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First Dodge Nats yield big win

by Bill Cawthon on

Dodge and Don Schumacher Racing dominated the Funny Car class at the first-ever Dodge NHRA Nationals in Maple Grove, Pennsylvania. Matt Hagan claimed the top spot in the rained-shortened qualifying rounds, with Tommy Johnson Jr. taking the second spot.


It was all-Dodge/all-DSR all the way through the semi-finals and final round, where Johnson picked up his second Wally of the season (and Dodge’s 12th) in a race with points leader Ron Capps.

At the end of the day, Dodge drivers held all four of the top spots in the Countdown to the Championship. Capps still holds the lead, but Johnson has trimmed Capps’ margin to just 24 points. Beckman remains in third. Hagan’s performance bumped him up from sixth to fourth.

Leah Pritchett nailed the top spot in Top Fuel qualifying for the first time in her career and made it all the way to the semifinals before losing to Brittany Force. Pritchett and the Mopar/Pennzoil dragster advanced from ninth to seventh in the standings.

It remains tough for Dodge in Pro Stock, although there may be some (very) small solace in the fact that Vincent Nobile, who won his first Wally of the season, used to drive an Avenger. Nobile eliminated Erica Enders, one of just two Dodge drivers to make it past the first round, in the quarterfinals.

Allen Johnson was a first-round casualty. Engine problems forced an early shutdown, giving Alan Prusiensky his first elimination round win. Prusiensky fell to Jason Line in the second round. Jeg Coughlin Jr. also ended his race day in the opening round, losing to Greg Anderson. Johnson, Coughlin and Enders remain seventh, ninth and tenth in the Countdown standings.

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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