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Mopar dominates Funny Car, sets records

by Bill Cawthon on

Ron Capps picked up his fourth consecutive win today, beating Matt Hagan to the finish line by 30 feet in the Funny Car finals at the NHRA Heartland Nationals in Topeka, Kansas.

Capps has now accumulated 748 points, 119 more than runner-up Hagan and 224 more than his closest non-Dodge competitor, John Force.

Capps’ latest Wally is the seventh for Dodge and the third time for an all-Dodge final round in the eight events run so far in the 2017 NHRA Mello Yello drag racing season.

Despite the loss, Hagan didn’t come away empty-handed; he set new national ET and speed records in the Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T.

Hagan’s trip down the track lasted just 3.803 seconds and he was doing 338.85 miles per hour when he tripped the timing lights in the second qualifying session.

Hagan qualified in the top spot for the last two of the three qualifying heats adding to his point total.

Fast Jack Beckman had one of his best qualifying performances of the season and made it to the semifinals where he lit the tires and lost to Hagan. Beckman moved up to fifth in the points race, but he’s just 22 points behind Force

The fourth member of the Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) contingent, Tommy Johnson Jr., toasted the tires about halfway down the track and blew his engine at the 660-foot marker. Johnson’s early exit dropped him from fifth to seventh

Jim Dunne Racing Charger driver Jim Campbell couldn’t get a good run in and failed to make the cut.

Mopar-backed Leah Pritchett qualified second and got all the way to the Top Fuel semifinals before losing to DSR teammate Antron Brown, who went on to win all the marbles by shutting down Steve Torrance.

Pritchett remains in the points lead with just a 30-point cushion over Torrance.

Her other DSR teammate, Tony Schumacher in the Mopar-powered U.S. Army dragster, went up in smoke in the first matchup of the quarterfinals. He also got hit with a $4,000 oildown penalty and lost 15 points in the standings. With the early exit and penalty, Schumacher fell from the runner-up spot to fourth.

In Pro Stock, Allen Johnson made it to the quarterfinals, losing to former teammate Jeg Couglin Jr. who made it to the final round where he lost to rookie Tanner Gray. Deric Kramer was eliminated in Sunday’s opening round.

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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