Mopar Versus Mopar Funny Car Final at Phoenix
Mopar vs Mopar in Funny Car final elimination round at Arizona Nationals
Capps beats Mopar teammate Hagan to earn Phoenix title win a week after a runner-up performance at the season opener
All four Pro Stock Mopars win first elimination round; falter in quarterfinals
Mopar leads the NHRA points standings in both Funny Car and Pro Stock classes with Capps and Nobile
Phoenix, Ariz. (Sunday, Feb. 24) – It was an all Mopar final in Funny Car competition, as Don Schumacher Racing teammates Matt Hagan and Ron Capps faced-off at the Arizona Nationals, the second event on the 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series calendar. Capps followed up his runner-up finish in last weekend’s season opener at Pomona with a dominating title win by posting a 4.064 second run, his fourth straight 4.0 in his Dodge Charger R/T, to beat his Mopar teammate Hagan’s 4.15 second pass. It was Capps’ 38th career Funny Car victory and his third at Firebird International Raceway.
“All of us at Mopar would like to offer congratulations to Ron Capps for his two consecutive final round appearances and a big win in Phoenix,” said Pietro Gorlier, President and CEO of Mopar, Chrysler Group LLC’s service, parts and customer-care brand. “The Mopar-powered Funny Car package looks strong again this year, and we look forward to Ron and his Don Schumacher Racing teammates contending for more wins in defense of the Championship title throughout what is sure to be an exciting and competitive season.”
“We are starting to feel like we are getting into the same rhythm that we were last year when we went to six finals in a row,” said Capps, who finished runner-up in the 2012 Funny Car Championship by just two points. “I think that both (crew chief) Rahn (Tobler) and I built up some confidence in each other at Pomona, and now here.”
For Hagan, his runner-up finish was a sign of good things to come for what is essentially a brand new Mopar team with the pre-season addition of crew chief Dickie Venables, assistant Mike Knudsen and a number of new crew members.
“I am extremely, extremely, extremely proud of this new, young, race team,” Hagan said. “For our second race together to come out here and go to the final, that’s huge. We have a lot still to learn but I think it’s just a taste of what you’re going to see this year out of this team. We take what we learned here and we move toward Gainesville.”
With the result, Capps takes over the lead in the Funny Car standings with 210 points while Hagan moves into the third spot with 151 points.
Fellow DSR teammates didn’t fair quite as well with losses in the first round of eliminations. Johnny Gray, who was No.1 qualifier for the event, didn’t have the run he was hoping for when, following a pedalfest, his pass was disqualified after making contact with the wall at the 1000 foot mark. He is currently fifth in points with 122. Jack Beckman’s efforts were hampered with traction issues right at the start of his run, and with two first-round losses in as many events, the defending Funny Car World Champion temporarily drops out of the top-10 in the standings into 11th place.
In Pro Stock competition, all four full-time HEMI-powered Mopars advanced from their first elimination match-ups with Jeg Coughlin Jr. setting the lowest elapsed time for the round with a 6.537 sec and 212.49 mph pass. The quarterfinals, however, were a different story as all four saw their race day cut short.
Defending NHRA World Champion, Allen Johnson’s quarterfinal run elapsed time of 6.549 seconds was beaten on a holeshot by Greg Anderson’s 6.551 pass. Coughlin had an identical .022 second reaction time to his competitor Jason Line but lost the round with a 6.538 to 6.581 difference.
V. Gaines was defeated by Erica Enders who won with a .033 to .074 holeshot after both cars posted identical runs of 6.553 seconds. Vincent Nobile’s .025 second reaction time was beaten by No. 1 qualifier Mike Edwards’ .013 and then at the line by a 6.505 to 6.582 second difference.
Enders went on to earn her fifth career Pro Stock title by defeating Edwards with a holeshot win in the final round to move into second place in the standings.
Nobile still leads the Pro Stock Standings with 171 points, while Coughlin (149 points) is fourth, Gaines (142 points) is fifth and Johnson (107) is tied for seventh place.
It has been a solid start to the 2013 NHRA season for Mopar with wins in the first two races with Capps’ Funny Car victory this weekend in Phoenix and Pro Stock HEMI-powered Nobile’s title win at Pomona. Mopar will work to make it three in a row as teams and drivers prepare for the 44th Annual NHRA Gatornationals, the traditional east coast opening event and the third of 24 events on the 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule slated to take place in Gainesville, Fla. on March 14-17.