Record Setting Run by Capps Gives Mopar No.1 Qualifier Honors at Route 66 NHRA Nationals
· Mopar is competing at 16th annual Route 66 NHRA Nationals this weekend at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill., the 12th of 24 national events
· Capps sets both track e.t. and speed records with the third quickest pass in NHRA history to earn Funny Car No.1 qualifier position
· DSR teammates Capps , Beckman are two of four drivers to run under the four second barrier
· Johnson and Coughlin Jr. earn second and third qualifying spots in Pro Stock competition
Joliet, Ill. (Saturday, June 29, 2013) – A record setting run by Don Schumacher Racing’s Ron Capps in his Dodge Charger R/T earned him No.1 qualifier honors for the 16th annual Route 66 NHRA Nationals. Saturday evening’s cool temperatures and perfect track conditions set the stage for Capps’ run of 3.988 seconds with a top speed of 320.28 mph, the third quickest pass in NHRA history, setting both the Funny Car elapsed time and speed records at the Chicagoland area track.
The Mopar driver posted the first three-second pass in the track’s history during the final qualifying session where three more entries, including his teammate Jack Beckman, would also run sub four-second elapsed times, but none were able to beat it.
“I really didn’t think it would hold since we ran so early in the session,” said Capps who’s record setting pass gave him his first top qualifier position of the season, his first at Route 66 Raceway, and the 15th of his career. “It was a great run. I thought [Matt] Hagan or [Jack] Beckman would go quicker than that, but we’ll take it. I’ve been hit or miss at this place, so maybe we can get one tomorrow. It’s great for the fans to have two night sessions. Funny Cars racing at night, it doesn’t get a lot better than that.”
Capps will face Bob Bode in the first round of Sunday’s eliminations.
Jack Beckman’s elapsed time pass of 3.993-seconds (319.52 mph) was good enough to put his Mopar in third spot and will give him lane choice over Alexis DeJoria in the opening round.
After sitting second in the sole Friday session with a 4.040 seconds (317.19 mph) pass, Matt Hagan ended up sixth in his “Magneti Marelli Offered by Mopar” machine after a mechanical problem with the lighting tree delayed his final qualifying attempt against Robert Hight. Once they restaged their Funny Cars, neither were able to complete the run or take a shot a adding their names to the list of drivers breaking the four second barrier that evening.
For his first round showdown, Hagan, who has two wins this year and is the current Funny Car points leader, will face the Mopar of his teammate Johnny Gray, who is third in those championship rankings with three wins of his own so far and who qualified 11th with a 4.064-second (310.70 mph) effort.
The 70 degree track temperature for Saturday’s final Pro Stock qualifying session also helped Allen Johnson and his Mopar Express Lane Dodge Avenger initially set a track record with a 6.556-second run to go to the top of the qualifying score sheets, but his efforts were short lived as current points leader Mike Edwards earned his tenth No.1 qualifier position of the season with his own record low e.t. of 6.542 seconds and 210.64mph. That put Johnson second overall in qualifying and matched him up with Steve Kent for the first round of eliminations.
Johnson’s Mopar teammate and driver of the Jegs.com entry, Jeg Coughlin Jr., ran his own impressive 6.565-second e.t. with a speed of 209.92 mph to put him third on the qualifying score sheets, pitting him against Roger Brogden in the opening elimination round.
Fellow HEMI-powered entry of Vincent Nobile qualified eighth and will start against Greg Stanfield, while V. Gaines will pit his own Mopar against Greg Anderson in the first elimination round battle.