Four Mopar Drivers Look to Double Their Opportunities at Texas Motorplex
· Qualifying for 29th annual AAA Texas National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) FallNationals will double as eliminations rounds to determine winners for last weekend’s postponed Carolina Nationals
· Mopar’s Pro Stock drivers Jeg Coughlin Jr. and V. Gaines, along with Funny Car pilots Matt Hagan and Ron Capps have the chance to earn two titles this weekend
· Friday’s second qualifying session served to complete Pro Stock’s Carolina Nationals first round of eliminations
· Following a first round incident at Carolina Nationals, Mopar driver V. Gaines comes to Texas with the Dodge Avenger that had two final round appearances earlier this season
· Jeg Coughlin Jr. hopes to defend Carolina Nationals Pro Stock title on Saturday and paces the HEMI-powered Mopars in FallNationals qualifying
· Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) drivers Matt Hagan and Ron Capps will compete in Carolina Nationals quarterfinals eliminations on Saturday
Ennis, Texas (Sept. 19, 2014) – This weekend’s qualifying sessions for the 29th annual AAA Texas National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) FallNationals at Texas Motorplex near Dallas, Texas, will see four Mopar drivers doubling their on-track efforts as the Mello Yellow Drag Racing Series also looks to complete some unfinished business from last weekend’s shortened Carolina Nationals. Mopar’s Pro Stock drivers Jeg Coughlin Jr. and V. Gaines, along with Funny Car pilots Matt Hagan and Ron Capps have the chance to earn two national titles in one weekend.
The first of the six-event playoff called the NHRA “Countdown to the Championship” saw its elimination rounds rescheduled to this weekend where it will be run concurrently to qualifying for the FallNationals. Friday’s second qualifying session served to complete Pro Stock’s Carolina Nationals first round of eliminations, while the rest of eliminations will be contested on Saturday.
All three Mopar Pro Stock entries made their opening round runs last weekend, including defending Carolina Nationals title winner Coughlin who defeated Greg Anderson to advance to the quarterfinals. Based on Friday afternoon’s completion of the first round, Coughlin now knows his next eliminations opponent will be Vincent Nobile with the showdown to occur during Saturday’s first qualifying session.
Gaines was awarded the round win over Allen Johnson, who was disqualified during last week’s first round when the “Magneti Marelli Offered by Mopar” machine drove over the centerline just prior to Gaines’ own spectacular accident in which his new Dodge Dart was destroyed. Gaines was allowed the use of a replacement car for the continuation of eliminations and returned to competition at Texas Motorplex with the Dodge Avenger that made two final round appearances earlier this season. Gaines will see Jonathon Gray as his opponent in the next elimination round of the Carolina Nationals.
After two qualifying sessions at Texas Motorplex, Coughlin’s JEGS.com Mopar Dodge Dart was the quickest of the HEMI-powered entries posting the sixth quickest elapsed time run with a 6.596 second pass at 209.59 miles per hour. Allen Johnson drove his Magneti Marelli Mopar to an eighth best pass of 6.607/209.75 while V. Gaines was provisionally 13th overall with his 6.635/208.97 effort. The provisional Pro Stock pole position was earned by Shane Gray with a 6.577/209.88 run on Friday evening.
In Funny Car action last week, Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) Dodge Charger R/T drivers and teammates Hagan and Capps won their respective first round match-ups at the Carolina Nationals and will advance to the rescheduled quarterfinals on Saturday at Texas Motorplex. Hagan will line up his Freightliner Mopar Express Lane Funny Car against Tim Wilkerson, while Capps will see face Bob Tasca in his quarterfinal match-up.
Meanwhile, in Friday qualifying for the Fall Nationals, Tommy Johnson Jr. took his Mopar to the top of the timing sheets in the first session with a 4.076/309.42 pass and DSR teammate Capps was not too far behind in the third spot with a 4.095/310.63 run. Capps improved his performance with his second run posting a 4.051/311.92 to remain in the provisional No.3 spot while Johnson dropped to fourth on the strength of his first timed run after losing traction on his second pass.
Hagan improved from his ninth place 4.136/283.19 pass to a 4.083/312.86 to put him provisionally sixth, while Mopar teammate Jack Beckman moved up from 11th to eighth with a 4.087/312.35 run. The provisional Funny Car No.1 qualifier position is being held by Courtney Force.with a track record e.t of 4.039 seconds and a track speed record of 314.90 mph.
An hour and a half of highlights from the completion of eliminations for seventh annual Pep Boys NHRA Carolina Nationals, as well as qualifying for the 29th annual AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals will be broadcast on ESPN2 on Sunday, Sept. 21, at 3:30 a.m. (ET) and then re-aired at 4 p.m. (ET). Three hours of elimination round coverage for the FallNationals, the second of four consecutive weekend events and the second scheduled stop in the six-event playoff series called the “Countdown to the Championship”, will air Sunday evening starting at 8:30 p.m. (ET).