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Mopar and Dodge ready for the Countdown

by Bill Cawthon on

While the NHRA’s three-race Western Swing was a wash for Mopar, it did lock up Countdown to the Championship berths for all of the Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) drivers.

The top ten drivers in each Pro Class will be in the Countdown, the six-race series that will determine the 2017 NHRA Championship.

With two events remaining in the regular season, Leah Pritchett and Tony Schumacher clinched spots in Top Fuel after the Northwest Nationals while Tommy Johnson Jr., who made it to the final round at the Mopar Mile-High Nationals and at the Northwest Nationals, joined Ron Capps, Matt Hagan and Jack Beckman in Funny Car.

Due to the winless streak, Robert Hight, who won in Denver and Kent, has passed Beckman in the standings to move into third place with a 60-point margin. Capps and Hagan are still 1-2 in the points count.

If Jim Campbell, driver of the Jim Dunn Racing Charger, can pick up some points on Cruz Pedregon, there would be five Dodge drivers in the Countdown. Campbell is currently 11th in the standings, just eight points behind Pedregon.

Allen Johnson hasn’t tied up his Pro Stock spot yet, but the Marathon Oil Dart is finally in the top ten and there’s a 164-point gap between Johnson and the closest non-Dodge competitor. Alan Prusiensky and his Dart are 11th in the standings, about 80 points behind 10th-place Johnson. With just two Countdown berths still open and just the Lucas Oil Nationals and U.S. Nationals left in the regular season, Prusiensky would have to perform at a higher level than he has so far.

Next event is the Lucas Oil Nationals in Brainerd, Minnesota, which kicks off this Friday, August 17.

Class/Driver Car Rank Points Behind
Leah Pritchett* Papa Johns/Mopar Dragster 3 1,329 89
Tony Schumacher* U.S. Army Dragster 4 1,064 354
Ron Capps* NAPA Auto Parts Charger 1 1,330 Leader
Matt Hagan* Mopar Express Lane Charger 2 1,172 158
Jack Beckman* Infinite Hero Charger 4 1,104 226
Tommy Johnson Jr.* Make-A-Wish Charger 5 1,081 249
Jim Campbell Jim Dunn Racing/7-Eleven Charger 11 593 737
Allen Johnson Marathon Petroleum/J&J Racing Dart 10 600 823
Alan Prusiensky Dart 11 520 903
*Clinched berth in the Countdown to the Championship

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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