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Dodge nabs fifth drag-racing sweep

by Bill Cawthon on

Tommy Johnson Jr. scored his first Wally of the 2016 NHRA drag racing season with a hole-shot win over Matt Hagan in the fifth consecutive all-Dodge Funny Car final round at the Thunder Valley Nationals in Bristol, Tennessee.

NHRA-ThunderValley16-Web

Johnson was in the lead until the 330-foot mark, when Hagan began to catch up. Hagan ran out of track, hitting the lights 0.0145 seconds (about seven feet) after Johnson. That moved Johnson up two spots in points to #7, garnering him the last spot in the Traxxas Nitro Shootout. Dodge has now won six of eleven events.

Ron Capps was the top qualifier for the third event in a row, setting a new track ET record as well. He lost a semifinal round pedalfest with Hagan, but remains the points leader, 55 points ahead of Jack Beckman, the only DSR driver that hasn’t posted a win this year.

Hagan jumped up two positions in the standings, moving from sixth to fourth, 31 points behind Courtney Force, the points leader until Hagan began the Dodge streak at the Summernationals.

Despite track temperatures running as high as 133°, traction wasn’t as much of a factor as might have been expected.  In Pro Stock, Jeg Coughlin Jr. made it to the semifinals until mechanical problems forced him to shut down, losing to Greg Anderson. Coughlin beat former teammate Allen Johnson in the quarterfinals and went from tenth to eighth in the standings while Johnson remained in fourth.

Erica Enders dropped out of the top ten in the points race after a first-round loss to Vincent Nobile. V. Gaines was another first-round casualty after pushing in the clutch early in his matchup with Drew Skillman.

It was another Jason Line-Greg Anderson, all-Summit-Racing final round with Line taking the Wally this time. Anderson and Line have faced each other in seven of eleven final rounds this year. Allen Johnson, Bo Butner and Chris McGaha are the only other drivers that have made the final round in Pro Stock.

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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