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Dodge reaches both NHRA finals in Epping

by Bill Cawthon on

Allen Johnson’s Dodge Dart made it all the way to the Pro Stock finals in the NHRA New England Nationals in Epping, New Hampshire.


While Jeg Coughlin, Erica Enders and V. Gaines were eliminated in the first round, Johnson shut down Chris McGaha to advance to the quarterfinals. Johnson then defeated former teammate Vincent Nobile and went on to beat Shane Gray in the semifinals.

In the final round, Johnson was quicker out of the gate but Greg Anderson was able to pass him by the 200-foot mark.

The final round appearance put Johnson firmly in fourth place in the driver standings, 467 points back of Jason Line, the current Pro Stock leader. Erica Enders is ninth in the points race, one point ahead of Coughlin. V. Gaines is in the No. 12 spot.

NHRA-Epping-Capps-WebIn Funny Car, Ron Capps hung on to win his second Wally of the 2016 Mello Yello NHRA season. His Charger tripped the timing lights seven feet ahead of Don Schumacher Racing teammate Tommy Johnson Jr. in an all-Dodge final round. Johnson got the quicker start but Capps had the quicker, and faster, pass.

The win jumped Capps from sixth to third in the point standings.

John Hale was the only Dodge driver that didn’t advance to the quarterfinals. He lost to Matt Hagan in the opening round.

In the second round, Johnson’s Charger scored a hole-shot win over Jack Beckman, crossing the finish line 14 inches ahead of another Dodge. In the same round, the engine went dead in Hagan’s Charger, after a better start; 2015 season champ Del Worsham was able to win.

John Force fell to Capps in the semifinals while Johnson ended Worsham’s race day. Both Force and Worsham had better starts but the Dodges had caught up to the Camaro and the Camry by the time they passed the Christmas tree.

Both runner-up Jack Beckman and Ron Capps are within striking distance of current points leader Courtney Force in a tight race for the top spot. Matt Hagan is sixth in the standings while Tommy Johnson Jr. is ninth.

While the Dart has yet to win an event this season, Chargers have now racked up four victories in Fuel Funny Car, putting them at the top at the halfway point in the regular season. Chevrolet and Ford each have two Wallys while Toyota has one.

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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