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NHRA Funny Car mid season update

by Patrick Rall on

We haven’t been talking much about the NHRA much this season, as it has not been a great year for the Don Schumacher Racing Dodge Charger funny cars when compared to previous years.

Last week marked the 13th event in the 24 race season, so we are right around the halfway point of the season and over the course of those first 13 events, a DSR Charger has won only 5. Sure, winning more than a third of the races seems like a good ratio, but when you look at the past few years, 2019 hasn’t been a great one for Mopar racing fans, but the teams are heating up as the season progresses.

Slow Start

Back in 2015, Don Schumacher Racing Dodge Charger funny cars won 7 of the first 13 races. In 2016, they won 8 of the first 13 and in 2017, they won 12 of the first 13 races. Compared to those numbers, the 5 wins over the course of the first 13 races of 2019 is quite a big step down, but when we break this season down a bit, things are looking up for Team Mopar.

During the first 6 races of the season, a Dodge Charger won only once, when Matt Hagan took home the Wally at the second race of the year, but during those first six, a Chevy Camaro won 3 and a Toyota Camry won twice.

Fortunately, in the next 7 races of 2019, a Don Schumacher Racing Charger funny car has won 4 times, with Ron Capps winning twice, Tommy Johnson Jr winning once and Matt Hagan taking home win #2 on the season. Meanwhile, a John Force Camaro won only once while the Ford Mustang of Bob Tasca grabbed two wins.

While the slow start is never a good thing, 4 wins over the course of the past 7 races is a big step in the right direction, with just five races left to the 6-race “Countdown to the Championship” portion of the schedule.

The Championship Run

As you likely know if you follow the NHRA, the series has gone to a playoff-style shootout to the title, which groups the top 10 drivers from the first 18 races together for an all-out battle for the title. In other words, to get a real shot at the NHRA Funny Car championship, the Don Schumacher Racing drivers only need to be in the top 10 after the 18th race. From there, the points are evened out so that all 10 of those drivers are within 100 points of each other, giving all of those 10 a chance at the title.

After the 13th race of the season, Robert Hight and his Chevy Camaro lead the funny car points race with teammate and team owner John Force in second place. Tommy Johnson Jr is third, Ron Capps is fourth and Jack Beckman is fifth, while Matt Hagan currently sits in 8th place. In other words, if the Countdown began now, all 4 DSR drivers are in the playoffs, but with 5 races left before the championship run, there is time for all of them to improve their standings, making sure to finish in the top 10 during the normal portion of the schedule.

The next event is this weekend, with the Dodge Mile High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway in Colorado, and we can bet that all of the Charger funny car drivers will be working hard to win the event sponsored by Dodge.

Patrick Rall was raised a Mopar boy, spending years racing a Dodge Mirada while working his way through college. After spending a few years post-college in the tax accounting field, Patrick made the jump to the world of journalism and his work has been published in magazines and websites around the world.

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