Up
BAYTOWN, Texas (October 24, 2020) – 2020 NHRA Funny Car championship front-runner Jack Beckman carried the momentum from last week’s NHRA FallNationals victory into the Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals Presented by Pennzoil, earning the pole position on Saturday evening for the 28th time in his career.
Beckman clinched the No. 1 spot when he drove the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat to a blistering 3.884 at 328.14-mph pass during Saturday’s second and final qualifying session at Houston Raceway Park. The 2012 Funny Car world champ and his Dean Antonelli/John Medlen-led team were the only ones to dip into the ‘sub-3.9-second’ range throughout Funny Car qualifying.
Beckman, who is currently locked-into a fierce four-way intramural battle for the 2020 Funny Car title, entered the weekend with only a four-point deficit separating him from his No. 1 ranked teammate, Matt Hagan. Hagan extended his lead by three points when he powered his Pennzoil Dodge to the provisional No. 1 spot in Q1, but Beckman was able to tighten the margin back up when he rocketed to the top of the Funny Car field during Q2. In addition to jockeying for the No. 1 and 2 qualifying positions, Beckman and Hagan have also been swapping the No. 1 and 2 spots in the point standings for the past five events, and by earning the Baytown pole, Beckman ensured the drama will continue to heat-up heading into race day. For his strong qualifying efforts, Beckman has been “rewarded” with a challenging match-up with DSR Dodge teammate Ron Capps in round one of eliminations. DSR cars are always a tough draw, but add in the fact that every Funny Car victory over the last 12 events has been captured by a DSR Dodge driver, with Capps claiming two so far in 2020, and Beckman knows he and his team will have their work cut out for them as they attempt to pick up their fourth win of the year on Sunday.
“If we beat four people tomorrow, they’ll hand us another trophy. I didn’t ever think, with 17 cars here, that (Ron) Capps would be the No. 16 qualifier but, I’m happy,” explained Beckman, who became DSR’s top trophy-earner of the season when he ousted Hagan in the final round last week. “We know we are going to have to earn this championship. I’d rather take it from the No. 1 spot because Matt (Hagan) had a four-point lead coming in. He stretched that out Q1 and now we tightened that back up a little bit.”
With his sights set on picking up his first Houston triumph on Sunday, Beckman knows that not only will a win put him one step closer of achieving his ultimate goal of delivering the 2020 Funny Car championship trophy to team sponsor Doug Chandler, but it will also extend DSR’s undefeated Funny Car streak to 13 consecutive events, an accomplishment that dates back to October 2019 when Hagan kicked it off in Dallas.
“The streak of the Don Schumacher Racing cars is awesome, but it’s also ulcer-inducing because it’s always one of our cars next to us when we go to the late rounds, or in tomorrow’s case, round one,” added Beckman. “Four win lights tomorrow is what we need.”
Qualified: No. 1 (lane choice)
The Competition: No. 16 Ron Capps
Q1: 4.093 E.T. at 242.58 MPH
Q2: 3.884 E.T. at 328.14 MPH (Three bonus points for quickest run of the session)
Bonus Points: Three
About Don Schumacher Racing:
Established in 1998 as a single-car Top Fuel team, Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) has grown to become the winningest organization in NHRA Drag Racing history. Including team owner Don Schumacher’s five NHRA Funny Car titles from the 1970s, DSR’s current win count stands at 354, and DSR is one of a very small handful of teams in the motorsports industry to surpass the 350 milestone. DSR owns 17 world championships in three different NHRA categories.
Headquartered in Brownsburg, Indiana, DSR currently fields seven professional teams competing in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. In Top Fuel, the Matco Tools/Global Electronic Technology/Toyota dragster driven by three-time world champion Antron Brown, the Mopar/Pennzoil dragster driven by Leah Pruett, and the Okuma/Sandvik Coromant machine driven by eight-time world champion, Tony Schumacher. In Funny Car, the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat driven by 2016 world champion Ron Capps, the Mopar Express Lane/Pennzoil Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat piloted by two-time series title-holder Matt Hagan, and in Doug Chandler’s ‘giving cars,’ 2012 NHRA world champion Jack Beckman in the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge, and Tommy Johnson Jr. behind the wheel of the MD Anderson Dodge.
DSR also campaigns two Factory Stock Showdown entries. The duo is piloted by Pruett, the 2018 Factory Stock Showdown Series champion, and former Pro Stock racer Mark Pawuk.
Follow Don Schumacher Racing at Shoeracing.com, on Twitter and Instagram at @shoeracing and Facebook.com/shoeracing.