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Capps notches #8; widens lead

by Bill Cawthon on

Ron Capps picked up his eighth Wally of the season, beating Jonnie Lindberg to the finish line by 0.267 seconds and 13 feet at the NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Illinois.

The win widened the points gap between Capps and Robert Hight from eight points to 46 in a very tight race for the 2017 Mello Yello drag racing Funny Car championship.

Capps now has 58 career wins, second only to John Force in total NHRA Funny Car victories.

In his way to the win, Capps eliminated Jim Campbell, driver of the Jim Dunne Racing Charger, and Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) teammate Jack Beckman. He triumphed over John Force in the semifinals.

Matt Hagan evened his round-win count with Tommy Johnson Jr. in the opening round. Both drivers each have 299. Hagan lost a cylinder about 500 feet down the track and lost to Robert Hight in the quarterfinals.

Dale Creasy, driving a 2014 Dodge, lost to Hight in the opening round and Bob Bode, the seventh Dodge driver entered, failed to make the cut.

After qualifying second in the order and beating Ashley Sanford in the opening round of today’s eliminations, Leah Pritchett went up in smoke at the start of her quarterfinals race with Steve Torrence, who went on to collect his eighth Wally. Tony Schumacher, who qualified third, lost his second-round race with DSR teammate Antron Brown.

Allen Johnson had a respectable fourth in the Pro Stock qualifying order but lost his opening-round matchup with Erica Enders. Alan Prusiensky jumped the gun in the first round, giving Jason Line a free pass to the quarterfinals. Line went on to the fina round, losing to Greg Anderson.

(Note: Points update to follow)

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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