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Who got the last Wally?

by Bill Cawthon on

The last races in the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello drag racing season are over. Tommy Johnson Jr. and the Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T collected the year’s final Funny Car trophy.

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What what a season it was in Fuel Funny Car, capped off with a national championship for Ron Capps in the NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Challenger, a track speed and ET record for Jack Beckman and one more win for Tommy Johnson Jr. bringing his total to three and the Dodge/Don Schumacher Racing total to 14 of the 24 Funny Car Wallys awarded this year.

With his holeshot victory over John Force, Johnson slipped past Matt Hagan to take the No. 2 spot. Hagan, who came to the Auto Club Finals just 27 points ahead of Johnson, made an early exit when he lost traction in the first round of eliminations and fell to third in the standings.

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Capps made it to the quarterfinals when Force got a quicker start and a holeshot win by 0.0085 seconds. Force went on to eliminate Beckman in the semifinals when the Infinite Hero Dodge developed clutch problems.

Capps, Johnson and Hagan were 1-2-3 in the final point standings with Beckman coming in fifth, just six points behind Force.

To see Johnson’s run and interview, click here.

Leah Pritchett and her Mopar-powered FireAde dragster made it to the quarterfinals before losing to Top Fuel Champion Antron Brown. In the same round, Tony Schumacher lost his race with Doug Kalitta, who went on to take the Wally.

Pritchett and Schumacher were seventh and eighth, respectively, in the final points standings.

In Pro Stock, Erica Enders had the best day of the Dodge drivers, reaching the semifinals where season champion Jason Line turned on the win light. Both Allen Johnson and Jeg Coughlin Jr. were eliminated in the first round. The trio of Dodge Darts ended a disappointing season with three final-round appearances and one win, all courtesy of Johnson.

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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