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Capps widens lead; Pritchett recovers

by Bill Cawthon on

Ron Capps padded his lead in the NHRA Funny car driver standings to an impressive 168 points ahead of runner-up Matt Hagan. It’s the largest leader margin in any pro class so far in the 2017 Mello Yello season.

The NAPA Charger team poses with their newest trophy. Front (l. to r.) Crew Chief Rahn Tobler, Dale Aldo of Mopar and Ron Capps

Jack Beckman firmed up his hold on third place with his final-round appearance at the just-ended Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway in Bristol, Tennessee. He is now 41 points ahead of Robert Hight who nudged Courtney Force out of fourth.

Tommy Johnson Jr. is the sole owner of sixth in the driver standings. Johnson outlasted John Force by making it to the semifinals and breaking last week’s tie.

Jim Campbell, driver of the Jim Dunne Racing Charger, was the only Dodge driver to fall in the standings after a first-round loss to Hagan. Campbell dropped to the No. 13 spot.

Top Fuel driver Leah Pritchett bounced back after last week’s first-round loss. Her final-round matchup with Clay Millican lifted her to second place, just 11 points behind Steve Torrance and nine points ahead of Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) teammate Antron Brown. Tony Schumacher, driver of the Mopar-powered U.S. Army dragster and the third member of the DSR team, remains fourth in the driver competition.

First-round losses didn’t help Pro Stock Dodge Dart drivers Allen Johnson and Alan Prusiensky. but it didn’t really hurt them too much, either. Johnson remained 11th in the ranks, just ahead of 12th-place Prusiensky. Johnson is now 549 points behind class leader Bo Butner.

For the latest points totals and standings, click here.

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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