May 16, 2015 , Commerce, Georgia - After posting five title wins in the first six events of the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season, the Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) team wasn’t going to let two weekends away from competition slow down any progress they’ve been making with the new 2015 Mopar Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car, and they proved that by putting three of their HEMI®-powered vehicles in the top-five in qualifying for the NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway.
 
DSR pilot Jack Beckman’s qualifying efforts at Atlanta Dragway continues a streak of consistent results that have seen the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger R/T in the winner circle at the Four-Wide Nationals in Charlotte, along with a No.1 Qualifier position and runner-up finish at the previous event three weeks ago at the NHRA SpringNationals in Houston. Beckman qualified third with a Friday night qualifying drive in 4.033 seconds at 301.13 miles per hour (mph), posting the result despite an explosion that did damage to the new body after a parts malfunction. The DSR driver wrapped up qualifying on a good note by posting the quickest time of the final session with an elapsed time run of 4.106 sec / 310.63 mph in conditions that should be similar to those expected on race day.
 
"We blew it up pretty good Friday night and our guys were at the track late getting it ready, but they came back today and got us down the track pretty good," said Beckman who will see Robert Hight as his first round opponent.
 
DSR teammate Matt Hagan, looking to add a third title to his tally so far this season in defense of his 2014 NHRA world championship, put his Mopar Express Lane /Rocky Boots machine fourth on the eliminations ladder with his Friday qualifying pass of 4.040/ 319.37. Giving Hagan even more confidence was the fact that his Mopar made two solid passes in the Saturday qualifying sessions that took place in the heat of the day, and that bodes well for race day where he will see Dave Richards as his first round match-up.
 
"Obviously they call it Hot-Lanta for a reason," said Hagan of 130-degree track. "The car is going down the racetrack and we're learning as we go. You have to make it down on the track on Friday night to get a good spot in qualifying but Saturday conditions are more relatable to race-day conditions and I'm pretty pleased with what I saw today from this team."
 
Tommy Johnson Jr., who hasn’t taken his new 2015 Mopar Dodge Charger R/T to the winner’s circle yet this season like his three teammates have, took a step closer to that goal with a fifth place effort in qualifying with his Make-A-Wish machine posting a 4.040/312.86 pass.
 
"We did some testing in Indy before this event to try to get our Make-A-Wish Dodge on track," said Johnson who will meet-up with Tony Pedregon in the first round. "It was nice to see the results of testing paying off. We came out Friday that first run and went straight down the racetrack with a nice pass. Then to come back last night and step it up with a 4.04, which is what we ran in Indy testing, was a very good first day. We right away had a lot of confidence with how the weekend was going."
 
Funny Car points leader Ron Capps, who earned his second Wally trophy of the season with a title win in Houston, didn’t have the kind of qualifying passes he was looking for. Capps’ best run came on Friday night with a 4.068/315.93, the only pass of his four attempts to cross the finish line under full power to put him ninth overall in qualifying.
 
"We obviously didn't qualify as good as we wanted to but we did win at Gainesville from the ninth position when we didn't have lane choice in the first round," said Capps who will see Alexis DeJoria in the lane next to him for the first round. “We had little glitches here and there that our guys were able to find within those four runs of qualifying. When you can find them that quick it says a lot about your team.”
 
In Pro Stock Action, things were looking a lot more positive for Allen Johnson and the “Magneti Marelli Offered by Mopar” Dodge Dart with a fourth place qualifying effort at Atlanta Dragway, tying his best starting position for eliminations this season in Phoenix, after the team has been grappling with tuning issues resulting from the introduction of a new fuel for the class this year. Johnson earned the fourth seeded position with his run of 6.556 /210.87 on Friday evening and remained in the top-five in both sessions on Saturday. He’ll face his fellow HEMI-powered Dodge Dart driver, V. Gaines, in the opening round of eliminations.
 
Three hours of television coverage for eliminations at the 35th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals, the seventh of 24 events in the 2015 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season, will be broadcast on ESPN2 on Sunday, May 17, starting at 9 p.m. ET.

2015 NHRA Championship Points Standings
(following qualifying at NHRA Southern Nationals):
 
PRO STOCK (season wins in parentheses)
1.         Erica Enders Stevens – 552 (2)
2.         Jason Line – 544 (1)
3.         Greg Anderson – 495 (1)
4.         Chris McGaha – 464
5.         Rodger Brogdon – 420(1)
6.         Drew Skillman – 372
7.         Vincent Nobile – 369
8.         Larry Morgan – 355 (1)
9.         Shane Gray – 328
10.       Allen Johnson (Dodge Dart) – 315
13.       V Gaines (Dodge Dart) – 242
           
FUNNY CAR (season wins in parentheses)
1.         Ron Capps (2015 Dodge Charger R/T) – 463 (2)
2.         Matt Hagan (2015 Dodge Charger R/T) – 462 (2)
3.         Del Worsham – 435
4.         Robert Hight – 428
5.         Tommy Johnson Jr. (2015 Dodge Charger R/T) – 404
6.         Jack Beckman (2015 Dodge Charger R/T) – 393 (1)
7.         John Force – 367 (1)
8.         Alexis DeJoria – 361
9t.        Courtney Force – 336
9t.        Cruz Pedregon– 336
 
About Mopar Motorsports
Mopar’s commitment to professional motorsports competition was established in the 1950s when a partnership ignited with drag racing pioneer Don Garlits, resulting in the breaking of numerous speed and performance barriers in HEMI®-powered vehicles over the next several decades. In 2015, Mopar looks to add to its streak of five NHRA World Championship titles in the Pro Stock (2012 and 2013) and Funny Car (2011, 2012, and 2014) categories in four years. While Mopar remains involved in a various professional motorsports series, it continues to honor its roots by being a proud supporter of amateur racing within the NHRA with its sponsorship of the HEMI Challenge and Mopar’s Tom Hoover Sportsman Challenge.

 
About Mopar Brand
Mopar (a simple contraction of the words Motor and PARts) was trademarked in 1937 with the launch of an antifreeze product, but it truly made its mark in the 1960s during the muscle-car era. From Mopar Performance Parts to enhance speed and handling for both road and racing use, the brand soon expanded to include technical service and customer support.

Today, Mopar is FCA’s service, parts and customer-care brand and distributes more than 500,000 parts and accessories in over 150 markets around the world. With more than 50 parts distribution centers and 27 customer contact hubs globally, Mopar integrates service, parts and customer-care operations in order to enhance dealer and customer support worldwide. Mopar is the source for genuine parts and accessories for FCA brands.

Mopar parts are engineered together with the same teams that create factory-authorized specifications for FCA vehicles. This offers a direct connection that no other aftermarket parts company can provide. A complete list of Mopar accessories and performance parts is available at: www.mopar.com.

Mopar-first Features
Mopar has introduced numerous industry-first features including:
  • Vehicle-information apps: first to introduce smartphone vehicle-information applications, a new channel of communication with customers
  • Electronic owner manuals: first to introduce traditional owner manuals in a DVD and brief user-guide format. First to offer complete vehicle-information kits in Spanish
  • Wi-Fi: first to offer customers the ability to make their vehicle a wireless hot spot
  • Wireless charging: first to introduce in-vehicle wireless charging for portable devices
  • Electronic Vehicle Tracking System (EVTS): first to market with interactive vehicle tracking device that sends owner a text when vehicle is driven too fast or too far based on pre-set parameters
  • wiADVISOR: first to provide factory-connected tablet technology in the service lane for instant vehicle diagnosis
  • wiTECH: first to support vehicle diagnosis and software updates leveraging off-the-shelf personal computers and a dedicated wireless tool network
  • 2011 Mopar Challenger Drag Pak: first to introduce a 500-plus cubic-inch V-10 drag-race package car