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Tough weekend for Dodge

by Bill Cawthon on

Dodge came up empty in this weekend’s motorsports slate.

A broken right-rear axle in the first hour of yesterday’s 12 Hours of Sebring cost the No. 33 Dodge Viper five laps and ended any hope of winning the race. The breakdown happened just minutes after Jeroen Bleekemolen had taken the lead in the GT Daytona class. When racing resumed after the race was red-flagged due to rain, Bleekemolen and Ben Keating did their best but finished 12th in the GTD class, two laps down from the winning No. 63 Ferrari 488 GTE.


Track temperatures caused traction troubles for Ron Capps and the NAPA Dodge Charger, costing them a shot at a Wally in the NHRA Gatornationals. Capps had an early lead over Robert Hight in the final round when both cars lost traction: Capp’s Dodge drifted across the center line and was disqualified.

The loss dropped Capps out of the top spot in the rankings for the first time this year. He trails Hight by a single point.

Capps had defeated Jack Beckman, who was the top qualifier in three of the four rounds, in the semifinals. Tommy Johnson Jr. and John Hale were eliminated in the opening round while Matt Hagan fell to Robert Height in the quarterfinals.

Beckman is now fourth in the points race. Hagan is tenth and Tommy Johnson Jr. is just outside the top ten in eleventh place.

Over in Pro Stock, Allen Johnson made it to the semifinals where he lost to Greg Anderson, the eventual winner. Anderson also eliminated Jeg Coughlin in their quarterfinals meet and V. Gaines in the first round. Johnson shut down 2015 Champion Erica Enders in the second matchup of the day.

Johnson and Coughlin are tied for sixth in the rankings. Erica Enders is back in the top ten.

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, 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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