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Down to the wire for Funny Car championship

by Bill Cawthon on

Ron Capps and Matt Hagan made it all the way to the semifinals before losing to the Force family. Hagan went up in smoke in his race with John Force and Capps was eliminated by Courtney Force who shut down Jack Beckman in the quarterfinals.


Papa Force shut down his daughter in the final round but since neither of them has a chance at the season championship the major change in the championship race will be Hagan’s move to second place, 86 points behind Capps.

Hagan is now Capps’ only credible remaining competitor for the big prize.

Tommy Johnson Jr., who was second in the standings coming into today’s race, saw his hopes of a series championship fade after losing his first-round race with Del Worsham. He dropped to third and realistically out of contention, 113 points out of the lead.

Leah Pritchett won her first two Top Fuel races but couldn’t keep up with Steve Torrence in the semifinals. Pritchett had been the top qualifier in three of the four rounds and qualified second in the order. She left Vegas seventh in the point standings. Antron Brown clinched the Top Fuel season championship.

In Pro Stock, it was four up, four down in the first round. Erica Enders had a very short race day, falling to Chris McGaha in the first match of the day. Two heats later, Allen Johnson lost his race with Jason Line. In the next two races, Deric Kramer was eliminated by Shane Gray and Jeg Coughlin Jr. lost to Alex Laughlin. Johnson, Coughlin and Enders are now eighth, ninth and tenth in the points race.

The fifth Dodge, Alan Prusiensky’s Arcraceengnes.con Dart, didn’t qualify.

Deric Kramer, who isn’t in the Countdown, actually delivered the strongest performance. With a near perfect light, Kramer held the lead until just before the timing lights when Gray managed to overtake and win with a margin of 0.0031 seconds, about 11 inches.

While there’s no chance for a Dodge win, the Pro Stock title is still in contention. Greg Anderson is just 13 points behind Jason Line and Shane Gray has a theoretical chance.

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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