Mopar in Center Line and Dodge//SRT, part of FCA US, which has its North American headquarters in Auburn Hills, are once again teaming up and taking aim at world titles in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, armed with an increased commitment to Top Fuel star Leah Pritchett and renewed support of two-time Funny Car champion Matt Hagan for the 2018 season, which commences at the NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, Calif., Feb. 8-11.
The brands will take primary placement on Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) driver Pritchett’s 330-plus mph NHRA Top Fuel Dragster at seven of 23 events on the 2018 NHRA schedule, more than triple from two races last season as primary sponsor.
“Mopar and Dodge have a winning heritage at the drag strip, and our brands are working even closer together in 2018 to continue that tradition with a lineup that includes Leah Pritchett, Matt Hagan, and the entire Don Schumacher Racing organization,” says Pietro Gorlier, head of parts and service at Mopar. “From the professional classes to the Sportsman ranks to the enthusiast experience, we are committed to connecting with NHRA racers and fans who are passionate about horsepower both at the track and on the street.”
The brands will also share sponsorship of Pritchett, who earned four wins and a fifth-place finish in the 2017 standings, with Pennzoil for two events.
“It’s something I’ve been excited about, and something that was hard to keep quiet about over the off-season,” says Pritchett. “It’s such an incredible fit, for Mopar and Dodge to expand their presence with the Top Fuel team for Don Schumacher Racing.
“For one, the car looks amazing, for two, the technology that we have been developing with Mopar and Dodge//SRT on all types of fronts, both Top Fuel and Funny Car — I think it’s just an absolute perfect match, and I couldn’t be more excited for the growth.”
Hagan, who also captured four wins and the fifth spot in the 2017 standings, will celebrate a decade behind the wheel of a Mopar-powered DSR Dodge Funny Car in 2018. The brands will serve in a primary sponsorship role for 14 races during the 2018 season as Hagan seeks his third career NHRA Funny Car title.
“Where does the time go?” says Hagan. “Ten years, that’s a chunk out of your life. I was very fortunate to get hooked up with Don Schumacher. He surrounds himself with the best, and Mopar and Dodge are key sponsors. It has been good for me to be able to carry that banner.”
Hagan and Pritchett will look to defend their NHRA Winternationals titles, as the pair doubled up to bring home victories in the Top Fuel and Funny Car classes at the season-opening event last year.