Don Schumacher Racing teams fast in Sonoma qualifying
Capps, Johnson quickest Funny Cars.
For the past three events on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series tour, fans have been treated to night-time qualifying sessions on Friday and Saturday.
While there's nothing as entertaining as nitro racing at night with flames flowing from exhaust headers, it does little to help teams prepare for championship eliminations on Sunday that nearly always start at 11 a.m.
That changes this weekend with the Sonoma NHRA Nationals at Sonoma Raceway in the wine country near San Francisco where Friday's second session was after dark but Saturday's two sessions were held in the heat of the afternoon that will be similar what teams face on Sunday when racing begins at 11 a.m. (PT).
Saturday's heat slows times
Although the quickest times were set Friday night in the cool evening air, some DSR teams were the quickest on Saturday in conditions like what they will face Sunday.
Ron Capps (in photo above) and the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T and teammate Tommy Johnson Jr. and the Make-A-Wish team were the quickest Funny Cars Saturday. In the late afternoon session, Capps completed his run in 4.140 seconds at 304.60 mph while Johnson in the other lane went 4.147 (302.01).
In Top Fuel, Antron Brown and the Matco Tools lead was quickest in the DSR stable with a run of 3.858 (315.56) while teammate Tony Schumacher and the U.S. Army team's best run Saturday of 3.876 (318.47) followed its run of 3.793 (323.43) that earned it the No. 3 qualifying position.
Two key match-ups await DSR Sunday in the first round.
Antron Brown fourth fastest
Brown, who qualified No. 4, faces teammate Spencer Massey and the Battery Extender Powered by Schumacher dragster in the opening round.
A bigger match is Jack Beckman, who ranks 10th in the Funny Car season standings, facing Tim Wilkerson, who trails in the 11th position by one point. Only three events remain after Sonoma to finalize the top-10 drivers who will compete for Mello Yello championships in the six-race Countdown to the Championship playoff.
The Sonoma Nationals is the second stop of the annual Western Swing with three races in three weeks. The Swing closes with a stop near Seattle.
Andrew Hines wins bike battle at Sonoma
No shortage of horsepower for Coughlin after Sonoma qualifying