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Capps takes lead with Charlotte win

by Bill Cawthon on

Ron Capps picked up his second consecutive victory on Sunday at the NHRA 4-Wide Nationals in Charlotte, North Carolina.

It was the first 4-Wide Nationals win for Capps, the defending Funny Car champion. It was also the first time the Funny Car lead has changed in the 2017 NHRA Mello Yello drag racing season. Capps is now 43 points in front of Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) teammate Matt Hagan.

It was almost an all-Dodge, all DSR final round. Capps, Hagan and fellow DSR driver Jack Beckman all made it to the final round where they faced J.R. Todd, driver of the DHL Toyota Camry.

Hagan went up in smoke about 50 feet from the start; Capps and Beckman made clean passes with Capps tripping the lights about seven feet ahead of Beckman, giving Dodge, DSR and Mopar a 1-2 finish.

Tommy Johnson Jr.’s race day ended in the first round of eliminations. His Make-A-Wish Charger got a bad case of the shakes and he couldn’t keep up with Beckman, the runner-up in the match (the top two in each 4-car race advance to the next round). The Jim Dunne Racing Charger, driven by Jim Campbell, nosed over about 400 feet out and was out of the competition.

There are five Dodges in the Funny Car top ten. Capps leads the list with 518 points; Hagan dropped to second with 475 points; Johnson is fourth with 390 points; Beckman moved up a spot, to fifth, with 375 points and Campbell is tenth with 242.

Dodge and Mopar have collected five of the six Wallys awarded so far this season.

Leah Pritchett kept the Top Fuel crown by coming in third in the final heat. Her DSR teammate Tony Schumacher, was the runner-up, crossing the finish line just 0.001 seconds behind Steve Torrence. Pritchett had a terrible reaction time which may have cost her the race. Pritchett and Schumacher are 1-2 in the point standings. Pritchett has won three of the six events so far in the 2017 season while Schumacher has won once.

Allen Johnson and Alan Prusiensky were both eliminated in the first Pro Stock matchup of the day.

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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