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Mopars dominated NHRA Atlanta

by Bill Cawthon on

Matt Hagan ended a 19-event winless streak by capturing the Fuel Funny Car Wally at the NHRA Southern Nationals in Atlanta, beating Jack Beckman in an all-Charger final round. In New York State, Louis-Phillipe Montour was the runner-up in Trans Am TA2 action at Watkins Glen.

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Hagan was first out of the gate. Beckman hit the throttle, got about 40 feet down the track and went up in smoke. There was a bit of drama when Hagan got to the end of his pass. Just after he tripped the lights, a fire started. Fortunately, the fire bottles did their job and the flames were out by the time Hagan was able to stop the car.

Tommy Johnson Jr. made it to the semifinals, falling to Beckman in the first race. Beckman ended Ron Capps’ weekend in the quarterfinals.

It was a weekend for Dodges setting records in Funny Car competition. Hagan set both ends of the track record in the Pennzoil Charger with a 3.906-second ET at 329.02 mph in the quarterfinals. In the race just before Hagan’s record run, Beckman had set a new record, beating the record he set on Friday on his way to the top qualifier spot.

Beckman’s runner-up finish was enough to leapfrog him into second place, 40 points behind Courtney Force. Beckman’s move dropped Ron Capps from third to fourth. Matt Hagan’s much-needed victory put him in the No. 9 spot with Tommy Johnson Jr.

Allen Johnson made it all the way to the semifinals in Pro Stock, losing to Jason Line; this was Johnson’s third semifinal round appearance, putting him at the top of the Dart drivers. Johnson is now the leading Dart driver and is just one point out of fifth place.

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Louis-Phillippe Montour drove a Challenger to a second-place finish in Watkins Glen, New York. Jason Kennedy finished tenth while Adam Andretti, currently the points leader among Dodge drivers, had to retire after seven laps.

Dodge Viper ACRXs driven by Cindi Lux and Steve Streimer finished second and third in the TA3 class.

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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