News

Matco’s Brown gets another pole at hometown track in New Jersey, Capps leads DSR Funny Cars with NAPA Dodge Charger R/T

It was warm on Friday with temperatures in the low 80s for opening day of the 48th annual NHRA Summernationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park at Englishtown, N.J.

Then it got warmer on Saturday for the last day of qualifying with the thermometer reaching 85.

On Sunday for championship eliminations scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. (EDT) … it will be hot. The forecast high of 93, by any definition, is hot.

The rising temps make crew chiefs sweat even in the air-conditioned climes of their offices in Don Schumacher Racing technical trailers.

But DSR crew chiefs aren’t deterred by weather changes and accept challenges like Matco Tools’ crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald did Friday night when the three-time and reigning world champions with driver Antron Brown moved to the provisional pole with a track-record time of 3.713 seconds at the facility about 30 miles from his hometown of Chesterfield, N.J., and 45 miles south of New York City.

And it held up Saturday for Brown’s first No. 1 qualifying position of the season and the 48th of his career. It’s the fifth and second straight at his home track. He also won the Top Fuel pole in 2008 and twice in Pro Stock Motorcycle (2001, 2005).

“The track was better yesterday than everybody thought it was going to be,” said Brown, who has won the Summernationals three times but only once in Top Fuel (2015). “We were shooting to be top-five in qualifying, which we ended up accomplishing – we went No. 1, which is crucial for race day.

“It will be good to have that No. 1 spot tomorrow because that’s the thing we always shoot for so we pick of our lane and when we want to run. It sets us up for a good race day.”

Corradi agrees with his driver.

“The conditions were as close to the hottest we’ve seen all year and (Sunday) it should be 10 degrees hotter,” he said. “Sunday should be like today in the first round but after that when it heats up you’ll probably see some tire smoke, but hopefully not from us.”

Brown opens Sunday racing against Top Fuel rookie Blake Alexander and the winner will get a bye into the semifinals due to a short, 14-car field.

Brown, who won the New England Nationals title on Sunday, started this weekend trailing teammate and points leader Leah Pritchett (Dodge Demon/Pennzoil) by 34 points but has cut the gap to 24 heading into Sunday after outscoring her 5-1 in qualifying bonus points and winning the pole while she qualified No. 9 and will race Tony Schumacher, another teammate, in the opening round.

In Funny Car, reigning world champion and points leader Ron Capps with crew chief Rahn Tobler with the NAPA AUTO PARTS 2017 Dodge Charger R/T Powered by Pennzoil were the quickest in the first and last sessions while earning bonus points in the other two sessions to outscore teammate Matt Hagan (Mopar Express Lane) by an 8-2 margin and qualified five positions higher to extend the points lead to 89.

“It was a great way to finish,” said Capps, who has four wins this year. “It was hot in Q3 and that’s what we’ll see at races coming this summer. Tobler is getting our Dodge ready for that.

“On Q4, he wanted to turn it up a notch and to be the quickest in the session is outstanding.  But Sunday is going to be hot and tricky. We won here a year ago in the same conditions and hopefully we’ll have a good time at the end of the day.”

Capps was the most consistent Funny Car at the legendary track with runs of 3.895 and 3.883 on Friday followed by: 3.963 and 3.951 on Saturday.

The NAPA team was the only Funny Car with both runs in the 3.8-second range on Friday.

DSR TOP FUEL DRAGSTERS                                                                                                               

No. 1 qualifier: Antron Brown (Don Schumacher Racing), 3.713 sec.-track record, 329.42 mph

 

ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tools/U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster                                                      

Crew chiefs: Brian Corradi, Mark Oswald; Assistant: Brad Mason

QUALIFIED: No. 1

SUNDAY ELIMINATIONS

First round: Blake Alexander

QUALIFYING RESULTS

FRIDAY: 3.709 sec., 324.67 mph, (Session 1); 3.713, 329.42, (Session 2)

SATURDAY: 4.535, 170.26, (Session 3); 3.783, 322.88, (Session 4)

Best time, speed: 3.667 (2017, Phoenix); 333.16 mph (2017, Topeka)

Last event (June 2-4, Epping, N.H.): Qualified No. 4, lost in championship round to Brittany Force

A year ago at Englishtown: Qualified No. 2, lost in second round to Tony Schumacher

Career at Englishtown: Wins 3 (TF-2015/PSM-2002, 2005), Runner-ups 2 (2009, 2010),

Poles 4 (TF-2008, 2015/PSM-2001, 2005)

 

TONY SCHUMACHER, U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster                                                                    

Crew chief: Mike Green; Assistant: Phil Shuler

QUALIFIED: No. 6

SUNDAY ELIMINATIONS

First round: Leah Pritchett

QUALIFYING RESULTS

FRIDAY: 5.770 sec., 116.44 mph, (Session 1); 3.763, 323.19, (Session 2)

SATURDAY: 3.853, 320.81, (Session 3); 6.298, 95.35, (Session 4)

Best Time, Speed: 3.660 sec. (2017, Topeka); 332.51 mph (2016, Brainerd)

Last event (June 2-4, Epping, NH): Qualified No. 3, lost in first round to Smax Smith

A year ago at Englishtown: Qualified No. 10, lost in championship round to Steve Torrence

Career at Englishtown: Wins 1 (2008), Runner-ups 1 (2016), Poles 2 (2007, 2009)

 

LEAH PRITCHETT, Dodge Demon/Pennzoil/Mopar Top Fuel dragster                                        

Crew chief: Todd Okuhara; Assistant: Joe Barlam

QUALIFIED: No. 9

SUNDAY ELIMINATIONS

First round: Tony Schumacher

QUALIFYING RESULTS

FRIDAY: 3.785 sec., 321.42 mph, (Session 1); 4.953, 139.83, (Session 2)

SATURDAY: 3.845, 306.12, (Session 3); 6.298, 95.35, (Session 4)

Best Time, Speed: 3.658 sec.-world record (2017, Phoenix); 330.23 mph (2017, Topeka)

Last event (June 2-4, Epping, NH): Qualified No. 1, lost in semifinals to Antron Brown

A year ago at Englishtown: Qualified No. 12, lost in first round to Doug Kalitta

Career at Englishtown: Wins 0, Runner-ups 0, Poles 0

 

DSR FUNNY CARS                                                                                                                         

No. 1 qualifier: Courtney Force (John Force Racing), 3.862 sec.-track record, 331.12 mph

 

RON CAPPS, NAPA AUTO PARTS 2017 Dodge Charger R/T                                                    

Crew chief: Rahn Tobler; Assistant: Eric Lane

Qualified: No. 3

SUNDAY ELIMINATIONS

First round: Del Worsham

QUALIFYING RESULTS

FRIDAY: 3.895 sec., 323.04 mph, (Session 1); 3.883, 329.67, (Session 2)

SATURDAY: 3.963, 313.51, (Session 3); 3.951, 320.05, (Session 4)

Best Time, Speed: 3.839 sec. (2017, Phoenix); 333.58 mph (2017, Phoenix)

Last event (June 2-4, Epping, NH): Qualified No. 3, lost in semifinals to Courtney Force

A year ago at Englishtown: Qualified No. 1, won in championship round over Jack Beckman

Career at Englishtown: Wins 2 (2006, 2016), Runner-ups 3 (2003, 2005, 2012), Poles 2 (2012, 2016)

 

JACK BECKMAN, Terry Chandler’s Infinite Hero Foundation 2017 Dodge Charger R/T          

Crew chiefs: Dean Antonelli, John Medlen, Neal Strausbaugh

Qualified: No. 4

SUNDAY ELIMINATIONS

First round: Jim Campbell

QUALIFYING RESULTS

FRIDAY: 3.895 sec., 323.04 mph, (Session 1); 3.907, 328.30, (Session 2)

SATURDAY: 4.442, 174.82, (Session 3); 4.589, 184.37, (Session 4)

Best Time, Speed: 3.825 sec., (2016 Pomona 2); 334.15 mph (Seattle 2016)

Last event (June 2-4, Epping, NH): Qualified No. 5, lost in first round to Del Worsham

A year ago at Englishtown: Qualified No. 10, lost in championship round to Ron Capps

Career at Englishtown: Wins 0, Runner-ups 2 (2013, 2016), Poles 0

 

TOMMY JOHNSON JR., Terry Chandler’s Make-A-Wish 2017 Dodge Charger                          

Crew chief: John Collins; Assistant: Rip Reynolds

Qualified: No, 7

SUNDAY ELIMINATIONS

First round: Bob Tasca III

QUALIFYING RESULTS  

FRIDAY: 4.312 sec., 217.60 mph, (Session 1); 3.945, 326.71, (Session 2)

SATURDAY: 4.034, 316.67, (Session 3); 3.954, 322.96, (Session 4)

Best Time, Speed: 3.837 sec. (Phoenix 2017); 330.80 mph (Seattle, 2016)

Last event (June 2-4, Epping, NH): Qualified No. 9, lost in semifinals to Matt Hagan

A year ago at Englishtown: Qualified No. 5, lost in second round to Del Worsham

Career at Englishtown: Wins 1 (2007), Runner-ups 0, Poles 1 (2007)

 

MATT HAGAN, Mopar Express Lane 2017 Dodge Charger R/T                                                 

Crew chief: Dickie Venables; Assistant: Michael Knudsen

Qualified: No. 9

SUNDAY ELIMINATIONS

First round: Jonnie Lindberg

QUALIFYING RESULTS

FRIDAY: 3.957 sec., 324.44 mph, (Session 1); 4.661, 174.71, (Session 2)

SATURDAY: 4.313, 220.80, (Session 3); 3.952, 317.72, (Session 4)

Best Time, Speed: 3.802 sec. (world record, (2017,Topeka); 338.85 mph (world record, 2017, Topeka)

Last event (June 2-4, Epping, NH): Qualified No. 4, won in championship round over Courtney Force

A year ago at Englishtown: Qualified No. 2, lost in second round to Jack Beckman

Career at Englishtown: Wins 2 (2013, 2015), Runner-ups 0, Poles 1 (2013)

 

2018 NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES SCHEDULE

 

NHRA Mello Yello Series Regular Season                                                                                           

Feb. 8-11             NHRA Winternationals                      Pomona, Calif.

Feb. 23-25           NHRA Arizona Nationals                   Phoenix

March 15-18        NHRA Gatornationals                        Gainesville, Fla.

April 6-8               NHRA Nationals                                Las Vegas

April 20-22           NHRA SpringNationals                      Houston

April 27-29           NHRA Four-Wide Nationals              Charlotte, N.C.

May 4-6                NHRA Southern Nationals                Atlanta

May 18-20            NHRA Heartland Nationals               Topeka, Kan.

May 31-June 3     Route 66 NHRA Nationals (PSM)     Chicago (switch w/ Epping ’17 date) 

June 7-10             NHRA Summernationals (PSM)       Englishtown, N.J.

June 15-17           NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals      Bristol, Tenn.

June 21-24           NHRA Nationals (PSM)                    Norwalk, Ohio

July 6-8                NHRA New England Nationals         Epping, N.H. (switch w/ Chicago ’17 date)

July 20-22            Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals    Denver

July 27-29            NHRA Sonoma Nationals (PSM)      Sonoma, Calif.

Aug. 3-5               NHRA Northwest Nationals              Seattle

Aug. 16-19           NHRA Nationals (PSM)                    Brainerd, Minn.

Aug. 29-Sept. 3    U.S. Nationals (PSM)                       Indianapolis

NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship                                                                          

Sept. 14-16          NHRA Carolina Nationals (PSM)      Charlotte, N.C.

Sept. 20-23          Dodge NHRA Nationals (PSM)         Reading, Pa.

Sept. 28-30          NHRA Midwest Nationals (PSM)      St. Louis

Oct. 11-14            NHRA Fall Nationals (PSM)              Dallas

Oct. 25-28            Toyota Nationals (PSM)                    Las Vegas

Nov. 8-11              NHRA Finals (PSM)                          Pomona, Calif.