Hagan Triumphs Over Capps in Mopar vs. Mopar Funny Car Final at Texas NHRA FallNationals
- Pennzoil/Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T NHRA Funny Car driver Matt Hagan defeats teammate Ron Capps in money round at Texas Motorplex near Dallas
- Hagan earns his fourth victory of year, 13th for a Mopar Dodge Funny Car
- NHRA FallNationals features third consecutive and ninth overall all-Mopar Funny Car final of season
- Mopar HEMI®-powered Funny Car driver Capps advances to 100th final round, extends points lead to 64 markers with two races left
- Four Mopar-powered Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) Funny Car drivers hold 1-4 spots
- Make-A-Wish Dodge Funny Car driver Tommy Johnson Jr. exits early but remains second and very much in hunt for championship
- Jack Beckman in fourth points position after losing to Capps in quarterfinals
- Mopar Top Fuel dragster racer Leah Pritchett qualifies No. 2, falls in second round
- NHRA Sportsman racer James Caro takes Super Stock class win in 2010 Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak
October 16, 2016 , Auburn Hills, Mich. – Pennzoil/Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car driver Matt Hagan claimed his fourth win of the season at the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals on Sunday, defeating teammate Ron Capps in an all-Mopar final at Texas Motorplex near Dallas. Hagan moved to third in the point standings and leader Capps increased his cushion to 64 points over fellow teammate and Mopar Dodge driver Tommy Johnson Jr. with only two events remaining in the six-race NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoffs.
The matchup of Hagan versus Capps in the final marked the third consecutive event in which Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) Mopar Dodge Funny Car drivers have battled for the event win, and ninth time overall this season. The victory is also the 13th of the year for a Mopar Dodge Funny Car racer in 22 events thus far. With Jack Beckman holding the fourth position, DSR Mopar Dodge drivers maintained their grip on the top four slots in the standings.
“Each of the Mopar Dodge Charger R/T Funny Cars have performed so well this season, and we are very pleased to congratulate Matt Hagan on picking up another win for Team Mopar,” said Pietro Gorlier, Head of Parts and Service (Mopar), FCA – Global. “His performance at the Texas NHRA FallNationals showed, once again, the power of Mopar Performance. We are eager to see the remainder of the season unfold.”
Hagan, the No. 4 qualifier, had his Pennzoil/Mopar Express Lane Dodge clicking during eliminations. He used a 3.888-second elapsed time at 330.63 mph to defeat John Bojec in the opening round and knocked off Courtney Force in the quarterfinals, laying down a 3.896/329.34 run after Force left the starting line early and fouled out on a red light. The two-time NHRA Funny Car champion’s road to victory was far from easy, with No. 1 qualifier Robert Hight waiting in the semis. Hagan powered to the round win and a date with teammate and points leader Capps on the strength of a 3.899/327.19 pass after Hight encountered trouble early.
Hagan’s quick-trigger .038 reaction time to Capps’ .064 in the final round would be the difference in the all-Mopar matchup. Despite recording his slowest elapsed time of the weekend, a 3.913 at 327.03 mph, Hagan was able to overcome Capps’ quicker 3.906/322.19 run thanks to his starting line advantage. The win was Hagan’s second at the Dallas venue and 22nd of his career.
“That’s a huge (final) round,” said Hagan, who recorded his sixth finals appearance of the season and is now 88 points behind Capps. “Unfortunately we faced him (Capps) late in the race. In Reading, we had him in the semis and he left on me and spanked me on the tree. This time I got to leave on him and get a little payback. He’s a great guy, great individual and one of those guys that took me under his wing when I first came out here. I have lots of respect for him and I know he’s digging deep and working hard but we have a job to do for Pennzoil, Mopar, Freightliner, Rocky and all those folks that support us.
“We race heads up and that’s the way it’s going to be. When you earn a championship that’s what makes you feel good, that you earned it. We’re just keeping the old boy honest. I love him (Capps) to death and it was cool to see him in the final but I was glad to see that win light come on in our lane. We’ve had to get through some pretty tough cars today and had a little bit of luck go our way.”
No. 7 qualifier Capps bolstered his quest for a first career Funny Car championship with his runner-up showing. He dispatched Tim Wilkerson in the opening round with a blistering 3.859/325.92 and took out teammate and No. 2 qualifier Jack Beckman in the quarterfinals on a holeshot. Capps’ .029 reaction time and 3.964/300.26 run provided enough margin to best Beckman’s .077 reaction and 3.938/320.51 pass in his Infinite Hero Dodge. In the semis, Capps clocked a 3.904/321.35 in a holeshot effort to end defending series champ Del Worsham’s day. Capps has now advanced to 10 final rounds on the year, and became just the 15th driver in NHRA history to advance to 100 final rounds.
Tommy Johnson Jr. qualified strong at No. 3 but struck the tires in his Make-A-Wish Dodge in the quarterfinals, slowing to a losing 4.036/291.82 against Worsham. Johnson remains second in the standings, still alive and well in the hunt for the 2016 Funny Car crown.
“Vegas (site of the next event) is one of my favorite tracks and I’ve always done well there so I look forward to it,” said Johnson. “We were runner-up in Vegas and in Pomona last year for the last two events so I still have a lot of confidence knowing that we can try and finish this off.”
Pritchett Starts No. 2, Exits in Second Round
After recording her first career No. 1 qualifier spot in the previous event at the Dodge NHRA Nationals in Pennsylvania, DSR Papa John’s/Mopar Top Fuel driver Leah Pritchett was once again quick on the qualifying charts at Dallas. She started from the second position with an elapsed time of 3.698 and defeated Scott Palmer in the opening round with a 3.955/232.55 mark.
Pritchett’s day would end in round two, where her stellar .022 reaction time went for naught after she smoked the tires and slowed to a 4.173/246.93, ceding the win to Steve Torrence. Mopar-powered U.S. Army Top Fuel driver Tony Schumacher also exited in round two, falling on a holeshot loss to Shawn Langdon.
“We’re not to be counted out yet, that’s for sure,” said Pritchett, who posted a career-best elapsed time on Friday to earn the No. 2 qualifying position. “Our performance has been spot on at the last two races.”
Schumacher leaves Dallas sixth in the Top Fuel standings, with Pritchett No. 8.
Caro Carries Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak to Super Stock Win
Mopar power also triumphed in the NHRA Sportsman ranks, where James Caro drove a 5.9L 2010 Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak to victory in the Super Stock class at Texas Motorplex.
Houma, Louisiana, native Caro qualified No. 15 and used a 9.847/133.33 effort and quicker .047 reaction time in the final to narrowly outrun Norvell Bowers for the event win. The winner’s circle visit was the fourth career at a national event by Caro, who took the wheel of the Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak owned by successful Sportsman racer and past Mopar HEMI® Challenge event winner Lloyd Wofford.
Next Event in NHRA Countdown to the Championship
Next up is the fifth race of NHRA’s 2016 Countdown to the Championship, the NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, scheduled for Oct. 27-30, 2016. The playoffs are run in a six-race format that pits the top 10 drivers in each professional category against one another for the season title.
2016 NHRA Championship Point Standings
(season wins in parentheses)
1. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger R/T (5) – 2,465
2. Tommy Johnson Jr., Dodge Charger R/T (2) – 2,401
3. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger R/T (4) – 2,377
4. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger R/T (2) – 2,334
5. Del Worsham (1) – 2,320
6. Robert Hight (1) – 2,278
7. John Force (3) – 2,267
8. Courtney Force (1) – 2,238
9. Tim Wilkerson (2) – 2,228
10. Alexis DeJoria (1) – 2,151
1. Antron Brown (7) – 2,504
2. Doug Kalitta (3) – 2,354
3. Shawn Langdon (3) – 2,332
4. Brittany Force (3) – 2,313
5. Steve Torrence (2) – 2,307
6. Tony Schumacher, Mopar HEMI (1) – 2,295
7. J.R. Todd (1) – 2,260
8. Leah Pritchett, Mopar HEMI (1) – 2,250
9. Richie Crampton – 2,195
10. Clay Millican – 2,168
1. Jason Line (8) – 2,454
2. Greg Anderson (7) – 2,428
3. Vincent Nobile (1) – 2,340
4. Shane Gray – 2,320
5. Bo Butner – 2,314
6. Drew Skillman (2) – 2,269
7. Chris McGaha (1) – 2,222
8. Allen Johnson (1), Mopar Dodge Dart – 2,213
9. Jeg Coughlin Jr., Dodge Dart – 2,146
10. Erica Enders, Mopar Performance Dodge Dart – 2,135