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Record runs in Pomona; disappointment in Daytona

by Bill Cawthon on

Saturday was a mixed bag for Dodge drivers in NHRA drag Racing and Trans Am TA2 action. Ron Capps and Matt Hagan set new track records in the final qualifying session of the 2013 NHRA Mello Yello drag racing season at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, California, as a disastrous race at Daytona International Speedway cost Cameron Lawrence his chance to three-peat as Trans Am TA2 class champion.

In a weekend of records, Ron Capps reset the track ET record and set himself up for a national ET record with a 3.886 time in the fourth, and final, round of qualifying in the Auto Club NHRA finals. Capps and Tommy Johnson Jr. split the top qualifier spot with Capps on top in Rounds One and Four and Johnson in the lead in Rounds Two and Three.

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Capps, fellow Don Schumacher driver Jack Beckman, and Del Worsham all have a shot at resetting the national ET record today. Capps, Beckman and Worsham finished the day 1-2-3 in the qualifying order. Cooler temperatures in Pomona could make for some very quick times today.

Matt Hagan posted a 330.15 mph run on his last pass on Saturday, a new track record and close to the national record 330.47 mph he set at St. Louis in September. Hagan took the No. 4 spot on Saturday.

Johnson, one of three drivers still in contention for the Funny Car championship, qualified fifth.

Gary Densham, Paul Lee and Jeff Arend also qualified while John Hale’s season ended as he was one of five drivers who failed to make the cut on Saturday.

In Pro Stock, Allen Johnson qualified in the No. 11 spot. Richie Stevens and V. Gaines also made it into the field while Alan Prusiensky failed to qualify.

After leading the Trans AM TA2 class all season, Cameron Lawrence came into the Bullet Liner Championship Weekend with a narrow 13-point lead over Gar Robinson. An unfortunate accident during TA2 class qualifying dropped him to the 26th spot in the starting grid. Lawrence made his way up to 11th in just three laps but mechanical troubles with the Mopar Dodge Challenger forced a pit stop and a full-course caution left him a lap down. Lawrence finished the race in 18th place and Robinson won the championship. Two-time champion Lawrence finished third in the season standings behind Robinson and Adam Andretti.

The season wasn’t a total wash for Lawrence. Along with Al Carter and Marc Goossens, Lawrence won the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup in IMSA’s GT Daytona class.

Dodges did come out on top in TA3 International. Lee Saunders was the class champion in the No. 84 Landsearch LLC Dodge Viper. Saunders finished the season with a 97-point lead over Steve Streimer and the No. 42 Lux Performance Group Viper, giving Dodge a 1-2 finish for the year.

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Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for just-auto.com, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.


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