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Mopar Dodge//SRT NHRA Arizona Nationals Race Report

*This press release and photos are also available online at:*


*Tommy Johnson Jr. Earns NHRA Arizona Nationals Win in*

*All-Mopar Dodge//SRT Funny Car Final Round Battle*

·       Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) Funny Car driver Tommy Johnson Jr.
earns National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Arizona Nationals title win
aboard MD Anderson Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

·       All-Mopar Dodge//SRT Funny Car final round sees Johnson Jr. defeat
DSR teammate Jack Beckman at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park near Phoenix

·       Defending Arizona Nationals winner Matt Hagan and his Mopar
Dodge//SRT Charger Hellcat Funny Car earn second consecutive No.1 qualifier
of the 2020 season but fall short of a chance to repeat with a first round

·       All four DSR Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat sit top-five in Funny
Car championship points

·       Top Fuel DSR driver Leah Pruett qualifies her Mopar Dodge//SRT
Dragster third for second consecutive race and earns a quarterfinal

*February 23, 2020, Phoenix, Arizona *– It was an all-Mopar Dodge //SRT
Funny Car final round showdown at the Arizona Nationals with Don Schumacher
Racing (DSR) driver Tommy Johnson Jr. earning his first victory of the 2020
National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Mello Yello Series season over his
teammate, Jack Beckman.

From his No. 4 qualifier position, Johnson Jr. drove his MD Anderson Dodge
Charger SRT Hellcat past Paul Lee and Bob Tasca, then used a holeshot win
over DSR teammate Ron Capps to set up a final elimination battle against
Beckman. Johnson powered past his DSR opponent, who lost traction early, to
make his way to the winner’s circle in the second event of the season.

With the win, Johnson’s collected his 18th career Funny Car national event
Wally trophy, his second at Phoenix’s Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, and
his first final round victory over Beckman in five final-elimination

The early season win provided some relief for Johnson and his team, who
were looking to recover quickly from a difficult 2019 Countdown to the
Championship that followed a promising regular season.

“We had such a good car last year and we didn’t finish well at all, so to
come out strong and get that out of the way right off the bat and know how
good a car you have right now is great,�?? said Johnson who jumps four spots
into second place in the Funny Car championship standings with his efforts
this weekend.

“Now we just shift to maintaining it and learn from the mistakes you make.
I think we learned really well what we did wrong last year, and what we
needed to do to fix it. It’s nice to be able to know that you did fix it.�??

In the final against Johnson Jr., Beckman initially had the advantage as
they launched off the starting line but lost traction in the Infinite Hero
Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat and, while he made efforts to pedal
it, was unable to recover control quickly enough.

Coming off consecutive wins in both the 2019 season finale and the 2020
season opening national event at Pomona, Beckman’s runner-up finish to his
teammate keeps him atop the Funny Car championship standings with 220

The defending Arizona Nationals title winner, Matt Hagan, drove his Mopar
Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car to the provisional pole position with
Friday’s second qualifying run and an elapsed time pass of 3.859 seconds at
331.61 mph. That time stood through Saturday’s qualifying session,
shortened to just one run due to rain, to give him his second No.1
qualifier of the year, the 38th of his career and his second at Wild Horse
Pass Motorsports Park.

In eliminations, Hagan beat his first round challenger, Jeff Diehl, off the
starting line but, as he began to power down the lane, his HEMI®-powered
ride began to pull toward the centerline where it clipped a timing block to
disqualify the run and bring his race day to a premature end. Despite the
quick exit, Hagan remains fifth in points.

After qualifying eighth, Ron Capps, drove his Dodge SRT Hellcat through the
eliminations ladder with a win over J.R. Todd in the first round, followed
by a quarterfinal victory against Jeff Diehl. That quarterfinal victory
earned Capps a 750th career round win since making his professional debut
in 1995 at this track while racing Top Fuel and earning his first round win
against Joe Amato.

Capps then faced-off against his DSR teammate and eventual event winner,
Johnson Jr., in the semifinals for a solid side-by-side battle to the
stripe. While he didn’t get the win, the result propelled Capps to the
fourth spot in the Funny Car points standings.

In Top Fuel action, for a second consecutive national event, Leah Pruett
drove her DSR Mopar Dodge//SRT dragster to the third spot on the
eliminations ladder to put herself in a good position to have a solid
race-day showing. Bolstered by the memory of her first career Top Fuel
victory at Phoenix in 2016, a No. 1 qualifier position in 2017, and
runner-up finish last season in 2019, Pruett made quick work of getting
through the first round and past Doug Foley with a solid 3.654-second run
to make her way to the quarterfinals to face Billy Torrance. Once again,
Pruett made another solid run with a 3.688 second elapsed time run, but it
wasn’t quite enough to beat her opponent to move further through
elimination rounds. Pruett remains third in the Top Fuel standings.

With DSR Mopar Dodge//SRT entries top-five in championship points and
looking to continue to build on the momentum generated from two
back-to-back Funny Car wins and No.1 qualifier positions to open the
season, they now prepare to head to the east coast for the third of 24
events on the 2020 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule, the NHRA
Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla., March 13 – 15.


*Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat*

*(No. 6 Qualifier –3.889 seconds at 329.42 mph)*

Round 1: (.090-second reaction time, 4.051 seconds at 318.02 mph) beat No.
11 Cruz Pedregon (.065/ 6.254 sec/ 109.34 mph)

Round 2: (0.095 /3.895/329.42) beat No. 14 Jim Campbell (0.088/ 8.959

Round 3: (0.076/3.882/329.91) beat No. 2 John Force (0.068/3.917/326.63)

Round 4: (0.030/6.156 /119.31) loss to No. 4 Tommy Johnson Jr.

"How do you hang your head? We still have the best car and the points are
showing that. We didn't have the best car here this weekend. We actually
struggled a little bit, but it goes to show you great teams pull out all
the stops on race day and figure out how to make it happen. I'm happy for
my teammate and his MD Anderson car. We didn't give it to them. They earned
it. But we're going to be tough to beat the entire rest of the year."

*Matt Hagan, Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car*
*   (No. 1 Qualifier – 3.859 seconds at 331.61 mph)*
Round 1: (.0103-second reaction time, 9.999 seconds at no speed) lost to
No. 16 Jeff Diehl (0.138 No Time)

“My guys did a heck of a job today; the car was on a really good run. It
was just one of those deals where it got inside on me, and I couldn’t get
it back. I thought I lifted soon enough not to hit anything, but a header
brushed a timing block, and that DQ’d us. But, a heck of a job for this
Mopar team to run such a good number like that on race day. We were No. 1
qualifier, have such a good race car, and I hate that I let my team down
like that. It’s race day; I was just trying to get to the finish line
first. All in all, we’ve got a great car, things are going in the right
direction, the guys are working hard, the parts and pieces are working
well, and it’s all coming together.�??

*Tommy Johnson Jr., MD Anderson Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car*
* (No. 4 Qualifier – 3.868  seconds at 323.81 mph) *
Round 1: (0.058-second reaction time, 3.878 seconds at 325.85 mph) beat No.
13 Paul Lee (0.111/3.898/320.05)
Round 2: (0.075  3.864 323.74) beat No. 5 Bob Tasca (-0.053/3.918/331.77)

Round 3: (0.079 /3.871/319.98) beat No. 8 Ron Capps (0.089/3.864/328.06)

Round 4: (0.065/3.883/326.40) beat No. 6 Jack Beckman (0.030/6.156 /119.31)

“We had a good car the last qualifying run and it showed us that we had a
solid car. Coming up here today we had a lot of confidence. To go out there
first round and lay down a solid number really happy with that. We weren’t
low e.t. first round but we were real close and to come out second round
and set low e.t. so we knew we had a solid car. As a driver, going into
each round knowing you’ve got a car that’s going to perform, it makes your
job a little easier and gives you a little less stress. The guys did a
great job. I mean, even in Pomona we had a good car and just dropped a
cylinder second round. We even had a little issue with that in qualifying
here and they worked hard to fix that and now it’s running really well and
consistent. They did their homework over the off-season.�??

[On how satisfying it is to get that first win so early in the season]

“Yes. Especially since we weren’t happy with the way finished last year so
it is (satisfying). I was actually very relieved when I turned the corner
down there and it felt like it was a little bit of pressure relief. We had
such a good car last year and we didn’t finish well at all so to come out
strong and get that out of the way right off the bat and know how good a
car you have right now. Now we just shift to maintaining it and learning
from the mistakes you make. You try to learn from them. I think we learned
really well what we did wrong last year, and what we needed to do to fix
it. It’s nice to be able to know that you did fix it.�??

*Ron Capps, NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car*
*(No. 8 Qualifier – 3.896 seconds at 327.66mph)  *
Round 1: (0.070-second reaction time, 3.905 seconds at 329.02 mph) beat No.
9 J.R. Todd (0.097 /6.383/103.46)
Round 2: (0.100 /4.184/232.19) beat No. 16 Jeff Diehl (-0.005/8.236 /82.57)

Round 3: (0.089/3.864/328.06) lost to No. 4 Tommy Johnson Jr. (0.079

"For this team, considering where we were and how few runs we had coming in
here, we've made huge strides for Rahn Tobler. Even though we lost that
close race in the semifinals, he was ecstatic and it really feels like we
have his race car back and that makes everyone around here feel good. We
had a really large clutch wear problem that we've been fighting and he
finally got it down to where he was comfortable and when he does that, the
car goes out and runs 3.80s like that.

"Just a close drag race. I accidentally went in and lit the pre-stage and
stage lights against TJ and just kind of sat there. Him and I have raced
and been teammates for a long time. He gave me a second before he went in.
It was just letting two cars do the talking. The good thing was it was a
DSR car going into the final against our teammate (Jack Beckman).
Unfortunately, we lost a close one. But, I feel really comfortable and good
and Rahn Tobler is happy and excited to get to Gainesville."

*Leah Pruett, Mopar Dodge//SRT Top Fuel Dragster   (No. 3 Qualifier – 3.680
seconds at 328.06 mph) *
Round 1: (0.081-second reaction time, 3.654 seconds at 331.12 mph) beat No.
14 Doug Foley (0.087/5.328/127.81)
Round 2: (0.205/3.688/324.20) lost to No. 6 Billy Torrance

“We closed out our Sunday much earlier in the afternoon than we had wanted.
Phenomenal performance by the Mopar team in E1 with that 65. I’m
disappointed in myself with what happened in E2. Putting that double-bulb
on, that was unintentional. I got antsy, and I two-stepped it and was late
on the tree. On the return of that, I can guarantee, Gainesville will be
nothing but ‘heads down,’ and I’ve got two cars to run. It would be amazing
to put them both in the winner’s circle, but the car and the team are doing
a phenomenal job. I’m trying to perfect my weaponry – my driving
perspective, and I didn’t conquer that this weekend in the second round of
eliminations, but one thing is for sure, I guarantee you that I will.�??

*NHRA Championship Points Standings:*

*FUNNY CAR (season wins in parentheses)*

*1.      **Jack Beckman (Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat) – 220 (1)*

*2.      **Tommy Johnson Jr. (Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat) – 175 (1)*

3.      John Force – 173

*4.      **Ron Capps (Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat) – 128*

*5.      **Matt Hagan* (*Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat) – 124*

6.      Tim Wilkerson – 107

7.      Robert Hight – 100

8.      Alexis DeJoria – 99

9.      Bob Tasca III – 87

10.   Paul Lee – 65

J.R. Todd – 65

*TOP FUEL (season wins in parentheses)*

1.      Doug Kalitta – 212 (1)

2.      Brittany Force – 153

3.      *Leah Pruett (Mopar Dodge//SRT) – 137*

4.      Austin Prock – 131

5.      Steve Torrance – 121 (1)

6.      Justin Ashley – 108

7.      Antron Brown – 103

8.      Shawn Langdon – 91

9.      Clay Millican – 85

10.   Shawn Reed – 82

*Dodge Garage: Digital Hub for Drag Racing News*
Fans can follow all the NHRA’s action this season at Dodge Garage
<>, the one-stop portal for Dodge//SRT and Mopar
drag racing news. The site includes daily updates and access to an online
racing HQ, news, events, galleries, available downloads and merchandise.
For more information, please visit

*@DodgeMoparMotorsports on Instagram*
The @DodgeMoparMotorsports <>
Instagram channel continues to share content capturing Dodge//SRT Mopar
drivers in action in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, NHRA
Sportsman grassroots racers competing in classes such as Factory Stock
Showdown, Stock and Super Stock, as well as additional motorsports series.

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For more than 100 years, the Dodge brand has carried on the spirit of
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The 2020 Dodge lineup also features the 2020 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat
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For more information, please contact:

*Pat Caporali*

*Motorsports Communications—Mopar Dodge//SRT*

*Mobile: 248.421.9427*

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