Mopar Doubles-Up with Wins by Nobile and Capps at Sonoma Nationals
· Mopar earns two national titles with wins by Nobile and Capps at 26th annual NHRA Sonoma Nationals
· Nobile wins second national title of the season and moves to fifth in the Pro Stock championship standings
· Capps scores his second win of the year on a hole shot to earn his 40th career Funny Car national title
· Coughlin runs his 90th career final round appearance to finish runner-up
· Hagan remains in the Funny Car championship points lead with Capps jumping into second spot
· Johnson and Coughlin are second and third in Pro Stock standings
Sonoma, Calif. (Sunday, July 28, 2013) – Mopar added two more trophies to its mantle at the 26th annual NHRA Sonoma Nationals with title wins by HEMI-powered Dodge Avenger driver Vincent Nobile and Ron Capps in his Don Schumacher Racing Dodge Charger R/T, marking the fifth national event this season in which Mopar has won titles in both Pro Stock and Funny Car categories.
“It was great to see Vincent Nobile and Ron Capps add another pair of wins for Mopar at Sonoma Raceway,” said Pietro Gorlier, President and CEO of Mopar, Chrysler Group LLC’s service, parts and customer-care brand. “This is the fifth time Mopar has earned victories in both classes this year and that is a true testament to the hard work and quality teamwork that the Mopar HEMI-powered teams and drivers are putting in at every national event in pursuit of championships.”
In a repeat of a final elimination battle at the season opening event in Pomona, Calif., Nobile faced off against Jeg Coughlin Jr. for the fourth all-Mopar Pro Stock final of the year. Nobile emerged the victor for the second time this season, despite the knowledge that his engine was nearing the end of its ability to function.
“It was a great day and a long overdue win,” said Nobile who now has seven career victories to his credit. “I saw that Jeg [Coughlin] had a .005 reaction time in both his runs so I knew I had to be on my game in the final. Unfortunately our motor was broken in the water box and I really thought I was a sitting duck. It actually held off and blew right at the stripe but until then I was pushing my foot through the radiator until I saw the win light turned on.”
Nobile defeated Jason Line, No.1 qualifier and Pro Stock points leader Mike Edwards, and Greg Anderson to reach the final against his Mopar teammate and jump to fifth place in the points battle with the title win.
Coughlin, for his part, made his way to an admirable 90th career final elimination round appearance by posting two holeshot wins against Shane Gray and his Mopar teammate Allen Johnson. With the runner-up finish, the driver of the JEGS.com Mopar Dodge Avenger remains third in the points.
“For J&J Racing, Allen [Johnson], Roy [Johnson] and the entire team did one heck of a job,” Coughlin said. “We had three cars in the final four, and that’s pretty stout. We wanted to get the win for Team JEGS, but it just wasn’t meant to be. Now we’ll move to Seattle. Maybe it’ll be Allen at Denver, Vincent in Sonoma and Jeg in Seattle.”
Johnson echoed Coughlin’s sentiments about the team’s performance heading into the third and final race on the NHRA’s western swing.
“Anytime we can have three out of the four Mopar cars in the semis, it’s a good weekend,” Johnson said. “I’m a little disappointed I won’t get a shot at the [three race] western sweep but we’re going for a different kind of sweep. This year our team is going for the HEMI sweep.”
On his way to earning his fourth Funny Car national title at Sonoma Raceway, Capps defeated Del Worsham, Jeff Arend, and Courtney Force to face 15-time world champion John Force. The driver of the DSR Dodge Charger R/T won his final elimination battle on a holeshot against Force by taking the lead and posting a 4.085-second run (307.79 mph) to beat his opponent’s quicker run of 4.072-second (311.13 mph).
“A holeshot-win only comes with a great car,” Capps said. “That 4.04 we ran to beat Courtney [Force in the semifinals] was stout. I wanted to dedicate a win to John Cardinale [Sonoma Raceway PR director who lost his battle against cancer], his kids and his wife. He was just a great guy who was instrumental in a lot of things that happen around here at Sonoma Raceway. We’re just so used to seeing his smiling face around here so being able to do that for them was probably the best part of that win.”
The drive to the winner’s circle by Capps was his second of the season and the fortieth of his career, moving him up two spots in the championship standings into second place behind his Mopar teammate Matt Hagan.
The upset of the day came in the first round of Funny Car action as No.1 qualifier Hagan, who set the second quickest run in NHRA history on Friday night with a 3.986-second pass, saw his race day end prematurely against no.16 qualifier Alexis DeJoria. While the driver of the “Magneti Marelli Offered by Mopar” Dodge Charger R/T had a clean start, a loss of grip resulted in the hazing of the tires and loss of momentum against his competitor. The good news is that despite first round losses in the last two events, Hagan still maintains the lead in the Funny Car championship standings.
Also upset in the elimination rounds was Jack Beckman who, after also running a sub-four second run in his DSR Dodge Charger R/T to qualify second, was beaten on a holeshot by Courtney Force who posted an elapsed time of 4.089 seconds (315.34 mph) to Beckman’s quicker 4.067 second (313.51 mph) pass.
Johnny Gray, who has a category-leading four wins this season in his DSR Mopar machine, saw his day come to an unfortunate end in the second round when the car’s blower exploded. He emerged unscathed and of his own accord after a few tense moments when the energy of the blast was contained within the body that remained attached to the chassis with the new tethering system mandated by the sanctioning body in Denver last week. Gray drops to fifth in the closely contested points battle in the Funny Car standings.