When the fastest race cars on the planet roar to life this week for the NHRA Winternationals, a fleet of Mopar-powered Dodge machines will be among the front-runners at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in Southern California. Drivers and teams will also continue the yearlong Mopar 80th anniversary celebration at the 2017 season-starter as they look to add to the brand’s rich drag racing tradition.
The stout, four-driver NHRA Funny Car stable at Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) will look to capture a fifth NHRA Mello Yello Series title in the past seven seasons. Longtime Mopar-powered DSR driver Ron Capps gained the title of World Champion for the first time in 2016. His championship run began in Pomona where he collected the victory in the first event of the season.
2011 and 2014 Funny Car Champion Matt Hagan seeks to dethrone teammate Capps. Hagan finished third in his Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T in the Funny Car points standings last season, collecting four wins along the way, and also set dual national records. Hagan was responsible for the lowest E.T. in Funny Car history by turning in a time of 3.822 seconds at Minnesota’s Brainerd International Raceway in August.
Just as much a threat for race wins and world titles are 2012 champ Jack Beckman and 2016 championship runner-up Tommy Johnson Jr., in the Infinite Hero and Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T machines, respectively. Beckman won twice in 2016 and is also second in lowest E.T., having turned in a pass of 3.825 seconds during last season’s fall Pomona event.
Leah Pritchett will compete in her first full season with DSR after coming onboard with the team midway through the 2016 campaign. A winner last year at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park near Phoenix and a top-ten finisher in the standings, Pritchett proved she’s ready to build on that solid season as she battles in her Mopar/Pennzoil Top Fuel Dragster. She will compete alongside one of the most successful Top Fuel drivers in history, eight-time champion Tony Schumacher, as he pilots the Mopar-powered U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster.