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Capps pads lead with Atlanta win – Updated

by Bill Cawthon on

Ron Capps widened his Funny Car points lead with a win at the Lucas Oil NHRA Southern Nationals. He claimed his third consecutive Nationals title by defeating Tim Wilkerson with a holeshot win, with the NAPA Dodge Charger R/T arriving at the finish line 0.0574 seconds or about 27 feet ahead of the Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford Mustang.

Capps now has 633 points, 94 more than fellow Dodge driver and Don Schumacher Racing teammate Matt Hagan.

This latest victory brings Dodge’s Wally count in Funny Car competition to six of the seven awarded so far in the 2017 Mello Yello drag racing season.

Hagan got the better start in his semifinals match with Wilkerson but smoked the tires almost immediately and couldn’t recover.

The same fate befell Jack Beckman in his quarterfinals race with Wilkerson. Beckman had a better start but only made it about 300 feet before he went up in smoke.

Beckman eliminated Tommy Johnson Jr. in the opening round, the same round that saw Jim Campbell and the Jim Dunne Racing Charger shut down by Dave Richards’ Mustang.

Robert Hight made it to the semifinals giving him enough points to move up to fourth in the standings and bump Johnson to fifth and Beckman to sixth. Wilkerson’s runner-up finish moved him up to eighth in the points race, dropping Jim Campbell out of the top ten to the No. 11 spot.

Top qualifier Tony Schumacher made it to the Top Fuel finals, losing to Steve Torrence who had eliminated Mopar-sponsored Leah Pritchett in the semi-final round. Both Schumacher and Pritchett had traction troubles in their runs. Pritchett remains No. 1 in the standings with a 14-point lead over Schumacher.

Allen Johnson and Alan Prusiensky both ended their race days in the opening round of Pro Stock eliminations and both lost to former Dodge drivers. Johnson fell to Vincent Nobile in the first race of the day while Erica Enders beat Prusiensky two matches later.

NHRA Funny Car
1. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger R/T – 633 points, 3 wins
2. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger R/T – 539 points, 2 wins

3. John Force, Chevrolet Camaro – 490 points, 1 win
4. Robert Hight, Chevrolet Camaro – 437 point
5. Tommy Johnson Jr., Dodge Charger R/T – 427 points, 1 win
6. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger R/T – 426 points

7. Courtney Force, Chevrolet Camaro – 405 points
8. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang – 329 points
9. J.R. Todd, Toyota Camry – 326 points
10. Jonnie Lindberg, Toyota Camry – 318 points
11. Jim Campbell, Dodge Charger R/T – 275 points

NHRA Top Fuel
1. Leah Pritchett, Mopar HEMI – 641 points, 3 wins
2. Tony Schumacher, Mopar HEMI – 627 points, 1 win

3. Steve Torrence – 592 points, 2 wins
4. Antron Brown (1) – 560 points, 1 win
5. Doug Kalitta – 486 points
6. Clay Millican – 385 points
7. Brittany Force – 347 points
8. Terry McMillen – 301 points
9. Troy Coughlin Jr. – 295 points
10. Scott Palmer – 244 points

NHRA Pro Stock
01 Greg Anderson, Chevrolet Camaro – 586 points
02 Bo Butner, Chevrolet Camaro – 585 points
03 Jason Line, Chevrolet Camaro – 515 points
04 Tanner Gray, Chevrolet Camaro – 496 points
05 Jeg Coughlin Jr., Chevrolet Camaro – 495 Points
06 Chris McGaha, Chevrolet Camaro – 421 points
07 Erica Enders, Chevrolet Camaro – 390 points
08 Shane Gray, Chevrolet Camaro – 382 points
09 Drew Skillman, Chevrolet Camaro – 360 points
10 Vincent Nobile, Chevrolet Camaro – 341 points
11 Allen Johnson, Dodge Dart – 221 points
12 Alan Prusiensky, Dodge Dart – 219 points

13 Matt Hartford, Chevrolet Camaro – 128 points
14 Deric Kramer, Dodge Dart – 122 points

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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