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Dodge/Mopar’s latest NHRA victory

by David Zatz on

Ron Capps became the first 2019 repeat winner in NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Funny Car competition Sunday, taking his Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) Mopar-powered Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car to victory in the second annual Virginia NHRA Nationals near Richmond.

ron capps - Dodge Mopar NHRA driver 2019

Capps followed his Atlanta triumph two weeks ago with a run through the Funny Car field to score his 63rd career victory (also his 30th win with crew chief Rahn Tobler and his first Wally at Virginia Motorsports Park). The victory was also the third this season for a DSR Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car pilot.

En route to the historic win, Capps knocked out fellow Charger Funny Car driver Tommy Johnson, Jr. in the semifinals. Leah Pritchett qualified her DSR HEMI-powered Mopar Top Fuel dragster sixth, but wasn’t able to advance past the first round.

The march to victory for Capps in his NAPA Dodge began with a stout run in the opening round of 3.997 seconds at 313.58 mph to dispatch Jim Campbell, who smoked the tires around 300 feet into his run. Up next for Capps was a battle with current point leader Robert Hight in round two. His lap of 6.173 was enough to advance for another semifinal match-up with Tommy Johnson, Jr. where Capps pulled away for the victory despite losing a cylinder, as Johnson went up in smoke just after the hit and never recovered.

In his 121st career final, left first on reigning Funny Car champion J.R. Todd and posted his second-best run of the day at 4.097 to capture the win. The victory moves Capps up to eighth all-time in wins with 63 and allowed him to jump from seventh to third in the championship standings.

Tommy Johnson, Jr. continued his success in hot climate this weekend aboard the Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat. He qualified second with his second run on Friday and took care of business seamlessly in his opening round match-up against Terry Haddock with his pass of 4.027 seconds at 316.52 mph. With track temperatures reaching over 140 degrees, Johnson and fellow Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car racer Jack Beckman were on the spot right away in round two when their machines quickly lost traction. Johnson was able to recover almost immediately and cruised to a victory over Beckman with his pass of 5.356. The victory set up a second consecutive semifinal matchup with Capps. Johnson lost traction early again, but this time he wasn’t able to recover and Capps knocked him out for the second consecutive event.

In the Sportsman class, Thomas Auger and Stephen Comella earned Top Dodge Finisher Awards in Richmond.  The Dodge Top Finisher award, now in its third year, awards $500 to Stock Eliminator and Super Stock drivers who advance the furthest behind the wheel of a Mopar-powered Dodge, Chrysler, or Plymouth race car at all 24 NHRA national events.

Ron Capps said, “This is what dreams are made of. I told (Rahn) Tobler and those guys that I’ve never won at this track. And today, we added another one to the list. That says something about the people that I’m surrounded by. … We could not have won a couple of those rounds without that Hellcat and its downforce. Don Schumacher gives us everything we need. And Rahn Tobler, this is our 30th win together since 2012. That’s craziness.”


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