Beckman sets track speed record in Bristol

On the first day of qualifying at the 13th annual Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals presented by Tri-Cities Area Ford Dealers in Bristol, Tennessee, Dodge Funny Car driver Jack Beckman set a track speed record of 317.05 miles per hour.

Beckman, in the Valvoline/MTS Charger, qualified second, behind Del Worsham’s DHL Camry. Worsham set a track ET record of 4.008 seconds, 0.004 seconds faster than Beckman.


2011 Champion and current points leader Matt Hagan and the Magneti Marelli/Rocky Boots Charger qualified third. Ron Capps qualified fifth in the NAPA Auto Parts Charger while Jeff Arend, still running the Eco-Absorb Charger, picked up the ninth slot. Johnny Gray, currently second in the standings, finished the day in the tenth spot after knocking out a timing block with the Pitch Energy Charger on his second run. It was a shame, too; Gray’s time, had it counted, would have put him right behind Capps. Blake Alexander had some trouble keeping up and failed to qualify. Since there are only 16 entries in the running this weekend, Alexander and the Auto Plus Parts Charger should make it to the eliminations on Sunday.

Dodge/Mopar Driver Qualifying Positions: Funny Car
2. Jack Beckman   Valvoline/MTS Charger   ET 4.012   Speed 317.05 (track record)
3. Matt Hagan   Magneti Marelli/Rocky Boots Charger   ET 4.049   Speed 317.05
5. Ron Capps   NAPA Auto Parts Charger   ET 4.066   Speed 310.84
9. Jeff Arend   Eco-Absorb Charger   ET 4.109   Speed 302.69
10. Johnny Gray   Pitch Energy Charger   ET 4.127   Speed 298.73
16. Blake Alexander   Auto Plus Parts Charger   ET 4.356   Speed 288.09 (DNQ)

In Pro Stock, it was another top spot for Mike Edwards and the “I Am Second” Camaro. Edwards set a track speed record in the first round and then shaved 0.006 seconds off his first ET in the second round to top the roster.

Allen Johnson and the Team Mopar Avenger roared to second in the qualifying order, shaving 0.036 seconds off his first round time.

Jeg Coughlin was 0.003 seconds behind Jason Line’s Summit Racing Equipment Camaro. The Avenger had to stick with its first-round time; good enough for second in the first round, but only good enough for fourth in the second.

V. Gaines and his Kendall Oil Avenger were a DNQ in the first heat of the day, but made it up on the second pass, qualifying ninth.

Vincent Nobile got out of the groove on the second run and had to fall back on his first-round time, which was good enough to keep him and the Mountain View Tire Avenger in the field. He qualified twelfth.

Dodge/Mopar Driver Qualifying Positions: Pro Stock
2. Allen Johnson   Team Mopar Avenger   ET 6.645   Speed 207.72
4. Jeg Coughlin Avenger   ET 6.664   Speed 206.67
9. V. Gaines   Kendall Oil Avenger   ET 6.686   Speed 206.35
12. Vincent Nobile   Mountain View Tire Avenger   ET 6.700   Speed 206.07

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Which Rams and Jeeps will we see?

The last few days have brought numerous photos to the fore; but which will we see?

The big truck-based Wagoneer, so far as it’s based on the photos above, seems least likely, at least in that form. Looking at it after the two images were set to the same scale, you can see that the “new Jeep” is likely a design study for the Grand Cherokee — either the next or current generation.

Read the full story: Which Rams and Jeeps will we see?  »

The Renegade-influenced Wrangler

Reddit member “arcsreddit” recently shared this photo of a Renegade-fronted Jeep Wrangler was photographed, in part-size clay-model form (which looks incredibly real).  While it’s hard to criticize on its appearance, it could send the wrong message — that the Wrangler has been “Renegaded” and lost capability.

Sources have told us that the next Wrangler will be as capable as the current one, if not more so;

Read the full story: The Renegade-influenced Wrangler  »

Could we see a Chrysler SUV?

Chrysler SUV

With the Warren plant soon to be emptied of mainstream Ram production, FCA will be able to create derivatives of the popular pickups without fear of disrupting production. The question is, will they do it? If so, what will we see?

There has already been some speculation about whether the Jeep Grand Wagoneer would be based on the Grand Cherokee, as statements from Mike Manley would lead us to believe,

Read the full story: Could we see a Chrysler SUV?  »

FCA’s “22 minute” diesel defense

Harald Wester

After Volkswagen and Audi were found to have been deliberately violating emissions laws worldwide for over a decade, both Volkswagen and Germany started a hunt to validate their claim that “everyone does it.”

One result of this is a movement to have more practical tests that are harder to trick. Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche had set up their diesel engines with “test sniffing” software. Another result was the discovery that other automakers worked within the EU law by implementing rather severe “engine protection” software (which may be one reason Fiat never brought its popular small MultiJets to the US).

Read the full story: FCA’s “22 minute” diesel defense  »

Spy shot: is this the 2019 Ram?

Spy photographer Glenn Paulina wrote:

We may have just gotten a look at the face of the 2019 Ram 1500 pickup, thanks to new camera phone images snapped at a dealer meeting.

The Ram images were on a print-out posted on the wall, entitled “Ram Brand Lit Signatures.”  … it seems logical to assume that this Ram presentation also shows a truck that currently resides in the future product pipeline.

Read the full story: Spy shot: is this the 2019 Ram?  »

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FCA’s “22 minute” diesel defense

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