Concord, N.C. – All eight Mopar-powered Dodge entries in both Pro Stock and Funny Car made the elimination rounds of the 5th Annual NHRA Nationals at Charlotte, and one drove its way to Victory Circle under the lights after a rain delayed start to racing.
Don Schumacher Racing’s Ron Capps beat teammate and fellow Mopar Dodge Charger R/T driver Matt Hagan in the Funny Car semi-finals to face Mike Neff. Capps took the first title win of the playoff race (4.067 seconds /315.49 mph) over Neff, who smoked the tires to extend his lead, 2230 points over Neff’s (2157) second place standing in the Countdown.
Allen Johnson who also started the Pro Stock playoffs with a 30 point advantage, made his way into the finals at the zMax Dragway with his championship lead intact after a Mopar Dodge Avenger showdown against pole winner Vincent Nobile in the semis.
For his seventh final round appearance this season, Johnson faced off against Jason Line in what turned into a pedalfest as both drivers shook their tires. Line recovered quickly enough to beat Johnson with a 7.51 elapsed time.
“Neither one of us had moved three feet before we both lost traction and he (Line) just got it back into gear a bit quicker than I did,” said Johnson who heads to the second playoff event next weekend in Texas with 2230 points, just three (3) points ahead of Line (2206) in the standings. “We had a great day and we’re still happy with it. We have a good car and we’re still in the points lead. We’ll take that.”
Jeg Coughlin Jr. dropped early in the first round Mopar showdown against Johnson, who got off the starting line quicker and ran a 6.594-second pass at 210.73 mph to Coughlin's 6.644 at 208.42 mph.
After garnering his first career pole position, Vincent Nobile took his HEMI-powered Dodge Avenger through the first two rounds eventually falling short in another tough Mopar match up with teammate Johnson in the semis. Johnson won that battle wire to wire with a 0.27 to 0.050 reaction time, and a 6.567 (211.00 mph) second ET to Nobile’s 6.588 (209.46 mph).
The fourth Mopar driver in Pro Stock eliminations and the championship hunt, V. Gaines fell short in his first round pairing with Dave Connolly.
Mopar Dodge Charger R/T driver Matt Hagan (4.123 ET/301.54 mph) qualified eighth and dispatched Bob Tasca and top Funny Car qualifier Tim Wilkerson to advance to the semi-finals to face off against his Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron Capps.
Hagan emerges unscathed after a fire ended his run giving Capps the win (4.047 sec /317 mph) and sending him to the final in which he earned the victory against Mike Neff. Capps earned his fourth Funny Car title win (4.067/315) for DSR this season in his Mopar- powered Dodge Charger over Neff to retain his lead in the hunt for a championship.
The six-race Countdown to the Championship continues September 20-23 with the27th annual AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals at the all concrete dragstrip at Texas Motorplex in Ennis, TX. Follow @OfficialMopar for live updates and spoilers.